- Posted by Action Catalyst
- On June 6, 2023
- 0 Comments
- Business, coaching, estonia, focus, leadership, sales, Southwestern Advantage, southwestern consulting, success
Andrus Albi, Sales Practitioner, Certified Sales & Leadership Coach, and Partner at Southwestern Consulting provides a masterclass on maintaining focus, including the relief that comes with identifying factors that are not under your control, prioritizing items in your calendar, being responsive versus reactive, creating “should do” and “MUST do” items, how the same advice applies to motocross, marriage, and sales, and why “practice doesn’t make perfect, PERFECT practice makes perfect”.
- Being ranked #7 in lifetime sales out of 250,000+ people who have sold with Southwestern Advantage.
- Recruiting and training multiple top teams.
- Platinum Certification in sales and recruiting (the highest level awarded for selling and recruiting.
- Being the first European promoted to be Partner at Southwestern Coaching.
In his freshman year at the University of Tartu, Andrus came the U.S. to sell books door-to-door with Southwestern Advantage. He ended up selling books for 12 summers and ranks 7th in lifetime sales out of more than 250,000 salespeople in the company’s 165-year-old history. He also led a group of students who sold over $1M in a three-month period.
After Andrus finished selling books, he transferred to another division of Southwestern, Southwestern Consulting, where he successfully built Southwestern Coaching’s European division, becoming Team Leader and Partner along the way.
As an experienced leader and salesperson, Andrus has helped thousands of salespeople improve their sales and leadership skills in companies throughout Europe and the United States. His specialty is building systems and processes that help his clients improve time management, advance recruiting efforts, and dramatically increase overall performance.
Outside of coaching, Andrus is also very passionate about motorcycles. He loves riding off-road, challenging himself on the amateur race track, and testing new bikes as a blog editor and journalist.
Although he communicates daily with people around the world, his favorite place in the world is at home in Estonia with his lovely wife and two intelligent and beautiful daughters.
The Action Catalyst is presented by the Southwestern Family of Companies. With each episode, the podcast features some of the nation’s top thought leaders and experts, sharing meaningful tips and advice. Learn more at TheActionCatalyst.com, subscribe below or wherever you listen to podcasts, and be sure to leave a rating and review!
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(Transcribed using A.I. / May include errors):
Today we are pleased to welcome to the show a leading sales practitioner certified sales leadership coach and a partner at Southwestern Consulting, Andrus Albi joining us from Estonia. Andrus, you manage a truly global team spread between Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. And I think Finland and Switzerland as well, have I missed any?
We have clients we are selling in most European countries, we have at least a client or two and obviously, in some couple of 100. In Europe, I can I can take the morning flight and still sleep in my own bed in the evening. So I have a couple of post potential prospects in Australia. But I’m like, No, I don’t like in some point, if you have an error, you have to go there. And I’m like, that’s a long flight. So I might pass that lead on to somebody, somebody there.
So I want to start today’s conversation off on the topic of focus, how do you create, maintain focus for yourself individually, and then also when leading these international teams?
Sure, let me start with a story. I was never diagnosed with ADHD, but I’m pretty sure in nowadays I would have been, like I was the kid, my mom used to say, like Andreas, if you wouldn’t be attached to yourself, you would lose yourself. Like literally, you would come home without your own body, because you would lose yourself somewhere. And I never like I was the kid who I had a brain, I was pretty bright. And I was able to talk my way out of everything. So which means in middle school, high school, I never really paid attention that much. And then I went to Starbucks. And if I’m really honest, I didn’t pay attention and selling books as well. My first year, I actually the only year that I wasn’t the top producer in the top 100 was my first year I was as average as it gets on my first year. And I still remember like, this is kind of the defining moment where this came into play when I was in. This was my first so my second summer I went back there, right I did my first summer I was average, I wanted to be better, I realized that I need to be better with people. And I need to learn the sales thing, because I realized that I’m although I was bright, I wasn’t bright enough to do science or anything because I didn’t pay attention. And I was never a guy who will make stuff with our hands. And I hated myself behind the computer. So I always when I was in high school, I always thought that if I will be good at anything, it will be with people, and it will be good with business. Then I went to sell books. And it turned out that I was pretty average at selling books as well. So my second year, I went out to really change that I was like if I suck at this as well, there’s a big statistical chance that I actually might, you know, the average. And I still remember it was a middle of the summer day in Estonia is actually a national holiday. And everybody has a barbecue that day. It’s like, like an Independence Day in in us. And I remember daydreaming sitting in my car between the houses in Orlando, Florida. 100 degree heat. And I remember daydreaming about being in Estonia having a barbecue. And looking at the mirror. I literally slept myself like, like, Italy. And I was like Andreas, if you wanted to have a barbecue with your girlfriend in Estonia, like you could have, you put all this effort into get here. And now you’re dreaming about not being here. So maybe that was the first where I slept myself during that summer. I did you know, probably a couple laundry times. And I think that was kind of the turning point where I maybe I can say the first time I felt actually paid attention of it. And so I have the same thing still now. So when you go to the second part of the question now about leader and personal production, leadership recruiting, so I kind of look at it the same way like I make a plan, like you will make a schedule. And I think one of my biggest strengths is that I would try to be at work when I my schedule says to be at work, everything that is going on with personal life, put it that on side and just focus on serving clients that because that’s needs to be done as well. So a couple of things that really helped me is the schedule like I talked about, I actually plan out I even plan out my evenings, like when is gates more evening when his wife’s morning, evening. And then I have a to do list. Whenever I have an idea in my brain that doesn’t fit the plan. But I remember that I needed to do something, then I have a to do list open in most of my in every device that I have. And I can add it there and come back to it. So long story. But basically, that’s what it is. It’s just sticking to the task at hand. One of the first things we teach to people is that everything that happens to you falls into three categories, right things you can control things you can influence. And then there is a heck a lot of things you have to accept, you only focus on the things you can control. You don’t really worry about even the influence part, but you definitely shouldn’t spend a single second, worrying about what you can control. I feel that you can control really what you can control is your actions and your mindset around it. Like I guess my best analogy with this is that is on dirt bike track when I go on a dirt bike track and I want to start focusing on I need to be the fastest or I need to have my test time or whatever. Usually I’m not the best by far like Yeah, but you should actually write worse than I usually do. Because I start I get too tight. I start focusing on the end result instead of the the track and me and the bike. I start pushing the bike to do things that is not supposed to do. If I’m trying too much, I’m usually not the fastest. Now, if I’m going to the other extreme, if I, if I’m not trying at all, if I’m not paying attention at all, then you definitely shouldn’t be on a motocross track because you will hurt yourself. So the best place what I’ve noticed to be is the place where I am focusing on doing the best I can in that situation, and not really even worrying about what will everybody else do, we’ll do like, you will be your best and let the bike do whatever the bike needs to do, I can bring that same analogy to the marriage, right? If I desperately tried to make sure that my my wife is happy, I actually might make it worse. Now, if I also turn around and go, I don’t give a crap. That definitely means trouble, right? So the perfect way I can look at it this, I can try to be the best husband, I can. And she has to do her part. And hopefully this will work out right. Same thing with sales. If I drastically try to sell on a client, you will lose your buying atmosphere, you start pushing the client to buy something, and usually not good things will happen. Even if they buy they end up canceling. But if I did go in there and go, I don’t care if they buy, then that’s even worse. So the perfect sweet spot in the center is you focusing of you doing not just doing the activity but doing good activity, doing focused activity, the best activity you can on that problem. Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. So I think that it is pretty relieving. When you kind of really look at it closely and decide what is under your control and what is not. And when you decide that everything you can all like I’ve literally done this with coaching clients, we will put into columns, like which like this thing annoys me just my, my, my mom is sick right now. Right? What can you do anything besides like? will only thing I can do is go and visit next? Like I can see I can go and visit, right? You put that in? And then I put it either in a column of which column it is, can I control it or not? And if I can do anything about it, then I’ll put it in the schedule. Where will I do it? Right? I put it in the plan, but a heck of a lot of stuff when you just look at it. Like that’s the things that we constantly worry about. There’s nothing to really do about it the best you can, you know, the global warming really worries me but at the best, what I can do is that I’ll buy a bit less plastic bags, right? I will do my 0.0000001% of the problem. And you can of course you could, but I mean, it’s like but you also realize that you probably won’t solve it on your own and definitely not today. So you might as well put it in the non controllable category and focus what you can do today. So first thing is just kind of looking at what can you do the other things you can control what is the what’s the plan when you focus. And then the last step is putting it into the schedule. Like I literally had, I had a coaching client, who’s a really high end lawyer in here in Estonia, and she came to a coaching Colin’s last Congress, there’s so much like this, I need to do this, I need to do that there’s these problems, these problems. And we literally spent the whole 45 minutes of a coaching call, making a to do list deciding what’s important and what is not. And the things that were important when we scheduled our next two, three weeks when she will do them. And she literally ended the coaching call going. We have couple of other lawyers from that company in her team. And she’s like, Could you teach that to them as well. So sometimes it’s just I think a lot of things that you get from coaching, this is just he’s focused on somebody helping you to see the perspective and just helping you to build a plan that okay, this is how I will tackle it. One of my first mentors in time management was Estonian man called Christian ottoman, he didn’t call it a planning list, he call it it’s like this translate straight translation would be clear in your mind list. And basically, he said, Write down everything you need to do like everything, even the ideas that you have, like even the random stuff that you’re thinking 20 years from now, like, literally in the training, he had us make a full list. And then he was like, now prioritize what needs to happen this year. So and I still do that, like I literally, this gives me the confidence and the communists, and the focus is because this allows me to calm down and go, I’m not forgetting anything. Like I just literally write down in my to do list everything. Then I prioritize, then I bought that. And then I when I see the to do list, and I go when and then I look at my schedule, and I’m boarded in well, I can do this part here, this part can wait, this part can happen there. So it’s clear in your mind list even not even more than just a planning question. Now there is a caveat to that one. The only way it will that work is if on the next day, you’re in the habit of looking at your to do list, right? If you just write a list there and you never pay attention to it, then that list becomes a monster that list becomes a problem on its own. Because you’re like, holy crap, I don’t know what’s in there. And what am I forgetting that is in there. So you have to work through that list. But you don’t have to always do everything from there. You can reschedule them, you can re plan them, but you need to have the control of that list.
Yeah, it really is that simple. So what would you say to people listening right now who are trying to reach You go and they are controlling their controllables. But they’re using the uncontrollables to justify why they can’t get something done, or why something is impossible for them or their team. How do you break that mentality?
Well, I would like to say usually that in every single workshop that we do for salespeople or managers, we say that the top guys find a way, not an excuse, right? Finding a way Anyway, like this is I think the biggest thing is learning new ways all the time, being willing to try new things, I think is the biggest thing, and there’s so much good, this is a good time to test things. And even if you don’t hit your goal, make sure that you build a foundation that you can hit goals next 12 or 13 years of economic growth that will be ahead of us so so it’s I guess, I mean, the mental side of it, you know, again, back to the controllables, what the heck can I do in here? Like, if you have the attitude that this is the situation what I’m in, and then you go, What’s the best thing that I can do about it? Like, if you have the attitude, first that I’m done, this doesn’t work, I can’t hit my goals, then you will, right? After you think you can, or you can die right away. Right. So that’s, I think the first if you have that part, then the second part is seeing what can be done, and learning from others, like in your own company. But I think one of the main reasons I love my job right now is because I can coach and work with people from different industries and different countries and different cultures, which allows me to see that well, manufacturing does it this way. And then I’m thinking often in my brain, I’m going so could you do that in when you’re selling law services, for example? Or the lawyers do it this way? Why or or even like in us, right? Like us real estate does it this way Estonians though, why the heck not? Like is it a cultural thing? Is it a law thing? And like you’re in just kind of figuring out like, that’s what I feel is so exciting. So I guess if you have that attitude that there has to be a way if there’s, if there’s a will, there’s a way, right, then you go well, so what are the options? How many options there can be there has to be something right? And not everything I have that when my clients, sometimes they go under this is to American and I go I know. And I don’t think you need to take it one on one, like go and be an American in Estonian sales situation. But I also think that if you go this is American, I don’t need it, you will miss out. Because there are some things that you can definitely transfer over to we need to adjust it for sure. But same thing with industry wise, like I have, you know, managers going no, no wonder if you don’t understand this doesn’t work in my industry. And I oftentimes go I know, but have you wondered, why not? Like, good, we play with this ID I know nobody’s doing it. But I mean, the lawyers are doing it successfully. Why Can’t We? Or this country is doing it successfully? Why can’t we like I love the like, that’s what’s exciting about it. That’s actually fun. And it’s a lot more fun than just making money or, you know, it’s actually like grading something. So I don’t know, that fires me up in that sense, figuring out the way, how and what the learning from everybody else.
Absolutely. So many people get frustrated, so many people get angry. But what they really need to do is get curious and look for the lesson. Do you have a tip or question that listeners can start asking themselves in order to start those curiosity wheels turning?
When you’re getting stressed and burned out, find a way to recharge, like I used to start doing business because I really wanted to have money to buy a motorcycle. Now I ride motorcycles because it helps me do the business, like finding a thing that calms you down and even a bit. Having, you know, go running, they don’t go running desperately because I need to be in shape I go running because it calms me down. So that’s one of the things. But if you have that part, what are the others doing? Like? Maybe that’s where would I go? What are the other industries doing? What are the other countries doing? Which industries are doing? Well, that’s always how I’ve been able to, I have no definitely not the most innovative guy in the world. But I am really good at this. I see the guys will do it. And I go, Well, why can they and I can’t. Because like I this is how I sold books. I’ve my manager was really good at selling books. And I was like, well, he’s not desperately better looking good. Okay, well, he was probably a bit better looking than I was. And His English is a bit better, but not not that much better. But he also told me like 30 times, that’s our right so I was like, Well, I can be 30 times worse looking or better or worse in English, like something has to something has to give basically there has to be something else.
Excellent advice to close on. Andreas, thanks for taking the time.
Thank you for having me.