Josh Mueller — Think Relationships, Not Transactions.
Move beyond the idea of sales as transactions; build relationships and earn lifelong customers.
Josh Mueller has been one of the top producers at Cutco Cutlery for the last eight years. Josh is the first seller on the show who isn’t in B2B sales, but has made it to the top of his game since he got into the industry, and has consistently remained at the top for the last few years. As founder and CEO of Vast Action, Inc, Josh also has experience helping professional salespeople master their sales process, install systems to build lifelong relationships with clients, and scale up their businesses to achieve their goals. Tune in to hear Josh share insights into becoming a top seller, and how you too can achieve the results Josh has.
Shareable Clips & Quotes:
It starts with taking ownership of your results
The secret to reaching the top
If it’s not best in class, don’t sell it!
Mentors and giving back
Sales people are the backbone of the world
Brendon Burchard’s Daily Productivity Planner
Hal Elrod and The Miracle Morning
Todd Duncan’s High Trust Selling
The One Thing
John Ruhlin and Mentors
You don’t have to sell everything to everybody
Perfection, progress and celebration
“Every time you come up over the next plateau, there’s always more mountain to be climbed.” Tweet this
“It takes time to manage your energy, so you have to also be great at managing time in order to manage your energy.” Tweet this
“You’re in business for yourself, but you’re not in business by yourself.” Tweet this
“I believe when you win the morning, you win the day.” Tweet this
“What we’re doing is we’re always putting the business first, and we’re always sacrificing our lifestyle to the business.” Tweet this
“What’s the minimum standard I need to meet in order to feel fulfilled personally?” Tweet this
“As a customer, you just have to understand why it makes sense for you.” Tweet this
“What I realized is that [motivation is] actually something that I’m responsible for.” Tweet this
“My goal is not to be perfect … I just believe in progress. If I’m making progress, that’s great.” Tweet this
“The more you pay attention to it, the better you’re gonna get at it.” Tweet this
[:27] Scott introduces his guest for this episode — Josh Mueller.
[:54] What are the three things that have allowed Josh to get to, and stay, at the top?
[4:00] Is energy management more important than time management for Josh?
[4:35] Scott gives a shout out to Nudge!
[5:09] There’s a Bonus Episode for all you listeners — Scott had a great conversation with Nudge’s Chief Technology Officer, Steve Woods, and he wants to share that with you!
[5:28] How did Josh originally get into sales?
[7:20] Josh didn’t start out at #1. How did he get to #1 in the early stages?
[11:02] Was Josh’s rise to the top a natural, gradual progression of investing time, or was there a point where something flipped that caused an acceleration in his sales?
[13:44] Josh puts his results into perspective, and how he has managed to achieve those results.
[18:22] Josh also runs a company with his wife, Vast Action. He shares a little about his results there.
[20:30] Part of why Josh was so successful, was because he broke through the existing mindset that what he was doing was a transactional business, and he started focusing on building relationships and getting repeat sales.
[22:12] What were the five things that helped Josh breakthrough to become a top seller?
[24:56] What would Josh do differently, if he were starting over again today?
[31:50] What is Josh most proud of, of all his accomplishments?
[34:12] Throughout this journey, what has been Josh’s biggest challenge? Josh shares a big personal challenge he had to overcome.
[41:59] It really boils down to commitment — to your goals, to your process, to your systems, to your relationships, and to your values.
[42:30] Josh used to be a night owl, but has learned to be a morning person over time. What is his morning routine like?
[48:09] What other habits and routines does Josh have throughout the day, that help him in his success?
[54:16] From a calendar perspective, how does Josh structure his day or week?
[59:44] What does Josh’s information diet look like? He shares some of his favorite people to follow, podcasts and books that have changed his life.
[1:04:18] Check out the show notes from this episode for access to all the great information Josh has shared! Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter as well, to get invited into the Sales Success Community for more resources!
[1:05:24] What are the main apps and technology that Josh uses?
[1:09:27] Is there a particular sales philosophy that Josh subscribes to?
[1:12:15] What does a typical close sound like for Josh?
[1:16:49] Josh elaborates on the last two steps of his sales process.
[1:19:49] How would Josh describe his style?
[1:21:01] How does Josh think about motivation? How does he motivate himself?
[1:24:45] What is something that Josh believes that the average seller would think is crazy?
[1:30:49] On the flip side, what are some things that the average seller believes that Josh thinks are crazy?
[1:34:13] What else has really created the stepping stones in Josh’s journey? What are some lessons he has had to learn to get where he is?
[1:38:58] Having 3 mentors — one at your level, one you can raise up to your level, and one at the level you want to get to — is an important concept to Josh. Does he proactively seek out his mentors?
[1:43:07] What advice would Josh give to someone just starting out in their sales career?
[1:46:35] What advice does Josh have for someone struggling in their sales career?
[1:51:05] What would Josh like to know about other top sellers in other organizations?
[1:52:47] Scott turns Josh’s question back on him — what is Josh’s favorite sales story?
[1:58:15] What is Josh’s biggest struggle he deals with on a day-to-day basis?
[2:01:02] Who is the most successful sales person Josh knows personally?
[2:04:05] Josh challenges you to find the biggest golden nugget you have taken away from this podcast, and then make the commitment to do that one thing, to get the best results and make progress towards your goals.
[2:07:39] Visit Josh’s websites to connect with him!
[2:08:30] Get on the mailing list for the Sales Success Community! If you’re in the U.S., text ‘TOP1″ to 4449993 to make that happen, and get access to lots of great resources, and access to two exclusive bonus episodes!
Mentioned in This Episode:
Vast Action, Inc.
“Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time,” by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy for the Harvard Business Review
The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod
The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman
1-Page Productivity Planner
TED Radio Hour
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
The Rhythm of Life, by Matthew Kelly
Raving Fans, by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles
High Trust Selling, by Todd Duncan
Vast Action CRM
Perpetual Motivation, by Dave Durand
Failing Forward, by John Maxwell
Go for No!, by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz
3 things that have allowed you to get to and stay at the top of the leaderboard:
• Focus & Commitment to Personal Growth & Development
◦ I was always a mediocre performer. Then my wife and I committed to investing every year in our own personal development. The first year was my first year as a national champion. Since then we’ve built one of the largest distributorships in the world, have started and built multiple additional side businesses, while still finishing national champions 3 of the past 8 years.
• Focus and Commitment to Building Solid Relationships and Contributing to Others
◦ People ask me all the time why I share what I do so openly. The answer is because I believe and am a living example of the Law of Reciprocity. “Help enough people get what they want and you’ll get everything you want, and more.”
◦ My mentor Brendon Burchard says, “The power plant doesn’t have energy. It generates it.” I believe the only way we can show up our best each and every day is if we first commit to taking care of our own personal mental, physical & emotional energy. The world’s largest epidemic right now is a massive lack of energy.
Talk about your role and how you got to #1
• I started out selling Cutco Cutlery in college in 2001, the day after 9/11. Over the years I’ve developed that distributorship into the 3rd largest independent distributorship in our company’s 67+ year history. I also am a national consultant with Cutco and help the company develop new sales programs, training, and support systems for those programs. My wife and I started a company named Vast Action, Inc in 2009. Through that business we help entrepreneurs & professional sales people master their sales process, install systems that help them earn lifelong loyalty with their clients, and scale through team building so they can build a business and a lifestyle at the same time. I am CEO and she is VP and I oversee our sales operations and am chief strategist.
Can you quantify your results for us (% of plan, revenue, income, etc.)?
• At Vast Action we just had our first 1M year as a company. I’ve personally sold almost 4.5M in Cutco alone and have averaged about 500,000 in knife sales per year the past 4 years … working only about 16 weeks a year on the knife side. We travel about 12 weeks a year for personal. About 20 weeks a year I invest on the Vast Action side through our coaching, consulting, training services. And there’s about 4 weeks a year where I’m just off and chilling at home … watching movies, hanging out with friends, family, etc. We’re debt free (except for our 2nd home which is our office … next door to the home we live in). And we’ve been on a personal mission to save 1M which we’re very close to because of our commitment and focus on saving 6 figures per year the past number of years.
What’s your origin story? How did you get into sales?
• I was a poor, hippie college kid. I used to work 60 Horus a week in the restaurant industry while going to school full time. I took a summer off to move a sailboat up the east coast. When I got back to school that fall I was having a hard time finding a job that would help me pay my bills and money I owed the courts. I got in a lot of trouble in high school. My friend sold Cutco knives that summer and hooked me up with an interview. I got the job and while I was rough around the edges with my attitude and my skills were not there, I had a very strong work ethic. At first I was very money motivated and I had to work my butt off to make it happen. Eventually I started to figure it out and get better and better results.
If you were starting over today what would you have done or thought about differently from a career perspective?
• I would have invested into leveraging technology to serve and communicate with my clients much sooner.
• I would have spent last time looking for the greener grass on the other side of the fence. I heard a quote years ago that goes, “The grass is greener where we water it.” That stuck with me and I realized if I just dug my feet in and worked on becoming great at what I was already doing, I’d be able to experience everything I wanted.
• I would have been more humble. It seems that the older I get the more I realize how much I don’t know. The first number of years I spent a lot of time thinking I knew everything and wasn’t as open to examining other ways people do thing.
From an accomplishment perspective what are you most proud of?
• Building a business that is service focused and motivated … I can honestly say that through the work we do at Vast Action and distributing Cutco, we are consistently and positively impacting people’s lives in a value added way.
• Developing the discipline to live way below my means … I could drive a nicer car, live in a nicer house, and have a whole lot of nicer things. But the fact that we actively practice delayed gratification has put my wife Amiee and I in a position where we don’t have to worry financially, can take the time to consider any investments we want to make in our business or future and not stress over money. That is a very freeing experience and it took years to figure out and eventually get to this point. I cried like a baby when we were deciding whether or not we were actually going to spend almost every dollar we had on a down payment on our first house. I’ve come a long way since then.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face OR place us at the time when you struggled the most.
• My wife and I almost divorcing. Great story. Happy to tell it.
How did you break through?
• Making a Deal. Willingness to overcome any challenge. Developing really great communication skills. Looking to others for help … 5 Love Languages. Tony Robbins Life Mastery.
Do you have a specific morning routine?
• 20+ oz water. Green Tea. Green Smoothie. Breathing. Visualization / Strategy for the day. Relaxing stimulation activity. Gratitude. When I’m really on point = some form of stretching.
Are there other habits or routines that are central to your success?
• Mantras & Mindset Management.
• Healthy Eating.
• Mobile Office & Living.
• Capturing Processes.
• Living by Systems.
• Loving Leverage.
• Phone & Social Management.
• Power of Presence.
• Mirroring & Matching.
• Lead with Lifestyle.
How do you structure your day/week? Walk me through that… What about when you’re traveling?
• It’s always changing.
• Color coding.
• Time Blocking.
• The One Thing.
• Priority Projects.
• Power of Presence.
• Lead with Lifestyle.
What does your information diet look like? (What do you read, listen to and watch?)
• TV / Movies
What tools or apps can you not live without?
• Vast Action CRM
• Google Calendar
• Pilot G-2 Pens
• Google Drive
• Priceline / Air BnB
• Note Pad
• Power Point
Do you subscribe to a particular sales philosophy?
• I call it the Sales Mastery Formula.
• Mindset. Engaging. Solving. Closing. Up-Serving. TFLG.
• Connect. Consult. Convert.
• Serve. Share. Sell.
How would you describe your style?
• Client Centric. Laid Back. Direct. Question Oriented.
How motivates you OR how do you motivate yourself?
• Tuning into the Whys.
• 3 places motivation comes from. External rewards. Internal rewards. Impact.
• Future I’m creating. Best Version of myself. Seeing other people succeed.
• The main thing is allowing myself to use my business as the thing that support me living the personal life I want to live.
Is there something you believe that the average rep would think is crazy?
• Balance is an stupid thing to strive for.
• Matthew Kelly
• Law of Attraction.
• Napoleon Hill
• Earl Nightingale
• There is no right or wrong
• Dale Carnegie
• It’s okay to fire a client
• The goal is not to sell everything to everybody possible
• Perfection is the lowest possible standard.
• Tony Robbins
• Accountability does NOT come from others
Is there something they believe that you think is crazy?
• I always need to newest shiniest thing
• Sales Success is a Tactics Game
• Salespeople are sleazy or it requires a skill set with a lot of negative connotations
What have been the most important decisions you’ve made or lessons you’ve had to learn to get where you are today?
• Failing Forward
• Giving with no expectation of anything in return
• How to set and honor boundaries
• The one thing concept
• Honoring the Value of Investing in Coaching
• 3 Level Mentorship
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in a sales career today?
• Have fun. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. Learn like you’re drinking from a firehose. Implement. Implement. Implement. Keep practicing and don’t give up. Patience Pays … so keep at it. FTM. No matter what, save a percentage of every paycheck and never touch it. As your income grows don’t increase your quality of life at the same rate as your income increase. Always put your personal life as the priority. Build your business around that so it’s supporting your personal life. Only choose to sell it if it’s best in class. Focus on service first … it’s what will earn lifelong loyalty from your clients.
What about somebody who is a little further into their career and either struggling, or maybe they’re good but still haven’t made it to the top?
• Get honest about why you’re at a plateau. What habits are in your way of making progress? Figure out what the next level is for you & why you want to achieve it. Find someone better than you who is getting the results you’re looking for. Humble yourself and go learn from that person. What are their habits? What is their mindset? What are their actions? Find what you resonate with and align your actions with those new habits, align your focus with that new mindset. Practice Practice Practice. Re-commit to your personal growth and development. Find someone you can mentor to their next level … because you’ve already been there. Reconnect with your whys. Stop chasing results, money, recognition and start chasing contribution, impact and growth.
What would you want to know about top sellers in other organizations?
• What are their biggest struggles?
• What is their sales philosophy?
• What support do they wish their company provided, but isn’t, and why would it make a difference?
• What is their coolest sales story and how have they used that to help them get even better at selling?
Who is the most successful sales person you know personally?
• John Ruhlin. www.RuhlinGroup.com
• Pete Vargas. www.AdvanceYourReach.com
• Jon Berghoff.
• Hal Elrod. www.HalElrod.com
• Brandon Brown. www.mycutcorep.com/brandonbrown
To summarize: If we could boil everything down that we’ve talked about today into some type of challenge. Something that you would recommend the listener could DO for say 7 days or two weeks. What would you challenge them to do?
• What is the ONE THING you know you need to do everyday to get the best results and make progress toward your goals? How much time would it need everyday to really do it right? Commit to doing that one thing, everyday for the next 30 days … FIRST when you get to work. No matter what.