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Moments #1: Brian Smith Jr - Having Confidence in Your Ability to Figure Things Out

August 30, 2020
by
Kyle Vamvouris
Picture of Brian and Kyle Smiling

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Brian Smith Jr: And the key, again goes back to you, right? Everybody's painting this picture of the perfect career on LinkedIn. I was doing the opposite because I knew I needed help. That's one thing I'm not afraid to admitting. It's hard for me to ask for help. It's not hard for me to admit that like I'm struggling.

Kyle Vamvouris: Brian, how's it going?

Brian Smith Jr: Good, man. How are you?

Kyle Vamvouris: I'm doing well. I'm excited to get to chat with you. We haven't really spoken before. I've seen you on LinkedIn and this is going to be a lot of fun.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Kyle Vamvouris: So, I think what's worth kicking this off. I did a little bit of digging before we had this conversation, but I'm not an investigative journalist. So, why don't you walk me through a little bit of your background and how you ended up in sales specifically?

Brian Smith Jr: Oh man. What a journey, let me, I'm just trying to think through. So, it was a little bit of a, I fell into it, but also you know, like most college grads I owe the government a lot of money and I went to school to be a teacher and a coach, realized that I wanted to have a family. That was not paying the bills at the time. And like most people search for a different avenue. Heard about, hey, there's this job where if you can convince people to take a meeting, we'll pay you for it. And I thought I'm a coach. I have a teaching background. I think I've got a little bit of charisma. I think I convinced people to take a meeting, I’m like, "You're going to pay me for it?" Sounds like a gimmick, like right. Sounds like a setup. Can't be true. Came up here to Atlanta and applied to a couple different companies once I heard about the job, thinking it was a joke, got a phone call my way back home. They wanted me to turn back around and interview. Got the job and not knowing what to expect outside of I was going to make money for people taking meetings, convincing people to take meetings. And it just took off from there, introduced me to an entire world of SAS MarTech. The list goes on. Right. So, that's how I ended up here, man. Honestly, it was kind of by chance.

Kyle Vamvouris: So, that first role, what was the day to day like? Are you cold calling a ton? Are you sending emails? What was the workflow?

Brian Smith Jr: It was miserable. Absolutely miserable. It was a miserable but needed. Right?

Kyle Vamvouris: Sure.

Brian Smith Jr: My first boss, she worked at a company called Sebiana. I think they're now Birch communications. They were super old school, like knock on doors on business doors, B2B still, but like knocking on business doors, literally showing up at their office to see the CEO or whomever they were trying to reach out to. So, she was very like in your face type sales person. So, it gave me the guts to cold call people. Like she instilled that into me. So, all day cold calling, emailing really wasn't too big, I think at the time, like I started getting there. But man, it was lots of cold calls, lots of cold pitches very little research and some emails and different things.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. Isn't it funny how, I mean that's the world I grew up in too? It was like a hundred, 120 calls a day, zero research. And it's funny when I see on LinkedIn and people talking about like, make sure you do your research, research so important. I was like, I can call somebody not knowing their name and get a meeting, you know, it's a whole different world.

Brian Smith Jr: Exactly. There's that perfect world scenario. Right message, right medium, right person, right time. You know, that's a lot of the game and yeah. Eventually, like I realized it was going to be tough to survive off of only that. So, I was probably an early adopter in that first company of like LinkedIn navigator and utilizing social to help me, I guess, rise above the rest of my colleagues. So, yeah, it was a good time though, man, I wouldn't trade it. I would trade the money I made that year, but I wouldn't trade the experience.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. I think it does really callous you. It makes you a lot more, gives you a lot more grit, because when you're making that many calls and it's so inefficient and you're like, this is, and I'm sure, correct me if I'm wrong. This is before like outreach and all of that. It's a little bit harder back then than it was now to make calls.

Brian Smith Jr: It's funny. So, outreach and sale, I don't think outreach has started just yet, or maybe they were right getting ready to start. I know Sales Loft was around. So, we were actually Sales Loft customers. We're here in Atlanta.

Kyle Vamvouris: Oh, okay.

Brian Smith Jr: So, got to kind of be committed to the home team. Right? Sales Loft had just started. And so, my company was actually a Sales Loft, I think one of their first 30 customers, I think so yeah, you're right. Like it had just become a thing like the cadence tool. So, yeah, it was interesting man. Like we were just hearing about that. It wasn't a big thing as it is now.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I remember Tout app had just launched. Do you remember Tout app?

Brian Smith Jr: Yes. Yeah.

Kyle Vamvouris: I think they got acquired. I don't know what happened with Tout app, but we at the company I was at and we were one of their testers, so we decided to do a little pilot with them. They were really, really young company and I was actually asked to be one of the people to test out sending emails and how crazy does that sound, right? Because now like emails is everything. But back then it was like let's test it.

Brian Smith Jr: That's crazy.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah that was.undefined

Brian Smith Jr: The early days, man. The good old day.

Kyle Vamvouris: I know. I love it. I love talking about that stuff. Now you're still in Atlanta, right?

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah. Still here in Atlanta currently.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. I was just in Atlanta. Gosh, in April, right before the COVID situation blew up. I was in Atlanta. I went from Atlanta. I went to, gosh. So, it was Atlanta, Georgia then out on the coast, Savannah, I went to Savannah and then I also went to Charleston, South Carolina. So, I did that big loop and, man, I ate some great food, great food.

Brian Smith Jr: You come to the South man. That's what it's about. I'm not going to lie, like very few. I mean you got, we have the sports, again if you're on the coast, you've got the water. Right. But California has the Pacific. It's a little bit warmer on this side, but it's all about the food man. It's all about the food.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. Well I saw you, you're a pit master over there.

Brian Smith Jr: Wait how'd you figure? Oh, I guess I'm posted on LinkedIn a couple of times.

Kyle Vamvouris: I'm the sneaky guy. Yeah. On your LinkedIn, you have a link to your Instagram and I checked it out and I think I saw you were holding up some beef ribs and then I went down the rabbit hole and you have brisket out there. I mean you're going deep. I bought some of your dry rub. Tell me about the barbecue stuff.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah, man. So, growing up, my dad is a terrible griller. He just, he hasn't figured it out over the last 30 years.

Kyle Vamvouris: Oh no.

Brian Smith Jr: But he loves to do it. And that smell of like, I'm going to get real nerdy here with that smell of fat caramelizing dripping on lot of fire. They call it my artery action where fat starts turning into sugar. And that's just where all the magic happens. That smell, when I smelled that, man, it's just like home. It's like the early days of no responsibility, freedom. So, that's like my safe Haven man, when I have like bad days, bad weeks, like I get out and cook. And part of that too, that my whole brand is a Good life barbecue and people always ask me, "Why do you name it Good life barbecue?" And I was just made it very few times have I ever been with a bunch of people eating good food and life just wasn't good at that moment. And growing up I had some struggles growing up with my family. I went through foster care for a couple of years.

Kyle Vamvouris: Oh really.

Brian Smith Jr: I've always been a search for community. So, I felt like community saved my life. It kept me on the right track. People in my community helped me graduate, helped me get my first gig in sales. So, I've always been big in that. And so, I love that cooking aspect, being a Pit master or just putting tons of meat over fires is what I like to call it. It just brings people together. It's a good way to bring people together.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah, I totally agree. I'm like one of the only, I shouldn't say this, but I'm one of the few people I know who actually does low and slow Southern style barbecue here in California. And man, when I got to go to Atlanta, it was an unbelievable experience because I've only been to the South a few times. I've been to Texas, had barbecue there and getting to go to, get some Atlanta barbecue. You know, obviously you guys do like whole hog roast out in Georgia and you guys have a lot of great barbecue cultures to blast for me to go through and check that out, eat hash, all that kind of thing.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah. One day I want to, I haven't done a whole hog roast just yet. It's coming though. It's pretty tough to do whole hog. Yeah, it's tough. And it's kind of scary because some things just can go wrong when you're dealing with that big of meat. If you're not cooking it at a right temperature, it drops too lo and all that good stuff. But one day, one day.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah, one day it's definitely a big project that's for sure. So, you talked about community. I want to dive a little deeper into that. You said community saved you and helped you get through school, helped you do all that. Tell me more about the community aspect.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah, man. It's just a mantra. I think as humans, like even if you just look at mammals in general, they typically travel in pods. Like most mammals, when you look at them, they it's just always a ton of them. And so, I just always had that mindset. Like if you want to be successful, if you want to accomplish goals, like to drop, try to be a lone wolf, typically doesn't work out. And if it does work out, it's so lonely at the top that you don't want any more, the things you work for no longer matter. So, you know, when I first got into sales, it felt like that a lot, it felt like, oh man, I'm on this Island. Like this is not fun. Why can I not tell you what's working for me? And you tell me what's working for you, and we both win. Like I get we're competing. But like the ultimate goal is to help grow the company, let's share resources. So, Morgan Ingram and I, a couple years back started the enterprise sales forum chapter here in Atlanta and we just started building community, man, anybody that need access to the resources, ideas, we did it for free. We didn't charge, got sponsors, brought food, always had food, right. It was just a great day, man. It was a great thing to do for our city. You know, that was the biggest thing is we wanted to be a solid resource for our city. Then obviously careers take off, his career really took off. And so, we had to pass the baton. But yeah, man community is a way to success for sure. In life.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah, I think so. And you know what, a lot of, I mean, young salespeople now might not fully get in that competitive nature because it's not as common now as it used to be. But I remember back in the day it was, people were a lot more secretive about what was working.

Brian Smith Jr: Oh yeah. For sure.

Kyle Vamvouris: So, how did you... Sorry, go ahead.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah, when I first got in, it was almost like a don't show, don't tell, like, and I'm a guy again, like I'm student in all things I did. Right? You were saying you were going down my Instagram, you can see pretty quickly. Like I want to learn about every single thing, how it cooks, the heat with cooking, right? The placement of the meat. If it's cooked this way, it ends up one way. If it cooks this way, it ends up. So, like I'm a student and everything I do. So, I always ask the questions. And I think when I realized, when I was trying to ask all these questions that weren't getting the answers. I was like, this has got to change. So, sorry. You were about to say something.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. Well I'm actually wondering, so, you just start, you start in this job that you do feel like a lone wolf, or you feel a little isolated at least. How long were you there and that sort of isolated state?

Brian Smith Jr: Well, that's a good question. I think typically the ramp period, you know, after the ramp period, you know, everybody is somewhat hands on during the ramp period. I think after the ramp period, I'm just thinking that started in February. I would say February to maybe July, August when I started hitting my stride it was because eventually, I just abandon ship. It was like, if I'm going to have success, I got to figure this out on myself. And that's when I think, I don't even think LinkedIn navigator was a big thing back then. Like if I remember correctly. Yeah. I actually convinced I found it or heard about it, that it was possibly a thing. I reached out to a rep and was like, hey, I got a team of like 10 people. I want to utilize this tool. I don't have the money to pay you just drawing the money, pay you, let me get a free trial. I don't know if they still get free trials, but can I get a free trial, I'll show my boss the success I have. We got our entire team on it. Fast forward 60 days later, people were like, "What is Brian doing? Like What is he doing that's working?" And I would hit stuff, hit stuff. And my friends that I'm still with from that company, we get together we talk about a time, like you kept telling us like, hey, this is working, this is work. And to eventually it was like very evident, like, okay, what is he doing?

Kyle Vamvouris: Wow.

Brian Smith Jr: So, I think it was like that probably until like the fall. So, I started February, August I kind of hit that stride at that peak where it was just like, okay, the quote is 20 appointments a month. I was hitting 18, 18, 19, 20 and 26. So, there was just like what? So, I think from February to August, it was pretty much lone wolf.

Kyle Vamvouris: Wow. Wow. So, yeah, I want to, I'm very curious about the early adopter and this is very interesting. You're like, "Hey, LinkedIn seems like it's something that could work" And you sort of made it work, but before that. I want to get into that, but what I want to do before is just always like what I find when I have conversation with people is that especially a similar type of story where there's like there's adversity and things are, you know, they're not in their comfort zone, lone wolf and you like community, there's a mixed match mismatch there. Usually there's two things that people tend to do when they're in those kinds of situations. So, I actually write about this in my book, but I think the best way to illustrate it is an effort at an output. So, for example, when you're in a situation where things aren't very comfortable, you don't feel like you're getting the resources you need.

And it seems like whatever you're trying to attain is unattainable with what you have in front of you. People typically have two responses. One response will be to give a hundred percent go all in, be an early adopter, which is probably the case in your story. And they'll go all in. And even if the risk of failure is really high, they still will put everything they have into trying to make it work failure or success. The other option is to give 50% effort. So, just totally dial it back as the decks stacked against you. And you're going to guarantee failure, but at least you never tried, so, you kind of preserved that ego. And I'm curious for you, if there was a moment where you felt that sort of like I got to figure something out and you decided to double down, or if like you developed that sort of idea of, I have to make things work and you rely on yourself, you have confidence in your ability to figure it out.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah, I think I've always been... So, I got to give context before I give that answer. Right. I think because of the way I grew up my culture going through foster care. It's really like, hey you've got to make happen for yourself. Don't rely on anyone else. I fell into that trap and then got away from that as I started graduating school because so many people had helped me onto that point. So, I went from so many people being supportive to being dropped in the business world. It was just like, yeah, there's no holding hand, pat on your back, like this is corporate America, we're here to make money. Like it's a business. So, at that moment, when that clicked for me and the question was like, when did, I guess that switch kind of flip? The moment it didn't show up in my paycheck, the idea that I had in my mind of what my paycheck should look like based on somebody they telling me, "Hey, you can set up a meeting and get paid for it" When it wasn't, I was married. So, I had even more stuff to take care of at home.

So, my paycheck started coming in and then I realized health insurance was really expensive. The mind said go big or go home was just, it just set in immediately. It was kind of like that fight or flight. And I couldn't really run because that a family, had moved away from my home town. So, I couldn't move back, because then I'd be considered a failure. Right? Like and just the sheer, like grit to wanting to prove that I was capable of doing this. Swing big or like go home. I was always swinging for the fences. And I think that's why when I look back at my career, why it's played out the way it's played out, because I've very much done that. When I win, I win big, but when I fail, it's, it's pretty ugly. There's a couple of companies in there where like, it just didn't work out because I was swinging for the fences. And the time that I had is just wasn't enough time. So, I think that that switch flipped immediately when expectation didn't meet reality.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. And I think you touched on a really important piece here where you win, you win big, when you fail it's ugly. Well, fortunately less people see the failure, especially in this world. I mean, in some cases LinkedIn's going to be a lot like Instagram, where we're constantly portraying the perfect image that it's not reality. It's doctor, and we might not be Photoshopping images of ourselves, but we're Photoshopping the language that we're publishing out there and people don't see the failure, but in my experience, I'd be curious if it's the same for you. And that's where the growth really sinks in.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah, absolutely. The whole mindset of, if you fail, fail fast, I think that's a small-minded way of thinking. Like I really do. Not to hurt anybody's feelings, if you believe that that's okay, but where I'm at my journey, like, I don't know, a failing fast truly teaches you the lesson that you're supposed to learn. Because it's really accepting defeat, which is a part of it.

Kyle Vamvouris: Right.

Brian Smith Jr: But the move the fail fast and then move on. Like, did you really evaluate enough on what you were supposed to do? And so, I'm not saying you have to dwell in it, but take some time. But I have [ Inaudible20:10] failed. I have, I could tell you right now, like my success I'm having in my job right now, well not right now I'm kind of in a slump. But up until this point was because I got my butt kicked at the last two companies. Like straight up that's the reality.

Kyle Vamvouris: And was there something specific that you learned from getting your butt kick that helped you? Like how did you actually identify, this is a question and this is, I think a good question for people is sometimes when you're failing, fast, slow or irrelevant, you're so caught up in the things, just falling around you and things, not falling is what place specifically where a lot of people at least in my observation, have trouble actually getting the takeaway.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah.

Kyle Vamvouris: Do you struggle with that? Is that a conscious thing? Or do you think that you just sort of absorb it and then it becomes a part of you?

Brian Smith Jr: That's a really good question. I would like to say no, like when everything's crashing down, I'm perfect. I embrace it. I think what I would say to speak to that is you got to have a lot of internal reflection and the reason why you have to have that is because, and this comes into the importance of community, having a coach, having a mentor, that coach and mentor isn't any good, unless you could tell them what you need.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yes. You need to self-awareness.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah. Like you got to be able to internalize like what you're going through in order to communicate to somebody that's close to you of what you need or what to teach you or even show you. Like, I don't know if I came to glimpse what the problem was, you know, wherever I failed, I don't know if I figured that out more than talking to someone within my community about it. And they showed me.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yes. You foundundefined community.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah. Like they didn't tell me like, oh, this is what you did wrong. It was like, "Hey Brian, have you thought about this?" And then it sent me down a rabbit hole. And I started thinking about this. I'm just like, eventually I got to a point was like, ah, I was swinging big. And the problem with swinging big is you fail really hard when it doesn't work. Like there's a reason why people criticize LeBron James for missing a final game buzzer than somebody like, I don't know, Kyle Kuzma. LeBron's always swinging big. And so when he misses, it's really bad. So, I hope that's a good analogy.

Kyle Vamvouris: No. Yeah. It definitely makes sense. I mean the mentorship thing is really interesting to me, because everybody talks about the importance of having a mentor. It sounds like communities is big for you, but also have you had mentors for a long time or how did you go about finding your mentors?

Brian Smith Jr: I'm terrible at this, honestly. Here's why. It's a gift and a curse. I love community, so the minute I find somebody that's like, yeah, I'll mentor you. It's like, yes, but I don't ever take the time to really see like, are you really the best mentor for me? So, in my personal life, there's always been mentors around me. That looked different than me. They have a different background than me. They're in different careers than me. So, yes, I've always in my personal life for some reason in my career, whether it was because I acknowledged that the sales realm, when I first started might have been a lone wolf type thing. I'd never reached out to anyone. Recently, I mean, candidly, I just got my mentor after doing this for like five years.

Kyle Vamvouris: You wish you did that earlier?

Brian Smith Jr: That is such a good question. I want to make sure I answer it honestly. That's tough because the heartache is what got me here. I wish I would have done it earlier from the aspect of having the blueprint of the way success is in the sales game and your career. I wish I would've had that person earlier for the blueprint, not to save me from the failure. If that makes sense.

Kyle Vamvouris: No, that makes perfect sense.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah, for sure.

Kyle Vamvouris: It's an interesting thing because you're right. You learn so much from the downfalls. And the question is, is really, if you have a mentor early on as a prevent downfalls and I'm not sure if it does, it might, you know, I don't actually have an opinion on that. It definitely gives you guidance. It probably helps you through those times of immense failure, but here's the thing. And this is something that I think is really an interesting maybe thought experiment. But a lot of times when people have incredible failure, they don't do what you do, which is pick themselves back up, dust them off and start swinging for the fences again. A lot of times that big failure that I swung that one time and I gave it my all, and I fell flat on my face. That either becomes the reason why they don't swing big ever again, or it's the reason why they, I'm trying to think of like the most polite way of saying this. It becomes a reason why they're not willing to ever put themselves out there period. And they hold that within. That is the key difference between I think you and then somebody who falls into the camp that I just described. A mentor probably would have helped that person because the confidence wouldn't be shattered. That makes sense?

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah. And I did a post a while back about learning about imposter syndrome. So, I went through that bad, right. The guy who like big shot Bob who had done some little cool things, haven't really done anything big. Like I wasn't a big shot Bob anymore. I've been technically fired, let go from two jobs. And the key again goes back to right. Everybody's painting this picture of the perfect career on LinkedIn. I was doing the opposite because I knew I needed help. That's one thing I'm not afraid to admitting. It's hard for me to ask for help. It's not hard for me to admit that like I'm struggling. That makes sense?

Kyle Vamvouris:  Yeah. undefined

Brian Smith Jr: And I don't know if that comes from just my upbringing or what but I'll tell you some of the best leaders have drawn to that. Because some of the best leaders want people that are coachable, that are teachable and that are willing to learn from their mistakes. So, when that was happening to me, I don't know how it happened, but a lot of people like Scott Leese, Becc Holland. I really don't know how it happened to this day, but they like kind of came around me. And perfect example, like I was ready to quit sales. Again, like you said, most people just don't swing big anymore. I was that person for a little bit. I was done. Like, I was like, I don't want to do this anymore. This is hard. This is miserable. I'm not making the money that everybody else seems to be making that's for sure. It doesn't look like it. And maybe that's my fault.

I don't know. Like, but Becc Holland asked me to jump on the Flip the script tour with her out of nowhere. And you know, that leg from Atlanta to Denver being around those salespeople that were still passionate about it, like wanting to help other salespeople, it just reignited that fire for me, that community aspect. Right? Like that's what I got for that week. Like left my wife, my toddler kid and got on a freaking bus that like go on this North American tour. And I share that because you know of what you said, like most people bow out. It's okay to process those things like, is this really what I'm supposed to be doing? But the correct thing to do is like reach into that network, reach it through that community. They'll tell you for sure. And what they told me was, Becc, the PG version was basically, "I dare you to get out of sales. Like watch what I do if you get out of sales" you know,the same thing, was just like, no, like you belong here. You know, Scott Barker was another guy, was like, "No, we need you" So, those people give you that confidence, that swagger back. And so, that's why I stepped back up to the plate. You know, when other people tell you they're believing in you, it gives you a reason to keep fighting.

Kyle Vamvouris: Right. But you needed to be vulnerable to allow that experience to happen.

Brian Smith Jr: It would have never happened if I wasn't vulnerable. I could have kept my chest poked out and lived off the past success. But none of that would have happened.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. And what's a unique element to this. And we haven't even got into is the kid, you have a young kid and I have two kids myself. So, I understand the trying to balance that work and being in that grind, especially in a career, a sales career where it's very stressful and having to manage not only trying to do an incredible job at work, but also when you get home. And I imagine that's probably a big motivator for you, right?

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah. You know, the scary thing is it's embarrassing to say, but I was so consumed in succeeding in my job that at home was, I wasn't even using at home as a factor at one point. I was so burnt out that I, like at home wasn't even a motivating factor to succeed. And that might've contributed to the [ Inaudible30:59] for success, right? Now every call I get on in my mind is, this is how I feed my family. And at the end of the day, this is a business transaction. You need to use me as best as you can, to make sure you are successful in your role in the same way I need to use you so that I'm successful in my role. And that's how I started approaching things. And a community guy, obviously, like I love people. I'm a community guy. So, sometimes in the sales process, I tend to, what's the word? I tend to become apologetic. And I think being apologetic makes you subjective. And this role, you need to be very objective, very objective, right? If this works great, if not, no hard feelings. Right?

Kyle Vamvouris:  right.

Brian Smith Jr: So, lately the family and maybe... My wife's pregnant now, and we're expecting number two in January. So.

Kyle Vamvouris: Congrats.

Brian Smith Jr: Thanks. The baby. That's why it's kicked in now, because I'm like, okay, like [Inaudible32:04] you know just, I can handle it, but now it's like it’s a family of four.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah.

Brian Smith Jr: Might be a little different.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. It might be a little different. I can tell you, it's very different.

Brian Smith Jr: I'm getting ready for that man. But all is good.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah, that's phenomenal. That's great. Yeah. I think kids have a very unique impact. And you said it best earlier where you were like, I had a family, I can't run, you know, it's so much, there's almost like a freedom and just being able to shrug it off and just do something else completely different where their risks are really low. When you have people who rely on you, you don't have that option. You don't have that rip cord that you can pull, you know?

Brian Smith Jr: Right, right.

Kyle Vamvouris: I think that's a, that's powerful. So, I'm curious. The, probably the last thing I really wanted to talk to you about was this early adopter stuff seemed like an area that is repeated itself, a hopping on LinkedIn when you did and seemed like way earlier than most people were. Tell me what motivated that.

Brian Smith Jr: What motivated being an early adopter? That's a good question. You know, there's a couple of things come to mind. I'm thinking about all the people that may listen to this. Because I'm a big proponent of when you share knowledge, make sure you give context. Because context is key.

Kyle Vamvouris: Totally.

Brian Smith Jr: I think its kind of natural for me to be the rebel. So, some of it's just like intuition. The second part is I'm a big, like I watch more than I speak typically, very much aware of what's happening. And I'll tell you, in 2000, its 2020, so 2016, when I was searching for help in my role, because it felt like a lone wolf. I couldn't find any content on what it was like to be an SDR. I'm not kidding. My boss said, "Why don't you start doing it?" And this is an old school boss who was knocking door to door. She's like, "If, you know, if you don't find it, why don't you start writing about it?" I was like, "That's the dumbest thing I ever heard of my entire life" My job is to, you know, sell and hit this quota. She kept telling me to do. And I was like, no, no. Finally, I decided to try and do it. I was like, let me just research to see if there's anybody out there that is doing this already.

In comes Morgan J Ingram. He had just started the SDR Chronicles. I was like, "Oh wow. This guy has got some good stuff. He's my age in the same type of role as me also" And I pay attention to patterns. This is what made me successful in sales. And what I always noticed from that moment on, I reached out to Morgan, him and I have been friends since. One thing he did in any of the people who are influencers in our industry, they're always early adopters. I can tell you right now, like Morgan and I were talking about video and voice memo two years ago. Now, what he's great at, is he's full on like, he's like early, early adopter. Like I'm not that brave, just to be honest, like I'm a guy like, hey, you jumped in first, I’m going to be the next one, but for the next four. But like, I got to see you go first. Morgan's like, it's okay.

Like, I'll go over the top of the Hill when we're in war, everybody will shoot at me and then I'll come back and let you all know that, hey, they're still over there. Like, that's the type of person he is. I would have figured out a strategy. Like, okay. They shot at Morgan when he went to the top of the Hill, that means they're right. I'm probably going to do this. Right. So, I think watching from people who are having success and then making it your own, I think that's how I became an early adopter. I probably wasn't the best cold caller and I knew that immediately. Like I just could not ever get in a groove, besides in my mind, I thought, okay, what am I good at? Okay. I went to school for speech rhetoric and communication. So, I love wordsmithing stuff. I love the power of delivering rhetoric and formulating words that are impactful. I was like, okay, I'm a decent copywriter. So, what tools can I find to help me elevate that and not automate, but accelerate that. Right.

Kyle Vamvouris: Right.

Brian Smith Jr: So, that's how I became an early adopter. Just being aware of myself, watching patterns of other people and then initiating it and showing the use case or proof of concept.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah. Well, I think the overall theme of probably this entire conversation is this almost scrappiness, the thought that like, I need to figure it out and whatever it takes to figure it out, I'm willing to do. But what my experience has been at least talking to you over the past, what is it? 40 minutes. Is, you are, you have a high amount of confidence in your own ability to figure it out? And I think that's going to be a takeaway for a lot of people. It is for me. And I think that's confidence is what drove your success. Even through past failures, it's through adversity. I think that confidence and your ability to figure it out, is it really what got you here is probably what's going to take you to the next level and beyond.

Brian Smith Jr: I appreciate that, man. I'm a big guy now, but back in the day, playing football and stuff, I was a pretty little guy. I think just growing up, I was always just not good enough to be the first pick on the kickball team. Maybe the third or fourth pick. Not big enough to get a D1 scholarship, but enough to a couple of D2, D3 to talk to me. And so, I always had to augment like what we're doing right? And football defense alignment could sit there with a 350-pound guy and just hold them and wait for the ball to come and tackle them. I was like 220 trying to play defense in line and going up against guys that were 330. So, I knew I could beat them off the ball quicker, faster. So, like I proved to my coach, I got to have a different strategy than Billy because Billy's 290.

Kyle Vamvouris: Right. Right.

Brian Smith Jr: Down here trying to hold the same guy he's holding. So, I think that, I don't know, I guess that drive or that ability to figure it out. It's just always been a part of my life. Right. Foster care, not knowing how to get into college. There's so much stuff I can dig in, not knowing how to get into college. Not realizing that there was a test that I had to take to even get into college, like finding about that late. Right. And then scrambling like the last year to study for it and take it so I can get into college. So, I think part of that is just the way I grew up also.

Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, it's, it's funny you look at, whenever I talk to somebody that has a very diverse background where it's like, oh, I, you know, had some pretty extreme stuff happened in my life. I didn't know this. And then people were able to shape me, guide me. And I was able to capitalize on that advise or that mentorship in my experience, they do have this really strong level of confidence in their ability to figure it out. And that obviously has a huge impact on your life and definitely is going to have an impact on all of the people you touch because that's infectious, that kind of, that mentality of let's figure this out, no excuses. That is infectious. And it really, I think that's what pulls people out of really terrible situations.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah, for sure. Let me ask you something. This is your podcas.undefined

Kyle Vamvouris: No, it's not a podcast, just like a web interview.

Brian Smith Jr: Yeah web interview.

Kyle Vamvouris: Whatever it is.

Brian Smith Jr: Whatever it is. The people having conversations, right. About why, real world problems.

Kyle Vamvouris: Sure.

Brian Smith Jr: What would be your advice for someone who has that, you know, willingness to just figure it out? What type of career should they get into?

Kyle Vamvouris: Sales.

Brian Smith Jr: Perfect.

Kyle Vamvouris: We are in the greatest career and I don't know if people fully stepping back and taking a look at this. Sales is the single greatest career on this planet. I get it, curing cancer is cool. But other than those types of like really intense stuff, sales is phenomenal. We get paid like doctors and lawyers and we don't even have to go to college. Are you kidding me? That's Unbelievable. I dropped out of college to do standup comedy. I didn't even finish junior college man. And I'm making doctor money. Come on, man. I was supposed to be digging ditches. And my story is not a unique one. There's a lot of people who didn't go to college, who ended up doing amazing things in the sales profession, because someone took a chance on them. So, you have that ability to go, hey, I need to figure it out. I'm scrappy. I'm willing to make it happen. There's someone who's going to hire you. There's also a bunch of clowns who won't because you don't have a line on your resume that says you got ABC degree for some goofy college, but the people who do take the risk and say, hey, let's get this guy or this girl, because she's super motivated. That's the person who's going to reap the rewards. And if you can build an entire team of those people, sky's the limit.

Brian Smith Jr: Love it. I absolutely love it. And you know, you hit the nail on the head. I have a buddy, who's a doctor and he's still in residency. I was the guy that I was supposed to get married last, have kids last, find his career last. Like, and I am leading the pack all because of the career I chose. Right. So, sky is the limit man. Sales. I think Jay [Inaudible41:54] says it best. Like it's the best thing in the world when it's clicking right. And it's the worst thing in the world when it's not clicking right. So, but the biggest thing is it's up to you. And that's what I love.

Kyle Vamvouris: Me too. But that's because you and I are people who have confidence in our ability to figure things out. And that's why we love this career so much. And anybody else who has that bone in them or that grit and that drive, what rewards it better.

Brian Smith Jr: It's powerful, man. It's powerful.

Kyle Vamvouris: It's good stuff. Anyway. Well, hey, I appreciate the conversation here today. Who knows what this is? This might be a podcast. It might just be a conversation between two pals, but I've enjoyed it immensely. And I loved learning about your background.

Brian Smith Jr: Thanks man, I appreciate this.

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