Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Vocino, Partnerships Executive at OrbisPay, to understand the world of sales. It turned out to be a great experience as we talked about tips for closing a deal, humanizing our jobs, people that drive us, and how the workers of tomorrow will get paid.
The world of sales has changed dramatically over the last few years. What might have worked before has now become redundant. The competition keeps growing more fierce than ever, and the pandemic has taught consumers to be more cautious in their buying decisions.
Like many other industries, sales is not alien to the digital-first transformation of how we do things now. A meet-up with a prospect over a coffee has now shifted to an online video call.
At the forefront of this changing landscape of sales is Brian Vocino, who is just 6 months into his role as a Partnerships Executive here at OrbisPay.
Funny enough, I caught Brian for a chat via a video call as he worked from his home. Brian explained how remote culture has allowed him to have a better work-life balance. Living in Shrewsbury, it takes Brian around 2 hours to reach our Boston office on average. Lucky for him, he only has to do that on Thursdays alone.
Connecting With People
Speaking to him about his role, Brian shared that people often have a misconception about who a salesperson is. At the tip of it, they are looked at as someone only interested in selling the product or service they are affiliated with. However, it is much more than that.
"This might be true when it comes to the job, but not the person. Ultimately, sales is providing a service and connecting with people. And if you're not going to be able to connect with people well, you will never truly be a great salesperson."
Brian is an early riser. His day-to-day routine usually begins around 6:30 am. Once he's done sending his kids to school, he's found working at his home desk. A typical day involves a good blend of internal and external meetings, prospecting and calling, follow-ups, and other operational tasks that are normally included in a sales cycle.
Turning Prospect Into a Client
Having an incredible 25 years of experience in sales, Brian has now lost count of the number of times he's been in talks with a prospect. I really wanted to find out his insider tips for turning a prospect into a client. Here's what I have learned:
Finding their pain point:
“We’re always going to have what we have to offer, but we don’t know if that offer makes sense to that person until we connect on a more personal level. It’s very difficult to sell something to someone when you don’t know much about them.”
Find common ground with them:
“What we’re really trying to do is, we’re trying to solve a problem for them. The way that we can solve their problem is by getting to know them a little bit better. That means getting to know what makes them tick, what makes them get up in the morning, and why they are there everyday. Whatever it is, I think it is a very important characteristic of not only getting to know them better and their pain points, but also, to find their perception about us. Why are they on the call with us?”
Understanding how their world works:
“Understand what their process looks like. Who are their decision-makers? How does this get done? How can we make that easier for them? Once you have the first two things [paint point and common ground], you can get to your third thing, which is understanding how their world works. Once they move beyond these three things, I almost consider them as a client. Prospect is very different from the client."
A Big Time Sports Enthusiast
When away from his work, Brian spends most of his time coaching his two young sons, Anthony, a.k.a. AJ, and Matthew. Just like their dad, AJ and Matthew are big-time sports enthusiasts. Probably got the genes from dad. Sports were important for Brian growing up. He played competitive football, basketball, and baseball all his childhood life. Even at college, Brian was involved in college sports. Boasting his season tickets to the Patriots and Red Sox, Brian shared that sports are his life.
“That’s my life. It’s work, sports, and kids.”
What Makes a Great Salesperson?
In the fast-paced world of tech, Brian places great emphasis on keeping things human. While technology is there to help speed up most of the processes, human interactions triumph at the end of the day. Speaking about his recent success, Brian recalled one of his earlier conversations with a prospect. Fintech has made it possible to deliver solutions like Earned Wage Access (EWA) or on-demand pay to a host of clients, but Brian believes there’s a great need to be able to connect the “fin” and “tech” together to create the ultimate solution.
More on his success, Brian shared how by utilizing the three points he mentioned earlier in the interview, he was able to identify the pain points faced by the prospect. The growing frustration from the current tech led this particular prospect to get in touch with Brian. By understanding the tech blockers faced by the prospects' current provider, Brian could offer a solution tailored to meet their needs. By leveraging OrbisPay’s customizable model, Brian was able to offer a better on-demand platform that struck a chord with the prospect. Ultimately, Brian won this contract and now serves them as one of his happy clients.
“I teach this to my kids all the time. In life, there is a win and a loss category. That loss is very different if that loss is converted to a lesson.”
With 25 years of experience in sales, Brian believes that a good salesperson can only convert 2 out of 10 prospects into clients. If you’re able to push this up to a 3, you might make it to the hall of fame of sales. That’s the reality of the industry even today. As Brian reaffirms, the job requires you to be prepared for more failures than successes. (Trent, 2022)
A bit surprised to hear this, I asked Brian how he was able to manage the pressure. He gave me an interesting baseball analogy that has changed my perspective ever since. Comparing sales to baseball, Brian mentioned that if you tell a young kid that all he had to do was hit the ball 2 or 3 times out of 10, and he can make it to the baseball hall of fame, the kid would probably say that’s an easy job. Brian feels the same way about his role. While there’s the pressure of getting turned down by most prospects, the silver lining is that you only need a couple to keep the ball rolling. Certainly, keeping that in mind can help boost confidence as you hit one failure after another to ultimately come out victorious in the end.
People That Drive Us
Brian takes much of his inspiration from his family, especially his grandmother, who immigrated to the US from Italy. Belonging to a very big family, Brian’s grandmother helped raise 17 of her brothers and sisters, along with her parents. Coming from a humble background, she and her brothers built an empire around the area by securing key positions within politics, healthcare, and the law fraternity.
“It’s not just my grandmother but also her family and where she came from. This was my drive, and this is where I set my expectations of how to perform in life.”
Brian’s grandmother led an exemplary life and died at the age of 98. Owing much of his success to her, Brian showed me her cross and her husband’s wedding band that he wears every day to remind himself of her.
Breaking the Barrier
Payrolls, the way that they are run, have been like this for hundreds of years. It has been 84 years since The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was passed. Just because something has been going on for a century does not necessarily make it right. In fact, there has not been a better time than today to reflect on how employees are getting paid. The after-effects of the pandemic, coupled with the uncertain economy and rising inflation, have caused a great shift of employees towards having better financial control over their earnings. OrbisPay is trying to break through a barrier that’s almost a century old. (Elone, 2022)
“What $1 is to me is not the same as it is to you. When you think about that in payroll, the payroll people are sending money, but a lot of people that are getting that money are being affected differently in how they get it, how often they get it, how much they actually get, and what it means to their life.”
Making Tomorrow Better
Financial stressors at the workplace impact the health and productivity of employees at work. For employers, retaining financially stressed issues has become a rising concern. A recent PwC survey of 3000 employees across several industries found that almost 37% of stressed employees had used payday loans or payday advances in the last year to meet their immediate needs. In the same survey, 76% of employees reported that financial stress had a negative impact on their productivity. The same employees are twice as likely to look for a new job if their employer cannot do much about it. (PwC, 2022)
Speaking about this issue, Brian is confident that on-demand pay is the way to go for current and future generations of employees. His claim is further supported by a recent research survey conducted by ADP that reveals that 76% of employees of all age groups believe it is important that their employer offers them EWA. Interestingly, 91% of Millennials and 82% of Gen Z feel the same. (ADP, 2022)
“Every day I wake up knowing that what I am doing today will help how my children get paid on their first job”