Listen as we revisit this special episode where we talk with Telarus Co-Founder Patrick Oborn. We talk about his winding path to founding Telarus, then get into key strategies he has seen partners embody that truly 3x, 4x, or even 10x their sales and their business. You won’t want to miss the first of many sales tips and strategies!
Can you believe that we’re already at 100 episodes? While we go and ramp up and get ready for season three, we’re gonna take you back, listen to some of the great moments in these past episodes. So stay tuned as we take you back to season one and two.
Hey everybody, welcome. We are back here with a special episode with a special guest, long time listener, first time caller, really important person, chief product officer and co-founder of Telarus Patrick Oborn, PKO, welcome. Thank you so much for having me, Josh. Like you said, long time listener, love this podcast. It’s amongst one of my favorites. I’m not saying that just because you’re here right now, but because it’s the literal truth. You do a very good job of bringing on people that can deliver information that helps people’s businesses. So congratulations on a very successful podcast, my friend, season two, I believe. Pushing season three here real close and too many more successful seasons. I think if you continue to do the job you’re doing, you’re not only gonna keep growing this thing in terms of quality of content, but in terms of audience and everything else. So I’m star struck to be here with you and thanks for having me, Josh. – Love it, man.
Thanks for giving me a job. This is gonna be fun.
(laughing) – You kinda deserve it. – All right, we’re talking, special episode here. We usually have these three part tracks where we talk about perspective on the technology, a supplier and then really get the partners purview on it. Today we’re talking about how to 10X sales. We get a lot of these questions from partners, a lot of tips, a lot of tricks. I feel like we could pack this into 50 episodes, right? And who knows, we might. But today we’re gonna boil it down from your perspective. We’re gonna run through some of the normal stuff, but then we’re gonna spice it up with some of your input, which I’d love because you’ve got so much passion and energy and good stuff to share in this. So as we always do, when we kick these off, let’s talk about your background, your path to starting Telarus And I wanna hear anything good and anything bad and anything I don’t already know. – Fantastic, well, when I was growing up as a teenager, my dad owned his own business. He was a part of a three-way partnership. It was called OTA Physical Therapy, Oborn Trackman Astin. They had 15 locations across Southern California and they had a really, really nice business.
He later on in development of the business, he kind of got out of sorts with his partners and stuff. And basically he was telling me, “Patrick, whatever you do, don’t start your own company. “It’s a pain, it’s a hassle, there’s stress. “The employees are always the first to get paid. “The business owners always the last to get paid. “There’s risk and God forbid, “something doesn’t go right with your partners. “It’s a total train wreck. “So just go to college, get a good job, “save up for retirement, live a good life.” That was his advice to me.
So I did that thing. I went to college, I studied, I was a math and engineer geek.
I had interned a few summers in my dad’s physical therapy offices. So when I went to college, I kind of thought I was going pre-med or something like that, because both my parents are physical therapists. My wife is a physical therapist. So surrounded by physical therapy, rehab, hips, knee replacements.
I thought maybe I’ll be an orthopedic surgeon, I’ll fix people up and then send them to physical therapy. So I want to be a orthopedic surgeon.
But as I interned with my dad, I realized that people didn’t want to pay their bills. They put me in the collections department. It was fantastic calling people, letting them know, “Hey, this is not covered by insurance. “You need to pay this.” And I was like, “I really want to go into an industry “where I can use my talents, “where I can guarantee I’m going to get paid.” Not necessarily a lot of guarantees in healthcare if you’re going to do all this work and half the people are going to stiff you. So I went to my counselor at Brigham Young University where I did my undergraduate. And I said, “What’s the major “that I can make the most money at, secure money, “where I can apply my talents like math, physics, “that kind of stuff?” And she said, “Chemical or electrical engineering?” And I said, “I am really bad at chemistry. “Let’s do electrical engineering.” Not even really knowing what electrical engineering was. Long story short, I got a master’s degree in computer chip design. So I went back to California where I’m from and I got a job at TRW Space and Defense, now Northrop Grumman, designing classified communication computer chips. Right? Sounds good. Now how the heck did we get into telecoms? Like we got to start closing the loop here pretty quick.
Honestly, I was very disappointed when I came out of college and I learned how much money I was gonna make. Not that the starting salary was bad. It was decent, but the velocity at which I would grow my paycheck, right? Raises, promotions, was incredibly slow. And my manager sat me down one day. I said, “Patrick, you seem like you’re a young man “full of ambition. “You need to lower and temper your expectations “a little bit and have patience. “Have patience. “You’re gonna be the manager one day, “but man, you gotta, it might take 10 years.” And I’m like, “I don’t have 10 years.” What are words that entrepreneurs don’t want to hear? Slow down. But I did know as an entrepreneur just quite yet. And so in order to make more money, I did everything I could at work and I found that I was, I don’t wanna do my own home, but I was pretty smart. I was top of my class. And it wasn’t that I understood stuff more than other people. I just understood it at a faster velocity. Right, 100%. I just got it quick. So I got my work done in short order and one day I went to my boss and I said, “Hey boss, I don’t have anything to do. “Like I’ve finished this project. “You gave me six months to do in four months.” So what did I do for there two months? And they said, “Well, we can’t give you another project “just yet. “Just look busy.”
(laughs) So during my look busy time, I started teaching myself how to code. Unfortunately, I opted to the math and physics routes of all the electives at BYU. I should have in retrospect done a lot more computer science, but I didn’t. So I bought myself SQL for dummies, HTML for dummies. I read it, started throwing up some websites. And then as soon as I started throwing up websites, I started to get really interested in internet marketing. Like how do I get people to those websites? Once I get them, how do I convert them into customers? And so that’s what I started to do. And I started a website called CheapRates.com. It’s still there today, but we took it down. It’s just too hard to maintain. But I realized that out of the airfare and the home security systems and the cellular and everything else that I sold, long distance, calling cards, callback, dial around, OnePlus, all of that stuff, toll free, it paid residual income. And so that’s the first time that the telecom, the residual income light went off in my head. And I said, “Hold on a minute.” So I started to really focus all my efforts on driving traffic to those products. The company that captured my traffic and converted it into dollars for me, a couple months later, actually reached out to me and gave me an unsolicited offer to come and code their whole website.
And I said, “Yes, under one condition.” And that is that I get to keep my agency. Do not make me walk away for my agency, or I’m not gonna take this job. And they said, “Fine, you can keep your agency that was earning some good money.” So I took the job. I started working at home way back in the 1990s, 1998.
Started working at home and it was fantastic. I’ll never forget the day where I told my parents I was gonna quit my job that I had spent six years studying for, got security clearances for, and I was gonna work for this internet company. – Yeah, what is this internet thing? – The interwebs, man, the interwebs. Yeah, it was a crazy time. So it was really early on. And the thing that captured my imagination was trying to find information that was floating out there and consolidate it into one place that people could access that. And that’s really still the essence of Telarus that I’ll talk a little more about. But compartmentalizing information, consolidating that information into one consumable place
carried, and still does today, a ton of value. And so we did that and then they were really focused on residential. One day I raised my hand, I said, “Boss, this residential thing ain’t gonna work out forever.”
Reading the tea leaves doesn’t take an expert to see that long distance is going to flat rate, or just you pay a fixed amount and you just get it as part of your wireless plans. And so I suggested to my boss one day, hey, why don’t we open a commercial division where we can leverage all of these affiliate relationships we have out there to drive commercial telecom and internet leads as opposed to just residential. So yeah, so I have my background in residential. I built all their backend systems. I said, “Let’s do this.” And my boss politely said, “That sounds like a great idea, but we’re not doing that.” (laughs) – Oh. – And I said, “Okay.” I said, “But how about this? What if I start my own company and we build it up and we federate our two companies together and I’ll be the business division of your company and you can maintain the residential division of your company.” And they said, “Fine, but don’t expect us to invest any money in it. If you want to do this on your own dime, then let’s go forward.” So my next call was to my best friend growing up, Adam Edwards, and I said, “Hey, Adam, I have a business opportunity for you, my friend. I think we can really make some inroads here.” And he said, “Really, what are we gonna do?” I said, “We’re gonna sell commercial telecom and long distance.” – Yeah, there it is. – And he laughed because he was an auditor at KPMG and then later on a controller of a startup tech company. And he’s like, “Commercial telecom? What the hell is that?”
(laughs) I said, “Bro, it pays residual.” He said, “I’m in.” – Yes. – Done. – Solid matter. – So yeah, so we, my first, my second question to him was, how much money do you have in your savings account? Because we’re gonna need it. – Any good pitch deals. – I’ve been saving up, you’ve been saving up. And he said, “I have 70 grand on my account.” And I said, “Dude, I have 60 grand on my account.” And we did the math and figured out what our burn rate was. If we could eliminate all of our expenses, we could survive 19 months and give it a go. So we started coding and working hard. Adam just was out, just trying to sell anything he could sell. And I was coding and trying to consolidate information so that I could have a system to plug into that network. Well, that system became Geoquote. That system became the Telarus Agent Back Office. That system became all of those things that we needed to work with that company. And so while we got started into an area that was really new to us, we really had a competitive advantage coming in. Because I knew that once we had the system built,
it would instantly show up on thousands, upon thousands of websites on day one. – Where was that moment? Where was that moment in there? Was it that moment of when you realized, oh my gosh, we got something special here. What was that turning point for you?
– It really came when they said no. And I saw it clear as day. It’s like, I’m telling you, you’re gonna be in a car accident. You need new tires. I’m telling you, it’s gonna happen. And they’re like, we don’t believe you. And I’m like, all right, I’m not gonna be part of the accident. I’m gonna remove myself and build another vehicle that has those nice tires on it. So I knew that would be big. I knew that people would want more internet. And so people always ask me, what’s the vision of a founder of a company? Well, really, in retrospect, the last 20 years, it looks like we made most of the right turns. We made most of the right choices. But in reality, we could really only see one or two year out. So we knew that at the time, A, people were gonna want more internet. B, they’re gonna wanna know how much it costs. And C, they’re gonna wanna know where it’s available. Because even back then, the availability was much, much worse than it is now. You could be on one street and have a great internet. On the other street, you’re on DSL and dial up. It was awful. And so figuring out those problems and figuring out how to consolidate that information in one place so that the people that worked with us could have a competitive advantage. They could be faster, they could be more knowledgeable, they could be more efficient in their sales motion. And consolidating that into one easy to use software platform. And so it’s really funny if you look at the TSBs that are out there,Telarus is not started by people who are in the business who just morphed out and just kept growing it, right? We were from outside of the business coming into this space. And the things that really jumped off the page to us were all of the inefficiencies that existed. All the things that maybe if you grew up here, you just accept as normal because that’s how they always are. We came in and those things stuck out to us like a sore thumb. It was like, okay, let me get this straight. You don’t know what you’re selling. You don’t know where you’re selling it. You don’t know how much you’re charging and you don’t know how much commission you’re gonna make on the backend. Like how does anybody function in this business? – And you’re going, guys, I’ve figured this out. The answer is right here. We could do something great. – And so yeah, so we didn’t come here for the technology. We came here for the opportunity to organize information. And that’s what I think a lot of people don’t see when they look at this channel itself. And especially when they look at Telarus I mean, your job Josh as a sales engineer is to organize information through experiences, through trainings, through interactions. And then take that information and to be able to push it back out into a very proprietary, very valuable information stream, very valuable advice. Say based on my experience, which is a lot.
Based off my training, which is a lot. I mean, CISSP, AWS certified. I mean, you’ve gone through all those things, right? Plus you add on top of that the frosting, which is actual real world interactions with customers. The information that you have organized in your brain is really more important than anything that we could offer here at Telarus And so figuring out a way to compartmentalize and consolidate that information is really what we’re here today. And this is an area that I think a lot of partners miss out on. I think that in this business, just like we kind of changed the paradigm a little bit, right from let’s just get out there and hustle our network and just get them to order their stuff through us. That was version 1.0. Version 1.0 was a network marketing, let’s be honest, right? Like it was order that, you know, CenturyLink circuit through me and I’ll get paid and it’ll be great. But they really weren’t adding value at any stage of that interaction. – All right, we’re gonna, I wanna come back to adding value. – Yes, sir. – I wanna start with motivation. – Yes. – So we’re gonna get, I know you’ve got some really good unique strategies that we’re gonna talk about of how to add value, how to 10 exit, all of those things. – Real fast, can I finish that story? – All right, go ahead. – So when I told my parents I was leaving, they mocked me. They thought it was a dumb decision, right? With, you know, kids, sometimes they’ve got these grandiose things. My parents didn’t understand internet and they didn’t understand residual income. They didn’t understand any of those two things. So when I started working on it, my first check came from my first affiliate company. And my dad was like, wow, you’ve been working all of your free time, your total side hustle, all of it, on that damn computer he called it. Working on that damn computer all day. You’re not coming down to eat with us. You’re not hanging out with us. You’re on that damn computer all the time. And I got a check in the mail. And my dad actually said, hey, Cheryl, come here. Patrick just got a check from his little internet business. – How much? – Patrick open it up. How much is it? $18 and 58 cents. He was like, wow. He goes, son, I knew you were smart, but this is like genius level. Do you spend all that time and effort? I said, but dad, it’s gonna be $18 and 58 cents plus the commission I earned last month, plus the commercial I earned this month, plus the commission I’m gonna earn next month. He didn’t understand that. He literally told me, you would have been better off to spend that time at McDonald’s because you would have made 10 times more money. And so every time we had a Telarus partner summit back when he was alive, I would invite him. And every time when Adam started his big pitch and everyone’s in the barroom, I would just whisper to him, McDonald’s.
And he knew what I was talking about. – That’s all right. That’s awesome. I’ve not heard that story. That’s great. – That is the story. – All right. All right, well, while you’re crushing it with motivation,
I wanna keep on that theme. So you’ve had a lot of, I mean, besides obviously
being part of founding this, driving it to what it is now, but you’ve had some great personal motivation, right? You’re running 800 miles a day. All these awesome things that you’ve done, these 100 milers, but I’m just kinda curious for the partners. What are one to two, whatever lessons that you’ve learned personally, professionally, in all these crazy accomplishments that you have that are helpful, you think, to motivate the partners, to push it to the next level, to do the things that we’re about to share secrets on with them? – I think one of the things that I suffered from, especially early on, was imposter syndrome. Adam and I showed up at Channel Partners Show. Our company was four or five years old. We had a brand new business model, which was really tool-based, online-based. It wasn’t human network-based, so to speak. It wasn’t multi-level market-based. It was based on a couple of key things, and people told us, “You’re just gonna,
you’re gonna commoditize the market. You gotta sell our products on value.” And I’m like, “People don’t really care what value your product is. They care what the capabilities are. They care what you’re gonna charge. They’re gonna care how you support it, how you install it.” That’s what they’re gonna care about. They’re not gonna care about the quote-unquote value that you keep referencing. And so talking to a supplier, talking to a partner about a business they know a lot about, and kind of telling them they’re not wrong, but maybe they’re misinformed, or maybe they just don’t see the vision, the total vision of what it could be, that was hard, because how do you build your credibility when you’re new at something? And so that’s something where we really struggled. And even today, sometimes, I get up on stage, and I have those doubts in the back of my mind, like imposter syndrome. You’re getting up, you’re talking about cloud, you’re talking about security. Dude, you started creating a website that compared long distance minutes rates. How are you qualified to be here speaking?
And the same thing with, you alluded to, the ultra endurance running. For a long time, I just tried it, thought it’d be a healthy habit, wanted to go see nature and everything else, and I was just happy to be there. I was happy to be back of the pack in the middle of the pack, and I didn’t really see myself as an endurance athlete. I saw myself as a weekend warrior that’s just out there trying to give it a go, right? And then I hired a coach two years ago. I said, “Look, Patrick, if you want to stay in the middle of the pack, that’s great, but if you want to push the envelope a little bit and see what you’re capable of before you’re 80 years old, right, because you’re not getting any younger,
like take it serious.” And so I hired a coach, and he changed my diet around, he changed my workouts around, and it was a lot harder. It took a lot more discipline, but I started seeing actual results when I thought I plateaued, and so I busted through that plateau. Things started happening, and this year, right after partner summit, ironically, the day after partner summit, all those nights with no sleep and stuff, I went and I ran 100K Ultra, the Kachinomosa 100K, and I won, first place overall, not like first place age group. And I was like, and once that happened, every race I show up to, I think I look around, I go, “I’m gonna beat you, I’m gonna beat you, I should at least finish top five in this race.” I have that confidence now that I never had until I put in some work and I saw a little bit of success. And once that success hit, it’s like putting the key in the door lock, and it just unlocked. And so same thing with business,
and there wasn’t that crystal clear moment in the tellerus, it was just a gradual, people started coming to us, they started asking us for more advice, asking us for more information, asking us for more tools. And the great thing about the residual business is it creates more money the month before than the month before. And so we had the luxury of having money to invest and figure out how to get better. And eventually, I call it, it’s the very unsexy, planting a tree and growing it. And eventually, your tree’s gonna be strong enough to support a hammock, to support some weight. You don’t really know when that moment is until you actually tie the hammock up and test it out. And now I think tellerus really got to that point when we combined with your company, Carry Your Sales Josh, because we were kind of stuck, we were not stuck, but we were following that same online model for 12 years, 13, 14 years, right? And we were really missing out on the enterprise deals, we were missing out on the big lumen deals, we were missing out on the big contact center deals. And we realized, hey, if we’re gonna play in this space, we either need to get better, or we need to go buy the talent that we need to plug those holes. And you guys just stuck out like a sore thumb. I mean, it was just like the obvious match. We were transactional and automated. You guys were not automated, you guys staffed and built for expertise in different areas. And we like, that’s gonna be the perfect marriage. And so, but again, like I said, we see the road, it’s like, there’s a fog out there, right? We can see maybe 500 meters, a thousand meters at a time. We can’t see 50 miles out. But I think as long as we know where we’re going eventually, the exact tact we take, the exact road we take to get there is a little less relevant. I mean, it’s very relevant and impactful now, but if you know where this train is headed, if you know you need to go west and you’re headed east, like red flag, right? But if you are headed west and you’re going northwest and you’re gonna meander back to the west and you don’t know exactly where the road goes, man, that’s what you wanna be on. And so that’s really what we’ve done. We get credit a lot for being visionaries and getting this company to where it is now. But in reality, it was take it one mile at a time and listen to your partners. Listen to the people that are on the front freaking lines of battle, right? And listen to them, listen to what their customers need, because at the end of the day, this whole industry exists to help the customers consume technology the way they want to consume it. So it’s, so yeah, it’s a long road. – Good stuff, I love that.
Let’s talk about the first step here. Let’s baseline it, right? I mean, you think about who’s listening to this potentially. This could be partners that have sold a specific technology in cloud, but maybe didn’t venture into contact center or vice versa, or maybe somebody that is thinking about doing this that is at a current affiliate marketing company and going, wait a minute, I’ve got all these relationships, I could come do this, right?
Step one, right? People understanding our world as it exists. Some people still don’t even know that it exists. Some people think direct sales is the only way, or I go buy my gear from a certain gear company, and that’s it, and that’s the only way. So what, of the partners that you have seen, be very effective in communicating their value to a prospect. Let’s say it’s a new prospect. What’s the, what is that pitch? What’s the strategy? What have you seen really work well in that part of it? – I think that is a fantastic question. It’s an area where everybody needs to figure out what their value is. And what I like to tell people, I said, look, you know that you’re doing something right when the customer thinks of you as a part of their team, not a sales rep, right? Direct reps are out there all the time. You cannot have your customers pigeonhole you into that direct rep plug. Like that’s not, that’s not your hole. That’s not what you do, right? You are a part of their team to advise. Now, how is, how is advising a thing? How can advising be valuable, especially to customers in many cases that don’t think they need your advice, right? You have to make it crystal clear as an advisor that you are a technology broker. Ah, rewind. You are not a technology broker. Why’d I say that? Because most people like nod in their heads, right? Do, no, no, that’s a no. You are not a technology broker.
No, you are. You’re a technology information broker, right? Because as you talked about on prior podcasts, especially insecurity cloud, IT managed services, where, why are our companies having a hard time staffing, right? Because these people are incredibly expensive. It doesn’t make sense to have a credibly expensive person limited to just your company. They get bored. Like they’re not, they’re not exposed to all the technologies that they want to be exposed to. And ultimately, where do these people end up? They end up at our suppliers. They, the suppliers are, and our suppliers are multiplying and replenishing the earth, right? There’s over 400 now and growing because there’s more suppliers coming in on the consulting side. I mean, there’s so many different areas of technology that require consultants. So that’s where all the talent is. So, so how do customers match up all of the things they’re working on with all of the talent that’s out there, right? You need information, you need case studies, you need people who have, have maybe tried that consultant before and put in a review about that consultant. Kind of like, you know, any type of review board.
You have to take all the information that’s out there about the capabilities as a supplier, which are, are numerous, right? The quality of the suppliers that are numerous and work with somebody like Telarus, right? Where we vet each of these suppliers. We make sure that they are quality, right? You will never be embarrassed by putting one of these people in front of your customers, but also giving you the tools and information you need so that you can be that broker of information of who can do it, who can do it well, who can do it on time, who can do it on budget, right? And really help our customers augment because right now every customer, every business is a technology company, right? When you’re battling for customers, when you’re out there battling for market share, when you’re out there sometimes battling for survival or battling the regulating authorities or battling whoever they’re in battles, right? And you know by virtue of being the information broker, who can help them in which instance. So if a partner can communicate clearly enough to their customer, I am a technology information broker. I can give you, remember this pitch, I can give you information that you cannot find in Google.
– I love it. – I can give you information that you cannot find in Forrester. I can give you information you cannot find in Gartner, right? That is why you need me, right? Because I will help you make the decisions that make sense for your business, to keep you in budget and help your projects progress, everything else. But more importantly, I can help you, Mr. Customer, be an all star because I’m on your team and you get credit for being my boss. I’m just funneling information to you. I’m funneling a list of suppliers that you need to talk to, the questions you need to ask them, the things that you need to vet your technology world. So each customer out there has so many projects, so many needs. Some of them are technological, some of them are human resource staffing and other resource related issues. Some of them are budget, some of them are legal, the customers out there, they face so many of those things. And so if a person can convince a customer, I need to be a part of your team because I bring information you cannot find anywhere else, that is the pitch. And I think a lot of people still get pigeonholed into the sales rep, pigeonholed into the, go get me a quote, right?
These are things that Google, like there’s plenty of technology out there that they can do some of these things. So I think that’s where people miss. And combine that with the imposter syndrome and it’s like, well, am I really a technology information? – That’s crazy. – Like they don’t believe it. They look in the mirror and tell yourself. – What’s the worst thing that happens, right? If the worst thing that happens when you ask these is if you get a no, great. Let me move on and stop wasting time with a customer that I don’t need to. You brought up a really good point. If you can get past the imposter syndrome thing, I looked back at three or four of the really large deals that we’ve done that have tibbered up and have grown and grown and grown. And we’ve sold multiple products to through one two man shop partners. They all started out as, yeah, I don’t really think that we need you. We kind of manage all of this in house. I mean, you guys seem nice. I appreciate you being here, but we’ve really got this. You know, that kind of standoffish IT team. And we’ve taken those accounts and because of the partners willingness to do exactly what you just mentioned,
sell more, sell more, sell more. And it was an eye opening moment for me that we had earlier this year. We were sitting down with an enterprise customer that we’ve been selling to this partner for three, four years. And it was a business review. He brought his whole team in. And this is the guy that’s been there signing the contract, signing the LOAs that is the sole purchaser that we thought knew us, knew the partner really, really well. He was like, hey, I got just one quick question. How do you guys get paid?
And we’re going, you’re asking, he’s asking. – It’s because you’re doing consulting level work that people typically bill for. – Four years into the relationship. That tells me how much of a bang up job and how much value there is if we get it right and get the recipe communicated. So I love that. – Yeah, and there’s a caveat to that too. There’s coming in too hot. Coming in like, I know everything. I’m gonna help you, everything else. And you’re telling someone that they need help that probably doesn’t think they need help. So you have to temper it with, hey, let’s start out small. Just like you said, I mean, that’s the key. Start out small, find a beach head and expand from there. If you come in, spill in all the stuff that you can do, and I’m your security guy, and I’m your cloud guy, and I’m your everything guy, people are like, whoa, timeout. You just sold me some voice a couple years ago, and now all of a sudden, you’re everything, technology. So people have to understand what that is, but if they can just start with the basic concept of technology information brokerage, I’m your conduit to people that can do certain things for you, they can do them well, because we have a collective experience that we’re putting into our recommendation engine. – Yeah, and you’ve got a really good point. Play the long game. – Yes. – This is not a short term. These trees take time to grow.
Play the long game, and I think you’ll add a ton of value into that relationship. It will pan out, because to your point, we’re in a weird economic time where these people are pressed, these customers are pressed to do more with the same or less resources, and we’re seeing a lot of those conversations. We were already seeing them before this weird economic climate, because it was just hard to find people. Now, people are getting squeezed out at some of these companies, and so they have this tech that is sunken in. They may or may not be ready to buy new tech. They might, but they also just need help in maintaining and managing and building and best architecture, design, all of those things. We’re seeing all those conversations right now. Yeah, it’s a great point you bring up. – Yeah, and technology’s a really interesting space, and it’s really a space that’s not so much driven by technology, ironically enough. It’s driven by human resources, and as soon as people start to understand that, as soon as our partners start to understand that, it’s how do you connect your customers with the resources that they need that they may not be able to maintain in-house anymore? That the days of having all your resources in-house, probably long gone. We’re talking legal, we’re talking accounting, we’re talking everything except your core business now, almost needs to be out of house. – And you bring up, it’s funny, you bring up resources. That’s my next question. – Hey. – So, my next question is, again, this is about how to help people improve their close rate, and with that, obviously, we have to overcome difficult things and have conversations we might not be comfortable with. But I think sometimes, now that we’ve grown and scaled so much, there is a lot of resources here, right? We’ve got everything from engineering to advanced solutions to partner support, commission, all of this stuff. If you look again back at your snapshot of partners that are successful,
is there an underutilized resource? Is it one resource? Is it a lot of resources? At Telarus what do you see partners that are underutilizing? If you could say, gosh, I wish you guys would just use this more. – So, I have a two-part answer to that question. First, I want to talk about just stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with Telarus It’s just the bedside manner of the partner and how they are communicating with the customer. So, when you go in and start to engage with a customer, you need to find a problem that they have that they don’t know about. That’s key number one. So, I talked to a partner the other day, and they had just signed, coincidentally, a large physical therapy firm. So, and this is how the conversation went. Mr. Customer, we need to talk about your unified communication platform. Mr. Customer said, no, we just have put in a new phone system and we’re good and we’ve got 19 locations and I’m in constant contact with my IT guys. They give me the thumbs up. And most agents will be like, okay, well, I guess, let’s talk about security. No, no, what the agent did very smartly, he texted their main number. Hey, is it okay if I come in tomorrow for an appointment? Do you have any open spots in the afternoon?
And guess what happened? That text came back as undeliverables. – Wah, wah, wah. – Right? And so, he’s like, look, your competitors can accept text appointments from their customers. You cannot. And the customer didn’t believe that the agent. The customer’s like, that’s wrong. They’ve been telling me this works because he’s the CEO, right? So, he’s not necessarily the tech guy. I said, and the agent said, pull out your phone and text your biggest physical therapy location, your biggest office. Text them if you can come tomorrow for an appointment. And his bounced as well.
And the CEO was like, pissed. He’s like, and the agent said, congratulations, you can’t communicate with over half of your potential patient, your customer base, right? So, it was, again, illustrating a problem they didn’t know they have. And every company has one. Every company has one. You may call their call center and sit on hold for 10 minutes, right? That means they either have a workforce optimization problem, they have a queuing problem, they have something. Something is off, or they haven’t put AI in front of it so they can eliminate 70% of the calls that could be self-serviced, right? So, there’s always something there. So, if our agents can understand how to figure out what that problem is. Second thing is understanding the resources at Telarus because being part of being a technology information broker is understanding what problems could potentially exist over here and what solutions you can marry them up to and match them up to. So, understanding the different types of engineers that Telarus has that we can bring in, the different types of tools. Maybe you’re not ready for an engineer yet, maybe you just wanna go through a quick security assessment, right? Just ask them a couple questions about their GDPR compliance or PCI. I was on the phone personally with a customer the other day who wanted to have a security conversation but the agent was definitely terrified. He’s like, “I’ve never had a security conversation. “I’m suffering from imposter syndrome right now. “I would really appreciate it if you would just use the tool, “use the Telarus assessment tool “and guide the customer through it so I can hear, right? “And I can hear what it’s like “and then I can do all the assessments on my own after that.” So, I said, “Fine, let’s go.” And I started talking to the customer. Instantly the customer entered into a defensive posture. He thought I was like, “Why are you asking me all these questions?” I said, “Listen, listen, I’m your defense attorney. “I can’t defend you, I can’t help you.” Or like a doctor, “I can’t help you “if you’re not honest with your physical condition right now. “If you lie about symptoms or things that are going wrong, “I can’t treat it and worse, “I may misdiagnose you with something “because you didn’t give me all of the symptoms that you had.” So, I said, “Listen, in the spirit of just openness, “just be transparent. “This is not gonna go to your boss. “This is not gonna impact your job rating “or your pay or your promotion or anything like that. “Just be as honest as you can “and we’re gonna give you an assessment “and you can choose which part of the assessment “you wanna run upstream “or which part you just wanna use your own, whatever.” So, we went through and I said,
some of the questions like, “Do you have a sock and sim?” And he’s like, “Uh, I know we need to do that. “And I’m trying to get one in by the end of the year. “Can we assist you?” He’s like, “Yeah, that would be okay.” And then we got through another question. I’m like, “You are a medical facility. “Are you HIPAA compliant?” Because I think we are. I’m like, “Okay, well, let’s put you.”
I said, “You process credit cards and co-pays. “Are you PCI compliant?”
Yeah, I don’t know. Patrick, I’m the IT guy. Is PCI my job?
So, it wasn’t even a technology question. I was like, “Who’s responsible for this type of question?” I said, “Yeah, you run the firewalls, you run the network.” That’s the information that carries the credit card data. Yes, it’s you. But don’t worry, we have access to people that can come and help you get PCI compliance so that your job’s not at risk. So, your company’s not at risk for losing their PCI compliance and once you lose PCI compliance, guess what, buddy? No more credit cards for you. So, that could impact your business pretty big time that you can’t collect credit cards at the point of when the patient’s at. So, it was a combination of technology, knowing the things that I was gonna bring in, knowing the things that we could connect that customer to, but it was also understanding the mindset of the customer, right? It’s not shoving all this stuff down your customer’s throat. It’s having honest conversations with them. It’s simple things like building trust with them and getting them to open up to you. Because once they open up to you, then you can really do your job. Then you can really have the opportunity to connect them to the engineering and all the other resources that Telerus has to offer. And one of the biggest values that we have relationships with lots of suppliers, but it’s not just the relationship itself, it’s understanding the quality of that supplier, understanding how they perform in the real world, right? And that’s information that your customers are never gonna know. Hey, they’re never gonna find all the suppliers that are out there, because quite frankly, a lot of them come to us, Josh, because they’re terrible at marketing.
Their technology’s awesome. Help me sell our own stuff, please. Their engineer is awesome, right? But they can’t sell their own story. They can’t, their website’s awful, but man, their product is awesome. So that’s really where we’re coming in, but it all starts with the customer engagement, from the Challenger sales model. The customer engagement with the sales rep column is over 50% of the whole entire sales interaction satisfaction, right? So it’s understanding what your customer’s fears are, it’s understanding how your customer’s paid, understanding that the person you’re talking to may not be the decision maker, but he may wanna raise from the decision maker, or it’s understanding all of those politics and all the nuance in addition to the technology. And that’s really where our industry, that’s our whole job. Our whole job is to make people look good, make good decisions in a way that is so non-transactional. – You bring up a great point. I wanna throw two things in there. One, it’s simple, and you wouldn’t think that it would be so effective, but I love when we use, and partners use the word augment. Because all of the great deals, most of the things that we come into, people are, you know, it’s a body language thing, people are, wait a minute, is this person trying to push me out, blah, blah, blah. Augment is a huge thing. You brought up another great point of where, make no assumptions when you go into this. I love your strategy on, and I’ve seen it be really effective on, figure out what their competitors are doing. Are you aware that you can’t do this, and are you aware that your competitors are, right? Leverage that kind of intelligence. Coming in, cold calling them, emailing them with no unique information in the customer’s eyes, they’re hard to get and understand that value. No, but I have this value, I have all this great stuff I can tell you about. But you’ve gotta find that hook right at the beginning. I’m gonna throw out, and I really should get royalties on this book, but I don’t, but it’s such a great book, I still throw it out, and it’s only like 15 bucks on Amazon. There’s a great book out there called Power Questions by Andrew Sobol. It’s a really simple read, big yellow cover, you can get it on Amazon. But I think what it does, it’s a bunch of situations. And it comes from a guy with a financial analyst background. So you know, it’s in a sales role, but it’s not exactly our role, but the idea is the same.
Don’t just walk in with an agenda of what you think needs to happen. Because what the book talks about is it says, here’s what happens in a scenario of this sales rep that walked in and said, “Hey, Mr. Customer, I’m real excited, I wanna talk to you about, you know, improving your customers that aren’t paying by, you know, three to 15%, right? We’re gonna help you recoup those costs in the, you know, in the physical therapy, right? When you’re sending out those bills, but we’re gonna help you get them paid.” Thinking that’s the agenda that you wanna come in, you think that’s what they’re gonna go. Versus if you don’t have that information, and if you come in and you say, “Hey, Mr. Customer, listen, I would love to talk to you about helping improve some of these, you know, three to 15%, I think we can get some of your pays down, some of your payers responding quicker.” But is that an area that you wanna cover? Is that the key initiatives that you got focused on? Or kind of given some of the changes that are happening right now, is there other things, other big business initiatives or technology initiatives that you need to solve? I just stop and listen. That was a huge eye-opening book. I love some of the things in that. It just helps us think differently. And I think you gave a great story of the examples of when partners do that. We see a lot of great things happen. And that’s how you get in, and you three X, you five X that sale, because you find all these things that nobody knew were there and nobody knew you could help them with. – Yeah, especially now. I mean, a lot of the technology decisions aren’t even made by the technology decision makers, right? They’re made by other departments. They’re made by the board of directors who said, we will be cybersecurity resilient. We will pass our audits. We will get our cyber insurance policy together so that the interests of the shareholders are protected. We didn’t talk about carbon black. We didn’t talk about technology. We just said the company needs to do these things. And so if you can get the people you’re talking to to cough those up because you’re asking those right questions, they got to figure out what are their initiatives. They got to figure out what do they want to be when they grow up. They got to figure out if they’re in offensive or defensive mode right now due to the economy. Are they growing their number of locations? Are they just trying to hold on to the ones they have and really lower costs or just kind of weather the storm? Like you have to figure those things out in advance because, or at least ask those questions and find out what those things are because those will lead down into so many little technology conversations. But if you start with a technology conversation, there’s a one in 10 chance that you’re gonna be off. – Great stuff. All right.
I don’t think we have a crystal ball here anywhere that I can see, but if we look into Patrick’s crystal ball, – Yes. – You gave a great point that I think it’s hard to look out in the beginning, right? When you were building this thing out to look out really far. And given the rate of change and how crazy fast everything changes right now, I still, I certainly agree. It’s hard to look out. But if you look out, let’s say just look out a year, look out maybe two years max. What’s your perspective on what the future looks like, the changes, the technology, anything strategy wise that you see anybody shifting that’s gonna be more effective or different or just anything you wanna put out there to be aware of as we wrap this up? – Yeah, that’s a great question.
My simple answer is this. When you look out into the technology landscape and you figure all of the different things that your customers are gonna have to take into consideration, right? It’s not just connectivity to the internet. It’s not just how they’re gonna communicate with their customers. It’s not just how they’re gonna advertise. It’s not how they use social media. It’s everything, right? And as Telarus grows, more and more of those people that are what we call the digital workspace, those digital workspace infrastructure providers, they’re coming to us and saying, “Hey, you guys have built this phenomenal distribution system, sell my widgets.”
And so widgets are we talking about? What more can be put in there? We have AI companies are great. They’re like, “Hey, can we get in there and help you fast track some of those phone calls or scan through some of your files to pull out information faster,
workflow or work process automation?”
That is a huge one. People are coming in saying, “Hey, you need a call center in India or Philippines. We can connect you with that.” So there’s BPO, there’s point of sale.
You’re already talking to the company that runs millions of dollars of POS transactions. Why aren’t you getting your 3% of that or whatever? So you’re gonna see more and more technologies coming in here, which means you have to either A, become expert in more and more technologies, which is brain busting, right? A lot of people feel like they’re maxed out as there is with one or two technology swim lanes. Or two, partner with the TSP that has the capability to not only go and vet those suppliers, but organize the information of their performance so that you can then be the technology information broker and take that information back to your customers. So there’s almost no part of their digital workspace or digital workplace that you can’t help them with. And so their needs are not only growing, but our capabilities are growing and they’re growing fast. And so keeping up with that is hard. I mean, you look at the Telarus Supplier Management Department in and of itself. I mean, they’ve got divisions now. They’ve got people that specialize in certain providers and certain service categories. It’s a lot. And then from my perspective on the product side, we’re going through and we’re creating SKUs. We’re creating individual categories of every product, every product, even down to the OEM level of everything that we have access to. And Josh, it’s tens of thousands of SKUs. And growing is probably gonna get into the hundreds of thousands of SKUs. And so how does a person keep track of that? You just have to partner with somebody like aTelarus that is dedicated to finding those relationships and really systematizing those in a way that you can easily pull information out and be the hero to your customer. There’s no way on the planet your customers are gonna have access to all of the information that they’re gonna need to figure out which POS goes to which network, goes to which SD-WAN, it goes to which firewall provider, which puts them in compliance with X number of compliance for North America, for their industry. And it’s all a connected chain. And the chain is getting bigger, it’s getting more complicated, but that creates opportunity for our partners to be more valuable. And so I see more providers, I see more providers in more areas, and I see more opportunities for us to,
again, going back to the very first thing I said, to centralize all that information in one spot that customers can’t get access to, but our partners can. – Beautiful stuff, okay. Patrick, I feel like– – Did I mention flying cars? I forgot to fly cars. – Yeah, I was coming, we’re selling cars.
Hey, I know we joke about that, but why not? We’re selling charging stations, we can do that, we can get your pay on that. – Let’s go. Oh my gosh, charging stations and video surveillance. – We’re inking in there for sure. All right. – There’s literally nothing we can’t sell. As long as our partners focus on creating their own value in their customers’ mind, if their customers are thinking that they are part of their technology team, that’s your product. And companies like us will figure out what to put in store shelves, so we’ll go out and work with our upstream providers and make sure that you have everything on that shelf that you need to service that customer. – Good stuff, okay. I’m questioned out, Patrick, man, I appreciate you coming on, I appreciate you doing this. Lots of good nuggets in there, lots of just motivation, inspiration, and then some strategies. So excited to do this, we will have to have you back on for more of these, I feel like we could talk for about three hours on this topic, but thanks again, man, appreciate you coming on. – And thanks for having a tremendous podcast, tremendously successful, interesting, and keep up the fantastic work, Josh. I love Next Level BizTech, you’re doing an awesome job. – Appreciate it, kudos, man.
All right, everybody, that wraps us up for this week. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto SVP of Sales Engineering, and this has been Next Level BizTech.
Next Level BizTech has been a production of Telarus Studio 19. Please visit www.telarus.com for more information.