Mike McKenna was leading his company, Core Scientific, in booked business. He had for a while. Until the end of 2021. Suddenly prospects got really quiet. He was on track to miss his usual growth target. 

So this life-long learner opened his mind: What if he was part of this problem? What if the conversation-starting tactics he'd relied on for years needed to be updated, dramatically?

Mike's boss invested in Spark Selling methodology to get the ball rolling. Although it initially annoyed him, he jumped in head first. 

Well, annoyed is a mild way of putting it. At first he became disturbed, upset and even had thoughts like, "How dare you?" aimed at questions I posed at him.

But earlier in life Mike realized that pain was probably what he needed. So he ran toward it. He knew from his experience with yoga -- my painful questions were asking him to, likewise, "go through a series of challenges and moves."

That was the last thing he wanted to do. But he knew this pain was what he needed -- to finish off his year with head held high. 

The below is a candid conversation Mike agreed to have with me. 

Mike: Everything is yoga to one degree or another.

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What did Spark Selling give you?

Mike: When Derek (Mike's boss) first told me I would be involved in this, I was so excited... because I couldn't wait. This is what fires up a salesman. How can we collaborate? Let's be creative here. What is the game? What's the journey? All that wonderful stuff. 

So when I heard about it, I'm like, fantastic. This is going to be great because I love the game. And this is all a game.

However... 

I was out of town when Jeff sent the questionnaire to me. Part of the coaching Jeff provided was an initial interview process.

When I received Jeff's questions, boy, was that painful. And upsetting. And "how dare you?!"

"How dare you ask me about these things?" Because I don't want to take a look at them... because they're so painful. 

The reason I bring this up is because that is essentially what yoga. Yoga asks you to go through a series of challenges and moves. You're going to be off balance. It's going to be awkward and you're going to be able to see yourself for who you are and what you're doing.

And that's the last thing I want to do, right. But it's actually what's needed.

Dante: I've never heard someone relate Spark Selling™ Methodology to yoga. But as you're explaining it this makes great sense. You're right. This is a practice which puts you outside your comfort zone... something that you have to keep experimenting with. Keep trying new things. 

Mike: So there are different forms of yoga, not just physical yoga. For example, what you're doing with these workshops and coaching is a form of yoga.

It's a practice. It's challenging.

Everything is one that is yoga. There is only one.

Dante: Regarding the pain aspect... Spark Selling Academy members don't always want to get uncomfortable... and accept how their practices and habits are part of the problem, not helping them. And if they continue down this path they're sabotaging themselves.

Mike: Yes, it's similar to when someone hits their bottom. They think everything's going great when, actually, their life is really going down the tubes.

And until there's that awakening where there's a recognition in that, oh, my God, I need help.

That is essentially when people are going to open up and it's keeping them open, though, which I know that that's a challenge for me because we always want to go back. Because I'm too busy. I've got too much going on.

And that's why I'm glad that we're doing this interview. I think you guys are doing a great job and staying on it. 

It's been a transformation. The writing and psychology has shifted for me. 

It's been a transformation.

Mike McKenna, core scientific

It's similar to when someone hits bottom. They think everything's going great when, actually, their life is really going down the tubes.

And until there's that awakening where there's a recognition in that, oh, my gosh, I need help.

I was so bored with the way I was doing things. It was so stale and so salesy. But there's such power in the psychology of less is more... and building curiosity.

It's not a Me program. It's a we kind of program. Outreach is about them... so I needed an absolute shift.

I'm familiar with what you're bringing to the table. These concepts and the psychology are universal tested. Some of them are new, of course, but Jeff gave us a lot of great new tools.

What do you appreciate most about Spark Selling?

Mike: Going to the type of knowledge that I think is so "real."

It's not just about coming up with a catchy saying. It's about developing a shift in my behavior and the understanding of the prospect's behavior. 

Dante: It's like you have this new way of dealing with the selfish bias involved (naturally) in outreach. Am I correct? 

Mike: Exactly.
Dante: So, you're concerned more with solving the problem of these customers or prospects? .
Mike: I was going to mention that. What that does is not only create more goodwill and opportunities. It is also creating more opportunities for me in a lot of different ways. Not just in the writing, of course, but in what I'm discussing when I'm on the phone with people; these eternal truths that we're describing here are transposed into other areas of my business life.
So, that goodwill is not only being received, but I'm also feeling better about how I communicate. I like myself better, too, in the process.

How would you describe yourself before and after the training?

Mike: It's been a transformation, the writing and the psychology has shifted for me. I was so bored with the way I was doing things; it was so stale and so salesy. Getting the psychology of less is more, building curiosity. Absolute shift...
Dante: So if I'm understanding correctly, before you saw sales outreach as a systematic thing. And now you're kind of getting the psychological aspect behind it. 
Mike: Yes. Exactly.

How immediately useful was it?

Mike: Right away. I'm easy, so it didn't take me long to say, "I'm going to drop exactly what I'm doing because I have no use for it anymore. It's a drag. And I'm going to pick this up." So it was immediate.
Dante: Your open mindedness is a gift. Actually, not a lot of people have the open mind (necessary) to carry out our training the way that you do. So, you should tap yourself on the shoulder for that.
Mike: Thank you. I need a lot of work, though. And the reason why it hasn't been more useful to me, or I should say I haven't been more productive with it is because I'm dysfunctional. And I say that because I know it to be the case. So, that's also one of the areas perhaps, seeking further development from your organization would be make sense.

Would you recommend working with Communications Edge? 

Mike: Yeah, this I would say is my first real experience within a sales training workshop. But I have participated in a great deal of training on my own; whether it was business literature through business leaders, lectures, videos or books, that type of thing.
I think there's that behavioral psychology present there. That's a shift not only in recognizing my own Behavioral psychology, but that of the individuals I'm talking to. By the way, the content surrounding communication are very relevant and are very very helpful. Additionally, the depth and the relevancy would be why I'm getting a great deal out of the workshop.
Dante: Okay, Would you consider our methodology or our tactics to be our strong point? Our psychological methodology?
Mike: Yes
Dante: I agree as well, this is the strong point. Not only the tactics themselves, because tactics burn out and die eventually.
Mike: True.

The Customer Success and Marketing Manager of Communications Edge Inc. Dante gives our customers and internal team everything needed to stay focused, on-task, effective and successful. He gives us an organizational, marketing & customer support edge. When he's not directly supporting others you'll find Dante facilitating discussions in our member Forum -- and provoking thought on CE's LinkedIn company page. In his free time, you'll probably catch him watching football and monitoring his favorite leagues and players.

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