243 Anna Scheller: Black Belt Sales
Anna Scheller is known as the “black belt of sales” helping entrepreneurs master selling with confidence by building trusted relationships and leading customers to value. Anna is also a podcast host, with Black Belt Selling and Sales Mastery. She shares her secrets of how she became an entrepreneur, juggling business growth with 7 kids, and how to let go of any limiting beliefs around money and sales.
Melinda Wittstock: Anna, welcome to Wings.
Anna Scheller: Hey Melinda, thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, it’s wonderful to have you here because I’m always excited to talk to anybody who knows how to be a great salesperson. In business, obviously this is vital — without being able to sell, you don’t really have much of a business. When you’re training people in sales, what’s the biggest single thing that you find is getting in their way?
Anna Scheller: That’s a terrific question because a lot of people think … well, a lot of people come to me, Melinda, and they’ll say “Just give me the right phrase,” “Help me to script,” “Help me to do this,” “Help me to do that.” But what really holds people back is their own stereotype of sales. We have this feeling that because of all the movies and the snake oil salesmen and the door-to-door stuff that goes on and the pressuring that can happen, we think that in order to be good at sales, you have to manipulate, you have to lie, you have to be silver-tongued, fast-talking … basically you have to cheat people in order to be a good salesman and to be possible. The truth of the matter is that I have to help people see that when you’re selling, you have to keep in mind you’re there to serve people. People are looking to solve problems. You have the solution for them, and they’re willing to pay you to help them solve problems.
It’s so hard for us because we don’t want to be pushy. Everybody tells me, “I don’t want to be pushy.” I don’t teach you how to be pushy. I think women are absolutely better at sales because women focus on relationships and that’s where true sales happen. That’s where you get the referral, that’s where you get the long-term customers. It’s really about relationships. I’m not talking about being buddy-buddy friendships; I’m talking about where you are seen as a valued ally for your customer.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, thank you so much saying all of that. I want to unpack pieces of it. So we’ve got this popular culture that has given rise to all sorts of ideas of, you know, always be closing, get your foot in the door, all that pushy pursuit stuff. When women try to do that, I think it doesn’t really work because I don’t think it’s very authentic to us anyway.
Anna Scheller: You know, you’re right. I think because of our nurturing background, and just because we’re wired differently, we have to find a way that we are providing help, we’re making people’s lives better. To be honest, that’s the whole crux of sales. I was actually watching a YouTube this morning about Alec Baldwin, and Alec Baldwin is known for the ABC, Always Be Closing. He’s the actor that portrayed that in the movie and that’s where that comes from.
In a sense it’s true, Melinda. I mean we’re always in an interaction, there’s always an objective we want to have, we want to be intentional with people, but we also need to understand that if the next step is just to get an appointment, if the next step is to put together a proposal, that’s closing too. That’s building relationship as well. It doesn’t have to be icky because if we keep in mind we’re helping people, if we keep in mind we’re helping them solve a problem, then it should actually get our mojo going, get us excited to put together something that’s going to be a win-win, one for them and one for us.
Melinda Wittstock: I think this is really interesting for women, because, every woman that I’ve seen that succeeds in business does so because she’s passionate about making a difference or making an impact in the world. Most of us tend to be motivated to create businesses in the first place that have this kind of social good kind of aspect to them or we feel more comfortable. This is not true of everybody, it’s a generalization, but it’s more often true than not. So to be able to create sales systems or approach to sales that’s in alignment with that, I love what you said about really the best sales is to serve, is to show up and like how … it’s almost like you’re a concierge. How can I help you solve your problem? Then it’s a real fair exchange of value.
But do you think to some degree, that’s the issue — value? That at the end of the day, we often don’t value ourselves enough. We think if someone’s paying us, we must be taking something from them. Because at the root of it for me that seems like we’re saying, “Oh well, I must not be valuable enough.”
Anna Scheller: That’s really interesting point of view because I think … you know we’ve probably been taught that if we’re really selfless, good people, we’ll do things and not expect anything in return. I think that’s a mindset that’s out there, and while that’s great for volunteer work or when you’re at church, it’s not good business. I think that when we … I want to share this story just recently happened. I have a corporate housing business which led me into sales and that’s … we’ll get into that soon enough, but I had a company contact me just last week and said, “What do you have?” We just recently had flooding in the area, and this company contacted me because they needed to place people in temporary homes while they’re sorting out how to fix their houses.
I went to visit the company yesterday just to … because all we were voices on the phone til this point. My contact looked at me and she said, “I cannot tell you how you are a lifesaver.” And they were willing to pay. They were willing to pay; they didn’t finagle, they didn’t haggle price, nothing. They said, “Okay, that’s your price. Yep, we’re going to do it, this is what we’re going to do, this is what we’re going to do.” I realized … I get this often, but I realized at that point I really do make a difference. That’s why I do this. I really do make a difference and yes, it’s important that I get paid to make a difference because if I don’t get paid, I can’t properly service people. We do have to shake that thing of we’re not valuable if we get paid. We’re not sleaze buckets, we are business women and we have not just … we’re not just worthy to be paid, we have a right to be paid and we have to be paid or we can’t take care of people the way they are expecting to be taken care of. It’s just that important.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Gosh, this is really true. A lot of it though gets wrapped up in our mindset about money, right?
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? And knowing our value. I see so many women under price services, over deliver, which you sort of touched on, this idea that we’re such givers and we’re afraid to actually even ask. Ask for help or ask for the sale. To me, there’s a bunch of things going on here psychologically, and these are just questions. Are we undervaluing ourselves? Are we in fear of the ‘no’ in large measure because women, we’re so relationship-focused? We have this fear of not belonging, right? Entrepreneurship, in my experience, triggers all of our baggage, all the emotional wounds, all of that stuff. Along the way, you get triggered, and that’s why it’s such a great opportunity for personal growth. As you grow your business, you find … Most successful entrepreneurs are finding that they’re also growing personally because all this stuff comes up, and you need to figure out how to deal with it and get past it to be able to succeed, and sales surely has to be one of the biggest tests of that. The other one is managing a team, but certainly, certainly, sales is up there. On your journey, how did you learn to sell? Did you have any? Well, first of all, I want to back up a bit. On your journey, did you grapple with some of these issues like being afraid to ask for the sale or underpricing your services?
Anna Scheller: Oh, you’re going to laugh when you hear this. We got started in business by reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. Everybody knows …
Melinda Wittstock: Yes.
Anna Scheller: Best in real estate, started business, whatever. We did that. We actually went to one of Robert’s seminars. We came back. We bought our first property, and we were so excited, but we didn’t put a for rent sign in the front yard because I was afraid of dealing with questions that people had.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my.
Anna Scheller: I mean I look back, and I think, “Holy Toledo. What was I thinking,” but I was that afraid. I just wanted people to come who really wanted what I had to say or what I was offering. At that time, I thought I was overpriced, to be honest. Now, that particular property rents for $400 more per month than … No, actually, $600 more per month than when I first started renting the property, but back then, I was just so scared to talk to people. It’s not that I’m afraid to talk. I mean get me talking, I’ll talk all day long. It was I was afraid to talk about money, and I was afraid to deal with people’s objections because of this whole idea of rejection, and so it got to the point that I would actually allow people to negotiate what they wanted and not what was a fair price for my business. Then, fast forward nine years, I had gotten into corporate housing, which is the furnished housing short-term rentals, was enjoying that.
At that time, there was a lot of government business, so a lot of people coming in had per diem dispense, so we were doing quite well, but I didn’t know anything about marketing except how to put it out on the internet. That’s where people had found me. I didn’t know anything about reaching out to new prospects. I didn’t know that they were the better prospects and just waiting for people to show up off of the internet. It got to the point that I suddenly had this gaping hole coming to my business, and I didn’t know what to do. Somebody actually recommended that I get sales training. I said, “I’m not a sales person.” Then, he said, “Well, think about it Anne. Here’s a book. Why don’t you read that and see what you think.” I read the book, the Psychology of Selling, and I thought, “Oh my gosh. Sales is a learnable skill. I could learn this. Oh, great.” Now, I wanted to find people who had objections because I wanted to practice these skills.
Then, I did get professional sales training because I think you need a coach. You need a mentor. You need somebody, especially as you’re learning. You need someone to help you make course corrections as you’re going. This mentor, his name’s [Erik Lothhome 00:24:13], Erik was a life-saver for me. I just remember, within six months of doing, starting with him that I landed my first big deal on my own without waiting for people to find me on the Internet. I actually went out and found the business. That was thrilling to me. It was exciting to me, because I was like, “Oh my goodness. This stuff really works.” I mean it was just such a revelation. I still, to this day, I have sales coaches. I don’t coach with Erik anymore, but I have other sales coaches because I’m still in process. I’m still on a journey.
I still sometimes get afraid of rejection, and I find myself not wanting to ask for the order. Then, I have to remind myself that it’s just fear. If I’m taken them through a process, which is something that I now teach, I take people through a process. Then, it’s really a disservice if I don’t ask them to spend their money. I mean it’s like leading a horse to water and then saying, “Okay. Well, whatever,” you know?
Melinda Wittstock: Well, what I find so interesting about all of this is that everybody who gets good at something has usually been bad at it at one point.
Anna Scheller: I know.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? Everybody, I love this story, and thank you for sharing it because this is one of the main things that stops people from succeeding as entrepreneurs because they try maybe a couple times, maybe a little bit half-heartedly and doesn’t work out, so they think, “Oh, I can’t do this.” They give up, whereas in fact, often, the thing in our lives that’s the void or the thing that we struggle with can sometimes be where our actual super power lies, you know? If not, you hire that, right?
Anna Scheller: Yeah, right?
Melinda Wittstock: Something like sales though is critical to master at the early, the solopreneur phase of entrepreneurship. When you’re just starting out because at that point, you can’t really hire a sales person unless you’re bootstrapping. You have a co-founder that’s working with you and is really great at it, and is going to go on commission only or something like that. Obviously, as you grow your business and that kind of thing, you can start to, yes, hire your weaknesses. If sales is a weakness, double down on your strength if it’s something else, but every founder really needs to know this. The clue here is as you said, get a coach, and that’s absolutely right. We all need coaches. I have coaches. I coach. I’ve always had that going on in my life.
To be successful, it’s absolutely mandatory, so what do you recommend for women, say, who are at the fairly early stages of their business, perhaps their pre-revenue or perhaps they have revenue but they’re stuck on that start-up sticky floor, or they just can’t quite get into the six figures. They can’t quite get beyond that, or maybe they’re stuck in the low six figures. They’re trying to get to a million, and they’re just in overwhelm. They can’t quite box their way out of it. Obviously, revenue is the solution to that problem. What do you suggest they do? What are some of the first steps that they should take to really get better at sales?
Anna Scheller: Well, I mean what started with me was get a book to get your juices going. There are … I really strongly encourage mentorship because I’ve heard it said before that if you want to make a million bucks, you need to hook your wagon to somebody who’s made a million dollars because they know the ins and the outs. They know how to guide you and to lead you. The other thing I think, Melinda, is, and this is something that I teach and I’ve helped other people. I’ve helped people overcome the fear of, I can talk a good talk. I can get them to the point of we’ve got good rapport. We talk. I know what they need, but I’m afraid to ask. I help people build a process that works for them to lead customers so that when it’s time to ask for money, when it’s time to ask for the close, it’s natural. It’s not like some kind of forced, scripted event. This momentous thing, it’s all part of the natural process of working with somebody and helping them achieve their goals.
Then, I honestly believe, so that’s two. Find a coach. Get a good book, and work on yourself. You got to work on yourself because the things that most often hold us back, like you’ve been saying throughout the podcast, is it’s our own mindset. It’s out own thinking about money and sales that really tends to hold us back. We have to work on ourselves so that we can step out and do those things. It’s uncomfortable at first. There’s no doubt about it. I mean I remember the first time I forced myself too. My mouth was so dry. I mean it was practically cotton in my mouth, but I told myself, “You know, I got to do this anyway.” Amazingly, the person said yes. I was like, “Oh, okay.” I shouldn’t have acted so surprised, but I was. Yeah, those are the things to do. You’ve got to get training. Read books and work on yourself.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, so if there was a book that you would pick up first, what would it be? What’s you go-to?
Anna Scheller: My go-to is The Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins.
Melinda Wittstock: Okay.
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: What makes that stand out? What does he teach that’s game-changing for you?
Anna Scheller: He talks about the mindset, but he also talks about the ways that he’s helped other people to really get clear on how they want to lead people through sales because again, it’s a process of leading. He gives some really game-changing ideas. Everybody knows that we need to ask questions, but sometimes, we’re really not sure what kinds of questions to ask. He does a little thing in his book where he talks about how to lead people to share what they know that you need to know by asking certain kinds of questions to get them moving. That sticks with me a lot because I think, “Okay. If I’m not getting anywhere in this conversation, what are the questions I’m missing? What are the questions I need to start asking to get them to share with me what their concerns are?” Tom just does a really, really good job of leading people in how to think through that process throughout the whole book. It’s an easy read too. It’s not a difficult read. It’s a good read. It’s a great primer, I think, for sales.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s funny. One of my investors had me do a really interesting training once. He challenged me to go out and get as many “no’s” as I could, which was counter-intuitive but absolutely liberating because if it was okay to get a no, it meant that I was actually asking.
Anna Scheller: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: A lot of people never actually ask for the sales, so they get it up to the point where, and this was something that I was doing years ago in an enterprise software, the circumstance where I had a lot of different people to bring along into the sale from C-suite through to the people who would actually be using it. It was a very, very complicated sale, very, very long lead time. You’d have to read all the politics of all the people. It wasn’t just a one-on-one sale. It was hard.
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, because it takes a lot of time. Meanwhile, you’re a software entrepreneur. You’re running out of cash in one way and trying to get investment. It’s pretty tense, right? You get your heart in your hands, and on some level, you’re a little bit … You start to get a little bit desperate because you think, “Oh my God. If I don’t close this, I’m not going to be able to pay so-and-so or whatever,” and so you walk into that room burdened down with the weight of all of that. For me, it was really important to liberate myself from that, to not go in with any attachment to outcome was one of the things, right, which is hard when you need the money, right?
Anna Scheller: Well, you know, I like how you said that. We have to detach ourselves from the outcome. You’re so right. That is so difficult, especially when there’s so much on the line. I mean I’m actually currently negotiating a huge, huge deal. This is probably the biggest deal of my career. There’s so much on the line, and I had to pull myself back and go, “Okay. It’s going to be all right. Breathe. Breathe.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right, yeah, just breathe and just not put … I don’t know, but it’s tricky. I mean it’s a real mindset issue there. It is challenging. There’s no way that it’s not challenging, but changing the mindset, so when he said to me, “Hey, look. Go get as many “no’s” as possible,” it was liberating.
Anna Scheller: Yeah, yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right?
Anna Scheller: It is.
Melinda Wittstock: Because it meant that I was actually asking, and as I began to get better at that sales process, getting them to a point where you would say, “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t do this?”
Anna Scheller: You know, the more you ask, the funny thing is that process, I had to … My mentor told me the same thing. Go get as many “no’s” as you can, and the funny thing was, as I was having difficulty not because I was asking but apparently, I had a decent enough sales process that people were saying yes. I was like, “Oh, okay.”
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, well, I was supposed to get a no.
Anna Scheller: I was supposed … Yeah, it was supposed to be a no.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, that started to happen to me too because the “no’s” started to turn to yes at a certain point.
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I forgot how long it took, but I think going in, it’s good to get a ‘no’ meant that I didn’t care about asking. Then, it had the effect of dis-attaching me from the outcome. I think that’s what changed the game. Then, the more people started saying yes, the more I started to really start to believe in the value of what I’d created and the value I was providing the market, and so then, things started to turn around in that scenario.
Anna Scheller: Right, and you learn from each time you got a ‘no’, you learned something. You went back and go, “Okay. What did I say? What did I do?” Maybe it was something you did. It may not have been. It might not have been the right time for them.
Melinda Wittstock: It might have been your product. You might be a great sales person with a product that is great, but it just doesn’t fit the market need, right? I mean there’s so many different dynamics. One of the things that I see a lot of founders do, particularly technology companies and other product companies is build the thing that they love, but they don’t get it out and test it with their customers or potential customers early enough to find out if there is actually a product market fit, because I swear, if you’re solving someone’s serious problem, they will be buying from you.
Anna Scheller: Yeah, yeah, absolutely, and I think you’re right. I think we fall in love with our own ideas, so we build a product based on what we like. Then, we try to fit that to other people when in actuality, we need to find what the need is and fit the product to the need. Sometimes, we can. Maybe we can make a course correction. Maybe we can alter it. We can modify, but sometimes, we just have to say, “Well, that was a good try. Let’s do something different.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right, right. Well, there’s so many different dynamics, and so being curious and listening. I find, the best sales people are really good listeners. Do you agree with that?
Anna Scheller: Absolutely, yeah. I think the biggest … I keep this right where I can see it every day, and it says, “Your success comes in the people you meet, the questions you ask and the problems you solve.” When you ask questions, especially when we’re nervous in sales, we tend to interfere or interrupt the thinking process of our client by jumping in too soon with another question or a solution or an explanation. When we are listening, there’s so much that goes on there. There’s so many powerful dynamics. One, and correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re showing respect to the person, giving them your undivided attention, listening carefully to what their concerns are so that you can understand them better.
Two, you’re giving them the opportunity to really express what’s going on in their own head so that they can think through what their need is, and you actually are helping them find out what they’re looking for, which is a really powerful way to sell because now, you’re not selling. They’re selling themselves. I mean it’s such a powerful tool. It creates connection. It creates all kinds of rapport. Most of all, it gives you information to help you help your customer. Even if you don’t close the sale, I’ve had many times where I didn’t end up closing a sale, but somebody recommended me because of the way I treated their customer. They said, “Oh, I can’t help you, but Anna can,” and so I ended up getting people through that listening process, through showing respect to the client and being honest about what I could or couldn’t do, but yeah. Listening is so powerful. It’s so important in selling.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh. Thank you for that. I want you to repeat that one more time, the three things, because it’s so, so important. I want everyone to hear it.
Anna Scheller: Okay, so the first one is that you’re being present and showing great respect to the client. They want to know their value. You’re showing them the value. Two, you are giving them the opportunity to express themselves so that they can help discover for themselves what it is they’re really looking for. That, in turn, gives you the information that you need to help them, and whether you close the sale or not, you’re going to be more likely to close the sale that way. You’re going to feel good about it, because now you’ve made that personal connection with them. But, yeah, those are … Listening is so important. And I’m trying to remember, did I catch all three?
Melinda Wittstock: Well, you mentioned something that you keep on your desk or on your computer.
Anna Scheller: Oh, okay. Yes, yes. Let me say that again.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes.
Anna Scheller: Success comes from the people you meet, the questions you ask, and the problems you solve.
Melinda Wittstock: Love it. That’s vital. Ever entrepreneur needs to look at that and say that out loud and look in the mirror and say it to yourself every day multiple times. Because that’s really what it comes down to. I love the simplicity and the elegance of that, because that’s entrepreneurship, right there.
Anna Scheller: It is. And taking this back to women in sales if I can for just a moment, Melinda, it used to be that I thought that I needed to be money-oriented in order to be successful. I have to have so much revenue coming in and so much this and so much that and so much money in the bank, and so many contracts and this. When I changed my focus to people, it was a real game-changer for me. Because now, I’ve realized my goal is to reach out and find as many people as I can help. And then the financial goals tend to take care of themselves. So when I focus on people and helping people, the worry about money goes away. The angst about asking for money goes away. It’s natural for me to share with people what I can do for them. They actually come to me now and say, “What can you do for us?” I’m amazed. I’m totally amazed.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s wonderful. Well, after all, people do buy from people that they know and that they like and they trust.
Anna Scheller: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: One of the things I wanted to ask you, though, is the number of touches to the sale. So it’s always been sort of seven. And now, people say it’s more like 11. I think it’s until there’s a restraining order taken out on you.
Anna Scheller: I love it! Yes! Yes, yes. I think it really depends. I’m getting ready to start a mastermind with a friend of mine that she does the marketing piece and I teach the sales piece. And I love marketing because marketing becomes the beginning of those touches to get people to start inquiring and finding you. And so those touches can count, but I think when it’s in the actual sales conversation, Melinda, I think it really is going to depend on the need of the customer. It’s going to depend on where they’re at in the chain of command, so to speak. If they’re C-suite, you don’t want to be bugging them too much. If it’s the procurement clerk that’s having to make sales decisions, you can be talking to them a whole lot more. There’s so many variables. And I think this is where our women’s intuition is a very valuable thing, because I can sense when I need to press forward, and I can sense when I need to back away a little bit, and I can trust it.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh. I mean, that’s so important, just trusting our intuition. And that’s a really interesting thing, too, when women … We need coaches and we all talk about needing coaches. We can sometimes be a little bit over-coached, though, in the sense that-
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: … if we lose ourselves, or actually, really what I mean by losing ourselves is losing touch with that intuition. Because in any given situation, you’re there and you need to be able to think on your feet. I always think of it in terms of how can I make this person’s day better: If they buy my product or service or whatever, I mean, what’s going to change in their day? Are they going to be happier? Is it going to be easier for them? What is the actual benefit? Because, I mean, so much of that motivates the decision to buy your thing or someone else’s thing at the end of the day. It’s a very personal thing. Of course, when people sell kind of information products or sell on the internet, it’s a little bit harder to get that kind of connection. So you have to do different things.
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: You have to try and be able to do that with personalizing messages on social media, being very authentic in the way that you show up in a marketing context, to be able to get to that know, like, trust. But it’s the same rules, it’s just a slightly different dynamic.
Anna Scheller: Right. And especially if we’re reaching to a customer, I love what you said about how am I going to make their day better? And also, we can think about their bigger circle. How is by making their day better going to make the people in their circle better? Because a lot of times, we make decisions based on how it’s going to affect the others that we engage with. Our customers, our families. How is that going to better their lives in that respect? And if we can reach out and we can give those benefits in that larger circle, it increases the know, like, and trust factor 100 times. And it tends to make for a customer for life. You’re getting beyond one person. You’re getting into how they’re impacting, and it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. I love to see that when I’m able to not just impact the person but impact their circles, their customers, the people that they love and care for.
Melinda Wittstock: So let’s go back in time a little bit, Anne. I’m curious about your story. I mean, you started your business from home as a mom. So there you are, juggling a lot of stuff. Kind of what motivated you? What was the thing that said, “Oh, god, I’ve got to go out on my own. I’ve got to do my own thing,”?
Anna Scheller: Seven kids.
Melinda Wittstock: You have seven kids?
Anna Scheller: I have seven children, yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, and I thought two and a golden retriever were a handful. And so how on Earth … How old are they?
Anna Scheller: My baby just turned 17 this year, just got her license, actually, last week. And then I have a 20-year-old son, a 22 I think she is … Yeah, I think she’s 22. Anyway, a 22-year-old daughter, a 26-year-old son, a 28-year-old son, a 30-year-old daughter, and a 32-year-old daughter. So they range in age from 32 all the way down to 17 about two to three years apart.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, wow. And so, okay, so how old were they when you started out?
Anna Scheller: Oh, I think Sarah was around … She must have been around 16. Yeah. She was about 16 years old when I got started in business. And again, I just thought it was something I could do part-time and do from my home, so I pretty much worked from home probably … I worked from home for the first 10 years of our business so that I could be home with the kids and be available to them. But that was a real struggle because when my customers needed me, it was easy to put the kids and like, “Don’t bother me, leave me alone.” So there were still the struggles of trying to balance and juggle family and business, and then having time for myself. You have to take time for yourself. And I learned the hard way that was really important, because I just got to the point I was so exhausted that I didn’t care what happened anymore. And a very wise person came alongside of me and said, “You’ve got to reverse course or you’re not going to be in a good place really soon. You’re not in a good place now. It’s going to get worse.”
So, yeah, I actually had employees working in my house for a few years, and then we moved out into a building about five years ago. So.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness. Well, congratulations on that. I started a business, gosh, my daughter was six weeks old. I don’t know what I was thinking. I remember running around the US Capitol Building, , with a breast pump in one bag and then my reporter kit in another because in the first year, there were just three of us, and I was doing everything. I was doing …
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: … I was raising money, I was doing the sales, I was doing stories. I was all of it, and I was just a basket case. And the second year, we had a staff of 12, and then the thing kind of grew in scale pretty quickly from there, but it was just crazy. And I think the funniest thing was I was interviewing, who was it, I think it was Senator Patty Murray of Washington State, and I was at the end of a really, really long day, and I pulled out what I thought was my microphone, and it was just funny. You have podcasts, too, you’ve got two of them, so you know about this.
Anyway, so I pulled out what I thought was my microphone, and it was actually my breast pump little funnel thing, right? And what was even funnier is that I had no idea. I was so tired that I didn’t even know, and I was pointing it at her, and she was laughing at me, and I’m like, “Why are you laughing?” That’s a US senator just cracking up. It was pretty funny.
So I know a thing or two about doing that, but I think, god, seven kids. Well, you see, here’s the wonderful thing for women who are entrepreneurs with kids. There’s something about our brains that we’re able to do this. I don’t think a guy could do it.
Anna Scheller: Yeah. I don’t think so, either. I mean, just one day my husband looked at me, this is long before I had business, but I just I was very busy, and at that time, I think we only had, only had, four. So-
Melinda Wittstock: Only four?
Anna Scheller: Only four. Only four. And people who say, “Oh, I hear that after the third one, it gets easier,” it’s a lie, it’s a lie. It is not true.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my god. Because I guess it could be even the dynamics between the kids as they’re growing up and all of that stuff, right? Because-
Anna Scheller: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And I just remember one day I had … I don’t recommend it anymore, but that day, I just was going from thing to thing to thing to thing and I was actually being pretty efficient, and my husband just stood in the kitchen looking at me going, “I don’t know how you do it. I just don’t know how you do it.” And I was like, “Don’t mess with me now. I’m in a groove. Just leave me alone.”
Melinda Wittstock: Well, okay, but this is a really interesting thing, is that … And this is a really curious thing about us, because on one hand, it’s amazing that we can do everything until it’s not. Because I think because we can, we do, and then it stands in the way of us being able to scale a business. Because we get so used to I can do it all that I mean, you can’t. I mean, if you want to get to a million dollars in revenue, you cannot do it all yourself. I don’t care who you are.
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: You really need help. Not only the coaches and mentors, but you need to start to hire people, and you need to get-
Anna Scheller: You do.
Melinda Wittstock: … out of the way, and you need time for yourself and solitude. You need to spend time working on your business, not in it. All that kind of stuff. So it’s an interesting paradigm. It’s great for moms to start businesses, but unless we can kind of shift-
Anna Scheller: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: … out of that I’m going to do it all thing, and instead just think about having it all not by doing it all-
Anna Scheller: Oh, that-
Melinda Wittstock: You can have it all without doing it all, yeah?
Anna Scheller: Well, I think you have to … And I think this is a big struggle. I think it’s a struggle for men, too, but I see it particularly in women entrepreneurs, because we almost feel responsible to get it all done. I think it comes out of maybe our roles as mothers and wives, as spouses. Whatever roles we play. And maybe when we were in the regular workforce, we were treated that way. I mean, I was in the Air Force, and they just expected that I just did wonderful things. And the problem was, I did. I mean, I did great things in the Air Force when I was in there.
But, like you said, you have to learn … And this is even tough for me, and I want to scale my business, and I have to learn to let go and let other people do their job. And I just kind of want to get in there and fix everything. And it’s not easy, but it’s really important that we first recognize it and then if you have to, get somebody to help you pull back. Again, a coach will see that and they’ll help you pull back so that you can do the scaling, you can grow your business to the heights that you’re looking for, and you can impact more people with the solutions you have to make their lives better.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh gosh. So, so true. What a delight talking to you, Anna. I feel like we could talk about a lot more, so you’ll have to come back on.
Anna Scheller: Thank you. Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: So Anna, I want to make sure that people can find you and work with you, and first, you’ve got two podcasts. How can people find them and subscribe and download and review and do all those good things for you?
Anna Scheller: Oh, thank you for asking. The first one, which is what I got started in podcasting with, is Black Belt Selling. So I mentioned earlier that I’m a black belt. My daughter and I co-host the show, and it’s all focused around self-development marketing, sales, anything having to do with helping you grow your business, and it’s very entrepreneur-friendly. And you can find that, go to my website, AnneScheller.com/podcast. Black Belt Selling is there, and it’s also on Spreaker. But go to my website first. I’d appreciate that.
And then the other one that we just now are getting up on iTunes is Sales Mastery. So Sales Mastery is what I do, and I focus a lot on what do we need to do, what do we need to keep practicing, what do we need to do to become a master in the journey of becoming a better salesperson? And as an entrepreneur myself, I tend to lean very much toward entrepreneurship, but I interview great people with tremendous insights, and I also do instructive episodes, as well, to help people really focus on mastery as a journey, not as a destination. And that can be found on iTunes.
Melinda Wittstock: And so people can also find you to work with you on your website. And do you have any special offers for our listeners today?
Anna Scheller: I actually do. So if somebody is struggling in sales, they can go to my website and click to book a free consult. But if you’re not really familiar with me and you would really like to get to know me a little bit more first, I’m happy to let you do that. So go to bit.ly/31salestips, and there you can sign up for my newsletter, and then for the next 31 days, you will get a free sales tip, something to help you stay the journey. And that’s a great way to get to know me as a sales trainer, and for me to get to know you. So go to bit.ly/31salestips and sign up for my newsletter and start getting those tips in your inbox every single day.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Anna Scheller: Thank you for having me.