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Irresistible Sales Culture | Stories With Traction Podcast


SUMMARY: In this episode, Lyndsay Dowd and Matt Zaun discuss how leaders can create an irresistible sales culture.

LYNDSAY DOWD BIO: Lyndsay is a speaker, and coach to executive leadership teams, where she shows them how to build an irresistible sales culture that drives results.

For more info, check out Lyndsay here |


Questions Save Lives with Robert Berry 
Yes, and…with Chris Bogue

MATT ZAUN BIO: Matt is an award-winning speaker and storyteller who empowers organizations to attract more clients through the art of strategic storytelling. Matt’s past engagements have catalyzed radical sales increases for over 300 organizations that range from financial institutions to the health and wellness industry.

Matt shares his expertise in persuasion with executives, sales professionals, and entrepreneurs, who he coaches on the art of influence and how to leverage this for profits and impact.

For more info, check out Matt Zaun here:



*Below is an AI-generated transcript, which may contain errors.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

Today, we're going to talk about one of my favorite topics in all the world, which is sales, how to position you and your organization to radically increase sales today, I am joined by Lindsey Dowd.

She is a speaker and coach to executive leadership teams, where she shows them how to build a dynamic sales culture that drives results.

Welcome Lindsey.


Lyndsay Dowd

Hey, thanks, Matt.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

Happy to be here. Well, thanks for your time today. I really appreciate it. I think the topic you teach is a need, not a luxury, but an absolute need, especially today.

And one of the things that I've seen that it's kind of horrifying to me. I don't think a lot of leaders are talking about it is due to the pandemic.

And working from home, people have actually Actually gone backwards as it comes to communication, right? So they're, they're not connecting.

And then now we have an economy that's radically changing. So you had companies that were flushed with cash based on circumstances due to the pandemic.

Now they actually need to sell their sales force, their communication skills have gone down and now they need to sell.

So it's the perfect storm. So what you do is an absolute need. Are you seeing this more and more where companies are going from, Oh, wow, we actually have to get out there and actually provide value to our clients again.


Lyndsay Dowd

Of course, of course. And I think you teed it up well. I mean, we saw this, um, incredible change in the business landscape during the great resignation and the pandemic.

Um, we saw people leaving their jobs because. They just were fed up. They didn't want to be treated poorly anymore.

They wanted to be valued and seen, and they were demanding change from their leadership. And so a lot of companies got their hands forced.

They lost really good people. And, um, I always like to say, you know, if you continue to not value your people and you continue to ignore them and just expect from them without giving back, you're breeding a great culture of mediocrity because your top performers will leave and the top performers are always looking for new gigs.

So it's really forced leaders to take a different approach to leadership. And I call them power skills, Matt. They used to be called soft skills, but power skills are really a tenant of leadership.

This is no longer optional. This is no longer, you know, when I have, I talked to a leader and they say, you know, I don't have time for one-on-ones.

I want to stop them in their tracks and say, you have to make time for one-on-ones. And in sales, the first thing we do is focus on the client and that's appropriate.

It's the right thing to do. But you have to take care of your people and sales is. is such a high pressure environment.

We've got quotas, we've got deadlines. And if you ask any sales leader, it's the most important deal and the most important week and the most important month, the most important quarter of the most important half, important year of your life.

And that kind of pressure doesn't go away. So even when you win a big deal, the next one is still there waiting for you.

So how do you take care of your people in a way that inspires them, that encourages them to give you their best and to create best practices and take calculated risks that are gonna matter.

And I have so many stories that I can share and examples of what this looks like and how to do it.

But that was a whole lot of answers to your question.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

No, I love that. And I also really appreciate you mentioning the culture word. So I wanna talk about that, unpack that with you, especially the verbiage culture of mediocrity.

So one of the things that I love studying people, like I... I obsessed over sociology, psychology, philosophy in school.

I love studying what makes people tech and an interesting observation to me. So one of the advantages I have, um, over, I guess the normal common person is traveling all over the country.

I've spoken to now almost every U S state, numerous industries, numerous entities, and I get to hear from a lot of business leaders, sales representatives.

So I really know different the pulse, so to speak of different companies. What was amazing to me is in 2020 and 2021, when I mentioned that C word, that culture, where no one cared.

Yep. Because they were flush with cash. In fact, when I started talking about a sales culture through the power of strategic storytelling, which is what I teach, no one cared.

And then right around Q3 of 2022, every leader started putting culture in their vernacular. Everyone was talking about culture.

So now. Oh, they went from, oh, shoot, we cannot continue to make the amount of money. We have been based on a mediocre culture.

Now they want to go from mediocre culture to exceptional culture, and they have no idea how to go from point a to point B.

So for leaders that unfortunately were resting too long, what would be some things that you'd recommend they do to start that spark to get them to where you get them?

What would you recommend?


Lyndsay Dowd

It's such an easy question, Matt. And I think the thing that I love to explain to leaders is nothing I teach is ripping a house down to the studs.

It's taking what's working, building on that, but then there's adding new practices and adding things that are really, really simple.

And one of them is one of my favorites. And I did this myself when I was leading a team and it's asking your people the question, how can I be the best leader for you?

And when you ask that question first, it's a humbling question. You are admitting you don't know everything. And that's hard for a lot of people.

But the thing that happens when you ask that, all of a sudden you're building trust. You are establishing a connection that's different from before, but you're gonna get different answers from everyone you ask.

And that's gonna be based on tenure and experience and career goals and what they're actually doing in their job.

And the beauty of that is when you understand, okay, this one needs more training. This one needs someone to role play with them.

This one only needs an escalation point. I gotta get out of her way. You are able to be a much more dynamic leader.

But the other thing that it gives you, it's almost a happiness gauge. So if your leader taps you on the shoulder and says, what's going on on your team?

Hey, you're gonna know. You're gonna be able to say, I've got a flight risk. This one needs more training.

I need an increased training budget. This one, I think she maybe doesn't understand her job. I'd really like to get her a ment.

and this one, he's just got a bad attitude overall. And I think maybe we've got to put him in a different role, but you all of a sudden have information that you didn't have before.

And like I said before in sales, it's a fast paced climate. So leaders make the mistake of thinking they don't have time for this, but what they get by doing this is so much more important.

And if you don't mind, I'd love to just tell you a tiny story of what a difference this makes.

I had a leader who I adored and she was a new boss to me. She was a friend and someone I knew for many years and she became my boss and I had a very large client.

We're talking like $150 million quota. And this client was, oh my God, there was so much involved. And I was telling her what I was working on.

And I said, you know, I'm doing this, I'm doing that. I'm doing this. She goes, girl, I've got your back, now fly.

And those words were so goose bump worthy then. Still are now when I say them back, but what that gave me was this fire and this purpose.

And I took my huge team of 55 plus people and said, Hey guys, we've got an opportunity to think differently.

We've got a way to reach back out to the client in ways we haven't done before. What else can we do?

How can we think differently? And I was able to do that because I had her support and I was able to take risks because I thought, okay, she knows what I'm doing.

She knows I'm thinking outside the box and she likes it. So when you have an opportunity to tell the people that were hired for jobs, that you trust them, that they are capable of the jobs they were hired for, you're going to get back a really wonderful response.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

It's amazing what happens when we actually empower our people, isn't that like when we empower someone there's so much momentum that could happen.

Thank you for sharing that. So I do, I love that question that you mentioned, how can I be the best leader?

Questions unbelievably powerful. I actually did an episode with a gentleman named Robert Berry, and the episode is questions save lives.

It's very, very powerful, right? Because the questions we ask, there's so much that can. He up an environment based on those questions, but I do want to unpack this question.

Okay. So how can I be the best leader for you? So there are some leaders listening to this that fortunately, or unfortunately they would need to swallow their pride a little bit to ask that question.


Lyndsay Dowd



Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

One of the dangers that I see, and maybe you could help us out through this so you can coach us through this.

One of the dangers that I see happening is someone asking that question, very powerful question. Yeah. And the person receiving that question doesn't really know how to respond.

So would you recommend the leader coming up with maybe three or five categories of a response, like training and, you know, fill in the gaps or, or should they just

blindly ask the question. I'm curious.


Lyndsay Dowd

I think you bring up a great point, Matt. And I think that is such a disarming question and likely a question that people haven't heard before.

So it is natural for someone to be like, Oh my God, I don't know, I need to think about it.

And if that's the response say, okay, cool. But I really do want you to give it some thought. Cause it's something I want to work on.

I want to make sure I'm being the best leader for you. So give them time, let them come back in a week, let them come back for your next scheduled one-on-one, but you definitely need a response.

And if they can't give you a response that's cause for concern. And then you're right. Let's serve up some options.

Do you feel like you want a career in management? What do you think you want to do next? Now, personally, if you think that this person can't respond to that question, they're probably not looking for career in management, but, um, by offering some questions, further questions of, do you feel like you have a really good grasp of what your role

Do you feel like there's anything else that you need to improve on with your skills? You know, most companies have a training budget and you should be taking advantage of that.

A lot of leaders get very worried about if I put you into training, it takes you out of the field.

But most really good salespeople and most really good employees don't let that stop them. And they do get their work done.

But you're right. There's a lot of ways to navigate through that question. You do need answers and the companies that do this and do it well, the C-suite's in a position to tap any leader on the shoulder at any time and say, how are we doing?

What's going on in the field? And that is really incredible value. You know, people put a lot of emphasis on these employee surveys and it's been my experience that you get about half of the population that respond, maybe 60%.

And the people that are pretty disgruntled either they're really mad and they pan them. Or there's that middle group of people that's just kind of unhappy and they're uninspired and maybe they're real quiet on team calls.

Maybe they were once really vocal and now they're not anymore. Those are warning signs. Those are things that you should pay attention to and you should really dig under that and that's why this question and offering this process can be really valuable.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

Yeah, I would venture to say, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I would venture to say if it's really difficult for the leader to ask that question, or if it's really difficult for the team member to respond to that question, there might be.

Other issues. Well, there might be, yeah, true. But like I'm thinking more like communication challenges. Like if they're, if they're really having those one-on-ones regularly, they're, they're connecting, they're talking on a regular basis.

Those should be easy or easier questions to ask and response or an easier question.


Lyndsay Dowd

There's a really great question. This is an easy one. Tell me what you love about it. about this job, tell me what you loved about the jobs you had before.

And when you hear them talking about the things that fuel them, and you hear them bringing up the things that they're passionate about, A, you're going to see a different side to that employee, and all of a sudden you're going to say, oh my gosh, I didn't know, you love doing analytics so much, I'm sure I'm going to have some analytics stuff, I would love to share that with you and ask for your help.

There's a way to use delegation of tasks and of projects and of things that you need to do in a really positive way.

So by understanding what they love, you're in a position to help guide them on their career path.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

Sure, absolutely. And that goes back to those power skills, right? Just the communication, I love that. The power, I'm going to, that's so cool to flip it, right?

So outside of communication, what are some things right now that you're seeing sales teams struggle with right now on the marketplace?


Lyndsay Dowd

What would be some things that you could immediately identify? So this is an easy one and I know it's...

It's near to your heart as it is mine, but people forget, sellers forget, that as soon as they work with a new client or they get a new name of someone to call, the first thing that client does is go and look them up on LinkedIn.

And so many of us don't take advantage of what LinkedIn has become. And I don't care if you're an entrepreneur or you're a diehard corporate person that, like I was, I was in corporate for 23 years, more than that, 25 years, 23 of them were at IBM.

I only went to LinkedIn when I was mad. I only went out there and treated it like an online resume and it's really a platform for expertise.

And so establishing a voice, establishing a position is a really important way to show up. It's going to make you more interesting to your clients and it's certainly going to help give your company credibility.

And I think that's a mistake that comes. companies make, uh, I teach a class on this, Matt, and I love to talk to corporate, um, employees who haven't used LinkedIn in a really long time, or they don't know what to do with it.

And, you know, when you share the power of what's in there and how you navigate and how you show up, um, it's a game changer for them.

So that's an easy one to get started with. Um, I think, you know, when you also are engaging with your client, if you are going out and looking at your client, who you're about to work with, and maybe they're a reasonably active person on LinkedIn, start commenting on their posts, start engaging with their posts, don't just like it, don't just say great post, but explain why you like it, explain why it resonates for you.

And you know what, when you show up for that initial customer call, you talk about what they've been doing.

You talk about their posts and the things that they're being active about. It's a compliment. It's showing them that you're paying attention.

And there's an amazing sales leader out on LinkedIn. Her name's Samantha McKenna. She has something called show me, you know me.

And whenever you go out and you are demonstrating that you've done your homework, you understand who this person is, you see what they love to talk about.

And you're commenting on that. You are always going to have a much better reception than just a cold, hi, I'm Lindsay from so and so company.

And you owe me a conversation. Like nobody owes you anything. So show up and start from a place of service and compliments.

And, you know, I love what you're saying because.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

Yeah. So there's a lot to unpack with what you said. All right. So I want to, I want to dig a little bit deeper and I also want to challenge leaders listening that might think LinkedIn is beneath them.

Okay. One of the, one of the things that I've seen, not, not overwhelmingly, but I do see this is especially when you're, you go into a company and there's C-suite in the room.

They have massive organizations that they're running. And for whatever reason, they think branding is beneath them. So I always like to challenge them in this way.

I mentioned earlier, I used to obsess about studying people, different elements of psychology, sociology, what makes people tick. And of course I've studied Steve jobs over the years, right?

He is a storytelling master for CEO to get up on stage and really share stories very, very powerful. And I will tell you, Steve jobs, an individual that everyone knows built one of the most profitable companies in human history.

Right. Branding and marketing was not beneath them. In fact, he took a very active role in the stories, the messages, how to brand different aspects of products.

So I just, I love challenging leaders. If you think social media is beneath you, and it's just something that you can delegate everything to, to third party outlets or other other departments, it's, it's going to be dangerous because people can't share your stories the same way you personally can.

You're missing that opportunity. I love what you said. Show me, you know, me a lot of CEOs, they don't even know their people anymore.

They've lost that, that gauge on not only their clients, but their people LinkedIn as a way to supercharge that just going into comments, scrolling and seeing how people are positioning their stories and messages.

How are they saying something? Plus you can get immediate feedback, meaning you post a story. You're going to get some comments or it's going to go nowhere.

You can mix that one story, the story that does their stories. I'll post that they go, they do exceptionally well.

I thought it was going to go like do okay. They do exceptionally well. That's what I'm going to use in my sales pipeline strategy.

That's what I'm going to use to enhance my marketing.


Lyndsay Dowd

That's what I'm going to use company culture wise. So I love that you mentioned LinkedIn. Hmm. That's an easy one.

And I think too, there's a really simple practice that companies can use. And I love when I see this happening.

If you have a new employee joining a company, the easiest thing to do is to welcome them. and to encourage your team to welcome them publicly.

I think, first of all, it makes a new hire feel amazing. But second, it encourages your team to be more active and to see what's going on out there.

I think an easy way for people to get started, because LinkedIn can seem intimidating if you haven't been out there, go out to some of the hashtags.

If you're in supply chain, look up the hashtag supply chain. See what the greatest voices are saying about it.

Engage with that content. Read the articles, share the articles, comment on it. It's an easy way. You're not posting.

You're just engaging. And what also happens when you do that, I always say, don't do it for the likes.

You do it because it's coming from your heart. It's something you resonate with, and you're explaining why, and your following will grow.

Your impressions will grow. Your engagement will grow. And that's just a real easy, organic way to do it.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

And it goes against the call. Culture of mediocrity, right? Touting new, new team members. It's going to create more of that vibrant company culture that you're talking about.


Lyndsay Dowd

Where do you think AI takes content creation on LinkedIn? It's so funny. There's so much talk about this going on right now, and I'm seeing it on local news.

I'm seeing it on LinkedIn, you know, and there's not just one flavor. It's not just chat GPT. There's, there's tons of them out there right now.

I think my feeling with creating content is I like it to come from me. I do a lot of videos.

So for me, it's me talking and it's, I do a lot of short, you know, one minute videos. I don't really think you can create that from using chat GPT or one of those applications.

However, I do think it's really fascinating when you put in some of the parameters and the voice that you want.

to be speaking, to see what it pulls out. So from a research perspective and from a looking for content inspiration, if you say something like, write me an article about sales culture in the voice of a CEO, it's going to be really interesting what you see back.

So from looking at it from that perspective, I think it can be really useful. I think with everything, it's moderation.

You can't do all. And I think the other thing that the lesson that I've learned is we've all heard the niche down, niche down, you know, focus on your person, focus on your audience and really understand who that is.

I think this can really distract from that and you can end up going in a lot of different directions.

I have a friend who uses it regularly and I really don't know what the hell he's selling. He's... He's peddling something different every week.

And I don't understand if he's just trying to create hooks or if he's just trying to create controversial posts and he does get a lot of likes on these posts.

So I don't think it's helping. I just think his, his content's kind of all over the map. So you gotta be careful.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

Yeah. You, you brought up a couple of good points. One I've seen that too, or I don't really know what the person does, what they stand for.

That's been a problem.


Lyndsay Dowd

But also I appreciate you mentioning video.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

My prediction and we know how predictions go, right? I've been, I've been wrong about predictions before, so maybe I'll be very wrong about this, but I do see this trending in this direction is copywriting, meaning writing that a lot of people do on LinkedIn to me, copywriting prompts and action, right?

What, what, whatever that action is to go to, go to a website, buy a product, buy a service prompts and action for those people listening that they're not familiar with the term copywriting.

Skill takes a very long time to learn. Okay. So very quick, brief history, not to scare anyone. It took me personally 2000 hours of copywriting before I would have considered myself a decent copywriter.

Now I'm naturally a writer. I was a political speech writer for years. I've written hundreds and hundreds of articles over the years.

So when I grabbed a hold of LinkedIn and I learned, Hey, I gotta be a great copywriter. I was writing like crazy.

And I know it's 2000 hours cause it was roughly 15 hours a week for multiple years. I actually tracked it.

So it was 2000. So the reason why I say that is because if you could take most people and you could get them to the position of being great copywriters through chat, GPT, one of the things that's going to happen is it's going to elevate other skillsets.

So one of the skillsets that will be elevated is public speaking is storytelling, right? That strategic storytelling piece. The fact that you're already ahead of it.

the videos that you're doing, it speaks volumes on you understand where it's going. All social media, it doesn't matter what social media outlet you're talking about, it's all trending towards video and image.


Lyndsay Dowd

I think it's even more than that, Matt. I think what I'm seeing, and I love it, on LinkedIn when somebody sends me a message, often I will respond with an audio message.

So, it's my voice and they hear me talking and all of a sudden I'm a lot more personal than just a face and a profile.

But I'm actually seeing people respond with video and I actually love that as a sales tactic, sending a client a video and making it personal, doing the show me, you know me and letting them see you speak.

I have a saying, it's a lot harder to be, I don't know if we can swear here, but it's a lot harder to be, I'll say a jerk to someone after you've met them.

send a video, you are making it harder for someone to be like, screw them. I'm not talking to them.

You're taking time. You're talking about the buyer and you're talking about, you know, who they are, but you're doing it in a really personal way.

And you're saying, I'm letting you see me. And it's, it's a game changer.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

That's awesome. I recently did an episode with a gentleman named Chris Bogue. He was actually a writer for second city improv.

True. And he, the episode is called yes. And the whole premise was how to actually beef up sales through video.

Fascinating stuff that he does, but video is a very powerful medium and it will only become more and more powerful.


Lyndsay Dowd

I will say, I will caution folks because unless you have a massive following like Gary V or Mel Robbins, or, you know, one of these major, major personalities, please do not talk about the laundry.

Don't talk about like how you stubbed your toe. Keep your videos focused. I have some friends out on LinkedIn that will do these four-minute long videos.

I don't even know what they're talking about. Nobody is going to sit and listen to that for four minutes unless they're your parents.

So I just try and keep it tight, try and stay on topic, and think before you film about like what is the point?

What is the action? What's the call to action? What am I trying to get people to do for taking time out of their day listening to this video?


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

I love that you mentioned Mel Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk. So here I have to say this because it's really important is people need to know their target community.

So the ICP, ideal client persona, you could put slash C, ideal client persona slash community. Who is the group of people they're trying to speak to?

And I always have to let people know just because Gary Vaynerchuk, which I respect elements of what he's done, even though he has a massive following, he does have a bombastic communication style.

He does not someone's. target market, so to speak, they should not be speaking like that. Most of the groups I go in and I speak to, they really enjoy, uh, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell.


Lyndsay Dowd

That's more of an academic communication in nature. It's not a bombastic type communicate. So I just, I have to mention that.

No, I think you're spot on and everybody's style is different, but that's what also makes you interesting. And I don't communicate like Gary V.

Um, so I appreciate him for what he is and, and the, the vibe he gives out. It's not something I want to listen to all the time.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

Sure. Yeah. No, I, I appreciate you mentioned that. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time. I very much appreciate it.

I feel like we covered a ton of ground. Um, the three things I will take away the most out of our conversation, Lindsay is you mentioned power skills versus soft skills.

I love that because I think a lot of leaders, they will downplay those soft skills. Power skills. I also appreciate that simple but powerful question you recommend leaders ask, how can I be the best leader for you?

Very powerful. And then the third piece, I really appreciate you mentioning, show me you know me. And a good way people could do that is going on LinkedIn and doing some very basic, brief research on someone.

So I appreciate all of those. I appreciate your time. If people want to get more information on you, what you do, where's the best place they could go to get that information?


Lyndsay Dowd

Sure. Um, my company is called Heartbeat for Hire and my website is heartbeatforhire.com. I'm connected on all the socials out there.

I'm really active on LinkedIn. I also have a podcast that is on YouTube, but you can find everything, all of my links out on my website, so please check it out.


Matt Zaun (mattzaun.com)

Awesome. I will include that in the show notes. People could just click and go find out more about you.

Thank you so much for your time.


Lyndsay Dowd

My pleasure, Matt. Thanks for having me.




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