Sales Balancing Act: Quota, Kids, & Everything Else w/ Brian Smith Jr.

#83: Listen as Brian Smith Jr., Revenue Enablement Manager at Vendition, discusses balancing work-life with home-life in sales. He shares how he managed to overcome specific struggles and offers insight into how to show up for the people that matter.

Listen to the episode by clicking play below OR search “the sales lift” wherever you get podcasts.

Check out the full transcript of this episode below:

The Sales Lift Podcast
Episode #83
Sales Balancing Act: Quota, Kids, & Everything Else w/ Brian Smith Jr.
Hosted by: Tyler Lindley

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[00:00:00] Tyler Lindley: Hey Sales Lift Nation, it's your host, Tyler Lindley. Today, I have my man Brian Smith on the podcast. Hey Brian, how you doing?

Awesome. Excited to have you on Brian is the Revenue Enablement Manager at Vendition. So we worked there together and today we're going to be talking about a topic that's near and dear to book. Art's really talking about balancing your sales career specifically for us, Brian, that needs balancing being a parent with a sales curve, which can sometimes be a tricky balancing act.

I know you and I both been in sales and both been parents for a few years now. And I want to just hear a little bit more about your experience. How has that been? What was that transition like when you started having kids and you still had a sales career to balance, just want to hear, what does that look like for you?

How have you tried to accomplish that balance in your life?

[00:00:51] Brian Smith Jr: Quick response to trial and error. Honestly, I don't think there was a playbook out there that just demonstrates you got the sales development, playbook metrics for Tuesday. There's not a, what it looks like to be a parent and walk into a sales career.

So it was a lot of trial and error in the very beginning. I was super nervous about that. Balance is a hard thing to do in general, how many people in the world can actually stand on one site and hold themselves for a visual picture? So in the beginning, for me, it was super nerve wrecking. I think the biggest thing when walking into that stage of life is surround yourself with people.

Immediately who have already been through that stage. That was the number one thing I did. I started asking questions to a lot of people. I started messaging people about what it's like to be a parent, but it's like the balance that life of carrying a boater, but also going home and quote unquote, carry a quota, a lot of trial and error for the most part.

[00:01:42] Tyler Lindley: Yeah. That makes sense. I'm glad that you brought up being anxious about it. Cause I think I was the same way. I was very nervous about trying to be. My best self at work and hit quota or achieve my growth goals at work, but also showing up at home. That was also very important for me. And it was for me initially, I was a young parent and it started in my mid twenties.

When we had our first child, I was very anxious because I thought there's just no way I'm going to be able to do both. I'm going to have to choose to be a great dad. Show up really well at work. There's just no way I can do both. Then eventually you find out that you can, but initially it's just that, oh, snap moment.

I don't know if I can do this, which is normal.

[00:02:21] Brian Smith Jr: I think the biggest thing too is just like we do right in our careers is setting expectations. I think the key is setting expectations for yourself. But for those around you, that's close to you. Whether it's a roommate, whether it is a spouse, there is a close friend, whether it's sibling, whatever that thing is, set expectations for everybody around you.

And I think once I got further into my career as a parent, I'm like YouTube I'm often, and I have Q3. That's subjective, but I'm before

[00:02:48] Tyler Lindley: I was 30. Exactly. Which in this day and age, I think is on the little bit of the earlier spectrum. I think a lot of people are waiting in their thirties or even forties to have kids.

[00:02:56] Brian Smith Jr: Absolutely. So that's the mantra of your careers? Networking is really key meeting peoples really key learning is key. I think the most important thing in order to be able to accomplish all those things in your career and outside of your career, or even better, those things that you have to do in order to have a successful career, if you don't set those expectations.

And those parameters, it can be chaos, distributed example. The number one expectation I set for myself and the very beginning, we talked about it as people who are STR is time-blocking the last time we had to delay, there had to be at some point during the day where the switch went off that a switch ever go off as a quota-carrying rep and sales, never, but being intentional about at least being present in front of my family.

By a certain time really helped the engineers. They think about the end goal and work backwards. So if you think about that, when do I want to be sitting down with my family eating dinner, or when is it that I want to be able to roll around on the floor with my kids, or I need to be at my kid's soccer practice.

And from there, what it actually did for me was it made me be more disciplined in my day. Cause I meant, Hey, either I'm gonna let my kid down or I'm gonna let my job.

[00:04:02] Tyler Lindley: Exactly

[00:04:03] Brian Smith Jr: because I was intentional about when I would stop words and it sounds so simple just talking about it right now, but it was rough back then when I didn't do that, it provides efficiency and work because you may have a deadline.

I really loved that lines. And then in my opinion, the most important is that we showed up for the people that are closest to you.

[00:04:22] Tyler Lindley: I totally agree. You brought up a lot of things. There are a lot to unpack, but being intentional when you do time blocking, whenever you don't have as much going on outside of.

You don't really have to time block. Cause you can just work all the time. I can work in the morning at the night, the weekends, and because you can always justify it. I'm just putting in this extra work. Cause I'm trying to hit quota. What am I supposed to do? I've got nothing else to do. I hear this all the time with young reps that we coach.

Yeah, I was working late at night, early morning. I don't know when to stop. I was like, eventually you're going to have to cause you're either going to burn out or eventually you're going to have things outside of work that you're passionate about. Like a family or a spouse or partner, whoever it is.

There's eventually going to be a time where you're going to have. Choose to be intentional about that balance. And I'm like, you, I love the deadline. If you tell me I've got to have all this wrapped up by five o'clock or by six o'clock. And these are the tasks that I've got to do, the meetings I've got to run, man.

I'm a lot more present and intentional with my day so that I can show up and be present and intentional at night at home. And I think a lot of folks who just say, I can just do it whenever they don't have that same urgency to their day. If anything, I think once you become a. You've got a lot more urgency in your life.

It's important that you show up because people are depending on you to get them to school or to practice or to the doctor. It's important. There's more urgency, which I think that urgency is healthy. I think it's a healthy level of urgency and it creates a little bit. Just to have a natural balance.

[00:05:44] Brian Smith Jr: Yeah.

I had a pursuit agree. I'm always been a pretty disciplined person. We have something starting to say this family, we have something that depends on you. Whether that's you plays force afterwards, whether it's you run a networking event like I did for a few years, when you have those things is more important.

To start now to create the habits for, as your advice develops in girls. That's probably the biggest thing. The most important thing too is in the beginning. Even if you don't have those teratogen reps, don't have it yet. If you create the habit, now it's an easy flow into a lifestyle page if you already have those students.

So that's why some of the people in our industry that are young and have already started doing those things more, getting it was probably like the number one person that I was coming to is a little bit of outlier. Like I tell her that don't try to be like, On in a million, but just look at like how he approaches things.

He's already created habits 40 years ago that it's almost like a residual effect for him now because he started four or five years ago, top tile. I'm sure your podcasts. You've been doing this for awhile now. Well, yeah. Five, 10 years. You've kids may

[00:06:48] Tyler Lindley: listen to this one, right? Exactly. Thinking about the podcast.

I do a lot throughout my weekday job and podcasts and kids and family, and just a lot of things going on. If I didn't carve out that time, like you said, and I think the important thing is carve out time for yourself, for me, and you that's carving out time for our family. That means we're actually going to sit down at the dinner table or we're going to take them to practice, or we're going to go to that movie together or whatever we're doing as a family, we're carving out that time.

But for anybody in sales carve out time for yourself, I think a lot of people just say, it's indefinite, I'll work however much. I need to all the time. And I won't have a life and I don't care about relationships and. This and that it's like, what are you working so hard for, to me? I think you've got to my dad used to say, smell the roses along the way.

Because at the end of the day, making a lot of money is great, but if you're not doing it to give yourself a fuller life and have some great experiences and do some things outside of work that you're passionate about, then I don't know, as all that hard work and staying up late and quotas and working on all these hours, is it worth it?

So I think you have to figure out what is that balance for you? What are these extra commission dollars going to get me in my life?

[00:07:58] Brian Smith Jr: Interesting thing to look at too. Even now in the current state, I'm just talking about pretty piece where we would say pre pandemic in the current life being a parent, or just in general, trying to balance PDs imbalance.

And I'm struggling because Morgan, on our recent webinar just said, I don't look at it as balanced. I

[00:08:15] Tyler Lindley: look at it as flow. Interesting. What do you think the difference is between. Give

[00:08:19] Brian Smith Jr: me a method standpoint. See what, how far it balances. I don't believe in doing anything that's difficult or going against the grain necessarily.

I want efficiency. I should say. I don't believe it. That I think I like efficiency. Why take this path? If I know that this other path is available? I think the biggest thing, the difference between balance and flow is number one resistance to. Hello is your choosing, I think balance is you're accepted. Hmm.

Unpack that a little bit. And then three, probably the most important one is it almost has this effect of defying, the odds of what we're just talking about structured. It's not structured. It's. Slowest framework. I seem balanced a structure if that makes sense. But I went backwards framework is where there is a certain parameter, but there's not a order of importance.

So in flow, if that makes sense, Monday was a Friday and I spend time with my kids in the morning. Tuesday and Thursday is up in the air. Whenever that time happens. I pause whatever my tubes demand, my attention, whatever that is. As lunchtime at night, I pause, I at least know that it's built in someone, whether it's an hour or not compared to imbalance it's for me, at least balances.

I do this thing every single day and nothing gets in the way of it and not talk about families. That's how kids get sick, right. Schools cause a pandemic happened.

[00:09:43] Tyler Lindley: All of that strict structure becomes so difficult, becomes almost impossible at that point.

[00:09:48] Brian Smith Jr: Yeah. I mean you can, but the way it's supposed to work as a stock was to bend and break or change.

Right. I love slow because it allows for lack of a better phrase for living again, with somebody else, something, and again, It'd be bigger than families. It could be networking events. It could be your animals. It could be your close relatives. It could be a side hustle or a job. You do. I love fluidity because of that reason.

Like things change, things happen. And if you liked me, I appreciate change. And I love it when it's unannounced.

[00:10:21] Tyler Lindley: It sounds like when you're talking about the difference between balancing. You're almost talking about the ability to be a little flexible and pliable as well. When we think about time-blocking and structure, it's regimented, but as we all know, things can happen, that can change that structure for the day, those unexpected things that might happen.

I think being a little flexible and pliable and have guardrails, but then also give yourself some space for life to happen because life always happens. And it's almost like if you just build that into the plan, it makes it easier when those things happen. Take you off of your regularly scheduled programming

[00:10:56] Brian Smith Jr: for margin of error.

I feel like I don't know, balanced balancing on one foot. If you lean too far, one way the ball, that's just really how I've looked at it. Since I've heard that difference between slow and balance.

[00:11:09] Tyler Lindley: Let's talk about this juggling act between parenting and. I think it's something that initially there's that shock and all, and it's hard and there's a lot of change and you're trying to figure it out, but then eventually you get into more of a regular cadence.

I feel like that's where I am. It's a part of who I am. It's a part of my routine. It's a part of my day. And I think you're in a similar place. Once you get to that regular place of balancing the two, or just being both a parent and a sales professional, what then? How do you keep your edge? Because sales is still competitive.

And sometimes I think you can get complacent, but how do you stay hungry? Keep your edge and make sure you're still doing the best for your career and for your family. Very

[00:11:49] Brian Smith Jr: quiet in the middle of that. Right now. I said, like to be truthful for my expertise when it comes to answer this question, I'll give you what I'm doing apparently.

Yeah. So right now I've in addition, I'm sitting in a role that I've never done. Um, fitness at a team for trusting me and doing that. I'm sitting in a role that I've never said it before. And the number one thing that happens when you're doing something you've never done before is the stretch of the learning curve.

It's almost like being thrown in the deep end of a pool and saying, Hey, you've got to figure it out. How to swim, not that's going on right now in my role. It forces you, this is something that I've never had to do. I've got to spend time. Later today, tomorrow, next week on research. And what's the first step in this when you have a family and once you get in that rhythm, cause I'm in that rhythm too now, hoping nothing breaks up that rhythm, but I'm in that rhythm right now.

And something I've learned is because the day-to-day job is forcing me to learn compared to me having. Ah, so I want to spend tonight with the family or gospel night reading this book. I have no choice, but to grow and develop because of the job I'm in. We can talk a little bit about how you position yourself, insurance people.

So this well, how do you position yourself to even take the job or get somebody to commit you, to give him the job? But I would try to get into a role that's a little bit different than your traditional day-to-day, because then you have no choice, but to grow and develop and stretch that's what's currently

[00:13:07] Tyler Lindley: happening in my world.

That makes sense. Before we started the recording today, you talked a little bit about how you start your days early, and it gives you a little bit more flexibility. Talk a little bit about your schedule and how that impacts your ability to fit in these extra things, especially like right now, learning a new role building program at

How do you find those extra hours to fit in some of that. And we'll go a little

[00:13:31] Brian Smith Jr: bit of a tangent. If you don't mind, couple years back. I one, let me just say, it's hard to do that. I don't do it perfectly every time. Just your fancy, but what I've learned is to maximize the, for lack of a better phrase, just the green space or the free space I have to create, build, learn, and pounds up stock.

30 am SOCOM was at six 30. Sometimes that's at midnight. It changes. The biggest thing is I know a week before I have to create that space somewhere from that. Well, he's been an early riser, but I've learned it from my buddy Morgan in the aspect of, we talked about our families needing us, our jobs need us.

So how do we capitalize in that free space with the things we actually need to do to get done and learn? I love taking just even an hour and a half or two hours, every example, Tyler, before we started with this recording and I'd been working for like an hour and a half, I say, just because I knew I had to do this right.

Yeah. If I could start my work day early and knock out the tasks, talked about like, how do you back to your comfortable and how to get the skill? Well, during that time, that's when I'm developing people in my role right now, externally facing I'm also internally facing. I try to have my bait done by basically.

I say, if any of my bosses to this, no, I'm not leaving the house working, but I'm done with the action items I need to do in order to take the next step of my career, our department, whatever that is, I'm done. And that from there I am free from adding any mental drainage. Kids need me. I'm not stressed out.

I'm not saying no. Hey, I can't play with you because dad has to finish this thing. Yep. Or colleague says, Hey B, I need you define that. One of our customers that give us a reference, it's easy because I'm not stressed about building out this cadence or sending a follow up email because it's already done my days.

I maximize the space when everything else is quiet for you, that could be early morning. That could be lignite. That could actually be lunch. I've seen people block off lunchtime. Hey, I don't talk to anybody. Whether it's family work, third lunchtime, that's my child to create.

[00:15:35] Tyler Lindley: I totally agree. And I agree that you should block it off and you should just tell the folks around you.

This is the time for me. A few things that come to mind for me is willpower. I liked. Knock out those most important things that are job critical first as early as you can, it's almost like doing your cold calls in the morning. Our willpower goes down throughout the day, and if you keep putting off the important things, I can just do that in an hour.

Oh, I can do that later. I can do that after dinner. I can do that. Next thing you know, it's midnight, you haven't done it and now you're stressed out. Versus if you just went ahead and ate that. Five or six that morning or whatever time that is lunchtime, when the punches start coming, because every day in life throws us punches.

And it's a lot easier to take that punch. When, you know, you've at least built a strong foundation for the day that, Hey, I can be comfortable with what I accomplished today. Because of these things I did first. And then, like you said, you figure out the rest of the day as it comes. I think it buys you that peace of mind, which I don't think a lot of people in sales have peace of mind.

I think that's a, I don't even know if people think about it. Do you have peace of mind in sales? If you don't have sand of structure like this and build this space into your day?

[00:16:43] Brian Smith Jr: Disruptor piece. If you don't have a plan, if something's unknown of what it's supposed to happen, where is it supposed to go?

That's what disruption piece also think a lot of people don't apply to type of methodology. That's the word that phonology to their lives. Two things that changed my life was the Palmer methodology. And then the agile method, believe it or not in tech, in software.

[00:17:03] Tyler Lindley: So how do you use the Pomodoro?

[00:17:05] Brian Smith Jr: So in the morning, the type of person I am, once I started working, I could put my head down and lift up and it's three hours later.

Because after the whole time meeting being, so they've got a meeting in 10 minutes and I'm so deep at our last night. Wait, now I'm thinking a sleep Pomodoro app is about doing things at a certain amount of time. Time-blocking the differences when you're done, you're done. You don't think about it. You don't try to add anything.

It's a really great methodology. It worked well when I was an SDR and the way I do it now, I actually do it with my kids. You can lay down with me and start going to sleep. I'm like, absolutely. But Hey, I'm going to put a timer on for five minutes. Five minutes, go off. What the tinker not, I gotta go. And then agile method is really interesting from the aspect of, I've tried to utilize my family to be a team, to help dad at work as well.

The agile method everybody's working as a team, you're sprinting, you're viewing things, right. Something as simple as that. What's my Workday is over the minute it's over. I circled it with my wife and say, Hey, this thing happened at work. This thing happened at work. So I'm going to meet two hours a night.

I'm going to be the worst on the state. So if we're collaborating, we're building out structured. So I'm always doing stuff like that. Even when my kids use it, daddy comes out at each breakfast with you tomorrow. I'm not going to be able to do that. I learned that some of those small things, they learned

[00:18:23] Tyler Lindley: agile methods.

You brought up there, especially with that agile method, looking at your family unit as a. And you mentioned the word collaboration. You need that in life. And if you're single and want to stay single, that's totally fine respect that decision. It's totally up to you. But if you've decided to get into a relationship and once you build a family and have kids, it is a team sport.

It is a team sport and the better you can collaborate with your spouse partner, significant other the better you can run your life because. Ebbs and flows. I like how you're almost combining some of that. Pomodora with the agile, it's almost a blended version of those two, which seems pretty awesome. I've never really heard about that.

Someone applying that, especially not just to your professional life, but your personal life to

[00:19:05] Brian Smith Jr: anyway, I believe in leadership, everything starts at the top of the bleeds down through company realizations to say that my family, if I'm doing something at work that helps me surely somewhere in yeah. And again, if you don't have a family or kids, if you have friends, exactly have expectations of you hanging with them and stuff, and it's the same,

[00:19:24] Tyler Lindley: it is the same thing.

Whoever your group is, whether it's family, friends, spouse, whoever it is, everybody has, like you said, those expectations and they want you to show up and they want you to be intentional. They want you to be a part of the team and collaborate. These things are so important. Like you said, it's just leadership.

You have to be the leader. Of your own life, professionally, personally, being a part of the team, you have to learn how to lead any parting words of advice, Brian, for those trying to figure out this parenthood and sales thing, don't do it.

[00:19:57] Brian Smith Jr: Take your time. Give me advice I would give is that one, the biggest thing is this isn't the first time anybody's ever done this.

So don't be afraid to reach out to people. I think it's cool. You're not doing this podcast. Even hopefully start this conversation and provide a space for people to have a conversation. The second thing is just life in work. If you make a decision, you don't fail at something. When it comes the work-life slow work-life balance, fail fast.

It'll reiterate. Don't keep doing something that's not working. Working late is constantly tiring you out. Don't do that. Switch that light. So just one reach out to people you're not alone to fail, fail fast. If you're trying out a new methodology or some type of a PIM, and then third, the biggest thing. I wholeheartedly believe if at home isn't okay.

Search or your circle of friends, whatever that thing is for you. If that's not okay, first more than likely it's going to be real tough at work. So that's just a personal opinion for me to take care of at home first. Everything

[00:21:00] Tyler Lindley: totally agree. Couldn't agree. More Brian, Brian, if my listeners want to find you online, how can they.

[00:21:05] Brian Smith Jr: I believe did. And Brian Smith Jr. Also Alyssa Graham. I run a barbecue brand a little bit here and there. Good life BB chew on Instagram. And then I have this double underscore in that

[00:21:15] Tyler Lindley: spirit as well. All right. Perfect. Awesome. We'll link to Brian's LinkedIn profiles and Instagram handles. So definitely connect with him on social.

Brian. Thanks for the chat. We'll do it again soon. Okay. All right. Let a man,

thank you so much for listening to today's show. You can find all the links discussed and the show notes@thesaleslift.com. That's the T H E sales S a L E. Lift L I F t.com have questions for me. Email me@tyleratthesaleslift.com. We look forward to seeing you back here next week, and we hope today's show brings you the sales lift.

Your business needs. Remember. Plus action equals results and you've got new ideas. Now it's time to take action and the results will fall. See you next time. .

Don’t feel like listening? Read the Episode Cliff Notes instead below:

Importance of Work-Life Balance (0:22)

It was a lot of trial and error in the very beginning. Balance is a hard thing to do in general. The biggest thing when walking into that stage of life is to surround yourself with people who have been there.

The best thing we do right in our careers is setting expectations, and the key is setting them for yourself and those close to you.

Engineers think about the end goal and work backward. It made Brian be more disciplined in his day. 

The most important thing is that we show up for the closest people to us. There’s eventually going to be a time when you’re going to have to choose to be intentional about that balance.

You must show up because people depend on you to get them to school, practice, or the doctor. It’s important. 

Finding Balance (5:45)

The important thing is to carve out time for yourself and your family. 

Making a lot of money is excellent, but is it worth it if you’re not doing it to give yourself a fuller life and have some great experiences?

Whenever that time happens, pause whatever you have in the tubes that demand your attention. Hone the ability to be a little flexible and pliable, but give yourself space for life to happen because life always happens. 

There was an initial shock, and it’s always hard. There’s a lot of change, and you’re trying to figure it out. Sometimes you can get complacent. 

Implementing Balance in Your Work-Life (13:27)

Get done with the action items you need to take the next step of your career and then be done. 

Maximize space when everything else is quiet, such as early morning, night, or even lunch. 

Block out time and don’t talk to anybody. Knock out those most important things that are job critical first as early as you can,

Everyone has expectations for who your group is – whether it’s family, friends, spouse, etc. They want you to show up, and they want you to be intentional. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people, and don’t fail at the work-life balance slow: fail fast and learn.

Brian’s Bio:

Brian Smith Jr is currently the Revenue Enablement Manager at Vendition, where he enables their hiring partners to achieve onboarding, ramping, and hiring success of Sales Development teams.

A champion for relationships within the Tech community, he’s on a mission to provide more access into Tech for underserved communities.

Outside of his career, he’s a proud husband and Girl Dad 2X. As well as a High School Girls Flag Football and Boys Basketball Coach in his local community.

You can follow him on Instagram @iammrsmith__ or connect on LinkedIn.

Important Links:

Brian’s LinkedIn Profile