Art Sobczak is a prospecting and inside sales trainer, keynote speaker, award-winning author, and host of the TheArtofSales.com podcast. He has helped hundreds of thousands of sales pros say the right things to get through, get in, and sell through authoring, designing, and delivering content-rich inside sales and cold calling (without the cold) training programs and resources that get results.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I was an only child, growing up in a blue-collar family. Dad had a 10th-grade education and worked for the railroad, mom an assembly line worker at Western Electric. We were not poor and as an only child, they gave me everything I wanted. But what came with that was the stigma of the “spoiled rotten” child, which I wasn’t. Nevertheless, it developed in me an attitude of self-reliance, and a desire to prove I could achieve things on my own. Although I didn’t need to, I started working jobs at 13 to earn my own money and begin proving myself. At an early age, even in grade school, there was no doubt that I was going to accomplish great things.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Thinking bigger. The only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves. We are only held back by the stories we tell ourselves. Even though I was confident early and knew I would do well, because of my upbringing I was not surrounded by people who thought in terms of unlimited abundance and prosperity, therefore those were my early frames of reference.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
There is a tremendous amount of bad information online regarding sales and selling, in many areas. Especially on how to get to decision-makers and dealing with the “gatekeeper” or “screener.” Those terms themselves are negative. We need to work WITH assistants and explain to them the value we have for their boss and the organization to enlist their help in being introduced to the buyer.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
When I first started my business and one day went to the ATM and it laughed at me because I had a negative bank balance. I almost gave up and went back into corporate life. But, I had a meeting with myself and determined that I would regret giving up, would again hate working for someone, and would be doing myself a disservice. So I found a way to persevere and make it work.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Being self-aware, and thinking about things from others’ point of view. As Zig Ziglar said, (I’m paraphrasing), we can get whatever we want, if we help enough others get what they want. Life is sales, and sales is life. In every situation we should always ask, “What does this person want and how can I help them get it?”
What is your morning routine?
I’m typically up by 5, throw on my workout clothes, and head to the gym… five days a week. Then I get back, make coffee, create my list for the day, then have a healthy breakfast.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
This is similar to my previous answer: With everyone I interact with, I want to genuinely learn what they are interested in, and what is important to them. It helps to improve the lives of others, and it enriches yours as well.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Just taking action. Being in motion is better than constant planning. You will never reach perfection. Start driving and the route will appear. Never look at something and say you need to get around to it. Do it now!
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
While a junior in college I read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and it was perhaps more instrumental to my future success than any other book I read while in school. Later, after starting my business I read Influence, the classic by Robert Cialdini, and it was the basis for much of my own marketing, and sales teachings.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford. I adopted than in my 20’s, lived it, and share it often.