Comfort zones. We all have them. And for many of us, we’re happy to go about life, cozily tucked within their warm sphere of safety.
But not Brandon Knight.
As the Cloud Evangelist here at Intelisys, Brandon has led the sort of sales career of legendary status — including killing in it channel sales where he’s worked as a channel sales pro, a cloud supplier, a venture capitalist, and a distributor.
Brandon is, by most views, an extreme extrovert. Remarkably though, Brandon started off as a shy kid. Make that painfully shy.
So, how did this kid who barely ever spoke — and who admits he wasn’t very popular in high school — go on to lead the number one sales team nationwide for AEP sales at Humana?
By stepping beyond, way beyond, his comfort zone.
Today, Brandon Knight shares his bold steps from introvert to extrovert and other lessons that transformed him into the sales powerhouse he is today.
Consciously Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone
To say Brandon was a shy kid, is a major understatement. For the first three years of his life Brandon didn’t utter a word. The majority of his childhood progressed in the same vein — with Brandon gravitating towards intellectual or solo activities like reading and chess over anything within the social spotlight.
But things began to change once Brandon started college. Outside of his business courses, Brandon devoured classes in psychology and it was here where he began to awaken to the stigma placed against ‘quiet’ people. Determined to build a successful career in business, Brandon knew that a change was due.
“I knew I was going to have to acquire some skills that I wasn’t comfortable with. I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone.”
Brandon had to learn how to become an extrovert.
Here’s how he did it:
- Determine your outcome. Be deliberate in your change: Before you can make a change you need to know where you want to go. For Brandon, the change began once he determined what he wanted to achieve (business success). With his goal in hand, he was then able to start deliberately plotting out the steps he would need to take make a change.
- Become an expert matter on your goal: To excel at anything, you need to become an authoritarian on the subject at hand. Knowing that he’d have to become an extrovert (or at least fake it) in order to become a sales success, Brandon sought to learn the very traits that give extroversion form. A lifelong scholar, Brandon set about the task the best way he knew how — by reading. During this phase, Brandon sourced countless library books detailing various aspects of extroversion — from great speeches and presenting to enunciation and interpersonal team building.
Building Relationships Means Being Relatable
For as long as he can remember, Brandon could really relate to other people. Even when he was shy, Brandon had a special way of connecting with others. And it’s the unique gift that has served him incredibly well in building his sales career.
For Brandon, being relatable requires several key facets:
- Be a strong listener. Hear the stories of others: Before you can pitch to a customer you need to know what they want and need. You need to know their story. In Brandon’s opinion, the best way to discover that story is by listening — a skill he unknowingly began honing as a kid.
During his childhood, in his introverted days, Brandon frequently found people gravitating towards him to share their stories. Now in sales, Brandon’s ability to extract his customers’ stories simply by listening to them has proven incredibly powerful and continues to help him uncover and solve their needs.
- Knowledge is only power if you communicate it: Listening, however, is only one half of the relatable equation. To really be able to relate (and be effective at sales) to others you must also be a strong communicator. Communication, to Brandon, is where one is truly able to engage people, and trigger emotions that help build relationships.
- Show Your Humanness: People connect with people they like. And to like someone, people need to see them as human. Charismatic and personable, Brandon certainly has no problem showing his human side to those he meets. But these days, it’s through a computer-mediated ally that Brandon is connecting and showing his human side on a wider scale — through social media. Through regular updates to his Facebook page (and a hilarious self-created game called ‘Where is Brando?’), Brandon keeps his network informed of what he’s up to and where he’s traveling. It’s these sort of on-the-fly informal updates that help Brandon remain humanly connected to his network no matter where he goes.
Becoming an Intelisys Cloud Evangelist
With an incredible 30-years of sales experience under his belt, spanning everything from kitchen hardware and insurance to software and the cloud, we’re now very lucky to have Brandon as part of the Intelisys team.
Today, Brandon is the Cloud Evangelist at Intelisys. What exactly does this mean?
In a nutshell, Brandon is the go-to-guy to help our sales partners with anything related to the cloud, including:
- Helping partners find and close deals
- Assisting partners in understanding different aspects of cloud technology and offering training related to those technologies
- Contributing to Cloud Services University
Brandon will also be attending all the mind shares, the Super9s, and conferences to provide Intelisys with another voice and subject matter expert on the cloud.
Basically, Brandon is here to make any cloud touchpoint for our sales partners much, much easier.
Listen to Brandon Knight in His Own Words
Brandon Knight’s charisma is undeniable and he has so much great information in this podcast that you really need to check it out for yourself — I promise it’s worth it. Check out his story over on the Intelisys Channel Outlaws Podcast.