June 13, 2022
E62: Be a Story Seeker with Kevin Hopp

On this installment of RRH, Kevin Hopp and I get into the power of stories. Where communication goes wrong. And when skill development goes right. Topics Discussed : How Kevin Hopp fell in love with stories? (4:11) When is mi...


On this installment of RRH, Kevin Hopp and I get into the power of stories. Where communication goes wrong. And when skill development goes right.

Topics Discussed

How Kevin Hopp fell in love with stories? (4:11)

When is miscommunication not the problem? (13:29)

Whose responsibility is it to check perspectives and validate information? (16:50)

Resources Mentioned: 

Transcript

Amy:

Uh, what's up human. Welcome to the revenue real hotline. I'm Amy Rahab check. More importantly. I'm excited. You decided to join us. I know you've got a ton of options and I appreciate you. This is a show about all the hard and uncomfortable conversations that rise while generating revenue and how to think, or rethink what you're doing while you're doing. And then of course, how to execute differently. And like I said, I'm happy you decided to come along for the ride. Don't forget to follow the show wherever you listen. So you can be notified each time a new episode drops. And do me a favor friend. Don't tell anybody about the show. Let's keep it our little secret. I'm Amy Rahab, Jack. This is the revenue real hotline. Enjoy Kevin Hopp. Welcome to the revenue real hotline. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for making time for me and us today. I appreciate you. Thanks for having

Kevin:

me. Oh,

Amy:

my gosh. Okay. So listeners, Kevin hop is the CEO of hop consulting, where he handles all things, outbound sales mastery. And so that's awesome. Kevin op is also the host of the sales career podcast, and I'm a big fan of this human friends, and I'm really excited about this conversation. So again, Kevin, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Kevin:

Thanks for, thanks for having me. I think your, your podcast is, is a gift, honestly. Uh, not enough. People are bold enough to have conversations like this and to talk about uncomfortable things. I've been excited to do this for awhile.

Amy:

Yay. All right. Well, uh, I received that compliment. Okay. So Kevin, why don't you tell everybody just a little bit about yourself and what you do on a day to day, and then we can dive right in. Sure.

Kevin:

Sure. So currently I'm an outbound sales consultant, so I do processing strategy. If you want to start from absolute zero, I'm really good at that. I only thing I've ever done in my career really is be the first hire or second hire. Yeah, one of the first people in the room. So if there is no process and structure, we can then figure out what

Amy:

works. I love it. Okay. So Kevin, when I listened to your first episode today, you said that you're fascinated by and with people's stories. Absolutely. And I'm curious to know, like how did that come to be. How did you come to be fascinated by people's?

Kevin:

Well, I think you have to look at how did I grow up? If you ask those sorts of questions, it starts to make sense. Like, I don't have a engineering background. I'm not a tech guy. I didn't grow up saying I want to be a doctor or a lawyer. I've had to like, figure it out. Right. And have a lot of those scary nights in college where I'm like, shoot, I'm going to graduate in six months. I don't know what I want to do. And then when I got into the real world, shoot, I thought I wanted to be this. And I just got fired. And now I don't think I'm meant to do this and then trying something else. And I've gotten fascinated with people that have had cool stories. And people that have had great success

Amy:

too. Do you think they're mutually exclusive or zero sum, right. People that have also. Good stories, which I'm assuming equals hardship of some kind. So

Kevin:

there's a lot of people that are my age. Like, by the way, I'm a millennial, I'm 30 years old. There's a lot of people my age that are like, like probably half of my friend group now, not on social media anymore. Like, they're just like, yeah, man, like I have an Instagram. I like log in every once a week to just like, look at a photo or something, but they don't get on Instagram and on Facebook, they're really not even posted on LinkedIn a whole. And I'm like the opposite. I'm like Mr. Information gatherer, like completely, always looking, learning about people. I'm gathering a lot more information about people in the way that they want to be presented. Does that make sense? So if you share it on Instagram, you share it on Facebook. I see it on LinkedIn. And then I try to talk to these sort of friends about it. They're like, oh, I didn't what, oh, I had no idea. They moved to salt lake city. Oh, interesting. He works at that company now who knew I'm like I knew. So

Amy:

what does that have to do with falling in love with stories?

Kevin:

People's stories. Because when I see people that are, are having these things happen in their lives and some people can do a really good job of painting this really rosy picture of like, look at their job. Everything's perfect. Yeah. Three years here, promoted, promoted. New role here, uh, you know, bigger, bigger title company that raise more money, whatever it is. And then I'm like sitting back. Man. I'm really good at what I do. Man, I'm worth all that. Why, why do I have a story like that? And that's honestly where my obsession with this kind of came from it. It's not this constant comparison anymore. It's, I'm at peace with who I am and where I'm going, what I'm doing. But now I'm still just fascinated. And what can we learn from what you won't find on a LinkedIn profile? What you won't find. Sharing there. So that's what my podcast is about. It's getting people talking about their stories and they always say, step, they always unearth these moments in their career that you're like, oh geez. I had no idea that that's how that went down, you know? But you can look on it from the outside looking in, you're like, oh wow. What a rosy beautiful thing that suspended. You have no idea what people think. That's where I've gotten.

Amy:

I feel like we should cue Alana's Morissette because in many ways, that's this the reason why people get their ass off social media from a mental health perspective, it's the comparison. Okay. So I love this. I love this. So stories mean a little bit. It's a different thing to me. And I think if you don't mind humor me just a quick definition of what they mean for me so that we can have that baseline for our conversation. Is that cool? Okay. So I think that stories. Well, let, let me, let me tell a story. My first podcasting episode was with Andy Paul. And I had never done a podcast. I had never met Andy up until that point, the reason that I was on the show is because I wrote an article for sales hacker about. And in this article, I was barely able to eke out two paragraphs that I had after 10 years, I did some things wrong on the mental front. Like I, I, I aspire to not feeling anything bad. Right. So I used everything away in that, that didn't work. And so don't do that friends. If that's, if that's what you're doing right now, stop that right right now. But I was scared about letting people know, even when I wrote the article, Kevin, that I committed myself into like an inpatient facility so that I could build up the tools and techniques because I had zero. And I needed help. And I like, even before publishing like my therapist was like, are you sure you want to do this? People's careers are off for forever. Once they disclose these things, which I didn't even know as a thing. And I looked it up and I was like, I don't give a shit at first of all, that's true, right, Deloitte, like this is, this is a true thing. But anyway, back to stories, after I finished with Andy, I asked him how I could do better. And he said, tell more of your story. Now that said story sharing I found is also deeply connected with wellness. And when someone is able to tap into their story, own their story and start to share and learn how to share in that context. First of all, it validates the experiences of others that may be feeling very alone. And so there's like a ripple effect there. And so that's what stories mean to me. I love that. But you were saying before about, you've listened to the highlights for.

Kevin:

Yeah, I did listen to your season. I think it was season one, right? Season one, highlight reel of all these people telling these really hard moments, you know, like in my first podcast, the episode one in the sales group, podcast call and nicknamed of hard to swallow pills. Right. Because as I was telling my career story, it's not. But, you know, I was a top GPA in college. Therefore I got the best internship. Therefore I got the best job, therefore that's not, that's not what it was. That's not my story at all. I really respected and enjoyed listening to your highlight reel because it's people talking about these real moments where they most likely, you know, didn't win when you don't win. And when things don't go your way and when everyone else in the room is smiling and you. Geez, that doesn't work for me or that that's not what I was expecting. Those are the realest moments that really make a difference.

Amy:

Yeah. And we learned from our mistakes, right. We learned so much more from our mistakes. And so this idea that socializing, the wind's only one, it creates this like false dichotomy that the mistakes aren't there. Um, but also that there's something shameful about that. On the complete opposite side of that is that one, one of the other reasons for me, Kevin, then I wanted to start the podcast is, is because this industry, we harm a lot of people, right? We burn through bodies. We burned through human beings, top performers and under performers alike. And part of the reason why people leave or people burn out is because they don't realize that what they're experiencing. Is real or that there's anything wrong with it or that other people are experiencing it. And because we tend to be very siloed, right? And, and in a way that we're, we're almost protecting ourselves, our energy and our Headspace by surrounding ourselves with people that agree with us. When I was able to set aside my own perceptions of how universally experienced, like feeling harmed is right. I was really, I was able to listen and show up for the stories of others. And look, and listen for the similarities to which, which are, are way, way, way more than we give ourselves credit for. And what's great about this, and what's great about podcasting and what's great about people like you and what you're doing that are just on it is that one is too small of a number to make a big impact. And so it's, it's almost like an aligning of voices that moves the needle.

Kevin:

What do you think? I, I agree. You, you touch on like a macro principle of barley society. I've seen this in my own family. My own family, which is generally really close. Like we don't have like any like crazy tragedy going on in my family where it's like, well, we don't talk to that uncle cause he stole all grandma's money. Like we don't have any of that, like drama, but the election. Vaccines. All of this. Like, we can't talk to two people. Don't talk to each other. Oh, we don't talk to her anymore. She didn't vaccinate your kids. It's like, we can't talk.

Amy:

This is where skill development comes in. Being able to level up your skills around uncomfortable conversations, um, starting with the uncomfortable conversations you need to have with yourself, friends. That's, that's all, that's always where you start. Um, and so a skill development, and then it's like, The avoidance and like the silence and the, uh, it's just, I'm over it, Kevin,

Kevin:

I'm with you. That's it. We are, we are one in the same here that the answer is not less discourse. The answer's not less communication. It almost never is. And it's interesting. And another dichotomy in my family that you can find is got some folks that are about as far left woke, you know, as possible. The kind of people that are very, very woke to the point that you can't discuss a lot of things. Cause even the mention of things is

Amy:

offensive.

Kevin:

And then all the way to the right where it's like. So some people that claim the moral high ground, that claim the, because of what I believe. I'm right. And I'm better. And like demonize the other side. Just point this nasty finger without any understanding or taking a minute to be like, okay, I see you. I acknowledge that you have a different opinion than me. I can understand that. It's not an attack on me that you feel that way. And I'm okay with the fact that you exist like that. Now, do I choose to be closely represented with you? Do I choose to spend my time with you? You know how people should to go about this. And that's, that's something that I find, even with friendships, like you spend time with the people that are okay with the things you want to talk about. It's like a theme in my life. Like, I like to joke that, like I only have like five friends, but I've got five friends that are like ride or die with me. You know what I mean? And I can actually be myself with them. I don't have to censor myself. It's not, oh, that one time Kevin said that one thing, and then all of a sudden people stopped calling me. That's happened to me a number of times.

Amy:

I think that we're very quick to throw the baby out with bath water. She's a silly cliche. It's like the path of least resistance. Yeah. Especially after a long day. Like I remember when I was sounding like, if you were in an easy aspect of my life, it was very easy to cut you off. And I was wrong in, on that front, um, for a bunch of reasons, but I mentioned it because I don't necessarily think the answer is to look for people that agree with you because I know that that it's too easy to get caught in that homogenous Dick. It's like literally the same experiences, same gender, same race, same sexual orientation and, and it's, and we see the results. And so, and I'm not saying that this is what you're doing, and this is, I just want for the listeners. That's a thing. Like you have to be very intentional about leveling up your own discomfort for these conversations, especially when the beliefs are not aligned with yours. But you said something Kevin, that I want to go back to, which is that you think. Let's talk about what right is for a moment and the relative nature of being right or wrong. First of all, like part of learning and part of, you know, operating outside your comfort zone, leveling up your ability to have uncomfortable conversations is learning how to silence that. I know that monster, that gremlin. Right? In all of our heads, we like feeling smart. We like feeling like we know things. And so that, that gremlin is always going to jump in front of the way. I know that. And so it's still back to what you and I are saying, which is the no communication or less communication is not the answer.

Kevin:

A lot of the times in my career times in my relationships, times in my friendships, miscommunication has been the, like, I would, I would argue the number one reason why people have cut me off or fired me or let me go or whatever. And it's the assumption, right? But that's also taught me some very important lessons about communication, right? Clear and direct communication as opposed to indirect communication. Uh, that's the lesson I learned early on in my career is indirect communication. The game of telephone, we'll, we'll take something that you think a thought you really have and turn it into something completely different. People can add their own spin. You mentioned right and wrong. What I think is so difficult, right? To use the vaccine example. I don't want to talk about vaccines for awhile cause I know it's so such a polarizing topic, but like what is right here? Are people wrong because they don't want to take the vaccine. Well, how about these doctors that say that it is harmful? Well, well, they're not the right doctors. Okay. So we'll listen to Dr. Grouchy. He's right. I guess. And then, so everybody who doesn't get the vaccine and make their own medical. They're wrong. Like I struggle with this so hard. So

Amy:

I'm laughing when you said about how often miscommunication is the root cause problem. So I have a Greenbelt and process improvement, process design, and I would, we were doing a, you get your green belt when you facilitate a project for the. It was a non-profit in Chicago is legal aid. So we put together a hybrid project, right. And we're talking to teams, project teams, steering committee, multi months, like this was a massive thing, but we still chose to spend, uh, one of the full days that we had with the project team was on sussing out the root cost with the project. All fucking gay boards covered with posted notes and fishbone diagrams and like five whys and like all this shit and right near the end. Right. As we were about to get the team collectively to the aha, the Catherine, my trainer came and whispered in my ear, by the way, 99.9% of the time, the root cause problem is communication or skilled. And it was like two, two things. I was like in my head, it was like, there's no fucking way that, that, that is wrong. Um, that, so I thought that. And then the second was like, if you already knew what the root cause problem was and why did we spend all day? Like people have to have this aha moment. You cannot tell them this. And so you were talking about vaccines and which doctors to trust. And so from that perspective, I heard right away, right. Skill development on. Due diligence on info sources. Right. And so there's that piece of it too. Skill

Kevin:

development, in terms of like the you're saying that the skill development should be no, which doctors to trust by doing the right kind of research.

Amy:

Well again, know how to sort and validate information that you consume online. Absolute fucking

Kevin:

lonely. Yeah. So one of the things that I noticed early on in the pandemic was the remember, remember the right when the pandemic launched and it was don't go get masks. And then it was the surgeon general making a mask out of a shirt on live TV and saying everyone needs to go to mass. And then all of these people outrageously when online said, oh my God, they're changing their mind. And I actually went to a research university where I understand that the nature of science is that it evolves and that the science can change over time. And that it's science is based on data. It's not based on like random. So I was totally cool with it. I was like, oh, okay. I see they're learning new things. They think this is important now. But I noticed people that didn't go to research universities that have not had to really study and be in scientific process were totally like, what is it? There needs to be an absolute truth, right? It's like, there is no absolute truth. Sorry. It's science. It's medicine. This is like, it's a moving target. We're going to continue to hunt it. So I think that's what you're hitting now and.

Amy:

Yeah. What an interesting, okay. I'm going to, I'm going to volume level then I've even too, because it's so true. It's so spot on. Okay. So if we look at all the things that we've done poorly as a society during COVID like the. Mass communication even coming from the government. So I went to American university at my degree is in mass communications and I was trained by the masters. Right. And again, inside that beltway, um, the hard part about communicating during the pandemic is that the insights that science has delivered, it keeps. Yeah. And so there's no, it's not like we're repeating it like with, with propaganda, right? Keep it simple messages repeated a bunch of times in rapid succession from multiple different sources, mind control 1 0 1. But there is no ultimate source of truth in this instance. And it, and even then it's like a lack of understanding that that is the hardness right now. It keeps changing. This is what we're trying to figure out. All right. So Kevin, like, what's the one topic right now that we don't talk about enough as the, like on the macro level, the business of sales, the business of sales. Yeah. Then what's the one that like gets you all fired up.

Kevin:

Th this is something that I got all fired up on the last podcast I just released on the sales group podcast. Steve Schmidt to Steve Schmidt runs a company called title. He's an employer. Right. I asked him, I said, is it the role of. Company. Right. Cause I, you know, I think you and I are both talking about SAS startups, right? The LinkedIn kind of sales community. You mean you might be talking about bigger. I come from the SAS startup world

Amy:

software as a

Kevin:

so my question to him was, is it the role of a SAS startup to be a good employee? And then think macro about what, what does being a good employer. And then it's like, whoa, okay. Maybe it's not. Maybe the point of a SAS startup is not to be a good employer. And that when I, when I came full circle on that, I was like, No wonder, right? Like, no wonder this is so there's so many of these terrible things that happen in terms of people get hired that should get hired. Couldn't get fired. That shouldn't get fired. Money getting spent in silly ways. Companies rising and falling. It's because they're not focused on being good employers. They're focused on creating something that is very monetarily valuable. That's my hot tip.

Amy:

Uh, that wraps in other installment of the revenue real hotline. I'd like to thank my guest for being so damn real and for sharing their insights and for, of course, being so much. And I'd like to thank you to listeners. It means the world. And I appreciate you. If you have any thoughts or comments or experiences, you feel inclined to share head straight over to revenue, rail.com. There's a new join. The conversation feature on the right side of the page. I am all damn ears. Final thought. We are introducing a coaching aspect to the show. So anyone who's brave enough to dig into an account strategy or outbound strategy set. That's where we kicked. Please do follow the show wherever you listen to your podcasts. So you'll always have the latest episode downloaded. If you want to contact me, I'm at Amy ad revenue. real.com. If you want to follow me on social Twitter is Amy underscore Rahab check, and LinkedIn is linkedin.com. Backslash Amy rev. This episode was produced by the fabulous Nian Fiedler you rock, man. And I appreciate you too friend. And of course, whatever you do, don't tell anybody about the show. Let's keep it at our little. Until next time, all I'm Amy Rahab check. This is the revenue real hotline, happy selling.

Amy Hrehovcik Profile Photo

Amy Hrehovcik

Host of Revenue Real Hotline Podcast

Kevin Hopp Profile Photo

Kevin Hopp

CEO @ Hopp Consulting Group | Host of Sales Career Podcast