ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | BEN SCHEMPER
Ben Schemper is the Founder & CEO of Abundant, a coaching organization that helps sales leaders uncover the path to their greatest possibility. Ben was previously a top achiever with Cutco/Vector, starting out by selling over $50,000 in his first 4 weeks. As a manager, Ben was a part of the team that established a one-week Cutco sales record in 2009 that still stands to this day, and he won the National Champion’s Silver Cup in his first full year as a District Manager. Ben is known for being able to bring the best out of individuals and teams. His students include an A-List of top achievers currently in Vector, plus teams from major companies such as Salesforce and Square. Ben’s mission is to help sales leaders manifest their most authentic expression that creates extraordinary results and their highest level of impact.
Q&A WITH BEN SCHEMPER
Q: It’s been a pretty crazy year in 2020. I’d love to hear a little bit about how this year has affected you and in particular, what has been the gift that has come out of the year for you?
- This year has been a crazy year for everybody.
- When it comes to gifts, my wife and I timed it perfectly. We have a really synchronistic COVID-19 experience.
- At the end of last year, we decided to rent out our house. The idea was to go check out Austin and San Diego. We love San Francisco, but maybe we want to live somewhere else. Like let’s try it before we buy it kind of thing.
- We got a renter for our house at the start of March.
- We ended up not doing a lot of traveling, but we were able to spend time with our families. My wife’s family is in Minnesota, with a cabin in the woods. It was a great opportunity to be in nature and not be so impacted as much as the cities have been impacted.
- We spent the summer in Michigan. My parents have a house on Lake Michigan. It’s my favorite place in the world.
- There’s definitely the gift of connecting with nature, connecting more with family. That’s been a huge gift.
- Also, for me, with the work we do at Abundant, it’s been a pleasure to be able to serve people. We believe that the greater the uncertainty you choose to accept in your life, the greater the possibility that exists.
- Working with companies like Square and others, to help them find the possibility in all this uncertainty, has being really rewarding. Now is the time to really serve and what we do is help people more than ever. That’s been a huge gift.
Q: Take us back to when you got started with Cutco.
- I got a letter in the mail, like many people do. I wasn’t quite sure what it was all about.
- I said, I’m going to check it out, see what it’s all about. It’s funny how those little moments can change everything.
- For me, that letter in the mail was one of my formative moments. Getting that letter, saying yes, going for the interview and accepting the job, it changed my life completely.
- That’s how I got started.
- I went to a school that was expensive. Once I realized I’ve got to pay all these loans someday, I had to make more money, and Cutco was the perfect vehicle for that.
- I sold $50,000 in my first 4 weeks. I got into this environment where there were people setting the pace. And it was pretty neat.
Q: What were some of the success factors that enabled you to do so well?
- Honestly, the biggest one was I trusted my manager.
- I did literally everything that Carol (Bart) told me to do. I was like, you’re the expert here. You know much more than I do. I’m not going to question what you’re teaching. I’m going to show up when you tell me to show up. I’m going to do the things you tell me to do.
- I also worked really hard. I did over 80 appointments in my first SC2 Push.
- I think beyond that, I shared my vision with the clients. I shared the vision of why I was selling Cutco, how I wanted to grow up to be able to change the culture of business and impact it in some meaningful way. I talked about how I wanted to learn the skills here.
- I always asked my customers, what’s your vision?
- I think I created a strong bond with my appointments. People wanted to support me. They were engaged in the presentations and they felt connected to see the value.
Q: So, you worked closely with Mike Muriel as the Pilot Office Manager, then you became a District Manager and had a nice career before moving on. What experiences in Cutco were transformational in your life?
- It showed me what was possible.
- Wherever you grow up, you grow up in a bubble. You only know that world as you are taught, as your parents or even teachers tell you the world is.
- It’s a struggle to figure out what you want to do in the end, to figure out what’s truly possible.
- Being in sales, particularly in the Cutco environment, showed me much more was possible. What I thought was a lot of money, for example, got transformed pretty quickly making $20,000 in a month. There was a financial opportunity I wasn’t aware of. You can sell $50,000 of something in a month! It kind of blew my mind in terms of what’s possible for me. That was a huge one.
- It’s just the mindset. That’s what I took away. Having my possibilities shattered and encouraging me to dream and think bigger. It was hugely transformative.
- I also learned the basics and foundations of leadership, of performance and of coaching. They were really the foundations of who I am and what I do today. It was the best education I could ever want. I attribute much of who I am and what I know to those 7 years here at Cutco.
Q: Tell us about the impact of Mike Muriel on your development.
- I really consider Mike to be my first mentor in a lot of ways.
- Carol was a fantastic manager, but Mike was someone I learned from for years. I really committed to the relationship of receiving leadership from him.
- I think one of the big things he taught me was what it was going to take to do big things. He and I had a unique and special relationship. I allowed him to push me to my limits.
- That’s something I asked of him, and he definitely taught me about the barriers I was setting for myself. He helped me stretch and push to new heights.
- He also taught me about life. How to think. I remember my first SC2 meeting that he helped us to run as managers. Those were the first times I meditated and did visioning exercises. Those are such powerful tools I still use today.
- Those seeds were planted in a lot of ways through that relationship.
Q: What advice would you have for people in Cutco to get the most out of their experiences?
- I’d say take advantage of the support.
- Build relationships with people who are doing the things you want to do. I think if people hesitate, they are afraid. Is this person going to take my call? But more often than not, people, especially in Cutco, want to help.
- I think this is a big one. Are you taking advantage fully of all the leadership resources that exist?
- Also, another advice I’d give is commit for a significant period of time. If you commit for 3 to 4 years, its going to get challenging and hard. There’s going to be stuff you have to overcome, stuff you have to learn. You’re going to fail, have some disappointments and some successes. But you’re going to get so much from that experience.
- I can think of no better education that exists currently, where you can learn leadership.
Q: Let’s talk about your career after Cutco. Why did you decide to start your own coaching business?
- I was ready.
- I had committed to getting as much as I could as a leader, learning about making teams and coaching individuals through my experiences at Cutco.
- I have a personal belief you should be good at something before you start coaching others on it. You should have a certain level of proficiency and performance if you’re going to help people in that area.
- I saw I could help a lot of people who would benefit from my experience and expertise I’d tapped into and the knowledge I gained from investing in my learning.
- I had a vision. It inspired me and it was like a soul-calling. I didn’t leave Cutco, I followed a vision.
Q: What were some of the challenges you overcame in doing this?
- There are so many challenges in running a business, which is why it’s a cool experience to be able to run an office. It’s never easy.
- There are always things you didn’t know. One of the first challenges was getting started. It was hard figuring out how to sell myself. The insecurities that come up with that. I think it was a big first hurdle to overcome.
- There’s also the challenge of walking the talk. It was a challenge I loved and was willing to accept.
Q: Let’s get into some of the signature concepts that you share with others.
- At Abundant, we believe conscious sales leaders are changing the world.
- By conscious, I mean someone who’s heart-centered and conscious of others. Not the sales person who’s like how much can I get.
- Conscious sales leaders to me are those who are living “Leave it better than they found it.” When salespeople are living that, they are changing the world, one conversation at a time.
- What we do at Abundant, is help high performing sales leaders realize possibilities.
- We have what is called the Possibility Paradox, which is “the greater the uncertainty, the greater the possibility.” I think right now, we’re seeing it in our world. Things are uncertain in a lot of ways there’s also some beautiful possibilities that are coming out of that.
- It’s no surprise COVID-19 is the most uncertain experience in our lives, and yet there are the seeds of some really beautiful possibilities that are being sown.
- The 3-steps are to own your leadership, leaning into possibility and vision and making the leap to the journey of growth.
Q: I’ve heard about the North Star exercise that you teach. I’d love to give our audience a little snippet into this. Can you give us a short rendition of the North Star exercise?
- The North Star exercise is about finding an image that’s so inspiring to you about what the future can look like that it becomes a guiding image in life.
- We move towards what we think and talk about most. The North Star is picking an image that’s inspiring and hard not to think about.
- One of the simple ways we teach that is through something called the Impossible Moment exercise.
- The idea is what’s a moment in your future that has such a big expression of your gifts, your contributions, your adding value in your mission, but it’s so big you think it’s impossible?
- The power of the Impossible Moment isn’t that you realize it, it’s not that you do the thing exactly. The value in that is asking the question, what is the version of me at that moment? Who would I have become? What’s his or her characteristics? Because we can start becoming that person now.
Q: What else do you want to share with the Cutco-Vector audience?
- I’d say the work Cutco does matters.
- For all of you who are in the company, what you’re contributing matters.
- It’s creating skillsets, opportunities, but more importantly, creating you and that’s literally changing lives.
- I think in today’s world, the companies we give our time to matter. It matters to have a high standard for where we’re going to invest into. Our time, our efforts and our energy.
- Cutco is an amazing product, but the lives that get changed through this organization are the most important part.
Q: As you look into the future, what are you most excited about?
- I’m excited about some of the organizations we’re working with right now. Just continuing to grow my craft.
- I love the art and creativity of figuring out how to help a team or an organization tap into its true potential.
- I’m excited to continue developing my family, my wife and 2 daughters.
- Ben saw what was possible. He expanded his vision during his Cutco-Vector experience.
- He learned a lot on the foundation and performance for leadership.
- He said he committed to the relationship of receiving in leadership from Mike Muriel.
- He also asked the question “Are you fully taking the advantage of the opportunities in front of you and in the context of Cutco, and committing to a significant period of time?”
- I think this applies to any endeavor we step into.
- Ben encouraged us to find an image so inspiring that we orient ourselves to it. The way we might orient to the North Star if we’re traveling at night looking for our way.
Show notes for this episode provided by Brian Njenga.
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