ABOUT TODAY’S EPISODE | ANTHONY HAYES, BEN LEE, KUVAAL PATEL & KYLE LOPES
This episode features 4 of the brightest young stars of Cutco/Vector’s Western Region.
• Newport Beach District Manager, Anthony Hayes, has become one the top developers of talent in the Region.
• West LA District Manager, Kuvaal Patel, was the Region’s #1 recruiter in 2020.
• Ventura County District Manager, Ben Lee, was the company’s National Champion New District Manager in 2020.
• Kyle Lopes won the Branch Manager Silver Cup in 2020, and is currently the #1 manager in the company for 2021, operating in Marin County/San Francisco.
All four of these dynamic young leaders are changing lives through the incredible influence they are providing to their organizations, the Western Region, and the entire company. These are 4 wonderful examples of the kinds of leaders being developed through the Cutco/Vector opportunity. In this conversation, we talk about how these young men are all creating a compelling future through the District Manager role.
Q&A WITH ANTHONY HAYES, BEN LEE, KUVAAL PATEL & KYLE LOPES
Q: A couple of you have been on the podcast before (Kyle, Ben), and couple of you haven’t (Anthony, Kuvaal). Let me start by asking Anthony and Kuvaal why you felt like you could have a compelling future as a Vector District Manager?
- Anthony: I remember sitting at a team meeting taking notes and thinking I was doing such a disservice to the world by not running an office; I felt like I had a lot more value to provide and that I could be doing way more than just selling Cutco to pay for my classes at the time. It just made sense. I knew it was something I wanted to do and that I wanted the opportunity to give back what I’d gotten from the company and it felt like a good time so I dove into it and accepted the challenge.
- Kuvaal: I went branch my second summer and set out to do 225k in Kingman, AZ and we did 92k. I think the thing that really kept me around was the belief that my original manager, Jared, had in me. I don’t think there was a single conversation in which he didn’t believe in me and push me to think bigger and think about what I could achieve if I put more of my time and effort into learning how to be a better leader
Q: Ben, you were such an amazing sales rep your first year … what made you decide that DM would be a more appropriate path for you?
- Ben: I personally loved selling, but what I liked most about it was providing a service for the people I sat down with. The other thing I loved most was DJ-ing, because I loved putting a smile on people’s faces, and that’s what I believe I’m meant to do. The DM opportunity looked like a bigger platform to do that and impact people in a similar situation that I was in. Life wasn’t too great for me before, but after finding this company and the environment it created for me, and having the opportunity to give that to other young people like me… it was a no-brainer at that point. And I was raised to give back.
Q: And Kyle, you’re here basically on accident … you graduated from Columbia in May 2020, and the pandemic limited opportunities at that point, so you decided to take the last spot available in the Bay Area as a Branch Manager, and went on to be #1 in the company … Now that you’re a top-producing DM, what are you finding to be the greatest benefits of your role?
- Kyle: I think there are 3 main benefits I’ve been able to reap since becoming a district manager.
- The first is exposure; I aspire to do world shaking things in my life so it’s important for people to know my name in a positive light. Since starting here I’ve been able to positively impact over 500 young people and thousands across North America just through what we’ve been able to accomplish. I also remember you mentioning being a top-tier manager as a way to develop an army of supporters and followers at a young age.
- The second thing was income; the pandemic disrupted a lot of my plans… being able to take what would’ve been a limiting situation and end up having my best year (income wise) in only 8 months was a blessing. In 2021 we’re already almost half way to our production for last year and the remaining 8 months are the biggest periods of production for our company so it’s gonna be biblical this year
- The last ting is personal growth; I’d accomplished pretty much everything I wanted to in the sales rep position- I achieved hall of fame, graduated with no debt, had some money left in the bank, so I was actively seeking the next challenge which was only a short transition away. I really had to use my sales skills as a manager, teaching different things to my reps while also caring for them and making sure they didn’t get overwhelmed and help them through their personal and professional trips and tribulations. I’d say that over these past 10 months I’ve grown more and expanded my capacity for stress and hard work than any other time in my life.
Anthony and Kuvaal, you both had solid starts with the company, but you both really experienced a quantum leap in 2020. What do you think made the difference in going from good to great for you?
- Kuvaal: the first thing that changed for me was switching my focus from trying to provide as much as I could to other people, to focusing on myself so I could pour into others. I feel like in 2018/2019 I was working my tail off like any new manager, but I wasn’t putting that time and energy into growing myself personally and professionally, so I was still pouring from a glass that was already half-empty.
- The next thing was being vulnerable and allowing my key people to step up when I needed them too. Switching from in-person to virtual was tough but I was able to rely on my staff (whom we called the “Game Changers” last summer) and let them know when I wasn’t feeling it. I would let them know that I would still show up but that I needed them to help level up my energy and come through for us as a team, and it was really exciting for them to have that opportunity.
- The third thing was dominating through delegating; I realized that I didn’t have to do everything. I began to take my personal time more personally because I knew that staff would have my back and that my reps were prepared and knew who to call if someone couldn’t pick up.
- The last thing was being able to spend more time outside of the business, produce at a higher level than ever before, then come back to the business with more energy, so it was really being able to disconnect in order to reconnect. I took in more books than ever before, and I was able to spend a lot of time on real estate which I enjoy, and be able to bring those things to my people to expand their horizons beyond just the opportunity that we have here.
- Anthony: In 2020 I had three things- 2 focuses and one truth that became apparent for me:
- The two focuses that I had were creating development and creating systems. I didn’t want to do it alone, so it was important that I had a team there to help me. I remember hearing as a new manager that development was a byproduct of doing the business right, but I came to realize that those things are a product of development- it’s easy to get CPO and recruits when you have the right/enough people around you. I also realized that it was important to have duplicatable programs that I can plug my people into in order to multiply my effect.
- The truth that hit home was that talent, potential, and charisma aren’t enough. I realized that I had to grow myself so that I had things to offer people; I needed to add wisdom and insights and value beyond just helping them grow their paycheck or increase their lead base.
Q: I think we can boil the success factors for new District Managers down to 2 key areas … recruiting and development. The part in between — Training — seems pretty easy for most people, and in today’s virtual environment, you can really collaborate on that part. So let’s start by talking about recruiting … what do you think are the top keys to attracting enough great people? Ben, how’d you start the process when you first opened?
- Ben: the September before I opened, I ran into an old best friend in college. We reconnected, I PR’ed him and he became an assistant manager in my office. Before the summer, we sat down and made a game plan; we opened up a google doc with a bunch of different people that we knew and as soon as we got the ok to start recruiting we sent out as many messages as we could in a day. I wasn’t too sure what would happen that year but I did know that we could work hard and I brought him on because I knew he would do that with me. I shared my vision and people started to become that.
Q: Kyle, how have you been so consistent with this at a high level?
- Kyle: I also started with people I knew- my first person on my team was my little brother, and two of the next people on my team were referred to me by my fraternity brother, and that led to us getting into good schools in the area and expanding from there. Once you get a strong start, its a lot easier to sustain- we had good habits and made sure to maintain those. I identified top people really early on- typically in their interviews, and spent a lot of time investing in my people and making the decision not to let them give up on them.
- Another thing I just decided was that I was going to work my tail off to catch up to the people who had been doing this for years. Putting that work in let me run things more autonomously, but also to do so at a very high level instead of pulling back too early and just staying consistently mediocre. I really believe that if you build it they will come; part of recruiting is having the conviction that you can turn anyone into a rockstar. I also make sure to go the extra mile for my people so they know without a doubt that I’ve got their back, even if it’s at my own expense.
Q: Kuvy/Anthony, anything to add?
- Kuvy: Being the person that people want to follow is a huge part of being a recruiter, so going back to my own personal growth and the value I was able to share with the people on my team to motivate them and create that partnership.
- There’s no limit to how many amazing people are out there- its all about “the pursuit of the recruit.”
- Anthony: [Social media recruiting] Developing momentum is important. The best people on your team are the best ones to recruit and build your team. Find the people you can build with and have them help lead the recruiting efforts for your organization.
Q: Let’s talk about development … you guys all have amazing organizations, with lots of new managers being promoted for this Summer. What you do you think are the vital components of being a great developer as a DM?
- Anthony: There are four things you need to give your people: vision, time, an example, and confidence. In my stump speech I talk about leadership. We’re all leaders, and I believe that leadership is the one true transferrable skill; we work with more young professionals than anyone in the country so it’s our obligation to develop leaders. Everything I do is designed to create leaders; I’m constantly looking for the next person to talk about leadership with.
- Kuvy: Give people time and attention and be able to move things around to serve those people.
- Ben: I personally wasn’t too sure how I would influence people to want to be DMs, but Kevin told me to remember the reason why I started and the reason why I became a DM: to be able to create an environment in which people felt comfortable and safe being themselves. I never asked about leadership, everyone came up to me. I believe that what helped me become a manger was knowing I had someone in my corner that would fight for me, and my goal was to give my people 100% support so they could make the decision that felt was right for them.
Q: Development is not something that just happens all of a sudden. It’s a process that happens daily and weekly. Kyle, what does the weekly process look like for a rep on your team?
- Kyle: Development starts with framing and setting expectations; let them know what kind of culture they’re joining- I mention it after training when we debrief that they’re joining a #1 team and that they’re expected to be successful. We’re very intentional about how we structured our weekly team meetings to create demos- a third is recognition, a third is a phone jam, and a third is teaching. I focus on their demo goals during meetings; it’s not enough to get a lot of people on the team meeting- they come back because they’re getting a paycheck every week because of that focus on hitting their goals. We also try to do something fun after every one to create that environment, even if only virtually. Lastly, we give people a chance to succeed early on and put people in a place to expand their beliefs in themselves. I want to lower the barrier to entry so people can get more exposure and connection to that higher level and create retention, especially in a virtual setting. We have a weekly key staff meeting, so people can have that personal growth. We leverage our group chats, we have people record their demos so I can review them.
Q: What does the support network look like for the rest of you?
- Anthony: Kyle mentioned having live phone calls. It’s really important to build those relationships and have those live conversations. It’s important to be the voice that influences them because if we aren’t, someone or something else will be. It’s easy to quit a job, it’s harder to quit a relationship. When people know you care and are tied into you as a leader, they’ll go above and beyond for you. Look for extra ways to get connected in person.
- Kuvy: Be in person [with staff] when we can. Follow the “I do, we do, you do” concept of teaching. Take notes on what they could do at a higher level, but also on what they’re also doing at a high level to build them back up too. I like meeting with my people and taking a lot of notes in my head so I can understand them and mentor/connect with them on a deeper level inside and outside the business.
Q: How are you attempting to build connection with your teams, especially in the virtual environment?
- Kyle: It had to be super intentional. One of the acronyms you taught me as a new rep was A.G.A.S.- Actually Give A Sh*t. In a virtual setting, you need to do that more than ever. So I made sure to ask about them; it didn’t always have to be about business. I would stay up late and be up early so people knew that we cared. We went the extra mile all the time so people could know I cared. I was never a big “words of affirmation” guy, but I had to become one so that even though I couldn’t give someone a hug or take them out to spend time with them, they still knew I was grateful and never felt like they weren’t contributing. I also focused on the next event where we’d be able to see each other in person; I’ve been promoting the trip to Havasu since the inception of our office, and now that it’s over I’m promoting the trip to Vegas in September. It’s important to show them the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow so they don’t lose purpose; they maintain motivation and hope. The last thing we do is make sure we create a personal touch. Make people feel like they’re a part of something larger than themselves so it’s as equitable as possible to being in-person.
Q: What other keys to success would you want to share for young managers listening, or any entrepreneur who wants to run a better business?
- Kyle: Lead by example. If you want people to work hard, make sure they know what hard work looks like. Make sure people know that you’re a person of your word and a person of integrity. Trust is crucial. Value your time; we’re trained not to value our time so I teach my people to take ownership of their time and be intentional about how they spend it.
- Kuvy: Hayes and I were trying so hard to compete against each other but we weren’t focused on our own organizations. It’s important to have competition, but rather than trying to beat someone else’s strengths, focus on your own. Don’t worry about beating anyone except the person you were yesterday>
- Ben: Everything is 100% on you. One of the biggest things that enabled me to get back on top was taking 100% responsibility. Taking ownership and having vulnerability as a leader is important; it makes an impression on people but it’s also just a healthy habit to have, especially as an entrepreneur. Another thing is making sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. I think the biggest reason should be impacting people. If you ask any of your reps the top 3-5 most influential people in their lives, you’ll be on that list. With that in mind, how are you going to show up to them? Where they go in life is dictated by actions I take with them. Am I giving my all to them, and is it fair for them?
Q: Last questions … what are some of your current aspirations and why do you feel like your future will be so compelling? Youngest to oldest this time: Ben, Kuvy, Anthony, Kyle
- Ben: I do what I do because of the way I was raised and my parents’ expectations of me, but also so I can take care of them. I think of them and all the people that came before me and the sacrifices they made to get me to where I am, so being the type of man and the son that they want me to be is on the top of my priority list. I’m also learning how to show up for the people I care about. I know my future family is going to be here one day and I want to make sure I’m doing everything for them right now. If they were here watching me do this, and I asked if I was giving my all for them, I would want the answer to be yes. So I think I’m right where I need to be.
- Kuvy: I’m super excited about the opportunity I’ve had as a DM and I’m excited to grow more with what I’ve learned. I’m studying in a masters’ program and I’m using the DM opportunity to graduate 100% loan and debt free. I’m on pace to acquire a 3rd property so I can get 3 before my next birthday. One thing I’ve been very vocal about is being able to leverage my time and where I’m putting my energy; I think one of the best things about the DM opportunity is being able to work your tail off on the front end to get to where all of us are and then be able to delegate accordingly and run a super awesome business while pursuing your own interests. I believe that by the end of this year I’ll be able to live entirely off of my passive investments and be doing this job purely for the joy and fulfillment of it without necessarily relying on the income. I think setting myself, my family, and the people around me up with success based on what I’ve learned here is one of the things I’m most excited about.
- Anthony: I have a lot of Vector aspirations. I’m looking forward to moving up to a division manager role as well. I’ve really fallen in love with mentoring and coaching and teaching young people. I’m looking to get into coaching for a high school basketball team where I’ll be able to take some of the things that I’ve learned here mentally, and potentially go into coaching in the future as well. Being able to work with young professionals is also really exciting and I’m looking forward to that and being able to parlay all that into some other opportunities. Kuvaal being my best friend, I’ve got some real estate to learn, but like he said, being able to get to a point where I’m working for the passion and fun and fulfillment is something I’m really excited for.
- Kyle: Short term: our goal is to do just over 2 million this year while also working less and helping 2 of my friends to have incredible experiences as new managers. More long term, I want to make sure I’m continuing to do the right things on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to leverage this experience to get in a good grad school, continue to build my network and create a raving horde of fans for life. My ambitions lie in government at the highest levels so I can impact hopefully billions of people over the course of my life.
Show Notes for this episode provided by Chris Robertson.
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