Episode 157 – Family Ties and Business Lines: The Pros and Cons of Family Members Working Together in a Boutique Professional Service Firm – Member Case by Carajane Moore and Tom Searcy

According to the US Bureau of Census, 90% of small businesses in America are family-owned and operated. Many Collective 54 members work alongside family members daily. Are you? Should you? There is a different set of management best practices used to grow, scale, and exit a service firm owned and operated by a family. Attend this session to learn how mixing family and business can be an effective way to fulfill your dreams- personal and professional.


Greg Alexander [00:00:10] Hey, everybody, this is Greg Alexander, the host of the Pro Server podcast, brought to you by Collective 54, the first mastermind community dedicated to the unique needs of founders and leaders of boutique professional services firms. On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the pros and cons, the goods, and the bads of having family members. Inside of a small services firm working in the business and working with each other. Many of our members in our community, our family-run businesses. And, if you listen to the media, you know, that there’s, kind of a generational transfer that’s upon us with the baby boomers handing down their businesses to the next generation. So it’s a topic that I really want to spend some time on. And we have, two of our members who are very well respected, long-tenured members with us, Cara Jane Moore and Tom Searcy, who are our family members. And they run a firm called Hunt Big Sales, and they’re going to come and share their experience with us. So, Carajane and Tom, would you introduce yourselves to the audience, please? 

Carajane Moore [00:01:22] Sure, absolutely. I’m Carajane Moore, I’m president of Hunt Big Sales. And, I’ve been here about almost for since inception, 17 years. So. Yeah. 

Tom Searcy [00:01:33] And I’m Tom Searcy, CMA, CEO, founder of Hunt Big Sales. And we’re from it’s almost 20 years old in the professional services world of helping companies land big sales. The name is not confusing. 

Greg Alexander [00:01:48] Okay, great. So let’s start with a little bit about, about the journey. I mean, how did the idea of working together as family members come about? 

Tom Searcy [00:01:57] It came from, desperation. I, I was I’d started this company. We were starting to work and grow and etc., and I needed somebody that there was that I absolutely knew could do what we needed to have done. Carajane called up and she said, hey, what do you think about me coming on board? And I truly didn’t say a word for about 30s. And she said, or not. And I said, I said, I said I had no way to dream that big. That would be fantastic if you came on board. Because our cultural alignment, our personal value sets the the things we thought about as far as excellence, all that stuff totally lined up and, and we really, really liked each other. Well, I liked her. So. 

Carajane Moore [00:02:47] Now we’re. 

Tom Searcy [00:02:47] In Sydney. 

Greg Alexander [00:02:49] And since you don’t have the last name just for the benefit of the audience, define the family relationship. 

Tom Searcy [00:02:54] But we’re, brother and sister. Carajane is 11 months younger than I am. And, we have, my identical twin brother, passed. So we were Irish triplets, and so now it’s brother and sister running the business. 

Greg Alexander [00:03:10] Got it. Okay. And Carajane in the beginning. Were there any reservations or concerns that you had about going to work with your brother? 

Carajane Moore [00:03:20] No, actually, not like Tom said. You know, we kind of think very similarly. We grew up because we’re so close in age, very close. And so, some of our even teenage years, we were in the same firms working together. So, no reservations. And in fact, that’s why I called. I said, hey, you know, I understand the business is growing. I’m in a position that I, can come. I actually, it’s funny because I’m like, I’m in a position, I can come on board and you don’t have to pay me anything. I’ll just make commission on what I sell and which is also part of that. That’s fantastic. 

Tom Searcy [00:03:53] Yeah. And how do you turn up what you’re thinking here? Yeah. 

Greg Alexander [00:03:58] All right. And then, you know, from your perspective, what do you think some of the key advantages are when you have family members in the firm, maybe in comparison to those who don’t have family members working in the firm? 

Carajane Moore [00:04:11] Yeah. So I’m going to tell you, I think that there’s some really key issues for having family members that shared history, and background or values or consistency of what is excellence look like. We had it that all of that was shared. He didn’t have to say much because I already knew what he was thinking because we shared how that went. I think there’s also, at least in our case, I can’t say for other people, but I would suspect there’s also a shorthand in the language, right. Which saves me an enormous amount of time. He doesn’t have to explain when we first started. Can I have to explain what you just said? Hey, I think we need to go do this. And I already knew what accent looked like. I already knew what it needed to do. And so I could go take it and run with it and bring it back to him. 

Tom Searcy [00:04:53] Right. So if you’ve got that, if you have that institutional, appreciation, I think it we work a lot with multi-generational companies. As far as families that are moving that along, and there are some families which that is baked into their DNA, they understand that this is how we do it as a company and as a family. And there’s others where, there’s a huge divergence. You know, mom and dad took it the wrong direction. I’ve got it now, and I’m going to take it a different direction. And, when you have that, then there’s going to be friction good friction or bad. 

Carajane Moore [00:05:31] Yeah. Well there’s also other some of our other clients and people we’ve seen too, where you’ve got, second generation, our next generation, some of the cousins of where there’s more than just rap in which there’s some entitlement feelings and that type of thing. So some are working really hard and others aren’t working, but have titles and want to be paid. So they’re, you know, we have don’t have those challenges inside of our business at this point. 

Tom Searcy [00:05:53] I throw in one other thing about this, and that is money. Although we can talk about money a little bit later on, sometimes people look at the money as far as I should earn, as far as my compensation, what my level of equity is or what my last name is or whatever, and getting the idea that your role or your job pays you one way, right? And then you, receive dividends or benefits or however the company pays that out separately. And those two things should not be mixed. The money, it always shows up in the conversations. Always. 

Greg Alexander [00:06:28] Yeah. You know the old saying never mix money and friends never mix money and family. You know the money. The money problem can be a real a real a real issue for sure. So so speaking of problems and challenges, you know, what are the problems and challenges both in your own experience as family members running up front and then also with the clients that you serve that are family run businesses? What what are the things that people should look out for? 

Carajane Moore [00:06:53] I. You know, Cass, jump. I was going to say one of the things that I think that Tom and I share as, family members and challenges is we do think a lot alike. And so there isn’t that buffer that says that’s not a good idea. 

Tom Searcy [00:07:06] Right? 

Carajane Moore [00:07:06] I have a great idea. I think that’s a great idea which could do that, where he has a great idea and I go, oh, I think that’s a great idea. We should go do that. And pretty soon, you know, because we are aligned, are going down rabbit holes. We shouldn’t be going because we don’t have somebody going, I’m doing. 

Tom Searcy [00:07:21] Right. Yeah, exactly. So so that’s the heart. That’s the groupthink that comes with a family is without someone to push back that doesn’t have the last name. So many companies have got employees that just complain about their inability to be heard in a constructive way. Next thing is, is, you know, whose lane is what lane? Families oftentimes think that they share lanes. And but Jane and I have very clear lanes. This is her side of the house, my side of the house. We meet regularly, and then we meet once a quarter, as owners for a full day to work through all the business issues that we’ve got right now. And to make certain that I stay in my that we stay in our lanes. Yeah. Sometimes I’ve been accused of overstepping. Yeah. So unfair. So. And when it. 

Greg Alexander [00:08:15] When it comes to decision making, are the decisions joint or is there a boss? 

Carajane Moore [00:08:22] I mean. Well, Tom says I’m the boss. Technically, I’m probably the boss, but I honestly, our culture is more so that we, I’m bigger decisions. We together come to those. But the day to day decisions I make. 

Tom Searcy [00:08:36] There is a piece about those decisions too. We talked about money. It’s important to figure out how to fight. All right. How do you disagree? How do you argue? What what what stays off the table, right. Because in family run businesses, it gets murky. Yeah. You know, so my son was in the business for a period of time. He came in and he was working for a period of time. And then we fired him. And we fired him, you know, gently, you know, at lunch, please take your things home with you. But seriously, he had to go. He wasn’t making the contribution. We laid out what he needed to do. He went into a completely different area in the in the marketplace, and he’s done great. Yeah, he wasn’t a good fit for us. But when he came on board, we had said no blood, no foul. We will fire you or separate. Or you can quit. Yeah. And it’s not going to affect. You can quit is just as easily as we can let you go. And we’re still going to be family. And you got to call it up. Call it out up front. 

Greg Alexander [00:09:42] So that’s interesting. Learn how to fight. And the example of fire in your son. That’s quite a story. I don’t know if a lot of people have the courage to fire the father son, and then the relationship stays intact. So that’s that’s great. Which takes me to my next, I guess, line of questioning, which is how do you set boundaries between the professional relationship and the personal relationship? 

Tom Searcy [00:10:03] If you asked our mom. Her answer would be, I hate having holidays with you too, because all you want to do is go talk about the business and the things that you guys got going on and what just happened. And, you know, we we would never hire her. So and so she she never knows. So it’s you you can talk about how we do that because they would say our parents would say we don’t do it very well. 

Carajane Moore [00:10:26] Yeah, I would say our parents say we don’t do it. Well, I would also say that the people that work with us would say, we don’t do it very well either, and that family issues come into the business conversation just as much as business conversations come into the family, sessions. But we try very, very hard, to regulate that and recognize that. And so when we are at family meetings, we make it a very small conversation off to the side, just the two of us. We might sneak a little bit, but that but then we try to keep. 

Tom Searcy [00:10:55] It bright little notes. I mean, here we are. We’re gonna we’re we’re like, you know, over 50 years of age and we’re still cribbing notes and handing them to each other so Mom and dad won’t be mad. But, you know, there is a piece to this as well. And that is, when it’s a family, crisis or celebration. Right? That kind of a defined set of moments. The business has to go. Second, when Tim was passing, and involved in the business, we looked at each other and said, we’re going to take and the business is going to have to be second to Tim. And Tim took a year to pass and not to bring this up in any. But, every family has moments of crisis and, it’s very hard and probably inappropriate to try and pretend like that’s not happening. 

Greg Alexander [00:11:44] Yeah, you can’t pretend when something like that’s going on. Right? So you might as well just deal with it and be upfront and honest about it. 

Tom Searcy [00:11:50] Yeah. 

Greg Alexander [00:11:51] You know, you talked about your employees. This is an interesting one. You know, in the world that we play in professional services, it’s believed that people have careers, not jobs. You know, they choose to go to work in the professions because of the content of the job. They want to be in the expertise business. And when the when the business is owned and run by family members, employees who are not family members may feel that they don’t have a career path and want to. So how do you deal with that? 

Carajane Moore [00:12:23] I spend a lot of time, because I do more of the day to day management of the business and the team, to really understand what is what is it that they want as the employees? What do they want? Where do they want to go, where their interests, so that we can make sure that we’re keeping them engaged and excited about what they’re doing and developed and growing? And then we’re appropriately saying, okay, that’s great. We’re not going to go that way this year. Are you able to stay here or not? But we do have in our business an enormous number of people who are 1099 as well. And so, it’s a smaller group that’s that we handle the, the what is the career path? And like Tom said before, we have our lanes, we make sure that everybody has their lane so that there is clarity as to where they can go, move or not move. 

Tom Searcy [00:13:17] It is, I would add a little case to any one of our clients. Dear, dear client and friend. They’ve had their company for five generations. Five generations. Wow. So they’ve worked through this generational model very consistently. They have hundreds and hundreds of employees and they work on compensation and bonuses. But there isn’t anybody who thinks at some point, right, that there’s a career inside of their business, but there isn’t a path to ownership. For instance, you know, and the fact is, is that there are family members that are outside who are not interviewed and not brought in. They may receive dividends, but you’ve got to do your job anyway regardless. And that’s, that’s kind of important on the career path side. Some of the members in that family do not have career paths. 

Greg Alexander [00:14:09] Interesting. You know, and the the learning there is, is to separate the ownership piece from the employment piece. 

Tom Searcy [00:14:16] So important. 

Greg Alexander [00:14:17] Yeah. And sometimes I don’t know if we do that as well as we should there to. There are two linked in an, a family business. That needs to be a bright line between those two things for the obvious reasons. You know, particularly when people pass away and there’s a state plans and things are assets on a balance sheet that get transferred from one generation next gen. It can get really complicated, for sure. All right. My last question is this. For those of your peers that are in the community that are thinking about hiring a family member, but they’re hesitating. Would you encourage them or discourage them from doing so and why? 

Carajane Moore [00:15:00] I personally. So I’m going to start with, if you’re hesitating. Right. I think that you need to really do a solid gut check. There there is pressures, maybe personal pressures, family pressures to hire a family member. And if there is a I had cetacean, then I would really check on that. You know, it’s just like if there’s an employee, we come into places and they’re like, well, I’m not sure I’ve got the right people in the bus. Well, if you don’t know, then I can guarantee you you don’t. Right. So my, my, if there’s a hesitation, I would really start to question, is this the right choice? 

Tom Searcy [00:15:35] But I can only echo what Carrie Jane said. You know, what we start to do is, is we know the answer. Then we just figure out ways to lie to ourselves. So, you know, so we say I shouldn’t bring them on. But, you know, I think it’s important to mentor them. And I think it’s important that they generationally learn how to do this. And I think that it and the answer is really okay. So you have their whole lives if it’s children to work with and if they’re, you know, other members of the family, you’ve watched them. Why are we pretending like we don’t know who they are? 

Greg Alexander [00:16:05] Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s great advice. It really is. Sometimes that hesitation is caused for reasons that aren’t job related. Yeah. Like the family dynamics. And in that, I think it’s it’s a shame, you know, if you have a family member who would be a superstar, who wants to join, but you don’t provide the opportunity because of blowback elsewhere that’s doing that. Family member. Tremendous. Yeah. 

Tom Searcy [00:16:29] That’s true. 

Greg Alexander [00:16:30] Yeah. However, I agree with what you’re saying, that if you have a family member who’s not a superstar just looking for a job and you don’t think they can be successful, then trust your instincts there and run away. So your. 

Tom Searcy [00:16:40] Advice. Yeah, I mean, we get sorry, but I don’t interject. That was the Carajane moment right when she called up. Right. I was like, you know, it was a gift. I had no flippin idea that she might even be interested. So that was one of those things where I had a superstar who called. And then I had my son called, and he’s a superstar just now working for us. Yeah. 

Greg Alexander [00:17:04] Yeah, that’s really interesting, but. All right, well, we’re out of time here. But I do want to thank you all for coming on, and, you guys have been great, members of our community. This podcast is another example of you contributing. For those that are listening, I will tell you that my team is in and, enrolled in their executive language program. There’s so many ways that Carajane and Tom can benefit all those that are listening to this. So I encourage you all to attend our member Q&A with them and look them up on the member portal and reach out and learn more about their story. And especially if you’re thinking about, you know, having family members join you looking for a role model, they’re an exceptional one. So, so Carajane and Tom, thanks so much for being here today. 

Carajane Moore [00:17:40] Thanks to you. It’s great to see a great. 

Greg Alexander [00:17:43] Okay, I just a couple of quick, calls to action for the audience. If you are a member, please attend the Q&A session that will have Kara, Jane and Tom. You’ll see a meeting invite on that. If you’re not a member and you think you might want to be, go to collective 54.com and fill out an application. We’ll get in contact with you. And if you just want some more information, I point you to my book, The Boutique How to Start Scale and Sell a professional services Firm, which you can find on Amazon. But until then, I wish you the best of luck next time as you try to grow and scale and exit your front.

How to Catch a Wave of Demand and Ride it All the Way to the Bank

How to Catch a Wave of Demand and Ride it All the Way to the Bank

Play Video

Are you looking for opportunities to make big sales? If you can land in the sweet spot of a surge in demand, your firm will experience exponential growth. But how do identify the wave and position yourself to catch it?

This video reveals six steps to go through. From spotting the wave to getting off before it crashes, we’ll share some of the most important secrets to big sales and how you can prepare for maximum impact.

In this video, we discuss:

    • How to spot a hyper-growth market
    • Why tech firms need you
    • The importance of timing when it comes to demand
    • How to identify the tech firms and key players

Episode 141 – The Secret to Big Sales: How an Executive Sponsor Program and Executive Language Wins Clients – Member Case by Carajane Moore

What role should the Founder of a boutique professional service firm play in the process of acquiring new clients? That of an Executive Sponsor. And how can a Founder perform in this role with excellence? By using executive language. Attend this session and learn about executive sponsor programs and executive language. 


Greg Alexander [00:00:15] Hi, everyone. This is Greg Alexander, the host of the Pro Serve podcast. Brought to you by collective 54, the first community dedicated to the boutique professional services industry. On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about executive sponsor programs, what they are. Why you should care. Why you should deploy them. Who should own it, how to do it, etc., etc.. And I’m joined today by a member of Collective 54. Her name is Cara Jane Moore, and she’s an expert in this area and she’s got a lot to offer on this topic. So, Karajan, it’s great to see you. Please introduce yourself and your firm to the audience. 

Carajane Moore [00:00:52] Well, thanks, Greg. It’s great to be here. I’m CaraJane Moore, president Hunt Big Sales, co-owner and Hunt Big Sales is a boutique professional services firm, and we work with the small and mid-sized businesses to help them grow very rapidly by landing large accounts. 

Greg Alexander [00:01:07] Okay, Very good. All right. Well, let me let me start at the top. So what is an executive sponsor program? 

Carajane Moore [00:01:14] Well, actually, an executive sponsor program is more of an approach to how you go about sales. What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to increase that reality in your pipeline. We’re trying to add some assurances in your forecasting and to increase the close rates of of sales. And so an executive sponsorship is about an approach that’s going to allow us to do those things. So an executive sponsor then is somebody that is at the highest level of the organization you’re going after to secure new services. Right? And so they’re at the highest level that have the business problem that you solve. And that’s really important because oftentimes we end up trying to sell us sell benefits and services instead of solving business problems. And really all biotech firms do is solve business problems. And so they’re at the highest level who have the problem that you solve and then also have urgency to solve it. So what we’re talking about is an approach that allows us to secure those types of people so that they can help us through the sales process to close. 

Greg Alexander [00:02:23] Okay. So why do you think this approach and I like that word is the right approach for our community, which is made up of founder led boutique process firms? 

Carajane Moore [00:02:38] Sure. So as a smaller firm, as a founder led, oftentimes founders are involved in the sales. So one, it’s easier for them to get to the owners of the prospect companies they’re going after because sales, when you’re solving business problems happens at a higher level in the organizations you’re hunting than the managerial levels that maybe sales reps are only able to get to. So first and foremost, we have to get to that higher level and an executive is the easiest way to do that. But you can’t teach your salespeople how to do that as well. So one, that’s true. Two, we’re trying to solve business problems. And so you need the executive sponsor inside that organization because if it’s a larger opportunity, they’re going to be the ones that are going to be making the decision to buy. But even if it’s not a big opportunity, it’s a regular sales opportunity. If you’ve got the person who has the problem, the chances are you’re going to get more information and better information than your competitors on landing that piece of business, because you’re going to understand the nuances of the problem versus working with procurement who has no problem. And we oftentimes get lost in the idea of procurement h.r. Training some of these departments who actually don’t have problems. They’re hired to execute someone else’s problems. 

Greg Alexander [00:03:57] Very good. So if you think about a boutique and the lifecycle stages of grow, scale and exit, in your opinion, is there a good time to start this, a bad time to start this? Like where in a lifecycle should a small services firm think about an executive sponsor approach? 

Carajane Moore [00:04:19] Actually, I think that executive sponsor should start the minute you start if you’re selling, which there’s no way we could be in business if we aren’t selling right. If you’re selling the best way to get efficiency and effectiveness and clarity in your sales approach is only speak to the people that have the problems you solve, not their proxies. Mm hmm. 

Greg Alexander [00:04:41] So some of our founders, actually quite a few, are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. And when you talk to them about their domain, I mean, you literally go back on your heels and you say, oh, my goodness, this person really is an expert. It’s one of the reasons why I love the professional services industry. However, they’re not great salespeople, not because they can’t be. It’s just they were never trained. They don’t want to be you know, they really love kind of the content of their job. So how do you get them? To be the executive sponsor and sell, Empower. Sell the power. 

Carajane Moore [00:05:19] Yeah. So power to power selling is really important. And although they’re the executive for their own organization, we’re trying to secure the executive at their prospects organization, right? Yep. And because they’re a subject matter expert and they are an owner, right. Or he as a founder, they have some gravitas that allows them to get in that door to begin with, which is why most professional services firms grow based on their network of the founders. Right. And we’ve talked about that and seen the founders bottleneck. And then at that particular point in time, as you’re having conversations, all you’re doing is adding clarity to the rules of the process that both you and your prospect are going to go through to determine if you’re the right solution. So we’re not doing anything unethical or behind the doors. This is all clean up, but we’re just making it clear. So even though they don’t have sales backgrounds or they don’t even want to sell, it’s about having an easy conversation. It’s just as simple as me saying, Hey, Greg, we’ve been talking and it sounds like what we’re talking about, I can solve the problem that you’ve got. And in your end, you want us to continue to look at that. But you and I both know there’s some nuances and we’re going to need to get our teams together. So I have to bring my team together. You have to bring your team together. They have to spend some time kind of working through the details. And I just want to make sure before we get started that you’re willing to be a part of that process, that you’re willing to stay engaged, that you’re willing to give me access to your team and data as necessary to go through the sales process. You’re willing to make it a priority. You’re willing to add clarity when maybe some of the people in your team have conflicting ideas or the urgency overcomes the importance and we get into a logjam and getting data and access. Would you be willing to do that for us so that we can work through this process to determine if we can solve this problem the way you need it in the timeframe you’re asking? It’s a that’s all it takes. 

Greg Alexander [00:07:21] Yeah. I mean, that was such a beautiful summary of it. STEM to stern. I marvel at your ability to take the complex and make it simple. Let’s, let’s consider a use case here. So let’s say I’m the founder of a 50 person consulting firm and I’m trying to scale my firm, which means I’m trying to solve for the founder bottleneck and replicate myself and others and be a great delegator and build a team. So because of that, I have a business development function of some kind of sales function, and they’re out there trying to win new clients. Where how is the labor separated? Like who does what and when does the founder parachuted? 

Carajane Moore [00:08:07] Sure, absolutely. So generally, if you’re on the earlier aid of that lifecycle, right, as a founder, you’re going to be more involved at the beginning of the sales process and then again at the end when you’re closing, as you’re scaling to your point, you should be able to turn over some of those, what we would call traditional prospecting activities to somebody in the business development department who is able to then sell the services. And as a founder, depending on the size of the transaction, whether you should be involved or not really is played at that point. So if you’ve already got somebody in business development and we’re trying to get to the highest person within that organization, you should be able to turn that over because they have to be a seasoned salesperson. If they’re trying to get to an owner. If we’re selling power to power, owner to owner, then they have to have enough. Business acumen and be able to do executive language speak to get in. And there’s three secrets to landing large deals you get sent to whom you sound like. So if you don’t sound like the executive, you’re going to get deferred down to a manager or director. You stay with whom you impress, which means you have to be able to continue conversation and an engagement at that executive level, and you close and grow with those who believe, which means you also have to be convincing. And so that’s part of where maybe a founder comes back in because they’ve got the resources they’re committing to. Yeah. So you should be able to transfer that to a salesperson, but they have to have that executive language, that executive presence and that business acumen to be able to be at that level, to have those conversations. 

Greg Alexander [00:09:47] So let’s talk about the executive language. And I know that your firm has an executive language program and how critical it is. And I think it’s so relevant to our community because our founders, they speak in jargon. They speak in like their domain expertise. And if you’re going to be power to power selling to an executive, the person inside to they don’t even understand all the three letter acronyms. So So how can one of our members get themselves trained on executive speak? 

Carajane Moore [00:10:24] Yeah, absolutely. Well, like you said, we’ve we’re launching a new program, Big Sale Secrets, and it’s really about mastering that executive language to close more deals. And that’s that language is more it’s less about the details. And this is one of the things that I think is really important. Executives buy to solve a problem of the future. They’re buying a better future. So they don’t need to know the details of how what we’re doing to solve that problem is going to happen. That’s what their team is for, to evaluate. So executive language is talking about the bigger concept, the bigger idea. We’re talking about money, not price. Right. We’re talking about leading through influence, persuasion and executive through some of the data. And especially if we’re talking about our founders speaking jargon, we’re going to back it up. We’re going to lead them through data and the analysis of that data to implications. And as executives themselves, they’d rather make a decision off of an option. So you have to be able to place the options that don’t include you as a part of the decision making framework for your executive buyer, then provide the recommendation for that choice. And so by putting in some of these conversational arcs and tools, how do you use napkin math so that we’re not into the precision, but we’re giving the big picture idea bullet points, bite sized, but a full arc of concept for executives to make a decision now. So our video program does exactly that. And then we’ve added C suite fluency because it’s a new language, right? So we have to become fluent in it. And what we’re learning is in today’s world, we want to consume information so rapidly, but we don’t take the time to practice and perfected. And so when you’re learning a new language, you have to practice that language. I don’t know about you. I try to do Spanish on a Rosetta Stone, and I could read it and I could I could understand it when they said it, but when I tried to say it back to them. Error. Yeah, error because I couldn’t get the role of the hours and all. I mean, it was, it was really fun and my daughter’s just fluent and I can’t write. Well, that’s the same thing when we’re talking about salespeople or founders trying to learn how to speak at an executive language, which is not their day to day language because they work with their own peers. And if your founders are those very, very smart people, but they’re the subject matter experts in their business, they’re going to be jargon based. Yeah. So we have to elevate them into business based conversation. 

Greg Alexander [00:12:59] Yeah. You know, I’ll share a story with the membership. I made this mistake that Cara Jane is talking about. When we first hit the market with collective 54, we would talk about helping a services firm grow, scale and exit. And I thought everybody understood what that meant. And I had several people say, What are you talking about? And finally someone said, So Greg, what you’re really talking about is going to help me make more money. You can help me work smarter, not harder, and you can help me get to an exit bigger and faster. And I almost kiss the person. I’m like, Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. So we have since taken that language, which is their language, not my language. I was using industry jargon and it wasn’t, it wasn’t landing. So using their language is what really happened. And that’s what this executive language program is about. All right. One more question for you. So let’s say I’m a member and I’m listening to this and I’ve now been inspired, you know, to go implement an executive sponsor approach. What obstacles should I anticipate? 

Carajane Moore [00:13:55] Well. So first and foremost, the first obstacle and I know this seems really obvious, but everybody misses it if you’re going to go ask for an executive sponsorship. Oftentimes people are afraid and it’s our side that’s afraid. So we kind of say it. We don’t really lay it out or. And so the biggest obstacle that we find is we work with companies to get them to do that is their own teams fear to actually go have that conversation. What I will tell you is when you’re actually speaking to executive, they are absolutely thrilled that when you have a problem, you’ve got a process, you’ve got a plan, and you know exactly how to execute it. And they know where they’re supposed to step in. They are grateful for the conversation. They’re not resentful. And so first we have to get over the fear. That’s the first piece. The other piece is if the answer is no, that tells you a whole lot of information. One, if they say, no, I don’t want to be your executive sponsor, it might be because they’re not the right person. Right? Might be because they’re just kicking tires and they’re not interested. Right? Answer Stop wasting our time. Right. So there’s nothing to be afraid of. This is just an easy conversation. Right? So those are some of the key obstacles. The last thing is, it depends on who you’re selling to. If you are in big situations in which you can’t speak to anybody, you can’t ask for an executive sponsor at that particular time, even though you might be able to gather more information. Right. If you’re speaking to municipalities, we have to be careful about the language we use. We don’t say executive sponsor because that sounds like we’re for you to win versus others. And that’s not what we’re asking for. We’re asking for to guide us through the sales process like they would anybody else. Right? So government, military contracting, some of those types of things, the language has to be tweaked just a little bit. And we’re not asking them to sign an agreement and we’re not even asking them to favor us. We just have to be careful. That’s an obstacle in some of those organizations that you have to be aware of. 

Greg Alexander [00:15:58] All right. Very good. Well, listen, we’re out of our time here, but this was really intriguing. And I’m so looking forward to the private Q&A session we’re going to have with the members where members can ask you questions directly. And I’m sure there’s going to be a ton of them. But, Caroline, you’ve been a wonderful addition to our community. You’re always a giving member. You’re actively participating. So on behalf of the entire membership, I just wanted to thank you for all that you do for us. 

Carajane Moore [00:16:22] Oh, well, thank you. I love being a part of C 54, and I keep referring everybody I can because I think it’s a great organization and a great structure for professional service firms like mine and yours. So yeah. 

Greg Alexander [00:16:35] Okay, so audience members, three calls to action. So if you’re a member, keep an eye out for the invitation that’s going to come for Carajane’s Q&A session. If you’re a candidate for membership, go to collective 54 dot com and submit an application and we’ll get in contact with you. And if you’re not ready for that, just want to learn more. Go to Amazon and find my book. It’s called The Boutique How to Start Scale and Sell a Professional services firm. And we talk about lots of topics that hopefully resonate with you. But thanks for listening. And until next time, I wish you the best of luck as you try to grow, scale and exit your firm.