Don’t pretend to be an expert with Scott Leese

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Episode Summary

”People love to hear about failure just as much as success,” says our guest Scott Leese, the CEO and Founder of Scott Leese Consulting. It is a common belief that you have to present yourself in the best light on social media in order to grow your following. However, as Scott states, you’ll earn credibility only if you are true to your audience and, most importantly, yourself. Authenticity pays off; sharing your ups and downs and talking about fears creates a high-quality connection.

Being a VP of sales and managing multiple teams in Scott’s case meant taking care of each member and advocating equality. That’s why he is against creating fake images of ourselves, whether online or in the physical world.

In this episode of Rep Your Brand, Scott joins our host, Nick Bennett, to discuss how a personal brand helped him become an entrepreneur. Scott also talks about the importance of investing in relationships with people from your network and nurturing those relationships throughout your career.

Guest Profile


Key Insights

“You have to be a little bit brave and gutsy to tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.”

Scott Leese


Scott Leese Consulting

Episode Highlights

How Do You Humanize Yourself as a Sales Leader?

”I think to me it means, are you relatable and not somebody who sits in an ivory tower and gives off the appearance and aura that you’ve got a perfect life and you’ve got everything figured out. You make yourself relatable by telling your story.

And you talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open about the things that you’ve been through, how you got through them, and how you overcame them. Sometimes the things you’re going through now, let’s say I’m concerned about the wellbeing of my team, the mental health, physical health, this kind of thing.

Well, one of the ways for me to demonstrate I care about this is to take care of those things. So in me saying, ‘Hey, I have a doctor’s appointment, or I go to therapy a couple of times a month,’ and do things to take care of myself. I think that makes me more real, more accessible, more down to earth.”

Don’t Pretend to Be an Expert in Something You’re Not

”You have to write about things you’ve been through, first of all, this in particular for getting started. Don’t try to pretend to be an expert in something if you’re not. People love to hear about failure just as much as success. So talk about the things that you screwed up. You know, ‘I tried this one thing I thought was the bee’s knees, and it was going to be amazing, and it tanked. Here are three things I learned from that experience.’

People try to give off an aura, and the rep of like, they’re perfect, and they’re a massive success and all this kind of thing. And it works for some people, I guess. But I think it has a negative effect of like, ‘Oh, that’s Nick’s screen face; that’s his LinkedIn face.’ And then, sometimes you talk to people, and you’re like, ‘Whoa, that person is very different from how they appear online.’ And I consciously try not to be that person.”

Why Have Communities Become So Important?

”I think it started a little bit before the pandemic. I had the idea for Surfing Sales in 2017 or 2018, and part of the reason was I felt like there was a shift coming away from macro. And I felt like we had lost some intimacy, and we had lost a little bit of the experience and the depth of what it takes to know and connect with another human being.

I think that shift started from macro towards the micro. And then the pandemic just accelerated it. Now, all of a sudden, you’ve got, Lord knows how many workers who have nobody to share ideas with, successes, wins, struggles, tears, nobody to commune with. They can’t be a part of their team anymore. And they just wanted a place to hang out—network with people. And just a way to come together and be around like-minded people who are at the same stages or paths in life. And they want to feel like they’re a part of something.

I think for these micro-communities like Thursday Night Sales, Surfing Sales, there are so many others. There’s Pre-Sales Collective for sales engineers, RevGenius. So you saw the need for it. And people dove headfirst into them. But now you got to keep people around. There’s one thing to get them there and draw them in. It’s another thing to make them stick. The consistency has got to be there, the value and the helpfulness and resourcefulness you provide and facilitate through there, and you just gotta keep showing up and be willing to put in the time.”

Not All Side Hustles Are Monetizing a Personal Brand

”I was a VP of sales; I think I was in my fourth VP of sales job when I started consulting. That wasn’t me monetizing my personal brand? That was me monetizing my knowledge and the things that I’d built in and done. So I started thinking, ‘Okay, over here is my W2 income; over here is my side hustle income.’ So I just started thinking, how can I increase all this side hustle income to match my W2? And if I can get to that place, holy sh*t, I can maybe cut the W2 and go all out on my own. And that’s what I did. That’s how I thought about it.

So I took a very like de-risked type of approach, very methodical compared to other people who are just like, ‘F*ck it. I have no clients. I have no book of business, no network.’ No, I had all that stuff, so I didn’t start on the goal line; I started on the 40-yard line when I went all-in on myself. The personal brand stuff started when I wrote the book.”