The Revenue Engine

A New Perspective on Successful Leadership with Casey Graham, CEO and Founder of Gravy, and Command AF

July 16, 2021
about

The Revenue Engine

Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.

“Bigger vision calls for lighter packing”. This is just one of the 40 lessons in 40 years that Casey Graham, CEO and Founder of Gravy and Command AF shares in this episode of The Revenue Engine podcast.

Listen to one of the most hard-hitting, authentic, thought-provoking and inspirational discussions with 4 time company founder Casey Graham as he shares lessons learned, practical advice, and a fresh new perspective on being a leader and being successful in business and in life.

Connect with Casey

Connect with Rosalyn

Thanks to Sales IQ Global for powering the Revenue Engine.

Casey Graham
CEO of Gravy
My mission is to help Build 1M Personal Brands on Linked In - We are Killers of Resumes (they are irrelevant if you dominate a personal brand)

 

Revenue Engine - Casey Graham

Rosalyn SantaElana: Welcome to the revenue engine podcast. I'myour host, Rosalyn Santa Elena. And I am thrilled to bring you the mostinspirational stories from revenue, generators, innovators, and disruptorsrevenue leaders in sales, in marketing. And of course in operations. Together,we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers that the revenue engineare. You ready? Let's get to it..

Ifirst met Casey Graham, the CEO and founder of gravy and command AF in early2020. I had no idea what an incredibly amazing human being Casey was and howimpressed I was going to be. Then we met up recently for the Revenue Enginepodcast. And again, I was just floored Casey and I had the most hard hitting,authentic thought provoking and inspirational discussion during our episode, notto mention we had a lot of fun, Casey and I talked about his journey, how gravyand how command AF were born.

But more importantly, we talked about somuch more, including his 40 lessons in 40 years. Specifically, we unpackednumber 17, your identity is tied to what gives you anxiety. And we alsounpacked lesson number 36, bigger vision calls for a lighter package. So pleasetake a listen to this episode of the revenue engine, where Casey shares lessonslearned practical advice and a fresh new perspective on being a leader andbeing successful in business.

And in life, so super excited to be heretoday with Casey Graham, the CEO and founder at gravy gravy takes a humanapproach coupled with technology to revenue, recovery, and customer experience.Casey is also the co-founder of Commander AF so welcome Casey, and thank you somuch for joining.

Casey Graham: I am more than fired up to be here.

And I wish I wish our pre-conversationwould be the intro to we've had a blast already.

Rosalyn SantaElana: I know. Exactly. So we first met last year,early 20, 20. Uh, we jumped on a call where he asked me some questions aboutrevenue operations. We talked a little bit about the role of the CRO. Yeah.Literally, it feels like a lifetime ago, 20, right?

Doesn't it. I feel like we've known eachother for like at least five years. So no, I think 2020 probably felt like atotal lifetime for a lot of us. Right. Cause just so much has happened,especially in your world. So I definitely want to dive into that. So let'sfirst. So that's the first time talk a little bit about the journey that ledyou to starting.

Right. Many companies are born from thechallenge of solving a problem. So can you share a little bit maybe about, um,about your story? You know, tell us how grave you got started, you know, whatwhat's sort of your original vision for

Casey Graham: the county. I'd love to tell some amazing story to you. That I hadsome epiphany and, you know, it was some, some genius story, but, but really itwas a story that it was birthed out of misery.

If I have to be completely honest, I'mbeing honest. And, and, and where it was birthed out of is that my previouscompany, uh, was called the rocket company and we were a subscription companyand a private equity firm came to bias. And when they made their office. Um, Idon't know if he ever saw a lot of people.

Who've never been through the process ofselling a company. And so the way it works is you, they send you an offer andit's, that is a pointless piece of paper. It's called a letter of intent. Andthey say our intent is X millions of dollars just to get you into duediligence, to strip you down butt-naked and tell you how so.

So, um, you know, We get through this duediligence process and inside of the process, they literally took their offer.That was really hot. And it went really low within like 10 minutes of our firstconversation after they looked at our churn metrics and our turn numbers. Andso I was sitting there going well, we're growing year over year, we're Inc5,500, you know, all this kind of stuff.

Look at our growth, look at our growth. Andthe, the people who are going to buy the business were like, yeah, But, but onmonth seven, these people fall out and 12, why is this, that this product, theturnover is this. And all they cared about was customer retention and customersuccess. And long-term customer value because they're buying that.

And it was the first time I woke up andwent well. If the people that are wanting to buy the business care aboutpeople, staying and paying a long period of time. Why wouldn't I care aboutthat as the owner? Like why, why would I only care about revenue growth? If atthe same time I'm fighting this revenue retention battle.

So we spent the next two years. Fixingrevenue retention in that business. And then we ended up exiting that businessbecause we fixed revenue retention for a five, five X, the initial offer thatthey gave us. Wow. Wow. So, Casey, why do you care about, well, because I receivedlife-changing money and exited a company for five X.

What original there, because we fixed thisone problem covered revenue retention. And so the idea was, was not somethingthat I just came up with. It was actually what we use to solve the problem atmy previous company. And, um, that's where the idea of gravy came from. Andthen we did it for two years and then after I sold the company, it wasn't aninstant light come out and go, oh, we're going to do that.

I tried 13 different ideas before we didgravy and we came back around to it and it was the 14th month. And, uh, and wejust said, gosh, I wonder if I wonder if people are taking care of theircustomers and doing this, and I wonder how they're doing it. And we learnedthat in the market, the only thing people were doing to keep their customerswas throwing technology at it.

Well, let's acknowledge. Technology doesn'tcare technology. Can't negotiate with you technology can't, um, th it can givea crap about the human being on the other side of the transaction. And so thatwas the whole idea and the premise of where the thing came, where we sit behindevery payment as a person, and every payment is a person, how would we want tobe treated if we were behind that payment?

And that was the Genesis of gravy of why wetake a human approach. Um, you know, coupled with technology to allow us toreturn payments back to companies. Got

Rosalyn SantaElana: it. Got it. Wow. It's really, it's superinteresting. Always when I talk to anybody, who's a founders about how theycame to the idea, how did they land in that opportunity?

How did they actually drive the business?And of course, things change right after you actually launched the company. Um,you know, early, early this year, you raised your series. Round. Socongratulations, big move. Um, so you talked a little bit about some of thethings that you think you've done, right?

Obviously focusing on the, on the humanaspect of it, not just throwing technology at it. What are some of the things,I guess, that you're, you know, that you think you've also done, right. Thathave really helped you kind of drive the company and drive revenue to thispoint of series a and then maybe what are some of the things that you'rethinking about doing with that round of

Casey Graham: funding?

Uh, some of the things we've done. Are, Iwould love to take credit for them, but I, I really can't because, uh, this ismy fourth company to, to found, um, I've started grown and sold three companiesprior to this. I'm not proud of any of them.

Rosalyn SantaElana: Oh, why is that?,

Casey Graham: Well, crap. I got the money, but I didn't get the fulfillment.

So I got the business done. But I didn'tget the, the culture done and the, and the relationship's done and all thatstuff. And so after I sold my last company during that 14 months, th th thepart of the story of, of, of why this gravy is kind of a Phoenix out of theashes is that my life completely fell apart.

And I got a life changing money. But, um, Ididn't like myself, my wife didn't like me. Um, you know, suicidal thoughts,depression, 14 months of every week, heavy counseling friendship, you know, allthis kind of stuff because I have this pile of money and I wasn't happy andpeople were coming to me going, you should be the happiest family.

And it's like, I'm not, what's broken andwrong inside of me. And so after that 14 months, um, I don't take credit forcreating the culture of gravy. I take credit for it. Going through the processof trying to find and care about health. Uh, trying to care about me being ahuman first and trying to care about that.

What happens if you accomplish a lot, butyou don't become a lot. And so as we started gravy, we said, We're going tocreate a company that we're going to go accomplish a lot. But if we, if I, andwe don't become a lot in the process, then we failed. And so the thing thatwe've done, and the thing that people see is the overflow on LinkedIn is peoplethink that we have this LinkedIn strategy or, or that you must do real.

Here's what we do is we go. I want you toleave better than you came in, and we're going to put as many things in, inplace as possible for you to do that. We're not going to be scared of yourdreams. We're not going to be secured to your side hustles. We're not, wescared if we're a stepping stone for your next career move, we're going to haveopen hands and realize that as a human, we don't own you, um, that you, we arehere to serve you and we want to help you.

Do we screw this up sometimes? Sure. Like,are we a business? Yes. But over the last four years, if you said, what did weget? Right. We got, we got the people side right now. There's people that arefired that th th th they would say, they hate me and we got it wrong. Well,that's just called business in life.

And you have to deal with both. But if Ihad to look back and say, what we've gotten right is I'd say the culture piecesis probably a big piece. Helpful. I want to be helpful, but culture drives revenue.Right. So people don't ever talk about that. So I call it return on culture.Um, return on culture is something that people don't measure.

Uh, but it's something that we do. So wehave a culture slice of our budget that we, we, we, we, we slice out and thisyear we'll spend, you know, over about $1.4 million in developing our people.And, and what I found is the return on culture is, is that you, can't the guythat took the phone call last night at 8:00 PM.

At his house. He didn't do that just for,he did that because like, he, he loves being here and he wants to be a part.And like, he cares about what he does for a living. It wasn't because hecouldn't get this huge kicker on selling the thing that's return on culture.Um, they, that he gets told, thank you for that return.

People that do the extra mile, that afterthey sell the contract, they stay with the person and check in three monthslater because they're genuinely good human beings. That's fraternal culturereturn on culture is instead of just blasting DMS out to everybody, is thatwhen somebody responds, you take time to send a personal response, get on acall and, and, and treat people like human beings.

And so I think that side of drivingrevenue, while a lot of people go, okay, well, how many calls did they make andhow many the unit. Is that th th the returnal culture of a temperate comes asnowball effect, and that revenue is attracted to good people are attracted togood people, and that is a revenue driver for our business.

And so that may sound a theory, but itworks. That's amazing.

Rosalyn SantaElana: I love that. I've never heard any BS. I wasactually writing that down return on culture, and that's just slicing out of. Ilove that now that that actually paints a great picture for me in terms of whatI see on the outside. Right. Obviously I know you, but I see sort of on theoutside the social presence and what's happening there.

And, you know, you talked a little bitabout, obviously everybody on LinkedIn and doing that, but more of adevelopment of the people versus necessarily just promotion of gravy.

Casey Graham: It will cost us the overflow of their life. Now we show them. But,so here's my pitch for LinkedIn. All right. Who here? In high school.

This is what I say to people. When theycome in, who here in high school, their junior year said, you know what? I wantto go to career day and I want to work for a payment recovery company. No handsgo up. Nobody wants to do this. Nobody, this isn't anybody's dream like we, sowho here would like to grow as a leader and make more money and have moreinfluence and build your character.

All right, who would want to do that?Everybody's hands go. And again, okay. Gravy is a leadership developmentcompany disguised in the payment space. We only produce revenue so that we canhave relationships to build leaders. If that's the case, when you buildleaders, guess what's going on. You're not going to have enough room for allthose leaders and they're going to get taken away and you're going to getrecruited and they're going to go.

And so what we have people do early on isfigure out why your last day of gravy, if you had to choose, and you were goingto go to your next thing, because I'm leaving, you're leaving and I'm leaving.How do we help you get there? What experiences, what education, whatconnections, what things that I need to get there.

And then I go, well, I'm just going to tellyou what I doing. Is that every everything in my life it has been upgraded hasbeen because I knew somebody, LinkedIn is the best place to know people. Thisis where I do this. You don't have to, but if I were you and you have the dreamto be the VP of sales in three years, You need to get your butt there.

Talk about it. If you talk about gravygray, if you don't right, but this that's the best thing for you. And so that'swhy so many of them do it is because they know they have a bigger dream fortheir life and we help them discover that

Rosalyn SantaElana: I love that. I see and feel that right withthe people on your team and when they do present themselves, when they talk,when they present thought leadership, when they talk about, you know,leadership or whatever they're passionate about, and you can, you candefinitely feel that on LinkedIn.

Um, so let's shift gears a little, littlebit, and I want to talk about this command a F so what is this and how did thisidea and mission come about? I think this will probably be a good segue fromwhat you were just talking about.

Casey Graham: Yeah. Um, so did you now, do you have a microwave was admitted?

Rosalyn SantaElana: I have no idea, but I love it and I woulddie if I didn't have it.

Casey Graham: Me too. I'd pop up. The microwave was an accident that when theywere building a space ship, they were thinking, how do you cook stuff in space?And then they figured out they built a microwave and they went, oh my God. Sowe're building this thing for, for space in the, in the, in the shuttle and thosekind of stuff in this, like the microwave came out of it.

Well, command F is the microwave that cameout of gravy. It's like, we're doing all this stuff and we're going, this ishow LinkedIn works. And this is where, you know, I'm teaching all this stuffand we go, Hey, This is, this could be used out here. And so that's allcommanded Ethias is that we learned the principles of Howington works.

We've learned the different ways to post.We learned the different ways to connect with people the way that you and Iconnected of like how you do stuff on LinkedIn. And we were teaching thateternal. And then I had so many people that were sending me DMS going, Hey,will you talk to my CEO about this?

Hey, will you come speak to our team aboutthis? And so I did about five or six of them, and then I built the training andI was like, I was showing up and doing this stuff for free just because I likeddoing it and like helping people. And then finally, I was like, people will buythis and this is valuable.

And I should just package this into a, acourse. And so command a F is a sip. The simple, it literally is thestep-by-step. Everything you need to know every type of post you need to writeexactly what you need to do every day. Dumbed down cookies on the bottom shelf.How to, uh, I use LinkedIn to get what you want out of life is essentially whatit is.

And so we have a simple course. You can goto command.af and figure it out. If you don't know what AF means, you can go tourban dictionary and find.

Rosalyn SantaElana: I was very careful to say, command a

Casey Graham: F am I, am I going to get your podcast? It's going to have theexplicit thing, little explicit.

Well, that's what it is. So if you want togo buy it, buy it, give it to your company, do the thing, like whatever youwant to do with it. But like, um, instead of trying to figure out how to. Dothis thing. Um, we just give you the shortcut and that's what it is.

Rosalyn SantaElana: Got it. I'll have to definitely check itout. I will definitely check that out.

Um, okay. So let's talk, I have so manythings I want to ask you. And so many things I want to talk about. So it'sgoing to seem like I'm bouncing everywhere, but they're all tied together.

Casey Graham: Okay. I'll be sure I'll be brief.

Rosalyn SantaElana: No, we have plenty of time, time, and I wantto hear everything I could literally, like I was saying earlier, I could talkto you all day.

So, do you remember sharing your 40 lessonsin 40 years? So there were a couple of lessons that were super interesting tome and I want to unpack them a bit. So there was number 36, which was biggervision calls for lighter packing. So what is that about? What does that mean toyou?

Casey Graham: So if you want to accomplish, right, but, so here's the practicalside of it.

You can't, you can't climb Mount Everestwith a bunch of crap on your back, right? The higher you go, the less you pay.Here's the, here's what this means in business. The higher you go, the more youhave to let go of stuff. The more you have to forgive people, the more you haveto forgive yourself, the more you have to, uh, not, uh, to, to let go the fearthat you, that is burdening you and carrying you down all the time.

You can't carry it up the mountain. Ifyou're going to have a big vision, is that if you have a big vision, is thatyou've got to stay completely focused on that vision and wake up every day andunderstand that the way the world works is that it's going to come and put itin the way you work is. And it's in everything that you do in your life.

And it accumulates all of the regrets andall of the past and all of the things that you should have done and all of thepeople that don't like you and all the hires that you made and then theirfires. Now you see them in the mall. No, I'm saying all of that stuff. Ifyou're, it doesn't mean that you forget it.

It just means that you can't carry all thatstuff every day and your mind and your heart and your life and go up themountain. And the same is true. In your relationships. It's true. If you have abig vision for your relationships, you can't carry a lot of stuff around. Yougot to let it go. You got to learn how to, you gotta learn how to trust.

You gotta learn how to forgive. You gottalearn how to love. And because I see so many people, you got to let go of theanger. You gotta let go with the frustration. You've gotta let go of thosethings because you can't carry those and accomplish big things. And so thepeople that you see that are able to, to elevate and get to the knee is thatthey have an ability.

It's not that. Check it off and say, I'm anumb person, but you transform you transform. This is what I always say isthat, is that pain baptized in purpose produces perseverance baptized in thepurpose of something bigger, produces the perseverance that allows you to beable to accomplish big things in your life.

And so many people, but here's the, here'sthe flip of that pain voice. Uh, uh, pain void of, uh, of purpose equals pain.It's just pain and people. Don't what happens is you, you, you put a lid on howhigh you can go in life. How, how good your relationships can be your level ofyour income, your level of your influence when you live in pain.

Because what happens is, is the more painyou have, the more it will spill into others and you can't get far along. Theother thing is you can't, you can't conduct mountains alone, you can'taccomplish them. And so people run around with all this pain. I'm saying,listen, if you have pain, I've had pain.

That's okay. But it's not okay to staythere. And I see so many people in a perpetual state of talking about howmiserable they are all the time. And I'm like, I've been there, but it's notokay to stay there. And so we've got to, we've got to move on in the way youget out of it is you've got to find your purpose of why you exist and why youdo what you do.

And that's what that means for me. Doesthat make sense.

Rosalyn SantaElana: Oh, I love it. I love it. Totally makessense. Um, How about number 17? This one says your identity is tied to whatgives you anxiety. And I think you touched a little bit on this already, butwhat does that one mean to you?

Casey Graham: Well, this one was personal to me because anytime, uh, my, my, uh,the sales were up, I was happy down.

The sales were down. I was scared andmiserable and you know, and I live this something outside of me. Is it. It'sdoing this up and down thing. And if my emotions and my soul was a stockmarket, it was on the same roller coaster ride. Is that that thing? And so whatI learned is that when that thing went away, after we sold that business and Isat two weeks later and said, why do I exist?

It was because my purpose in life, I didn'thave it. So people run around, they think that you don't have one you're justbusy running. Is it like when that went away? The prop of my identity wentaway. My identity was Casey is a CEO. That's a successful businessman that goesaway and I'm sitting by myself and I learned never again.

Can I tie. My soul, my emotions, my heart,my future, my purpose to a business, to a person, to a thing. And while thosethings, it's not that you become cold it's that you look at things and you, andthat the healthier you are, the more you can objective. Look at things andseparate them and then, and then make decisions on your emotions instead ofjust living emotionally, you can live and look at things objectively and go.

That's what that is. I'm going to put thatover there. That's not who I am. I am not grateful. I am not command a F I'mnot a husband. I'm not a dad. That's not who I am. Who, who am I when I havenone of that stuff. And that's what I have my purpose. And I know this, thisspace sounds so super, like out there for people, but like what matters morethan this?

I mean, like, listen, you're going to die.I'm going to die. No, we're, we're all gonna like that's so let's just quit.Nothing about, let's go to the end unless I, who do we want to be in thatmoment? And what is it is our life going to be about? And then that's whatdrives me now on a daily basis versus if gravy could go away tomorrow and Iwould be sad, I would hate it for the people, but it's not going to ruin myexistence and I'm not tied to it anymore.

And so that's what I mean by.

Rosalyn SantaElana: That's amazing. I love that. I love that.

Casey Graham: Casey. We need to talk about some revenue and you're talking about,this is what I

Rosalyn SantaElana: This is what I want to talk about. Rightbefore we started recording. I said, you know, I want to talk about revenue.What drives you? But I want to feature sort of the inspirational side and youdo so much more than you.

Gravy, right. So much more than drivingrevenue. And you do that obviously in your day-to-day business, but you're somuch more than that. Of course we all do. That's why we're in this business,but I love the other parts of you more than that. So that's really what I wantto talk about. Okay, one more. You had a bonus, you said never trust a fart.

Casey Graham: What is that about? You can have medicine, so you can't ever trusta fart, you know, like it's. What happens is you'll be, you'll be sitting outin the lobby and nobody's came off for an hour and you're like, nah, I'll just,I'll let it go. And as soon as you do, somebody comes to your coworker, walksup, you can't ever trust it.

So never, never, never think you can getaway with it. And, uh, that's, that's what it's about is that you always haveto protect yourself when you're going to.

Rosalyn SantaElana: All right. I had that one. I love that one.All right. Moving on. Oh, so there was one number 24, which is going to lead meto my next question. So number 24 was physical stress. Your body physically,physically stress your body or the world will.

Casey Graham: Oh,

Rosalyn SantaElana: oh, what is that from? Okay, so we don'thave video on, but Casey is showing me his hands and he has the most.

Calloused fingers here. Were you, what wereyou doing from this? Okay, so

Casey Graham: let's oh my goodness. And everyday my mantra going into a workoutis look, here's the bottom line with the amount of inputs we have, um, socialTV, radio podcasts, all of it. Then. How we feel about ourselves, just thestress and the things and the things of life, and then the relational stress.

Cause I mean, if we have any relationships,there's always going to be stress and we have all of this stuff. Is that theworld is going to stress your body. Like literally it's going to stress yourbody. It's going to, it's going to affect your sleep. It's going to allow youto cope in, in ways that are unhealthy.

Um, you're going to, um, you're going tofeel this external thing and you're going to wonder why do I do this stuff andwhy do I overeat? And why do I drink too much? And why. You know, staying up solate. Why do I work all the time? Like what, why am I Casa? Like all of thesethings is that what I found is that you're the only one that can out stressyour body in a way that where the world doesn't have to distress it.

And so I call it every day at noon. Iflushed the toilet. We talked about farts. Now we're talking about toilets.

Yeah. Flush the toilet. I mean, here's whatI mean by that every day I go work out. And I do not work out to physicallylook some way or have something. I literally work out to flush in my brain toflush the toilet, my emotions, and to have a restart every single day. And sowhat I mean by that is I stress my body and I put my body right.

And, and, and, and, um, very stressfulsituations of crazy stuff I've done and like different races or differentthings or events or challenges or whatever. Because in those stressful there'sI can't think about anything else like that. It's not like I'm sitting and go,I wonder what about Pino? And this it's like, no, no, no.

I stress myself so heavily in that way thatit removes all of the stress. And so the thing about it is it's the same withmotivation is that, you know, same with mental health, you know, same with allthis stuff, is that, um, all of this happens daily, not in a day. And so that'swhat I mean is my question for you is what, how do you stress your body morethan the, than the world stresses you?

And the more stressful of a job you have,the more you should be stressing your own body, because it's what allows you torelease and hang on to it. And it doesn't have to be the way. Um, but it needsto be a way, and I disagree with people thinking, oh, just walk or I just kindajust enjoy nature and all this kind of stuff.

I think you literally need to create theresponse in your body. That is the fight or flight response that gettingyourself into an aerobic situation where you create that fight or flightresponse, and you do it over a period of time. It releases, first of all, it'sreally good for you. But second of all, that's the, when you work out, that'syour body experiencing the fear response?

Did you know that that's what it is. Somake yourself be stressed out and crazy so that you don't get the rest of yourlife stressed out and crazy. So.

Rosalyn SantaElana: Hmm. So, so that leads me to my nextquestion, which so

Casey Graham: dumb, crazy. I feel like I'm looking at you and you're like, you'recrazy.

Rosalyn SantaElana: Like I'm like literally mental noting a lotof this because a lot of this really speaks to me, but this one I definitelywould ever do, but I want to, I want to hear, as you're talking about thisphysical stress, mental stress and stress in your body.

So tell me about the Navy seal. Experiencethat you had, like, what was it about and why did you do it and what exactlyhappened and how did you survive?

Casey Graham: Well, first of all, I did the play version of any Navy seal thing.And any Navy seal is 10,000 million or any military person have done it, butI've always people ask me about regrets in my life.

And I have some regrets when I look back.One of my largest regrets is that I didn't go into the military. Um, and. Itjust is a regret. It is. It's like I have something in mind. It's like, Iwonder if, or I wonder if I could have, or, or should have, and you know, it'snot like I sit around and think about it every day, but like it's, once thingsare simply because of that.

Um, appreciation, uh, for all military. Sogravy is a military hiring company because we've always been remote. And so oneof my best friends is a Colonel in the Marines and his wife is one of our bestfriends. So we've got a, we've got a whole slew of people in our business thatwe hire. And so I'm just, I'm, I'm, I'm really into it.

So like, it will literally with Obama stuffat my house for one hour, I'm watching a war documentary or some thing. And sothat was the premise. But then I always wondered, I wonder if I could surviveNavy seal hell week. And, uh, so I just Googled, you know, so civilian Navyseal hell week and there's, there was one and it was by, uh, mark Devine.

Who's a Navy seal commander or was, andessentially what it's, what it is. Is it's where people go that are going to gobe Navy seals. And prep them for their experience and to go into hell week. Andthey have like a 95% completion rate that if you do this program and you gotrain with them, then you'll, you will become a Navy seal.

So, so that's the, that's the, but, but asfor civilian, so then they opened it up for civilians. And so I just went anddid. Uh, I went and did it. And so it's, it's Kokoro camp is the whole weekendand then there's different six hours. There's a 12 hour, there's a 20 hour.There's all these different, um, different things that you do.

And, uh, it was, they put you through theNavy seal. Hell week stuff and it's awful. Um, no, it's awful. It's it's um, 50ice bats before lunch. Yeah. So just dive in. It was 39 degrees. So we're up inTemecula, California, 39 degrees. In the mountains, breezy, uh, 6:00 AM. Um,they don't show up in the parking lot for, till like 6 45.

And so we're all just standing aroundfreezing. And like, what we didn't realize is they were watching the, andessentially they were seeing what was a lot of middle stuff. Like where arethey? Where are they? Cause we're ready to go at 6:00 AM and they show up andthey basically say, We're not a team like, and they, they basically showed usthat we just went and sat in our cars and want to be warm instead of getting toknow each other and you know, all this kind of stuff.

And so the whole journey of the thing of,you know, all of the misery and the, the physical side of is that they, they,they basically get past your fear, physical state. Basically, if you can do 500pushups, they're going to make you do. If you do a hundred pushups are gonnamake you do 150. It doesn't matter what your physical they're gonna breakthrough your physical barriers to where you can't do that.

Hmm. And what they're going to do is thatthey're going to get into your mental game and then your, your mental platformis what they call it. And so there's four keys that they walked through with usof how to, how to live in your mental platform. And that's how you succeed as aNavy seal is not, they made think Navy seals are people who run fast and arestrong and can shoot good.

The way Navy seals were is what their mindand what their spirit. And so they teach you the biggest thing that they taughtus was breathe. I've never, I've never that they spent 50% of their timeteaching his breathing techniques to get through the hardest times. And so haveyou ever heard of box breathing?

So in through your nose four seconds,

hold four, but out four. All right. So youwould do that. You did you already feel. So, so they literally, they take youthrough and all of the hardest things that you're doing, and they're saying boxbreathe, then from box breathing, they're taking your mind and they're puttingit into micro goals. Meaning everybody is like, I, we, I want to complete thewhole thing and they teach you literally to take all of your brain of anything,but I'll say micro, literally your brain, they train you to think.

One step one. Breath cannot take that nextstep, but that's all you think about because if you ever think, oh my God, Ihave so much time you're out because you're just pitting yourself against thisthing. So, so micro goals and then feeding the courage, they call it thecourage Wolf versus the fear Wolf and meaning positive mental self-talk.

Anytime you feel the doubt, what is the,what is the mantras that you put into your head to help you get to that nextstep? And so basically they broke down the mental side of how you get throughextreme. Crazy things in that. And the crazy part of it was is that, um, theyget you to understand why did you show up to do this?

Anyway, I paid to do this, like, that'sstupid, but I came in, so, so I know I came in wondering, can I make it like,do I have what it takes when I got there? And I saw young men with Tridents ontheir shirt, meaning that they're going to beach training to be in the Navyseals. My mental shift was he's got my, the reason I am doing this is that he'sgot to make it and I will do everything in my power for him to make it.

And I, I will not be the reason that hedoes it. And when you shift the platform into that, he's got to make it thenall of the physical and all of the hard things. And all of it transforms intosuch a way where you can always take one more breath, one more step. And it'sa, it's a, they, they, they basically meld you into understanding that thepoint of this whole thing is that we finished together.

Not that you finished together and they takeyou from individual and they teach you why it's called . Teams, it's not calledSylvan residuals. It's called seal teams. And so that, that was the gist of it.There was crazy stuff. We did carrying people up mountains on stretchers threehours. And you know, there's no handed burpees.

You ever done? One of those,

Rosalyn SantaElana: I've seen people. There's no way I will everbe able to do one of those

Casey Graham: stupid stuff. But, but, but for you, but for the listeners, thething I learned. I thought like, oh, I'm pretty good. At team. I learned I wasa horrendous team. Oh, it was a horrendous day. I'm a horrendous day. Iliterally learned how much you don't realize how much, how selfish you areuntil you're put into an environment to where all of your selfishness ispunished immediately.

And there's no HR violation. Yeah.

It's amazing. And that's, that was, thatwas the part of the journey and what I did. So that's it.

Rosalyn SantaElana: Oh, gosh, that is amazing. Thank you forsharing that, Casey. I definitely, I wanted to dig into that and wasn't surehow much we could, but I, I love that. I think you'll, we'll probably get a lotof listeners Googling and trying to learn more about it.

Yeah though. I'm sure I I'm, I'm guessingmost people will not sign up to do it, but it'd be interesting to

Casey Graham: help us in the mark Devon SEALFIT podcast. And it really helps youwith the mental side of like just resilience. And I think what everybody here listeningwould want to be more resilient person.

And so I would go listen to that and hetalks a lot about that really good podcast. That's

Rosalyn SantaElana: amazing. Thank you. Great. So. Let's talkabout let's at least do one very specific revenue question. Although I thinkeverything else that you've talked about is way more valuable, um, extremelyvaluable. But I think, you know, when we talk about revenue, I guess maybe whatare the top three things that you think that revenue leaders should be thinkingabout today to grow their business?

Casey Graham: Um, number one is I think they should be thinking about churn.Here's what I mean by that I, as a CEO, have we do asset allocation based uponnot what's coming in, just in the front door, what's going out the back door.Revenue leaders can go, oh, well our SDR program, it's a three to one and youknow, it's worry and all this kind of stuff.

But if I go look at the churn metrics andoff of the SDR program that we have a 5% month over month churn rate might bebringing in, make you feel good on the front end. And I see so many peopleaddicted to the front end that that's good, but that's not good revenue. And somost people would shake their head and nod and go.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, we should do it.But nobody. Yeah. And so when I say sure, People get that they don't do turnanalysis, right? Like, and this isn't about gravy or what we do, I'm talkingabout, we do this meaning you've got to look at customer cohorts and then go lookat those customer cohorts and the churn that comes out of them.

And then not just look at the numbers, butlook at the qualitative metrics that come out of that. Yes, this many peopleturned out, this many people fell out. My question is how many of the revenueleaders listening to this have actually picked up the phone and actually calledone of those churn customers.

The answer is probably less than 5%. Sothat's number two, pick up the phone and call it, ask people why they didn't.Yeah, like have actual, real conversations with people that are leaving yourbusiness. People leaving have way more information even than the people thatare staying. And so I would focus on that.

And then what that does is it helps you onthe front end of the business. The third thing I would say, taking thatinformation, talking to those people then do asset allocation based on the lessgo to market strategies than more based upon. This is better revenue. We maygrow slower, but if we make instead of 80, instead of a hundred percent growth,we're 80% growth.

But our retention revenue retention wentfrom 82% to 96%. Well that's way better business. And I see so many, uh,revenue leaders that don't. Think nor care and they will give me, uh, they'llgive the nod. Yeah. Yeah.

Rosalyn SantaElana: But they don't actually do anything. They'lldo anything

Casey Graham: about it. And so that's exactly what I would do.

Like if you say Casey, go to this business,you're the revenue guy. I don't go to the front. I go to the back end of thebusiness because there's more to learn there. And then you come back to thefront and then you apply and then you tie these two things together. And Iwould be an absolute animal on churn.

We do. What's called churn autopsies. So.We, we literally do the autopsies of the customer, how they came in, which repsold them, what the account was like, what questions did they like the whole,every note that we have all this good stuff and then read these autopsies asdepths at our leadership table, but what can we learn from these things?

And it's okay.

Rosalyn SantaElana: But it's, that's such good advice. And Itotally agree with you. I think we talk a lot about keeping our customers happybuilding, you know, reducing churn, increasing retention rates, but what are weactually practically and tactically doing right with that information? Are weeven getting that the right information?

Casey Graham: Yeah. Yeah. And the number one way to reduce churn is not customersuccess. Yeah, it's not customer experience. What is the number? When numberone way is to look at all of the people that are leaving and have get bettercustomers and filters on the front end of your business. The front end is thegatekeeper of churn, and everybody thinks it's like sending, thank you net.

We do this stuff. Send thank you notes. Sothat's not why people stay. So you, it helps with experience, but the way toreduce churn is to is, is, is, is applying back in quantitative and qualitativedata to the front end and then limiting the amount of money that you spend onthings that have high turn rates on the back of the business, get the

Rosalyn SantaElana: right customers in.

Thank you, Casey. So, okay, so thank you somuch, first of all, for joining me, but before we wrap up. Before I let you go.There's always like two things that I ask and some of this you've probablyalready had covered. So it's okay. If you're, it's one of the things you'vealready talked about, but one, what is the one thing about Casey Graham thatothers would be surprised to learn?

And they may have been surprised by some ofthe things you've already talked about, but you're pretty, you're a pretty openbook and you wear your heart on your sleeve. Say this might be a little bittough. And then two, what is the one thing that you, you want everyone to knowabout? You.

Casey Graham: Surprise. I don't know if this will be a surprise or not.

I think I'm pretty decent to work with. I'mextremely hard to work for really surprise me. Yup. So I'm like comp like thecloser you are to me, the harder I am to work with. Okay. So that's somethingthat people wouldn't know and it's like, oh, I want to work, Casey. I want towork with you. And it's like, I don't know, like, you know, it's.

My level of energy and spot and all thiskind of stuff. It's just all in this. So there's very few people that get it.And that's why Renee has been with me for 20 years. My co-founder and, uh, it'slike I keep her and every Monday I come in and every Monday asset or an asset,Renee, are you leaving this week?

What do I have to do this week? So youdon't wait because you know that, that's just the reality. Again, it's not likebeing mean or crazy. None of that stuff. It's just like, Um, I don't know. It'sjust, that's something, that's something I would say, but work with me. You know,in the company and teams and all this kind of stuff, they don't get that, thatcrazy Tigger type emotion and all this kind of stuff on a, on a daily basis,they get it in spurts.

And it's actually been more helpful beingvirtual because I have to make a decision to turn on to do that versus beingaround an office. I'll just be all over the place, interrupting peoplevirtually. So that's number one. And then you said, what do I want to be knownfor? Is that, that's what you said.

Yeah.

Rosalyn SantaElana: What do you want everyone to know about you?

Casey Graham: Uh, know about me? Um, I know I am a very falled human being and Istruggle just like everybody else. And I'm mentally. Fight to stay positive.I'm mentally have to fight to stay in the game. Um, I mentally have to, uh,emotionally struggle with ups and downs and all arounds, and I'm a messy,messy, messy person.

And, um, but the acceptance of that isthat, um, it's wide journal is five process and it's why. I know that I'vealready written my obituary. So you need to put that in the notes. So I've got,uh, uh, bituaries already written and, um, of, of, of, of what I want to be theobituary that go in the newspaper or wherever it goes.

And, you know, whenever I die, I wasalready done and that is my guiding force. And so I would like to attach thatfor your, uh, your listeners to be able to read or see, and, and, and you'llgo, oh, well, that's the 500 words of what Casey would say that he won't set itup.

Rosalyn SantaElana: Amazing. Well, thank you so much, Casey, forjoining me

Casey Graham: on a happy note, do you want to sing a song together

Rosalyn SantaElana: that will not be happy for anybody? People,if that were to happen? I I'm pretty sure everyone would tune out at thatpoint. But thank you so much for joining me, Casey. I obviously, I adore you. Ilove speaking with you and this has been an amazing conversation.

There's so much, so much learnings. And inhere I'm going to go back. I'm going to listen to it over and over again, andI'm definitely going to take a lot of what you said to heart. So thank you somuch for joining me. So appreciate it.

Casey Graham: Thanks for bringing it up. That's a happy note.

Thank you. Bye-bye.

 

apple podcast icongoogle podcast iconspotify iconrss feed icon

Ready to grow and scale your revenue?

CONTACT US