June 2019 - The Sales Evangelist

Archive Monthly Archives: June 2019

Enterprise Seller, Trong Nguyen

TSE 1126: How to Handle Major Challenges When Selling

Enterprise Seller, Trong Nguyen

The sales landscape is always changing but by gathering insights from other sellers we can determine how to handle major challenges when selling

Brandon Bruce is co-founder of Cirrus Insight and he’s going to address how to we can get out of our own zone, where we focus exclusively on ourselves and our companies and seek opportunities to interact with other people. 

Today’s episode is a reboot of episode 736, with great information about long-term strategy, providing value, and email outreach.

Evolving sales

The world of sales is constantly evolving. One of the challenges Brandon sees with sales right now is an unspoken push that exists. Because there are a bunch of companies at the growth stage, and a bunch of companies just starting out, there’s a tremendous amount of energy in the sales industry. 

There’s a premium on hitting numbers. Everyone is hustling and trying to find a way to build a better mousetrap. On the negative side, sellers might be hyperfocused on closing deals so that they forget to prioritize the personal connection. Because connections take time, and sales reps get antsy, we sometimes try to speed things along. 

We don’t want to close a deal next month; we want to close it this month. 

Brandon believes there’s a happy medium to be found. We must work to focus on building sustainable relationships even while we focus on making our numbers. 

Long-term success

Companies that focus too narrowly on numbers will likely struggle to achieve long-term customer success. The customers won’t stay as long because the deals were one-time kinds of relationships. It’s easier for customers to walk away when the customer doesn’t know us well. 

Brandon remembers buying a countertop, a one-time purchase, from a company that worked to develop a relationship with him. They were struggling to find exactly what he wanted until they discovered an unused countertop in a storage area. It was exactly what he needed, and it was something a previous customer decided against using. And the company sold it to him for 50 percent off. 

He calls it a great selling experience because they listened to his needs and they thought about how they could best help him. And even when they had a chance to make more money off the deal, they sold it to him at a great price. 

Even though he won’t be in the market for a countertop anytime soon, they created an evangelist in him. If anyone should ask where to buy a countertop, he’ll absolutely recommend that company. 

They closed a deal, they moved product, and they build a sustainable relationship. 

Evangelizing

We should probably remind ourselves to focus on doing the right thing, and sometimes allowing ourselves to take the easy option. We’re tempted to feel like we should push a little harder, but sometimes we can take the easy deal that leaves the customer feeling satisfied. 

Your customer will become an evangelist for your company. You might have missed a chance to get a little more from them, but because you gave them more, you’ll have the opportunity to earn more from them. 

Building customer relationships benefits your long-run philosophy. 

Raving fan

I joined an organization that gave its sellers to the book, Raving Fans, as part of its onboarding process. It helped us understand the value of customers who bought our solution and then stayed with us to upgrade and buy more later. 

It’s valuable to have a customer who likes your product and who will promote you on social media and leave you reviews. A raving fan might take you to their next three jobs, or mention you on their podcast. 

It has less to do with building a predictable sales machine and more to do with building a fan base who is passionate and who might do unpredictable things. 

Reaching out to prospects

It’s getting harder and harder to reach prospects, and sellers use a variety of tactics to do it. 

E-commerce has gotten huge, and statistics show that buyers have done a tremendous amount of research before they engage in the sales process. Despite that, there’s still room for a lot of outreach and prospecting. But how can we bridge that gap if we have buyers who are already doing a lot of the work themselves?

Begin by making it really easy for your customers to have a conversation. Brandon’s company puts its calendars on the website so that customers who want to schedule time with them can immediately see what is available. Once they schedule a time, it will automatically appear on the company’s calendar. It’s buyer-driven versus seller-driven.

Prospects come to them more often now asking for a demo. Meeting them part-way helps to bridge that gap. 

Another option they use is the ability to place bulky slides in a web portal and then provide a link to it instead of putting the slide in an email. It’s useful because they can click on it and view it online. They don’t have to worry about malware or about a bulky attachment loading too slowly. 

They also get real-time analytics about their slide deck: they know which slide people are most interested in, and where they abandon the slides. The team can then offer to follow up with a demo.

Meeting halfway

Brandon calls the process meeting halfway, which he said is how the best sales always happen. It’s a buyer saying, “I’m ready to buy,” and a seller saying, “We’re pretty interested in selling to you.” It creates a partnership where everyone brings something to the table. 

Persuade by sharing insights. Many people have a distaste for sales because they perceive it as a seller trying to trick a buyer in buying something he doesn’t need. But that’s not selling. That’s trickery. 

Sales is an art and not a science. It can’t be reduced to an algorithm, at least not yet, because it involves nuanced decisions as part of the relationship. In his own case, the company was looking to make a purchase, but the VP of marketing was skittish because the company wasn’t pushing for the sale at all. It left her with the sense that they don’t really want their business. 

The art results from trying to find the right amount of positive pressure to get the deal closed. It’s figuring out what your buyer needs and wants to hear, telling them, and moving the conversation forward. 

Email outreach

Email outreach is difficult and it has gotten harder over the lifetime of Brandon’s company. As with any trend in technology, as more and more people come on board with automation, there’s simply more volume. Those on the receiving end are overwhelmed by it, and it’s hard to overcome the spam filters. It’s difficult to break through. 

Short emails work the best; perhaps two or three lines long with single sentence paragraphs. It must be super easy to read at a glance because people don’t tend to read deep content. 

Clearly state what you do and provide a link or two. Make it very easy for the user to click and say, “I want to learn more.” They’re much simpler than the newsletter-type emails that are rich in image and video. Google and other filters often knock those out. It’s a simple, text-based email with an intriguing subject. 

Recognize that vanity metrics might get you a 100-percent open rate, but they don’t drive conversations, and conversations drive sales. 

Consider asking other people in your industry for feedback. Brandon likes to send ideas to other tech founders and ask if his ideas seem insane or totally off-base. Because it’s a very giving community, people often write back to offer thoughts and ideas. 

Keep the excitement

Sales will always be a hustle. It won’t ever be easy. It’s a nice idea to think that you can create some kind of machine that will keep the money rolling in, but it isn’t realistic. We must keep putting our heads down, hustling, and meeting the customers halfway. Make deals that are easy to say yes to and that leave your customers feeling confident about the decision. 

Let your audience know that doing business with you is easy. 

“How to Handle Major Challenges When Selling” episode resources

If you’d like to connect with Brandon, you can email him at brandon@cirrusinsight.com, or you can find him on LinkedIn

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. 

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

 

 

Sandler, Mike Jone, LinkedIn, Social Selling, Prospecting

TSE 1125: Harnessing LinkedIn to Develop a Consistent Stream of Quality Leads

If you’re not already harnessing LinkedIn to develop a consistent stream of quality leads, you’re missing out on more referrals, possible testimonies, and a powerful prospecting tool. 

Mike Jones owns and operates a local Sandler Training franchise where he works with sales leaders and salespeople in those cultures to develop nontraditional ways of prospecting and selling. He has the privilege of seeing best practices and working intimately with sales culture. He loves the experience of moving between industries and geographies to see what the consistent themes of success are. 

Utilizing LinkedIn

Sellers must take advantage of LinkedIn, but many people use it wrong. 

They often don’t understand LinkedIn’s power to get to the right person. It’s difficult to connect with the right person, but LinkedIn gives people the ability to determine who they need to be talking to. 

There is power in connections. If you aren’t using it to find the right people in the organizations you’re connecting with, you aren’t using it to its full capabilities. 

There are two kinds of prospecting. 

  • Active prospecting, which includes developing daily behavioral metrics about how many conversations you want to have, how many appointments you want to have, and how many existing clients you should be reaching out to. Activity always precedes outcome. If I can dial in my activity and monitor it and compare it to a monthly revenue goal, that allows me to make strategic behavioral changes. Whatever outcome you’re seeking, you have a system perfectly designed to give you that outcome. If you want a better outcome, analyze what you’re doing from a behavioral standpoint in order to achieve that outcome. It’s a form of prospecting that provides real-time decisions, and it gets immediate results. 

 

  • Passive prospecting doesn’t provide immediate results. If, for example, you work 250 days a year and your prospecting system requires you to send out 10 emails, either directly to a prospect or a contact in LinkedIn, asking for an introduction. Over a year, that’s 2,500 prospecting attempts every year. In today’s business culture, it works and you’re missing an opportunity if you aren’t seizing it. 

Thinking about now

Sometimes, as sellers, we get so focused on the now that we forget to focus on the future. In the early days of my sales career, I was guilty of it, too. Every phone call you make doesn’t have to result in an immediate close. 

We may even make the mistake of prospecting to convince people, and that creates a lot of pressure. Instead, identify what kind of prospect is in front of you. 

There are four distinct mindsets that prospects have. 

  1. They have a need they know about. 
  2. They’re comfortable and they aren’t making any changes.
  3. They are willing to make changes in order to have a better return on investment.
  4. They’re arrogant. 

We can only help number one and number three. Numbers two and four will communicate with a salesperson differently. Instead of trying to convince, try to determine which of the four you’re dealing with. It will help you understand whether they’re open-minded about it. 

Prospect’s mindset

Don’t give up too early. When a salesperson reaches out to a prospect, they’re trying to change the prospect’s mindset and alter what they believe. 

Be consistently persistent. Develop a cadence that falls somewhere between “I’m bugging someone” and “I’m ineffective.” Prospecting takes time and sellers must stop looking at their monthly revenue as the barometer for success. We do it because we think that’s how the game needs to be played. 

Realize that your individual metrics and your revenue are important, but you don’t get a pass on your prospecting simply because you hit your revenue. Failure to prospect will impact you months from now. You must manage your calendar to make sure you can service the people you’re selling as well as your future prospects. 

LinkedIn content

LinkedIn is a huge tool for marketing and it’s designed to help people think and share different ideas and insights.

When we look to give back, we’ll get stuff in return. The more you give, the more the people who want your help will come to you. 

If you’re a giver and you’re prospecting, you’re giving so much great information. They’ll keep coming back to you. 

Introductions

Many salespeople don’t do enough to leverage their connections in order to get introductions, which is probably a better word than referral. Probably 20 percent of your clients will provide an introduction without being prompted to. They like to connect people. 

At the same time, there are probably the same number who don’t like doing it. The 60 percent in the middle will do it if someone asks them to. We just have to become proactive and make it part of our process.

The best time to ask for an introduction is when the prospect realizes that he got his value and he’s happy. If you’ve already found a process that works, don’t change it. But if you aren’t having success asking for introductions, wait until the buyer realizes what they have in value. 

It also probably depends on the type of product you’re selling. 

Team behaviors 

Figure out what behaviors your team should be doing and build some healthy accountability around those things. It’s easier to coach people who have individual belief systems and business acumen. Based upon metrics, you can give unique instruction to each person. 

Make sure to have a direct line to the decision maker in the company you are pursuing, and build it around a story. In other words, figure out a common connection to the person you’re trying to connect with and use that. That connection is much more likely to be successful than cold outreach will. 

Don’t wing it. Use your KPIs and other metrics to get prepared. Good sellers won’t sabotage their efforts or be lazy. They’ll want to do something that will help them earn more money. 

Finally, get your life “why-dialed in.” Figure out why you get out of bed in the morning, because that’s your source of power. If you don’t have your life “why-dialed in,” you’ll go through the motions and it will be mundane and boring. 

Evaluate your patterns and habits. Are you getting the habits and outcome that you’re looking for? Sales is a purposeful, predictable event. If you’re serious about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, you can track and measure your output and change it. 

“Harnessing LinkedIn” episode resources

You can find Mike on LinkedIn or you can connect with Sandler Training by The Ruby Group. Visit Sandler Training to connect with someone in your own area. 

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Take advantage of a 30-day free trial, including a free book of your choice, at audible.com/tse.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility. When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that’s in sales about the podcast.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Wes Schaeffer, Sales Outreach, Sales Whisper

TSE 1124: Sales From The Street: “The Fundamentals of Sales Outreach”

Wes Schaeffer, Sales Outreach, Sales WhisperMany sellers have a tough time with outbound sales, so we’re spending the month of June focused on the topic, and today we’re specifically addressing the fundamentals of sales outreach.

Wes Schaeffer entered sales in 1997, covering stocks, bonds, retail, real estate, and high tech. He decided that, since sales was crazy and uncertain, he’d bet on himself. He laid the foundation for The Sales Whisperer, where he helps people with sales training.

Outbound struggles

Too many sellers mistakenly believe that outbound is dead. That cold calling and email are dead. The truth is you simply have to do a little bit of homework.

Some people would say that because everybody drinks water, if you sell water, everyone is your prospect. But some people are content drinking water out of a hose. Not everyone will spend money on your stuff.

Client selection is important. You have to figure out who’s going to buy your stuff and who isn’t.

The number of people who are ready, willing, and able to buy what you sell right now is in the single digits. If, for example, you just bought four brand new tires for your car, it doesn’t matter that you’re having a 50-percent-off sale.

Follow a script

Now that you know who you’re going after, what will you say? Will you fall into the trap of not following a script because it feels unnatural?

The Rock has made over $60 million a year by regurgitating scripts. He makes it his own and he makes it believable. The truth for all of us is that we’re living on a script.

I once talked in a presentation about seeing the band Chicago and about the fact that they play the same 20 songs in the same order at every single show. What would happen if they decided to just wing it every now and then?

That’s not what professionals do. Professionals practice things until they can’t get them wrong. You could wake them out of a stupor, hand them a guitar or keyboard, and they could play any song perfectly.

Practicing skills

Look at Tom Brady or Lebron James or Tiger Woods. I guarantee you they are still practicing. Are you willing to practice the little bitty things? How do you open? What do you say? How do you title your emails? How do you build interest?

If you sound like everybody else, I’m going to treat you like everybody else. The only way I can differentiate between you and everyone else that sounds like you is on price.

Think of the phone calls you get from an autodialer. They’re nice because they streamline things, but when people hear the long pause while it’s connecting to the first available person, they are completely uninterested. Then they mispronounce your name and you’re done.

Diagnose the problem

Wes recommends at least five emails in any outbound process. He also pointed out the distinction between frequently-asked questions and “should ask” questions. FAQs can be written out and sent in an email. The “should ask” questions allow you to differentiate yourself. These are the things the prospect doesn’t know.  

Understand your product and the situation of your prospects well enough to know what issues might arise. Our goal in prospecting is to ask a question that our prospect can’t answer.

Doctors do the same, and it’s why we trust them. When they take the time to diagnose the problem, we trust their prescription.

Ask questions

  • How are you generating leads?
  • What trends are you seeing?
  • Is it becoming more expensive to run ads?
  • How is your team performing?
  • Do you experience ups and downs?

Spend some time on your “should ask” questions.

We’re all too close to our own offerings. There’s an adage that says you can’t read the label from inside the bottle.

Outreaching sequences

Timing matters in outreach, and that’s why you need multimedia multi-step followup sequences. You need a success story about a prospect in your niche. You need a case study or a video testimonial. And then you’re off and running.

Dripping a prospect is a little like dating. When you continue coming back to your prospects, they eventually decide that there must be something good about your offering.

You have your target market or your dream 100. It’s worth persisting because, eventually, something is going to happen: a machine will break or the competition will miss a delivery. Maybe an employee will quit or they will have their own quality issues.

Start early, stay late

Remember that whatever you can measure you can improve.

Jeffrey Gitomer speaks about gold calling because he says there isn’t such thing as pure cold calling in B2B. You’re most likely to reach people by phone. You can do direct mail and other things, and they may work.

Executives and decision-makers get to the office early and they stay late. Since I’m a west coast guy, I start calling the east coast about 2 p.m. when the assistants and receptionists have gone home. Same with the lunch hour. The hourly people take their breaks while the boss keeps working.

Be strategic about your calls. Use LinkedIn to find information about your prospects. Where did they go to school? Do they have a recent article? The research demonstrates that you did your homework. It differentiates you from your competition.

Little things add up. Trust the process and have a process.

“The Fundamentals of Sales Outreach” episode resources

Connect with Wes at thesaleswhisperer.com. You can find his social media links and his phone number there.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. 

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Asking, Closing, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 1122: Don’t Forget To Ask!

Asking, Closing, The Sales Evangelist PodcastSellers are programmed to take advantage of outreach to generate opportunities, but it’s important that we don’t forget to ask for the referral.

We understand the importance of cold calling and cold outreach, but that’s doing things the hard way. We do it over and over again without ever considering whether it’s the best way.

This is a reboot of an earlier episode of The Sales Evangelist, but it’s an evergreen topic. Asking for referrals always makes sense for motivated sales professionals.

Cold calling

I would never suggest you shouldn’t use cold outreach or cold calling to connect with your prospects. I do it myself and I’ve generated great opportunities that way. But it isn’t the only way to generate them.

Sometimes we forget to ask for referrals. So as a sales pro, how can you remember? What else can you do to remind yourself to take the easy route to generating business?

Put it on your calendar.

Create a habit

Create a weekly goal to generate three referrals per week. If your goal is to get three referrals per week, even closing one of those referrals will change your results. Once you institute the habit of generating referrals, you’ll establish a pattern of one deal per week that closes. And that’s if you’re not particularly good at it. If you’ve taken our TSE Certified Sales Training, you could possibly do even better.

You can build on that habit and that improvement. That will amount to more money for you and your organization.

If each of those deals amounts to $10,000, you’ll generate $40,000 a month. If you’re responsible for $80,000 a month, then half of your business will come from referrals. If you’re currently not generating any, that’s a pretty great increase.

Accountability

Salespeople don’t necessarily like accountability. Do it anyway. Tell a coworker or sales leader your goal. Join our Facebook group and tell someone your goal.

Accountability is important. When I worked as a sales rep, I shared my current projects with my sales manager. She saw that I was motivated and proactive and I eventually got better opportunities than other people on the team.

If you share your goal with your leader, he or she will certainly follow up to help you stay accountable. If you’re an entrepreneur working internally at an organization, you can benefit from the same kind of accountability.

Set calendar invites

Establish specific times in your schedule when you’ll pursue referrals. Just as you set time to prospect and pursue inbound leads, set time for referral prospecting. Set 30 minutes each day to reach out to your clients for referrals.

It’s such an easy task that most of us won’t do it. We’re programmed to do things the hard way; to pick up the phone and dial. These simple projects can gain us business, but referrals don’t always happen naturally.

You must ask for the referral.

“Don’t Forget to Ask” episode resources

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Chris Perry, Sandler Training, Price War, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1121: Your Price Is Right: How to Stand Your Ground Against the Lowest Bidders and Protect Your Margins

Chris Perry, Sandler Training, Price War, The Sales EvangelistWe’ve all encountered price wars against the lowest bidder, but today we’re going to talk about how you can stand your ground, protect your margins, and earn the price that you’re worth and how that will help you grow your business.

Chris Perry works with Market Sense, a Sandler Training franchise, that helps business attract, assess, hire, and onboard world-class salespeople.

Great ideas

There are lots of great ideas in the world. Many businesses have built things that they are excited about and proud of, and eventually, others notice that they are making a lot of money doing it. So they jump into the game.

Suddenly options exist where they didn’t before, and consumers, whether they are B2B or B2C, don’t know how to differentiate between them. Many of them fall back to the cheapest option.

If we fall into that trap, the buying process becomes all about price, and we’re forced to trade dollars for deals. We must cut our prices, and that’s a slippery slope. It’s also a great way to go out of business.

Consumers will treat you like a commodity if you allow them to.

Money mindset

Attitude makes a big difference in this scenario because the salesperson’s mindset plays a huge part in the price. Human beings are trained to seek deals and discounts. Chris’ company runs a lot of assessments on salespeople and they’ve discovered a lot of what they call money tolerance issues.

We all grow up with different relationships to money, with some of us believing it’s rude to talk about it. Others are taught to pinch every penny, while still others believe there is always more money available. Whether it’s conscious or not, we have a bunch of recordings playing in our heads. Those recordings impact our money conversations.

If, for example, a seller grows up believing it’s rude to discuss money, he’ll be less comfortable talking about it. He’ll likely wait until the last possible moment to address cost, because he assumes the prospects are uncomfortable talking about it, too. Waiting until the presentation to discuss price can be a recipe for disaster for sellers.

Sellers who believe that $500 is a huge purchasing decision, but who are selling $50,000 solutions, will be nervous about the price discussion. They’ll sweat a little extra, and the prospects will see that anxiety and they’ll assume the seller doesn’t believe in the product. They might also perceive that there’s room to negotiate the price.

Recognizing value

The key is to change the way you perceive your value so you don’t undersell yourself or your product. If you do, you’ve already lost before you even get started. You must believe in yourself and your product.

The truth is that it’s hard to change someone’s mindset. People won’t generally understand their worth simply by listening to a podcast, no matter how good it is. Chris recommends that you begin by acknowledging your mindset. Figure out which relationship you have with money and then leave it in the car.

When you go on a sales call, your relationship with money shouldn’t matter. Focus instead on the prospect and figure out her relationship with money. That’s the conversation that matters.

Behaviors

There are many aspects to behavior: having a goal, developing a plan to accomplish the goal, and establishing activities that get you to those goals. But with regard to budget discussions, we must be more consistent in knowing when and where to discuss pricing.

We’re typically mentioning it too early before we’ve helped the prospects understand the value, or too late when they’ve already got some idea of what they should be paying. Many sellers are winging this aspect of their sales process.

Have a plan. Develop milestones for your sales process. Have an idea of things you have to check off before you move to the next step. If you could establish just a bit of organization, if you could figure out the key steps in your sales process, you could map it out and figure out where the budget discussion should fall.

Then stick to your guns. Don’t allow the prospect to pull you into a discussion you aren’t ready to have yet. Many people routinely argue that the prospect is always right, so we must follow where they lead. Your role is to help your prospect, so you have to explain that it’s irresponsible to sell something or provide a quote without understanding what he needs.

Sales conversations

In a world where prospects see all alternatives as basically the same, with price as the only differentiator, the one thing that remains within our control is how we sell. Our sales conversations make a huge difference. If we’re doing like many reps and choosing the “showing up and throwing up,” option, dumping features and benefits and then giving a price, we’re missing an opportunity.

Differentiate by slowing down and asking good questions. When the prospect asks for a price, push back a bit in a compassionate, professional way. Ensure that you want to make sure you’re both a fit before moving forward to price. The prospect will appreciate your effort to understand his world.

Pricing objections

In a scenario where you aren’t the cheapest option, what should you do? This is likely where most sellers could use a little help. We know our product or service but we don’t know the prospect’s world. But the prospect is evaluating us on how we fit into their world.

In that sense, the prospect is best equipped to resolve those objections. We have to ask the right questions to get to that discussion.

So once we’ve run our sales conversation, asked the right questions, sought to understand the prospect’s world, and talked a little bit about budget, it’s important to acknowledge the issue of price.

“Hey, Donald, you know, I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to talk with you about your world and how our services might help, but we’ve got a problem. My guess is you’re probably going to be talking to other folks to see how they might help as well. I get it. I’d probably do the same thing. The problem is if you compare us on price, I can almost guarantee we’re going to be the highest bidder. So my question is for you, if you were me, would you still put together a quote?”

If they agree to a quote, ask this: “What do you need to see from someone to compel you to pay a premium?” Now we’re figuring out what the prospect needs to see to make it worth paying more. Chances are the prospect hasn’t thought about this before, so now he’s selling himself on value.

If the prospect says no to a quote, then you can acknowledge that perhaps you aren’t a fit, but you can still ask what the prospect would need to see in order to make a decision based upon something other than price.

Continuing the conversation

Now, whatever the prospect says, you’re continuing the conversation. If they need on-time deliveries or fantastic customer service, you can continue the discussion. You’ll move from being an order-taker to a problem solver. You’ll also sound confident in your discussion because you aren’t desperate.

These things won’t work if you don’t believe in your product or if your pipeline is anemic. Having a full pipeline cures most ailments. If you don’t absolutely need this deal, your technique can be a lot stronger.

Don’t try to do this on the fly. Sit with your manager or someone on your team and practice this stuff. Practice fielding tough questions. Practice handling pricing objections. Then practice handling conversations where the prospect immediately asks about the price. If you do, when you find yourself in these scenarios, it’s second-nature rather than something you fumble through.

“Protect Your Margins” episode resources

Sandler Trainers are worldwide, so you can always look for a local office to help you. If you’re in Austin, connect with Chris at their website, ms.sandler.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn to see the videos and articles he shares there.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Take advantage of a 30-day free trial, including a free book of your choice, at audible.com/tse.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility. When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that’s in sales about the podcast.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Corey Blake, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, BYU-Hawaii

TSE 1120: How To Build a Brand Online and Leverage it for Rapid Sales Growth

Corey Blake, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, BYU-Hawaii

Every sales professional and entrepreneur needs a profitable brand, and the key is to build a brand online and leverage it for rapid sales growth.

Corey Blake is the CEO at MWI, an international digital marketing agency. His background is in sales and business development and he has managed great sales teams over the years.

Validate your brand

When it comes to building a brand and then leveraging it for growth, you must begin by validating your brand. You basically want to turn off any sirens that the potential customer has about you as a seller.

We all know that a stigma exists around sellers, and you likely even experience it when someone gets on the phone with you to sell you something, despite the fact that you’re in sales yourself.

The biggest challenge often originates from the fact that we build great brands and we know we have value to offer, but we don’t know how to convince people to pay for it. How you validate your brand is critical in that process.

It’s simply legitimizing your brand, service, or product. You must find a third party or another way to validate it. You could share that your brand has been featured on certain sites or that you’ve been invited to certain events.

When you’re starting out, go to your customer. Offer to give a customer your product or service in exchange for their use of it. Explain that you think it will make his life better and that you’d like to ask for his testimonial.

Now you’ve got validation and social proof to use in your next sales conversation.

Personal confidence

Seeing someone use your product provides you, as the seller, a certain amount of confidence as well.

If you prefer, you can create great case studies or build a social media presence that includes amazing content. For MWI, for example, they can validate themselves as great content creators by creating great content.

As a bonus, TSE has used those product giveaways as an opportunity to gain feedback during our initial launches so we can figure out where we need to tweak our training or our products. It also helps us build a case study.

Through all of this, you’ll build your own excitement and you’ll develop even more confidence, which is the key to success. Begin your entrepreneur journey by selling yourself on the value you’re providing to the world.

Linking value

Once you’ve established confidence in your value, use your marketing to communicate it to your potential customers. It’s not enough to be sold on your own value, but you must find someone else who is sold on your value as well.

Find a publication that will tell its audience how legit you are.

Once you’ve built this validation, you’ll have an amazing ability to sell your product or service with exclusivity. You’ll find yourself in the driver’s seat and gives you leverage in your communication and makes your sale more exclusive.

If you establish exclusivity, you almost won’t have to sell your customers as much. You’ll simply have to educate them and move them along the sales process. Exclusivity is priceless.

Finding balance

No one wants to be perceived as the typical used car salesman. Don’t come across as gimmicky, selfish, or ignorant. Instead, strive for confident, competent, professional, and controlled. There’s a balance to it.

Assume your customer has never heard of your validation and mention it to him. Within the first 20 seconds, provide that validation to establish confidence and control. Find a way to organically share it without being perceived as cocky.

The alarms about whether you’re legit will shut down. Then you can offer the idea that you only work with a certain kind of brand, and that allows you to operate with a lot more control.

Close early, close often

Make sure you’re asking for the business. Develop specific strategies to close deals. Beautiful branding and validation won’t matter if you can’t close. Consistently think strategically about how you’ll move this sale to the place you want it.

Provide the customer with the right information and the right details so that she’ll be ready to close.

Closing amounts to more than the way you speak, the speed of your speech, and the tone of your voice. These things do constantly lead to close, but you have to figure out how to move to the specific points along the process.

Many sellers are fearful of the conversion side so they hold off too long. Or they get anxious and they ask for the sale way too soon. If you follow the process, that’s where you’ll see the difference.

Sales process

You can have all the right components in place, but without a repeatable sales process, you’ll struggle to support your sales. If your process isn’t organized in a way that leads to close at all times, you won’t succeed.

Determine how to leverage all the components you’ve gathered to move your customers toward a deal. Leverage your value, your validation, your exclusivity, and your communication to ask for the business.

Corey’s goal at the end of the sales process is to structure the process so that the _customer_ asks for the next steps without him having to sell it. That’s when you know you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Organizing your tools

Corey worked with James Carberry at Sweetfish Media to help him set up a process of validation. James already had significant validation because he had a large number of podcasts with great guests and he writes for large publications. They simply had to find a way to organize the validation.

In their case, all the tools were sitting there waiting to be used.

Focus on providing real value. Sell yourself on the value you’re providing to individuals and industry. When you love what you’re doing and you aren’t simply trying to make a buck, people will want to be part of that.

Good businesses are built on products that will make a difference. It doesn’t have to be an altruistic notion like ending world hunger. We would all benefit if we could go to work every day and provide value that you believe in to everyone else.

“Build a Brand Online and Leverage It for Rapid Sales Growth” episode resources

You can connect with Corey at Corey@mwi.com. Mention that you heard me on this podcast. You can also find him on LinkedIn @Corey Blake.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Outreach.io, Mark Kosoglow, Donald Kelly, OniChannel

TSE 1119: Sales From The Street: “Omnichannel Outreach”

Outreach.io, Mark Kosoglow, Donald Kelly, OniChannel

We consume information from a variety of platforms, so we have to connect with prospects from different angles using omnichannel outreach. We have to find our audience where they happen to be listening.

Mark Kosoglow is the VP of Sales at Outreach, a sales engagement channel, and he’s explaining today how sales reps can include omnichannel outreach in their efforts. His passion is developing people and creating a winning, fun, positive atmosphere where people are inspired to do their best.

He said if you are going to have a hard worker, they have to enjoy work. That doesn’t mean you have to enjoy what you do. It means you enjoy working and you’re likely always tinkering around the house. His dad taught him that if you make people’s work easy, they’ll work hard for you. To that end, he tries to make people’s work easier so they’ll work harder.

What is omnichannel?

Consider the following questions as you’re considering what omnichannel is.

  • Do you answer the phone when someone calls?
  • Do you reply to every email you receive?
  • Will you sometimes engage with people who contact you on social media?
  • Will you sometimes talk with people who stop by your home or office to sell something?

That’s omnichannel. As humans, we engage with people in many different ways depending on our mood or their approach or the channel.

The point of omnichannel outreach is to meet people where they are. People have preferred methods of communication, and by limiting yourself to a single channel you’re excluding a large number of people. You’re missing out on a growing audience.

Overthinking omnichannel

Many people don’t understand how to use omnichannel. With social, for example, if I’m targeting you on social media, I’d begin by following you. Then I’d read your posts and engage in activity to let you know that I’m interested in you as a human and in the things you’re doing. After I’ve built an online social relationship, the person I’m targeting should understand a little bit of why I’m interacting with them.

At that point, you can reach out with a value pitch or something that helps people understand what you’re offering.

As humans and nonsellers, we do this kind of stuff all the time very naturally, but then when we bring it to our careers and the way we make money, we get weird about it. We do stupid stuff that we would never do as a normal human. But the truth is that if you engage professionally on social media the same way you engage on your personal pages, you’ll be a great social seller.

Beginning with omnichannel

Sales managers who hear this may wonder how to introduce these concepts without disrupting the success their team members are already having. Admittedly it’s difficult to introduce change while trying to avoid disrupting the status quo.

At Outreach, the teams begin with a hypothesis like, “I believe that by engaging with our top 10 accounts that we can create more meetings.” It’s specific and measurable. Then they create a plan to go do that.

Maybe set up a strike team of your best reps or a cross-section of different kinds of reps and have them run the same process. Then, using KPIs, measure their results against the control results. If there’s a lift, then people will be happy to move to the new techniques.

Realize that you cannot have people who conduct activities in different ways. There must be a workflow and process in place to ensure that you’re measuring the process rather than the ability of the individual. In the end, you must have the guts to make a decision.

The only sellers who should balk at this kind of change are those that live in the exact house that they want, who are driving the exact car that they want, and they are happy coming into work. If a seller fits that description, he’s likely already making $10 million a year or he is lying to himself.

Tracking results

Sometimes our tracking processes do a fantastic job of motivating our activities, but they produce such a heavy cognitive load that teams spend more time managing them than they do in their sales activities.

Mark equates sales to plate spinning, where you spin up a couple of people on Monday, and then spin a couple more on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday, but you have to return to the Monday people to keep them spinning. The problem is that you can only spin so many plates at a time.

Technology allows you to add a motor to the stick that will keep the plate spinning until the motor runs out of gas. Technology helps you administer and run the system, and Outreach does exactly the same thing.

Personalize

Even if you’re automating a system, you can build out processes that allow you to be personable. Include a first step that involves research to discover two or three specific things about your prospect. Then include those in your CRM and write an email based on those things you found. The first step should not be an automated email.

Even if you send an automated email to 10,000 people and get 100responses back, you will have burned out 9,900 people by sending a generic email. Take your time and send personalized messages to a select group of people.

Organization size

Outreach works with single seller startups and huge companies like Adobe, Microsoft, and Amazon. The tool is meant to be flexible. The sweet spot is probably from 100-500 users; a company that is seeking to really nail down their scaling strategy. It’s for those companies who can’t afford to rely on the top 20 percent to carry the load for the other 80 percent.

Your company must have a much more operational system driven way of selling.

One of its secret sauces is its integration with SalesForce and Dynamics so that every action is logged into the CRM automatically. The tool uses a feature called Amplify that involves complex, futuristic machine learning.

Machine learning

As an example, the average percentage for out-of-office replies is 17 percent. So 1 in 5 of those responses will likely include the date the person will return, and the name and phone number of someone else in the organization who may even be higher in the organization. And most reps probably delete those emails despite all the good information that’s in them.

You’re 46 percent less likely to book a meeting with someone if you contact them a second time when they’re out of the office. Pair that information with the fact that the majority of those emails will include the contact information for another person on the team. Outreach has created machine learning that can read out-of-office replies.

It reads the date of return in the email and offers an option to pause all communication until the recipient returns. It also notifies you of the other team member’s contact information. With one click, you can address these issues.

From the company’s origins, they scanned emails and discovered 73,000 phone numbers in the email signature blocks. Of those contacts, only 23 percent of those were added to CRM by the reps. Seventy-seven percent of those were never captured.

In 9 out of 10 deals, you end up talking with the person who was originally listed on that out-of-office email. And considering how much less likely you are to book a deal if you contact the person again while they are out of office, it’s damaging your efforts if you don’t read the out-of-office email.

This helps you be more personable because you’re not contacting the person continually while he’s on vacation.

Multiple channels

If you aren’t contacting people on multiple channels, you’re limiting your ability to succeed. But don’t go willy-nilly spending half your day on LinkedIn. It’s a waste of time. Create a defined experiment with a hypothesis to test against, measure it, and see if you can get better at what matters by doing something different.

If you can combine those two things, you can potentially improve your performance in two weeks.

“Omnichannel Outreach” episode resources

You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn, where he’s fairly active. He doesn’t do Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. You can also connect with him at outreach.io to book a demo and experience world-class inbound lead handling. Within two minutes you get a personalized email from a rep, and within 15 minutes, large companies get a phone call from a rep.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Take advantage of a 30-day free trial, including a free book of your choice, at audible.com/tse.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility. When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that’s in sales about the podcast.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, Ryan Levesque , ASK Method, Market Sharem

TSE 1118: 5 Things to Look For When Choosing Your Market

Donald Kelly, Ryan Levesque , ASK Method, Market Sharem

In order to succeed in business long-term, choose a market with room to grow, and consider these 5 things to look for when choosing your market.

Ryan Levesque recently landed on Inc.’s list of 500 fastest growing companies, and his company just passed the $10 million mark for annual revenue. He admits that he has made a lot of mistakes along the way and learned a lot as well. 

Finding a niche

Ryan said many business owners and entrepreneurs make the common mistake of following conventional wisdom in the early days of the venture. They focus on what they will sell or create rather than focusing on who they will serve. Who is your market? Who is your niche?

He has engaged in more than 23 niche markets, from making jewelry out of Scrabble tiles to weight loss and satellite television. Through the process, he has learned the importance of focusing on people rather than things. He points to choosing the right market as the most important factor of all.

You can be the most charismatic salesperson with the best closer, but if you have chosen a bad market, none of that will matter.

Wrong product and people

I’ve personally made the mistake of trying to sell the wrong product to the wrong people. I discovered a product that I liked and I thought other people would like it, too. But it didn’t make money because it wasn’t a good fit. There wasn’t a market for it.

Ryan outlines the indicators you should look for in his book, Choose. He said though, that writing a book invites communication from two different camps: those who love what they read and those who claim it didn’t work. He said it leaves you wondering whether you gave bad information.

Niche markets

In his first book, Ask, Ryan revealed the methodology he used to successfully enter niche markets. They figured out how to warm up prospects and how to determine what people want. It includes a specific set of questions designed to help you understand your audience at a deep emotional level so you can better sell and serve.

In an online environment, you ask questions on your website so you can funnel people into different “buckets” based on their situations.

Ryan focused on uncovering commonalities. For example, what did the people who didn’t succeed have in common? What were they doing wrong? He discovered that he didn’t teach people how he chose the 23 markets he engaged with. Of the millions of niche markets a business could engage with, what did these 23 have in common?

He engaged in what he called the biggest research project of his life. He sought to figure out why the 23 markets had succeeded where others had not. Then he looked at his most successful clients and tried to figure out what separates the successful ones from the unsuccessful ones. He uncovered seven factors that will make or break your business’ success.

The seven factors that Ryan uncovered are universal, foundational pieces that will help you find green markets, or those markets that are a “go” versus yellow which aren’t quite ready and red, which you should stay away from.

Evergreen markets

Consider the following study in contrasts on the topic of evergreen markets, which are relevant now and will still be relevant 20 years from now.

Ryan engaged in the Scrabble tile jewelry market about the time Etsy was coming online. Jewelry combining Scrabble tiles and origami paper was extremely popular at the same time he and his family were living in Asia.

They discovered a woman who was teaching people how to make the jewelry on Etsy and making about $10,000 a month selling the tutorials. There was no overhead, and her homemade version of a tutorial was selling like crazy.

Ryan and his wife decided to make a go of it, so she learned to make the jewelry while he worked on selling it. They built a better mousetrap, and before they knew it they were picking up steam. Before they knew it they were making $10,000 a month.

The ending wasn’t a happy one. The jewelry was completely a fad so sales dropped off almost overnight. Ryan had quit his job and his wife was in grad school so she wasn’t making any money. Avoid fad markets as you’re choosing your niche.

Ryan then engaged in the oldest hobby in America: gardening. He researched niches within the gardening market and he discovered orchid care. He started a business teaching people how to care for orchids and they took the business from zero to $25,000 a month. The tiny little niche business still pays their mortgage and living expenses.

Consider the example of fidget spinners and bitcoin as a study in evergreen markets.

Enthusiast market

The enthusiast market is in contrast with a problem solution market. The problem solution market involves solving problems for the people around you. Once you’ve solved the problem, people move on with their lives. Consider the example of flood removal. If your basement floods, once the water is removed, you never engage with them again. You won’t sign up for newsletters or Facebook groups.

If you own a dog, you will be a consumer in that market for years and years. Look for a market where you can generate a customer once and then sell to that customer over and over again. Chasing after new customers constantly is the hardest thing in the world to do.

Urgent problem

Those two markets aren’t enough on their own. You must have an urgent problem in the context of the enthusiast market. Many people will consider selling dog coffee mugs or Christmas ornaments. But none of those items address an urgent problem.

Urgent problems are those that keep people up at night. People talk about a $1,000 problem, but a $10,000 problem is 10 times bigger than that. An example from the dog market is the issue of peeing and pooping on the carpet. The issue becomes a $10,000 problem when you’re planning to travel across the company with a dog that still pees and poops everywhere. Now the problem is urgent. Now you’re not shopping around to find a 10 percent discount off a potty training solution.  

You’re looking for the urgent problem within the enthusiast, evergreen market.

Imagine you come to me with that problem and I help you solve it. Now, I’ve become your trusted advisor in the market. So now, when you have the next big problem, you’ll come back to me. Whether it’s biting or barking or pulling on the leash, you’ll trust me to help you with it.

Future problems

Seek a market in which, after you’ve solved the initial problem, the success of solving that problem leads to another problem. Imagine helping people negotiate a better salary. If you help your customer negotiate a $10,000 raise, you’ve created a new problem. Now he doesn’t know what to do with the extra money.

You’ve created a new problem for your customer.

Begin by choosing the right market for you. Once you’ve chosen, figure out what your market wants by asking. The next problem might be that they need to hire a first employee. Then the customer might need to establish processes and systems.

This gives you the opportunity to serve that customer for years and years.  

Players with money

Don’t sell to broke people. If someone can’t put a roof over their head or food on their table, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is. They just can’t afford it.

Make sure you’re in a market that has a high concentration of players with money. The term comes from Gary Halbert, one of the all-time great direct response copywriters. It means that you don’t necessarily need millionaires or billionaires, but people who spend a disproportionate amount of money in that area of their lives.

We all know people who have a crazy hobby or obsession or some part of life where they spend a lot of money. Dog owners are a perfect example because of all the crazy stuff they spend money on, like pet insurance and operations and vacations.

On the other hand, Ryan launched a business in the memory improvement market, but because it targeted students who didn’t have a lot of money, he learned the lesson about people with money the hard way. He learned that you can’t build a big business around broke people.

Whatever you’re pursuing, the business doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to start. Don’t allow perfection paralysis take you over. Better to execute at a B+ level today and then improve moving forward.

“How to ‘Warm Up’ Your Prospects With Trust Before You Pitch” episode resources

Ryan is offering TSE listeners a free hard copy of his new book, Choose. All you have to do is pay a few dollars in shipping and handling. In addition, he’s providing $200 in free bonuses, including the audiobook. He has mindset training about some of the topics addressed here. Visit choosethebook.com/tse to take advantage of the offer.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

 

Donald Kelly, Eventbrite, Networking, Sales Outreach

TSE 1117: How To Effectively Use Networking Events In Your Sales Outreach Efforts!

Donald Kelly, Eventbrite, Networking, Sales Outreach

We’ve all encountered the guy who attends events just to see what he can get for himself, but there are ways to effectively use networking events in your sales outreach efforts.

You know the type: his conversations are one-sided because he’s only focused on his next big opportunity, and he has no time to learn about your business. His pitch kicks in when he finds out you’re a business owner.

But he could have fixed his approach. And you can make sure you’re not like him in your outreach.

New clients

No matter what type of sales you’re in, you need to get clients in the hopper. The way you get new leads varies based upon your industry. Some demand door-to-door while others require phone calls. Today, we at The Sales Evangelist use social media and other efforts as well as networking events.

Typically, at networking events, I encounter potential clients or people who can connect me with other people who are potential clients. Outreach done well can be very rewarding. But as we mentioned in the teaser, you can’t become the obnoxious guy that others avoid.

He may not even realize he’s coming across that way. He has likely had just enough random success to believe that he’s effective. But he could perform a lot better and gain more leads and opportunities if he changed his approach.

Plan

Before you attend a networking event, do your best to find out who will be there. Will the people there tie in with your demographic? Will they represent your ideal customer?

It may be impossible to find out who will be there, but it’s worth the effort to try. If you know the organizers, ask them about the top companies that will be represented there. If they give you names, research them before the actual event. Use tools like LinkedIn to gather data about those companies.

Plan who you want to connect with at the event. Develop a short list. The spray-and-pray mentality that involves giving out 10,000 business cards doesn’t look good. Instead, be intentional about the cards you give out.

Broaden your reach

Identify people you’d like to do business with as well as those who can become potential partners for you. Then, consider those who may not purchase directly from you but who can introduce you to other complementary partners.

You could even consider connecting with those you consider competition. I’ve had a good working relationship with companies I compete with, and we were able to help each other out. Whether we’re pursuing the same customers or different ones, it doesn’t make sense to burn bridges unnecessarily.

It’s also good to identify people that you could potentially help.

Be genuinely interested

People don’t necessarily care about you but everyone cares about their own problems. We’re all trying to solve problems, so the obnoxious seller might do well to understand our challenges. Perhaps he should have been curious about our business and asked additional questions.

Then ask follow-up questions. We did a great episode with Bob Burg who gave us great insights on this issue.

It’s worth mentioning, too, that we’re having a local sales meetup where Bob will be the guest speaker. We’ll be talking about his book, The Go-Giver.

Bob recommends having a list of questions you can ask.

  • Why did you get involved in this business?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you are seeing?

This leads to deeper discussions that will help you identify issues.

Simple message

Be prepared for their questions. Don’t begin by telling them what you have to offer, but be prepared for them to ask. Give a simple clean message that’s no more than 30 seconds. Let him know what you do.

Consider something like this:

“We help small businesses who are interested in growth, build out a sales process that’s actually going to help them increase revenue. We do this through consulting as well as through sales training.”

This will lead to further discussion and it will open opportunities for you to talk more. It may even provide more time for you to pitch in front of the group.

Jason Lynette, who appeared in episode 1081, gave a masterful message about situations where you have more time to share your message.

Draw in the room

Jason told the story of a murder. A woman came into his office with a horrible fear of bugs. She was a high-powered attorney who backed out of the case of a lifetime because she saw a cockroach in the courtroom. Within 10 days after their first meeting, she killed a housefly with her bare hands.

Draw in the room. While everyone else shares what they have to offer, you demonstrate that you’re a human. Entertain them. Share a story. Prove that you’re someone they could work with.

Connection

Then you can ask whether or not they know others who might benefit from what you offer. Consider, too, whether you might be able to help them by identifying people who can benefit from their product or services.

After the event, connect with all of those same people on LinkedIn. Remind them that you connected and nurture that relationship. Then you can utilize those connections to build your business.

I shared this with you because I want to help. I don’t want you to be that guy at a networking event. I want you to find more ideal customers. I want you to build stronger value. I want you to close more deals, but most importantly, I want to challenge you each and every single day to go out and do big things.

“Effectively Use Networking Events In Your Sales Outreach Efforts” episode resources

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility. When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that’s in sales about the podcast.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Ethan Beute, Bomb Bomb

TSE 1116: How to Produce A 56% Lift In Cold Email Responses With Video vs Plain Text

Ethan Beute, Bomb Bomb

Ethan Beute from BombBomb equates good marketing to selling by teaching, and he explains how you can generate a lift in cold email responses with video.

Cold email response

BombBomb recently conducted a study with a large international tech company that revealed the power that video has in improving cold email responses. The company offers a freemium service but they weren’t sure how to convert the freemium users into revenue opportunities.

The company has teams in countries around the world and they were reaching out to create conversation and generate appointments. They contacted customers who had been using the free service for a while and asked for the opportunity to share some other ways they might be able to help.

BombBomb conducted a pilot program with them that included an AB test of video emails vs. plain text emails. They increased replies from these people by 56 percent. Imagine, then, if you can turn a percentage of those responses into scheduled appointments and then a percentage of those appointments into paid opportunities, that’s a tremendous impact.

BombBomb also found that the video emails created better appointments because the prospects felt as though they knew the seller better, which is a powerful dynamic.

The effort was voluntary, so there was no requirement to send a specific number of videos each day. The company sent about 1,000 videos in a three-and-a-half week period, and the people who sent the most videos were already the highest performers.

Cultural shift

Rollouts like this one represent a cultural shift to your sales team. This isn’t simply a new tool to add to the stack. This video effort allows sellers to communicate more clearly with their prospects and to increase conversion because the interaction takes on a more human characteristic.

If you’re considering deploying video into your team, consider the following:

  • Find people on your team who are already excited by the idea. Roll the video concept out to them and accumulate some early wins.
  • Share what they learned and what you learned with the rest of the team as you roll the concept into the larger group.

Ethan theorizes that the connection between the high performers and the willingness to use video traces back to their constant desire to become better. They likely listen to podcasts or read books. They invest in themselves and are open to new ideas and new practices.

Voicemail with personality

The pilot project involved initial touch emails, so it amounted to basically a voicemail with a face and a voice and a personality. It wasn’t simply an email signature. The sender was no longer faceless but instead became a real human being with real value to offer.

If you find yourself thinking you have far too many leads to manage this kind of outreach, first acknowledge what a great problem that is to have. Recognize that you don’t have to send personal videos. You can send out a triggered video that delivers the third time a user interacts with your product.

By using a trigger-point, you can capitalize on moments in your relationship with a prospect. Even if you don’t greet them by name, you’re acknowledging their presence and valuing their time.

Face-to-Face meeting

There are many elements that make video a winning play for sellers. To start, most sellers are far better in person than in other arenas. Most sales process drive toward a face-to-face meeting whether it’s in person or online.

Human contact is extremely valuable, so you should get face-to-face as early in the process as possible. That allows people to feel as though they know you before they ever meet you. You can save time by skipping the awkward slow-start questions about the weather.

You’ll help put your prospects more at ease.

Hesitation

This style of video works because it’s casual, it’s not scripted or polished, and it’s honest. It isn’t over-produced, but rather it involves just a webcam or a smartphone. You would send it in place of the email you typically send.

Although you can send nicer, more produced videos, that isn’t what we’re discussing. Those videos often feel as though someone is trying to sell you something, because they generally are. It’s a different style of communication.

Ethan hears all the time that the videos that earn the best responses are the simple ones. But as humans, we have a natural fear of rejection. We wonder if the video is good enough. We might even re-record it multiple times, which can lead to us spending 30 minutes to recording a 30-second video.

It’s a waste of time in this scenario because the video doesn’t have to do all the work. It simply has to introduce you and express your sincerity and enthusiasm.

If you find yourself thinking you don’t know what to say, that’s not true. What would you say if you were typing out an email? What would you have said in a voicemail? It can be as simple as creating a habit and developing a process.

Improve your process

Instead of writing three paragraphs to respond to prospects, you can use videos to walk them through mockups or demonstrations. One of our clients uses videos to demonstrate 3D printing without having to send a lot of stuff in the mail. You can save yourself a tremendous amount of time by responding via video and you’ll also come across as more human.

It’s also true that many people are better talking than they are writing. This offers an opportunity to say what’s on your mind without having to compose something.

Video is more fun for a lot of people because it’s more like a conversation. It offers better, warmer replies.

This is about human connection at its most fundamental level. It’s about connecting with people eye-to-eye, face-to-face in digital channels that we rely on every day.

Relationships through video

If you found anything here provocative, this is all rolled out in Ethan’s book, Rehumanize Your Business. We’ll help you with all the nuts and bolts of video communication.

You’re going to hit the send or post button multiple times today. Ask yourself on the next 3-5 sends whether it would be better to send something in person. Much of this is emotional and you can thank a customer or calm a customer down who is concerned or anxious.

Could you say it more clearly if you said it face-to-face?

“Lift In Cold Email Responses With Video” episode resources

You can grab a copy of Ethan’s book, Rehumanize Your Business. Find Ethan on all the social networks and at BombBomb. You can email him at ethan@bombbomb.com.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, Sales Incentive

TSE 1115: Incentivize Them To Sell

Donald Kelly, Sales Incentive
Sellers often seek the path of least resistance, and if your programs aren’t designed to incentivize them to sell, your sellers may game the system and engage in activities that won’t help themselves or the company.
If you design your commission plans and your structures effectively, you’ll create more effective sellers who feel like they’ve actually earned something and who will achieve wins more often.

Happy sellers

As a sales leader, you know that your sales reps will make outbound calls and try to close deals. Your goal is to incentivize them to do their jobs. You want them to be happy. You also know that if they are earning something, they will feel good.
In the natural order of things, if they are doing well, they’ll love working for you and the company will prosper as well.

Flawed incentives

In her book, The Sales Development Playbook, Trish Bertuzzi lays out different concepts to help organizations develop the proper incentives. Sometimes companies design their incentives poorly so that reps are only encouraged to make phone calls.
Many reps will game that system because it doesn’t measure anything meaningful to the company. If you’re only counting activities, they’ll figure out that all they have to do is make phone calls.
You know, though, that appointments lead to more deals. So if you’re expecting an appointment every 20 phone calls, but your reps are simply calling and hanging up without having meaningful conversations, you won’t likely achieve those appointments.

Commissions

Trish points out that many companies promise great incentives but we neglect to clarify the actual process were seeking. We make promises about being able to “earn more than the CEO” without explaining our expectations.
We fail to tell them, for example, that the sales cycle is seven months long, so it will likely take them about three months to really get established. They probably won’t make any real money until about 10 months into the process. Then it will take about 30 days beyond the close date for them to get their payout.
You can help them survive the long cycle by offering ways for the rep to win. Perhaps you’ll provide a more competitive base because you realize it will take them a while to build a commission.

Set up for success

Without a meaningful way to win, your sales reps may stick around for a few months and then move on to something else. Instead, set them up to succeed.
If you’re talking about your BDRs, how can you give them an opportunity to make money? If your AEs earn 10 percent for a closed deal because you know it will be a while before they close a deal, they’ll be eating pretty well. If your BDRs, on the other hand, earn only 1 percent, they’ll have to wait a long cycle before they get their piece. How excited do you think your people will be to work hard in the cycle?
What if you pay them per appointment set, but they get part at the beginning of the process and part at the back end of the process.
If you offer $10 for each appointment, they can earn $5 at the front and $5 at the back. If your reps set quality appointments with qualified prospects, they’ll earn $5 at the beginning and $5 at the end. If the prospect isn’t a quality one, they’ll get the initial money but not the money at the end.
Then, if you realize that your sellers have a lot of rejected opportunities, you can determine that either the AE is doing something wrong or the BDR is. Once you determine which is the case, you can coach them to close those deals.

Hoarding appointments

Here’s the other challenge. Some sales reps will realize that they’ve already earned what they needed for a certain month and they make the decision to sit on other opportunities for the following month. They hang on to them to make sure they’ll hit their numbers the next time.
Again, you can incentivize this. You can set an expectation of 20 leads per month, or five per week. If your reps hit that number, they will earn the full amount for those appointments. If your reps only land 16 appointments, their earnings will be pro-rated to reflect the shortfall.
If, on the other hand, some of your sellers exceed the 20 appointments, you can raise the amount they’ll earn for quality appointments. They’ll still get half at the front and half at the back.
Now everyone is happy because they are earning money throughout the process instead of starving until the deals close.

Make sure they eat

Make sure your sellers have an opportunity to eat.
I’m a strong believer that if hire the right people, pay people right, coach them, and train them, they’ll perform for you. But you also have to make sure they don’t game the system. Make sure that everyone walks away with the sense that the process is fair.

“Incentivize them to sell” episode resources

You can check out Trish Bertuzzi’s book, The Sales Development Playbook, with a free trial of Audible. Check out the 30-day free trial to listen to the book for free.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Outbound Sales, Alex Berg, Curiosity

TSE 1114: Assessing Curiosity To Optimize The Performance of Outbound Sales Reps

Outbound Sales, Alex Berg, Curiosity

 

Asking questions and learning about the client is an accepted part of sales, but the key is assessing curiosity to optimize the performance of outbound sales reps.

Alex Berg, who has a consultancy in curiosity quotient selling, focuses on leveraging mutual curiosity. He said it isn’t so much the case that sellers aren’t thinking about curiosity, but rather that they are thinking about it too tactically.

Learning about clients

Most sales methodologies are a bit too complicated and don’t really require that much detail. Sellers don’t need to write down 27 questions before they sit down with clients. They simply need to learn enough to ask intelligent, informed questions.

Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a book called Speed of Trust that reports a significant correlation between the development of trust and the pace of decision making. In other words, if you really want to accelerate your sales cycle, build trust. And the fastest way to build trust is to demonstrate curiosity.

Types of curiosity

Alex distinguishes between social curiosity, which is about people, and technical curiosity, which is about how things work.

If you’re in a transactional sales environment, you must focus on getting a decision made quickly. So too much open-ended curiosity could be detrimental.

Begin by assessing what kind of sales organization and what kind of sales process you’re engaged in. You also must know what sort of clients you’re selling to.

Then, assess your individuals and your organizations to determine whether you have the right characteristics to thrive in a particular sales environment. From there, you can assign or hire people based on their ability to deliver on those requirements.

Assessments

As an individual, a certain degree of introspection will help you determine whether sales even makes sense for you as a career. There are many assessments available that can help you determine whether you’re epistemically curious with a general thirst for knowledge or perceptually curious with a desire to solve problems and fix things.

If you’re epistemically curious, you’re well suited for long sales cycles, complex selling, and larger deal size. If you’re more focused on getting it done today, you’ll benefit more from a transactional sales environment. You’ll get more satisfaction from quick decisions.

Leverage strengths

Once we understand where people’s strengths lie, leverage this information in the sales environment and then coach your team accordingly. The most important part of the sales process is the initial discovery. That’s where you’re qualifying the prospect.

The thing you have the most control over is how you spend your time.

Determine whether you even have a solution that makes sense for the prospect.

If we can get a little better at driving rapport and a little better at collecting information, we can reduce the sales cycle. Imagine what it would do to your bottom line if you could shorten it from 6 months to 3.

Creating questions

You must begin by learning enough about the client to ask intelligent questions. Your leadership must also have a mindset that encourages curiosity.

Make appropriate risk-taking acceptable. Many companies will say they want to develop a curious organization, but then they don’t act that way. They focus more on mitigating risk than on allowing reasonable risk.

Ask the tough questions that aren’t always comfortable. Don’t necessarily show up with a list of 15 questions. Instead, develop a list of the five most important questions and then focus your attention on those.

Mindfulness

Before you get on the phone with your clients, eliminate all distractions. Turn off your notifications on your phone so you can really listen to what the other person is saying.

Don’t simply go through the checklist. Focus on asking better questions.

Realize, too, that if you learn from situations that you view as a mistake, then they aren’t truly mistakes. They are learning journeys, and they aren’t negative experiences.

By demonstrating your interest in your prospect, you develop rapport, make the sales cycle more efficient, and hopefully shorten it.

Injecting curiosity

Individual sellers can begin by learning the tools to become more curious. The big win, though, is when companies try to inject more curiosity into their organizations.

Companies that are too internally focused and not client-centric make poor decisions. Alex recalls working for a company who sent a rep to get a deal signed by a prospect who was in the hospital following a heart attack.

The key to long-term success is delivering great value to your clients. In order to do that, you must conduct yourself in a way that communicates your intent to deliver the best possible outcomes.

Arm your people with tools to conduct themselves that way. Leverage technology to make sure your reps have the information they need at their fingertips.

Judging intelligence

People judge our intelligence and empathy by the questions we ask. As a seller, it’s better to approach a client and ask about the issues that are most critical to the company’s growth.

Communicate to the client that you aren’t throwing out a blanket solution. Base your proposed solution on what the expressed needs are.

Come prepared. The primary reason clients become dissatisfied with sellers or that they don’t buy is because the seller didn’t care about them or their businesses. This seller deficit disorder happens when we propose solutions that aren’t informed by knowledge about the client.

We must make it painfully obvious that we understand the client’s perspective so our solution feels like something uniquely designed to solve their problems rather than something off-the-shelf.

If you’re a sales manager working inculcate more curiosity into your sales organization, offer tools that help your client and your salesforce be more curious. Then, when your people use them and find success, celebrate that and give them the opportunity to share their stories.

Embed ambassadors in your sales organizations. Don’t forget this is about mutual curiosity.

When you think you know enough about your clients, ask one more question.

“Assessing Curiosity to Optimize the Performance of Outbound Sales Reps” episode resources

You can connect with Alex via email at alex@cqselling.com or on his website at www.cqselling.com where you can schedule an interview or a phone call. You can also call him at (770) 330-6221. Check out his article, Crushing Quota: Why Curiosity Matters.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you.

Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Jason Atkins, Incentive

TSE 1113: Leveraging Sales Incentive Data to Increase Performance and ROI

Jason Atkins, Incentive
Sales is equal parts art and science and one of the keys to success is leveraging sales incentive data to increase performance and ROI.
Jason Atkins is the founder of 360 Insights, a software platform that enables large brands to execute all of their channel incentive strategies. Jason’s company works with tens of thousands of salespeople who work for major brands and helps them get smarter and make data-driven decisions.

Critical data

Many people believe that sellers must be born with the skillset to succeed. We believe that anyone with a desire to sell can succeed and get the proper training. Understanding data will help tremendously.
The art of sales deals with the relationships, the conversation handling, and dealing with objections. The science of sales revolves around data and activities.
Jason recalled hearing that we’ve created more data in the last year than in all of mankind combined. That kind of growth is exponential. Think about how much data that represents.
So how do you mine through the data and leverage the insights contained within it? How do you make the data actionable?

Leveraging data

Many companies believe that consumers buy products become of promotions or rebates. Jason’s company doesn’t believe that’s always accurate. Their response to these situations is that they’ll track the data and the consumer purchase information, and they’ll figure out why the consumers bought what they did.
What they found was that the promotion was the fourth reason the consumer purchased. The number one reason was “because the sales guy told me to buy it.”
The question becomes why are you so focused on the promotion when you should be focused on the key drivers to the relationship?
Consider how you’re educating the buyer about your product. How are they ensured that you’re the trusted advisor?
Purchases are a big decision, and people often buy based upon advice from others. How are you leveraging that to ensure that you provide great advice?

Status quo

Many of us make choices based upon the status quo. Zig Ziglar tells a story that his wife always cut the ends off of the meatloaf without really knowing why. Turns out her mother did the same thing because the meatloaf was always too big for the pan she had. But no one knew that’s why she did it. Zig’s wife just always cut the ends off without knowing why.
In sales, we often do things because that’s how our company has always done it. Instead, we should look at the data and determine what is actually most effective.
Jason’s company always deals in context for the data. In the case of the meatloaf, no one had context for why the ends were cut off.
Determine the context for decisions that were made in the past, then look at the hypothesis of what we should be doing in the future. Then we can execute against that and then measure it.

Executing sales incentives

One of the first keys is to understand why people sell what they sell. Jason’s company started by interviewing 1,500 sales reps to determine why they sell what they sell. They determined that sellers do so because of quality, because of price point, because of brand, because they’ve been educated, to ensure happy customers, because they want to know what’s in it for them, and because they of the relationship they have with the brand.
People don’t want to sell something that isn’t great. They like to buy something they’ve heard of before, so new brands often struggle.

Creating sales incentive

Focus on building data around the data you have, and building context so you can get to better decisions.
Start by understanding the customer journey and the decisions that are made throughout that journey. Then align the incentives across the journey. At the end of the day, an incentive is just a motivation tactic to get to a specific action.
Incentives might include rebates that are perceived as price discounts, sales incentives that motivate a seller to keep a specific brand top of mind, or volume incentives to drive sales into locations.
If you want to run an incentive program, don’t think about the incentive. Instead, think about the customer journey and identify opportunities to use incentives to drive actions.

Customer journey

Many silos exist in larger companies. Certain teams in the company understand different components of the buyer’s journey. It’s really important to bring all those silos together to understand the complete journey.
In the early days of incentives, many companies intentionally made rebates difficult to submit in hopes that consumers wouldn’t actually send them in. But in a digital and social age, that kind of program is problematic. Brands realized that this kind of program could backfire.
Jason’s company saw a huge opportunity to step in and create an unbelievable experience for the consumer. Instead of a rebate being the last touch point a brand had with its consumers, the rebate should now be the basis of the next journey they have with you.
Many organizations have people now that understand all of the customer touch points so they can actually start to map them out.

Looking back and forward

Think about insights and data in terms of looking backward and looking forward. Most companies look backward on a monthly or weekly basis. Jason’s goal is to encourage companies to forecast so they can start to optimize as a company.
If someone comes to us with $1 million we can help them figure out what to do with it to drive sales.
Then imagine being a salesperson who has a conversation where you’re talking to your customer about what’s happening in his competitors’ businesses. You can demonstrate the results the competitor is getting and the things they are doing. That’s unbelievable data that can help your clients make better decisions.

Model the masters

There’s plenty of material to read about leveraging data. Attend webinars and then model the masters. Find the people who are doing this the best and then model the activity they are doing.
When Jason launched his company, he discovered that there was one seller who earned more than $1 million in sales incentives from about five or six different brands over the course of a year. The person was crushing it because he saw a huge opportunity to move traditionally brick-and-mortar sales to online selling.
Look at the people who are doing things differently. Find those who are challenging the status quo. It takes tenacity to be successful as a seller.
Understand the customer journey from beginning to end. Understand the data that happens through the journey and then figure out how to leverage that.

“Leveraging Sales Incentive Data to Increase Performance and ROI” episode resources

You can connect with Jason at 360Insights.com. He and his team love to talk to people and have great conversations about sales.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, Sell Me A Pen

TSE 1112: Sell Me This Pen!

Donald Kelly, Sell Me A Pen
You’ve likely heard the scenario before where an interviewer asks a seller to “Sell me this pen,” but how much value does this approach offer??
This scenario will likely throw your prospective sellers into a nervous panic because you’re asking them to sell something they know nothing about. So how much will it really tell you about your seller?

Features and benefits

Sellers who don’t know much about the product they are selling or the audience they are selling to usually revert to features and benefits. They sell the aspects of the product that they can see.
“It’s comfortable.” “It has a good grip.” “It has a clicky thing and even a laser pointer. That’s great for folks who do presentations.”
“It writes smoothly and it isn’t too expensive. In fact, it’s cheaper than many of the pens on the market. And if you buy it today, I can throw in a notepad and a pocket protector.”
Why would people even do this test in the first place?

Quick thinking

People often conduct this test to see how well you think on your feet and how you perform under pressure. And though I can understand those motivations, this test won’t truly work unless you’re selling something that might be a consumer sale.
Typically, sellers aren’t selling simple products like pens. Rather they are selling something like a software solution that is much more expensive and has a much longer sales cycle. In those cases, it won’t matter as much how good you are with your words. You won’t be able to persuade someone within one minute to buy your expensive product.
If you’re selling inexpensive trinkets on the side of the road, it might just work. But if you’re selling something with a significant price value, it won’t.

Reviews

This idea to “Sell me this pen,” might have provided a good judge of a seller’s abilities in the 80s and 90s, but today’s buyers rely on reviews.
So as a sales leader, what if you stopped using this unrealistic test and offered a better one? What if you gave your sellers a scenario and ask them to prepare for it?
Test your sellers to see whether they can find true problems or interesting facts, figures, or statistics that will help you win the deal. Determine whether the sellers will try to “wing it” instead of coming prepared.

Sales scenario

You want a sales rep who is prepared, so use your interview opportunity to determine their ability to prepare. Ask your receptionist to send a scenario to the interviewees. Let them know they will be asked to role play a selling scenario like this.
Present a scenario in which a particular business owner has a certain set of challenges. He is already working with a particular vendor. The sellers’ job is to show up prepared to understand the product and services and have a meaningful conversation selling this service to the business owner.
If the sales rep shows up with information about the company in-hand and prepared to have a meaningful discussion, you’ve likely found a good seller. If the seller shows up with the intention to “wing it,” you’ll know what you’re up against.

Selling pens

The secret to successful selling lies with asking appropriate questions, even in the case of selling a pen. If you do use the pen test, expect your sellers to begin by finding out whether the buyer even needs a pen.It doesn’t matter how much ink it will hold or how great the cap is if the seller doesn’t need it.
Instead of spending the time pressuring the buyer to spend money on a pen, expect your sellers to begin by asking questions.
Meaningful questions about the buyer’s situation will either qualify or disqualify the buyer. It will also communicate that the seller understands the buyer’s actual situation. The seller will demonstrate a desire to identify the pain point and solve the problem.
Maybe the customer needs a computer more than a pen. Don’t waste your time pitching a product the customer doesn’t need.

Consultants

Seek sellers who will serve as consultants rather than those who will try to trick the customers. Help the buyer feel like he is making a buying decision rather than being sold to.
Jeffrey Gitomer said that people love to buy but they hate to be sold to. Help your customers understand the true pain that exists and then help them solve it. If you do this, they’ll evangelize about you and ultimately help you get more business.
Empower your sales reps to sell on their own. Teach them to become consultants who ask meaningful questions to identify challenges that the buyers may not even realize they have.
He’ll be successful and he’ll have great clients who love him.
If you create a meaningful scenario for your interviews, you’ll have more meaningful discussions and dialogues and both parties will enjoy the process more.
Besides, we probably already have enough pens.

“Sell me this pen” episode resources

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Shawn Finder, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Sales Metrics

TSE 1111: What Are Key Metrics to Track In Your Outbound Strategy?

Shawn Finder, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Sales Metrics

We’re talking about key metrics this month, and today Shawn Finder talks about the key metrics to track in your outbound strategy that will help you be successful. 

Shawn was a professional tennis player before he launched into entrepreneurship in the form of Autoklose, a company that automates the top of the sales funnels for sales representatives.    

Cold calling

Shawn divides outbound into three different categories: cold-calling, emailing, and database because your database is the engine that keeps that car moving. You must have at least two of those inside your outbound strategy. 

Within those three categories, you’ll have different metrics. 

Cold calling will include dial-to-connection percentage, dials-to-appointment ratio, dials-to-opportunity, and dials-to-deal. When you’re cold calling, if you’re dialing 100 people but you’re only reaching 5, that isn’t very successful. Maybe you’re dialing 100 and reaching 10 knowing that 3 of those will turn into prospects and one of those will close. 

If you don’t know those analytics, you’re going to fail because the analytics keep you moving forward toward the right strategy. 

Frustration

Beyond simply tracking numbers, metrics can help you avoid frustration as a sales rep. Many sellers get frustrated if they send five emails but the person never responds or if they make 15 calls but never reach anyone. 

If you know that every 50 calls you should be getting three opportunities, you’ll benchmark your success to those numbers. 

As an SDR or a sales rep, unless you know your metrics ahead of time, you’re going to get frustrated if you think you’re not getting results. Knowing the analytics before you start will help you approach your calls differently.

Statistics

Shawn has found over time that most people, to include account managers, don’t look enough at the stats. As a result, they don’t know what is good versus what is bad, or what is terrible versus what is great. 

His company lists the weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals for each rep. They track forecast versus actual numbers. The goal is to make sure they know whether they are on par to hit quota, outperform quota, or underperform. 

They use a whiteboard in addition to digital tracking because reps don’t always visit the spreadsheets. When the reps see their names with their metrics on the board every time they walk into the office, it keeps them accountable. It helps them know what they have to do in order to achieve their numbers. 

Important metrics 

The dials-to-appointment ratio is important to Shawn because if he’s paying a dialer, and he knows how much each appointment can be worth, and he knows how many appointments he has to have in order to close a deal, he can then determine the ROI on his expense. 

If he’s spending $4,000 on a dialer and earning $9,000, that $5,000 profit is the biggest ratio for him. 

Email statistics

For email statistics, consider open rates, click rates, and reply rates. 

Open rates rely on your ability to convince someone to open your email. Most people spend a lot of time on the body of the email. Shawn suggests spending more time on the subject line and your first three seconds of the email.

The number one reason is that 72 percent of people are opening emails on mobile phones. They only see your subject line and opening line.  

Make your subject line three to five words, and do not talk about yourself in the first line of the email. If you want a high open rate, have a good subject line.

Keep everything personalized. Try “Hi, first name.” Another one he has used successfully is, “Hey Donald, Let’s Have Coffee?” 

Coffee works well because you’re not selling. It’s more casual.  

Opening lines

Consider what will make your prospects want to open the email you’ve sent. 

  • If I can save your sales team five hours a day in prospecting would you give me 15 minutes?
  • If I could fill your calendar with appointments, would you give me 15 minutes?

Don’t lead with information about you that the reader can find in your signature block. 

Your first email should be a little longer, but the second and third emails should be shorter, no longer than four sentences. If they’re longer, no one is reading them. 

Keep it short and precise. Give value. Share case studies and stories and testimonials. Tell them how you’ll solve their challenges. 

Email success

There’s a difference between click rates and reply rates. When you send emails, have your CTA goal in your head. If your goal is to get a reply, make your reply rate a priority. If your goal is to get a click, then make that your priority. 

Make it very simple for your end user. 

Many people don’t consider database part of the outbound effort but it corresponds well with your email and your phone. If you have inaccurate information in your database, you’ll waste a lot of time. 

For cold calling, if you have the wrong phone numbers, it will hurt your dial-to-deal ratio, as well as your dial-to-connection and your dial-to-appointment.

If your data is wrong, your analytics will be wrong.  

Verify database 

If you want to make sure your emails aren’t bouncing and they aren’t catch all, have your emails verified before you actually do your campaign. Verification can be very cheap, as little as $20 for 1,000. Spend the money so you can focus on the 750 that are valid without wasting your time on the ones that aren’t. 

People change jobs frequently, so do your due diligence and verify the contact info. 

Autoklose validates information real-time as you begin a campaign. The company offers a Chrome plugin that validates everything against LinkedIn to ensure that the person is still in the position.

Having clean data is the engine to any of your outbound strategy campaigns. 

Campaign tips

Determine your metrics before you start your campaign so you have something to benchmark against. Identify the key metrics to track in your outbound strategy.

Also, stop giving up after one to two calls. Recognize that it will take five to six touches. Integrate different strategies like social. Engage with your clients. Build relationships with them. 

 episode resources

You can connect with Shawn via email at Shawn@autoklose.com or on the website, www.autoklose.com.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Rodrick Jefferson, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1110: What Companies Get Wrong When It Come To Sales Enablement

Rodrick Jefferson, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

Many people get sales enablement wrong because they have different concepts and ideas about what it actually is.

Roderick Jefferson began his sales career as a BDR, then an AEE, and finally moved into sales management. He discovered that he enjoyed sales more than he enjoyed closing deals. So he stepped into sales training.

Now, through his company Roderick Jefferson and Associates, he breaks the complexity of sales into practical ideas through scalable and repeatable practices.

Sales enablement mistakes

Sales enablement helps develop the right conversations the right way with the right tools. Ultimately, it seeks to decrease time to ramp or increase productivity and revenue.

Many companies make mistakes implementing their sales enablement.

  1. They fail to establish consistency and parameters.
  2. Many wait too long to hire sales enablement consultants.
  3. They assume they need a consultant or a resource without realizing they need both. One can help you lay the groundwork that you can hand off to another.

Many companies aren’t really sure what they need. They know what isn’t working and they treat enablement like IT. But those who do sales enablement aren’t the fixers of broken things. They aren’t sales scribes or sales support. They must be sales partners.

Training vs. enablement

A difference exists between training and enablement. Roderick believes that training applies to animals while enablement applies to humans.

Enablement is woven into the fabric of the company. It literally has to be one of the top five initiatives of the overall success of the company. It also must have specific time-bound and measurable deliverables, metrics, and KPIs.

Measurements

Some of the sales enablement measurements have changed. We used to talk about butts in seats, headcount, and NPS scores, but those things don’t carry water.

Sales enablement now focuses on different questions.

  • What’s the completion percentage of certification or accreditation?
  • What’s the average deal size?
  • Collateral use infrequency?
  • How much new pipeline is being created?
  • What’s the number of closed deals?
  • What’s the product mix?
  • What’s the quota attainment percentage?
  • What’s the time to revenue?
  • What’s the win rate?

Many of the old measurements aren’t definitions of success and they won’t help move the needle forward for sales.

Biggest mistake

Companies aren’t tying their goals, their sales processes, or their sales methodology to figure out where they fit into their buyer’s journey. They are trying to make their buyer fit into their processes, methodologies, sales stages, and CRM.

They must step back and reverse engineer their process and document what the buyer’s journey looks like. They must also figure out where to fit in multiple touch points in the buyer’s journey.

Sales enablement must be in place before you need it. By the time you need it, it’s already too late. If, for example, you’re planning to hire more people over the next year, you must have the content ready for them. You must have a process for onboarding.

Without these processes in place, you’ve essentially planned to fail rather than ensuring success.

Rethink ICP

Rethink the ideal customer profile. Start thinking instead about the ideal employee profile. From an enablement perspective, you start to get a feel for new hires and who is going to be a rock star. Instead of doing that after the hire, Roderick focused on working with HR resources around talent acquisition.

Consider what a rock star looks like especially in the context of where the company is going. Then take that job description to HR and explain what you’re hiring toward.

Sometimes sellers do well by accident because the prospect happened to need their product or service. In that case, they become simply order-takers.

When we fail to measure, plan, or structure our efforts, we don’t optimize. Imagine if every organization operated that way. It’s the detriment of the sales industry.

Supply chain ensures that you hit your markers and that sales leaders don’t move the goalposts. If you’re in the red zone about to score, you don’t want anyone to move the goal post.

Resource vs. consultant

Many companies don’t want to pay for consultants but they want help connecting the dots. It’s important to use resources and consultants because what one lacks, the other brings.

Roderick’s team brings templates to their clients so they don’t have to recreate the wheel. The process includes four stages.

  1. Infrastructure build and augmentation.
  2. Established sales enablement team.
  3. Sales leadership and coaching.
  4. Sales-focused metrics.

Hope

Instead of hoping that marketing does its job and that the customer buys, institute a clear process instead. Remove hope at every stage and rely on the process that focuses on your buyer’s journey.

Enablement is an ongoing conference rather than a single event.

“Sales Enablement” episode resources

You can connect with Roderick on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, or you can email him directly with questions at roderickjefferson.com.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Todd Coponi, Transparency Sale, Sales Podcast

TSE 1109: Leading With Your Flaws

Power Reviews

It seems counterintuitive in sales, but leading with your flaws can shorten the sales cycle and disarm your customers, ultimately leading you to better metrics.

Todd Caponi was the chief revenue officer for a company called Power Reviews which helps retailers and brands collect and display ratings and reviews on their website. His time there caused him to rethink the way he leads sales organizations because he discovered that consumers were more likely to buy a product that had a 4.2 to 4.5 rating than a 5-star rating.

Statistics show that 95 percent of consumers in the B2C world are looking at reviews before they buy. Of those, 82 percent are looking for negative reviews before buying. Todd wondered what might happen if the same notion could be applied to the B2B world.

Pros and cons

Todd embraced the idea of embracing the pros and cons and leading with them. He discovered that his first deal, which previously had a sales cycle of 6 months, closed within 4 weeks.

They discovered that when you lead with your flaws, your sales cycle speeds up dramatically. You’ll qualify deals faster and eliminate those deals that you probably weren’t going to win anyway.

Todd was in New York when his VP of sales called him to say the company had an inbound lead from an apparel brand that wanted to initiate an evaluation. The brand happened to be headquartered in NY, so Todd scheduled coffee with the senior vice president of e-commerce. The coffee meeting became a presentation instead, and the SVP got right to the point.

Competitor is better

He said that his company had been talking to Todd’s competitor, and he wanted to know why Todd’s company was better than the competitor. Todd figured he had nothing to lose, so he asked an unexpected question.

“Do you mind if I tell you why the competitor is better?”

He explained that the competitor had offerings that his own company didn’t, so if he wasn’t going to be able to meet their needs, he wanted to determine that quickly so both parties could move on. The room deflated. The guy clearly thought Todd was crazy, but he agreed to the idea.

Todd talked about an add-on that the other company had but explained that his own company was focused on certain core beliefs. The SVP acknowledged that the add-on the competitor was offering wasn’t a necessity for his company, so they moved on.

Transparency

Within 20 minutes, the SVP kicked everyone else out of the meeting and grabbed a folder that includes the company’s budget for ratings and review software. He pointed to a number inside and asked Todd if he could hit that figure.

The two engaged in a collaborative process that culminated in a deal a few weeks later. The company didn’t initiate an evaluation. It simply chose Todd’s company. He recounted that he had called Todd’s competitor, who quickly went on a rant about the add-on that distinguished the two companies.

Every time they led with their flaws, it completely disarmed their prospects. The company built its sales cycle on a foundation of trust and all of its metrics moved in a dramatically positive direction.

Wired to resist

Todd said that we’re all wired to resist being sold to. As a buyer, he simply wants to be able to predict what his experience with a certain product will be like, and then to get the best deal he can. He said that a salesperson will demonstrate within the first five minutes whether he will be a great resource or push toward a sale even if it isn’t what the buyer wants.

People believe in authenticity and honesty. Many of them believe that there’s a trade-off required so that in order to have authenticity and honesty, you will sacrifice results. But the data suggests otherwise. The data says that when you provide authenticity and honesty to your customers, you’ll maximize your sales results.

Truthfully, the era of hiding your flaws from your prospects is over. The proliferation of ratings and reviews has moved into the B2B area and it has become the way of the world.

B2B buying behavior

A company called Trust Radius just published a study of B2B buying behavior. The data demonstrated that B2B buyers are using reviews 56 percent of the time and analyst ratings only 24 percent of the time.

Every year, reviews are climbing and independent studies are going down. Marketing is becoming less trustworthy and reviews are becoming the core that brings buyers to the table. Sellers must embrace that.

It’s counter-intuitive to most people to show weakness. Many sellers will listen to this and wonder why this works. Todd dug into the neuroscience of this and discovered that buyers make decisions using feeling and then back them up with logic. Logic is the justifying mechanism to emotional decisions.

We are also wired to disbelieve anything that looks perfect. We are taught to seek the negative. A recent study reported that buyers in a typical purchase cycle spend 39 percent of their time talking to sellers and 61 percent of their time doing other homework. This includes research, reviews, and back-channel information.

Utilizing levers

In his book, Transparency Sale, Todd tells the story of a rep who was selling something to an oil company. He explained the concept of levers, which he has become famous for.

If you search Google for tips on negotiating, you’ll find countless pointers that destroy trust. It’s like a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament.

But if you want to build trust through the goal line, you lead with what is important to you as an organization. You create buyers who are actually able to negotiate their own deals.

In the case of the oil company, Todd was pulled into a last-minute negotiation with a group of procurement people. Before they even started, he asked for permission to write four things on the board. He listed four levers on the whiteboard.

  • Volume, or how much they buy
  • Timing of cash, or how fast they pay
  • Length of commitment, or how long they commit
  • Timing of deal, or when they signed

Discount

The people in the meeting immediately asked for 30 percent off. Instead of offering to do 15 percent and initiating that song and dance, he acknowledged that it might be doable and then suggested using the four concepts on the board. These concepts represent four things Todd’s company was willing to pay for in the form of a discount.

The notion immediately disarmed the people in the meeting.

“Commit to more technology and because that’s valuable to us, we’ll pay you in the form of a discount.”

“Since we have a three-year commitment, pay us for years two and three and we’ll pay you in the form of a discount.”

“Extend your deal to five years and we’ll discount an extra 5 percent for years four and five.”

Todd’s company got something in return for every dollar they gave away, and the oil company loved Todd’s company at the end. Remember that you aren’t negotiating hostages. You’re negotiating agreements with products.

Be upfront

Commit to being as transparent as possible. Every person simply wants to feel that they’ve been heard and that they’ve gotten a good deal.

Get rid of one-sidedness. You’ll bring humanity back to the conversation. You’ll have the confidence of interacting with people as human beings. So few companies have a framework for the way they negotiate.

You could implement this concept right now. It doesn’t require a three-day class.

“Leading With Your Flaws” episode resources

You can connect with Todd on LinkedIn or at his website, transparencysale.com. Grab a copy of his book, Transparency Sale. If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.      

Andrew Tarvin, Donald Kelly, Humor, Sales

TSE 1108: How to Use Humor In The Sales Process

 

Andrew Tarvin, Donald Kelly, Humor, SalesHumor takes away tension and sellers who use humor in the sales process can increase efficiency and improve effectiveness.

Andrew Tarvin realized over the course of his career that you can’t be efficient with humans. Instead, you must be effective. His experience in stand-up comedy revealed that improv demands the same skills necessary to be an effective leader. He explored the intersection of humor in the workplace and fell in love with the subject.

He observed that it’s strange to think that companies pay him to teach employees to have more fun. He notes, though, that it’s missing from the workplace, and he addresses the issue in his book, Humor That Works.

Strategic humor

We know that humor relieves stress and that it’s overall a good thing. We do not seem to know how to deploy humor strategically. Rather than simply using it for the sake of fun. we must use it to achieve a specific result.

How do I use humor in the sales process to build rapport?Can I get people to pay attention to what I’m saying with humor? Will humor relieve my own stress in the sales process?

We tend to think work must be strictly business. In actuality, though, you’re still dealing with humans. Humor inspires people to connect and let their guard down.

Would you rather?

Andrew calls it a stupid question, but he wonders whether people would rather do something fun or not fun? Of course, people will say they’d rather do something fun. And if work is a little more fun, they’d probably be more likely to do the work.

If you could make interactions a little more enjoyable, people would be more willing to engage in them. Even if the work you’re doing is serious in nature, like the Red Cross, you’re still working with humans.

Humor happens to be one of the most effective means of engaging people. It’s something different that people enjoy.

Working with the FBI

The FBI has a group called the office of private sector where agents work to build relationships with senior leaders at private companies. If the FBI can develop strong relationships before there are problems within companies, they can more readily identify problems when they emerge.

They want to set meetings with people but you can imagine how people respond when they hear from the FBI. Andrew worked to teach them how to use humor to build rapport.

The agents learned to build rapport despite the intimidation factor.

Boring meetings

If you hold an initial meeting that bores your attendees, they won’t want to attend the next time you invite them. If people get value out of your meetings and enjoy attending, they’ll be more likely to attend future meetings.

Humor isn’t what you do. It doesn’t replace the work. It’s simply a matter of presenting information that someone needs in a way they enjoy consuming it.

Engaging strangers

Sales reps face many different hurdles when engaging prospects or new people. One of the greatest difficulties is making a great first impression and building rapport when they meet people for the first time.

Within existing sales processes, a number of challenges exist. The average person sends and receives more than 100 emails per day, with many spending up to 80 percent of their time in active communication.

Many sellers present information to help the buyer purchase rather than sharing information that will help develop a relationship.

Asking questions

Andrew points to a sales presenter named Phil Jones who says that sales is simply earning the right to make a recommendation.

Think of it as a visit to the doctor. Before the doctor gives a diagnosis, he asks questions and ultimately gives a prescription. Imagine if you went to a doctor who gave you pills before you even told him what was wrong. You’d assume he was a quack and you wouldn’t trust him with your health.

The same scenario is true in sales. If the seller doesn’t even know anything about you, how will he address your challenges?

Enjoyable process

Since the seller and the buyer are both humans, see if you can make the process a bit enjoyable. Then, discover whether you can be on the same side.

Ian Altman wrote a great book called Same Side Selling that encourages sellers to solve problems without trying to trick buyers into buying something.

Understand that humor is broader than comedy. Make the process a bit more fun to get people to pay attention. In your outreach, what are you doing to introduce a bit of humor?

If it’s true that people buy from the first person who provides them value, recognize that humor adds value.

Fun

Andrew got a cold email from a guy with a regular pitch. He ignored it like he does most cold emails. About a week later, the guy followed up with a gif of John Travolta from Pulp Fiction with his coat over his arm looking confused.

There was no text with the email because it wasn’t necessary. He didn’t need to point out that he had emailed just the week before.

Another seller started each cold call by acknowledging that this was a cold call and the person on the other end of the phone could hang up if he wanted to. Some of them did, but many others allowed him another 60 seconds because of the humor.

Capture attention and build intrigue.

Connections

Humans are seeking different connections and one way to build rapport throughout a conversation is small talk. Instead of asking the typical questions, ask slightly more interesting questions. Instead of asking “What do you do?” ask, “What’s the coolest thing you’ve worked on the past few months?”

It changes people’s perspective and then their response. Then, drop relevant facts throughout the conversation, like whether you’re a nerd or an introvert or from Ohio. If you offer this kind of information as part of a smaller group, you’ll have an instant connection to anyone else who is also from Ohio.

Humor doesn’t only help during the introduction part of the sales process, either. It can help improve understanding about ideas and it can lessen the awkwardness of the money conversation.

You decide

Even if you work for a company that doesn’t allow humor, the company can’t control how you think. There are benefits to using humor to increase sales and get better results.

Additionally, though, you can use humor to help you enjoy your work more. You’ll be more willing to do your work and you won’t dread Monday.

It comes down to a choice. You decide how you do your work every day.

Andrew’s book provides 10 strategies for using humor in the workplace, and the 11th strategy, a bonus one, is perhaps the most important.

It develops a humor habit.

“Use Humor In The Sales Process” episode resources

You can connect with Andrew at humorthatworks.com, where you’ll find a bunch of free resources and a newsletter. You can also grab a copy of his book, Humor That Works, which teaches the what, why, and how of humor in the workplace.

Connect with him directly @drewtarvin on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Drew also recently discovered that he still has a Myspace page from 2008.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Being Prepared

TSE 1107: Are You Ready and Prepared?

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Being PreparedSellers who want to succeed must ask themselves a vitally important question: Are you ready and prepared to have a value-rich conversation?

I recently took a camping trip with my buddies to St. Louis, and though many of us were excited about the trip and we were ready to go, we realized that being prepared was something completely different.

Being ready for it suggests that you believe in your ability to get it done. Being prepared means having the proper equipment and gear to succeed.    

Sales pitch   

My friend Doug shared recently that many different sellers pitch his company. Though many of them are ready, most are not prepared. Sellers often feel excited about the sales pitch and the possibility that it could lead to great opportunities for their company. 

If, however, they arrive unprepared, they’ll be unable to identify the problem their prospects are facing. They won’t have any idea about how to solve the problem for the client. 

Imagine if my buddies and I were unprepared for our camping trip. If we don’t have enough food and water to sustain our group, and if we don’t have a way to communicate with the folks who are scheduled to pick us up, we could quickly find ourselves in the midst of a disaster. 

Understanding problems

Imagine I sell office furniture and I’m excited to pitch our new sofas and standing desks to my prospects. I must be ready and prepared to address the person’s business, how it operates, how it makes money, and the changes that exist within the industry. 

If my client is facing higher prices because of the trade war with China, I have to understand that business problem and then offer ways to solve it. It’s the same as going camping without enough drinking water. You’re going to land yourself in a tough situation, and ultimately, you’ll sound like every other sales rep. 

Be prepared

The same friend shared with me that he was working with a prospect when he discovered that he didn’t understand enough about the prospect’s industry.

He started by researching the people who were going to attend his upcoming meeting. He researched each person on LinkedIn so he was prepared to have good conversations. 

Next, he Googled the company’s history so the prospect wouldn’t have to educate him on it. And when the prospect asked him what he knew about the company, he was able to share the history.

He was also able to observe that many of the company’s employees changed position from one department or role to another. That helped him have more meaningful conversations about the changes the company was facing. 

His preparation set him apart from his competitors, many of whom show up expecting the prospect to provide this information for them.

Buying cycle 

These buyers come to the table with more understanding. They want to have meaningful conversations with companies that can solve their problems and offer great deals. 

If you find yourself being dismissed often, it’s likely that you didn’t provide a value-rich conversation. If your prospects frequently offer to “follow up with you,” you didn’t provide compelling reasons for the prospect to engage with your company. 

Competition

Go a step further and research your main competition. Who is your prospect working with now? Who have they done business with in the past? 

Uncover the difficulties that your competition has solving problems for your client. Then leverage that information to show how you can be the ideal solution. 

Sometimes companies are in contracts with vendors but if you can create reasonable doubt, you can help the prospect realize that the current partner isn’t the greatest fit. 

“Ready and Prepared” episode resources

  If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. 

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.