July 2019 - The Sales Evangelist

Archive Monthly Archives: July 2019

Jaron Rice, Marketing, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1149: The Power of “Cause Marketing”

Jaron Rice, Marketing, The Sales EvangelistSupporting a cause as part of your business model can help you establish your brand and create a personality for your company, and “cause marketing” can draw customers who want to do business with you. 

Cause-based marketing stems from a business or a business owner that champions a cause that they believe helps with their personal branding as well as the company’s brand. It benefits a specific cause while it generates more business for the company. 

Jaron Rice is the founder of Magothy Payments, Maryland’s highest-rated merchant services provider. He helps businesses become more profitable by lowering their costs of credit card acceptance and helps organizations save money on payment processing. 

Payment processing

Businesses have to pay fees in order to accept payments from their clients. The transaction is called an interchange and it’s set by the card brands: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. The fees are paid to the issuing banks and then there are dues and assessments that are paid to the card brand. 

At the same time, there are merchant service providers that sell similar services. A typical merchant services agreement is a three-year contract that has a $495 cancellation fee. Also built into that contract are canceling penalties called liquidated damages. In effect, the merchant services provider is arguing that if the business takes their processing volume somewhere else, the bank or merchant services provider will suffer financial harm. The fee generally amounts to about $150 a month for the remaining months in the contract. 

Jaron often interacts with small businesses and discovers that he can save them about $200 a month with his services. For a main street business, that’s a substantial savings unless the cost of breaking the contract will be $4,000. At that point, it isn’t worth switching providers.

Unfortunately, these fees aren’t usually disclosed on the contract agreements. 

Terms and services

Penalties present a major issue for the industry because the typical contract is about three pages long. On the last page of that contract, companies often include a URL that links to a 75-page PDF document full of clauses and information about cancellation fees. These fees aren’t actually presented to the merchant at the time of signing. 

Worse yet, some companies require you to have an account with them before they allow you to view the document. These companies have created a shell game that keeps businesses locked into unwieldy contracts for years. 

Then, to make matters worse, there’s a small 30-day window at the end of the contract during which companies can cancel their existing agreement in writing. If they don’t, the contract automatically renews. 

Bad reputation

Jaron discovered upon engaging with this industry that it has a bad reputation. He brought on a small hobby shop business as a client, and at the time they signed a contract, he asked whether the owner had any outstanding contracts or cancellation fees for its payment processing. The owner assured him that he was 4 and a half years into a three-year contract, so he was good. 

The owner signed a month-to-month contract with Jaron, and 9 months later he contacted Jaron to ask about a $179 charge on his bank statement. 

The charge originated from a merchant services provider, but the identification number didn’t match Jaron’s company. It turns out the previous company had been charging him $179 a month for the previous 9 months despite the fact that he sent a certified letter canceling the service. 

When the owner called the company about the charges, the representative said that they were charging him $179 a month because the company figured he would rather pay that than the $2,400 plus cancellation fees that were spelled out in his contract. Because he hadn’t canceled his contract, it automatically renewed. 

The next day, the company randomly took $600 from his account. 

Addressing the problem

He went to his bank to find out what recourse he had. The bank advised him that they could block the withdrawals for a period of six months, but that on the 7th month, the provider was likely to try to take the previous six months’ worth of charges all at once. The bank advised closing his account and opening a new one. This was a business owner who had a family to support and employees who worked for him.

Jaron recognized immediately that something needed to be done. About a year later, he connected with a business owner who ran a cigar shop. The two signed an agreement to work together and then spent some time talking about the horrors of payment processing. Jaron mentioned that he wished he could write a law to make these kinds of conduct illegal, and his new client mentioned that he was a state delegate. 

The two generated an idea for a piece of legislation that would protect the small business owners in Maryland from the predatory bank practices of banks and merchant services providers. On the third attempt, the bill passed unanimously and was signed into law. 

Protecting businesses

The legislation requires that the length of the agreement, the cancellation fees, the liquidated damages, and the penalties associated with canceling the agreement must be conspicuously displayed on the contract and that each term be initialed.

The legislation also caps the fees for terminating an agreement at $500 and is applicable to businesses that have less than 50 employees and that are doing less than $2 million a year in credit card volume. This includes about 98 percent of Jaron’s clients. 

The law also stipulates that if the contract automatically renews, the business cannot be charged fees or penalties, which gives Maryland businesses a chance to shop for services. It forces companies in that space to be customer-focused. 

Customer service

One of the problems that emerged was the reality that companies that had businesses locked into contracts weren’t motivated to service the accounts properly. Stories exist of businesses who called seeking assistance and were put on hold indefinitely. 

They provide no guarantees on rates or pricing, so they can change your rates at any time. 

The new legislation will make it easier for businesses to find services elsewhere. It’s forcing the entire industry to focus on servicing accounts and keeping customers happy. 

Jaron acknowledges that many in his industry oppose this change, but it’s typically only those who are only focused on profit. Those who want to establish long-term relationships with their clients and do things the right way have incentive to work to keep clients. 

Championing a cause

He didn’t tackle this cause so he could make more money. He did it because it was the right thing to do. In the end, though, his company is benefiting financially from the move. He is working with the Better Business Bureau and the chambers of commerce to host lunch and learns to help businesses learn their rights under the legislation. 

The bill has teeth and consequences, but businesses must report the conduct. In order to report them, businesses must understand the protections of the law. 

In the end, businesses understand that Jaron went to bat for them, and now many of them want to work for him. 

Other opportunities exist for businesses who want to engage in this kind of service to their own industries. The cause your businesses chooses will depend on your individual situation.

Get involved

Join your local organizations and learn who the delegates are. Many of them are seeking opportunities to help their constituents, so if you have an idea that makes sense, they’ll be willing to get involved. These people have teams who understand how to accomplish these things. 

One of Jaron’s clients started a charity called Burgers and Bands to benefit suicide prevention. Because people near to her have struggled with suicidal thoughts and attempts, the issue has touched her life. As a result, she helps raise money for the cause. 

Aside from the good work she is doing in the community, businesses recognize her as a mom and a concerned citizen rather than simply as a business owner trying to sell them something.

The effort must be genuine, though, or people will recognize it as a fake. 

Company identity

Explore the idea of cause marketing as a way to help build your company’s identity. It helps establish your personal brand and your company’s personality. It reveals how your personality translates into leadership within your company. Your cause is a reflection of who you are, and it helps customers see the human side of the business. 

Jaron has had customers whose situations didn’t lend themselves to switching companies except that they were so eager to work with him they settled for deals in which all they asked of him was the ability to match their current deal. He said that doesn’t happen unless they understand your vision and the causes that you stand behind.

Be yourself. It sounds cliche but Jaron realized that most of his clients are laid-back, down-to-earth, Main Street business owners who didn’t care that he didn’t wear a suit to work every day. Be genuine and true to yourself. 

“Cause Marketing” episode resources 

You can connect with Jaron at his website, www.magothy.biz or find him at LinkedIn. You can learn more about the bill specifically at www.MarylandHB777.com.

You can also connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com or try our first module of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program or free. This episode has been made possible with the help of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. 

I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.  You can also share this with your friends and colleagues. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

sales team, sales leader, quota

TSE 1148: How to Build a Championship Sales Team

sales team, quota, sales leader

Whether you’re a brand new sales rep, a sales leader, or an experienced seller, the key to success relies on your ability to build a championship sales team. 

Will Richter drives revenue for medical device companies by increasing their sales volumes, reducing their operational inefficiencies and crushing their competition. He has the unique ability to find the blind spots in any company’s sales process and can turn around a growth plan of action and a winning team in less time bringing bottom-line results faster.

Deep assessment

Will points to leadership and culture as the keys to building a championship sales team. Whether you’re a business owner, a CEO, or middle management, the culture gets dictated by the leadership. They set the tone for the culture and they define the expectations for everyone on the sales force. Those leaders also determine what will not be tolerated. 

Once teams accept mediocrity, it becomes the norm. 

When you’re a sales leader, you’ll either inherit a team or you may get the opportunity to take some educated risks and build a team. You must do a deep assessment of the team’s skills, its motivations, its past successes, and get to know the team members. Find out what makes them tick. 

You cannot manage every member of your sales team the same way because they may have different motivators. If you don’t discover their motivators, you’ll struggle to create a championship kind of environment. 

People and culture

People are the fabric of any great culture. If you’re at the top, you’ve got to reassess your talent base, and you’re probably going to have to let some of that go. Think about the culture you want to create. Then, seek out people who have the experience and the knowledge you want. If your sellers are strong and they have similar values, they’ll outlast someone who simply looks good on paper. 

The average sales rep lasts about 18 months in any company. So if you bring a new seller on board, imagine the cost of onboarding plus the cost of training and the ramp-up time it takes for him to start earning money. Your company won’t likely make anything if he only stays for 18 months.  

Wrong person

The worst part of the sales leader job results from having to let team members know that they aren’t a good fit for the team. In fact, the higher up you go, the more these people have on the line. They have families and wives and big mortgages and a lot to lose. Will reports feeling a lot of empathy for these folks. 

At the same time, do not accept exceptions or excuses. Expect your team to have the same “win all the time” attitude that you have.

Will was hired to turn a sales team around in which only about half of the team members were strong. One gentleman who had been with the company for six years absolutely killed it his first year, but then he rested on his laurels. The company couldn’t fire him because people had tried in the past and it had become a political issue. 

Will had to work closely with the guy, giving him a lot of feedback and working to coach him up. But Will’s says that people are either coachable or they aren’t. If you aren’t coachable, you’re cutting yourself off from professional development. This guy didn’t want to be coached, so Will put him on a 30-day plan. The guy got in his face and screamed at him and eventually, they were able to ask him to go.

Difficult conversations

Will likes to build relationships by getting to know his sellers as people. He asks about their families and their hometowns, and what makes them tick. Then he recommends being an open book yourself. Be transparent and real about your shortcomings. 

As you coach your team members, speak factually. Leave the emotion and personal information out of the conversation. Stick to facts and data. 

Highlight the fact that she has a quota, she has a territory, and she has a quantifiable history. Now, she has a certain amount of time to accomplish this other thing in order to avoid moving to a new set of consequences. Document everything. Factual information feels less personal and it’s easier to digest.   

Background information

Create a profile for the kind of players you’d like to hire. How many do you need? What type of background do you want? Should they have a certain amount of experience? What kind of values are you seeking? 

Whatever your criteria might be, create a profile and then create a world-class recruiting strategy and a strong hiring process. 

Many companies place an ad on Indeed any time they need to hire a new seller. They sort through resumes, pick three, interview two, and hire one. It’s called reactive recruiting.

On the other hand, when you’re proactively sourcing candidates, begin by hiring a recruiter. Tell him exactly what you’re looking for and ask him to leverage his database to find candidates who meet your criteria. Have him call the candidates that meet your criteria and then screen them. Ensure that they are the top of the top before you ever sit down with them. 

Hiring process

Determine what you want your hiring process to look like. 

  • How many interviews should their be?
  • Who should they meet with? 
  • What kinds of questions should we be asking? 

Once you’ve matched the values, make sure you don’t hire reps with massive egos. Implement these strategies, then onboard them properly and train them thoroughly. That’s the foundation of a championship sales team. 

Once you’ve established your value system, you’ve put the right leadership in place, you’ve created the right culture, you’ve developed a good recruiting strategy, you’ve created your profiles, and you’ve built an excellent training program, then you must train your team on your product, as well as training them on superior sales skills for your market in your industry.

Your ultimate goal is to create a proactive sales management program that sets realistic but strong goals that hold the reps accountable. Recognize that your success is directly tied to your sellers’ success. 

Military tactics

Will calls himself a big fan of military and their tactics. He finds that leading from the front demands leaders who are willing to be in the field. If all they do is sit in the office, they won’t know what the team is doing. 

Sellers respect managers who get into the fight with them. After your presentations, talk with the seller about the call and the things that were great about it. Then address things that could have been done better. 

We all feel good when we accomplish things. It makes us confident. Understand, though, that there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. 

Be mindful of managing the team’s time as well. What activities are they engaging in? Where are they going? Who are they calling? Are they making the best use of their time?

Young sellers often think they can cut corners. Approach-based management allows well-trained, talented sellers who engage in high activity levels to reach their goals. If they do the right things at the right times and the right places, they won’t struggle. 

Shared culture

You want to be in a culture with people who share your same values. Hire the people that you can trust and respect, and who are competent and honest and hard-working. 

We’ve all taken jobs where we didn’t know what to expect until we started working. Do a great job of smoking out the company’s values and culture. 

If you can’t click with the existing employees, your time there will be short-lived. 

“Build a Championship Sales Team” episode resources

You can connect with Will on LinkedIn. He’s happy to help sellers who are working to build a championship sales team. 

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.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audiobook, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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.

 

Scheduling, Time Management, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1147: Why I Love Calendly

Scheduling, Time Management, The Sales Evangelist

The Sales Evangelist team understands the challenges in coordinating calendars and that’s why I love Calendly. This tool is perfect for ensuring that your schedules are well planned and plotted. 

Calendly for selling 

Calendly is a great tool that we’ve been using for years. The calendar dance is a common routine among sales reps who go back and forth with prospects, and partners trying to set a meeting. When their schedules don’t line up, the task is tricky and challenging at best, so how do you go around it?

Calendly is the scheduling app that’s going to make that possible. There are three reasons why I love Calendly and why it’s a great fit for sales reps. 

Ad hoc meetings 

There’s a difference between being helpful and being lazy. When we deal with prospects who don’t have any intentions of calling, we reach out to them cold. The last thing that you want to do is to give them homework or introduce a possibility of them getting busy and not doing the task with you. It feels a little like imposing a task to your prospects. 

Instead of doing this, I recommend that you use the ad hoc meeting embed feature. Gmail integrates to Calendly well, as we mentioned in episode 1142. Scheduling becomes easy when you integrate your Gmail to your Calendly account. You can just click on the little calendar icon next to the send button. A panel opens on the right side and you can click on the time that you are available. You can pick the time you want, put it in your calendar and into your email, copy it, and then paste it into your email. 

Your prospect won’t have to leave the mail. They can click that link to see the times that you are available. They can click on one of those times you are free. The time they picked will automatically be put in both of your calendars making everything more efficient. It’s slick and nice.

Personalization 

The second thing I like about Calendly is the ability to personalize. This feature allows you to create different events or different calendar events for different types of people.

For example, I am a sales trainer and a coach who runs an organization. I have several schedules and my coaching times can be designated so that my coaching clients receive a calendar that only reflects my coaching schedule. I have assigned Monday as my podcast recording day. This means that if a podcast guest wants to record, the only time he will see available on the calendar is Monday. My clients can pick any time that I am available on that day. They can’t just pick any day of the week; they can only see the free time I have on Monday. 

As a sales rep, you want to schedule your days effectively and you don’t want to keep everything wide open. You can designate appointments in the morning or in the afternoon and put those times in your calendar. These appointment times will be specific for initial appointments or whatever you may want to call them. 

Your clients can pick up anytime in your available window and the schedule is then made. This is also helpful when you are looking for a prospect and they can’t talk right then and there but they want to schedule another time. You can pull up your calendar, look up the times that you are available for initial appointments, and you give that slot to your prospect. 

But if they want to talk right then and there, then go for it. 

Whatever your event may be, you can make specific time slots that you can choose from or your clients can choose from. 

The best thing about this is that all these can be integrated into Zoom. When your prospects sign up, they’ll immediately get a Zoom link. They’ll also get a Calendly invite and their appointment will be input to their calendar. 

You can also set this up from your website for clients who want to pay for coaching sessions. 

Team option 

Team option is the newer feature of Calendly. This feature is effective especially for bigger teams with several sales reps. For example, if you want to set-up a meeting with a sales rep of a software company, you don’t have to call or mail them and inquire of their available time. All you need to do is to go to their website and look for the team page and set up an appointment schedule. This team page is connected to Calendly and their Salesforce or CRM. This means that the team’s calendar is connected to the sales reps. 

Whoever has free time on your scheduled appointment date is going to get the notification. This is a round-robin approach so the members cannot cheat the system. This feature saves a lot of headaches especially when assigning which appointment goes to whom. 

You can also set up different events. If you need to set a meeting with your project manager to go over some things with your client, your connected calendars will make it easier for you to see the schedules that both parties are available for a meeting. You can then share the link to your client and have the conversation. 

Simple and efficient 

Calendly is a simple and efficient tool that is blowing the competition out of the water. The TSE team finds this tool very powerful and thus we highly recommend it for you to check and investigate. 

It has an ad hoc meeting embedded which makes prospecting and connecting with prospects easier. You can also personalize your calendar according to types and events. Most of all, you can to a round-robin approach with the team option so that no scheduled appointment is wasted. 

“Why I Love Calendly” episode resources

Calendly isn’t paying us for this episode. It’s effective for calendar scheduling, especially for sales reps. It is the perfect tool to help you make the best of your time. 

While we’re at it, check out Kevin Cruise’s book 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time. It’s an amazing book with simple concepts. You can listen to it, digest it, and start applying what you learn in your daily life. This is a helpful book when you are starting out your Calendly experience as well. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The program aims to help sales reps and sales teams improve their skills. It is designed to teach you how to find the right customers, the activities and strategies that work, the right questions to ask to build strong value, how to get more people to want to schedule appointments with you, and what you need to do to close powerful deals. 

Go to thesaleevangelist.com/freecourse to check all the 12 modules and get the first two modules for free. The episode is also brought to you by Audible. It’s a good platform for a savvy salesperson like you who wants to learn and grow. Audible has thousands of titles you can choose from. Go to Audible now and do the 30-day free trial and a free book. 

If you find this episode fun and helpful, then we would appreciate your comments and a five-star rating on  Apple podcast. If you’re using other platforms such as Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, your ratings there would be valued as well. 

Share this podcast to your friends and colleagues and let’s schedule effectively with Calendly.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

TSE 1146: 3 Core SEO Principles To Help Increase Your Inbound Sales

 

There’s no greater gift you can give to a seller than leads so we’ve uncovered 3 core SEO principles to help increase your inbound sales

We’re working to unite the two warring departments of sales and marketing. Kyle Carney has a passion for helping businesses grow and he does that with principles that help organizations earn inbound leads as fuel for growth. 

Lead generation mistakes

Many businesses chase after the wrong keywords in their SEO efforts. They know their industry and their target market but they pursue vague SEO terms. If, for example, I search for “new homes,” that could suggest that I’m looking to buy, or to build, or to discover what a new home costs. 

Businesses can improve by being more strategic in their efforts. So instead of searching for “new homes,” they can work to rank for “new home builder in Colorado.” That strategy is crucial for online success because that generates traffic that has qualified itself before the conversation even begins.

Google knows everything. It knows where you are, so if your website indicates the area that you’re serving, it will figure that out. 

One: Get your website right 

The messaging on your website has a huge impact on your inbound sales. We must make sure we get the right message in front of the right clients so they qualify themselves prior to beginning the conversation. 

When we do, the work becomes like fish in a barrel because prospects come to you and say, “I saw this on your site and it’s exactly what I need.” 

Building a website with proper messaging for the right audience allows your prospects to move themselves down the funnel. #SEO

Improve your site

Sellers wear a lot of hats and sellers have the ability to influence anyone. If we want to increase our bottom line, it’s in our best interest to connect with the marketing people and convince them of the importance of a smooth website. 

  • Work toward a mobile-friendly site. Most sites are, but there are small tweaks that will make your site operate faster. If the site isn’t designed correctly, it will run slowly which will affect your rankings. 
  • Identify the things your customer wants by understanding how they find you. If they find you online, ask what they were searching for. You’ll discover actionable information that will help you refine your website.
  • Find keywords that match what you do. Strive for specific, clear intent. 
  • Be data-driven. Find the search volume for keywords to help you decide on your messaging.

Rank for the right things

Most of the data about search content is freely available using tools like Google Keyword Planner. Initiate a conversation with the marketing department to ensure that you’re ranking for the right phrases. If you’re ranking for phrases that no one is actually looking for, it will do nothing for you. 

Once you’ve got the website functioning smoothly, you’ll focus on converting those prospects using content. 

Two: Generate content

This isn’t a reference to a basic 300-word blog. It’s quality content that focuses on answering their key questions and includes every type of content. 

If every seller would create videos to provide information, the potential would provide to be unreal. Create videos. Write blogs. Answer frequently asked questions. 

Block out 15 minutes to create content daily, even if you have to do it during lunch. It’s arguably one of the most valuable exercises a salesperson can do.  

Write down every question people ask you and rank them from the most common to the least. People frequently ask “How long does it take for SEO to work?” SEO is kind of a nerdy topic that many businesses don’t think about. Once they address it, they often want to know how long the results will take, so he wrote a massive article breaking the process down.

He didn’t intend to sell anything, but rather to provide quality information. Within a couple of weeks, people reached out to him asking if they could share it. Then, he landed on a list of 25 top Internet marketing articles worldwide, and he was surprised by the fact that people were even able to find him. 

Kyle points to The Go-Giver as a book that changed his perspective and motivated him to enrich the lives of the people who engage with his content. Now he uses the article during conversations as a source of information he can share with people. 

The article set him up as a thought leader and authority on the topic of SEO.

Think long term

SEO is a long-term game. It’s a process that won’t happen overnight. If you use it effectively, you’ll see results. 

The challenge, Kyle said, is that many sellers have huge lists of content they’d like to create but because they have big deals on the line, they have to prioritize those deals because that’s money in the bank. It’s difficult to prioritize stuff that doesn’t pay off immediately. 

In the long run though, you’ll make so much more money if you can generate content and videos consistently.

Kyle is a big proponent of YouTube but he recommends doing whatever is easiest. Just do something. It’s much better to do something than to wait forever for the perfect opportunity. Use whatever you currently have available. 

If that means starting from scratch, YouTube is a great place to start. It’s a massive search engine all its own. Your videos don’t have to be long, and you can even hire people to create them for you.  

Three: Make quality connections 

Kyle points to the hybrid approach as the best method of conversion. Provide gated content as well as free, accessible content. Create, for example, an amazing guide to the top 10 things to know about your business, and then ask for an email to access it. Connect that to your CRM so you’re providing something valuable that benefits your audience. You’re getting something and they are getting something in return. You’re getting a warm lead and you have an opportunity for a simple follow up. 

  • “I saw that you downloaded our guide. I’d love to answer any questions you have or hear any insights you had from a business owner’s perspective.” 

Then, use your CRM to determine what pages your visitors are seeing on your site. If you can track where they are going on your site and determine what things they are reading, then you can ask them to use this information in your sales process.

People are thirsty for knowledge, so if you can be a resource that answers their questions, it will build a foundation of trust. 

Give your prospects something specific they can apply to their own situations. In my case, I might ask prospects to try sending five emails to see what kind of results they get, or to test LinkedIn connections. Keep it simple. Don’t ask them to read a 500-page SEO book. Give them a quick win.  

Leverage your connections

As you’re out in the world networking, you’re developing key partnerships and mutually beneficial connections. Leverage those opportunities. 

If you’ve written something valuable, ask the people around you to share it. Then, offer to serve those connections as well by volunteering to write an expert blog post on their site. Tell them you’re only asking for a small linkback. It involves writing and proactive outreach, but the payoff is huge. 

The Internet is a popularity contest, and Google works the same way. When more websites talk about your website, that suggests to Google that there’s something valuable for its searchers there. Google will bump it up in the rankings.

It isn’t glamorous work but it can be very impactful. Instead of working to leverage random contacts, you’ll focus on the ones you’ve already built. 

Social media can be powerful for reasons beyond those that we already know about. If you give someone a shoutout on social media, that doesn’t necessarily improve their online visibility, but if you’re an influencer within your network, it provides credibility and it may drive people to visit. 

Write down the questions that people ask you every day and then provide answers to them. Provide the information people are looking for. Don’t hide behind a curtain and don’t keep trade secrets. 

“3 core SEO principles” episode resources

You can connect with Kyle at FirestarterSEO.com or on LinkedIn. He calls himself an open book and says he’s happy to educate people about SEO. If you simply have a question to ask, reach out to him on social media. 

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.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audiobook, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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.

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TSE 1145: Flip the Script


Oren Klaff

Many sellers rely on old ideology to engage their customers without realizing that if they flip the script, they can set the rules for the sale instead of conforming to the buyer’s rules.

Oren Klaff is the author of Pitch Anything, a required reading throughout Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Fortune 500 companies. Oren is the world’s leading expert on sales, raising capital, and negotiation and has written for Harvard Business Review, Advertising Age Entrepreneur, among others. He is also an investing partner in a $2 million private equity investment fund and loves motorcycles. Oren is about to release his follow-up book entitled, Flip the Script.

Raising money for companies  

There is very little flexibility in most meetings, in that what happens in the first few minutes determines the outcome of the whole thing. The pitch is very important because there are high stakes in every presentation. It’s expensive to travel to presentations, so you have to get everything right the first time. 

Making a pitch is like a surgery. There’s no room for error. 

A pitch is a pitch regardless of the value: $1,000, $5,000, $100,00, $10 million, or $15 million. An account is an account.

This is what Oren does. He invests in companies, buys companies, and he trains the salespeople in these companies to raise money. He knows this works because companies tell him that their sales averages have doubled, that they’re closing deals, and that they’re raising money effectively. He isn’t an academic who dives into the numbers and writes a study about it. He is the one who dives in and takes action. 

Pitch is everything 

You walk into the boardroom where there is a lot of money at stake and you give the pitch. The next five minutes determine the outcome of the meeting. In sales, if you don’t win the deal, you just go to the next one. In a given fund-raising project, you might be trying to raise $10 million for a company and have only 10 pitches to do it. You have to learn it, give it, and raise the money. If you don’t, it’s a catastrophic failure. 

You do what you can to give a pitch that will help you win your sales situation. 

Pitch Anything shares all the things Oren learned from all the pitches and high-stakes situations over 20 years and teaches how to apply the exact same rules to everyday business. Whether you’re taking part in a sales meeting, doing sales over the phone, or recording presentations for a webinar, the book teaches how to win in everyday sales situations. 

Pitch Anything sold a million copies and the follow-up book, Flip the Script, shows you how to do the things you never would have thought possible.

Writing ‘Flip the Script’

Oren has seen people put his concepts into practice: how to open a meeting, how to raise your status, how to control the frame, and how to lead the buyer to a purchasing decision, and how to build your status so high that people will be desperate to buy your product. Even when people are trained, we still make mistakes. This is what Oren has seen and he believes that the follow-up book is going to change the world. 

Inception 

Oren said that most people wouldn’t recognize his techniques as the way to conduct sales. For example, Oren met with a guy who wanted help in selling his company. They discussed the terms and proposals for 45 minutes. After that, he left and then came back 90 seconds later, which usually isn’t good. You don’t want people to leave just to walk back into the conference room. But when he came back, he had a check ready for $15,000. 

When someone decides that even with no contract, no agreement, and no terms, he’s committed to working with you, this is inception. It happens when the buyer decides internally to do business with you and starts taking things forward. It doesn’t demand price negotiations, because you’ve positioned all the information in such a way that the decision to work with you bubbles up inside them. 

Buyers are cold and digital. They want information, pricing, and a cheaper and better version. There’s no buyer loyalty and they are never satisfied. 

When you order food for a group who’s working late in the conference room, you open the door wide enough to grab the food. There’s no tip and no humans involved. This is what buyers are today.

The conspiracy suggests that you can take that kind of buyer and try to close them by overcoming their objections and selling them, but people aren’t sold. 

We should forget the thought that we can sell to people because that’s not the truth today. People don’t want to be sold, they want to buy. 

Getting started with inception 

Begin by buying the book because it’s where you learn about how to get a buyer to inception. It’s where you are setting up the framework, and leading them through it. 

Next is to recognize that the videos, books, and all the standard knowledge today that are out there represent 40-year-old technology. You aren’t using a 40-year-old phone or a 40-year-old car because life is totally different than it was 40 years ago. Buyers needed you then but they don’t need you anymore because they have the internet. and know that it’s not your fault that you’re being trained on information that is decades old. 

Ask yourself who benefits from the notion that you can overcome objections by selling features and benefits and by providing discounts.

There is a trend, a recurring theme in the market that says “I deserve to get what you sell for free.” Recognize that this trend is out there. Flip the Script will walk you through specific steps that will help you recognize why these concepts don’t work. 

Becoming reliable 

Features and benefits don’t matter until your prospect understands three things:

  • that you’re an expert
  • that what you do is incredibly hard
  • that your product matters in the context of survival of companies

You have to make sure that you are an expert and that you speak their language. They must believe that this is incredibly hard and that nobody else can do it at the level you’re doing it. Lastly, you need to put in a survival context or you change the context. 

There is no point in explaining the features and benefits until all that is baked in., you try to establish all those three things mentioned earlier then you explain the benefits. 

There are probably other vendors who will be pitching the same things and they’ll start with the benefits and the features. You need to be different by coming in and showing that you’re an expert in the industry. Build your character and the character of your business then you go to the features and benefits. 

Power of plain vanilla 

Oren likes to commoditize everyone. Among Microsoft, Oracle, Google Services, and Amazon, they’re all the same stuff. The offerings in the market are plain vanilla, and his company offers the same stuff, too. 

Once you commoditize everybody, you can build the “power of working with me.” Everybody in the industry that you’d be looking at offers nearly identical services at the baseline. Avoid the confusing comparison of features and benefits. Commoditize the competition so that you don’t have to deal with them. You can commoditize your competition and build on that. 

Welcome the anxiety 

Flip the Script includes only new sales information that isn’t available in any other sales book. If the information was presented elsewhere, Oren didn’t include it in his book. As a result, though, there’s a sense of anxiety because it’s all too new.

Take a driverless car. It’s new, it’s cool, and it drives you from your home to your office and across the country. It’s interesting, but are you really going to buy a car without a steering wheel or brakes? Maybe you’d wait for other people to buy it and use it for a year and see what happens.

The highly differentiated features and benefits may also trigger anxiety. The same is true in this industry. We offer additional features that may create anxiety. There is reluctance and we shouldn’t forget that people are like sheep sometimes: we want to follow right behind others. 

In today’s complicated world, if you create something new, people would be interested and at the same time, be anxious. 

Positioning things on a trend

You must learn how to position things on a trend. For example, the trend today is gearing toward AI and machine learning and security hacks. 

Winter is coming. There’s an event in every industry that changes the trend of that particular industry. In real estate, it’s tax and regulation. In consumer devices it’s privacy. You should know that to be able to ride the changing waves. 

For example, when stadium seating came to theaters and stadiums, it wiped out every normal theater. Oren calls it the “nuclear winter” for typical seating. If you were selling anything to a theater during that time, you’d say, “stadium seating is coming, and if you haven’t made that adjustment before then your business won’t survive.” 

Similar to Game of Thrones, when they say Winter is Coming, it means something is coming that is going to change the world and people must believe it and act in order to survive. The same is true in business. Believe that something is coming to your industry and know how to operate on the other side of it. 

Flip the Script 

Buyers have a formula that they impose on you. Flipping the script means you are showing the buyer how they get to buy from you. You are giving them the formula by which they’re allowed to buy from you. 

You don’t control your buyer, you give them options. You flip the usual “do this and do that” speech and instead, sit down with the buyer and present options of how things work. Set a sandbox that the buyer is allowed to play in. 

This is why it’s important for them to know that you speak their language. that you’re an expert, and that what you do is incredibly hard to do. It is important that they know that you have the value or the product or the idea that when the change is finally settling in, you are the one they want to work with. You are setting up the formula that they’re allowed to buy. But you only work with a certain kind of people.

If they end up not buying from you, it means they weren’t right for you. They weren’t going to pay that price where you could have margin, they weren’t going to do reorders, and they weren’t going to be easy customers. 

When you control the formula, it becomes incredibly obvious that they were never going to be a good account.

“Flip the Script” episode resources

Sales leaders can go to FlipTheScriptBonus to see Chapter 1 and get an example of how to do inception. There are basic rules there that are also discussed in this episode. 

You can also connect with Oren via his website where he has some great blog contents and amazing articles. Hear our first conversation with Oren here

Check the TSE Certified Sales Program while you’re at it, while the first two modules are absolutely free. We want you to find the right customers, close deals, and go out every single day doing big things.

This episode is brought to you in part by Audible. Sign up now to get a book for free and enjoy its 30-day free trial. It’s also brought to you by TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a guide for sales reps in finding better prospects, making more meaningful conversations, and knowing the right questions to ask to close a powerful deal. Check it out and give the two free episodes a try. 

 If you enjoyed this episode, we’d appreciate your review and thumbs up on If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and other platforms you use. You can also subscribe to our podcast and share it with your friends and colleagues. 

TSE 1144: Tools To Generate Quality Leads On Demand

If you ask sellers what they want more of, the second most popular answer will be quality leads, and the good news is that there are plenty of tools available to generate quality leads on demand

Joshua Smith serves as CEO of a real company called FizzyBlox on the front lines of revenue acceleration. He’s the co-founder of a couple of businesses and the author of the book Stacked: How to Guarantee Qualified Sales Meetings With Real Decision Makers. 

He recalls that his team wondered where the people at the top of the sales profession go to upscale. Where do they go to be educated? Their challenges are much bigger than the average seller because they are responsible for multiple billions in revenue. 

Lead generation process

People constantly tell me that they could close more deals if they could just get in front of more people. Research suggests that 65% of sellers’ time is spent on non-revenue-generating activities. For people whose job is selling, that’s a huge number. 

So how does any business optimize their lead generation process?

The bad news, according to Hubspot, is that for B2B lead generation, it’s virtually impossible to pinpoint which of the channels was most effective at lead generation. If I had to guess which channel was most effective, I’d guess it’s web-bound leads. In truth, though, Hubspot reported that the most effective channel was one labeled “other.” They simply don’t know which activities generate the most leads.

Opportunity

Truthfully, though, that uncertainty creates a huge opportunity. It suggests that there are tons of amazing tools out there that sellers can utilize to generate quality leads. They aren’t all publicized, so our job as sellers is to identify the different tools we can use and more importantly, how we can automate that process. 

Josh’s mission is to create the number one sales platform in the world for senior sales leaders to network, to mindshare, to problem solve, and to intimately discuss the pressing topics of revenue generation. 

LinkedIn

This tool won’t be news to anyone because so many of us are getting leads from LinkedIn, but we must realize that data is fuel for the economy of the business world. We’re on a long business journey and we can’t rely on a single gas station. As amazing as LinkedIn is, we can’t rely on a single place for our fuel. 

Sellers need to become their own content marketers to really meet the demands of the modern buyer. LinkedIn can do wonders for your business in terms of connecting with prospects, especially high-level decision-makers, in a space where they feel safe. Be mindful, too, that if you upgrade to premium, you can see what your social selling index is. You can measure yourself against the other people in your network or industry, which is a really good indicator of where you are. 

I recently had a conversation with someone as a direct result of my LinkedIn efforts, and it turned into an opportunity. It was easy to move the conversation from LinkedIn to a phone call without feeling sleazy. He raised his hand and engaged with me because of the content I shared. 

Your content positions you as a person who can help people. Focus on genuinely providing value rather than posting for the sake of posting. You don’t have to post every day. Josh engages with the sellers’ reps of the companies he’s pursuing and then gives his feedback on the buyer’s experience. If the experience is good, he’ll say so. If it’s bad, he’ll say so. The companies often engage with him after seeing his review, and it launches a natural dialog. 

Prospecting

Every seller wants more leads but few are willing to do the prospecting necessary to generate them. With the rise of AI and automation, sellers feel entitled to not do the work and instead rely on technology. LinkedIn is an established platform for lead generation, and Josh estimates that about 70 percent of the total sales revenue he has generated during his career has been a product of it. 

Even his other interactions like those at trade shows eventually land on LinkedIn, because eventually his prospects will look there to see who he is and what he’s about. Allocate time for LinkedIn. 

From a content perspective consider using automation to help you produce content without manually uploading it every day or every week. There are also plugins that automatically message people as soon as you connect, but if you rely on those you miss out on the personalization that is so important. 

Humans fundamentally need interactions. We’ll never be eradicated by technology because you must be genuine if you want qualified leads. Use automation, but don’t abandon your humanity.

SalesOptimize

Many people in the states opt to use ZoomInfo, but Josh reports that it’s expensive and the data often lacks accuracy. Instead, he suggests SalesOptimize, a tool that’s about 40 percent cheaper than ZoomInfo with much better accuracy and functionality. 

It’s a market intelligence platform that scans the Internet to extract company data like what technology it uses to build its website, who the hosting provider is, what are their annual revenues, and what are the associated brands? Additionally, it provides the contact information for the people who work there. 

Consider that searching for humans may be less effective because they won’t work for the company forever. Instead, search for companies because they represent the accounts. Your prospecting list includes companies, not people. 

SalesOptimize allows you to type in the kind of company you want to target and receive a list of all the different companies you can approach. It also gives you the details around each company so you can determine whether it’s actually a good fit. Once the company passes that qualification process, you can generate insights around people. 

Changing landscape

Given that the average sales rep stays in position for about 18 months, and given that there are multiple people at each company that we need to connect with, it simply makes more sense. Especially in the tech world, it’s rarely a single person that makes the buying decision. More likely, you’ll interact with five to 10 people on your way to a decision. Why, then, are we constantly searching for a single person? 

Even in organizations that have consistency, job functions change slightly. Additionally, titles might differ among companies because of differing hierarchies. SalesOptimize is cheaper, more accurate, and it’s GDPR compliant. 

Qualifier.ai

This tool is for the lazy sales folks who want a super-automated way of doing outreach and getting effective leads. It’s kind of an amalgamation of SalesOptimize and ZoomInfo, but it automates the outreach. Qualifier.ai is about 12 months old, and in its first year, they’ve gained more than 1,000 clients organically. 

It won’t be ideal for everyone because although automation is fine to an extent, personalization is still important. But if your company won’t pay for the other two tools, this is one you can afford for yourself. If you haven’t been given the actual tools you need to do a proper job, spend the money on this tool. 

It sends auto-sending sequences to your prospects and it measures and optimizes and tracks your open rates. You can set the sequence the way that’s best for you. 

Lead generation weapon

The last tool isn’t just a tool. It’s a weapon. Josh calls it a freak of nature. 

With lead generation, we’re collecting data. Our job is to get enough fuel to actually move the vehicle. This tool takes your prospect information and plugs it into this tool and turns it into jet fuel. ConnectAndSell allows you to provide basic data like prospect name, company, and office number in a spreadsheet. This tool navigates you past the receptionists and directories and connects you directly to the person you’re trying to reach without you doing anything. 

Typically in two hours, you might do about 30 dials. With this tool, Josh managed 411 dials in two hours and connected to 15 prospects. These weren’t sales managers or low-level people, but C-level people in Fortune 500 companies, the hardest people to get hold of. 

It’s expensive, but the ROI potential is huge. For two hours every day, you’ll be plugged in speaking to people. 

If you’re seriously looking to scale your business, get SalesOptimizer or ZoomInfo and even consider stacking it with ConnectAndSell to dominate the market. 

“Generate Quality Leads” episode resources

Find out more about Josh’s event at csouk.com. In October, they’ll release CSOConnected, an online pool for education that will provide access to all the interviews. After October, look out for CSOConnected.com.

Grab a copy of his book, Stacked: How to Guarantee Qualified Sales Meetings With Real Decision Makers. 

If you haven’t already, 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. You can also check us out on Spotify.

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.

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Justin Dauer, Empathy, Accountability, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1143: Building a Culture of Empathy and Accountability

Justin Dauer, Empathy, Accountability, The Sales EvangelistEvery organization needs a culture of empathy and accountability no matter what it’s doing. Sometimes, we only have empathy and neglect accountability but it’s important to have both. Justin Dauer is with us in this episode to explain to us how to get both and give recommendations on the right way to do it. 

Justin is the VP of the Human Center Design at BSwift, a healthcare and benefits management firm owned by CVS Health.  He is also a writer and a public speaker when he isn’t in his 9-5 job, and he enjoys talking about humility, empathy, and accountability. 

Discovering agency culture 

Justin’s entire career revolves around agencies primarily in the creative direction. In his 10 years being in the business, he observed that agency culture tends to burn people out.

In some cultures, the driving factor is perceived by who went out the door last, regardless of the reasons why others left earlier. Maybe they went to pick up their kids from school or went to a doctor’s appointment. Meanwhile, whatever their reasons are, someone else in the firm is tapping a wristwatch noting the fact that they left early.

This buildup of passive-aggressive situations in the agency space resonates to many because they have experienced it too. 

He got a tremendous amount of feedback so he knew it was an important topic, which prompted him to write a book about it. 

Burnout

Burnout has a domino effect that is detrimental to an organization or an agency, partly because agency space is often about making money. Most times, a name on a spreadsheet doesn’t equate to an individual. The name has to do the work and that’s all there is. 

Justin shared the same experience before he was in a senior position. He’d come to the office and face a stack of papers, printouts, and a load of work with red lines on them. His value for the day depended on the quantity of work he could do for the day, without regard for quality in the process. 

There is no room to pause in some agencies, so employees can’t do anything not work-related, even in their free time. They fear that if their supervisor walks by and sees them, he’ll ask why they aren’t working. Employees are constantly on the edge, which isn’t healthy and wears them down. But as human beings, we all need to pause and calibrate. 

Another example of burnout is the cost of hiring people over and over again, which takes a toll on the organization’s morale. 

Addressing the issue 

Solving this takes action, not lip service. It’s good to start by demonstrating respect and humility. Humility is baked into both empathy and accountability. Humility is when a leader admits a mistake and follows up with an action plan. 

Dialog is a two-way street, which means less oration and delegation but more of a collaboration. Once a mistake has been made, admit it. This is what accountability is about. 

People who work in high-stress environments have little pockets of culture. They might gather in a kitchen and talk about something related to their craft. Saturating the culture from the top communicates that when they make a mistake, there’s a culture of support where people will rally around them and help them improve.  

Leaders must set the tone

Leaders have to set the tone. They should be the first to trust that their employees have done their job before they leave work for personal errands. Consider, too, that some may be single parents taking half the day off to pick up their kids from school. The simple concept of trust is something that’s taken for granted when it shouldn’t be taken for granted at all. 

Some organizations have a culture of fostering growth where leaders are truly leaders rather than taskmasters. When they find a problem, they ask questions, and they open a dialog to discover solutions to the problem. 

The same thing happened to me in the past where my team members share stuff with me. I made a culture of discussing things with each other and it proved to be a good move. Team members share their brilliant ideas that I couldn’t have conceived on my own, and it made the work more efficient. 

Everyone has value

It is ideal to have everyone be involved in the thought process when running a workshop. The same is also true in business. You want people from C-level to people who are answering the phone in the room because everyone has a voice and that voice has value. Hierarchies should be thrown out the window. 

In business, everyone’s viewpoint is important, from the stakeholders to the other people in the room with different perspectives. 

Sales leaders and managers must be cognizant of what the new hire thinks when they come in. They have to be aware that they won’t be scoffed at and demanded to go back to their desks when they get coffee from the coffee machine. They need to know that they are not chained to their desks and that they are allowed to work on another floor or to take their laptops outside if it’s not against company rules. 

Simplicity 

Another way to create a culture within the organization is through simplicity. People will more likely engage with things that are simple and easily understood.. Simplicity is also clarity which is one of Scott M. Cutlip’s  Seven C’s of Communication. What you’re saying should be exactly what you mean. 

Government Digital Services in the UK fosters this kind of cultural sense. They put up signs that say ‘It’s okay to x’, that it’s okay not to check their email after work, that it’s okay to have a day-off, and that it’s okay to pause and talk to their coworkers. These are simple and clear and people engage in them. It makes sense for businesses to do this as well but it’s still put by the wayside.  

Top-to-bottom approach

We did this in one of the companies I worked for where they gave us a Wii. It was super cool and we could play the Wii to destress and have a good time. The company was a small organization and we got all the people to be in the break area for 10-15 minutes and play Wii bowling. But then the sales leaders saw us playing and told the CEO about it. They told us that we could play it either before work or after work, and nobody touched it since. 

It was the culture that killed it. We could have had that 15-minute break and then go back to our desks afterward but the culture says that you can’t have fun. It says that growing a business and growing sales can’t be fun. This goes to show that when you don’t have the culture built from the top then clearly, you’re in trouble. 

The danger in perks is that sometimes it can take away one’s individuality, too. Some big tech companies have sleeping pods where you can zone out for a little bit. They get you a cab or buy you dinner if you work beyond 9 p.m. or they send someone to get your laundry at home. These perks look good on paper but they keep people in the office and squeeze more hours out of them and marginalize them and take their individuality away. They think of these people more as a production line who is there to work and sacrifice their personal life. So we must all be wary about perks like that. 

Be observant 

If you are someone looking for a job in any industry, maybe in tech or in sales, keep your head on a swivel and be observant. When you’re looking for a position, really poke in on the culture and see the things that are important to you. Are the people validated and supported? Poke in on their level of accountability as an organization.

Be involved and have a dialogue; you’re just not there to be grilled. Ask questions or talk to people who have worked there or who are working there. The manner in which your questions are received is a huge indicator of the validity of their response. Do these things before signing because you’ll never be able to do these dialogue and transparent conversations when you’ve signed the papers. 

In the end, it’s important to respect people ultimately because that goes beyond being a good person and being a good human being. Respect, humility, and empathy go far in the workplace. It permeates innovation, office dynamics, and creativity. It permeates everything. The golden rule always applies – treat others the same way you want to be treated. This permeates so many things at the business level, the profitability level, and the quality of work level. 

Building a Culture of Empathy and Accountability” episode resources

Connect with Jason (@pseudoroom) by following him on Twitter, and his online portfolio at Pseudoroom.com. He also has a book entitled Cultivating a Creative Culture and a second edition that’s coming by next year. 

You can also connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com or try our first module of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program or free. This episode has been made possible with the help of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. 

I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.  You can also share this with your friends and colleagues. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, Gmail, The Sales Evangelist, Email

TSE 1142: 5 Reasons Gmail Is The Best Email Tool For Sellers

 

Donald Kelly, Gmail, The Sales Evangelist, Email

Many of us start our day with emails, so knowing that The Sales Evangelist team has outlined 5 reasons why Gmail is the best email tool for sellers. 

Multiple functions 

Google’s Gmail Suite is an incredible tool for companies due to its many functions. For The Sales Evangelist, we use domains. I personally have Donald as my domain and this is connected to my Gmail business suite. Every email that I receive goes through my domain and into my Gmail inbox. 

Aside from that, it is also easy to set up. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that you can check for instructions. You can also hit Google and read about how to sign up for the suite. 

Integration 

A lot of platforms have integration but for me, Gmail beats them all. While Outlook has 365, it seems clunky and the apps are difficult to integrate. The same couldn’t be said with the Google-owned Gmail. Google is the top-dog in the industry and has a massive number of users. With that many people using Gmail accounts, it became necessary for developers to find ways to integrate their apps and tools into Gmail. 

I use Calendly, a tool that integrates seamlessly into Gmail. Other apps like Hubspot and LinkedIn Sales Navigator connect to Gmail as well. These tools and plugins make full use of Gmail’s integration capabilities. 

Templates

Google has what they call canned responses and these are found in the settings of Gmail. Look for the settings, and click on advanced. This option explains what canned responses are and provides instructions on how you can create templates for common messages that you send. You then click enable and save the changes. 

For a sales rep who’s always out there sending intro emails, follow-up emails, and other responses, this canned response is a good thing. Although you need to personalize it, you will not need to write the whole thing over and over again when you’re using the template. You can just tweak it. 

You can make templates for commonly asked questions that you get. Even better, you can just type out the common responses to these questions and make it into a canned email. Now, that’s your template. You can learn more about this in Episode 11 of The Sales Evangelist. You can also connect with us on YouTube for more videos.

Mail scheduler

The third reason Gmail is the best for sales reps is its ability to schedule emails. The great thing about this is it’s free. I used Boomerang and Hubspot in the past but now, I just go to my Gmail account and click compose at the bottom. 

You’ll see that arrow next to the send button; you click on that and you can then easily schedule your mail. This feature is helpful for busy people and busy prospects as well. 

Sometimes we are inundated with so much on a day-to-day basis that we take the work home. The same can be said with business owners, VPs, executives, or mid-level managers. They are so busy and they can’t respond to mail throughout the day. This is where scheduled mail comes in.

Email callbacks 

Outlook and other providers offer email callback as well, and it’s very useful in case you make mistakes in sending out your mail. 

Say that when you used your canned response you weren’t able to personalize it enough and ended up putting the wrong person’s name. This isn’t a good thing, so you need to unsend it. You can do so with Gmail. 

Go to the top right corner, click settings, click on general, and look for the undo send. You can send cancellations up to different time periods. You can keep the email longer to give you more time to recognize your mistakes, edit them out, save, and send. 

Shortcuts 

Here’s the fifth reason: shortcuts. It’s also an easy one and you can find it on the cog and click advance. You can create your custom keyboard shortcuts once it’s enabled and saved. Google has default shortcuts you can use or you can utilize the shortcut feature and make your own. 

As a busy sales rep, you can just hit C and you’d be able to compose an email or reply to an email, or hit A and reply to a particular mail. There are several other shortcuts that you can use to save your precious time. You can check out Episode 1137 of The Sales Evangelist for more information about this feature. 

I like Gmail because of its integration, the ability to create templates, the scheduled responses, the email callbacks, and the shortcuts. 

“5 Reasons Gmail Is The Best Email Tool For Sellers” episode resources

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Kimberlee Slavik, Visnostics, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1141: The Fundamentals of Visnostic Selling

 

Kimberlee Slavik, Visnostics, The Sales EvangelistVisnostic selling translates your information from vendor-speak to client-speak, and sellers who understand the fundamentals of visnostic selling will change the way they think about sales. 

Kimberlee Slavik has been a top performer in sales for more than 20 years, and she recently released a book called Visnostic Selling. Her goal is to help sales and marketing professionals harness the power of neuroscience by translating vendor-speak into client-speak. 

Storytelling

Kimberlee always assumed her sales success resulted largely from dumb luck until she listened to Michael Bosworth’s latest book, What Great Salespeople Do. The book talks about storytelling and neuroscience and explains the chemical reactions that happen in the brain. Stories make the Bible the best-selling book of all time because they allow readers to visualize events.  

She was listening to the book while she was driving so she couldn’t highlight or make notes, but the content made sense to her. It was the first time she recognized the science behind her own success. 

Because her career selling complex intangibles requires her to qualify clients very well, she must be able to articulate what she can do for them. She hopes to help other people figure out the science that it took her so long to discover. 

Visnostics

Visnostics is a trademarked word that combines visualization and diagnostics. Instead of showing up to a demonstration with a bunch of slides or a brochure or a website full of words to say, visnostics teaches you to reword everything. Speak in the first-person as though the client was actually saying these things. When you do, it triggers a completely different response in the brain. The order of words also plays a tremendous role. 

This isn’t a questionnaire that asks questions on your way to helping you diagnose. Truthfully, no one looks forward to filling out surveys. Instead, provide a statement instead of a question and offer three different ways to respond:

  • “I can say this today.”
  • “I wish I could say this today.” 
  • “I don’t know.”

If your prospect chooses the first option, he must score himself on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning he has a long way to go and 5 meaning it’s perfect. 

They’re very engaged because they know they have to respond to what you’re saying. It allows you to sort of hijack the prospect’s brain because they have to concentrate to answer. It’s a powerful tool for sellers.

When you trigger chemicals in your client’s brain without him even realizing it, that’s powerful. The prospect wants to tell you his story because this is what the visnostic statement creates. Instead of the seller doing all the talking, this process prompts the client to share their stories.

Visnostic statements

The book teaches people to create a spreadsheet in which one column includes all of the seller’s visnostic statements, and the book also helps sellers understand how to create those powerful visnostic statements. Another column maps out each of the visnostic statements to a summarization of a statement of work. In other words, how you can turn a non-strength into a strength. 

Once the salesperson walks the client through the statements, they’ll have a sense of the things that the client is doing well, the areas with the biggest room for improvement, and areas that simply need tweaking. 

Within an hour or two, the seller can be confident and competent in front of their clients. 

Getting started

Kimberlee begins by asking sellers to visualize a dollar sign, a clock, and a toolbox. Those images represent results related to finances and timelines and there’s an associated impact. The first words will be “I’m going to save you $1 million in a month.” For an office furniture salesperson, the aerodynamic office furniture will create more comfortable employees who work harder and work longer. The seller will then establish visnostic statements according to segmentation. 

You can figure out your segmentation by talking to past clients who will tell you more than your marketing department ever could. Since they are actually using the furniture, they’ll help you flush out differentiation.

Change your approach

When you start thinking dollar sign, clock, and toolbox, revisit your own marketing message. Start at your own website and pick out all the words that represent results. Many people are disappointed to discover that they don’t have as many as they thought they did. It might trigger you to find results by talking to past clients to understand how working with you has impacted their lives. 

One real estate agent had recommendations that all sounded the same on his site. He had a long paragraph that took up half the page describing his work. Kimberlee had to dig to find results statements, but when she did, she put together this visnostic statement: 

“My realtor had a contract on all three of my homes in less than a week when all other realtors were averaging 100 days or more.”

The reader now knows that the person sharing the recommendation wasn’t just a lucky sell. The realtor sold three homes in less than a week. The statement also differentiated the realtor from his competition by specifying how long other realtors were taking to sell houses. 

This new way of thinking will change the way you view your marketing materials, your brochures, and your website. 

Working well

Most organizations are oblivious to the fact that marketing and sales don’t work well together. Her workshops require that marketing and sales sit in the same room together during the translation from features and functions into visnostic language. They move from vendor-speak to client-speak and it makes a world of difference. 

Anytime the two teams work together, it creates a powerful team-building exercise. When their efforts are aligned and they are in sync, magic happens. When they are out of alignment, sales suffer. 

Managers who are interested in this kind of training must do their homework first. Make sure you’ve bought into the program and that you understand it. Kimberlee invites readers to connect with her personally for what amounts to a free consultation. 

After the initial consultation, she invites organizations to put their very best presenter on the phone with her. She does a Zoom call to record the presentation so she can see the best presentation they have to offer. She then dissects and separates it to identify vendor-speak and client-speak. 

Kimberlee did this for a Fortune 20 company, and the result was 28 pages of transcript, and of those, only half a page amounted to information the client would like to have. Additionally, the graphics weren’t designed to help the audience retain the data being presented.

Painting a picture

Kimberlee worked with a realtor in the sale of her own house who used visnostics to generate interest. She wrote a description about a dock that the homeowners could visit at the end of a long day, and a kitchen island that was big enough for mom and dad to make lunches at while the kids sat down for breakfast. She described the kind of life people might live inside the house, and she got 7 offers on the first day. The house ultimately sold for more than $30,000 over asking price.

The realtor had people competing for the house, and she got three new listings with people who wanted to use the same approach to sell their own houses. 

“Fundamentals of Visnostic Selling” episode resources

Connect with Kimberlee on LinkedIn or Google the term visnostic. Listeners can email her at podcast@dynaexec.com to get something from Kimberlee, and then she’ll send the feedback to The Sales Evangelist so we can continue to help more people understand why podcasts are a valuable use of time. 

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.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audiobook, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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.

 

Kristen Estrada

TSE 1140: Horror Stories of a Traveling Seller

Kristen EstradaYou likely have your own horror stories of a traveling seller, but you can use technology to streamline your process and free your time for sales. 

Kristen Estrada is a regional sales executive with SAP Concur covering the South Florida area. She has spent 20 years selling everything from consumables to skincare, legal services, and now cloud-based software. 

Language barrier

During Kristen’s work with a beauty company, she traveled to Dubai with a great team of male sellers who spoke Arabic. She struggled to feel welcome in the foreign culture but she tried to make the best of it. While she was there, she got sick and lost her voice, but she still had to work. 

The last day of the trade show, she broke down the booth with her colleagues and then headed to the airport but she had gotten her departure dates mixed up. Her flight didn’t leave until the next day, and though she tried to negotiate an earlier departure, the airlines wanted to charge her $1,500 to change her ticket. 

Kristen knew her employer wouldn’t pay that, so she headed back to her hotel, which was already full. She didn’t speak Arabic and the hotel wasn’t being helpful. Out of desperation, she asked her colleague if she could stay in his room for the night. 

Perhaps because he knew that would be uncomfortable, he made a phone call to the front desk and got her room back. She eventually made it home the next day, but it wasn’t a great experience for her. In fact, she feels bad when people ask about the trip because she’s certain that others have great experiences there.

From a professional standpoint, she was able to make some connections at the trade show and even sell some products right off the floor. Unfortunately, the lack of support during her stay left her feeling lost and overwhelmed. 

Cash flow

During another trip to Miami, Kristen was working for a small business with a very tight cash flow. Because she was close to the owner, she did her best to protect the bottom line by staying in two-star hotels. She loved the job and the products and the company, so she was willing to do whatever was necessary to help. 

She and a female colleague were sharing a room near the convention center in what she calls a “dumpy hotel.” They dropped their stuff off after check-in and rushed over to a trade show. When they returned, there was a “boot” on the hotel door, like the ones you find on your car when you’ve parked illegally. 

They inquired at the front desk where the clerk told them that their credit card had been declined. It was odd because the room couldn’t have been worth much more than about $59 a night, but they paid the bill with a personal card, stayed the night, and left the next day to find another hotel. 

Travel safety 

Every traveler wants to stay in a safe environment, but for females traveling alone, this is especially true. Following these experiences, Kristen approached the company leadership seeking the freedom to book her own travel moving forward. She was willing to stay within a certain dollar amount; she simply wanted to book safer accommodations. 

As she has continued in her professional journey, she finds that she still cares where she stays when she travels for business. She considers herself lucky to work for a company that values her safety and knows where she is at all times because of apps and technology. If there’s an emergency, they know exactly where to find her. They can quickly get her out of a sketchy situation if necessary. 

Mobile app

SAP Concur is a mobile app that allows users to book business trips. It services 40 million customers worldwide, many through the app called TripIt. TripIt is a free app that organizes your trips and notifies you of changes to your itinerary. It also provides safety scores by neighborhood so travelers can book properties where they feel safe. 

Companies of all sizes can benefit from Concur. It’s especially affordable for startups because it provides the ability to book travel and create expense reports. 

Using Concur

Kristen usually works with accounting departments or leadership teams who inquire about the small business package. It offers a bundled discount and services an entire sales team. 

Once you sign up for the service, you download the app and then connect your corporate card. If you’re using personal money for reimbursement, you submit photos of receipts and the app captures those and sends them to an approver within your finance team who can quickly get you reimbursed. 

Kristen’s experience traveling abroad often required her to create spreadsheets for her expenses where she made copies of receipts, provided conversions from euros to dollars, and then waited weeks to get her money back. As a seller, she wasn’t getting paid to create spreadsheets, and she recognized the struggle of keeping track of receipts.

“Horror Stories of a Traveling Seller” episode resources

You can email her at Kristen.Estrada@sap.com or find her on LinkedIn.

If you haven’t already, 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

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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.

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

TSE 1139: Sales From The Street – “Don’t Give Up So Easily”

Some companies will be harder to connect with than others, but sellers who don’t give up so easily may find that an intentional approach can overcome those things that appear to be obstacles.

Jacob Wardrop is the sales director at an email management provider called 28Hands, which helps people who feel overwhelmed with the volume of email and need a more automated way of handling it. 

Old school

Jacob once worked as a sales rep selling software to the construction industry, and he was assigned a geographical territory. The businesses ranged from 10 employees to about 400, and a couple had more than 500. One of those companies already worked with his competitor, and Jacob’s company had never been able to gain any traction with the other. 

Despite making probably 200 calls, his company didn’t know what the prospect was currently using and the company wasn’t even sure if it was a good fit. They simply knew that the prospective company was massive and that there weren’t very many construction businesses of that size in the UK. 

In short, the company wasn’t very open to the outside world. Employees weren’t able to use LinkedIn, there was a no-name policy from the reception, and nobody used their own email addresses. Each of the 19 offices had its own email address, and as emails came in, the receptionist would sift through them and hand them off. 

Finding a way in

His background was predominantly outbound so he had what he calls a hunter mentality. He spent a lot of years doing small deals, kissing a lot of frogs and doing a lot of meetings without a lot of reward. Eventually, he started doing bigger deals, and because he had a taste of success, he saw a great opportunity with this new company. 

He was reasonably sure he could get a meeting with them despite the fact that he couldn’t use LinkedIn or email, so the challenge was to get a foot in the door. Every seller before had failed to get beyond the receptionist, and Jacob got caught in that trap briefly, as well. 

In the end, he counted 67 phone calls to the prospect, and he calls the experience a lesson in thinking about the best way in to an organization rather than just relying on a call list.  

Seeking a favor

He started by scouring the website to see what information he could find. From there, because he worked in a geographical region, he trusted that he could find existing clients who worked in the same sector who would be willing to help out. He built a good relationship with some finance partners and other local companies. Over the course of three months, he felt comfortable asking for a favor. 

He asked for information about who the problem solver was in the company. In other words, if you wanted to get something done there, who would you ask? His clients gave him the gentleman’s name, and also gave him permission to use their name in his email contact. 

He sent a message requesting to speak to the managing director, and he got past the first stage where people tended to get stuck in this organization. The managing director agreed to a call and a meeting, largely out of curiosity. They had never worked with a company like ours, but many similar businesses were already working with us. 

Getting the right person

The initial email kicked off an 18-month sales cycle. 

Sometimes sellers want to make things easy for ourselves so we end up sounding like everyone else. Many salespeople will be handed accounts that others have farmed for years, and they’ll be tempted to repeat the same cycles and call all the same people. Instead, consider taking a fresh look and seeking alternative people. Get creative in terms of how you’ll connect. 

Give serious consideration to how you’ll be listened to.

Referral

The managing director passed him off to a management team to help with the initiative. The fact that he had a referral from someone at the top of the organization made a big difference. It means that Jacob could always call him and that he could update him on progress. That meant that the people he was meeting with were accountable for something. 

This deal was worth about half a million, while the average deal previously had been about $100K. It was a record deal, and after a lot of meetings and site visits, his company landed it. 

Many more traditional companies take a long time to make a decision, and there’s a lot of advice that says you shouldn’t keep pursuing opportunities which aren’t active. In this case, the fact that it took a long time was frustrating, but ultimately it was worthwhile. 

By the end of the deal, Jacob was weary from the stress and sleepless nights, so on a Friday afternoon when he knew the deal was close, he drove there. He arrived at 2 and stayed until 9 waiting for the company to be in a position to sign the deal. 

He persevered and stayed diligent and worked to separate himself from what everyone else was doing. 

Building a process

Eventually, he left a very comfortable position for one that didn’t have all the necessary components for success. He was frustrated and surrounded by negative energy. 

He read a book called The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters that addressed how to focus on the things that are within your control. Jacob wrote down all the key elements of a high-performing seller, from data profiling and gathering to business development and having a senior sales team. 

The group had a product it could sell and a good message, but no intensity culture around it. He booked eight meetings in a day to see what he could learn off the back of that experience. He discovered that by simplifying and writing down a few key things and a simple goal helped him refine the message. It gave him some optimism because it generated some results. 

Generating data

The company started building data on its prospects from scratch until it could afford to have data profiles populated into the CRM. They recruited business development people and started working to answer questions. Why isn’t marketing doing certain things? Why isn’t the SDR doing certain things? 

It’s a much better approach than blaming other people for your problems or your challenges, which ultimately doesn’t help. It simply generates negative energy. 

Once you take control of the situation and decide to control your own destiny, that’s when things can turn around. 

Now, his team works to book 10 meetings before it spends a load of time or money on marketing content. It doesn’t matter whether they use email or LinkedIn. Simply that they book 10 meetings in a new sector because that element is within their control. You learn a lot when you’re in a room with 10 customers instead of being in an office.  

Focus on the components that you don’t need other people for. Become a bit of a lone wolf and then build something. 

Critique yourself

Regardless of the outcome, whether it’s positive or negative, analyze what you did well. You can have a bad call that still ends well. 

Many salespeople base all their self-esteem and confidence on outcomes from clients, which is a bit fickle since some of it results from luck. The danger is that they start to believe their own hype. 

Analyze yourself at every opportunity. Write down the things you’ve done well and the things you haven’t done well. 

“Don’t Give Up So Easily” episode resources

You can connect with Jacob on LinkedIn or connect with him via email at Jacob.Waldrop@28hands.com

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.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audiobook, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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.

 

TSE 1138: How To Close A Deal With A Prospect Who Goes With Your Competitor

If I’m working with a prospect who unexpectedly decides to hire a different company, it might sound impossible, but it’s possible to close a deal with a prospect who goes with your competitor. 

David Adley is an outbound sales manager at Bonfire, a digital platform for selling custom apparel. Bonfire works with nonprofits, influencers, and anyone who wants an easy solution to selling an awesome shirt online. 

Sales journey

David started selling knives door-to-door during college and he discovered he had a passion for it. When you’re succeeding, you’re having fun. 

He worked as a sales rep for a music company, and because he was a music major in college, he assumed it would be the perfect marriage of two things he loved. He was playing in a band at the time, and he had to make a decision about his priorities, so he picked music over sales. 

For almost four years he gigged with a band before taking the job at Bonfire as a customer success rep. He was basically making ends meet while doing the rock star thing.

David grew into his role. Because the CEO knew he had sold knives in college, he invited David to take a shot at growing the sales team. He took the leap, and that’s where his journey began.

Fund-raising

Bonfire operates in cause-based fundraising as well as the influencer space. Early in David’s career, he worked with a big client named Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund. He’s a big deal in the animal influencer game and he has hilarious content. 

He’s also the big fish in David’s story, which is about learning empathy, timing, and persistence, three things that sellers need if they are looking to up their game. The company was still small then and he didn’t want to mess up the opportunity. 

He asked the CEO for help, and together they conducted discovery together. The CEO, Brian Marks, shared wisdom with him, and they discovered that Crusoe wasn’t actually a great fit for the platform at the time. They weren’t equipped to give him everything he needed to have a successful apparel campaign. 

The company was geared to fund-raising at the time and wasn’t really built for influencers. 

Surprise advice

Brian advised David to provide pro bono graphic design work to Crusoe and then told David to recommend that Crusoe sell his designs on a competitor’s platform. Typically custom graphics take about three days, but they turned this one around same-day because it was such a great opportunity even though they couldn’t work with him.

David said he couldn’t imagine sending a potential VIP seller to a competitor, but this is where he really started to learn persistence. After they sent Crusoe away, it was still his responsibility to keep Bonfire top-of-mind for him. He did that by actively checking in during opportune moments, like when he won an award for best animal content creator. 

David congratulated them and checked in with his manager frequently. 

Great rapport

They developed a great rapport despite the fact that they never sold anything on Bonfire’s site to this point. Eventually, when Bonfire relaunched its site with more accommodating features for influencer clientele, the timing was perfect. 

Crusoe’s manager got back to them during a periodic check-in and was anxious to give the company a shot. The new website was officially about three days old at this point, so David was still a little nervous about bandwidth at this point. 

Eventually, the account was the highest-selling campaign on the site up to that point, and it pushed the company to its brink in those early days. He calls it a thrilling experience for everyone involved. 

Nurture the relationship

Almost two years passed between the time when David sent Crusoe to his competitors and then welcomed him to Bonfire as a customer. He did it by nurturing the relationship and staying in contact with his managers. He let them know about the changes at the company, and eventually, it made sense for them to work with Bonfire. 

Crusoe never forgot how the company hooked him up in the early days. As a young rep, David had been so focused on closing that he couldn’t fathom making this kind of decision. The CEO, on the other hand, was looking out for Crusoe’s best interests, and he did what a good sales rep should do: he empathized.

He wasn’t so hungry for a deal that he tried to close something that wasn’t a good fit. He put himself in the client’s shoes and did what was right for the client. Then the client paid it forward. He never forgot the solid favor the company did. 

It was a long, remarkable lesson that resulted in a relationship that still exists today. 

Building value

When sellers build value, loyalty results as a natural by-product. Very often we get shortsighted because, in the sales space, we tend to focus on what we need right now. We don’t allow ourselves to think about the future. The result is that we often think only of ourselves. Many new reps especially get so quota-driven that we lose sight of our customer’s needs.

David said he’s thankful he was able to learn the lesson early in his career because it allows him to detach himself from deals and to teach his reps to do the same. 

Bonfire measures success as a campaign that sells more than 200 apparel items. The Crusoe campaign sold more than 3,000 items, which is about 15 times more than the typical revenue. 

Scaling sales

David’s realization that you can’t simply scale a team by taking your own personal success and applying it to everyone was his biggest challenge as a sales leader. He isn’t data-driven by nature but operates more by the seat of his pants. He uses a throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach. Then he repeats what succeeds. And while that worked for him in a young startup environment where there wasn’t a blueprint, it doesn’t work to scale. 

He had to develop a data-driven approach because not everyone can sell like he can. He had to overcome the notion that everyone should do what worked for him. The truth, as he discovered, is that there are lots of awesome personalities and skill sets that can sell effectively. Diving into the data to discover why those personalities could sell effectively was huge.  

Tracking data

They started by establishing a baseline metric for success. Once you’ve determined what your team is doing every day, you can hone those skills to arrive at the place where you’re closing more deals or launching more campaigns. 

David once operated according to a gut-feel to determine how many messages to send out, but they couldn’t rely on that. They needed to establish a number of new outreach messages a day. In this case, it was 25 new outreach messages a day, with the intention to convert 35 percent of those into demos. If 10 percent of those convert to launch campaigns, a BDR can launch three a week and be set up for long-term success. 

The key was drilling down those numbers to figure out what needed to happen at each stage of the pipeline. Telling new reps what they need to do in order to be successful makes a big difference. If they hit those benchmarks, they can feel really good about their trajectory. 

David said he wouldn’t have learned the lessons about empathy, timing, and persistence if he hadn’t been willing to ask for help. Many new reps want to put their heads down and prove themselves. He said that the best reps ask tons of questions and aren’t afraid to fail. Success occurs when you put yourself out there, ask for help, and then apply the lessons you learn effectively. 

How To Close A Deal With A Prospect Who Goes With Your Competitor” episode resources

You can connect with David via email at David@bonfire.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn and check out Bonfire.com. Find his music at Griff’s Room Band. You can also connect with his mom, who is a professional storyteller, at Characters By Kim.  

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.

 

TSE 1137: What Tool Should I Use For Video Conference Calls?

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The Sales Evangelist podcast features experts from all over the world, and Zoom helps us bridge the distance for video conference calls without added expense or travel. 

We use Zoom to power The Sales Evangelist Certified Sales Training, and it enables us to help sales reps and sales teams improve their skills, find the right customers, generate effective activities, establish successful strategies, build strong value, and close more deals.  

World travel

Zoom is a powerful video platform that makes it easy to communicate with people all over the world in a matter of minutes. It powers webinars, video conferencing, and video phone calls.

In the early days of The Sales Evangelist, we used Go To Meeting for our conferencing and demonstration needs. It was the Kleenex of the industry. 

Skype was available but it was mostly used for personal needs, like friends and family members looking to stay connected. Eventually, it was bought by Microsoft, and we tried using Skype Business for our podcast interviews. Though the audio quality was ok, the service frequently dropped calls. Additionally, because there was no way to record, I had to incorporate a third-party app to save our interviews. 

User-friendly

Around this time, a guest came on the show and shared his experience using Zoom. His company did all of its recording with Zoom and they liked that it integrated with a lot of other tools the company was already using. I was skeptical, but when I started my research, I discovered that a lot of other industry folks were using it as well. 

The audio quality was great and it didn’t generate a lot of background transformer-type noise. Other tools like Google Hangouts and join.me emerged, but they were clunky and complicated for the customer who was logging in. 

Selling points

Perhaps most importantly, Zoom was free to use. It didn’t have the same capabilities as the robust premium account, but I could log in and talk to someone for 45 minutes, or invite up to 100 different people to join me on a call. Eventually, I discovered I wanted access to the premium tools, and it was easy for me to transition to a paid account, as well as being cost-effective for a small business. 

Zoom offered high-quality HD video recording that I could record to my cloud account or use on my YouTube or social media channels. I could also connect it to Dropbox. 

It integrated easily with Slack, which made it easy for me to communicate internally with my team. Zoom also integrated seamlessly with Salesforce, Google Drive, Gmail, and Blackboard. In some cases, the connection requires Zapier, and in others, the tools connect directly. 

Sharing information

Zoom offers powerful educational capabilities as well. If I’m giving a demonstration, I can use the tools to underline or highlight important things, which gives the buyer complete interaction. Screenshare is an option, of course, and you can even use your cell phone. Screen shares work either plugged in or via wifi and Bluetooth. 

People buy after they recognize value. Engage your prospects by teaching them something they didn’t know before. Zoom allows you to accomplish that despite the fact that they are sitting in China and you’re in Milwaukee. 

Powerhouse

Zoom is a powerhouse that beats the pants off the big-name providers in the industry. If you’re planning to renew your GoToMeeting account, check out Zoom first. I’m not getting any money from them for doing this. I simply use Zoom daily and it’s perfect for the work that I do. 

Zoom Rooms allow you to gather multiple people on a screen, and the company is hosting a conference called Zoomtopia this October. Zoom is pushing the boundaries of connecting people, and the company continues growing. 

Even for the technologically-challenged people in our lives, Zoom works well because it’s user-friendly. 

“Video Conference Calls” episode resources

Check out Zoom.us for more information about video conferencing for your organization. 

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

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.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audio book, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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.

 

 

Sam Mallikarjunan, Hubspot

TSE 1136: How HubSpot Grew From 150-1500 Individuals!

Sam Mallikarjunan, Hubspot

Whether you’re a sales rep or a sales leader, a sales manager or a business owner, we can learn valuable lessons from the study of how Hubspot grew from 50-1500 individuals.

Sam Mallikarjunan has sold for a variety of organizations, from the five-person startup to the Fortune 500 company, so he has seen the sales story at a couple of stages. He’s a fellow at Hubspot and he teaches digital marketing at Harvard University.

New revenue

Sam loves the idea that whoever chases two rabbits catches neither because it’s a reminder to him to focus. He has spent the last year focused on teaching, speaking, and research. He points to doing one thing at a time and doing it really well before moving on.

A weird pivot exists for startups that are growing from “we’ll take anybody’s money” to losing cash faster than you can acquire new cash. The core pivot occurs when you reach the point where you’re struggling for customer retention, because the economics of your model will break down.

It’s a matter of sales reps making time to ensure that they are bringing in new revenue.

One new customer was upset because she couldn’t access her email after signing on with Hubspot. She had cancelled her Internet provider because she thought that’s what Hubspot was.

It cost the company money because they had to service the issue. The problem didn’t arise because the seller was a bad person. He just didn’t verify that the customer was going to be successful.

Healthy revenue

The company implemented clawbacks which withdraw commissions from sellers if the customer cancels their account within a certain window. Sellers are heavily incentivized to ensure that the person they are bringing on will result in healthy revenue.

Because Hubspot is a SAS, a recurring revenue model, the company loses money acquiring customers. The company doesn’t break even for some months. If the customer cancels too quickly, the business loses money.

Cashflow is more important than your mother.

Keeping customers

Many companies miss the core principle, which is that you can’t spend money to get customers unless you’re good at keeping them. If you’re selling iPad covers that are cheap, people will likely only buy from you once. But if you’re really good at keeping customers, it’s not necessarily how much they pay in the first transaction, but rather the lifetime value.

If you’re good at keeping those customers, you can pay your sales reps really well. You can give them lots of collateral to help them close deals. You can also spend a lot of money on marketing to tee them up for good conversations or on training for their reps.

Sales sequence

Sam recalls being a cell phone salesman in a mall. He asked his customers questions about cell phones, but he didn’t listen to their answers because it didn’t matter what they said. He was going to ask the next question in his sequence. Either they would sign on the dotted line or walk away. It didn’t matter to him.

The company had more than 50 percent cancellation rate coming out of the kiosks, but the sellers never missed quota. He got big bonuses for his teams because they always met their quota. It cost the company a lot of money in support costs, lost device costs, and refunds, so they shut down the entire unit and retrained the reps.

The company was designed as a subscription model, which meant they would lose a little bit of money to acquire customers.

Platinum rule

The platinum rule goes a step farther than the golden rule, which only requires that you treat people the way you want to be treated. The platinum mindset demands that you treat people the way they want to be treated.

Trust is core to the sales process, and trust begins by taking the time to ask questions and understand who you’re selling to. People like to be personalized.

Sam points to Netflix’s business model as an ideal one because it has motivated him to rate more than 800 movies. He said he does it because he knows that Netflix will use the information to improve his experience. He points to the fact that prospects will volunteer their information when they know it’s being used to help them make better decisions.

Negative reviews

When Jeff Bezos of Amazon first added negative reviews to the Amazon website, his investors thought he was crazy to include information that would discourage people from buying things. His response was that you don’t make money when you sell things, but rather when you help people make purchase decisions.

He said that sellers often lose sight of the fact that it’s more important to help people make the decision that’s best rather than making the decision the seller wants them to make. It’s sometimes powerful to not sell to a buyer when you can’t find the value proposition. They may figure it out themselves because you’ve built that trust and then buy from you anyway.

You aren’t costing the company money and you’ll improve your retention.

Talking least

He points to the fact that he always thought if he talked the most, he would leave with the most. He discovered, though, that when he asked meaningful questions, he talked the least, and he did well.

Sam discovered that holding his meetings at a cigar lounge helped him monitor how much he talked, because if his cigar went out, it meant he talked too much and didn’t listen enough.

Candle problem

A famous psychology study challenges people to fix a candle to a way in a way that it doesn’t drop any wax when it’s lit. People try melting the candle to the wall but nothing works. The right answer, he said, is to dump out the box of tacks, tack the box to the wall, and then add the candle.

If you give people the right incentive, you fire up the part of your brain that excites them. If you need someone to turn a wheel, the best way to accomplish that is to give them a dollar for every revolution they make.

The hardest thing to do is to convince people to give something a fair shake. When what you’re doing isn’t working, you tend to do more of the same with greater intensity.

When you shift your conversation and slow down your sales cycle and ask more questions and give more answers, you’ll make it easy for people to reach out to you.

“Hubspot Grew” episode resources

Connect with Sam Mallikarjunan on his website or 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.

Donald Kelly, Presentation

TSE 1135: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Presenting In Person”

Donald Kelly, PresentationYour closing process will often require you to speak to a board or a group of people about your product or service, and you must provide value to your audience when presenting in person.

The Sales Evangelist Certified Sales Training Program provides specific sections for prospecting, building value, and converting to a paying client, and we’ve designed the training to help sellers prepare for presentations and to train their teams to do the same. It’s designed to help sales reps and sales teams improve their skills, find the right customers, adopt the right activities, ask the right questions, build strong value, and close more deals. 

Guessing game

Many situations demand that sellers meet with a team of individuals who will ask a variety of questions about the product or service. You’re wasting your time if you don’t understand the problems they need to solve or the challenges they are facing. It doesn’t make sense to play the guessing game during the limited time you have with this group of people. 

Once you understand the issue, you must also determine who the decision-makers and buyers are. You must understand the timeframe they are working against and their budget for the purchase. 

The company you’re pitching to will also bring in competitors who will pitch as well, but they aren’t your concern. 

Storytelling

John Livesay recently spoke about storytelling and the need to be memorable. It doesn’t matter who presents first or last, but rather who tells a better story. 

Consider having other team members attend the presentation with you and introduce themselves by telling an interesting story. Perhaps your CTO can share how his love of Legos® pushed him to create complex things and find solutions to problems. It inserts personality into the presentation. 

Tactical presentation

Make sure you know who will present information on the buyer’s behalf. Have someone from your organization research to determine who will attend.

If possible, learn what those people hope to discover from your presentation. Engage your champion, or the person you’ve been working with to this point, to find out whether you can introduce yourself prior to the presentation. When you do that, ask them what questions they’d like you to address in your presentation and then be prepared to address those specific topics. 

Once you understand who will attend and what information they’ll be seeking, you can build your presentation around those topics. 

Recruit help

If at all possible, take someone else to the presentation with you. Take several people if you can. Assemble a team of people from different departments. 

When you set up in the conference room, don’t divide yourself on opposite sides of the table. Use name cards for both groups to indicate where different people should sit. Also make sure you spell everyone’s names correctly. 

Intersperse the members of your group among the members of the company you’re pitching to. When you have breaks in the action, because the two teams are sitting together, they’ll be able to share conversation instead of squaring off like rival gangs. 

We recently used name cards for a presentation and they were a huge hit. The company was blown away by the preparation and the organization that went into the meeting. They assumed that if we were willing to invest that much preparation in a presentation like this, we’d certainly do it in our efforts to help them solve their problems. 

Control engagement

Develop slides that include imagery rather than a jumble of words. Tell a story about the problem your prospect is facing and how you can help solve it. Demonstrate your solution. 

Assign one member of your team to watch for reactions from the others in the room. Use him as a spotter. If he notices that someone is disengaged or fighting against sleep, he can signal that to you by interjecting or posing a question that will signal to you to adjust your direction. 

Have him watch for body language that indicates interest or to take note of those people who are jotting down things while you’re talking.

If, for example, the IT director takes lots of notes during the presentation, at the break I could suggest to the presenters that we talk a bit about IT and the most common questions we hear. 

Business case

Thank your champion in front of the entire group for making the presentation possible. Make her feel good in front of her colleagues. 

Then begin the work of building a business case for your prospect. Explain that you’ll answer the questions they submitted ahead of time and address the challenges you see based on the lessons you’ve learned. Describe how you’ve solved these problems for others and how you’ll translate that to this organization. 

Talk about how much the problem is likely costing the company and why they need to fix it. Explain how you’ll help, and do it all using stories. 

Virtual meetings

You can apply many of these same concepts to your virtual meetings as well. Although you can’t intersperse the participants, you can consider sending some treats that will arrive prior to the presentation. You can even send treats that somehow tie to the presentation you’ll be making, like Swedish Fish to make the case that you’re going to help them land bigger clients. 

Work to stand out from the pack by being unique and telling an amazing story. 

Action plan

When the meeting is complete, everyone in that room should leave feeling like they participated and like they were fulfilled by what happened. Then provide a specific action plan for what happens next. 

Present a few different options for ways to move forward. Give them time frames and explain the steps required to progress. 

I conduct presentations this way and they work well for me and for the people I’m presenting to. I want you to realize the same benefits in your own presentations.

“Presenting In Person” 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. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

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.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audio book, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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.

 

Cold Calling, Social Selling, Aaron Abodeely

TSE 1134: From The Street: “Why, Even With Social Selling, Cold Calling is NOT Dead”

Cold Calling, Social Selling, Aaron AbodeelyTime often brings a great deal of change, and some ideas don’t survive the passage of time; though there are people who don’t believe it’s true, even with social selling, cold calling is not dead.  

Aaron Abodeely has a passion for helping sales reps and small business owners distribute their messages, and he noticed along the way that the industry was lagging behind in digital trends like social selling. Evolution is hard because we get into a bubble and a routine of doing things a certain way. We build processes around certain tasks but unless we’re out in the space learning from other people, we can’t learn how to evolve. 

Cold calling

Typically, cold calling involves calling, emailing, or nurturing leads that are cold outreach, meaning that these contacts haven’t had much, if any, contact with our business or our value proposition. You’re going in cold. We often have sales development reps in enterprise IT designated to contact these leads. 

Email came on the scene in the early 1990s, and it joined the landscape of cold calling and door-to-door selling and networking events. 

When social selling came on the scene, we learned that we needed to connect with specific contacts within specific organizations. We needed to find those people on social media and engage with them. Some of those connections would be senior connections while others would be peer-to-peer.

Social selling is the back end of social engagement, which is simply making friends and introducing ourselves to people in the space. It’s exhibiting genuine curiosity. The selling comes much later, which is why companies often struggle with this concept. 

Relevant and tailored

I reached out to Aaron on Instagram, but he noted that he isn’t particularly active there, as Linked In is his preferred method of contact. I sent him a message that I loved his content and loved what he was doing and I invited him to have a conversation with me. He explained that my invitation caught him off guard because I used specific details to affirm his work and explain the relevance of our messages. 

I sent him an audio message that was tailored to him, but it didn’t seek to sell him anything. We can’t pitch people right out of the gate because they don’t even know us yet. 

Although it makes sense that you meet someone, pitch to them, and then they buy, the truth is that if everyone in sales uses this same technique, no one will stand out. 

Social media

Many people believe that because we’re in the age of social selling, it’s foolish to invest in cold calling, but Aaron is on a mission to revive the concept. When he was an inside sales manager at his last company, he wasn’t doing much cold calling, but now, in his role as a consultant for clients, he’s effectively using email and cold calling to connect with an audience. 

He was trying to drive attendance to an event earlier this year, and many of those who took part said they discovered the information via email or LinkedIn or Twitter. Because he connected with them on social media, when he contacted them via email, they remembered him. 

The point is that we shouldn’t rely solely on any single method of outreach. It’s the mix of approaches that helps sellers get in front of the audience. 

Psychological wins

When we discover that a contact is excited to talk to us because we’ve made connections with him, that’s a psychological win. Instead of cold calling, it becomes warm calling because we’ve used advanced strategies to warm that conversation. 

By warming them up via social media and sharing relevant content, you’re engaging your audience. That way, when you do call, your name is familiar to them. 

There are automated ways to spam people on social media but consider the cost of a lead in your industry. The industry average for a trade show is $800 but for social media, it’s like $300. Do your own research, but considering that it takes only a few hours of your time to get in front of someone who might take an interest in your product, that’s big. 

Measure results

The challenge for executives and sales managers is that they don’t know how to measure these results. As a result, people spam on social media because they think they don’t have time to nurture this person. 

Many reps, in an attempt to save their jobs and meet their metrics, schedule a bunch of spam so they can reflect their efforts. 

Part of the argument for why cold calling and email aren’t dead is the reality that if we spend 80 percent of our time on cold calling and email and we hit our targets, we’re coming pretty close. 

Track how much time you’re spending on these ventures and then track your success rates from those efforts. As you begin to see success from these efforts, you can increase the amount of time you invest in them.

Making time

It can be difficult to make time for this kind of outreach, but consider investing an hour over breakfast or in the afternoon with a beer. Connect with 20 of your key buyers together and practice developing messaging that encourages relationships. Convey that your prospect is doing interesting stuff and you’d like to engage with him. 

A lot of companies are forward-leaning in this area because their buyers are people who are very active on social media. 

Driving engagement

Aaron recently had eight days to drive attendance to a technical workshop. He started by taking over the presenter’s LinkedIn profile and creating explainer videos of him sharing why folks might want to attend this event.

They deployed the video on LinkedIn and also one-on-one to specific people who might find the information relevant. They also employed cold calling as a follow up to LinkedIn and email messages. 

You can be aggressive with it but you must think long-term about the results.

Some type of two-way engagement is very good. For example, you’ve liked their post or left a comment and they responded. That’s a good sign and a healthy indicator. You can also send a thoughtful connection request. You simply have to adjust to who your buyer is. 

Make videos or launch a blog where you share thoughts about the industry.  

2-way dialogue

Begin by learning the language of the industry you’re pursuing. Go to technical meetups and learn to use the language your prospects use. 

Read magazines. Use meetups or YouTube. You may sound dumb trying to talk the way buyers talk, but it isn’t a sleazy thing. It’s your attempt at learning to communicate the way they do. Imagine going to a foreign country where people speak a different language. You may sound clumsy but you’re attempting to speak their language. 

It’s human nature to modulate how you speak to people. 

Some executives are scared to create content or speak broadly into the space, so start small.

Seek help

If you’re apprehensive about this, take screenshots and find time to sit with your sales leaders. Show this stuff to them in a one-on-one meeting. Demonstrate how you can get in front of C-level buyers. Make sure you’re hitting your baseline goals with calls and emails in order to get the leadership to adopt these concepts. 

“Cold Calling is NOT Dead” episode resources

Check out the Outcome Studio Podcast where Aaron interviews people who are sales and marketing experts or who just have cool stories to tell. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Instagram

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.

 

Pitch, Presentation,

TSE 1133: Changing Rules for Sales Tools

 

The sales landscape has changed as buyers have gained access to more information, and the result for sellers is changing rules for sales tools

Subhanjan Sarkar runs a company called Pitch Link, which helps companies solve the problem of being able to scale by finding good salespeople.  

Balance of power

David Cancel wrote a book called Conversational Marketing in which he suggests that the balance of power has shifted from supply to demand and from company to customer. Thirty years ago, selling centered around the ability to mass-produce products in factories. Walmart’s mantra at the time was “stack them high and sell them low.”

The system used to work with the information estimate tree that existed between suppliers and buyers, because the suppliers and makers always had more information available to them than the buyers did. The buyer never knew, prior to the Internet, that certain items were available from other sources for lower prices. 

Over the last 20 years, the buying and selling process has been disrupted. Most of us won’t say it out loud because so much of the information from the previous era becomes irrelevant. 

Old things

Subhanjan said that people often challenge him on this premise because they can point to places where the old way of doing things still works. Though it may still work, it is less effective. Email open rates, for example, have dropped from 40 percent to 2.8 percent. People aren’t taking calls from people they don’t know.  

The fundamental shift is this: traditional sales was based on the principle of interruption but buyers don’t want interruptions. This doesn’t mean that reps shouldn’t do their jobs anymore. It simply means that reps must change the way they do things. 

He points out that they are called salespeople for a reason. They aren’t called prospecting people or lead-generation people. But they are expected to fill up a CRM, to write emails, to prospect, and to make phone calls. 

Local connections

In traditional sales, people knew each other because they went to school together. They played football or baseball together and then they graduated and one became the manager of the local factory while the other became a salesman. They built trust over the course of 20 years. 

Now people trust brands rather than salespeople. They might eventually trust the salesperson over five to 10 years of working together, but initially, it’s the brand. 

PitchLink

As Subhanjan built the company, he understood the story behind the company’s development in great detail. He could explain why the company evolved the way it did because he was in the thick of it. Then, he hired a hot-shot sales guy who understood marketing automation and social selling, but his storytelling wasn’t as authentic. 

The company’s story wasn’t being delivered authentically, so the company discovered a need to standardize its narrative. The more tactical problem was that without face-to-face meetings, the sellers couldn’t make pitches. The presentations got postponed. 

Small organizations that only have three interested prospects will struggle if they aren’t able to meet with two of them for weeks or even months. That’s catastrophic. 

Finally, they discovered that even if they could meet someone within a prospective company, it was often difficult to schedule meetings with the decision-makers. 

How do we establish our product or service or value proposition? And how do we do it so that our prospect isn’t rushed? 

Creating experience

PitchLink worked to create an experience that was as close to face-to-face as possible without actually being face-to-face. It could never be exactly the same but they worked to create a system that allowed room for narratives and questions. They built a tool that allows users to link up any kind of file format like a playlist. 

So imagine how you would pitch to a prospect about your product. Just as you would start by greeting the prospect and thanking him for the time, you can record audio or video of the same personalized introduction. The moment the prospect clicks the link, he immediately sees the personalized greeting. 

Your pitch will include the pitch, the scenario, a demo, and a comparison with competitors. All the elements of a typical pitch can be packaged into a single product and sent as a link to your prospects. You can effectively do all the things you would do in person by way of this link. 

Freedom

These packaged presentations free your prospects to consume your information when they have the time and mental capacity to do so. They’ll also be free to engage with specific parts of your presentation multiple times if necessary. 

Once they’ve done that, they can decide whether the product is right for them, and then invite others to view it. All invitees see the ame pitch on the same interface and they can ask questions within this interface. All users can see the questions asked and the answers that were given. 

Everyone is always on the same page. 

Clients are busy and focused on other things. The way we sold in the past won’t always work, so we have to evaluate new options and provide them in a way that’s best for the prospects. #SalesEvolution

Sales myths

The biggest myth perpetuated on us is that great sales guys close deals. Suhanjan believes that sales are closed by the buyer who finally signs the deal. He believes that sellers must respect that shift. 

The buyer is in control of the process, so we must rethink the way we talk about value transaction. Sales has evolved so much that perhaps we can’t even talk about sales anymore. 

“Changing Rules for Sales Tools” episode resources

You can connect with Subhanjan Sarkar on LinkedIn and at PitchLink, where you can also sign up for a free trial. Listeners of The Sales Evangelist podcast will get 120 days free instead of the 90 days that everyone else gets. 

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

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.

 

Planning, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1132: My New Planning Tool

Planning, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

Sellers must work to effectively plan their activities in order to accomplish the important tasks in their days, and since I’ve struggled with the same challenges, I’ve developed a new planning tool to help with that effort. 

For most of us, it isn’t unreasonable to find that we have more tasks due in a day than we can possibly accomplish, and we can end up feeling like we’ve failed when we come up short. Unless we change how we do things, our days will feel like Groundhog Day, and we’ll repeat the same ineffective patterns every day. 

Falling short

If we fail to complete our to-do list every single day, we’ll end the day feeling like we’ve failed. Worse yet, our list will grow every day because it will include tasks from the previous day that we didn’t finish. Eventually, we’ll feel emotionally drained by our ineffectiveness. 

Now, while you’re trying to find new leads, get new deals, and close new opportunities, you’ll likely be preoccupied with your looming to-do list. 

You’ll never completely escape the stressful moments and days in sales, but if you learn to effectively manage the time you have, you’ll better manage that stress. Whether you’re selling cars or selling services, you’re at risk of being frustrated by the to-do list. 

Identifying the process

I discovered in my own process of organizing tasks I was spending as much time planning the tasks as I did accomplishing them. The result was that I was going in circles. I had read a book by Kevin Cruz called 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management that prompted me to take control of my schedule. (I recommend you read it, too. It’s available on Audible.)

I started by writing down all the tasks I needed to do each day, keeping in mind that I function best when I keep my days broken up. Kevin recommended breaking your day into 15-minute increments, which was a great idea, but honestly 30-minute increments worked best for me. I planned my entire day, including tasks like reading a sales book, listening to a podcast, prospecting, LinkedIn outreach, follow-up with clients, or proposal preparation. 

Creating a planner

I decided to create my own planner that specifically addresses my unique tasks. One side of the planner allows me to list all the different tasks I do and divide them into different categories. In my case, as a business owner, I have certain categories that other sellers may not have. 

The top of each page has my KPIs which will help me generate sales and move the needle. They include new prospects, new opportunities, deals, progress. I list my top three goals or priorities for the day and things that I know I must get done. Some of them will be sales-related and some will be beyond sales. 

For example, Mondays are podcast interview days. Other tasks on other days might include working with a team member to accomplish an internal task or meeting with a bookkeeper. Some days I’m writing a guest blog post for Hubspot or some other publication or creating content for social media. I also include personal tasks like appointments. 

At the bottom of the page, because I’m also a consultant, I track my clients and the consultations I have with them. 

Devoting time

On the second side of the page, I allocate time for each of the different tasks, in either 15- or 30-minute increments. I order the tasks according to importance because I have them divided by category. 

Over time, I can track the categories and tasks that are taking a lot of my time. In some cases, I can push some of those tasks to other team members to free time in my own schedule. 

As an example, I realized I was spending a lot of time handling emails and I wasn’t able to efficiently get back to people when I needed to. I trained my executive assistant to help manage my email account and invested a couple of days into helping her establish a process. Now she helps me distinguish between junk emails and those that require an answer. As a result, my admin tasks have diminished a bit. 

If you’re thinking you don’t have the luxury of an executive assistant, it’s possible to find trustworthy people on platforms like Upwork.

Maximizing time

Some tasks can be shared by other team members through the use of templates. If I need a presentation created, I can use a template from PandaDoc to have someone else create it for me. This frees up my time to focus on things that matter the most. 

At the end of the day, I can note my actual accomplishments for the day and how much I was able to achieve. Based on those numbers, I can judge how efficient I was. Did I get to 70 percent? Strive to get A’s, but know that B’s are ok. C’s are no good. 

I’m going to create a video to share on LinkedIn that will show you how you can build a planner of your own, and ultimately we’ll create a new planning tool for sellers, though our current one targets entrepreneurs.

“New Planning Tool” 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. 

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.

 

 

Kyle Morris, Donald Kelly, Lead Sift

TSE 1131: The Importance of Data in Sales

Kyle Morris, Donald Kelly, Lead SiftSellers that don’t have good data will struggle to repeat their success so we must recognize the importance of data in sales.  

Kyle Morris operates a company called SifData which features an application that sits on Salesforce to help companies track job changes.  

Defining data

Sales reps are very intuitive. They understand things well and many people assume that anecdotes and data are the same. They assume that, because they closed a deal with a company similar to the one they are interacting with, the information constitutes data. Because a tactic worked previously, they may assume that they can use that information as data moving forward. 

In other words, they assume that if a tactic worked once, it’s solid and they should continue using it. 

Kyle points out that the plural of anecdote isn’t data. We must stay objective and make decisions based upon actual information rather than sticking our finger to the wind to determine which way it’s blowing. 

Data is objective information about people, companies, or whatever your data set is that helps you make informed decisions. One of the easiest ways to identify the companies that could buy your product is by identifying the companies that have already bought your product. Figure out what’s common among them and then use that as a template to decide who to sell to in the future. If you’re selling to companies that are unique, you might find another market that also has that same commonality.  

Data problems

The two biggest problems common to data are that companies use data sources that are inconsistent and that they have too much data that isn’t actually valuable. 

Consider Uber as an example. If you’re trying to sell to Uber, some sellers might consider it enterprise while others view it as mid-market since they only have a couple of thousand employees. LinkedIn might reflect that the company has 35,000 employees, including drivers. If companies aren’t careful about where they are choosing data, it can create confusion. 

Be consistent about where you get data, even if it isn’t perfect, because you’ll at least be consistently wrong. Limit the number of resources you use to make classifications, especially for things like territories or number of employees or revenue. 

Many CRMs have a full page of information that reps never use. It doesn’t add value and it actually becomes a burden to them. Approach this with the same mentality you use when designing your website: what’s above the fold is critically different than what’s below the fold. It’s impactful where things are placed, and if reps have a bunch of unnecessary information at the top of the form it burdens them. 

If the reps don’t absolutely need it, then remove it. Streamline your process. Develop a discipline around reducing the amount of noise that your reps see based on the information they need. If the data won’t actually impact how they work through the sales process, it should be removed since it won’t actually move the needle. 

Guesstimation

Donald Miller says that if you confuse, you lose. We cannot confuse our reps. If we do, they’ll likely go back to what they’ve always done before, which is guesstimation. 

Imagine driving a truck built in 1965 versus a fighter jet built in 2019. The truck likely has a stick shift and two buttons for the radio, so almost any person can use it to get from point A to point B. Put that same person in a fighter jet with a million buttons and they won’t understand how to move forward. 

Sales reps must be able to execute and they shouldn’t be asked to fly a fighter jet if all they really need is a 1965 Chevy. 

Additionally, more data points mean that some operator has to maintain those fields. You must make sure the information is accurate because inaccurate data will make your CRM less valuable. Again, if that happens, your reps will start using anecdotes to make decisions again. 

Cry wolf

All those unnecessary fields will prompt your reps to fill them in, which will become cumbersome. If it isn’t a useful data point, they may just plug something in to fill the blank so they can move on. Your reps must be able to trust the fields that are on the page. 

Make the process simple and easy to engage. Remove as much as you can from the page layout so that your reps are only interacting with data that moves the needle. 

Everything can’t be critical. You can’t have 10 tier-one problems with no tier-two problems. You cannot cry wolf and represent that everything is vital.  

Kyle recalls his operations team once telling him that they needed a new field to be added to the CRM. He insisted that the team could add one field if they could identify two that could be removed. He said that it forces them to be intentional about the information they gather. 

Words are currency. You must make sure the process is easy. Find ways to break down barriers.

Effective data

Kyle said he’s a fan of using very specific people in very specific roles. Sales reps are most effective at building rapport, identifying pain and need, and closing deals.If you’re using your sales reps to collect data, you’re probably spending more money for it than you need to. And just as you would never ask your data-entry person to close deals, you probably shouldn’t ask your sellers to crunch data. 

Businesses may think they are being efficient by asking sellers to multi-task. They may figure the seller is already going to be on the site anyway so he can just collect the data. Consider the brain change that must take place in that situation. Sales reps must change their entire thought process in order to shift gears into data collection.

Switching back and forth can be tedious because it requires different muscles. Allow the people who are better at data to handle data. 

Every minute your seller isn’t selling results in money down the drain. Keep your opportunity costs in mind. 

Refresh data

Establish a process to refresh your data. As your company continues to accumulate accounts, you must track which ones are good or bad. Make it part of your cadence and establish a date on which you’ll refresh data. 

Consider hiring a team overseas to log into your Salesforce and identify the accounts that haven’t been updated in the past year and then refresh the data. Then track when the fields were updated. 

Also monitor duplicate accounts in your CRM which pollute your database. But before you can start eliminating duplicate accounts, you must work to ensure that you’ve prevented the problem of new duplicates. Duplicates create more mental overhead for your reps because two reps may be unknowingly working on the same account at the same time. It’s wasted energy that could be focused toward closing. 

Don’t assume that anecdotes and data are the same thing. Be sure, too, that you pick a single source of truth and stick with it. There’s no perfect data source, but at least be consistently imperfect. Allow your sellers to trust what they are working on. 

Importance of Data in Sales” episode resources

You can connect with Kyle Morris on LinkedIn or send him an email at Kyle@sifdata.com.

You’re a savvy salesperson who wants to learn and grow. Check out Audible for thousands of titles, plus a free 30-day trial, plus a free book. 

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

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.

 

 

July 4th, Freedom, Donald Kelly, Independence Day

TSE 1130: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Freedom”

 

July 4th, Freedom, Donald Kelly, Independence DayToday we’re celebrating our country’s independence, but sometimes sellers relinquish their freedoms because of fear. 

We discuss challenges like this in TSE Certified Sales Training Program, how they can hinder our success, and how we can overcome them. 

Storytelling 

We’re focusing on sales tools this month and one of the tools we’ve discussed is storytelling. We’ve talked about how to tell an effective story and how LinkedIn and other social media platforms can help you share your company’s values. 

In my own case, I recently relinquished my own freedom because I worried about what other people might think. Despite the fact that this is our 1,130th episode, I still worry about people’s opinions. You might think I’d be beyond that, but I still worry about my writing and how it will be perceived. I worry that if I write something, it might not sound great. 

I worry, too, about the videos I create and whether or not I’ll look and sound good in the video. As a result, I relinquish my freedom to express myself and share my thoughts because I’m worried. 

Trolls

I appeared on a friend’s podcast recently and I shared my own experiences with content and how it has benefited our audience. Luigi, the host of the Sales IQ podcast, recalled his experience with a troll who was intent on nitpicking his podcast by suggesting that I wasn’t qualified to speak about sales. He claimed I didn’t have enough B2B experience and that I was like many others who were cheating people.

Reading that was like a kick in the gut. Despite the fact that I’ve helped hundreds of people, I started to have second thoughts. Our clients have landed promotions and generated a pretty decent income, but still, I doubted whether or not I should express myself. 

Limitations

I wanted to pick apart his arguments and defend my experience against his claims that my information was basic to selling. Luigi pointed out that many sales professionals understand the importance of basics now. Together, we realized that this gentleman wasn’t a fit for the things we offered. 

Though he told us he had 33 years of sales experience, he’ll likely limit himself because he doesn’t believe he can learn from anyone else, especially those who are younger than him. 

I also realized that this gentleman had done this kind of thing before.

Experience

He didn’t realize that I haven’t listed every single bit of sales experience on my profiles. I have more than 15 years of sales experience between B2C and B2B settings. 

Perhaps he also didn’t realize that the fundamental things we share in the TSE Certified Sales Training Program are the key to moving the sales needle. We’ve had clients from Tokyo to Australia, Europe to Canada, and of course the U.S. 

I offered to set a time for me to learn about him and him to learn about me. He responded by telling me that I could buy his book if I wanted to learn more about him. I declined his offer to buy the book and suggested a phone call, at which point he said he doesn’t spend money on long-distance phone calls. I offered to have a Zoom meeting but he wouldn’t commit. 

The point is that there will always be detractors, but we cannot let them stop us from expressing ourselves. Not everyone will be a good fit for whatever you’re selling. You’ll always have haters. 

Content

Our content isn’t for people who don’t like it or who don’t believe they need it. It’s designed for people like you and me who are seeking to be better sellers. 

We talk a lot about how to generate content for podcasts or for LinkedIn or for blogs, and how videos can help you share content about your industry.

The truth is that most of the people who consume your content will contribute to the conversation, and you can’t shut down your whole operation because of a single person.   

Whether you’re in the hospitality industry or the medical industry or the technology space, you can share content with others around you. Curate something you found online or write your own piece and ask others around you to help you improve it. 

Independence

Declare your independence from fear and from trolls. Go out and share amazing content that impacts people’s lives. 

I want you to succeed and it’s why I do what I do. I want you to find more ideal customers and build stronger value in your conversations. I want you to close more deals and declare your independence. Mostly, I want you to go out and do big things. 

“TSE Certified Sales Training Program” 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. 

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.

 

John Livesay, Audible, Story Telling,

TSE 1129: Sales From Street: “Better Selling Through Storytelling”

 

John Livesay, Audible, Story Telling,Instead of pushing your message out to your prospects in hopes that they’ll latch on, sellers can make their message magnetic and practice better selling through storytelling

John Livesay is known as the “pitch whisperer” because he helps people become compelling storytellers. Plato said stories rule the world, and it’s still true, except 2,600 years later, we have many distractions that he didn’t have. 

Push and pull

Pushing your message out to sell a product or service just doesn’t work anymore. The new technique is to pull people in with great stories. John’s work as a storyteller began at an ad agency where he was tasked with creating 30-second commercials for movies. He discovered the need to tell a concise story that made people want to see the movie. 

During a stint in Silicon Valley, he competed against IBM and other massive companies to sell technical products. He realized that if you confuse people, they say no. But you can pull people in by telling the story of what the technology does.

His work culminated in a career selling ads for Conde Nast magazine, where he had to bring to life the vision of a particular brand to a particular advertiser so they could see why their brand would resonate with the stories being told in the magazine.   

Self-esteem roller coaster

John points to the fact that sellers tend to feel good about themselves only when their numbers are up. When they’re down, self-esteem suffers. 

He recognized his sense that he had to constantly push information out, which was exhausting. Even worse, if you’re pushing and trying without getting anything in return, you end up feeling bad about the whole process. 

Campfires

The glow of PowerPoint has replaced the glow of campfires, and we often sit in meetings where someone reads to us from a slide. Don’t do that. Nobody wants to be read to. John suggests using a series of images from which you can tell a story. 

Stories work because of our right-brain, left-brain way of processing information. If you’re buying a car, when the seller shares how many miles-per-gallon it gets, you cross your arms and prepare to negotiate on price. But if you say, “Donald, let me tell you a story of someone like you who bought this car and how it changed his life,” you’ll pull the buyer into the story. 

People buy emotionally and then back their decision up with logic. 

Sellers who deal in Ferraris don’t talk about miles-per-gallon. They sell the emotion of driving a sexy car. People buy emotionally, and storytelling is the best way to tap into people’s emotions. 

If you tug at people’s heartstrings, they open their purse strings.  

Sales outreach

John recently worked with Honeywell on the sales of technical products that keep the air clean inside operating rooms. The team talked a lot about the technology and the specifications and how it was better than what the competition had to offer. 

The real story is what happens if the air isn’t clean in the operating room. The patient gets an infection and has to be readmitted for additional surgeries. 

Just about every seller has a case study or testimonial of some sort that can form the basis of a good story. 

Paint a picture

Some sellers use before-and-after pictures to sell their product or service, accompanied by a bunch of facts. There’s no emotion or story. 

A good story has exposition and it paints a picture of the work you did with a previous client. It marries the who, what, when, where, and why of a client with the problem you were solving. It demonstrates how much better life is for your client after he works with you.

But you are never the hero in the story. Tell your story so that the client can see himself in your story. It will make your closing very different because the client will want to take that journey with you. 

Tell a story with specifics, and be sure to include the drama that happened along the way. 

Presentations

Most sellers make the mistake of having too many words in their PowerPoint presentations and failing to think about what their opening will be. Thanking them for the opportunity to be there isn’t memorable because everyone does it. The fact that you’re excited isn’t what excites your clients.

Whether you’re pitching to fund a startup, to get hired, or to tell people why they want to work with you, use an opening that pulls people in. It’s the most important part of any presentation. 

Sellers often rely on ploys like presenting last in hopes that their presentation will be the most memorable, but the best story is going to get the sale. It doesn’t matter what order you present in. 

Sell yourself first, then sell your company, and then sell your product or service. Most people skip the first two. Tell a story about yourself, then about the company and its culture, and then how you help other people. 

Elements of a story

Don’t just tell the story of how you solved a problem for a client. Paint a picture of the resolution and what the client’s life looks like now. 

John recounted a client who was dropped into the Amazon jungle when he was 18 to survive for two weeks as a rite of passage. The entrepreneur shared the story of how his lessons in the Amazon jungle translated into the concrete jungle of entrepreneurship, and he got the funding he was looking for. His investors figured if he could survive in the Amazon, he’ll figure out how to survive here.

Make yourself memorable and connect emotionally with your prospects. It gives you a tool in your toolbox that you don’t normally have.

Three stories

Anytime you’re starting out with this concept, ask yourself these questions:

  • How am I going to sell myself? Why did I take this job? 
  • What’s the company story of origin?
  • What case study can I develop into a story that people will see themselves in?

Arthur Ash, tennis pro, said the key to success is confidence, and the key to confidence is preparation.

“Better Selling Through Storytelling” episode resources

Grab a copy of John’s book, Better Selling Through Storytelling. Text the word “pitch” to 66866 and John will send you a free chapter of the book that has a step-by-step process on moving from invisible to irresistible as a seller. 

You’re a savvy salesperson who wants to learn and grow. Check out audible for thousands of titles, plus a free 30-day trial, plus a free book. 

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

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.

 

Bob Burg, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1128: Developing A Go-Giver Strategy!

 

Bob Burg, Donald Kelly, The Sales EvangelistThe most financially profitable way to do business is to shift your focus from getting to giving, and by developing a Go-Giver strategy, you’ll constantly provide value and good things will begin to happen. 

Bob Burg is a salesman who has written a series of books about the Go-Giver, a parable about the principles behind the kind of success most sellers are hoping to achieve. Through encounters with a series of different people, the main character, Joe, discovers that his focus has been in the wrong place. 

Giving too much

Giving means providing value to others. Though it’s typically not possible to provide too much value, begin by determining whether your focus on providing value will set you up to be taken advantage of. There are plenty of people who are takers and who focus only on themselves. They feel entitled to take without giving anything back. 

If you’re providing value to someone like that, there’s a good chance things won’t work out.  Realize, though, that there’s no natural connection between being a go-giver and being taken advantage of. Understand, too, that if you’re being taken advantage of, it isn’t because you’re too nice; it’s because you’re allowing it to happen.

Being a go-giver doesn’t mean being a martyr or a doormat. It simply means your focus is on bringing value to the marketplace and to others. 

No one will buy from you because you need the money or you have a quota to meet. They’ll buy because they will be better off buying from you. 

Focus on value

The only reason people should buy from you is because they’ll be better off after they do. That truth allows the salesperson or entrepreneur to focus on bringing immense value to the marketplace and to the prospect’s life. When that happens, the prospect will prosper greatly. 

Money is simply an echo of value. Focus on the value rather than the money. Value comes first and the money you receive is a natural result of the value you provided. 

Human nature is self-interested. It allows us to create more human beings. 

Successful people deal in truth. They don’t deny inconvenient things, but rather they acknowledge truth and then work within it to make things better. 

Start by acknowledging and understanding self-interest. Then put it aside with the understanding that we’re better off dealing with others when we suspend our self-interest. The other person is only going to buy because of their own needs. 

Value without attachment

Although people often suggest you should give without expecting anything in return, Bob doesn’t exactly agree with that. Instead, give value without attachment to the result. We want people to expect good things. If you’re in business serving other people, you should expect to profit greatly because you’re bringing value to the marketplace. Just don’t be attached to that result. 

Give value because it’s who you are and what you do. When that happens you create a benevolent context for success. You develop great relationships with people who feel good about you. They know you, they like you, and they trust you, and they want to be part of your business. 

Develop an army of personal walking ambassadors who will refer business to you. 

Starting point

Imagine you decide at this point to change your ways. Start by asking who the people are in your network and what you can provide to them that will help them by bringing value to their lives. Then make a plan for meeting other people that you can develop know-like-and-trust relationships with. 

We’re human beings and we’re different types of people. The reason the Go-Giver took off is because it allows you to be yourself. You can be the person who wants to bring value to the marketplace. 

Most people choose a certain line of work because they believe in the mission. They believe in what they’re doing. We’re happy when we’re living congruently with our values. 

Go-Giver origins

Bob recalls his parents working to make people’s lives better. Then, when he started in sales, he found himself selling a product that offered great value, but he was focused largely on the sales process. Like Joe in the book, he was a seller who wasn’t living up to his potential. 

He returned from a non-selling appointment one day to hear advice from a guy in his organization. The typically-silent guy told him that if he wanted to make a lot of money in business, he should establish a target outside of making money. 

Target serving others, so that when you hit your target, you’ll get a reward in the form of money. Great salesmanship is about the other person and how he’ll benefit from your product or service. 

Economic downturn

Bob heard from a roofer during an economic crisis who recognized that his approach had been wrong. He was trying to save money during the downturn, but he realized that instead of trying to give the least he could for the money, he needed to focus on giving more value. 

It didn’t necessarily mean spending more, but rather creating a better experience. His business took off as a result. 

Technology has leveled off the playing field. We live in a commodity-based society which isn’t necessarily bad. It does mean that you must distinguish yourself. If you sell a widget that your customer can’t distinguish one from the other, it will always come down to price. If you sell on low price, you’re a commodity. If you sell on high value, you’re a resource. 

Communicating value

There are likely hundreds of way to communicate value, but Bob boils it down to five elements of value. 

  1. Excellence
  2. Consistency
  3. Attention
  4. Empathy
  5. Appreciation

To the degree that you can communicate these things to your customer, that’s the degree to which you take price and competition out of the picture. 

Begin with leadership, and with a leader who is totally committed to making this part of the culture. Anyone can lead from anywhere but culture trickles down from the top. If the leader invests in this and gets buy-in from other leaders, it becomes part of the culture. 

Bob Chapman of Barry-Wehmiller wrote a book called Everybody Matters in which he recalls running a profit-focused company. Though there is nothing wrong with profit, it must be sustainable, so it must be the result of the value you provide. Bob attended the wedding of his best friend’s daughter, and the father of the bride made a toast. He acknowledged that the groom was marrying a treasured daughter. Bob took that same concept to his business. 

Barry-Wehmiller has thousands of employees, all of whom are someone’s treasured sons and daughters. When the economic downturn emerged, rather than lay off any one employee, they came together as a company and traded work days. They stopped putting into the company savings account until the crisis was over. The corporate family came together in a crunch. 

Heart level

Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines understood the concept and he restructured the organization to focus first on allowing employees to thrive, learn, grow, and have fun. His team had a higher sense of purpose in their jobs. 

As a result, the team takes care of the customers and the customers take care of the shareholders. 

Until you know there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, you’ll never take the steps to address it. 

Be willing to shift your focus. 

When Bob’s business partner sends a sales letter, he makes an effort to take the “I,” “me,” and “we,” out of the letter. We’re self-interested human beings and we write in terms of how great we are and how great the product is. 

We aren’t denying self-interest. We’re acknowledging that you have to work at placing  your focus on others. 

“Developing A Go-Giver Strategy” episode resources

You can find Bob’s podcast, The Go-Giver Podcast, at his website. You can also grab samples chapters of his books before you buy them. Consider subscribing to his list to get a copy of a written resource called Endless Prospects

The Go-Giver way teaches you to build relationships with solid step-by-step information. 

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

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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.

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Sales Tools, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 1127: Sales Tools Can’t Replace You!

Sales Tools, The Sales Evangelist PodcastSometimes sellers trust too much of our sales process to autopilot, and we lose sight of the fact that even the best sales tools can’t replace you

We get distracted from the things that matter most and we miss out on opportunities or ruin relationships because we forget the importance of the most important component of the sales process. 

Sales tools

Sales tools help us promote or sell a product. They could include CRM, which helps us sell by allowing us to track information. These tools may help us understand more about the prospects who are working in the organizations we’re pursuing. 

Tools might include your email account, your LinkedIn Sales Navigator account, your BombBomb account, your cell phone, or your Hubspot tools. There are countless tools you can take advantage of that will help you promote or sell your products more effectively. 

Sometimes I rely so heavily on those tools that I effectively take myself out of the cockpit. I’m unable to guide the sales process because I’ve trusted my tools to automate it. 

Where to automate 

Automation without oversight can leave room for errors.

While it’s good to use tools like prospect.io to automate your outreach, the problem emerges when we fail to personalize the process. If we set up generic emails and then blast them to hundreds of different people, you won’t get the results you’re seeking. People can immediately sniff out bulk outreach. 

If you rely entirely on automation, you’ll discover that very few people read your emails and even fewer respond. You may even discover that some unsubscribe from your communications. 

On the other hand, if you use merge tags to personalize your messages and you focus on a specific industry and you address a specific problem that this industry faces, you can create a message that speaks directly to that industry. 

Reaching out 

While I’m emailing these prospects, I’ll also reach out to them on LinkedIn via an invite, and I’ll comment on some of their relevant content. I’ll also use personal phone calls as well as text messages or possibly even Twitter. 

I interact in different locations. I’m present and I’m monitoring the interaction.

Unlike the generic situation which was devoid of my personal involvement, this option leaves room for my own personality. The prospects have a chance to interact with me in different settings because I’m actively involved. I’m present, and I’m overseeing the process.

People want to be treated personally. 

Don’t lose focus on the human side of your connections. Make sure to differentiate yourself from the competition. 

“Sales Tools Can’t Replace You” episode resources

You’re a savvy salesperson who wants to learn and grow. Check out Audible for thousands of titles, plus a free 30-day trial and a free book. 

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

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.

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