December 2019 - The Sales Evangelist
  • You are here:
  • Home »
  • Archive: December, 2019

Archive Monthly Archives: December 2019

Carman Pirie, Generating more from your initial appointments

TSE 1231: How To Generate More Initial Appointments By Utilizing A Co-Content Building Strategy

Generating more from your initial appointmentsSalespeople are always looking for new ways to generate more initial appointments. How do you do that? There are many strategies. In this episode, Donald and Carman Pirie talk about utilizing strategies that include co-creating and content building

Carman Pirie is the co-owner of Kula Partners. It’s a manufacturing marketing agency that helps manufacturers transform their marketing and sales apparatus by making it more digital in nature. He is also a co-host of the podcast called The Kula Ring, a podcast that focuses on manufacturing marketers and telling their stories. 

The challenge in sales prospecting 

Prospecting is a huge part of the sales process. Carman personally does prospecting every single day and he coaches many salespeople on how to do it right. It can be difficult to pick up the phone and start a conversation with people. Many sales leaders and managers have not explored other options outside of traditional practices. They have limited their sales teams by thinking and training the old methodologies. While picking up the phone as a way to prospect isn’t bad, the answer to prospecting isn’t just activity management. 

There are many tools available for sales reps to use in order to prospect. We don’t want to just bombard people with calls and emails or rely heavily on LinkedIn invites. This is where the challenge lies. 

 Breaking the challenge

In working with B2B manufacturing organizations, Carman’s company almost always interfaces primarily with the marketing function. These marketers have an overwhelming thirst for people in sales to actually care. 

Carman suggests three approaches that Kula Partners recommends for co-creating and content building.

The first is through a podcast. The Kula Ring podcast is their primary vehicle to generate prospects. They put out episodes weekly. They expand their reach by simply talking to more

manufacturing marketers and getting them on as guests for the show. 

Through the podcast, these guests become more familiar with what Kula is offering and some have eventually become their clients.  Sending out emails with a subject line that sounds like a request, or extending a LinkedIn invitation, doesn’t typically yield a positive outcome. Inviting somebody to be a guest on a podcast, asking about their industry and showing an interest in what they offer is a much better opportunity to build rapport. The interview gives you a better insight into their problems and challenges. This information then allows a salesperson to come up with specific solutions to offer.

As a salesperson, you can use an intent data platform and bring in guests that are likely in a buying cycle. However, it’s best to approach them with the pure motive of getting to know them. After a relationship is built, a discussion about business can happen organically. This introductory conversation can even happen by the end of recording a podcast.

Traditional outreach, like a phone call, can typically have a response rate of 10%.  In Carman’s experience, they’ve seen that the targeted podcast outreach campaigns have a response rate closer to 50%. 

Making it work

Every business is different so it’s up to the salesperson to experiment with a variety of formats to see what works best for their particular industry. If scaling can work, then go for it. If it’s written content or other similar strategies that work, pick one of those. What works for others may not work for your client’s specific needs so take the time to find the right niche. Look for the right angle or a topic that’s of interest to your client. Create your podcast based on that information.

Peer round tables 

Another suggestion from Carman for co-creating and content building is to host a peer round table discussion. For example, invite 12 – 20 target prospects in an information-sharing environment and serve as a host to the dialogue. They did this at Kula and they called these meetings marketing leadership exchanges. They brought in marketers who shared common characteristics and fostered an information-sharing conversation. 

You can easily make an agenda out of five to six topics or questions and turn them into a 90-minute round table for information-sharing. For marketers who are widely distributed geographically, a virtual round table is more plausible.  When you can, however, the preference is to have everyone in person.

 Despite the limitations in a virtual setting, the dialogue can still be rich. The exchange of information is still helpful for prospecting and building rapport. The guests are telling you the challenges they are facing in their business and asking their peers for advice. All you do is to play host to the dialogue. How to activate the conversation and transition it into a sales opportunity is up to you. After that dialogue, you now have permission to email them and build a working relationship with them. This is a much better choice as opposed to a cold call. 

There’s a difference between the podcast and the peer round table. There is an ongoing continuous recruitment process in the podcast guesting. However, marketing leadership requires more effort as it needs time to get a specific number of people to gather for a particular time. It can be difficult to organize a date where everyone can come together and talk. 

When traditional tools aren’t working, these co-creating strategies can be highly effective in moving someone from a prospect to a client. 

Building content with potential customers

You can start planning your co-creating and content building by looking at some content pieces related to your niche. If you’re a salesperson in a technical space and you’re selling mostly to engineers, you can look at the challenges common to your prospects and your client base. You can partner with one or two clients or prospects in creating a solution to address challenges specific to that industry. 

One of the great results in using the peer round table strategy is that guests naturally follow up with each other and continue to exchange and share information with one another. It’s important to trust the process and let these relationships happen organically.

Marketing organizations are often hungry for sales reps who can offer insight into the sales process and customer needs, as well as someone who is active in the social media channels. Salespeople can be involved in the marketing function and develop relationships with their prospects before the prospect ever even has a need for their services or products.

One of Carman’s guests was on their podcast and this guest had a manufacturing talk radio podcast himself. He used the podcast to give his business exposure and ended up becoming a source to develop his business. As a result, his steel company turned into a broadcasting company. It was unconventional but worked for them. If you want to use a podcast to sell, understand it won’t become daily bread for the next quarter, at least. It takes time for momentum to build. 

Podcasts are a natural megaphone for great ideas but it’s really about building relationships, co-creating and content building. 

“How To Generate More Initial Appointments By Utilizing A Co-Content Building Strategy” episode resources

Salespeople can start co-creating and content building with your prospects without other motives but to build a relationship with them and not just because you want to sell to them. Find Carman Pirie on Kula Ring in all major podcast. You can also check their site KulaPartners.com. 

You can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

We have a new semester beginning in January and we would love to have you and your team join us. Follow this link to apply to the program. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound. Other songs used in the episodes are as follows: The Organ Grinder written by Bradley Jay Hill, performed by Bright Seed, and Produced by Brightseed and Hill. 

Sales Tips from Resa Gooding

TSE 1230: How To Ensure Your Sales Teams Actually Have Time To Sell

Sales Tips from Resa GoodingAll organizations, no matter what size, need to know how to ensure your sales teams actually have time to sell

Resa Gooding is a partner in a Hubspot certified agency and they mostly help companies, especially startups, in Israel. As one of the top three agencies in Israel, they primarily work with startups and other traditional companies such as agriculture and manufacturing. They are helping them understand the value of CRM and how to effectively apply it to their companies. 

Challenges salespeople face

The most common problem in the sales force is the lack of training given to the sales team. This lack of experience causes inefficiency as the companies throw their sales reps in deep waters and expect them to swim. 

Many companies are so focused on the technology or the product they’re producing,  they don’t spend adequate time sharing the value and benefits of their product with the sales force.  An untrained team ends up spending more time on the administrative tasks instead of selling. They need to be given the information and the tools to effectively sit down with a new prospect. 

If management fails to offer the sales team a way to stay accountable to the workday activities, management can mistakenly think their team isn’t working. There has to be a system in place so the sales team can report their activities and successes.  Having this in place also gives management a tangible way of seeing the work their team is doing. For example, how many calls they’ve made in the workday. 

Resa set up marketing campaigns for her clients but began to see that if salespeople didn’t know how to work with the prospects that came from the marketing, the efforts were in vain. She saw that to make marketing effective, the salespeople needed to be able to summarize conversations properly and sales reps needed to reduce their time spent on administrative efforts. They needed to be equipped to spend their time selling. Resa aims to give salespeople the time to study their product, set up appointments, and communicate with prospects effectively, instead of spending their time doing administrative tasks. 

Ensure that your sales teams are having the time to sell

Sales reps need training in order to be successful and reach their goals. Sales processes they can follow have to be set up so their efforts can be checked by management.  This promotes accountability. There are three tools that can be used to ensure that sales teams are getting more time to sell their company’s products.

Connect your email inbox to your CRM software

You can use HubSpot, SalesForce, or other similar CRM software. At the end of the day, what matters is that your sales team is more efficient in their work. The first thing you can do is connect your email inbox to the CRM software you’re using. 

This is efficiency at its best.  Using this software allows your manager to see the emails exchanged between you and prospects or customers.  Enabling the manager to view this communication directly eliminates the need to summarize conversations at a later time.  Leave that to your CRM. 

Both marketing and sales today can be measured through this software. Managers and the sales team no longer have to meet each time reports need to be made. All aspects of the sales process can be viewed as needed and everything is measurable. 

Earlier salespeople, like the ones who sold door-to-door, had to write down all their data or write a report about their sales day. Today, the salesperson just needs to connect to their email inbox on the CRM platform and reports are immediate.

Using CRM increases the sales reps’ available time up to 21% compared to doing the reports manually. 

For example, when you attend a conference, typically you have to wait until you get home to input information manually. You can potentially delay communicating with the contacts you made at the conference up to a whole week.   This is valuable time wasted in a world where transactions can happen so quickly. 

When you are using CRM software, you are able to reach out immediately by asking for their email and starting a conversation while still at the conference. This is a huge advantage to setting up CRM software and free up so much time in the sales process. 

Connect your Calendly to your email communications 

The second way to ensure your sales teams are getting the time to sell is to connect your Calendly to your email communications. This is an efficient way of setting up a meeting with prospects and clients. Hubspot has an amazing tool that can help salespeople connect with speed. It’s suggested that you also embed three specific times a client can meet with you.  It’s more efficient when they don’t have to work as hard to figure out a time or date you’re available. It cuts down on the emails that have to be exchanged to firm a meeting which also saves valuable time. 

Use templates effectively 

Templates are ways to streamline the time it takes to write and send an email while it makes communication customizable.  This can be set up in HubSpot once your inbox is created and by simply clicking a button, it will copy all the text and bring it straight to your HubSpot. You can then change the information and content to make it more personalized and unique to your prospect or client.  

Resa has observed that this feature is especially helpful for salespeople who may not be strong in written communication. This is where the marketing team can be especially helpful. Marketing can set-up the templates for salespeople to use. 

After emails are sent, the software can then track when it’s opened by the recipient.  Having this information helps salespeople become more efficient about timing and targeting the callback or follow up.  It’s much easier to build a rapport with someone who has already shown initial interest. The recipient won’t get any notifications that you’ve seen them open the email.  It’s just a helpful tool for you to time the response. 

These three tools help make your sales team more efficient as it reduces their time on administrative tasks.  Using Hubspot also allows access to reports summarizing all the activity as well.

HubSpot is free so businesses can check it out and test it in their own sales systems. This is a good platform for startups that don’t have the budget to invest in programs and software. 

Many startup companies that Resa has helped have seen positive results when they use her three suggestions for saving time. 

“How To Ensure Your Sales Teams Actually Have Time To Sell” episode resources 

You can message Resa via her LinkedIn account. You can also check out her website: www.cacaomedia.co

For more sales information and questions, you can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Jason Kren, Why are your contracts not working?

TSE 1228: Why Your Contracts Are Not Working and How To Fix Them! 

Jason Kren, Why are your contracts not working?Ever asked yourself why your contracts are not working and how to fix them? Jason Kren is just the man with the answer to that frequently asked questions. 

Salespeople want nothing else but to see their contracts and deals turn out for the best. Unfortunately, there are times when contracts fall off and clients don’t agree to something. How do go about fixing such contracts? 

Jason Kren works for PactSafe. It’s a company that’s built from the ground up. They manage clickwrap contract acceptance at scale. This means having the ability to manage millions of clickwrap contracts at a super high velocity. 

Disney+ launched its video streaming service recently and attracted 10 million subscriptions in the first 24 hours of launch. At the end of the sign-up process is a contract that states the terms and conditions of the service that users are getting. These contracts are often the highest valued contracts that a company’s legal department manages on an annual basis. 

Jason’s company takes that contract and utilizing the PactSafe platform. It’s a quick wrap embedded contract and once it’s accepted, the platform will track the version that’s accepted. Using the platform, we know the time when the contract was accepted and who accepted it. PactSafe can also reproduce what the contract looks like on an individual screen, they know whether the contract is downloaded on a mobile device, on a computer, or via a tablet. 

In terms of sales contracts, this platform makes things run smoothly. With just a click, users already signed a legally binding agreement.

In the sales application, we can take contracts and use the platform to speed up the contracting process for sales. 

Making contracts easier to understand

Let’s look at why your contracts are not working and how to fix them. A salesperson should know what your legal department puts in the contract. To make this easy for the sales reps, the sales leader has to make sure that the legal department thinks about the contract design. The legal department has to discern the language used in the contract including the words and phrases. Most importantly, they need to think about the contract design around multiple components and focusing on an end result of acceptance and execution by the customer.  

The goal is to remove the friction from every step. Sales leaders can talk to their legal department to come up with a language that will make their contracts easier to accept and lessens the point of negotiation. Try to get your legal department to standardize as many contracts as possible. These contracts are often in order forms for upsells and cross-sell within the organization. 

Adopt a standardized language 

It is imperative to standardize your contracts and agree that we’re not going to negotiate there. Contracts such as these are better for the customers and for the salesperson. As part of the sales team, it is your job to start thinking about changing the language of how you talk about the contract. Most salespeople today are still using the archaic language of talking about contracts, “Hey, I am going to send you the contract and once you’re done reviewing it and signing it, then we can start.” This isn’t how you should be talking about contracts today. You can’t seed the control to the potential client and give them the reigns of the negotiation process. 

What you want to say is, “Hey, if we get a clickwrap acceptance platform in place and you can standardize those contracts and the language you use, I am going to send you a link for you to accept this contract and we’ll get started.” 

You don’t talk about the contract with them, you’re sending them terms that they can accept. That little shift in your language can increase velocity and reduce the friction of the contract process. 

Moving away from PDFs

Another key change that salespeople can do to make contracts work is to move away from the massive pile of PDFs. You want to standardize and minimize your contracts and get them into a clickwrap to make it a one-button accept. By doing that, you increase your customer experience and your deals. This process takes so much time that you end up losing money in the end. 

When running a particularly high-velocity business, you should know all of the four components that make up your sales velocity equation. If you can tweak one of the four components then the result will even be greater and you’ll see a 22% increase year over year in your business. 

Let’s take for example of changing how fast your deals close. 

Using the archaic method of sending over the contract via a signature platform. If your prospect is traveling and they’re on the road with just their phone, they won’t be able to execute the contract because they still have to go through a PDF process to hit certain points. This delays the closing by 48 hours or even more. 

Reducing the friction 

Even when you speed up your contract process by 24 hours, that will likely increase your overall sales velocity as well. Embedding a contract and sending them out via ClickWap eliminated the unnecessary process of opening a PDF format and have it digitally signed. It’s more efficient for the salesperson and for the client. Shaving a day or two in the sales cycle will greatly improve your overall revenue. 

You can’t let totally let go of the signature contracts because that method is also effective in some aspects of the business such as large enterprise deals. However, when you go down to the smaller deal size at large, you’ll see that standardized contracts and the standard language can reduce friction in the sales process. 

On the sales spotlight – DoorDash 

DoorDash is one of the clients of Jason’s company. The Door Dash has three primary groups, they enter into contractual relationships with dashers, these are the people who deliver food. The end users are the people who download the app, and then there are the merchants, these are the ones that provide the food. It has a massive sales division that calls on the managers of the restaurants and they want to enroll them as dash merchants. They can go ahead with the signup and have their food delivered by DoorDash which then expands all the offerings to the end consumer. 

Thinking about it on the restaurant manager’s viewpoint, they don’t have the most carefree job. They’re often on their feet and checking that everything in the restaurant is in orders. They definitely do not have the time to check their computers and respond to email, and process PDFs to get the contract signed. Jason’s company worked with them and now their sales team is sending out contracts through a clickwrap which is so simple and efficient. It eliminates the whole e-signature workflow. 

The massive enterprise software company, BMC, didn’t have centralized control of the contract acceptance process across dozens of their product lines. They needed to take a third-party to control and enhance their contracting process. This was where Jason’s company came in. PactSafe implemented more than 10,000 different forms for their 14 products. This gave their legal department the ability to regain control over any changes to agreements that didn’t require code changes and it game them the visualization and analytics that they needed.

When you think about that for your business, you’re not only transforming your legal team but you’re also transforming your sales team which creates a frictionless digital transformation across the organization. 

Creating the pilot program

Doing some changes in how an organization works requires effort. Jason suggests that before making any changes, it’s best to first create a pilot program. It is important to test with a subset of your sales team so that you can refine the process and make sure it works right once you implement it in the whole organization.

In sales, you only have one shot to roll something out to an audience so might as well make it work. Create a pilot test to see the benefits it will have for your broader sales team. Once you have the process perfected, then it’s time to apply it as a whole. 

There is no reason why we have to do things the old way when you can make a change to do move things faster in your organization. 

“Why Your Contracts Are Not Working and How To Fix Them!” episode resources

Catch Jason Kren via his LinkedIn. He is also on Twitter with the username @jasonkren. Visit their website PactSafe as well 

You can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

We have a new semester beginning in January and we would love to have you and your team join us. Follow this link to apply to the program. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Best Seller in History episode 1

TSE 1229: Best Sellers In History Series 1 – “Jesus Christ”

Disclaimer: This episode isn’t a podcast to convince listeners to become Christians. This episode simply highlights how Jesus Christ persuaded people, an important trait in sales. 

Best Seller in History episode 1There are so many individuals who have been great persuaders throughout history. This new series, The Best Sellers in History, will be a game-changer for salespeople of today. The best persuaders in history were people who could prompt others to take action and move toward a better way of life. Great salespeople who know they are guides for prospects and clients make great B2B sales reps. With the exception of social media, the way communication works in sales today is historically similar. This eight-episode series will begin with Jesus Christ, whose existence has been proven by history. 

In the sales spotlight – Jesus Christ 

It’s the perfect time of year to put Jesus Christ in the spotlight. Today is Christmas, a day where people celebrate Jesus’ birth. In his time, he was referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, the common way people were referred to. Men were known by their name and the place they were from. Donald would have been known as Donald of West Palm Beach. 

Jesus was a preacher, a rabbi or teacher, and a leader. Today, to Christians around the world, he is the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind. 

Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and after his baptism, he began his ministry. Most of his preaching and teaching weren’t done in Synagogues but in the countryside where most people lived. 

Jesus was teaching people they could repent, turn their lives around and return to God. His teachings were based on love. Jesus opened the path for many to know eternal life. People were astounded by his teachings and followed him. He was changing the minds of common people and undermining the wayward teachings of the Pharisees. Because of this, Jesus faced opposition from the leaders of the day.

This conflict, and the outcry of many Jewish people, eventually led to his death by the hands of  Roman soldiers. 

While he died long ago, his teachings did not die with him. His words became so influential, to this day, one-third of the world’s population is associated with Christianity. By far, it is the largest religious group. There are seven reasons why Jesus was so persuasive and Donald is going to expand on each to show how they can be applied in B2B selling, even today. 

  • He Showed Sympathy and Built Rapport 
  • He Was a Skilled Storyteller
  • He Shared a Vision
  • He Challenged the Status Quo
  • He Listened Effectively
  • He Asked Powerful Questions
  • He Invited People to Change

He Showed Sympathy and Built Rapport 

Jesus is the first The Best Sellers in History character. The first reason for Jesus’ persuasiveness was his ability to empathize and build rapport with the people he talked to. 

Jesus made the time to sit down with common people, who made up the largest portion of the population, as they do today. He talked to people who were marginalized by society and could relate to them. During his time, Romans had the power and ruled over many territories. They hired people to collect taxes from the citizens, including Jewish people, and this money funded the Roman empire. Because the work is done by tax collectors they were not approved of by the communities they lived in.  At public gatherings, they were not welcomed to be among everyone else. As a result, they became marginalized citizens. 

The status put upon tax collectors didn’t keep Jesus from them.  Jesus sat down with them and had dinner with them. 

One of these tax collectors even became one of Jesus’ disciples.  His name was Matthew. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector from Jericho.  He was a wealthy man but hated by many. When Jesus went to Jericho, people flooded the town and swarmed him. Being a short man, Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus. Jesus noticed and asked the man to come down so he could be a guest at Zacchaeus’ house, unheard of during this time. He also showed sympathy toward Levi, another tax collector and the son of Alphaeus. Jesus saw him at his booth, invited Levi to follow him, and he did.  

People didn’t understand these actions but Jesus shared that a physician comes to heal the sick, not the healthy. In the same way, Jesus was spending time with people who needed his help the most.  He went out of his way to help the poor and heal the sick. 

He made an impact

Jesus wanted to make an impact by modeling how he wanted people to treat one another.

As a B2B sales rep, how do you show your clients and prospects you empathize with their needs? Set yourself apart from others by taking the time to understand where they are coming from. Identify their pain points and tailor your message to their specific issues.

An example of how a salesperson can distinguish himself or herself can be illustrated by two sales reps who want a nursing home to be a new client. Sales rep A sens a generic email to the chief administrator that says he can help them save more money. This same message, however, has been sent by many salespeople and it gets lost among the others. Sales rep b, on the other hand, has spent time reading trade magazines and learning about the industry. This sales rep sends a personalized message that talks about the losses the administrator may face when the new Medicare starts cutting back and what it is going to cost them. Sales rep B also talks about how their company has crafted a new service that could benefit the nursing home despite the cutback.

In this case, sales rep B will surely get the deal because they have discovered a problem and are providing a solution. While it takes more time and effort to learn about your prospect or client by listening to their needs and hearing about their challenges, it will help you craft a more personalized message. In the sales training program, we call this a deliverance message. Share with your prospects the challenges they didn’t know they could face. These are called blindside challenges. Distinguish yourself among other salespeople by studying, being prepared, listening, and offering a solution. 

Another way you can show empathy and create value is by writing a blog post or creating content that’s related to the challenges your prospects are facing. When a potential client feels understood, sees you’ve done the work, and you’re building rapport through your efforts, you’ll find prospects are going to pick up the phone to talk to you. 

He Was a Skilled Storyteller

The second reason for Jesus’ persuasiveness was his storytelling ability. In one instance there was a lawyer in the crowd where Jesus was preaching and the lawyer wanted to trap Jesus. He asked Jesus how to receive eternal life, one of Jesus’ core messages. In response, Jesus replied with a question about what was written in the law. In reply, the lawyer replied that the law states that one should love the Lord with all his heart, his soul, and strength. One also has to love his neighbor as he loves himself.  He then asked Jesus who he should consider his neighbor and Jesus shared the story of the Good Samaritan.

This story talks about a man robbed and attacked on a countryside road. There were several people who walked past him and didn’t help him, including a priest, a Levite, and the good Samaritan. The first two men just passed by. The priest crossed to the other side of the road as did the Levite. It was the good Samaritan who took the injured man and tended to his wounds, brought him to an inn and told the innkeeper to take care of the man, paying for all the expenses. All the people who ignored the man were his people but it was the Samaritan who showed compassion and saved him.  By sharing this story, Jesus was able to illustrate the actions of a neighbor. The story that Jesus told was relatable and the people listening understood the point he was trying to make. 

Selling to highly educated professionals, like doctors, can be unnerving. They can ask a question that may be out of your scope of expertise. You can navigate their questions by sharing a story. Understand the purpose of the question and solve their problem through a story that promotes rapport. Ask a clarifying question and share a story that’s similar to your clients’ situation or problem and share how that problem was solved. Stories are a great persuasive tool. 

He Shared a Vision

Jesus was skilled in promoting hope for the future. The people already knew the prophecy of the Messiah who would come and save mankind. The Messiah would deliver them from their enemies and the tyrannical rule of the Roman empire.

People believed in Jesus because he fulfilled the prophecies laid out in scripture. When Jesus came and preached to people listened to hear his message of hope.

As a sales rep, it’s your responsibility to understand a prospect’s pain, their struggles, and their challenges.  As you get to know them and learn more about their needs, you have the opportunity and then to offer hope and solutions through the products and services you have to offer. 

For example, if you are selling digital marketing services, you may discover that a prospect’s website is not functioning effectively.  It’s your job to convey to this potential client how you can help make their website work faster and appear on the first page of a Google search. Approach the client with the knowledge of their struggle and offer a vision of a better future by working with you.

He Challenged the Status Quo

Jesus treated women with care in a time when women didn’t have much value in society. Women were separated from men in public and religious life. They were not allowed to participate in public prayers but they were encouraged to pray privately. In contrast, Jesus showed immense respect for women. 

An example of Jesus’ compassion toward women was illustrated in the story of the Canaanite woman who yelled after Jesus to help her daughter. Jesus showed compassion to the woman, a gentile, and helped her after hearing her great faith. This was unheard of during Jesus’ time.

There are many examples in the Bible where Jesus pushed the boundaries of the status quo to create change.

In sales, we can experience the status quo and many industries can get stuck in these familiar patterns. In many instances, the most daunting competitor isn’t another sales rep but your client’s comfort with the existing routine inside their organization.  

As salespeople, we have to face the status quo head-on. It would be easy to ignore the need for change.  Very few people are willing to break the norm and face being rejected by society. Sometimes, even when we know that our prospect is doing something wrong and their system doesn’t work in their best interest, it can be tempting to stay silent in order to avoid conflict.

For example, Donald joined a sales training program with David Sandler about how to challenge the status quo. In that training, Donald learned that you can overcome the status quo by using off-the-record conversation. When things are dying down and everyone’s starting to relax, hit up your prospect with your suggestions. Tell your prospects about the problems that you have found in their system and back it up with proof. Creating this margin allows prospects space to really see what you’re trying to point out. The conversation may be bold but sometimes it takes boldness to get people to change. Push against the status quo and don’t be afraid. 

He Listened Effectively

Jesus knew how to listen to people and it became another tool in building rapport. Let’s go back to the story of the woman who was bothering Jesus and asking for help. The lady was persistent despite the disciples’ efforts to turn her away. Jesus listened to her and heard her troubles. Throughout his ministry, Jesus listened to the people and showed up to teach. He tuned in to their stories and showed mercy and compassion. 

As a salesperson, you can imitate Jesus by listening intently to your prospects. The act of listening comes in many forms. For example, you can listen through a phone conversation, or by reading LinkedIn posts and seeing what’s going on under someone’s profile. You can also listen by going through reports, annual filing, and quarterly earnings. 

When you’re listening, don’t let your mind roam. Focus on what they’re saying instead of thinking of what you can say next. Listen for opportunities to ask a clarifying question that leads to a value-rich conversation.

If a prospect is trying to decline your offer because it’s not a good time, instead of just giving up or trying to force your own solution,  try listening to what’s between the lines and figure out what the prospect is really saying. Ask why it isn’t a good time for them and get closer to finding out what the core of the objection really is. 

He Asked Powerful Questions

Jesus was skilled in asking for effective and clarifying questions.  When the lawyer wanted to trap Jesus, instead of answering his question, Jesus asked a question in return. In sales, sometimes you don’t have to give your prospects the answers right away.  Alternatively, additional questions may be needed.  

When you hear “I’m not interested” you don’t have to take that at face value and end the conversation there. Ask them questions and let them talk. Your ability to ask questions can help you become successful in sales. In every objection you face, there is potential to learn more and get closer to helping your client find a solution.

He Invited People to Change

The last reason why Jesus was persuasive was his ability to ask people to do hard things. Jesus began gathering his disciples early on in his ministry. Some of his first were Peter, James, and John, who were all fishermen. Jesus told them to leave their livelihood and invited them to become fishers of men.  His invitation was a much bigger vision than they had ever seen for themselves.

Peter, James, and John recognized that Jesus was the Messiah and they gladly left their lives behind to follow Jesus. More would soon follow.

When salespeople ask clients to use their products or services, you are inviting change to take place. You can successfully do this when you ask the right question, are a good storyteller, and when you show empathy. 

Never assume a potential client is going to come to the conclusion to work with you on their You are their guide to finding solutions through your products and services.  Always be proactive, ask for the change, and be prepared to show them the action steps. 

Jesus showed us how to be persuasive in order to offer a better way of life. Do the same for your clients.

Best Sellers In History Series 1 – “Jesus Christ” episode resources

Selling is not complicated but you have to have a strong foundation. Learning fundamental practices and implementing them will offer potential clients hope for positive change based on what you have to offer. 

Watch out for the next episode in this series. 

You can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

We have a new semester beginning in January and we would love to have you and your team join us. Follow this link to apply to the program. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

 

Brian Keels, Hiring Process

TSE 1227: Things To Look For When Hiring Successful Sellers

Brian Keels, Hiring ProcessHiring is part of the sales process but businesses know there are things to look for when hiring successful sellers. Getting the right people to join your sales team is one of the most effective ways to boost your sales revenue. 

Brian Keels is a businessman living the life of a busy entrepreneur. In addition to being a happy husband and father, he is also working for a very large enterprise software company. There, he takes on different sales and leadership roles from regional to global levels. He’s done businesses in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Recently, he’s been doing enterprise sales in Barcelona, Spain by day. By night, he is building his own investing business in the U.S. 

Things to look for when hiring successful sellers 

Sales leaders are always looking to hire successful sellers to help increase their revenue. The model in which a business is working is an important consideration when hiring new people. 

Business models vary.  While some are constantly looking for new businesses, others adopt a farming role where they want to sell more within their existing customer base. Another consideration is the size of the business, whether it is a multinational brand or targeting a smaller niche. 

Hire the right behavior 

Of the three things to look for when hiring successful sellers, the first and the most difficult is the right behavior. If you are hiring a salesperson who is to make 50 calls a day, being proactive is important. 

The ideal candidate will need to be someone who can be proactive. They should be able to work without someone having to tell them to pick up the phone and make calls. This is a challenge because no matter how skilled the salesperson, if he doesn’t have the impetus to pick up the phone, smile while talking with the customers, or keep the calls energetic, then he won’t have the behavior be successful in that position. 

Most successful salespeople didn’t have this proactive spirit when they started selling. Proactiveness has to be developed over the years of working in sales. Being proactive is a core strength for sellers. It opens more doors, creates more connections, and can eventually point their customers toward the right decisions. 

At the end of the day, when you consider the sales process, regardless of the products and services you sell, it all comes down to being proactive and having the ability to go out and do what’s needed. 

Whether it’s selling knives door-to-door or selling in an enterprise, a salesperson should be able to design and execute an effective sales process by talking about the value they lend to the consumer through their products. 

As a hiring manager,  a good interview question for potential candidates will give them the opportunity to talk about an experience when they got to be proactive. New sales reps tend to go through trial and error as they gain more experience, so ask about their experiences and what they have done, not what they would do. As they answer, listen carefully as they explain the way they dealt with needing to be proactive. Their answer will help you understand how they will do things in the future.

Look for self-awareness 

There is so much opportunity that comes from being self-aware. The benefits are tied to existing behaviors as well as understanding the candidate’s skills, ambition, and attitude. 

Looking back at the successful people Brian hired in the past, he saw their high sense of self-awareness. Self-awareness is also integral to the type of model the seller is in. 

If you are hiring a salesperson for inside selling, then you might forego knowledge and go for a person who has a higher potential in selling products and services over the phone. As a sales leader, you compensate for that gap and understand that their self-awareness may not come with as much knowledge but they can be supported by the strength of available training programs that are offered to sales reps.  

To see if a candidate is self-aware, you can also ask about the issues they had with quotas and what they did to improve those results. Listen to what they tell you and tune in to the things that they did to address their challenges. When they say that they haven’t had any challenges in the past, then that can set off a big red flag. 

It’s a hard truth in sales that we don’t win all the time. Being able to overcome their issues and how they came through can shows you how self-aware they are. 

People who are self-aware typically know where they need help, they recognize where they are in a specific model and most importantly, they know if they’re ahead or behind the curve. They’ll come to a sales manager with the areas they need support based on the models that they’re in. It helps support the seller and it helps the sales leader be more focused on the areas where they need the most help.  Having a methodology, skill, and an understanding of the product is key to success. 

Considering the scale of their roles 

When hiring a salesperson to consider the scale of their role. If the person is on the enterprise level and they have a knowledge gap, that’s probably going to be an issue. However, if you hire that person knowing they are going to be part of a sales academy program, there is less worry that you’re hiring someone who doesn’t have the full skill set.  You know that it’s coming after the proper training.  

What skills the salesperson needs to have at the point of hire, depends on the role that your candidate will be playing in the company. 

There is a process that you need to follow in sales. You also have to have certain behaviors to convey that you understand what you’re selling. 

It is also equally important to have realistic expectations as a sales leader. Setting your expectations too high causes burnout for new sales reps. This won’t help them reach their goals no matter how much they produce. This isn’t setting them up for success. 

Hire people who can manage themselves 

These people are able to take a specific situation, diagnose and execute planning. No one may be getting the results they’re going for but they can assess, see the need and come up with a solution. Look for candidates who have sales goals who approach you with a plan and don’t need to be told what to do. They can work independently and just do what’s best for their career and their business. 

In the event that they didn’t reach their sales goals, they are able to self-correct and start a new plan. They don’t feel the need to go to their boss every time they have to make sales decisions. They can manage not only themselves but also their situation or their virtual account team. 

The key is understanding that no one is perfect. People are going to step up to the plate, swing, miss, strikeout, and learn what to do the next time they go to bat. 

There are different types of successful sellers out there. Even when we work on a sales team, treat your team at an individual level. Remember that every salesperson has their own environment where they succeed. When your sales team is clicking on all cylinders, it makes every quarterly business review a pleasure to sit in. 

“Things To Look For When Hiring Successful Sellers” episode resources

Connect with Billy Keels via his LinkedIn. You can also check out his site, Billykeels.com. 

You can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, The Accidental Seller Series

TSE 1226: The Accidental Seller Recap  – “Three Things I Learned”

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, The Accidental Seller SeriesFor the past 8 weeks, we have been interviewing several successful “accidental sellers” and sharing their stories.  We have come to know how they started in sales when it wasn’t their intention to ever be in sales, and what they did to become successful. 

The last episode aired last week when Donald interviewed a very special person in his life, his own mother, who Donald credits in shaping him to be the man he is today.  As he wraps up the series, Donald wanted to share his three main takeaways. 

The Accidental Seller Series Recap

This series has been well-received by listeners because they’re hearing their own stories in these interviews.  Each story has been relatable and speaks to the struggles and successes that many experiences in the sales industry.  The guests were very open about their challenges and feeling like a failure as being part of their journey. These are stories everyone relates to.  From these struggles, a success story was born, and it’s these stories that offer a fascinating insight into what it takes to make sales a career. Through this series, Donald has learned three main points: 

  • The view of sales
  • How they have a guide
  • Sales was easier than they thought 

The View of Sales

When you ask someone to share their perception of a salesperson, it’s common for someone to bring up the stereotypical used car salesperson. Many of the guests on the Accidental Seller series thought the same thing. This is the stigma around sales and it’s been embedded in the minds of many. Society has painted salespeople in such a bad light that naturally, salespeople are seen as people who are only looking out for their own best interest.

While this doesn’t apply to everyone, unfortunately, it has been proven to be true for some businesses and industries. For example, when a big bank has been caught in unethical dealings. As a result, integrity has to be proven as everyone in sales comes under scrutiny.

When there are opportunities to gain large sums of money, people can end up making the wrong decisions. It may not be true for all salespeople, but people who are caught in shady dealings make it harder for honest salespeople to connect with potential clients. 

Several of the more high profile crimes get turned into movies. Consumers aren’t going to line up to hear about a great salesperson in the same way they want to know more about a salesperson’s dishonesty. There’s no drama in that. 

These movies helped shaped the perception of many and have influenced people into thinking that sales is a career they would never touch. However, that’s not the sole reason people steer clear from sales. 

Change of perception

De Juan, the second guest in The Accidental Seller series, shared his own definition and feelings about salespeople. His father was a good sales rep selling insurance. Growing up, De Juan saw how the business worked. His dad did hours upon hours of door-to-door selling. Watching his dad work, De Juan grew up thinking sales was an extremely hard job. It was a lucrative job but also very difficult. Salespeople were undesirable and homeowners would pretend to be out of the house so they wouldn’t have to spend their time talking to salespeople. 

De Juan, believed joining a sales force was a waste of talent. He believed that if someone had the ability to connect to people and have meaningful conversations but used it in a sales position, it was a waste of skills. However, that view changed when De Juan finally got a good feel of what selling really is. 

The job wasn’t a waste of talent or undesirable. In fact, it was something he could be proud of. In addition to that, he realized that you didn’t have to sell door-to-door to build good relationships. He discovered you could help businesses solve their problems and be greatly rewarded for it. 

It’s the responsibility of the seller to break free from the stereotypes. Kids can be taught early on that sales is a lucrative career and should be considered as an option. 

As a salesperson, you can help others recognize the value of professional selling. 

John Barrels and his daughter finished a book recently to help enrich the views about selling, especially for future generations. It’s a great idea to give kids the proper education about selling, even at a young age.  We can share the value of professional selling even in elementary school.

Everyone Needs a Guide 

For anyone who has goals and dreams, it’s helpful to have a guide who is going to help us down the path and lead us in the right direction. 

Ashley Reusch’s story is a great example. She wanted to take a break from college and her dad suggested that she try to get into sales. Like her dad, she became a car salesperson and sold new and used cars. Despite it being a male-dominated industry with a high turnover rate, Ashley thrived because she had her father to guide her along the way.

Wendell Jordan was helped by his sales manager. Although his sales manager wasn’t always there at the beginning, he was able to coach him later on. He offered Wendell insight and guidance that helped Wendell perform well. 

Stephen had a guide too and Debbie also had her dad to help her have more involvement in the business. 

Basically, all salespeople, regardless of what you are selling and regardless of the length of time you’ve been in the industry – all need help, we all need a guide. 

Nobody knows everything there is to know about sales no matter how long they’ve been in the industry. Donald has been in sales for quite some time but he still takes courses and reads books. Learning is a continuous process and doing podcasts has helped Donald learn more and more about the sales industry. It also helped him gain accountability and guidance to be able to help others as well. 

Even if you don’t join a paid mastermind, you still need someone who can act as a guide. It can be your manager, your spouse, or your friend. It is important to have someone close to keep you accountable and help you with your goals. 

Sales Isn’t as Hard as They Initially Thought

The other thing that successful salespeople use is a formula or sales process they follow religiously. 

Ashley’s father helped her become a better salesperson but in addition to that, she also used her own creativity to develop a training regimen. When she wasn’t working with her own customer, she would sit by the cubicle of the salesperson doing his pitch and would tune into the conversation. With a notepad and pen in hand, she’d take notes and try to learn from their experience. She knew she had to get familiar with the common objections and situations of her business.  She prepared herself by learning from other salespeople she worked with. Ashley didn’t just wait for help to come around, she took action and created opportunities for herself. She looked for ways to make her success possible.

All the guests on the Accidental Seller series fell into sales by accident but they all created it as a path, they made sales a workable solution. Sales became a profession that helped them to support their families and enrich the lives of other people. 

For all accidental sellers out there, your stories have a home here on The Sales Evangelist. The series is coming back next year and listeners cannot wait to hear how you have thrived and succeeded in this industry as well. 

What’s Next? 

The Accidental Seller Series has given us some important lessons: 

  • There is still a stigma about sales and people have different views on what sales are about. 
  • All the successful people in this series didn’t attain success overnight, they had guides. They had people to help them achieve their goals. 
  • In the beginning, they thought that sales was a very difficult path but when they learned to pave their own path and followed their processes, they realized that their initial thoughts weren’t at all true.  

The Sales Evangelist wraps up this series and will be diving into another series that no other podcast has ever done before. The upcoming series will be about historical figures and very persuasive individuals who were great sellers in their time. Their experience will be broken down to discover what made them so successful.  The first key figure will be Jesus Christ and this episode will be uploaded during Christmas. This series is expected to help you improve your sales and skills. 

“The Accidental Seller Recap  – “Three Things I Learned” episode resources

Do you have an interesting story to tell? You can tell Donald about it via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook or you can reach out with any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound. 

Kristie Jones on Hiring Process

TSE 1225: Stop Hiring From Your “Gut” – Putting a Formal Hiring Process In Place That Works

Kristie Jones on Hiring ProcessThe hiring process can be a challenge for many. There’s the temptation of hiring people from the gut when in fact, there needs to be a formal hiring process in place that works for every company regardless of its size. 

Kristie Jones works with early-stage startups and helps these companies do three things – process, strategies, and people. She has been in the staff leadership industry for 20 years and as part of her consulting services, she offers companies the strategies for hiring the right people. Kristie now manages her own company, the Sales Acceleration Group, and has helped funded and non-funded startups in the Midwest for the last four years. Her services are focused on the strategies that companies can use to hire the right people. 

Hiring from the gut

Hiring from the gut is basically hiring based on first impressions. In the sales world, it’s very much like sending a contract to your prospect without doing a discovery call. Salespeople follow the sales process in vetting and finding prospects. In the same manner, there is also a process that sales leaders should follow in vetting and finding the right candidates to join their companies. 

 

  • The ideal candidate

 

The process begins by deciding on your ideal candidate profile, which includes their competencies and skills. As a salesperson, you take the time to figure out who your ideal customers are by spending time with them.  The same goes for hiring new salespeople. You want to invest the time in figuring out what competencies are most important to the success of your company, and build interview questions around those competencies. It’s also imperative to build your ideal candidate profile with business culture, core education, and relevant experience in mind. 

 

  • Candidate discovery 

 

In this stage, you identify their experience. The resume is only a piece of paper that details a person’s information. In the hiring process, you need to be asking the candidates open-ended behavioral-based questions. 

 

  • Make them an educated consumer 

 

This stage of the hiring process entails flipping the table on your candidate and allowing them to interview you.  This isn’t done by everyone but it’s a strategy to start a great working relationship, even at the interview stage. This point in the interview allows the candidate to see whether or not they will be happy working in your organization by getting to ask questions that are important to them. 

When hiring the right people to join your sales team, you can’t just hire from the gut and have the expectation of longevity. You need a formal hiring process in place that works.  This process includes understanding your ideal candidate profile, preparing your discovery questions, and lastly, giving the candidates an opportunity to become the interviewer.

Knowing your ideal candidate 

Experience is important in hiring the ideal candidate. Look for people who have a good track record of success. It’s your job as a sales leader to discover the candidates’ competencies, characteristics, and traits that have helped them become successful. There are many ways for a business to find the right people to hire. 

Kristie has used recruiters to line up job candidates for her clients but she’s also helped her clients build and post a strong job description through a paid LinkedIn ad. Through these efforts, they’ve been getting between 50-70 resumes within the first two weeks of posting a job on LinkedIn. 

It’s not necessary to utilize recruiters when you are looking for lower-level sales reps but they are a good resource if a company is looking for specialized sales leaders. 

When posting a job on LinkedIn, the most attractive posts will include the following information:

  • Job Title – Many companies use the titles Account Manager and Account Executive interchangeably. When you are looking for a new salesperson for your company, it’s a good idea to specify the job titles that are specifically related to your industry or niche. 

 

  • Length of time you’ve been in the business

 

  • The markets you use
  • How successful your company has been
  • A short description of the job
  • Transparencies and accountabilities – you need to state what their job will look like and be upfront about the things they will be doing. 
  • Compensation range

 

 

A great job post will be gender-neutral and have a wow factor. Impress the best candidates with your company’s values and share the perks and bonuses that will come if they choose to work for you.  If your company offers free lunches, happy hours, personal development training, or quarterly healthy bonuses, make sure you say so! 

Candidate discovery 

When Kristie first works with her clients they go through a list of competencies and pick several that are most important to work for that specific company. They then create their behavioral-based interview questions from the competencies they’ve chosen. The questions will vary for each company and will be influenced by the type of company it is and its core values. Questions about accountability can be very telling about a potential candidate. For example, “Why did your  previous quarterly goals?” Kristie wants to know if a candidate will take accountability for their actions.  

When hiring for a startup, Kristie is looking for a willow, not an oak, a person who bends but doesn’t break. Questions or prompts that uncover this trait might include, “Tell me about  a time when you made a personal sacrifice for an employer.” Another question might be, “How you stay on track when you have competing priorities?” Look for the candidates’ perseverance and objective judgment. 

Flip the table

The last phase of the formal hiring process is flipping the table. This simply means letting the candidate become the interviewer. Give them the opportunity to go through the discovery process by seeing what questions they have about the company. Allow them to spend time with your current employees in a variety of departments. When you flip the table, you get to stop asking questions and allow the candidate to discover if they really want to work for the company.

 After posting the job on LinkedIn and collecting all the responses, you’ll typically pick 10 candidates to conduct a phone interview.  This is a critical stage where you can ask them questions to gauge which candidates will be chosen to come in for a face-to-face, behavioral-based interview. Kristie runs a sales profile test before flipping the table on a candidate by using a test she says is a combination ACT/ Myers-Briggs personality test. The first section is a verbal and math test. This is to test their verbal and reasoning ability as well as numeric reasoning. In addition, Kristie has also developed the ideal candidate profile for SDRs and it can be used to hire anyone from sales reps to sales leaders. Once the results come in, there’s an opportunity to go over the results with the candidate to discuss the fit. 

The Hiring Process

During a typical hiring process, Kristie invests about four hours conducting a face-to-face interview. She goes through an hour in reviewing the test results and another 30 – 45 minutes interviewing. Afterward, the candidate is given the chance to work with a sales rep or one of the team members. At the end of the day, Kristie asks the group what they’ve learned.

The process is long but following this formal hiring process, you’ll get fewer mis-hires in your company. 

A sales manager looking for a sales rep must know what the company is looking for. When people don’t have a formal hiring process in place, they can mistakenly hire solely based on a gut feeling. Having a formal process can save you from any legal troubles and provide a better quality employee. The process helps you hire the best fit because you already know the right answers to the questions. Implement this process in your organization and let everyone understand they all have a role to play.  The first impression starts with the first person the candidate meets. 

“Stop Hiring From Your “Gut” – Putting a Formal Hiring Process In Place That Works” episode resources

Catch up with Kristie Jones via her email address kjones@salesaccelerationgroup.com. You can check out the list of competencies and some starter behavior-based interview questions that you can use in your own hiring process. Check it out on salesaccelerationgroup.com/TSE. 

You can also reach out to Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Brian Harrington, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1224: How To Craft A Rock Solid Sales Pitch To Potential Investors

Brian Harrington, The Sales EvangelistA sales pitch is part of the selling process but not all salespeople know how to craft a rock-solid sales pitch to potential investors.  First, everyone is a salesperson. Regardless of what you do, everyone sells to someone.

Brian Harrington started in the infomercial business. He worked for his father who was one of the principal pioneers of the infomercial industry. His experience taught him the craft of selling products on TV. 

In those early years, Brian saw how easy it was to sell through television advertising but he eventually saw how investments could be lost as fast as money was made.  They made some changes and instead of sticking exclusively with Infomercials, they followed customers to where they were making their purchases. That decision led them to the digital world and social media. 

Brian and his team started to sell products through Google and other online opportunities such as Facebook. Since then, they’ve branched out to several other platforms. They sell directly to consumers with a diverse selection of products including health and fitness, beauty, home products, and more but continue to also sell through traditional brick and mortar retail stores. 

Brian’s company sells products with a focus on three core worlds: 

  • Product
  • Education, providing ongoing training to entrepreneurs and sales professionals
  • Investing/ Advising/Consulting where they help startup businesses grow and provide value. 

Mistakes you’re making when pitching to investors

It’s easy to make mistakes when pitching. especially if you have no idea how to craft a rock-solid sales pitch to potential investors. The first mistake people make is not being prepared.  If you show up to a meeting and don’t know enough about their business, competition, industry, to answer a potential investor’s basic questions, you can tank a meeting in the first few minutes. It can make you look incompetent in an area you claim a level of expertise. Investors do not want to get involved with people who seem to lack core knowledge. 

Simple changes can make the pitch so much better.  Brian says it can be broken down into 3 easy steps: The Tease, The Please, and The Seize. 

The Tease, The Please, and The Seize 

The Tease:  Get the investor’s attention right away. The first impression matters and you have a small window to capture a potential investor’s interest. Cater the pitch to the person you’re pitching to and keep the company’s culture in mind.  BE PREPARED. Your goal is to capture their attention and interest in the first 10 seconds.  

You also want to be mindful of how your actions and words may be received by your audience.  If you’re working with international investors, do the research about how to conduct yourself during the meeting in order not to make a faux pas. 

The Please: On the one hand, you want to be sure you’re prepared to answer any questions your potential investor might ask. On the other hand, you also want to withhold enough information so they continue to ask questions and dialogue continues.  Take a breath when you’re talking and allow those questions to happen. These unanswered questions will keep them excited and interested in hearing more. There’s a balance between the information you want to offer and the information you want to hold onto until the pitch closes.

 The Seize: Once you’ve had a great launch to your pitch and generated excitement, your job is to keep up the energy. You do this by making sure every pitch has a call to action. Think of ways to make your pitch intriguing enough for the investor to enjoy your presentation, see the value in your product, and have the desire to work with you in a new venture.  You want them to have confidence in you and the products or services you represent.

It’s important to take the time to do the research in potential investors.  Make sure you know they’re looking to invest in your industry or type of product before you ever get in front of them.  Find out what kinds of pitches they’re drawn to. For Brian, the best pitches are the ones that come from people who command attention and hold the attention of the room throughout the presentation. 

Have the right amount of confidence 

Confidence is key for any salesperson. That confidence, however, has to balance with the facts that are being offered.  A good investor is going to research the data you are using to support your claims so stick with the truth. Don’t makeup stories to make yourself look good.  It can compromise your integrity and an investor needs to be able to trust you. 

You also want to be careful about being annoying.  Again, you don’t have a lot of time to make a great first impression.  You don’t want to come off as too cocky or flashy. The best course of action is to substantiate your claims and have a real plan you can confidently and competently execute. 

The truth is, not all pitches will be successful. There are risks in every opportunity but oftentimes, the rewards are bigger than the risks. You can lower the risks by offering realistic projections that show you’ve systematically mapped out how you’re going to make a profit. 

Crafting a Great Sales Pitch

As a salesperson, it’s your job to craft a rock-solid sales pitch to potential investors. The right pitch doesn’t sound too  “salesy.” During a pitch, be careful of talking too much. It could seem like you’re trying too hard and can be perceived as a lack of confidence in your presentation. 

Turn that around by keeping these key elements in mind when crafting a great sales pitch:

  • Come prepared
  • Be confident
  • Know your business
  • Show a level of traction and validation 
  • When presenting, take a deep breath and refrain from repeating the same things over and over again. 

“How To Craft A Rock Solid Sales Pitch To Potential Investors” episode resources

Connect with Brian Harrington by emailing him at brian@kevingharrington.tv. For more sales information and questions, you can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

The Accidental Seller Series

TSE 1223: The Accidental Seller Series 8-“Norma Bell”

The Accidental Seller SeriesThis is the last episode for the Accidental Seller Series. Because it’s the last, it needed a very special guest, Norma Davis Bell, Donald, The Sales Evangelist’s mom. Check out our previous Accidental Seller Series episodes. 

Norma Bell wanted to become a policewoman growing up because of the idea of protecting and helping people. As she grew older, however, her path took her in another direction.

After Norma decided she wasn’t going to train to be a policewoman, she discovered she had the skill to make dresses.  Norma’s older sister, Ivy, wanted to support her and connected her with a friend with the idea that Norma could be her apprentice.  As it turned out, however, the friend wanted an assistant more than she wanted to teach so the opportunity was short-lived. Ivy, who owned a small store and bar at the time, new Norma was great with people and invited her to work with her.

Ivy had a great head for business, was able to network well, could make things happen and managed the administrative details of their work.  What she was lacking, however, was the customer service skills. Her little sister, Norma, had a natural gift when it came to working with customers, entertaining people with jokes, and bringing joy to their places of business. This was especially evident when Norma worked in the store. As a cashier, even if she had the longest line, people would stand in line longer, just to wait for her. She knew the names of each of her customers and Norma made each of them feel special.  With the sisters working together, the businesses thrived.   

Working as a salesperson in the shop

Norma felt good while working in the shop because it gave her the opportunity to earn money. She felt happy knowing she brought in more customers to the store and to the bar. She talked and laughed with them and she became their reason for coming back. People gravitated towards the shop and the bar because of Norma’s outgoing personality. 

Seeing all the success, Norma’s husband eventually convinced her to quit working with Ivy to start her own business. She hadn’t wanted to leave but did so with her husband’s encouragement. 

Running and managing the store on her own was a challenge because all the pressure was on Norma. She no longer had Ivy handling the administrative aspects of the job and the money was leaving as quickly as it was coming in. 

Norma decided to close it down when the money ran out. She went to live back with Ivy.

After some time, the family moved to the United States and Norma went into customer service. She struggled for almost 4 years before things began to smooth out for her family. Despite the hardships, Norma decided to take on the challenges and opportunities the United States had to offer in order to give her kids a better life. Today, Norma enjoys the fruits of her labor through the success of her grown children, like Donald.  Even when he was young, she had dreams of Donald becoming a radio announcer. Today, she gets to be interviewed by her son! It’s a joy for Norma to listen to Donald, The Sales Evangelist, as he makes a global impact through his podcast.

Norma’s best advice:  Keep on going. Keep on praying.

“The Accidental Seller Series 8  – “Norma Bell” episode resources 

You can connect with Norma and her life story on Facebook. 

You can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Veronica Romney, Personal Brand

TSE 1222: How Can My Personal Brand Set Me Apart From My Competition 2020?

Veronica Romney, Personal BrandThe year is almost over. As a salesperson, how can you set your personal brand apart from your competition in 2020? 

Veronica Romney is solely focused on educating and facilitating individuals in their marketing and branding efforts. Veronica and her team are helping clients to stand out from their competition. They make it their goal to ensure you position yourself correctly so you can jump into the narrative and story that your prospective customer has as opposed to trying to force the customer into yours. 

You Don’t have to be the Best of the Best 

Set your personal brand apart from your competition even when you’re not the best in the business. Many businesses and sales reps are under the assumption that in order to distinguish their personal brand, they have to be the best of the best. The prevailing thought is that the only way to be seen as special is to look bigger and be better than everyone else in the same industry. This mindset can be exhausting for both business owners and sales professionals and can lead to burnout as they fight for consumer attention. Customers are bombarded with attention-seeking ads, streaming services, and other campaigns.  Companies and salespeople do a disservice to them by adding additional distractions that just focus on how great they are.

Veronica teaches her clients to focus on something more critical:  You don’t have to be your customer’s hero. It’s more important to be their guide in helping them get to where they want to go. 

Tony Robbins, for example, is a huge brand. He is a big name and a big individual with a big personality. Everything about Tony Robbins is larger-than-life and at the end of his documentary, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru,  he was asked what he hoped people would better understand about him through the documentary. His answer is critical to his branding and should be a great takeaway for people who work with consumers.

He said that it’s not really about people caring about the person, Tony Robbins. The Tony Robbins brand lets customers know that it’s the means to an end and it’s a company that will get them to where they want to go. Tony is aware that he isn’t the show and he isn’t the product.  It’s more about how they are transformed through him and what he teaches. People respond to the things that cause change, keeps them hungry, make them feel fulfilled and feel alive.  

His organization does that.

The Positioning Technique

CarMax uses this method of selling cars. You can use this tool to set your personal brand apart from your competition. The industry is overly saturated and the competition is stiff. There’s no point in fighting against the current. Instead, CarMax guides its customers where they want to go.  Whether the customer is purchasing a car, trading in or selling a car, CarMax has made it a simple three-step process. They have removed the barriers of haggling and negotiation from the interaction with their salespeople and by doing so, have made it easier for the customer to do business.

This positioning technique relieves salespeople from having to be the product or prove they’re the best. Instead, they can concentrate on being a guide, mentor or coach for their customers to avoid burnout. 

People need a guide when purchasing decisions need to be made. For example, someone buying a weight loss program or supplement isn’t just buying a product but the transformation that product offers. As a salesperson responsible for packaging products and services to the consumer, the goal isn’t to make the product the hero of the sales pitch. The goal is to offer transformation by helping customers understand how the product can get them to their destination.

Position Yourself as a Guide, Not the Hero. 

Consumers today are focused on their self-interests. Consumers want their problems solved quickly and as salespeople, guiding them through their ambitions is key. 

Develop your voice

It’s tempting to want to be a chameleon who can be everything to everyone but it’s also impossible. Yes, it’s important to mirror the person you are talking to in order to help build a connection but your voice must be unique to you and your brand. 

Let’s take Warren Buffet as an example. He is a billionaire, investor, and businessman. Warren Buffet is famous for writing an annual letter to his shareholders to talk about his market forecasts and investments for the upcoming year. 

MSNBC and Forbes have turned these letters into books. He has been able to deliver consistently, over decades, to successfully build a personal brand that people can trust and feel confident about. 

Warren did this by writing letters to just a single person, Doris. Writing to just one person makes the letters have a unique and intimate tone.

Speaking to one person creates consistency in your voice and people relate to that when you connect with them. 

Find Your Own Doris

Doris is Warren’s sister. He has an emotional connection to her and that’s the kind of affection and connection that you need to have with the people you choose to connect with. Finding your voice can be difficult, especially if you are new to sales, so find a favorite customer, someone that can really benefit from what you have to offer, and pretend you are speaking to that person every single time, no matter who your customer is. Eventually, you will be able to develop your natural tone consistently. 

It’s the same thing in politics. Politicians who are consistent and speak the same way, regardless of audience or circumstance draw people. 

There can be a disconnect when businesses have one person writing for their blogs, another person their press release, and yet another working their ads. Each person is going to have a different voice in their writing instead of having a company voice.  It’s important that there is consistency in a company voice throughout. 

Consider Asking Your Customers these Four Critical Questions

Veronica suggests four critical questions you can use to set your personal brand apart from your competition and help find your voice as a salesperson and help you understand your customers more intimately. They help to develop a relationship when you have an opportunity to survey a new client. The answers to these questions are a great vehicle to learn how to be the best guide you can be:

  • What are you trying to accomplish this year?

It’s important to set a time parameter on the things your customer wants to achieve. For example, you can ask about a quarter goal or a yearly goal. Setting a time frame gives you an endgame and will serve as a guide to where the customer hopes to go.

  • What do you think it would take to double your business results or your happiness this year?

Your goal is to enter their story and not to force them into yours. They have already been thinking about what they need to accomplish their goals but these questions allow you to go into the story they have already created in their own mind. What if their solutions are wrong for them? You have to know what they’re thinking to guide them to the right answer. 

  • What frustrates you the most about your business and life right now?

Whatever the answer is, your product and services have to offer the solution. You are in the business of taking away the pain and obstacles that prevent your customers from getting to where they want to go. Every client will have different pain points so you can’t make assumptions about what frustrates them about their business or life.

  • What have you tried to do to improve the situation you’re in?

Your customer’s answers will give you insight into what they’re open to trying. Knowing that you’re offering something they’ve never tried before may feel revolutionary to them. You need to understand what people are comfortable doing. 

The answers to these questions will allow you to see your client’s aspirations and what they think they need to double their business. Their answers will give you an idea of what frustrates them the most and what their pain points are. The questions tell you the mechanism and the behavior they’re already accustomed to. It’s why these 4 questions are critical in distinguishing yourself from the competition. 

Stay focused on your client and maintain the goal of making them the hero of their own story. You’re there to offer the transformation.

“How Can My Personal Brand Set Me Apart From My Competition 2020” episode resources

Catch up with Veronica via her personal website, veronicaromney.com. She is also on various social media such as Twitter

You can also catch up with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Felipe Lodi, LinkedIn Sales

TSE 1221: How To Create A LinkedIn Profile That Consistently Brings New Business To Your Pipeline

Felipe Lodi, LinkedIn SalesHow do you use your LinkedIn profile? Many salespeople create a LinkedIn profile to bring in new business. 

Felipe Lodi is a returning guest and he’s back to teach salespeople how they can create a LinkedIn profile to bring in new business. Felipe is based in Ireland and he is helping other expatriates like himself to establish themselves in Europe. By teaching them the social skills needed and building their LinkedIn accounts, he’s helping them market their abilities and attract opportunities. He launched his book, Advanced LinkedIn, last year and now, he holds hundreds of workshops within the public and private sectors throughout  Ireland. 

Common Mistakes Salespeople Make on LinkedIn 

There are many common mistakes made on LinkedIn. Once you know what they are, they can be avoided. The most common mistake is the failure to use their headlines creatively.  The headline is 120 characters long and can be found underneath your profile picture. Most people just list their titles with a brief job description. Doing this is a waste of characters. The tagline stay visible and can be used to make a value proposition. As an alternative to your title, create a sentence that shares your why, how you do what you do, and what you sell. 

Another common mistake is that people don’t utilize their Summary or About Me sections effectively.  These areas give you a whopping 5,000 characters to really make a statement.

Common content: 

  • Creating bullet points
  • Providing your contact number and email address

A better alternative: 

  • Reasons why you’re doing what you’re doing 
  • Tell people why you are the right person for them 

Your profile is where you talk about yourself. When you go outside your profile and start engaging with people and creating content for others, talk about your prospects and how you’re going to solve their problems. 

Creating your LinkedIn profile

It’s not necessary to spend money on LinkedIn to make money. Use LinkedIn because of its organic reach instead. 

There are three ways to enhance your account:

Optimize Your Profile

Profile Optimization is to better ensure people will get to the information about you you want them to see, make sure your LinkedIn profile is visually appealing.

If you are looking for a job, don’t open a LinkedIn account to just looking for employment, but seek ways for you to find opportunities.

If you are in sales, start believing that LinkedIn is your sales platform. It’s the best place to reach out to C level executives because you have direct access. There are no gatekeepers on LinkedIn and salespeople can use this accessibility to their advantage.

It’s important to make your profile visually appealing. People will judge images before they read any information. It’s important to have an avatar and profile picture that looks professional. When Felipe changed his profile picture to an image of him holding a mic, the invitations for speaking engagements began to grow. People believed he had the ability to speak because of the image of him already doing the job. Use your photo to tell people what you do without them ever having to go to your profile. 

The people who invited Felipe to speak were the people who already had him on their radar because they already had a relationship through engaging on LinkedIn. Every little detail counts – the picture, the tagline, and the summary need to support the story you want to tell and what you want potential clients to know.

Start Creating Content

LinkedIn’s algorithm doesn’t downgrade content that looks like an advertisement, unlike Facebook and Instagram. You can take advantage of the organic reach by posting free ads.  In doing so, you reach people with whom you’re connected without paying any additional fees. LinkedIn’s ad platform is still fairly young compared to Facebook. For example, LinkedIn doesn’t have a feature to target a specific demographic but it can still be used to publish compelling content to attract business. 

The second part of Felipe’s methodology is to create a LinkedIn profile to bring in new business through the content you’re offering. Your content is your vehicle to attract more people to your profile.  If offers an opportunity to inject your products and services in a way that is appealing. For example, create educational content and allow people to have access at no charge. Include some components that talk about the items or services you offer. 

How to build your content:

  • In the first paragraph, talk about what you do. 
  • In the second paragraph, tell them a story about how you’ve helped someone in the past.

Content on LinkedIn needs to be there at all times. Utilize automation to repurpose your content for different time zones. Automating your content gives you more time to do the third part which is engagement.

Consider the Cost of Engagement

The last method you can use on how to use the LinkedIn profile to bring in new business is the cost of engagement which includes the time you invest in the activity on your profile, especially with the people who want to connect with you.  The more you engage, the more attractive your profile becomes. The relationships you nurture in the present can turn into future selling opportunities. You can show potential buyers how committed you are in your profile presentation and content creation. Don’t let two weeks go by without checking in. You want to let people know you’re accessible and you’re ready to answer their questions. Position yourself as an authority within your niche.

You may not see a lot of results such as likes from your posts but that’s fine. Even when you don’t see the number of likes, it doesn’t mean that it’s not working. LinkedIn only chases the number of views that matters. Your post might have zero likes but gets 230 that means, 230 people have stopped for at least three seconds to check your content. 

Even when people didn’t like or share your post, they have come to associate your face, your compelling tagline, and the type of content that you are pushing. 

LinkedIn also breaks down the number of views of your post such as the names of the companies that viewed your post. 

As a salesperson,  you can follow up with the people who have seen your post to start the conversation. They may have not liked but they keep seeing your posts and make the association with your content. There is something there that you can explore. Don’t be stuck in content creation, make sure to have time to create engagement. Try not to be anxious about the spellings and other menial things, put more importance on how you can repurpose your content. 

“How To Create A LinkedIn Profiles That Consistent Bring New Business In Your Pipeline” episode resources

Catch up with Felipe Lodi via his LinkedIn account. You can also check on his book, Advanced LinkedIn

You can also reach out to Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Debby Montgomery Johnson, Accidental Seller

TSE 1220: The Accidental Seller Series 7  – “Debby Montgomery Johnson”

Debby Montgomery Johnson, Accidental SellerHere’s another episode from the Accidental Seller Series where we interview successful salespeople who didn’t start their careers with the intention of going into sales. 

Debby Montgomery Johnson is the president of Benfotiamine.net. Most of Debby’s family members are in the medical field and growing up, she wanted to be an anesthesiologist. It was during middle school when she worked at a hospital, she thought being an anesthesiologist was cool. When she got into high school, she discovered medicine wasn’t for her. Her interest was in languages so she studied French, Spanish, and a little bit of German. Once in college, she majored in Political Science and got her bachelor’s degree. 

Debby had planned to go on to law school but after she got out of college, she enrolled in paralegal school and worked for a firm specializing in corporate and family law after graduation.  Unfortunately, she was let go from that job. 

Getting into sales

Being released from her paralegal job became the catalyst for her going into the Air Force where she served for eight years, even in Germany.

Debby was working with the Pentagon as an imagery analyst and during that time, their work entailed analyzing photos from the Cold War. Till then, Debby had never really looked at the sales industry as a career. When Debby thought of sales,  thoughts of a car salesman or vacuum cleaner salesman came to mind. She didn’t really want to be a salesperson. 

Debby left the Air Force when she had her third baby and started working as a bank manager. There were sales involved in her job but what she really wanted to do was assist people and help them with their finances. Debby left the job when her husband died so she could take over their company. Debby had no experience in running a company that was based on internet sales. 

As she became more involved, she realized the company made more money in a month than she made in a whole year. This convinced her to jump into the business full-time. Thus her becoming a part of our Accidental Seller series episode. 

Fears about sales 

Most salespeople in our accidental seller series have fears. For Debby, her biggest fear was the fact that the company wasn’t familiar with the details. It was built to help people suffering from diabetes with neuropathy. Her late husband, Lou, had the same disease.  The company offered products that worked for him and he shared a personal testimony about how each product worked for him. It was hard for Debby to really embrace the company as hers and to believe in herself when she didn’t know how the products helped their clients. She didn’t have the confidence in herself that she could actually sell. 

Debby was able to get past that fear by bringing her father into the company. 

Her father answers the phone and talks to clients. Being a retired dentist, he has a medical background that helps build rapport. Debby’s father also understands the chemistry side as well as the medical side of their company. 

Debby’s first sale made her ecstatic. It was fun and it released her from the fear of talking to clients. She was getting to interact with them as a person, not just a client. She made it her goal to build relationships, not just transactions. 

Selling is helping

Debby has a great mindset as a salesperson. She talks to clients and only sells products that will help their specific needs. She keeps a positive outlook throughout but understands people are different and every product may not work for every person. With this understanding,  she tries to create opportunities for clients to try a product so they can see if it works for them. Instead of just trying to complete a transaction, Debby is making interactions more personal. She thinks of her clients like family and she’s willing to go through great lengths for her family. 

Even with all their success, there are trying times throughout Debby’s sales experience as well. An example is when she’s calling potential clients and there is an apprehension the client will say no. Cold calls are dreadful for Debby. 

One challenging client was a doctor.  Debby’s company had stopped selling the product the doctor wanted so Debby called her and left a message. When she finished the message, she started complaining about the client to her son. It was right after that she heard on her phone, “If you are satisfied with the message, please hit send.”

Needless to say, she got a phone call from the client telling her how unprofessional she had been. 

Should I quit?

It would be easier to quit than run a business but Debby has become very close to her clients and sees them as part of her family. She feels responsible for the products they take and she just can’t turn her back on that. With the mindset that clients come first at all times, she keeps on pushing on with sales. 

Her husband’s death has been life-changing for her but it’s the reason why she went into sales. She has since expanded her career path and is now an advocate for relationship survivors. Debby has also started a nonprofit organization called The Woman Behind the Smile. 

For Debby, it’s important to just jump into it when she finds something she likes. She knows if you fail, it only means you’re one step closer to your goal. 

“The Accidental Seller Series” episode resources

Catch up with Debby Montgomery Johnson by going to benfocomplete.com or through her email addresses,  orders@benfotiamine.net or debby@thewomanbehindthesmile.com

You can also reach out to Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Devin Reed, Closing Revenue

TSE 1219: 5 Counter-intuitive Mistakes Preventing You From Closing Revenue

Devin Reed, Closing RevenueThere are times salespeople don’t make the best decisions that would lead to closing deals. These mistakes can cause a fall. Let’s take a look at the 5 counterintuitive mistakes preventing you from closing revenue

Devin Reed is a content strategy manager at Gong. He handles all the content marketing strategy courses and responsible for presentations. He also goes to roadshows, such as Sales Live Miami. 

At this roadshow, Devin talked about  5 Counterintuitive Mistakes Preventing You From Closing Revenue. It’s about the five things salespeople think are good practices, and are trained to believe are good habits when in fact, they’re doing the opposite. These five mistakes hurt their deals and sales conversations. What Devin is sharing is backed up by data. 

Devin works for a company that has millions of sales conversations. They’ve looked and analyzed these conversations to see patterns that help them get an idea of the things salespeople talk about the most. Here are the 5 counterintuitive mistakes preventing you from closing revenue. 

  • Using the ROI to seal the deal
  • Focusing on quantity when it comes to discovery questions
  • Answering objections quickly and thoroughly
  • Using  large enterprise clients
  • Using cold call opening line

Don’t use ROI to seal the deal

People make the mistake of using the ROI to close. Finding a way to bring ROI into the conversation is one of the basic strategies taught to beginning sales reps.  This strategy is proving to be counterintuitive. 

ROI isn’t bad in itself, but it becomes an ineffective tool when it is used for persuasion. Presenting your ROI to the client doesn’t work because the information doesn’t go to the right part of their brain. 

The human brain has two parts – the emotional and rational. More often than not, the right part processes information later than the emotional part. If you want to get the attention of your prospects, you need to tap into the emotional side of their brains first. You do this by giving them a before and after story.

“Hey, I was in a podcast and not to brag or anything but that podcast did so well. They were doing this and that. I came on and I did this thing and two weeks later, they saw an X increase in their ROI.” This is an example of a “before and after”, then diving into the ROI. 

When you are able to provide the identifiers with the before and after stories, the emotional pull comes in. Make it a goal to tap into their curiosity instead of just desperately presenting the numbers. A good salesperson always to starts with emotion and understands people need to feel before they will give you their ear and show interest. After you’ve piqued their interest, then you can get to the boss to present the ROI. You show them what you can do for them is not only a great idea but also makes fiscal sense. 

Another reason why presenting the ROI often doesn’t work is because it’s naively done. Junior sales reps usually speak to CFOs who have years of experience. Their newness in the industry and lack of confidence make their calculations look phony. CFOs don’t find the numbers trustworthy. 

Focusing on quantity when it comes to discovery questions

Most salespeople have a discovery playbook with 15 to 30 questions. New sales reps believe it’s necessary to ask them all because they have the mindset the more questions mean more information and eventually, the more chances of closing the deal. While asking questions isn’t a bad thing per se,  on the other hand, it gives buyers discovery fatigue. It feels more like an interrogation than a valuable business conversation. 

Based on the data, 11 – 14 targeted questions is the sweet spot for the number of questions a salesperson should ask. The article by Chris Orlob entitled Why You Can’t Sell to C-suite Executives shares how salespeople only have four questions to ask C-suite executives. 

Tips when asking targeted questions: 

  • Use open-ended questions Using open-ended questions allows you to get more information. Ask one question that prompts a stream of answers. 
  • Get someone to think instead of reciting information  Ask questions that will make them think about their answer. For example, “How is that tech stack preventing you from closing revenue?” This question causes them to take a moment before giving an answer. 
  • Ask connected questions  Don’t just throw out random questions. Ask them in a way that paints a bigger picture. 

Answering objections quickly and thoroughly 

Answering directly shows how ready salespeople are to handle objections but the downside to that is the risk of actually answering the wrong objections. Instead, pause and wait. The benefits go both ways. For the salesperson, pausing creates room to time to think and for the prospect, the pause makes them feel heard. 

By the middle of the discussion, the prospect has already decided if they want to actually meet with the salesperson.  It’s the salesperson’s responsibility to make sure the conversation is good throughout the meeting so prospects see the value and have a good time. The prospect of enjoying the conversation is the most important goal. 

Using the enterprise logo when selling

Data shows that salespeople using social proof has actually a lesser success rate. Salespeople may think dropping names of big companies they’ve worked with is compelling information but prospects don’t share the same perspective. Instead of building trust with the prospect, what it does is alienate them.

The right approach is to use tribal identifiers. This means building a tribe based on shared characteristics. The best salespeople will have three to six tribal identifiers to make the connection more appealing and compelling. For small startup businesses with fewer clients, salespeople can make a hyper-specific process. This would mean not focusing on the same geography, for example, but instead, targeting companies with the same struggles and goals. 

Salespeople need to show their clients they are more than just someone on LinkedIn. They need to invest time upfront if they want to be heard. #SalesFacts

Cold call opening line

Many believe if you want to catch your prospect’s attention, give them an opportunity to first say no. The assumption is that using an opening line that allows them an opportunity to say no gives the prospect the power they want to feel in the conversation. Philosophically, you want them to feel comfortable in letting their guard down. 

This strategy doesn’t work. Data says there’s a 6.6X increase when, instead of trying to get them to say no, you ask instead, “How have you been doing?”

The potential client answers in the same vein and it causes a pattern interrupt. Your opening line isn’t something that the receiver is expecting. 

An opening question like, “Hey, this is Devin. Did I catch you at a good time?” is a telltale sign that it’s a cold call and immediately the guard goes up. From that point on, it’s an uphill battle.  

Always remember the before and after story because that’s how trust is built. People may not remember you but they will remember your story. You don’t have to be a great salesperson to share a story, you just have to share stories of value. 

“5 Counterintuitive Mistakes Preventing You From Closing Revenue” episode resources

Catch Devin’s podcast, Reveal the Revenue Intelligence, where they interview industry leaders who understand how they use their revenue intelligence to win the market. They have a pretty impressive line-up of key interviews. Connect with Devin Reed in his LinkedIn profile

You can also reach out to Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

This podcast is also brought to you in part by Reveal the Revenue Intelligence podcast. It’s about utilizing data to make business decisions instead of just guessing your way through major sales decisions. Visit gong.io for their podcast. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

You can also read more about sales or listen to audiobooks on Audible and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.