Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
October 23, 2017

#587 Trust is the Real Sales Accelerator. With Stephen M. R. Covey.

Stephen M. R. Covey, Co-Founder and CEO of Coveylink Worldwide, and author of the worldwide bestseller, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


  • Stephen says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is building a relationship of trust with the customer or prospect. It’s a whole new way of competing and it’s a huge differentiator for selling. You have to move a lot faster.
  • Character and competence, combined in equal share, make a person or a company credible. Credibility leads to prospects having confidence. Credibility establishes your reputation. Credibility and behavior lead to trust quickly.
  • The quickest way to build trust with someone is to make them a value-added commitment and keep it. Repeat the process. The first job of sales is to create trust. The second job is to create value. Keep these in order.
  • Andy gives a case study of a client committing to respond to every lead within 30 minutes, which doubled their sales. Stephen ties this to keeping commitments and the reps’ building self-trust as they did so. Make, keep, repeat.
  • Companies view the ability to make good decisions quickly as a competitive advantage. Reps then can help them do that will build trust. It becomes an upward virtuous cycle. Don’t think that trust takes a long time.
  • Sales is being driven by metrics. Trust is a hard asset that is quantifiable. It is an economic accelerator. It affects the speed at which we move and the cost of everything. There is a formula for creating trust.
  • Sales is trust monetized. It is a natural extension of the relationship established. Then come referrals, where trust is transferred from your customer to your prospect, who buys faster, and at less cost for marketing.
  • Technology and AI tend to disintermediate the rep from the relationship. The opposite should be true. With more technology, the trusted advisor relationship becomes even more important.
  • We can’t outsource trust through the content we produce. It starts with the people. Your first contact will determine whether you win the deal. Stephen talks about the eBay exception, which builds trust through the system.
  • Stephen gives a case study on a company using a Speed of Trust workshop to build trust in their team as well as in a prospect. At the end, the prospect did go with the company that invited them to the trust workshop.
  • Andy compares medical care to sales. People want to talk to a trusted doctor, not to a website.  The same is true in sales. We research our purchase online, then we talk to a trusted sales rep. That last step is the most vital.
  • We have the ability to be better at creating trust. Read Stephen’s book. Reinvent yourself. Self-trust precedes relationship trust. Disruption is the mother of reinvention. It helps us stay credible. Trust is learnable.



For Vice Presidents of Sales of high-growth SaaS companies and software service companies — Andy is teaming up with his friend Jacco van der Kooij, founder of Winning by Design and author of Blueprints of a SaaS Sales Organization, to launch the Sales Leadership Accelerator Mastermind, an intensive 12-month learning, coaching, and mastermind program for the Vice Presidents of Sales of high-growth SaaS companies. If the responsibility sits on your shoulders to scale your revenue team, to hit the $100 million mark ARR and beyond, then the Sales Leadership Accelerator Mastermind will help you transform how you sell, scale, and develop the capabilities of your team to crush your goals. Enrollment is limited to a very small group, so go to now, to learn more and enroll today.

October 4, 2017

#579 Sales Relationships Cannot be Automated. With Tiffani Bova.

Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[7:01] Tiffani says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is that the customers are far more in control and more prepared. Salespeople as a group have fatigue from all the hype. Reps need to keep engaged with customer technology.

[8:14] Those most overwhelmed are the ones least engaged in learning and adaptation. Tiffani says you constantly have to be a student of your profession, include storytelling, tenacity, and being prepared. Hone in on a vertical; take a class; learn tools.

[13:24] Some layers of sales are more threatened than others. SaaS SDRs could be supplanted by bots. Tiffani presents advice for SDRs to filter through their lists.

[14:57] A machine can filter through the list, but the relationships cannot be automated. With a filtered list, the SDR is always working the best 250 of the list, and can build relationships with personalized messages and video.

[16:21] The skills that will be most valued by employers will be involved in becoming more human in relationships and in collaboration. This can be done with 250 people. New tools will allow reps to focus more on customer needs and success.

[22:24] Andy has worked at a lot of companies where the perception starts at the top that sales as a ‘necessary evil.’ The gap between marketing and sales is getting larger. Tiffani reminds us that the salesperson is who the customer calls.

[26:18] Andy notes a SaaS business in the Valley who attributes more than 50% of their revenue today to Customer Success. Tiffani discusses customer experience, success, service, and sales. Experience is what the customer feels.

[28:12] One problem customers perceive is inadequate alignment between sales, support, success, service, etc. If customers don’t feel unity, there will be churn. Tiffani blames it on customer-facing silos using different metrics.

[31:55] Why is there competition between marketing and sales? It’s really a turf war. Let’s not fight for the steering wheel while we’re driving. There are parts of the buying journey owned by different groups, and the hand-off must be smooth.

[34:05] Individual contributors need to ask what’s best for their customer. In the end it will work out. The customer watches the behavior of the reps. Have enough in the pipeline to account for slip. Don’t try to force a prospect back in.

[36:03] Trust the process, and have trust in yourself as a contributor. Process and metrics do not fit every prospect. Individual contributors sometimes do not have the freedom to go outside the box. Sales managers need to use the CRM.

[39:49] Managers should not manage the way they were managed. There have been too many changes in the technology and the process. Managers need to coach. Tiffani gives examples of gamified training. Sharpen your blade!



This week we are celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of Accelerate! Accelerate! has been downloaded well over one million times and recognized twice by Inc.! Andy would like to hear from you about your favorite episode, guest, or topic. See the complete list of episodes at Leave Andy a message about your favorite episode to receive a free signed copy of Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions, by Andy Paul. You will need to provide your physical mailing address to receive the book.

The new Accelerate! schedule starts this week, with episodes released on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

August 25, 2017

#551. Connecting, collaborating and building relationships. With Bridget Gleason.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.


[2:30] After two years Andy is back to todo lists, because he got behind and his calendar was full. He hopes to keep the situation temporary. Bridget’s company had a good quarter. That gave her 12 hours of relief.

[5:24] Andy trained reps to cold-call sell computers in the Bay Area. One rep partied every night, and never changed his clothes. He burned out. Another rep, who had forged his transcript, left a customer’s office in the middle of a meeting.

[10:25] Companies used to hire hundreds or thousands of new grads, to see who would stick and who would wash out. Bridget has not seen such colorful hires in her experience. She maintains a professional decorum.

[12:31] President’s Club is taken as a time by many reps to go drinking. Bridget talks about why people go into sales, and not safeguard their reputation.

[16:12] There is some expectation of ‘bad boy behavior,’ in sales, including harassment. Andy mentions recent episodes of senior executives forced to resign because of abominable behavior towards women. Bridget fights against stereotypes.

[21:33] In some firms, executives know of bad behaviors, and let them go on. If you don’t address them, they become the norm. Call out harassment. Bridget’s CEO called out someone joking over the line, and Bridget and her team addressed it.

[24:03] People aren’t always self-aware. Talk about incidents before they become a big thing. Be accommodating of diversity. We need diversity. Make people feel comfortable for their voice to be heard.

[26:19] Essential skills in this age include relationships, teamwork, and collaboration. A sales rep must master these.

[27:02] As we welcome technology, and adapt it to achieve what we want to achieve, recognize what it is not set up to do, such as connecting, collaborating, and building relationships.

[27:30] How we treat other people, in and out of the workplace, determines how we will master building relationships. Research correlates behaviors towards people outside of work with behaviors towards those inside of work.

July 31, 2017

#526. Rethinking Sales for the 21st Century. With Chris Ortolano.

Chris Ortolano, Sales Productivity Partner at Outbound Edge, and Chapter President of the AA-ISP in Portland, Oregon, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[1:52] Chris thinks the biggest challenge facing sales reps is being overwhelmed with information, with no opportunity to classify it into knowledge. Chris suggests contexts for learning and memorizing.

[2:51] Chris describes a sales rep today: one part politician, one part tango dancer, and one part air traffic controller.

[4:23] Chris started Sales Stack, a free forum for practitioners and leaders to create a learning community. Topics are sales technology, metrics, and outcomes.

[6:51] Many threads in sales forums are on technology and technique more than the buyer. Chris has interviewed customers to collect stories about the digital buyer journey.

[9:25] Chris discusses trends of building relationships and discovery skills in SaaS, with examples of companies creating academy models of training.

[11:14] Sales requires a person talking to another person. Technology should make that moment as effective as possible. Chris introduces a five-part framework for thinking about how to talk to buyers. Sales is a craft to practice.

[16:24] Middle performers have potential to improve, and it would help for management to invest in their development. Chris calls the current ‘hire-to-fire’ model archaic.

[17:33] Many VPs moved up the ranks that way, and they make the decisions. A few companies realize that knowledge is a powerful fulcrum, and they can ‘train to retain.’

[19:13] Chris details his beliefs about sales productivity. There is still no scientific metric for it. Balance sheets ignore talent. Salespeople are knowledge workers.

[26:24] Data always has a story. If we allow cognitive bias to interpret it, we miss the point. Silos limit the modern organization. Knowledge needs to be shared in companies.

[27:28] Chris explores how sales could be reimagined within the company. Onboarding needs to include business knowledge from all departments, on top of domain expertise.

[31:08] Chris’ five-part framework for rethinking sales is: Curiosity, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication skills, and Change.


July 28, 2017

#523. Coping with the Ups and Downs of Sales and Life. With Bridget Gleason.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.


[2:14] Bridget cites a book about living a good life by not stressing about the less important aspects. Pay most attention to relationships, health, family, and purpose.

[3:19] Andy refers to another book with the same lesson. It’s easy to obsess about sales performance. Andy remembers his blood pressure going through the roof at age 23 in his first management job. Do the best you can, and let go of it.

[5:45] Calmness comes with age and practice. Surveys taken in retirement say retirees’ biggest regret is having worried too much. Worry is worthless.

[7:15] Bridget’s nature would be to worry. She works against that tendency, using mindfulness and meditation deliberately to calm the mind. She aspires to not go up and down with the sales number.

[8:43] Andy spent about a month doing little because of sickness. When he started to worry, he engaged in meditation. Bridget relates how she coached a new rep having a low quarter. It’s good to be resilient.

[11:24] The highs and the lows are transitory. Other things in life can compensate. If you put in the basic work, the score takes care of itself. Have patience during longer sales cycles.

[12:44] A man once worked for Andy who had a nervous tic when he was worried about his performance. He had good reason to worry. We need to get out of our own way. We may need to be shown our blind spots.

[13:56] Sales coaching is being neglected, which means reps are looking for direction from a trusted source. This should be their manager.

[15:48] When Bridget is being direct, she is giving constructive criticism, not destructive. She also appreciates that her team shares direct feedback with her.

[17:47] The most difficult conversation is to fire someone. Bridget had to fire a top rep, who had sabotaged the system so he got all the leads. She hopes he learned from it. Andy has had to fire people who had just experienced family tragedies.

[23:16] Though a termination is a business necessity, it is a hardship to the person terminated. The company should make every effort to coach the person before a decision is made. And they may go into a situation that is a better fit.

July 10, 2017

#505. 5 Proven Habits of Number One Performers. With Scott Ingram.

Scott Ingram, a practicing salesperson in his day job, and moonlighting as host of the Sales Success Stories Podcast, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[1:13] Scott sees the single biggest challenge facing sales reps as overwhelm, from responsibilities, confusion on tactics and ideas on how to get the job done, and trying to maintain focus in a very noisy environment. Scott has turned off notifications.

[4:53] Scott began the Sales Success Stories podcast to learn what the very best salespeople do. Superior salespeople are too busy to write books. Sales Success Stories offers a forum to the top sales contributor in an organization.

[7:05] Scott has learned that the best salespeople believe in the value their solution brings. They believe it is best in class. Scott explains this is through their passion for their solution.

[8:56] Some sales reps land on the one-in-a-million solution that takes off like crazy. That is a best-in-class case. Competing solutions are also being sold by passionate sales reps, who believe they represent best-in-class, as well.

[9:50] You have to believe in the value you deliver. Scott says the best reps believe in themselves, and have confidence and trust in their process, and their ability to execute.

[13:18] Top performers focus on their clients and care deeply about their results. Scott says the conversations smash the stereotype of top performers. They are passionate on helping their clients and building long-term relationships.

[16:17] Top performers surround themselves with the best, and grow themselves. When they start at an organization, they find the top people for role models of what works. Scott gives an example of one practice. Scott’s podcast is for this purpose.

[18:44] The broadest theme shared among top performers is they have a deep level of self-awareness, they know their strengths, and they leverage them creatively.

[21:52] Find your comfort level. Most organizations have a strict program for sales. Highly successful people who stretch the process may be seen as disruptors, not as cultural fits.

[24:04] Sales is not an assembly line. Bombarding the market more with ineffective calls does not sell. Scott’s most effective SDR guests have been creative, not compliant. Make ‘dials’ more effective, not more numerous.

[29:39] Top performers orient around goals, and develop habits, routines, and actions to make them happen. They understand that a goal is not enough. Routines support goals. Optimize everything you do.

[31:56] Habits are routines. Confidence is built on habits of achievement. Instead of spending all your time halfway engaged in activities, do one thing at 100%, finish it, and do the next one. SEAL Jocko Willink said, “Discipline equals freedom.”

[35:46] U.S. Soldiers are so well trained, and unambiguous about their jobs, that they make the right decisions and take the right initiatives on their own. Andy cites books on WWII by Stephen E. Ambrose. Scott is from a military family.

April 14, 2017

Build the Right Relationships with Your Buyers. With Bridget Gleason. #432

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular guest on Front Line Fridays.


[1:43] The topic is relationships with buyers. The definition of relationship is key. Unless they buy online, and don’t interact with a person, there is a relationship, but is it a friendship?

[3:37] A relationship is a connection. There are fundamental parameters for a buyer-seller relationship that buyers want.

[6:24] The relationship is based on the seller’s performance in support of the buyer’s needs. Expectations of both parties must be met to maintain the relationship.

[9:39] Positive neutrality is the minimum relationship. A buyer who actively dislikes you will soon go to someone else. Should the buyer’s relationship be with the salesperson, or with the salesperson’s company?

[12:06] Doug Sandler’s Nice Guys Finish First, asserts that being nice is the key to attracting buyers. People buy from people — in particular, from people they enjoy.

[14:19] Gallup published a statement several years ago about a huge mismatch between buyers’ and sellers’ perceptions of the value of the relationship. Who values the emotional factor?

[14:55] Where do salespeople get the belief that they should be friends with the buyers? What do buyers want from the relationship? Techniques are easier to teach than likability.

[15:46] A bright person can learn the features of any product well enough to sell it, but can’t always learn to approach buyers on the right personal level. Interpersonal skills are not easy for everyone.

[17:14] Bridget does not hire “jerks.” In most instances, being nice carries you further.

[18:07] You need resilience in the relationship, if and when things go wrong during the purchase.

[19:41] Bridget recalls a sale with manufacturer production delays that were damaging to a buyer. Their past positive experiences helped them to see the purchase through.

[21:09] Difficult situations call for increased communications, not for hiding from the customer. Overcommunicate. Do not let the relationship fall apart from neglect.

March 21, 2017

How To Build Trust-based Relationships in Sales. With Charles Green. #411

Joining me once again on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Charles Green, one of the co-authors of The Trusted Advisor, author of Trust-Based Selling: Using Customer Focus and Collaboration to Build Long-Term Relationships, and consultant to corporations on the subject of trust.


[:49] Charlie’s background is in consulting and writing about trust, as it applies to large, complex, intangible services.

[1:35] Charlie addresses how to establish personalized, legitimate links between sellers and buyers in complex sales. Among “know, like, and trust,” which aspect is at the heart?

[4:04] How does reciprocity relate to trust? Charlie talks about a series of asymmetrical interactions. Why does he ‘BARG’?

[7:58] Charlie explains the origin of the handshake. How does vulnerability influence trust? What is the role of small talk?

[8:32] With more technology in the buying process, when does the salesperson need to interact first with the buyer?

[11:50] Charlie talks about challenging, adding value, taking risks, and exposing vulnerability. Complex sales are ‘high-wire.’

[12:44] Trust requires the exact truth. What is the flaw in managing expectations, to ‘exceed’ them?

[16:42] Charlie starts to explain the three steps the buyer takes to choose a vendor.

[19:40] In a proposal presentation, do you focus on yourself, your company, and product, or ask about the buyer’s needs?

[25:46] What is the justification step of the buying decision? When does emotion drive the buying process?

[28:50] Where do you draw the line between value you give away, and value you sell?

[30:25] What is the lie behind ‘tough ideas,’ and ‘adding value’? What is the actual driving factor of the buying decision?

March 18, 2017

Small Talk Leads to Sales Talk. With Stephanie Melish. #409

Stephanie Melish is an inspirational speaker and certified business coach.


[4:09] Stephanie learned sales, and is certified as a business coach and trainer. She wants to impact her community.

[4:39] Stephanie finds the biggest challenge for salespeople today to be lack of experience. Stephanie’s experience came in fund raising. Some entrepreneurs have no sales experience.

[6:00] What does Stephanie say about process, procedure, and scripts? What is the role of knowledge and authenticity?

[6:54] Stephanie has suggestions to replace verbatim scripts. How does she feel when somebody reads at her?

[9:28] To build rapport, embrace who you are, and learn who the prospect is. Know the area code you are calling, and current events there, like sports, and research the social profile of the person. Small talk leads to business talk.

[13:33] Stephanie wrote an article on November 7, about her convictions on the election. What did she say that spiked her unsubscribe numbers?

[15:18] Is it necessary for one woman to break a glass ceiling, either in politics, or in the sales profession? Stephanie urges people to continue to improve themselves, and put their work ethic to good use, to strive to get ahead independent of their gender.

[20:10] Stephanie gives advice to females. Don’t think of sales as a dirty word. Salespeople build relationships. They don’t conduct transactions. Sales is a service. If you are excited about solving problems through relationships, that is sales.

[24:31] Stephanie wrote about Scandal, and Olivia Pope. What is a fixer, and how is a salesperson a fixer in a positive way? Sales is leadership.

[26:19] Stephanie discusses behaviors of a successful leader. What is most important?

[29:04] How do you discover prospect expectations? How can unknown expectations derail a deal? How can you make sure that you exceed expectations?

March 1, 2017

Using Social Teaming to Build Your Referral Team. With Dean DeLisle. #394

Dean DeLisle, is the Founder and CEO of Forward Progress, Inc.


[1:02] Dean started Forward Progress 13 years ago. When digital and social media came out, Dean wanted to educate salespeople on how to use it effectively.

[2:41] The biggest myth around social selling is that it is as simple as putting up a LinkedIn profile. Opening a door does not automatically invite and attract customers.

[4:32] A study shows that 75% of execs who buy use social media. Connect with enough people to engage with active buyers you can serve.

[5:51] Buyers today do not phone their friends for purchase recommendations; they go to social media connections, and ask them for product recommendations. People trust their network.

[7:18] IDC says buyers are coming into the sales cycle later in the buying process, after their own research. The buyer’s credibility is on the line with each purchase. Connections in common with the vendor or salesperson provide validation.

[11:12] Social teaming is derived from sports team practices, and their recruitment vetting profiles. Dean coaches entrepreneurs to determine, and team up with, the top five people they know well, that would give reciprocal referrals.

[15:40] Dean found 92% of people are actually spending most of their time with people in their network who are not good candidates for their top five team of referral producers.

[17:16] When their top five people aren’t performing, they need 10 more to back them up. Those are the bench. The next 25 on the list are the practice squad. This team of 40 represents the authentic relationships people can manage. Connects to two of the 40 per day, socially, acknowledging mutual business interests.

[19:02] The relationships are scored 0 to 5. A “5,” is a close connection that will regularly provide referrals, sometimes without being asked. You can also look at their social connections and ask for referrals you need.
[20:22] How do I identify my top five? Look at the people you know who already help you. Find the most helpful one, and look for four more like them.

[24:57] To scout for new team members, at a networking event, consciously connect with people you haven’t met, and evaluate them against your top five. You may discover “the next starter.” Daily pick two of your 40 to consider to advance.

[30:43] Not everyone on LinkedIn is your team. Focus on relationships with people you can help, and who can help you. Dean’s team is developing a mobile app with an AI relationship engine to make recommendations. Until then, it’s all manual.