Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
August 13, 2017

What Should You Be Doing, But Aren’t? Overcoming The Sales Fears That Are Holding You Back With Townsend Wardlaw.

Townsend Wardlaw is a sales transformation architect. In this episode, he talks in depth about the fears that paralyze many sales reps and provides effective strategies they can use to overcome them to transform their sales results. Townsend describes the common rationalizations that sales reps use to justify inaction in the face of their fears; whether it is fear of prospecting, fear of presenting or fear of asking for the order. He talks about the lessons he learned overcoming his own paralyzing anxieties of public speaking, and how you can use them in your own selling. Everyone in sales has fears about some aspect of selling. But they don’t have to hold you back! You definitely want to listen to this episode.

August 11, 2017

#537. Empathy: In Shorter Supply as Demand Increases. With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[3:24] Andy recently interviewed Geoff Colvin about his latest book, Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will, a deep dive into the impact of industry and tech on employment, so far, and to come.

[4:57] Colvin covers the job changes through industrialization, electrification, technology, and the fourth phase, where the largest profession, drivers, are about to be replaced, and legal discovery will be done by machines, better than attorneys.

[8:01] Colvin claims the skills that will be more valuable are the human skills: relationship building, collaboration, and co-creation, where machines are ineffective. These skills are in the province of sales. Salespeople are not going away.

[9:17] Andy notes that sales management discussion groups online are filled with threads on technology and process, but free of questions on the customer. The interaction between two humans is what will continue to drive sales.

[11:04] Geoff Colvin quotes an Oracle exec: “Empathy is the critical 21st Century skill.” — Meg Bear, Group VP, Social Cloud, Oracle. However, yearly college research shows the amount of empathy is declining in students, since 1980.

[12:11] The population of people coming into the workforce has less of the highly valued skill of empathy. That may give an edge to women, and may help attract women into sales leadership roles.

[14:51] Oxford Economics research lists near-term needed skills: empathy, relationship building, teamwork, co-creation, collaboration, and cultural sensitivity. Women may be strong in these skills. Bridget sees one female to 19 male applicants.

[16:29] Does your job description call for empathizing, collaborating, co-creating, and building relationships? Andy has never seen a sales posting for those needed skills. Bridget recalls a former ad that moved her, based around empathy.

[19:44] Bridget first had a female boss at Engineyard, in 2012. More often she was one of a few females on a team. Females are underrepresented in sales — especially in sales leadership.

[20:52] As technology moves more into human jobs, it is still limited in the space of human interaction, and will be limited for some time. Human characteristics differentiate yourself in how you sell through engagement.

[22:33] Machines are getting better, but we are not. Moore’s law is still on track, or accelerating. So the way to be better is to be more human. Will SDR roles become automated? That may come sooner, as the role is more automatic.

[26:08] Co-collaboration will not become easily replicated through machine intelligence. If your role is one that does not add value to customers, they might as well be talking to a machine. Add customer value to your role.

August 9, 2017

#535. Why Best Practices are Stupid. With Stephen Shapiro.

Stephen Shapiro, Hall of Fame speaker, and author of a few books, including Best Practices are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate! 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:23] Stephen says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps is the same challenge facing companies: differentiation. What do you do to help yourself to stand out? Stephen suggests recognizing what makes you special?

[6:21] Why best practices are stupid: replication is not innovation; what works for one, may not work for another; and best practices undersample failure. You hear about the successes, but not the failures from the exact same process.

[8:14] Stephen teaches best practices, with skepticism. Use the lens of, does this really make sense for me? Do I really believe this was what caused them to be successful? If you are going to be unique, why would you copy?

[11:53] Stephen labels best practices as business plagiarism. Don’t copy what everyone else is doing. Differentiate yourself. Fit practices to yourself, not yourself to practices.

[12:51] Asking for ideas is a bad idea. Everyone has ideas, and most of them stink. Stephen suggests shifting to an innovation program that is challenge-centric. Identify a well-framed challenge. Quantify evaluation criteria. Ask specific questions.

[15:52] Don’t think outside the box. Find a better box. Don’t think in abstracts. Focus on the right place to look for solutions. Stephen tells about getting baggage and passengers to arrive at the baggage carrousel at the same time.

[18:24] Goldilocks and the three questions: Some questions are too soft, or abstract. Some questions are too hard, or specific. Some are just right, and invite creative thinking.

[20:50] Become masterful at asking better questions, from a place of understanding where someone is, they will come to the conclusion themselves. They will have ownership, and you will have a solution tailored to their needs.

[22:03] Lesson from Indiana Jones: Don’t just survey your customers. Observe them in action. There is no substitute for seeing your customer. Stephen reveals a problem with big data, and a bigger problem with surveys.

[27:08] Confirmation bias is less taxing on the brain. Fight it consciously. Political divisiveness is a result of confirmation bias. Data-driven reporting can reinforce confirmation bias.

[29:23] Simplification is the best innovation. More features and functions confuse the buyer. In order to buy, a buyer needs to: be dissatisfied with the status quo, envision a better future, and believe the effort is worth it. Simplify the implementation.

[32:02] If your selling evinces core principles then you are making things simple for the buyer. Stephen contrasts jazz jamming with a symphony. Jazz is simplicity. When you have principles instead of procedures, you have adaptability.

July 21, 2017

#516. Do Sales Quotas Lose Meaning if Too Few Meet Them? With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:57] Bridget is now Captain Fantastic!

[3:10] The topic is quota. Comparatively few individual sales contributors make quota. 40% – 80% do not. Quota may not be relevant. Raising quota 30% arbitrarily is not scientific. Bridget believes goals are important, and quotas are goals.

[8:16] The disconnect between the percentage not making quota, and the quotas themselves, needs to be addressed. Salespeople need to be in positions to experience success. The experience motivates them to further successes.

[9:26] The current effect is that sales managers are disenfranchising large portions of their teams. If the middle 60% have a good experience, they will want to improve. Bridget’s boss said all reps need to make quota this quarter.

[11:36] If the company needs to grow 30%, that doesn’t mean quota needs to go up 30%. If quota goes up 10%, more will contribute to the success, and you may reach the 30% growth. Quotas are often set to be difficult by pressure from the CEO.

[15:50] Andy coached one company with a great sales team. The CEO always put together goals mid-year, based on how the team was doing. The quotas were manageable, and there was trust. Another company set expectations, but not quotas.

[18:30] The company that set clear expectations grew rapidly. Trust was a key aspect of that growth. Some environments, like Silicon Valley, are very conducive to sales. Compensation should be in alignment with the effort to get the deal done.

[20:26] Startup companies, at certain stages of development, might not pay a commission, but may compensate all the team working on the deal. That is most of the staff pulling together, not one salesperson. There is so much learning at a startup.

[21:45] In SDR teams there is a lot of job-hopping, but sticking with it can be rewarding. It is disservice to self to avoid all the tough times. Take a lesson from the struggle.

[23:01] Managers should look beyond the quota, or be more pragmatic about how to establish quota, and what it means. Are they doing all they can to get more people to meet quota?

[24:27] Are there ways to set goals without setting quotas? Andy invites feedback on this question. Please send it to Acceleratefm@gmail.com. Or send your drawing for a female superhero figure of Captain Fantastic to the same address!

July 3, 2017

How to Sell More in Less Time. With Jill Konrath. (Repeat)

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my friend Jill Konrath. Jill is a speaker, sales expert, and author of multiple bestselling books, including Selling to Big Companies, Snap Selling, Agile Selling, and her latest book, More Sales, Less Time. Among the many topics that Jill and I discuss are how she came to focus on selling more in less time, what she learned from her research about concentration, focus and how to eliminate distraction that waste selling time, how to make the most of the limited hours available each, and how you can take the More Sales, Less Time Challenge.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:19] After Jill wrote SNAP Selling, about selling to frazzled customers, readers asked her how to simplify their own lives. She had no idea how to help them, so she researched it.

[6:37] Research shows multitasking is an illusion. Learn what happens when you try to jump between two tasks and refocus your attention.

[8:20] How often the average sales person checks their cell phone each day. And how each interruption reduces productivity.

[8:40] To write More Sales, Less Time, Jill used herself as a test subject for the before and after metrics for each new strategy she tried. 

[10:44] Jill shares how using your willpower impacts your ability to make decisions. 

[14:20] Jill’s Time Master Manifesto sets rules to manage time, starting with getting seven-and-a-half hours of sleep nightly. 

[17:28] How you should start each business day before turning on your computer and checking your email.

[20:12] Two books to assist salespeople in learning how to prioritize are Essentialism, and The One Thing.

[24:03] Challenge the status quo at all times, looking for a better way to achieve the end result.

[25:00] Jill shares the value of scheduling your activities into blocks of time. You are most productive while focusing on one activity.

June 28, 2017

#496. You Don’t Close Buyers. They Persuade Themselves. With Harry Mills.

Harry Mills, author of a new book called Zero Resistance: The Science and Secrets of Supercharging Your Sales by Eliminating Buyer Skepticism and Mistrust, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS
[1:10] Harry is in Queenstown, NZ, “one of the most beautiful areas in the world.” Harry discusses the natural features, tourist activity, and wine production.
[3:44] Harry sees resistance as the single business challenge that sales professionals face. He noticed in 2010 that shoppers had gone in one year from five web searches to 10 web searches for one purchase. This gave new power to the buyer.
[6:58] Sellers in all environments are finding it much harder to get early engagement. The average B2B seller is getting in 62% or later into the buying process. Harry says direct persuasion needs to be replaced by insight-led selling.
[10:03] Exaggerations by salespeople have created skeptical buyers, resistant to direct persuasion. Direct persuasion is using your reasons to influence the buyer. Self-persuasion is helping the buyer find their own reasons to buy.
[12:33] Harry explains why self-persuasion has not been implemented in sales processes. He set out to establish a methodology with tools for building an empathy bridge, giving customers a choice. This is how he wrote Zero Resistance.
[14:34] Harry compares old ways to build rapport with his way to generate trust. The empathy bridge was inspired by Nelson Mandela. First, eliminate friction to lower resistance.
[19:56] Harry discusses applying his model to selling SaaS. Research the client to understand their deepest fears and concerns, and find deep connections and commonalities with the buyer. This leads to an empathy bridge.
[21:37] After building the empathy bridge (after research), establishing fused identity, use stories to build connections.
[23:25] The inside sales model uses one meeting to establish rapport. Consider whether the buyer sees you as a friend or a foe. Does the buyer see you have their long-term interest in mind, or your own? Do they see you can deliver?
[28:43] The customer needs to help in crafting their solution, working with the salesperson on a sketchpad or whiteboard. Explore possibilities that would help the buyer; ask them to imagine the solution that will work for their needs.
[33:15] Insight is about what the customer wants; the vision of what they want to be. Harry asks the buyer about their imagined future. He cites Steve Jobs, Andy Groves, and
Jeff Bezos on looking forward and reasoning backward.
[37:18] A complex sale involves all the solutions tied into the strategic vision. Harry uses illustrations to capture one or two key points and leaves the rest to the imagination. Know more about the customer than the customer does.

June 1, 2017

#473. Maximize the Selling Time of Field Sales Reps. With Steven Benson.

Steven Benson, CEO of BadgerMapping.com, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:28] Steven notes that many companies go to market with outside sales, regardless of the trend to inside sales. The most competitive way to sell some products is in the field.

[3:57] Some business models, such as SaaS, do not support the expense of field sales. Badger has customers who have competitors using inside sales and the internet, and the Badger customers do very well against their competition.

[5:09] Field salespeople have always managed customer routes — either on paper or digitally. Badger combines maps, calendars, and customer lists, in one app, working together. Steven got the idea after working with add-ons to Google Maps.

[8:11] Steven clarifies how field sales routing differs from truck routing. Badger factors appointment times into the route.

[9:41] Is outside selling simpler than inside selling? The inside sales tech stack adds complexity. Steven reveals the name that he almost called BadgerMapping.

[12:15] With the Badger app the rep can see all the customers on a map, and filter them. Customers can be sorted by campaign criteria, selected by lasso, set up by time to see, and then routed quickly. Badger cuts the busywork of routing.

[15:32] Badger can be planned a week in advance. You can change the routes as needed, when new things come up. The more in the future you save a route, the more efficient it is.

[17:22] Badger enhances your CRM system, or it will work with a spreadsheet of your customer data. Badger pulls your appointments from your CRM and maps them by priority.

[18:40] Badger can send individual emails, or you can use your CRM mail merge. Badger has dropdowns to collect and capture activity data quickly, and send it back to your CRM.

[23:05] The measurable benefits include lower mileage, less drive time, and more meetings, with meetings more focused on the planned objectives.

[24:25] BadgerMaps is an interesting case, as an inside sales SaaS company whose product is for field salespeople. Do VCs see the long-term value of supporting field sales? A lot of field sales jobs will still be around in 25 years.

[28:26] Steven says there is no current trend away from field sales among their customers.

May 31, 2017

#472. How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Sales. With Perry Marshall.

Perry Marshall, bestselling author of 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:27] Perry wishes he had had the 80/20 book when he got into sales after being laid off. There was so much he didn’t know. He got fired after two years. He got another job in direct marketing, and it started to click for him.

[7:18] Vilfredo Pareto figured out 20% of the people had 80% of the money. In sales, 20% of customers provide 80% of the sales. 20% of salespeople make 80% of sales. There’s always another 80/20 inside. It’s universal, and not only about money.

[11:32] 80/20 is a law of nature, because of positive feedback. Perry spells it out by examples. Past behavior reinforces future behavior.

[13:18] Perry tells how 10 salespeople start off on an even keel, but through positive feedback, one gets way ahead of the others. Some get negative reinforcement, and drift off course. Within a few months the top salesman sells 16 times more.

[15:24] Perry talks about a rock being eroded into the Grand Canyon. When erosion starts, you are on the way to a canyon. Inequalities multiply and compound. People try to equalize things. The best salesmen seek to amplify the inequalities.

[17:33] Perry lists five power disqualifiers. Apply each of these disqualifiers to contacts before asking for an appointment. You will learn which contacts are not leads. Sales starts with, “Well, who do I not pitch?” It’s a disqualifying process.

[20:44] Perry’s friend John hiked to Las Vegas at 17 to become a professional gambler. He met Rob, who taught him ‘racking the shotgun,’ to divide the ‘marks’ from the people paying attention. In sales, separate the prospects using natural law.

[25:38] Perry found that everything in his business matched an 80/20 pattern. You can use it predictively. Perry explains how, with 1,000 Starbucks customers as an example.

[30:19] Use the 80/20 rule to escape being in the 80%. Perry talks about sales styles. He calls his first boss a hostage negotiator. Others tell stories. Perry invented the Marketing DNA Test to help salespeople find their successful sales style.

[36:25] Align the way you sell with customers who buy the way you sell, and products that match your sales style. Perry says you can’t be a consultative seller as a cold caller. Find a role that matches your strengths.

[37:01] Perry writes books rather than cold calling. For him, cold calling would be a $10/hour job. Why do that when he can have the $1,000/hour job?

May 30, 2017

#471. Sell How Your Customers Want to Buy. With Kristin Zhivago.

Kristin Zhivago, President at CloudPotential, and author of Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS
[1:43] Kristin’s book explains how customers want to buy. In the years since she wrote it, revolutionary trends have arisen, due to mobile and Google. People find you, and want you to fulfill their needs right now.
[4:07] Sales organizations still do outbound, but they have to be prepared at the moment of need, with the desired product or service. Voicemail is a barrier to those who are ready to buy but have just one more question. Answer when they call!
[6:14] Andy’s book, Zero-Time Selling, is based around the urgency of the customer when they contact you. Customers have tools to find you. When you are found, be ready.
[7:30] Sellers need to think like the customer. There is a GAP (Gross Assumption Problem). Find out what the customer wants from your product. (It’s not what you are promoting.)
[10:37] Kristin says even between different industries, there are trends of what the customer needed from the purchase. Seven interviews with existing customers will reveal trends. Give them what they want, and they will buy. Use big data.
[15:23] The job of salespeople is to ask questions, listen, and find out where the customer is in the buying process, what their next decision point is, and not to bore them with what they already know, and to help.
[18:35] If sales methodology at an organization does not allow customer-centric behavior, it’s a problem to solve at the top. The CEO needs to understand it’s not just smiling and dialing.
[23:49] Kristin’s book covers four levels of scrutiny. There is a lot of skepticism, especially in the software industry. Everyone has been burned, and no one wants that to happen again. Explore issues with the customer, to see if there is a good fit.
[26:37] Salespeople must master deep thinking. The first answer to a question is not usually the whole answer. Don’t just skim the surface, but get to the customer motivation.
[27:47] The book Absolute Value shows that buyers can come very close to experiencing the value of your product, before they even speak to you for the first time.
[28:37] Kristin talks about the structure of a purchase, from need, through purchase and referrals. Kristin says to follow the scent. Map the real decision points along the way.
[31:47] The NADA notes that the average car buyer visits one dealership to buy a car. B2B is headed that way. The role of the salesperson is to answer the buyer’s specific questions, and have the tools available to do that, in a timely manner.

May 29, 2017

#470. How to Win By Being Nice. With Doug Sandler.

Doug Sandler, blogger, host of the Nice Guys on Business podcast, and author of Nice Guys Finish First, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[4:29] Doug describes what it is to be a nice guy. It’s doing the right things even when people don’t see, going beyond expectations, showing empathy and gratitude, and catching someone doing something right. People are attracted to this.

[6:00] Negativity is more exposed now, because people post on social media the things they used to keep to say in private.

[8:47] Doug quotes Gary Shandling, “If you don’t think nice guys finish first, then you don’t know where the finish line is.” Doug uses niceness as his MO.

[13:11] Doug suggests assessing your own level of niceness: Do you show gratitude to your staff? Do you catch them doing the right things? He suggests mindfulness. Do you return calls and emails? Do you show empathy? Do you reach out?

[16:06] Doug has a program, “The Nice Guy 30.” It is not about getting anything in return. Create an environment of giving, without an agenda. It becomes more meaningful to you.

[17:13] Doug wrote a popular post, “24 Seconds that Will Change Your Life.” Send out two text messages a day to people you haven’t contacted in the last 30 days. Doug explains the responses you could get. It builds relationships.

[20:21] Winning in business is about winning relationships. Create an environment where people can know, like, and trust you naturally. Set unrealistic expectations, and exceed them every time. You have to do what you say you will do.

[22:27] You get more business from customers you already have, if you develop those relationships. New customers focus on price, while existing customers consider relationship value.

[24:51] Doug tells of a doctor’s appointment when everyone just looked at the PC. Doug asked, “Can we just have a conversation?” Treat everyone as a human being.

[28:15] Robert Cialdini says people like to do business with people they think like them! Being nice, concerned, and asking about them, sends a message. There is a need for instant rapport. Research first. If networking, ask leading questions.

[32:32] Sharing the discomfort of a networking event can open a connection. Show vulnerability, transparency, authenticity, and open up engagement. Doug talks on his podcast the same as with his best friend.

[33:51] Doug’s podcast, The Nice Guys on Business, was started as a channel to promote his services, is now the hub of his entire business, after two years and 330 episodes. Doug’s and Andy’s podcasts are featured on the C-Suite Radio Network.