John Asher, CEO of Asher Strategies, keynote speaker and best-selling author and Bridget Gleason, VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular partner, join me on this episode of #Accelerate!
First guest: John Asher
- The five factors for success in sales are product knowledge, sales aptitude, sales skills, motivation, and sales process. Out of 25 million salespeople selling B2B or B2G in the U.S., five million are elite and they master these factors.
- Most buyers want to deal with a subject matter expert with deep product knowledge. Product knowledge gives power to sales reps and value to buyers. A sales engineer may accompany a rep to provide depth.
- The closest thing to a human is a video. People would rather see a video or hear a podcast than read a website. Our brain comprehends video 60,000 times faster than reading, John says. Books are best for deep knowledge.
- Sales aptitude is natural sales talent. Aptitude accounts for 50% of sales results. The other four factors account for the other 50%. John notes there are 21 professional aptitude assessments and he has taken them all.
- John covers a few sales skills: focus on a few top opportunities; do great research on the buyer, the company and industry; get yourself an inside coach; build rapport; ask questions and listen to understand.
- A forum between neuroscientists from 70 countries developed insights into human relations, including building rapport. Asher Strategies has applied this knowledge to techniques for closing sales faster.
- There are six stimuli affecting buyer decision-making. There are about 50 cognitive biases that apply to sales. Know the stimuli and the biases. The first stimulus is personal needs. Have buyers talk about themselves.
- Asher Strategies provides training to teach these techniques. One bias is to start by complimenting the buyer on their company, product, or service.
- John discusses the reciprocity bias as applied to sales. Buyers usually respond to a compliment with value. At a trade show, if you take the ‘prop’ at a booth, your probability of listening to their pitch goes way up.
- The sales process is up to the company. John gives an example of a misstep that hinders rather than helps. Andy talks about metrics that force all reps into the same mold. The best reps break the rules.
- Asher Strategies teaches ten skills that form the start of a process. There is a science and an art to sales. Andy would like managers to be better with people than with metrics. Elite sales reps have one metric — results.
Second guest: Bridget Gleason
- Andy has been busy with the launch of the Sales House. Sales House helps reps who want to take the next step in their career and know they need to advance. Sales House has hundreds of hours of content in 22 sales categories.
- The topics for this episode are trust and authenticity. Authenticity means to be who you are and to be congruent with your core. Rule-breakers take authenticity all the way, even against the prescribed processes.
- Pleasing everyone is exhausting. Channel your energy into the task at hand as you would do it, not as you think someone expects you to do it. It is becoming harder to express authenticity within strict sales processes.
- Bridget recalls the conformity of Xerox where she started. Her methods were tightly prescribed tightly. However, she was less confined than today’s reps. Bridget notes some reps are lost in a startup without processes.
- In the early days of startups, they need to hire people who think for themselves because the process is not yet defined.
- Bridget does not tie processes to inauthenticity. Andy sees a tendency for sales reps to be scripted. The more specific the script the less authenticity comes through. This leads to interactions that customers do not value.
- Authenticity comes in by how you relate to the customer. Don’t let the process win.
- Bridget compares learning sales to learning the basics of music before learning the improvisation.
- Andy sees the ‘how’ of selling being taught and the ‘why’ of selling being ignored. Educating about the ‘why’ is why Andy proceeded to create the Sales House. Assuming you are in sales, you need basics that support your growth.
- Someone asked Andy recently what is the best first question to use with a buyer. You could write volumes on it, and it would be different for everybody. Your questions need to relate both to you and to the buyer.
- Andy asks himself what he could do better the next time. He even applies this to swimming. Successful people are practice constantly in the basics. There is always more. Having the mindset of a learner is a great gift.
- Andy considers that Motives, Integrity, Competence, and Execution (MICE) are four pillars to build trust. Using acronyms help Andy remember things.