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Sales Reinvented

We at Sales Reinvented are on a mission to change the negative perception of sales people. Each week we will be interviewing experts in the field of sales and sharing their knowledge, ideas and expertise with our listeners. They share with us in our vision of a world where selling is a profession to be proud of. The aim of our formatted show is to provide ‘snackable’ episodes that are short enough to listen to in one sitting but long enough to provide real value that will help you in your sales career. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.
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At Sales Reinvented, we are on a mission to change the negative perception of selling. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.

Aug 25, 2021

According to Patti Pokorchak, social “selling” should really be called social “prospecting.” Any good salesperson knows you can’t walk up to someone at a face-to-face networking event and immediately pitch them your wares. You have to build a connection and a relationship. Selling digitally should be the same way. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to hear Patti’s thoughts on successful social prospecting. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] The differences between digital and social selling 
  • [2:15] How can organizations improve digital sales?
  • [3:23] Patti’s blueprint for digital sale success begins with engagement 
  • [5:38] Attributes or characteristics of a great digital salesperson
  • [6:47] Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve social prospecting
  • [8:08] Patti’s top three digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [12:08] Why email marketing is still a valid marketing strategy

Social prospecting success begins with engagement 

Patti’s business partner likes to say, “All roads lead to your website.” Patti believes the most important part of your website is your lead magnet. You need to be able to capture someone’s email address. Secondly, you have to engage with people daily. She points out that you can’t pretend that you’re active on social media if you’re just throwing up a link to your blog post. Being active means having a dialogue with people. 

If you comment on large influencer’s posts, you’ll get eyeballs on your answers. Patti gets most of her connection requests and clients through engaging in this way versus engaging on her own posts. She spends at least 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn adding value and engaging on people’s posts. Showing your expertise on someone else’s content helps you become a thought leader. She recommends that you do a weekly blog post, share it, and engage. 

Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve social prospecting

Patti notes that social media can be overwhelming. Her advice? Pick one platform. In the B2B environment, the go-to is LinkedIn. Spend your time on that network and get really good at social prospecting. Patti believes that Twitter is a great place to listen and learn, but not great for gaining business. Pick a market that fits your market. If you’re selling to women in the consumer market? Try Instagram or Pinterest. You don’t have to be on all platforms.

Patti recommends that you find ways to always be learning. The Sales Experts Channel has almost 1,000 videos that you can watch. YouTube is full of great content. Follow people that you think are doing social well. 

Top social prospecting dos and don’ts

What does Patti believe is the key to success? She shares some things you should—and shouldn’t—do.

  • Engage on other people’s posts with value-added comments. Don’t just “like” it and move on. It has far more impact than engaging on yours. Read the posts and give your two cents. 
  • Be patient. Social media is a long game. No matter what you’ve heard, do your research and be patient. It’s a high-touch, high-volume business that’s worth taking your time.
  • Pick one social media platform and get good at it. Learn to be effective in 15 minutes.
  • Stop selling. It’s not social selling, it’s social prospecting. You don’t immediately sell to someone in face-to-face networking. Get people to take baby steps to learn a bit at a time. 
  • Don’t just rely on digital and social selling. It’s a passive approach and one-way dialogue. Patti believes in picking up the phone and leaving a voicemail. Follow it with an email portraying the same message. You have to talk to people.
  • Don’t give up too soon. It takes 10–20 touches before you can even think about giving up. 

Don’t forget about email marketing

Patti now owns a hobby farm and garden center. When she started it, she knew nothing about farming and didn't know anyone. But after five years, she’s built a thriving business. Over those five years, she’s been collecting emails and had about 1500 people on her list (of avid gardeners). Patti wanted to celebrate her five years in business. Her garden center is seasonal, so she decided to open on 5/5 at 5 pm and ran $5 specials. 

She didn’t think many people would show up at 5 pm on a Friday—but she was mistaken. She had people waiting outside the garden gate. 50 people showed up in the five hours she was open. She was stuffing money in her pockets. She notes that you cannot underestimate the demand for something people want. A focused email list can go a long way with your target market. Email marketing is a great way to provide value and connect with your customers. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Patti Pokorchak

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Aug 18, 2021

Steve Bensen believes that digital selling is important because it’s how buyers are buying. And your best leads—the people most likely to purchase from you—look for answers about your company online. They’re doing searches in Google, researching you, reading reviews, and looking at competitors. You need ads in the right places and content that will satisfy what they’re looking for. You need to provide the answers to their questions while also providing information about your company and what you can do for them. How did Steve achieve that with his business with a focus on digital marketing? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to find out! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:05] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:03] How to improve digital selling capabilities
  • [4:15] Steve’s digital selling strategy
  • [6:14] Attributes + characteristics of a great digital seller
  • [8:08] Tools, techniques, or strategies to improve
  • [9:41] Steve’s digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [13:29] Leveraging LinkedIn learning with relevant content

Steve’s digital marketing strategy

You have to go where your customers are looking for you. Some companies may have a heavy presence on social media. Others may need to focus on writing articles or creating video content. You have to think about, “Where are my customers trying to find out more about this space?” 

Steve used to write an article or blog every night before he went to bed. He had a list of ideas that he added to when he thought of something. Your blog, writing for other blogs, and even just being quoted in other publications is huge. Long-form rich content that answers people’s questions is key. Those are assets that continue to yield leads. 

Badger Maps makes a mapping tool for field salespeople. Who’s looking for that? Maybe a VP of sales or sales operations. Where are those personas looking online? What questions are they asking? What articles are they interested in reading? Make that content so they’ll find you.

Steve notes that it isn’t the same blueprint for everyone. Steve looks at the top 10 places to create content and general awareness and then builds a strategy for each. What characteristics make for a great salesperson? Listen to hear Steve’s thoughts. 

Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve

For digital selling specifically, Steve recommends outsourcing Google ads because it’s so difficult to do well. But Steve emphasizes that content creation and content marketing should be done in-house (whether by someone full-time or part-time). The creation of content—that is valuable and relevant—to feed the SEO machine is best done by someone who specializes in that. But some things are so expertise-driven that they must be outsourced. 

Steves’ digital marketing dos and don’ts

What does Steve believe is key to digital marketing success? 

  • Be consistent. Keep creating great content regularly (email marketing, blog posts, social media, video, podcasting, etc.). Don’t dabble—commit to doing something and do it. The things that work in marketing compound over time when you’re consistent and in it for the long haul. 
  • Specialize. Develop specialized in-house roles. If video content is your strategy, you need someone excellent at creating videos. The same goes for social media marketing and writing blogs. 
  • Don’t be boring. Steve believes a lot of digital marketing material can be lame. You need to find a way to create unique value and don’t just regurgitate what’s already out there. 
  • Don’t get lost in the noise. Create a niche market that attracts your unique customer profile. Feed them the content they need and want to read/hear/watch. Steve’s podcast is called “Outside Sales Talk” because it’s specifically for outside salespeople and it creates value just for them

Leveraging LinkedIn learning

Steve loves creating LinkedIn videos. LinkedIn has a learning platform that allows you to create videos that are made available for anyone to watch. It’s one of Steve’s favorite digital marketing strategies. Steve created a video for them geared toward field salespeople. It allowed Steve to create a lot of reach—180,000 people have watched the video and done the training. It was something a lot of people have gotten value from. 

People reach out to Steve and engage all the time because of that one piece of content. He created something of value for the niche that purchases his product. Plus, it’s on a platform with extensive reach. Steve emphasizes the importance of creating valuable content and getting it in places your user can find it. If you do that, the word will get out about what you do. To hear more of his thoughts on digital marketing, listen to the whole episode!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Steve Benson

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Aug 11, 2021

Digital selling is omnichannel—anything that you can use online. It can be digital assets, PDFs, web pages, interactive quizzes, communities, and more. But when you sell digitally, you have to make a conscious effort to understand and engage with your buyer in ways and places they prefer. That’s why agility and flexibility are essential to the process. Carole Mahoney shares her thoughts on the digital sales process in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Don’t miss it! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:33] The difference between digital and social
  • [2:11] How to improve digital selling
  • [3:30] Carole’s digital selling strategy
  • [4:43] Attributes salespeople need to succeed
  • [6:39] Tools + techniques + strategies to utilize
  • [8:45] Top 3 digital dos and don’ts
  • [10:46] Learn to be digitally agile 

How to improve digital selling

In 1993 when the internet was first being launched, Carole realized that it would change everything—including the way people communicate and form relationships. That’s how organizations need to think of digital selling today. It’s been ignored for so long because face-to-face was an option, and thought to be more effective. But the way people buy has been changing since the internet was born. Businesses need to catch up! 

They need to be in tune with what is going on with their buyer when they’re engaging in these channels. Carole notes that they often make rash decisions to put everything online without thinking about buyer experience. You must learn from your buyers: how do they prefer to engage online? You don’t want to develop things that annoy or distract from what they’re trying to do. 

Carole’s digital selling strategy

Carole emphasizes that you have to start with conversations with prospects, buyers, and current customers to collaborate. Selling is something you do with others—not to others. If you want to build a strategy, it needs to start with one-to-one conversations. You need to learn about their pain points and frustrations and what to solve. 

How do they go about making confident decisions? How do they prefer to engage? In what ways? Some people hate email. Others can’t get off of it. How do your unique buyers want to communicate? Everyone has a different way to prefer to communicate online. You use that information to design a sales process that’s in alignment with how people buy. 

What attributes do salespeople need to have to succeed with digital selling? Listen to learn more!

Tools + techniques + strategies to utilize 

Carole recommends that all sales teams use Gryphon Networks. Most people just do call reviews and look at what’s already happened—things you can’t have an impact on. But things like role play and real-time coaching with your salespeople can be a game-changer. Gryphon has an AI that can be trained to give the seller coaching prompts at the moment. It can enhance the digital conversation sellers are having. 

Carole also recommends finding out where your team places in core competencies. She uses an assessment that can help you focus where your team needs further training and development. If you’d like to assess your team for free and see how they compare to the competition in your industry, check out the Sales Force Evaluation

What are Carole’s top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts? You’ll have to listen to find out!

Learn to be digitally agile 

Carole recently held a webinar series for Revenue Collective. Normally, she’d get a list of the people that signed up for the webinar and she’d personally reach out to them. But Carole didn’t get a list. So in her presentation, she shared some links for tools and techniques that were downloadable from her website that people could use immediately. She also made sure her LinkedIn profile was easy to find. What happened? 

Several people from the same company looked at her LinkedIn profile and other downloaded tools. She noted who they were, and reached out to one of them. She sent an email asking about what they downloaded and asked a specific question about it. In the end, it resulted in valuable conversations and Carole will be working with them soon. It was a 45–60 day sales cycle with a Vidyard video and emails—how they wanted to interact. 

The moral of the story? She had to adapt. She had to find a way to connect with people and provide them valuable resources. She had to find out who was interested in learning more and how to have a conversation. She had to use her website and digital assets to find those people and make it easier to engage. It goes to show that you can have a playbook, run the plays, and do the drills. But when you get on the field, you have to adapt. If you can’t adapt, the play will fail, and you’ll lose the game. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Carole Mahoney

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Aug 4, 2021

Tony Hughes points out that we live in a digital-first world. 2020 was a catalyst for accelerating what people are describing as the 4th industrial revolution. He emphasizes that “There’s timeless principles of selling that we need to adapt as we modernize the way that we engage clients.” One of the big trends is that companies are shifting resources from field selling to using the tech stack to sell digitally. So how can you drive change in a digital world? How do you excel with digital selling? Tony Hughes shares his take in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:11] Digital and social selling 
  • [3:41] How to improve your digital selling 
  • [7:35] Tony’s digital selling blueprint
  • [9:46] Attributes that lead to greatness
  • [12:19] Tools + techniques + strategies
  • [16:46] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [19:27] Tony demonstrates the power of connections

How to improve your digital selling 

Most buyer’s journeys begin in their trusted online network. They seek social proof for the things that they’re looking at purchasing. Tony was talking to a group of 18 CEOs about modernizing the way they sell. One was the CEO in Australia for a North American company that sells into the pharmacy industry. The two highest-performing territories in North America didn’t have salespeople in them for four months out of the year. This company had been convinced that they needed to maintain mindshare with pharmacists. When they interviewed the pharmacists and business owners they found some interesting things. 

Firstly, the pharmacists noted that when the reps called on them, it took them away from serving customers. Secondly, they thought the information being shared with them was just marketing material that they’d rather get in an email or snail mail. The only thing the buyer valued is that they were getting a great price. So this company decided to run some testing in Australia, removing their reps completely. The business has never been stronger. Tony’s point? The belief that bots can never replace you is nonsense. 

Tony’s digital selling blueprint

Tony believes that any blueprint has to begin with understanding your ideal customer profile. You need to think about their:

  1. Firmographics: What is their vertical? How big are they? Where are they located?
  2. Technographics: What are the attributes of the organizations? What is their competition?
  3. Psychographics: Are they in a growth mindset? Are they in crisis? Do they outsource? Are they trying to innovate and disrupt the market? 

Companies with a growth mindset are the most likely to purchase. 

Then you need to look at the buyer personas—those that say “yes” or form a consensus. You then build the conversation narrative. Once you do that, you need to map the buyer’s journey and go and be where they are. It will certainly include social media, but it will be in other places as well. You move away from the “us” narrative because no one wants to hear it. You need to lead with a narrative about how they can drive improved results in their role. If you do all of that well, they’ll want to understand why you would be the best solution for them. 

What three attributes does Tony believe lead to greatness? Listen to find out!

Tools + techniques + strategies

Tony recommends that you look at the tech stack that you’ve got. How can you use what you already have? Would your boss say you’re a good user of CRM? Do you capture meeting notes, build a dashboard, and identify the next best actions to take? 

Secondly, use the sales intelligence tools available to you, such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You can also build searches that monitor for trigger events within your customer base as well as your ICPs and buyer personas within the marketplace. 

Can you do pragmatic research? Are you using sales intelligence tools that get you emails and phone numbers? Tony believes the fastest path—and highest probability to a new sale—is when you can provide relevance and context through a trusted relationship and a trigger event. Listen to learn what Tony does with this. 

Listen to find out what Tony’s top digital selling dos and don’ts are—some might surprise you!

The power of connection

A great friend of Tony’s is a CEO who just took a role with a new company. As they were talking over breakfast, Tony offered to introduce someone who would be a good fit as a client. When Tony’s friend posted a LinkedIn update about his new role, he liked it, commented, and shared it. He tagged the name of the person he thought would be a good client and said “You two should get together.” This person responded within five minutes and messaged Tony’s friend. 

Connect with Tony Hughes

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jul 28, 2021

When you’re selling on LinkedIn—or any other social platform—you’re creating conversations. Maybe you’ve made a connection, had a Zoom call, and take the relationship to a trade show, conference, etc. With virtual selling, you may do the entire sales cycle online. The B2B buyer is at a point where they prefer this. So salespeople need to be primed on social selling skills and able to take it to the next level. You have to learn the best way of engaging with customers if you continue to sell virtually. Viveka von Rosen shares some great tips in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:34] Social selling versus digital selling
  • [3:42] How to improve digital selling capabilities
  • [4:53] Viveka’s digital selling strategy
  • [7:57] Necessary attributes + characteristics
  • [8:49] Tools + techniques + strategies
  • [10:33] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [12:35] Understanding the pain point you solve

How to improve social selling capabilities

Digital selling isn’t going away. Viveka emphasizes that you must move beyond “Let’s get on LinkedIn'' and “Let’s shoot a couple videos” to teach sellers how to be charismatic online. They need to learn how to move past images and insert their voice. You can do video cover stories that play where your cover photo would normally go. You can record voice introduction videos. Your profile needs to come to life. But your sellers need to know how to use those features. Viveka points out that your competitors will understand the necessity and are becoming savvy. 

Viveka’s digital selling strategy

Before you reach out and engage with people to fill your pipeline, you need to make sure you look good. Many companies in the social selling space need help. Anyone customer-facing needs a good strong brand. From there, they need to be taught how to engage—not connect. You need to learn how to build face-to-name and top-of-mind awareness so when they are invited to connect they’re more likely to say “yes.” 

Then you need to prove value before you try to take the person home. People somehow think they can get on LinkedIn, connect with someone, and start selling their wares. LinkedIn is about creating strong conversations and building know, like, and trust. You nurture those relationships by sharing valuable content. You need to put this all together in an easily repeatable cadence.

What are the attributes + characteristics necessary to succeed? Listen to hear Viveka’s thoughts!

Tools, techniques, and strategies to embrace

Viveka always recommends that you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Unfortunately, she points out that a lot of salespeople don’t understand the best ways of using the tool. She also recommends a good CRM—whether it’s Salesforce, Hubspot, or Nimble—that works. Viveka is a huge fan of selling with video. They use OneMob but there are many great email video tools out there. Using video in messages, emails, and texts gives people a great sense of who you are. There are strategies that you can put in place to be more charismatic online. With a little practice, you can use it well and be effective. Listen to hear Viveka’s top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts!

Your buyer needs to experience the pain point you solve

When Viveka started training salespeople how to sell on LinkedIn (in 2009), most people didn't even know what it was. They didn’t understand the value in it. She had flown to New York to speak to a law firm. She can still see them staring at her with their arms crossed, brows furrowed, questioning the validity of selling on LinkedIn. She started to explain the features and watched their eyes glaze over. She finally just told herself to stop talking. She switched gears and asked them how they would buy a car. They all said that they would do research first. 

So she asked them to Google their names. The first thing that came up was the company website. But halfway down the results page would be LinkedIn. So she pointed out that a potential client will look at their profile to make sure they’re a good fit. So she asked them to click on their profile. What they saw was the most bare-boned pathetic example of a profile. She could immediately see their walls come down. Everyone started to listen. 

The moral of the story? You need to get your buyer to experience the point of pain that you solve, to physically experience it. That will move you toward the sale more than anything else.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Viveka von Rosen

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Jul 21, 2021

Ryan Kugler believes you have to embrace both digital selling and old-school ways of selling, such as sending emails and making cold calls. How does he find success with both strategies? Why does he believe persistence pays off? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented for a completely different take on digital and social selling. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] How are digital and social selling different?
  • [1:36] Why is digital selling so important? 
  • [2:04] Ryan’s blueprint for digital sales
  • [3:01] The attributes of a great salesperson
  • [3:44] Tools + techniques + strategies
  • [4:59] Ryan’s digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [8:35] Why persistence pays off

Ryan’s blueprint for digital sales

Ryan has found that email is the easiest way to connect with someone—as long as you do it right. He always asks a question in the subject line so the prospect wants to open your email. Then you give them the answer to the question you asked in the subject line. It can be a few simple sentences, then you pitch your product. He’s also a huge fan of jumping on the phone. 

Ryan notes that social networking depends on what product or service you’re pitching. If it’s to a consumer, Ryan recommends Instagram or Facebook. If you’re in the B2B space, LinkedIn is the way to go. Ryan has three businesses, none of which are consumer-based, so he doesn’t spend a lot of time on Instagram or Facebook. 

What are the attributes of a great salesperson? Listen to hear Ryan’s thoughts. 

Motivation begins with you

Ryan believes something as simple as listening to great podcasts and being able to hear others’ experiences is extremely helpful. Secondly, you need to educate yourself on sales and find a way to motivate yourself. You have to have the intention to sell. 

If you are a true salesperson, you want to read books about sales, find a coach, a mentor, or something that motivates you to wake up every day and do it. It’s all about investing in personal development. After that, it’s a numbers game: get your name out there. Make sure your product or service is something that people want. 

Ryan’s digital selling dos and don’ts

What rules does Ryan follow to find success with digital sales? He shares some thoughts:

  • When you send an email, your email platform is saving those email addresses. That gives you an address book of people you’ve connected with. Ryan recommends that you go through those contacts once a month and email each person to check-in. 
  • Make sure you’re keeping every email address. 
  • Call and set up an email blast so they get a monthly email pitching your product. 
  • Always reply to every email you get (by the end of the day or within 24 hours). If you don’t return a call or reply to emails, that customer will assume you’re too busy for them and you’ll lose their business.
  • Don’t just sit on your laurels. Just closed a big deal? Great. Celebrate, and get back at it again the next morning. 
  • Always be creating. Don’t get distracted by social media or other tasks. When you’re at work for those 8–10 hours, do the work

Why persistence pays off

Ryan points out that sales involve prospecting, right? You need a base of customers to call. Ryan has a customer he’s been calling for 15 years (leaving messages and sending emails). This person would see his email or hear his name somehow. In March of 2020, COVID hit. This person finally called him back and said “I need this right now.” That phone call led to the biggest sale he’d ever made—it was the same amount of sales he’d done for 25 years. The moral of the story? Don’t give up. The persistence will pay off eventually, even if it takes 20 years. 

Connect with Ryan Kugler

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jul 14, 2021

Bill McCormick believes that relationships are the most important difference between digital selling and social selling. To Bill, digital selling encompasses all mediums. It’s email, SMS, chat, direct messages, phone calls, video, etc. It’s larger numbers and more impersonal outreach. Social selling is social. It’s about establishing a relationship and a connection with a person and moving that relationship along until there’s an opportunity for a sales conversation. Hear his complete thoughts on digital and social selling in this episode of Sales reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:13] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:12] Why digital selling is so important today
  • [3:55] Bill’s ideal digital selling strategy
  • [7:13] The attributes you need to reach success
  • [9:44] Tools + techniques + strategies to improve
  • [12:14] Digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [15:17] Why consistency and persistence are key

How to improve digital selling capabilities

Things can change in a moment. Even as things begin to open, Bill doubts that we’ll return to how things used to be. He believes we’ll be looking at a hybrid model for companies where many more people will work from home. McKinsey reported that 75% of buyers are saying that when they get back in the office, they’d prefer initial meetings to be conducted virtually. 

People need digital communication to set up meetings and have the meetings. Companies need to support their reps with decent technology (camera, microphones, laptop, etc.) and teach them how to use it so they’ll be successful. 

Bill’s ideal digital selling strategy

Bill implores salespeople: Don’t try to build relationships with mass outreach. Use social selling to build relationships. You use digital outreach—like an email campaign—to get valuable information out. The second part—using social selling to build relationships—means you need to slow your outreach to increase your outcome. You have to go fast to go slow. 

So you have to identify social tactics that will build relationships and credibility and build a cadence around that. Don’t just blindly connect with people and pitch your product because they’re your ideal client. You need to identify them, view their LinkedIn profile (or other social platforms), and engage with their content. That gives you a reason to connect with them. Once you’ve done that, you need a well-crafted welcome message with a piece of content that’s educational and ready to send them if they want it. 

When you do this consistently, it builds relationships that lead to more sales conversations. It takes time—but you don't end up burning people. When you do mass outreach and you get a conversion rate of 5–10%, that’s considered successful. But what are you doing to the other 95% of people? When you slow your outreach, you aren’t burning those that aren’t responding. 

Tools + techniques + strategies to improve

Bill believes that much of digital selling will have to be video, which means you have to be comfortable in your own skin. You also have to be authentic and comfortable talking about yourself in a way that shows people that you’re human. You have to be open to learning new technology, tactics, and strategies. You have to be adaptable. Lastly, you must be consistent with digital and social selling. People have to get used to you. It develops a relationship and credibility—that is what makes a difference in your digital selling efforts. 

Video isn’t the future—it’s the here and now. If you’re not using it, you’re being left behind. If you hate the way you look and sound in a video, guess what? You look and sound the same in a physical meeting. It’s not different and you have to get used to it. Treat the camera as someone’s face and look them in the eye when you speak. Eye contact builds trust and it’s no different with virtual communication. All prospects, clients, former clients, etc. are all people. Digital selling can seem impersonal, but you can really create a connection across a screen. 

Digital selling dos and don’ts

Bill shares a few things to keep in mind with digital and social selling: 

  1. Make sure that you’re authentic no matter what medium you’re using. Don’t mislead or manipulate. Don’t give false compliments 
  2. You must understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication. In Jeb Blount’s book, “Virtual Selling,” he shares that asynchronous communication is the giving of information. Synchronous communication is a conversation. You have to know the difference between the two and you have to earn the right for a sales conversation. 
  3. Stop practicing the golden rule and practice the platinum rule. Part of virtual selling is passing along valuable information. Bill notes that “We always tell people what we want to say, not what they want to hear.” The platinum rule? Do unto others as they want to be done unto. It essentially means you need to find out what your prospects care about and tell them what they want to know. 

Bill shares a digital sales story that demonstrates the need for consistency and persistence. Listen to the whole episode to learn more!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bill McCormick

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jul 7, 2021

How do you supercharge your social selling? According to Janice B Gordon, one of the steps is keeping your social selling content relevant to your customer. You also have the freedom to showcase your personality and form connections. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to hear the 7 strategies Janice uses to supercharge social selling effectiveness!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:03] Keep your social selling content relevant
  • [2:22] How to improve digital selling capabilities
  • [4:32] 7 strategies to supercharge your social selling effectiveness
  • [8:07] The attributes that help a social seller succeed
  • [11:12] Tools + techniques to improve digital selling
  • [13:22] Top 3 digital selling dos and don'ts
  • [16:22] You never know who’s reading your content

How to improve digital selling capabilities

As the world is coming out of the pandemic, everyone is online. Janice points out that if your customers are in the digital pond, you have to be right there with them. 89% of top-performing salespeople find great success on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. Janice also shares that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of executives use social media to make buying decisions. They’re influential, they have large budgets, and they buy frequently. That’s why it’s important to sell online.

Organizations need to train and coach alongside the seller. They often just give them training on selling and shove them off and say “Go and do it.” Janice emphasizes that it just doesn’t work. There needs to be a fundamental mindset shift, especially for an older person. It can take them longer. You need to develop and move people from where they are one level at a time. You’ve got to walk alongside the salesperson until they get it. 

7 strategies to supercharge your social selling effectiveness

Social selling is about finding relevant people to have a relevant conversation to serve them more efficiently. Relevant people are ideal customers, stakeholders, and influencers. You have to understand your target market so you know they are relevant to your particular goal. A relevant conversation demonstrates that you understand what they’re looking for, what’s useful to them, and what will help move them forward. In this episode, Janice shared 7 things that can help you do that.

  1. Nail down your ideal customers (the people that love what you do).
  2. Define and optimize your personal profile for sales. Your profile is the window to your expertise and personality. 
  3. If you have a website, people can find you through content on LinkedIn, which might drive them to download something on your website. People spend far too much time on their websites, not enough on their social profiles. If that profile doesn’t represent you, they won’t travel through it. 
  4. Engage and connect rather than connect and engage. You do this with your personality. Engaging comes with understanding your audience and getting on their radar.
  5. Create visibility through your content that both engages and educates. It’s got to be relevant to them and help move them forward.
  6. Turn social conversations into sales opportunities. Social selling is about developing relevant conversations with relevant people. Ultimately, you want it to lead to sales. Take the social conversation offline (or online) to a targeted meeting with them where they know you’ll talk about a solution with them.
  7. Create a social selling customer growth plan. Once you understand your customers, you need to systemize the process so it is scalable. You want to attract more people to have more conversations to create more sales opportunities. 

The attributes that help a social seller succeed

Social selling is about building opportunities to have relevant conversations. But you have to have confidence in your abilities. That’s why someone needs to walk with you to help develop the skills and confidence you may not have yet. 

Janice believes that you have to engage with personality. Use your humor, your quirky stance on the world, and make it personal. You need a tribe of people that identify with your core values and your interests. It gives you a great starting point. You need to confidently talk about personal things that will engage other people. You have to do this to show that you’re three-dimensional. Janice recommends that you: 

  1. Share three pieces of content and ask questions over a couple of weeks. Why? To engage with the people that answer. A question develops into a conversation
  2. Co-create with the customer. Understand that you don’t have the answer to everything. But by developing your listening and questioning skills, you’ll co-create a solution to get more buy-in. 
  3. Lastly, you must love what you do. If you do, you’ll make a difference. 

What are some tools and techniques to improve digital selling? Keep listening for Janice’s thoughts!

Top 3 digital selling dos and don'ts

What are Janice’s dos and don’ts? 

  • Never contact anyone unless you’ve done your research on them. You must have a feel of who the person is and what they’re about—even if you have to speak to someone else first. Why? First impressions count.
  • Always use that sense of someone in your connection. Connect with them using your personality. 
  • Never connect and sell immediately on LinkedIn. No one wants to hear a pitch immediately. 
  • Don’t wrap a pitch telling someone about yourself. They never asked.
  • Instead, ask them a question about something you’ve already read on their blog. Ask about them and their interests. Let them know you want to learn more. 
  • Do not connect and engage—engage and connect. 

Read their blogs and posts, like and comment. When you comment intelligently, you’re demonstrating an interest in them. You can start a conversation. When you connect with them, they’ll recognize you and be excited for the conversation. 

In this episode, Janice also shares a story that drives home the point that you never know who’s reading your content—so keep them coming. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Janice B Gordon

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Jun 30, 2021

Digital selling is the current evolution of sales and marketing. Organizations have to evolve—or get left behind. They need to identify and connect with customers in ways they haven’t before. Technology enables them to do it faster, more efficiently, and more frequently resulting in better outcomes. 

The idea is to be smarter, efficient, and have more targeted selling activities. This should include tools and processes to engage and sell to a customer. It’s engaging in things like digital presentations, videos, digital sales collateral, email campaigns, AI, automation, your CRM, etc. Want to learn more? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented with Justin Zappulla!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:13] The difference between digital selling and social selling
  • [2:28] How to improve your digital selling capabilities
  • [3:05] Justin’s perfect digital selling strategy
  • [4:15] The attributes + characteristics of a successful digital seller
  • [5:28] Focus on the virtual sales call
  • [6:53] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [9:01] Justin’s favorite digital selling story

Justin’s perfect digital selling strategy

Justin believes that any great sales strategy begins with the customer, which is why you must take the time to map the customer journey. How do your customers identify, evaluate, and make purchasing decisions? You then build your sales strategy around that. Justin notes that a typical buyer’s journey has three phases, consisting of awareness, consideration, and making the decision.

So you have to focus on how you’re enabling tools, technology, data, and the sales and marketing function to drive the best outcome at each of those stages of the buyer’s journey. How can you leverage data to make better decisions? What digital tools can be implemented by sales or marketing to get a better outcome?

What are the attributes + characteristics of a successful digital seller? Listen to hear Justin’s thoughts!

Focus on the virtual sales call

What’s the area that will give you the most impact? According to Justin, it’s the sales call. During the pandemic, sellers couldn’t meet face-to-face with customers. They learned to leverage Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, etc. to hold sales calls. In this new virtual world, Justin emphasizes that it’s critical to develop the skills needed to execute that virtual sales call. It’s the new way modern sellers will connect with customers and paramount to master. 

Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts

Justin shares some of his tips to improve your digital sales: 

  • Engage your customers online. Don’t be afraid of this. Your customers are connecting in different ways, so must you. 
  • Learn technology. Make it part of your skillset so you can confidently move through the various stages of the sales process leveraging technology.
  • Be open to doing things differently. Great salespeople are looking for ways to improve and evolve. 
  • Don’t fight the change. It’s a natural progression. Even though it was thrust upon the world, Justin believes we would’ve landed here anyway. 
  • Don't try to do everything at once. Take one bite at a time to get where you want to go. 
  • Don’t panic. Understand that this is natural and enjoy it. 

Justin’s favorite digital selling story

Early in 2020, Justin was on the buyer side of a sales call. It was executed seamlessly. The rep running the presentation was adept at the program. He toggled the views so each participant could see each other and make eye contact. He seamlessly transitioned to the documents and data they were presenting. They used animation tools to highlight key points. They moved seamlessly through each team member that was speaking. It felt natural without being choppy and saying things like “Can you see my screen.” They were well prepared.

Justin got off that call and went “Wow. This will change how salespeople sell forever.” Moving calls to video and sharing media are the new skills salespeople need to develop. Sales have evolved almost overnight into a new format. This is what high-performing sellers need to do to be successful with sales calls. 

Connect with Justin Zappulla

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jun 23, 2021

Nearly everyone has moved to digital selling for the last year or so. Even though things are opening, there will continue to be a digital component or hybrid model in play. Plus, organizations are enjoying the cost-savings from doing virtual meetings. Julie Hansen points out that Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales will take place virtually. 

Organizations need to have a strategy in place to handle the continued transition. How can they improve it? According to Julie, organizations need to focus on making a human connection through technology. How can you connect with people on the other side of the screen? Julie shares her thoughts in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:04] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [1:38] Why is digital selling so important?
  • [3:50] Julie’s digital selling strategy
  • [7:29] Attributes + characteristics of a great digital salesperson
  • [9:13] Tools + techniques + strategies
  • [11:25] Top 3 dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [13:53] Julie’s favorite digital selling story

Improve digital selling by forming connections

Most companies have enough technology and tools in place to be successful with digital selling. However, a successful strategy begins with taking the tools you have and learning how to connect with someone through a camera. You have to learn to understand what the customer is feeling or seeing on the other side of the screen. It’s an art and a science. You can’t do the same things you’d do in person and expect it to translate through video. It’s why people don’t feel seen or heard. How do you create an in-person experience in a virtual world? It’s not all about technology. 

Julie believes that you have to learn how to make eye contact and read on-screen body language. If you can’t do that, you’ll make wrong assumptions, miscommunicate, and misinterpret what’s being said. You have to engage someone with a small amount of real estate. You need to understand how your customer is experiencing the interaction. Until you do that, you aren’t creating that in-person experience. It can be as simple as looking at the camera when they’re speaking to you instead of watching the image of them. You have to adapt.

Attributes + characteristics of a great digital salesperson

Julie notes that you need all the same characteristics selling digitally as you do in person—credibility, an interest in others, empathy, curiosity, and trustworthiness. But she emphasizes that those that are successful in the digital world are those that are adaptable. You can’t just “ride it out,” you have to adapt and change from what you’ve done before. If you don’t, you’ll struggle. 

The salespeople that recognize they want to have a deeper connection with their customers and make the virtual experience fulfilling and meaningful are those that will succeed. empathy, curiosity, and other traits won’t show up in a video if you don’t know how to use them properly. Someone won’t feel empathy if you aren’t making eye contact. They won’t feel cared about if your face is a blank slate. You may feel all of those things but must communicate them. Julie shares, “It doesn’t exist if the camera doesn’t see it.” 

Tools + techniques + strategies

Julie sees that people tend to be very passive virtually. People show up like they’re sitting in front of a screen. They’re in receiving mode and settled into a blank “resting business face.” If you’re not aware that it’s typical on-screen behavior, you may panic. One strategy is to learn how to recognize on-screen behavior and how to interact and break through the passive cycle. Julie shares a few dos and don’ts that can help you do that:

  1. Do look at the camera as much as possible. It should be about 80% of the time in person and especially digitally. 
  2. Look at a camera when you’re asking a question. The person on the receiving end will feel like you’re talking to them.
  3. Use gestures if it comes naturally. If you don’t do what comes naturally, it will destroy your energy.
  4. Don’t turn your camera off just because your customer doesn’t have their camera on. It’s not a great excuse. They'll benefit from seeing you.
  5. Don’t jump from call to call. You have to stop and regain your energy. The camera reads energy and sales itself is the transfer of energy. 
  6. Don’t forget about your face. You need to know what it’s saying. You think you look happy but your face isn’t communicating it. Use your face to communicate emotions and give context and meaning to what you’re saying. 

It’s about connecting with your audience

Julie had a coaching call with a salesperson. The business development rep was sent to her because he couldn’t convert calls to demos. She watched some of his recordings and pointed out two things that were impacting his presentations:

  • He wasn’t making eye contact. He didn’t seem engaged and looked down when he asked questions.
  • When the customer’s opened up and shared, his face seemed blank; devoid of concern or empathy. 

They worked through sharing how you feel with your face and making eye contact. The next month, he converted 20% of his calls to demos. It was all about the connection with his audience. At the end of the day, it is your connection with the buyer that makes a sale, not the tools or technology. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Julie Hansen

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jun 16, 2021

Many organizations are revising their go-to-market strategies to include digital and social selling. But what should that process look like? How can you find success if you’ve only known a world of traditional sales? Shane Gibson—the co-author of Real Results in a Virtual Economy—shares some of his tips and strategies in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Check it out! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] The difference between digital and social selling 
  • [2:45] Why digital selling is important in today’s world
  • [5:15] Shane’s blueprint for a digital selling strategy
  • [9:33] The virtual sales competency map
  • [13:48] Tools + techniques + strategies to improve digital selling 
  • [17:59] Top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [22:28] Shane’s favorite digital selling story

Why is digital selling important in today’s world?

What can organizations do to improve their digital selling capabilities? Everyone was forced to sell remotely because of the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve had seven years of digital adoption happen in a year, where the consumer—both business and individuals—have made the majority of purchasing decisions digitally. It’s a larger market accustomed to making decisions remotely. Shane clearly believes that’s not going to stop. 

Shane shares that most people don’t have the budget to fly their sales teams around the world. So you have to knock on people’s doors using digital tools. You have to learn to think like digital-first sales organizations. Why is it so important? Gartner predicted that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales will be conducted digitally. 

Shane’s digital selling blueprint

Shane starts with the customer and works his way backward. He notes that sales leaders fall in love with the tools all the time. The challenge with digital tools is that they’re thrown at you and you get excited about them. Shane emphasizes that you need to get excited about your customer first

Your strategy needs to be customer-centric. What channels are your customers on? What platforms are they making purchasing decisions on? What is their buying process? How do they use digital tools in that decision-making process? How can you develop a process that enables the buyer?

Your customer should be the #1 focus

It’s time to move from giving salespeople the tools they need to giving the customer the tools they need. Up to 80% of the customer buying cycle happens before the sales organization knows they exist. So you must become the #1 source for self-education for potential customers. Content marketing specific to your target niche is a vital part of the sales process.

You must first understand your niche. The #1 challenge for most sales organizations is getting the first conversation with a prospect. You have to move from a focus on closing to a focus on starting the conversation. This starts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and even chatbots on websites. The goal should be starting contextual conversations with the customer and curating content that resonates with them.

What is Shane’s “Principle of Context?” Listen to learn more about the importance of context! 

Shane’s virtual sales competency map

What do sales professionals need to master to become successful with digital selling? Shane shares his virtual competency skills to master: 

  1. Sales mastery: People spend too much time on social channels or playing with data, and spend less time on people skills. But you’re still selling to people. You have to master relational selling skills.
  2. Networking skills: You have to be good at content creation, curation, and online conversation.
  3. Technology fluency: This is the next hurdle a salesperson must master. Can you speak tech? Interpret data? Are you great at learning and adapting to new tools successfully? 
  4. Virtual communications: Are you good at disseminating information digitally? What about broadcasting digitally? Can you easily jump on a zoom call or a podcast? Are you savvy with multi-platform writing skills?
  5. Virtual soft skills and right brain sales skills: Artificial intelligence automates everything that’s repetitive. If you’re a cut-and-paste type of salesperson, everything you do can be automated. Your safe place is right-brain thinking. Can you negotiate and build rapport? Are you creative? Are you good at networking and prospecting? These are key skills that will become the biggest differentiator for salespeople in their organizations. 

What are Shane’s top 3 digital selling dos and don’ts? Listen to find out! 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Shane Gibson

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jun 9, 2021

Why is credibility so important for salespeople? Does it impact prospecting and lead generation more than one might think? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Lee Smith argues that credibility is the thing that sets you apart—and you need to embrace it. 

Lee Smith is the CEO and Founder of SalesFuel. He is also the author of “SalesCred,” and the international bestseller “Hire Smarter, Sell More!” He’s uniquely qualified to share prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts. Don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] Prospecting + lead generation
  • [1:53] Why are they important?
  • [2:33] How buyers qualify you
  • [3:49] The three components of credibility
  • [5:38] Improve your preparation and discovery
  • [7:16] Lee’s top 3 dos and don’ts

Credibility is how buyers qualify you

Successful lead generation and prospecting are all about credibility. Lee emphasizes that too many times salespeople focus on whether or not they fit the ICP, are a marketing or sales qualified lead, etc. He looks at it differently. 

Buyers are looking to qualify you and determine if you’re credible. Do they respond to emails? Do they answer your calls? Do they invite you to compete for the business? 59% of buyers are researching the sellers before meeting with them. They want to know if you’re useful—or a waste of their time. 

They go on LinkedIn, check your website, and do internet searches. If they find nothing—or don’t like what they see—you won’t get invited to the table. Who do you have the most credibility with so you can earn their trust? 

The three components of credibility

You have to be known. You have to show that you have the business acumen and experience to prove that you can help their business, help them achieve their goals, and help them solve their problems.

You have to be likable. Show buyers that you like and respect them. Show up on time, don’t take advantage of them, and don’t pretend to be what you’re not. Don’t try to trick them. You have to be trustworthy and full of integrity. You have to show authenticity, vulnerability, and empathy.

Resilience is key. You will face adversity. You will have doors slammed in your face. You have to learn the lesson from the loss and take it forward and do a better job next time.

Don’t neglect preparation and research

Lee implores salespeople to improve their pre-call preparation skills. Do your research up front and don’t walk in empty-handed—or you’ll walk out empty-handed. You must provide value that is relevant to your buyer. 

You have to ask smart questions. Then you have to shut up and listen to them all the way through. You’ll often get the most important information at the end of someone’s answer. Then you have to be curious and ask follow-up questions. 

The person asking questions leads the conversations. If you’re credible, they’re more likely to answer your questions honestly because they know you can help and won’t misuse the information. It gives you the leverage you need to create a strong offer and close the deal.

What are Lee’s top 3 prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts? Listen to find out!

Credibility attracts the customers you want

A company was just bought out and was being pushed to do things they weren’t comfortable with. The person who had just taken over the team had listened to Lee’s podcast and was aware of him. Because of credibility that Lee had built through articles, his podcast, other companies that he’d worked with, made him top of mind. So Lee was brought in to work with this group.

Credibility allowed him to attract the type of client he wanted to do business with. Lee believes your credibility acts as a magnet. It either attracts people to you or repels them away from you. He notes that “The more credibility you have today, the easier sales become tomorrow.”

Connect with Lee Smith

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Jun 2, 2021

In today's episode of Sales Reinvented, we do a special episode exchange with the Outside Sales Podcast. Steve Benson interviews legendary sales author Victor Antonio. They discuss the importance of the sales presentation process and how to get in front of any objection. Victor talks about the “Hero Story” process and how to gain the confidence of your prospect. This episode is packed with useful information that will help you master your sales presentations. Don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] More about Victor Antonio
  • [2:22] Why you need a presentation process
  • [7:16] How to properly uncover objections
  • [11:58] The structure of a great presentation
  • [15:23] The structure of the hero story
  • [21:15] How to sell a similar product
  • [23:37] How to show a prospect social proof
  • [28:41] How to move toward the ask
  • [31:06] Learn to pivot on the fly
  • [33:26] Steve’s “Sales in 60 seconds” segment
  • [35:46] The best way to practice presentations 
  • [38:18] The first step to master sales presentations 
  • [46:28] How to connect with Victor Antonio

Why you need a presentation process

Victor points out that everyone has a sales process. But somewhere in that process, you have to give a presentation. Most people don’t talk about the fact that there is a process to that presentation. He needs to answer these two questions first: 

  1. Who is your audience going to be?
  2. What are their pain points? 

Before Victor does a keynote or a presentation, he asks his customers to let him talk to salespeople to see what they’re struggling with. They give him the blueprint for what he says from the stage. It’s also important to use their language when he talks to them about their pain.

Victor likes to use the iceberg analogy. You can only see 10% of an iceberg, the other 90% is underwater. Most salespeople talk about features, benefits, and advantages. Customers focus on quality, service, and price. Most salespeople don’t look at the unstated or latent needs. 

If you understand what’s holding a customer back from a buying decision, you can sell more effectively when you present. You need to find the 90% of issues below the iceberg and address them. Listen to hear Victor and Steve walk through a hypothetical scenario to drive the point home. 

How to properly uncover objections

Victor recommends getting all of your salespeople together and asking: “What is holding back our customers from buying?” Remove features, benefits, advantages, quality, service, and price from the equation. What’s left? You’ll end up with a laundry list of things holding them back. Which ones come up the most commonly? You can figure out what the latent needs are. 

You can then bring these concerns up in a sales presentation proactively before they even come up as an objection. Victor will go into a sales presentation and raise the objection himself. Why? Because when you raise the objection, you control the objection and how you can dispose of it. If the customer brings it up, you’re defending yourself—and less likely to change their mind. 

The structure of a great presentation

Victor folds a sheet of paper in half four separate times. Once he unfolds it, he’s left with 16 squares. That is how you begin your presentation layout. Each box represents a slide. He chooses what he wants to start with at the beginning to make an impact. By the 3rd or 4th slide, he’s introducing the first objection. If you continue to interlace common objections into your presentation, you’ll feel the resistance lessen. 

He notes that the biggest mistake outside salespeople make is that they go in and share who they are, what the agenda is, and background about the company. Then they talk about their mission statement and other businesses they’ve worked with. They’ve spent the first 5–10 minutes talking about themselves. The customers don’t care. Those minutes are the most valuable time you have most—most people waste it.

Instead, start by demonstrating that you understand their pain. Spend the 5–10 minutes on them and they’ll be ready to listen to you. How does he work the product and conclusion in using the hero story method? Listen to hear what his structure looks like. 

How to move toward the ask

You have to guide toward your close. It begins once you present your solution. You’re blocking objections and reducing resistance. As you show something, you look for confirmation. You’re conversing with them. Share how you do things and share insight—information beyond the obvious. When you get “huh” or “I didn’t know that” types of responses, you know you’re doing well in your presentation. 

When you get to the end, it’s a natural ask: “We’ve gone through all of these features. Is there any reason we couldn’t start a demo next week to see how this works? You can then look at the data to see if it makes sense.” 63% of salespeople don’t ask for the order or the next stage in the process. 

What can you do to pivot on the fly? What’s the best way to practice presentations? How should you practice to master sales presentations? Listen to the whole episode to hear more of Victor’s expert insight!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Steve Benson

Connect with Victor Antonio

More about the Outside Sales Talk Podcast

Here at the Outside Sales Podcast, we realized that while there were many sales focused Podcasts out and about, there weren’t any specific to Outside Sales. We wanted to change that. That’s why we created this space where everything is about OUTSIDE SALES. Host Steve Benson, CEO and founder of Badger Maps, talks to industry leaders and experts to learn the strategies and tactics that make them successful in Outside Sales. Hop on to discover practical tips on how to sell at peak performance.

Connect With Paul Watts 

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May 26, 2021

The purpose of lead generation and prospecting are the same: to get prospects into your funnel. Mark Boundy—a Sales, Pricing, and Value Consultant—has amassed wide-ranging experience in the industry for 25+ years. One thing that he always emphasizes is knowing your customer’s wold intimately. Why does it matter so much? How does it impact your prospecting process and level of success? Find out in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:50] Prospecting and lead generation are the same
  • [2:44] Why prospecting and lead gen are important
  • [3:30] Mark’s prospecting process: slow down to speed up
  • [4:54] Attributes of a successful salesperson
  • [8:04] Understand your customer’s world + ask insightful questions
  • [10:10] Mark’s prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts
  • [11:50] How Mark recruited the recruiters

Slow down to speed up

After you understand the customer’s business you need to provide perspective. You can’t have perspective on something you don’t understand. Your customers are being bombarded with calls and emails. They don’t want to spend time educating someone on their business.

So your job is to slow down to speed up. Before you make a call, understand the customer’s business well enough so you can have an insightful question to ask in the first 15 seconds. It lets them know you have an intimate understanding of their business and know what their big fires are. You can’t do that with a canned script. 

Your job is to be in the top 10% of the fires they’re already fighting. The secret to successful prospecting and lead generation is understanding the customer’s world so well that you can instantly plug into one of their top priorities. You become a priority and a resource to meet their business needs. 

Mark once had a job where his whole region was light on funnel. So they did a prospecting blitz to fill the pipeline. The guy who did the best was only making 5 calls a day. So they asked him what he was doing. The answer? Research

He would find someone that looked like a candidate, researched them to understand them, and prepared 1–3 insightful questions that he can help them answer. He was crushing it. But if he was in an organization that measured “activity” he would’ve been in trouble. 

Measure the right activities

An organization needs to measure the right KPIs. John Tukey—a famous statistician—says “Far better an approximate answer to the right question than an exact answer to the wrong question.”

Mark had worked with two SDRs that he was sharing with other salespeople. He found out that one of the SDRs was getting bonuses based on the number of calls that he made. So what did he do? He gamed the system by letting the phone ring for 1 ½ seconds—and then he’d hang up. What should you measure instead? Listen to hear Mark’s thoughts!

Don’t measure the wrong thing. Measure the number of appointments. If you slow down your reparation, you can vastly increase your number of appointments. You can leave a great insight as a voicemail. At one point, 25% of Mark’s voicemails got return calls. He had earned the right to a conversation.

Understand your customer’s world + ask insightful questions

Mark firmly beliefs you must understand your customer’s problems. Know how your product or service delivers customer outcomes. Then, learn how to translate features and benefits into customer outcomes. When you’re prospecting, you say “My company delivers these outcomes. Does that resonate with you?” If you’ve done your research, you’ll know the answer is “yes” or they’re lying. Sometimes the answer is “no” but can mean they just don’t have time to talk to you.

If they’ve said “no” to your offer—but you know your insightful question impressed them—ask if you can call time to time with any other insights. If they say yes, you’ve received permission to come to the front of the line and move into their circle of trust. Deliver value from the first second you’re on the phone. What are Mark’s top 3 prospecting dos and don'ts? How do you earn the right to a conversation? Listen to find out!

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May 19, 2021

Prospecting—though every salesperson hates to admit it—is the necessary evil in any business. You have to prospect to get leads in your funnel to nurture them through the process. But how you do it matters. That’s what Steve Hall—the Managing Director of Executive Sales Coaching Australia—emphasizes in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:48] Is it a matter of semantics? 
  • [1:17] Why are they important?
  • [2:52] Steve’s ideal prospecting process
  • [5:52] Attributes a salesperson needs
  • [7:05] Skills for salespeople to develop
  • [7:46] Top 3 prospecting dos and don’ts
  • [10:20] Persistence and resilience are powerful

Is it a matter of semantics? 

Prospecting and lead generation: They’re just labels, according to Steve. Prospecting is identifying potential customers who may have a need that you can supply and can afford to pay for it. Lead generation is looking for people in the middle of the buying process looking to buy. 

In Steve’s opinion, prospecting is more important. You want to prospect for choice. If you have a full pipeline ready to buy, you won’t get desperate. You won’t try to close deals that aren’t ready or close those that don’t fit. The fuller your pipeline is, the less desperate you are. 

Steve’s ideal prospecting process 

Is there an ideal prospecting process? Steve’s answer? It depends. It depends on what you sell, who you sell it to, and what the deals are worth. It also depends on how big your team is. If you’re an individual, you have to do everything yourself. If you have a huge marketing team it’s different. Everyone has different capabilities.

The most important thing is to understand who your ideal customer is and identify companies that fit that. Assuming that a new customer’s lifetime value is upward of $250,000, they’re worth putting effort into. So you need to do research (either you or your minions). Then you reach out to them.

What do you do if someone is an ideal customer but they aren’t ready to buy yet? Do you come back in a year? Do you get them in a nurturing program? Who builds the relationship?

Then you have the actual sales process. Steve has one client that has multiple people involved in the sales process:

  • The CEO’s executive assistant does the research—with the list they’ve come up with as a team—to find out who the key players are. 
  • The CEO or one of his staff get them on a business-to-business call. It works well for them—but won’t work for other companies.

What attributes does a salesperson need to be successful with prospecting? What skills should they develop? Listen to hear Steve’s thoughts!

Steve’s prospecting dos and don’ts

Steve shared quite a few dos and don’ts for salespeople to keep in mind: 

  • Prepare. Don’t just pick up the phone or send an email. Think about what you’re going to do.
  • Targeting is critical. 
  • Get comfortable with silence.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Have a respectful pattern interrupt to get their attention on you.
  • Don’t use smart tricks and techniques. Everyone knows them and is used to them. Be genuine.
  • Don’t be too salesy or too pushy.

Don’t say “Hello, how are you?” Every single person does that. It says “I don’t really care how you are I just want to sell stuff to you.”

Persistence and resilience are powerful

Steve was working with a company trying to invest in aged care facilities. They wanted to talk to the CEO of the company they wanted to work with. The problem was that he couldn’t find a phone number for these people anywhere. Every single number for the company went to a call center!

Eventually, he went to their website and looked at their press releases. The head of corporate communications had their mobile number on the press release. So Steve called him and asked him to forward a message to the CEO’s executive assistant. 

She got back to him and said “The CEO is away—do you want to speak to the CFO?” Of course, they accepted, and that’s how he connected his client to this company. The moral of the story is that not everyone wants to be communicated with. But if you desperately want to connect—try the PR people. 

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May 12, 2021

Do you want to achieve your quota? Do you want to make more money? Salespeople need to be hungry, according to Mark Sellers—The Founder and Managing Partner of Breakthrough Sales Performance. You’re asking people to open doors—and they won’t all open. But there are a few things you can do to achieve more success with prospecting and lead generation. Listen to this episode of @SalesReinvented to learn more!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:24] How are these two activities different?
  • [2:19] Why lead gen and prospecting are important
  • [2:56] Mark’s prospecting and lead generation process
  • [3:57] Salespeople need to be hungry
  • [5:00] Skills salespeople need to develop
  • [6:22] Mark’s top 3 dos and don’ts
  • [8:06] Take advantage of warm referrals

Prospecting and lead generation: How are they different?

In Mark’s eyes, lead gen consists of marketing departments that are conducting nurture campaigns, inquiries, or Mailchimp and Hubspot kinds of activity. Prospecting is the domain of the salesperson. You’re out there every day constantly doing something to feed the funnel. The activities can be similar, but it’s about the mindset. The lifeblood of selling is getting new sales. It’s how companies grow and quotas get achieved. Unless you have an organic following, you have to prospect and generate leads to get more business.

Customer service is key

Mark’s business is different from most others. He runs a consulting and training business. His lead gen and prospecting efforts are mostly referrals. Where he goes to get his new clients is a small universe. He takes care of the customers he has and because of that, he asks them to hire him year after year. Secondly, because his focus is on caring for his current clients and offering impeccable services, they are willing to directly refer him to other prospects. 

Engage in stage zero business conversations 

Mark emphasizes that you need to engage in stage zero conversations. COVID has given us an automatic excuse to ask “How are you doing?” and “How is your business doing? Have you changed your strategies or direction?” Having important business conversations gives you credibility while also emotionally connecting and empathizing with a potential client. Hopefully—out of those conversations—new opportunities will arise. What are Mark’s top 3 prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts? Listen to find out!

Take advantage of warm referrals

A year and a half ago, Mark reached out to a consultant from another business (a conglomerate of 89 companies). Mark had done business with 3–4 of them. Mark asked if there was anyone he should be introducing himself to and was given a name. Then he asked if he could get a warm introduction, suggesting that this person speak with him.

His contact took the time to write an email encouraging this person to speak with Mark. That led to Mark presenting to 15 of the presidents. He immediately secured two pieces of business. You can’t be afraid to ask. Reach out to people—even if you don’t know they can do anything for you. Take the chance, if they can’t do anything, nothing is lost. 

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May 5, 2021

Customers don’t just show up—you have to go get them. Or, have a way to get them interested in learning more about what you offer. You need to engage in both prospecting and lead generation if you want to grow consistently and be sustainable. To do that, you need to get a prospecting system in place. What does Diane do? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to find out!

Diane Helbig is a business advisor and trainer, author, and podcast host. She’s been training small business owners and sales professionals on the importance of discovery during the prospecting, and lead generation stages of sales for over 20 years. She is the author of Succeed Without Selling: The more you think about selling the less you’ll sell, Expert Insights, and Lemonade Stand Selling.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:57] How are prospecting and lead gen different? 
  • [1:33] Why both are essential to sales success
  • [2:15] Diane’s prospecting and lead gen process
  • [3:51] Attributes that make a salesperson great
  • [5:18] Skills salespeople need to develop
  • [7:36] Top 3 prospecting and lead gen dos and don’ts
  • [9:40] Motivation goes a long way 

Diane’s prospecting system

Diane’s prospecting system begins with identifying a target market. Then you must develop a list of prospects within that target and do some research on them. You need to learn as much as you can so when you do outreach, you have something to talk about. Diane loves it when people use LinkedIn to see how they’re connected. Why? Because a warm introduction is ideal. When you go to set up a meeting, you’re more likely to get it.

With lead generation, you need to develop a list of prospect characteristics in your target market. Set up an ad campaign or an email drop campaign to draw their attention and interest. You get them to your website to reach out to you

Attributes that make a salesperson great at prospecting

Be realistic. Understand that you’re not going to sell to everyone in your target market. Attention to detail is also important, especially when getting down to determining characteristics.

You must be patient and good at reviewing data. What are the results of your lead gen? Is it working? Are you targeting the right audience? You can be flexible and make adjustments. 

Curiosity is a huge skill that salespeople need—but most salespeople don’t embrace it enough. Why? Because they want to sell to everyone. 

She emphasizes that you have to listen actively and intentionally and ask questions. Lead into a conversation not knowing if they will be a customer. Allow the conversation to tell you if they are a good customer fit.

You also have to learn how to structure your time for a prospecting system to work. It’s really easy to get distracted. So set up a system and work it. Know what the steps are and block them on your calendar. What are Diane’s top 3 prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts? Listen to find out!

Motivation goes a long way 

Diane had a business friend that owned a gift basket company. She was very motivated and clear on her target market and who she should be doing business with. She went through Diane’s LinkedIn connections and emailed the 5 companies she wanted an introduction to. But they got zero responses on LinkedIn.

So Diane decided to try and different tactic emailed each of them directly and asked if they’d take her call. All of them said yes. Why? Because they trusted Diane. She wouldn’t send them someone not with talking to. It gave this gal credibility. She ended up doing business with four out of the five! She had a process, she worked it diligently, and she followed through immediately. Prospecting systems work.

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Apr 28, 2021

Prospecting is the lifeblood of every business. Having a full pipeline of qualified prospects means you have choice. According to Marcus Cauchi—a Fractional Chief Revenue Officer for several technology startups—you should have 300–500% more at the “qualified moving to closable” stage of your funnel. You have to drive opportunity with sufficient velocity through the disqualification process. 

Marcus emphasizes to make sure that you get to the qualified stage quickly and cleanly with the least amount of effort and waste. When you prospect for choice—and have a full pipeline—you can walk away from bad business and you’re never dependent on any one deal. Marcus shares a wealth of information in this episode of Sales Reinvented—don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:15] Prospecting and lead gen—in Marcus’s words
  • [1:41] You need to prospect for choice
  • [2:50] Marcus’s prospecting and lead generation process 
  • [6:32] What is the red thread?
  • [7:27] Recruit for high intelligence and laziness
  • [10:10] The top skills salespeople should develop
  • [11:42] Top 3 prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts
  • [13:43] How Marcus turned a cold call into a sale

Be ruthless with disqualification

Prospecting for choice begins with identifying who is and who is not someone you should be prospecting. Disqualify everyone who isn’t a good fit—that means anyone less than a 100% match. You have to be ruthless with disqualification. You should be ready to go for the “no” and find out why they should not buy. If you don’t know why they need help, the risks they’re trying to mitigate, the problems they’re trying to overcome, or their ideal outcomes, you have no business interrupting them.

Don’t neglect any part of the process

To prospect for choice, you should also know who your customer is and what they all have in common. Be relevant, timely, respectful of their time, and deliver value on every call. Marcus hates the drivel he hears from people selling marketing automation companies saying it takes 18 attempts to speak to get a conversation in the C-suite. It doesn’t. It only takes one.

If it takes more than that, look at your messaging and find out why it’s not working. Odds are, it’s long, it’s wordy, and it’s irrelevant. It talks about your company, your product, and your services. Touch them with stuff that is relevant. 

He notes that you have to remember that prospecting doesn’t end after the initial conversation. You must care for the middle of the funnel. It’s hammered into you to prospect and get people into the funnel. Then you’re pushed to get to closing. The middle of the funnel is often neglected. Treat prospecting as a sacred act and make sure that you are focusing on making fewer higher-quality calls, being timely and relevant, and nurture them through the pipeline. 

Recruit for high intelligence...and laziness

Carl Von Clausewitz wrote a book called “On War.” When he recruited Prussian soldiers, he looked for high intelligence and laziness. Why? It meant minimum effort which equaled a minimum loss of life.

You can approach prospecting in the same way. You need to be well organized and good at research. You need to understand your customer’s world and understand their customers. What is the competitive landscape? If you are good at that, you can elevate your prospecting so you can hit the bullseye far more often—with less effort. 

Marcus interviewed a couple of ladies in the SaaS space. These ladies were smashing their quotas. But when they do, they sit back and ask themselves “What could I have done better?” 

What other skills should a salesperson develop? What are Marcus’s top prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts? Listen to learn more!

Marcus turned a cold-call into a sale

Marcus received a call from someone who immediately started talking about financial training. Marcus interrupted this person and said, “I think you’ve got the wrong person.” Turns out, they did have the wrong person. But instead of ending the call, Marcus asked, “What were you hoping to get from speaking to this person?” Marcus converted him into a bootcamp for cold-calling. The moral of the story? If someone has a pulse, start a conversation with them! You never know where your next opportunity will come from. 

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Apr 21, 2021

Why is prospecting a long game? How do you build relationships that lead to new customers? What is the right way to do social selling? Ian Moyse—the EMEA Sales Director for Natterbox—joins me on today's show to answer these questions and so much more. Don’t miss out on his insight and expertise in the world of prospecting and lead generation. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:05] Lead generation and prospecting: What’s the difference?
  • [2:42] Why lead gen and prospecting are so important
  • [4:54] What does Ian’s prospecting process look like?
  • [7:48] The attributes of a great prospector
  • [10:01] Skillsets to focus on developing
  • [13:14] Ian’s prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts
  • [20:54] Ian’s favorite prospecting story

Keep your bucket full

Ian points out that salespeople have a bucket. That bucket is always emptying because you’re either losing deals or winning deals. Either way, your pipeline is emptying and you must look ahead. Many salespeople spend all of their time closing. Suddenly, they have a bad quarter and realize their bucket is empty because they haven't been prospecting. 

During Covid-19, Ian has consistently heard conversations where a project is being deferred because the business itself is stopping all spend. 2020 has demonstrated that you need to keep your pipeline full. You want to aim for 5x your target in the pipeline. It takes consistent continual prospecting.

Ian points out that there’s no perfect answer. There is no golden key. It takes hard work. His advice is to focus on your perfect persona customer. Too many activities are just trying to fill the bucket. But you need people in the bucket who are in alignment with your value proposition. It’s better to have more qualified leads in your pipeline than waste your time. 

What are the attributes of someone who is great at prospecting? What skills should a sales professional focus on developing? Listen to hear Ian’s thoughts!

Ian’s prospecting and lead generation don’ts

Ian emphasizes that you can’t think activity is productivity. Ian has seen too many people who gave up on social selling because their bosses force them to make 50 calls a day. They’re hung up on activity. But what if you could do it differently? What if there was a better way to generate their quota of leads without cold-calling? Activity should be done in the smartest way. Ian is tired of hearing “Sales is a numbers game.”

He also points out that you shouldn’t connect then pitch. Everyone sees it: You get a connection invite on a social platform and it seems genuine. But soon after, you get a sales pitch. They think that’s social selling. That’s going up to someone and instead of chit-chatting after a handshake, you immediately pitch them. You’d never do it in the real world. 

Stop chasing the same person in the same manner. If they haven't looked at the first few emails or messages, how annoyed will people be when they see the 4th, 5th, or 6th? It doesn’t work. The more you do, the more the walls go up. You've created a human spam filter. You will probably never get through to them because the more you push, the more they resist.

Ian’s prospecting and lead generation dos

Ian reiterates the need to take time to qualify your leads. Don’t sell to someone who isn’t your prospect. If you look at someone’s LinkedIn profile, the clues are there to help you find a way to a conversation. Ian gets pitched all the time on social selling and CRM. But if salespeople simply looked at his LinkedIn profile and what he does, you’d never approach him trying to sell those things. 

He implores you to be like Sherlock. Go deeper and smarter than your average salesperson. It’s not rocket science. Slow down, read, and work smart. How do you find an authentic way that isn’t just reaching out cold and getting ignored? What will lead to a conversation? Ian will find a way to get a warm introduction from someone else by looking for shared connections. If you share 20 connections, who of those do you have a relationship with? There might be 3 people. 

Reach out to each of them and let them know you’re trying to connect to someone. Then ask how well they know them. You’ll get nos—but sometimes you’ll get a yes. Secondly, look at their jobs. Is there anyone there that you might know that they’d be connected with? It doesn’t feel quick, but you have a better chance of getting to a conversation than a phone call.

He encourages you to be bold and ask for introductions. He just had a new customer come on board and has built great rapport with them. Ian noticed they were connected to a senior person at another organization. So Ian reached out and asked for a formal LinkedIn introduction. He got a conversation and got a call booked. 

What is Ian’s favorite prospecting story? How is prospecting playing the long game? Ian tells a fascinating story that takes tenacity and consistency in this episode. Don’t miss it!

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Apr 14, 2021

Why do you need to craft a transformational message that resonates with your prospect? Does it increase your success with prospecting? Sonia Dumas believes the right message attracts people who could be interested in your service—but only if your message resonates with them at the right moment. If it does, they find their way into your marketing funnel.

Sonia—the founder of the Unstoppable Sales Community—joins me in this episode of Sales Reinvented to share why she thinks your message is one of the most important things to master.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:45] What is the difference between prospecting and lead gen?
  • [2:22] Why are both processes so important to sales?
  • [2:22] Prospecting and lead gen must be strategic
  • [4:10] Sonia’s prospecting and lead gen process
  • [6:00] A sales professional needs to embrace a positive attitude
  • [7:55] The skillset Sonia believes is a gamechanger
  • [8:51] Top 3 prospecting and lead gen dos and don’ts
  • [11:35] Every conversation you have is an opportunity 

Prospecting and lead gen must be strategic

If there’s no fuel in your car—or energy in your Tesla—it doesn’t matter how amazing the car is. It won’t go anywhere. Small business leaders want more revenue and income, but they don’t have a lead generation or prospecting plan. A website doesn’t cut it. Posting some content doesn’t cut it. Scattered activity doesn’t attract clients. Even worse—it wastes time. Prospecting and lead gen must be strategic and valuable.

Blasting out content, paying for ads, and attending meetings won’t fix your lead gen without meaningful information to assist your leads. To start moving the needle, you need information for your leads to discover. They then discover that you’re the solution to their problems.

The more you can create a genuine connection, the more you will have payday conversations. That’s when your prospect feels welcomed, acknowledged, and valued to such a degree that they’re open to having you transform their life. 

Why you NEED to craft a transformational message

What is your transformational message? Is it crystal clear what problems you solve and the audience you solve them for? If it isn’t, your leads won’t see your services as a solution to their problems. Your pipeline will stay empty. Your value has to be clear so your leads want to learn more. 

You have to know the details of the problems your prospects are working to solve. You need to communicate that you know the nitty-gritty and communicate that on your website, your social media, your newsletter, etc. Start the process because you have a message.

When you have a transformational message, your pipeline will start to fill up. You have a solution that can impact lives. Your income will grow because of the transformation you’re providing. 

A sales professional needs to embrace a positive attitude

If you hate prospecting and consider it a chore, you will communicate desperation in everything you do. Instead, Sonia recommends focusing on what you enjoy: Do you enjoy transforming lives? Do you enjoy making an impact? You need to have fun with prospecting. Let the genuine pleasure of transforming someone’s life resonate in your marketing and your conversations. 

Secondly, you have to focus. Your message has to be focused. You have to provide clear value and know what your ideal audience wants and needs. Sonia emphasizes that “Without focus, your efforts will be like a whisper at a rock concert. No one is going to hear you.”

You have to make a commitment to show up. It doesn’t matter if it’s once a day or once a week. Consistency builds confidence. It starts with you becoming confident. Those who are watching you become confident in your expertise, thought leadership, and your ability to solve their problems. Without consistency, confidence can’t be built. 

What skillsets should you develop? Listen to hear Sonia’s thoughts!

Every conversation you have is an opportunity 

Sonia believes that the best way to prospect is by focusing on sharing how she enjoys helping others solve a problem. When she does that, doors open wide. She was having a casual conversation with a vendor about how much she enjoys helping business leaders. She wasn’t pitching or offering anything. At the end of the conversation, he offered to introduce her to a friend that runs an executive coaching program.

The CEO of this program jumped on a call with her. By the middle of their call, he asked her to train his top 10 salespeople on how to have payday conversations with prospects. Every conversation you have is a lead generation and prospecting opportunity. You never know when someone will say “Tell me more!” or “Let me introduce someone.” It’s an opportunity to attract, engage, and convert a stranger into a client.

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Apr 7, 2021

Why are lead generation and prospecting so important? How do they complement each other in the sales process? Why is keeping your pipeline full so important? How does cultivating an awareness of needs lead to a higher close rate? Nick Kane—a Managing Partner at Janek Performance Group—shares his point of view in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Nick is a published author and sales performance expert. Don’t miss out on his expertise—listen now!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:55] The difference between lead gen and prospecting
  • [1:44] Why are both important to sales?
  • [2:53] What Nick’s prospecting process looks like
  • [4:44] The 3 components that lead to successful prospecting
  • [7:42] Skills sales professionals need to develop
  • [9:24] Top 3 prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts
  • [14:27] Prospecting in the life insurance industry

What Nick’s prospecting process looks like

Without prospecting and lead generation, Nick shares that you’ll struggle to generate new business. You have to keep the funnel full or you have to rely on a high close rate. An organization must focus on generating enough leads to keep their salespeople busy and help them hit their quotas. 

Nick emphasizes that both activities are complementary and benefit from each other. Lead generation consists of getting new opportunities in the pipeline and moving them through the funnel. It is a multi-prong activity that could include paid search, SEO, content development, sponsorships, and more. It does depend on the organization and target audience. 

Nick points out that prospecting depends on who you are going after. Prospecting should include leveraging social media and social selling, networking events, business development activities, referrals from existing clients, and more. 

The 3 components that lead to successful prospecting

Nick believes three components lead to successful prospecting:

  1. Mindset: Direct prospecting activities require the ability to deal with rejection. You have to be prepared to handle rejection. You must also help your customer create an awareness of needs to provide valuable insight, to raise a customer’s interest. 
  2. Skillset: You must have a willingness to help, be persistent, and be consistent. You can’t just focus on the opportunities right in front of you and neglect prospecting. When deals are closed out you’re left with very little. 
  3. Process: To Nick, top-performing sales professionals are not just calling anybody. You need to identify the right targets who will value what you have to offer. Narrow a list to a smaller pool for targeted prospecting efforts. 

You want to have strong initial questions to ask prompted by data or insight. It is important to create awareness of needs because prospects aren’t waiting for your call. You need to have the capability to identify good data to be thought-provoking. You just need to win the phone call, conversation, and meeting. You also need the ability to work through initial objections and earn the right to have the conversation.

Prospecting in the life insurance industry

Nick had the opportunity to work with a global life insurance organization. Prospecting in that industry is extremely challenging. You operate independently and there isn’t a lot of lead generation. The salespeople didn't have strong processes, skills or strategies. So Nick’s team put together a strong and effective approach to support the sales professionals prospecting activities. They needed to maximize their personal and professional contacts to develop prospects. 

They helped develop a personal brand for each sales professional. How did they want to be viewed online? How did they want to come across to prospects? They started to adjust their personal brand and enhance their efforts.

They helped them come up with key metrics and how to track those activities. What level of activity is needed to fill the pipeline and drive results? The combination of those three things drove results for that organization. Prospecting led to more appointments being booked. Their conversion rates are up. Overall revenue is up. They drove overall results for their clients.

You can’t just ask salespeople to go out and prospect and let them figure it out on their own. They need support. They need preparation. They need to learn how to cultivate an awareness of needs in their prospect. Learn more about Nick’s process by listening to the whole episode!

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Mar 31, 2021

Sales training courses always seem to start with “You have a lead, now what?” People are left questioning “Where did I get the lead in the first place? Where do they miraculously come from?” It’s why Kendra Lee starts her process with lead generation. Generating leads and doing research gives you talking points—and something to be confident about when prospecting.

Kendra is passionate about helping SMB companies get more customers. Mastering lead generation and prospecting is a great starting point. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented for her insight into the lead generation and prospecting process!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:01] Prospecting and lead generation
  • [1:32] Why are they important?
  • [2:33] Kendra’s ideal prospecting process
  • [5:05] Attributes + characteristics of a prospector
  • [6:26] Skills a salesperson should develop
  • [7:56] Top 3 prospecting dos and don’ts
  • [12:23] Drop-by prospecting in Washington D.C.

Kendra’s ideal prospecting process

Kendra starts her prospecting process with lead generation. Kendra is self-admittedly very shy about talking to new people, but she loves prospecting. Cold-calling on its own is challenging. She knew there had to be a smarter way than calling down a list. So for her, the ideal process is to start by identifying who your target market is and what their business issues are. 

Who within that market is your ideal prospect? Who is the decision-maker? Create a value proposition based on those issues.

Then you can reach out by email, LinkedIn, calling, etc. You have to find innovative ways to get past the gatekeeper (voicemail, email deletion, or a receptionist). Once you get the person on the phone, you have to decide how you’re going to uncover their needs and handle objections.

Attributes + characteristics a successful prospector needs

Kendra emphasizes that salespeople must follow up—not give up. They often give up because they don’t know what to say after the first few calls, emails, or messages. Secondly, you must approach the prospect from their business problem perspective. It’s not about your solution, it’s about what their issue is. You need to use your business knowledge about a problem and focus on what they care about. Not how your software application makes their world better. 

Top 3 prospecting dos and don’ts

What are Kendra’s dos and don’ts for prospecting and lead generation? 

  • Don’t show up and throw up. She doesn’t care if you’re calling, emailing, or on LinkedIn. Don’t talk about yourself.
  • Don’t ramble in your emails. They aren’t for a sales conversation. Keep it brief. Save the great information for a conversation. 
  • Do not lie. It hurts your credibility.
  • Do follow-up. Even the worst salesperson will find success some of the time just by following up. Consistency is critical.
  • Be yourself. If you aren't being you it won’t come across as a natural conversation. People want to talk to someone genuine. Kendra loves leaving a fun voicemail—no matter the length. Be yourself at every touchpoint. Kendra firmly believes it leads to a higher conversion rate.
  • Have a value proposition. What do you do really well? How can you help them? What’s one recommendation? Know what it is that would compel them to have a conversation with you.

Drop-by prospecting in Washington D.C.

When Kendra was a rookie in sales, she learned how to do cold-calling and drop-by prospecting (AKA door-knocking). Her manager took her to downtown Washington D.C. to an office building. He pointed to a suite and said “We are going to go in and have a conversation to see if we can get to the IT manager.” He opened the door and pushed her in. 

The receptionist was right in front of her. Kendra looked at her like a deer in headlights. She completely froze. She turned around and started to leave, leaving her manager to swiftly pull her inside and do the prospecting himself. 

Kendra now loves meeting new people. But she had to get past the fear. To do that, she got serious about lead generation. She was never going to walk in a door without a purpose. She had to have a value proposition and do something in advance to warm up that call—even if it was only in her own mind. It’s about coming across confidently. 

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Mar 24, 2021

People love to overcomplicate sales and prospecting. Mark Hunter emphasizes that you aren’t trying to create world peace or discover the vaccine for COVID. It’s just a conversation. But it’s a task salespeople need to own up to—that many hate to do. Why? Because they overthink it. Learn some simple tactics to find success prospecting in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Mark Hunter is “The Sales Hunter”. He is the author of two best-selling books, A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting. Mark is recognized as one of the top 50 most influential sales and marketing experts globally.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:51] Prospecting + lead generation
  • [1:12] Why are they important?
  • [2:01] Mark’s prospecting process
  • [3:18] Attributes + Characteristics
  • [5:15] The top skills to develop
  • [6:26] Top 3 prospecting dos and don’ts
  • [8:33] Embrace the 58–2 technique

Don’t solely rely on marketing

Prospecting is going through the qualification process and deciding whether or not a lead can become a customer. You can’t close any sale without starting with a lead. When people complain that their sales are down, the first question Mark asks is “How much time did you append on prospecting and lead generation?” The most often used excuse is that “Marketing does that for me.” Mark emphasizes that clearly, they’re not doing enough or you’d be busier. It’s a task salespeople need to own up to. 

Start with your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Mark emphasizes that you need to identify your ICP (persona, avatar, etc.). It’s not just anyone who will download an eBook or respond to an email. That just means they have a heartbeat. Mark jokes that his dog has a heartbeat, but he won’t be buying from him!

Focus all of your attention on your ICP. Look at your current customers. What outcomes have you helped them create? What benefits have they received? What are the common traits among them? What are the common descriptors? You can build your ICP from there. 

Attributes + Characteristics of a successful prospector

Mark believes you must have the desire to put the customer first. You sell to help people. You need to know that you can help a person or a company achieve something they didn’t believe possible. Secondly, people don’t wake up waiting for your call. You have to accept the fact that you will be interrupting someone. But if you believe in the outcome you can achieve, you owe it to them. 

Mark points out that a salesperson has to stay focused and cognizant of time management. You must have the focus and the level of authenticity to stay in the game long enough to make it happen. Salespeople can be all over the place with prospecting. But when you keep these three things in perspective, you can be successful. 

You must also be inquisitive. It’s the information you uncover that’s important. You must learn how to engage quickly to get someone to share with you. That comes with the skill of empathy. The person you’re reaching out to has to understand that you’re human and in this situation with them. 

What are Mark’s top 3 prospecting and lead generation dos and don’ts? Keep listening to find out!

Embrace the 58–2 technique

Mark was trying to reach the president/COO of a Canadian company. But he wasn’t having any luck. He could only reach this person’s administrative assistant who consistently shut him down. Mark finally decided to use his 58-2 technique. What is that? The best time to call someone is between 58 minutes after the hour to 2 minutes into the hour. Why? Because most meetings start at the top of the hour. 

Mark called this gentleman right at 11 sharp. On the second ring, he picked up the phone—thinking it was his conference call. Mark quickly asked him about an acquisition they had just made. He said, “I don’t have time to talk right now.” So Mark scheduled a time to chat with him that afternoon.

He created just enough interest to set up a conversation. They talked for 15 minutes. Two days later, Mark was sitting in his office having lunch. It was all because he did his homework, called him at the top of the hour, delivered value, and didn’t give up. It led to a six-figure deal. He used normal techniques and strategies and threw in some out-of-the-box thinking.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mark Hunter

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Mar 17, 2021

In his book, “Never Split the Difference” Chris Voss set out to answer the question, “How do you make hostage negotiation principles work in the business world?” In this special episode exchange, Mark Raffan—the host of the Negotiations Ninja podcast—and Chris Voss discuss some of the principles from this book. Don’t miss it! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:25] Chris’s background in FBI Crisis Negotiation
  • [3:55] Why you want a “no” over a “yes”
  • [6:57] The two human needs
  • [9:04] Chris’s late-night DJ voice
  • [12:42] Why you should never downplay empathy
  • [17:04] NEVER split the difference
  • [20:08] The fallacy of extreme anchoring
  • [21:55] How to use calibrated “How” questions
  • [23:21] “That’s right” versus “you’re right”
  • [25:20] In hindsight: Be assertive—but nice
  • [28:10] Don’t take yourself hostage

You want a “No” over a “Yes”

The prevailing theory is that to close a deal, you should be getting little “yeses” throughout a negotiation. Chris thinks that ideal is awful. Instead, he emphasizes that you need to shoot for “no.” Why? 

The little yeses—i.e. “Tie-downs” or “commitments” are a complete violation of human nature. He believes that it is the #1 reason you have long negotiations that go nowhere. After all, it’s “Not a sin to not get the deal. The sin is to take a long time to not get the deal.” He also notes that it’s the biggest toxin for relationships. People will stop responding to you entirely. 

Humans are so tired of being trapped by “yes” that they can’t help but react negatively. They start to think: Where’s this going? What’s the trap? What’s the hook? Why is it important for someone to be able to say no? 

Chris points out that people feel protected and safe when they can say no. Kids have learned that a “no” can be changed to a “yes.” Why? Because after saying no, you’re more willing to listen. “No” is almost always followed by “And…” which you must take advantage of. What comes after the “and?” 

Why you should never downplay empathy

The widespread lie is that “You need to separate emotion and empathy in negotiation.” Yes, you need to be in control of your own emotions—while empathizing with the other party. Chris notes that people used to think emotions were something that could be turned on and off. Now we know that emotions are hard-wired into all decision-making. Neuroscience has shown that without emotions, you can’t make decisions. 

If you want the other side to make a decision, their emotions must be engaged. But how? You have to avoid negative emotions because they slow down the thinking process. Positive emotions make you smarter, so you want to enhance them while eliminating the negative ones. Which emotions do you like? Which are hurting you? You must separate the emotions and put the person on a different path of decision-making.

How each word feels depends on what side of it you’re on. When you hear “yes” you get a shot of dopamine. Hearing it makes you happy. But you forget how uncomfortable the other person feels when forced to say “yes.” 

The fallacy of extreme anchoring

Anchoring is strongly advocated by most people: i.e. “go first and go high.” It’s called the zone of possible agreement. The problem is that it makes deals go away that you otherwise should have made. Chris sees it regularly and he also negotiates regularly. He will NOT high-anchor. They make more deals consistently without anchoring.

If you high-anchor, you hit the occasional home-run—but you don’t get up to bat as much. Or worse, the other side stops pitching to you. It makes potential deals vanish. Those that survive? They’ll be a great deal. But the long-term loss is high. Chris emphasizes that by the time you realize it’s killing your business it will be far too late. 

Why you should NEVER split the difference

According to Chris, compromise and splitting the difference are horrible. Compromise ruins everything. People are either trying to be fair—or they’re a poor judge of distance. What does that mean? People who tell Chris they like “win-win” are high-anchor high-demand people trying to move a goal-line. “Splitting the difference is a mercenary's tool to make you feel like you got treated fairly when they got what they wanted all along...It’s amazing what people will agree to when they feel like they’ve been treated fairly.” If they feel it’s unfair? You’ll get a no.

Be assertive—but nice

Chris—now older and wiser—would tell his younger self to continue to be assertive but do it nicely. Don’t compromise on what you’re trying to get done but be nice. That’s the #1 thing that Chris would change. He was once told by a fellow hostage negotiator, “Dealing with you is like getting hit in the face with a brick.” 

He equated being “nice” to being “weak.” He embraced the mantra of “You may not like me—but you’ll respect me.” There’s a difference between being assertive and being a straight shooter. You want to be a straight shooter—not a blunt-force brick that people have to fend off. 

You can’t just be cold, data-driven, and analytical. If you’re cold and distant, it will infect the other side and they’ll be less emotional. When you’re in a positive frame of mind, salespeople make 37% more deals. You’ll leave money on the table if you’re striving for neutral.

Chris and Mark cover so much more in this episode. Be sure to listen to the whole episode—and subscribe!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Chris Voss

Connect With Mark Raffan

More about the Negotiations Ninja Podcast

The Negotiations Ninja podcast, is the number one negotiation podcast on Google Play. On the Negotiation Ninja podcast host Mark Raffan interviews FBI negotiators, influential executives, world leading sales guru’s, legal masterminds and expert communicators to draw out what works in negotiation and what doesn’t work and what we can do better.

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Mar 10, 2021

Resilience. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly in the face of adversity. Resilience is an attribute or a characteristic that every salesperson must have—or learn. Why is it so important? How does it improve prospecting and lead you to become a better salesperson? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Justin Zappulla shares how being resilient can positively impact your career. Don’t miss it!

Justin Zappulla’s career has been highlighted by remarkable performance in sales and sales leadership roles. Today, Justin is the Managing Partner at Janek Performance Group and co-author of the popular sales book, Critical Selling, which is considered one of the top authorities and thought leaders in sales training, sales strategy, and overall sales performance improvement.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:57] How are lead generation and prospecting different?
  • [2:05] lead generation and prospecting fill your pipeline
  • [2:36] Justin’s lead gen and prospecting process
  • [4:42] Resiliency is a salesperson’s greatest attribute
  • [5:41] The top skills to develop
  • [6:54] Top 3 prospecting dos and don’ts
  • [9:21] The importance of resiliency

Justin’s lead gen and prospecting process

The most important part is to start with your perfect prospect profile. It helps you identify who to pursue. Then you identify the ways to meet those prospects (online, conferences, networking events, etc.). You then identify a trigger event that is likely to lead to that prospect needing your product or service and track those events. It might be a merger, a new hire, a home purchase, etc. 

Justin emphasizes that you need to create a reason for a prospect to opt-in. What is your lead magnet? What is your offer? It needs to encourage someone to take action. You are exchanging value for information. White papers, free quotes, coupon codes, webinars, etc. can all be great ways to generate leads.

Once you generate leads, you have to nurture them. The idea is to continue to interact with the lead to stimulate interest or action. Those are handed to sales as sales-ready leads. Prospecting is the process of identifying and reaching out to leads to pique interest, qualify them, and start the sales opportunity.

The attributes salespeople need to succeed

The first that comes to mind for Justin is resiliency. As a salesperson, you will get more “nos” than “yeses.” Great prospectors are disciplined and focused. It takes a lot of activity to produce a prospect, so you must stay focused and hungry. He also thinks of “ego”, someone needs to have a competitive mindset.

What are the top skills to work to develop? Justin would start by delivering a great value proposition. You have to pique interest quickly to be successful with prospecting. It needs to be a targeted message to initiate a conversation. Great prospectors have honed those skills. You also need the ability to connect with people, always be networking, and build rapport and trust quickly.

Top 3 prospecting dos and don’ts

Justin shared a total of nine dos and don’ts that have to be shared:

  1. Find creative ways to offer value in exchange for information. 
  2. Test a lot of activities to see what works. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis.
  3. Leverage technology and implement smart lead generation processes.
  4. Create the perfect prospect profile and a clear definition of who you’re pursuing.
  5. Use a multi-channel prospecting process: email, calls, social, events. It needs to be a combination. 
  6. Prioritize prospecting. You have to spend time on it. It shouldn’t be something you do when you’re done with everything else.
  7. Don’t offer something that fits everyone. 
  8. Don’t wing it. Have a plan and system in place.
  9. Don’t give up. You always get more nos than yeses, so stay resilient. 

The importance of resiliency

Justin was interviewing someone for a sales position and they were talking about this person's current role. He had found some success in sales—but it took him quite some time. He was selling a software solution for compliance in medical offices and on the road a lot. He made call after call without success. He made 1,649 calls before his first sale. 1,649

He was resilient. He wore that number as a badge of honor. It’s what it took for him to learn and find success. He’s now one of the more successful salespeople that Justin has come across. You can’t give up. You never lose until you give up. You keep trying, you notice what works, and keep doing those things. Salespeople fail and fail often. It’s part of the process and what makes you a great seller—and it’s why being resilient is so important.

Connect with Justin Zappulla

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