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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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Now displaying: Page 5

At Sales Reinvented, we are on a mission to change the negative perception of selling. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.

Sep 9, 2020

Intellectual curiosity is a curiosity that leads to the acquisition of knowledge. The intellectually curious have a deep and authentic need to understand the world and the people around them. In this episode of the Sales Reinvented podcast, Mike Macchiarelli shares how intellectual curiosity influences the negotiation process. Don’t miss this episode!

Mike Macchiarelli has over ten years’ experience in B2C selling as a salesperson, trainer, and manager. During his time with Equinox—a global luxury-lifestyle fitness brand—he won numerous awards and has helped to train over 1,000 salespeople. He also is well known for his online blog, Saving Face, where he writes about sales, negotiation, and leadership.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:52] Negotiation is reaching a mutual agreement
  • [1:09] Business at its most basic is an exchange
  • [1:41] Why don’t salespeople like to negotiate?
  • [3:09] Mike’s negotiation process hinges on flexibility
  • [4:52] A great salesperson must have intellectual curiosity 
  • [5:50] A strategy Mike uses to bring curiosity into the equation
  • [7:34] Mike’s top 3 negotiation dos and don’ts
  • [9:40] What the Cuban Missile Crisis teaches us about negotiation 

Flexibility in negotiation is imperative 

The biggest hurdle to overcome in the negotiation process is preparation. Mike sets aside time in his calendar to prepare on paper, to think through what is about to happen and strategically formulate his approach. But Mike points out that no matter how strategic or well-crafted your approach is, you have to be prepared to change it throughout the negotiation. 

It’s a journey with different stages and you have to be flexible. You have to mentally prepare to go back and forth 5-8 times (or more) and adapt your strategy along the way. One of Mike’s favorite approaches is from Michael Wheeler’s book ‘The Art of Negotiation’. In its simplest form, you must: learn, adapt, and influence. Keep listening to hear more about his approach! 

Intellectual curiosity is the key to successful negotiations

Mike emphasizes that a salesperson at his or her core needs to be curious. Curiosity trumps all. The entire sales and negotiation process is a process of exploration and discovery. You must have the curiosity to discover what’s truly driving the other person and what’s going to meet their needs. So much of what you need to know is hidden under the surface. It takes curiosity to ask the right questions to gather the necessary information. You must actively listen to understand and have empathy throughout the process. 

An exercise to build your curiosity muscle

An exercise that Mike recommends to build your curiosity muscle is to take a sheet of paper and list out everything you know about the current situation: Who are the people you’ll be negotiating with? What is their professional background? What about personal information? What are they looking for? Who are the stakeholders? What issues may crop up? 

In another column write everything you’re wondering based on what you know. It enables you to train your intellectual curiosity and come up with a million great questions and avenues to explore during your negotiation. It also helps you focus on the driving factors and motivations of the other person.

Mike shares his top negotiation do’s and don’ts—and why price is rarely the issue in a failed negotiation—so keep listening!

A negotiation doesn’t exist in a vacuum

Mike is a huge history buff. One of his favorite negotiation stories happened during JFK’s presidency: The Cuban Missile Crisis. The United States found out that Russia had been building and storing missiles in Cuba. The situation could’ve easily escalated into conflict—maybe even a nuclear war. But when the two countries negotiated, they allowed each party to save face. They consciously applied empathy and placed themselves in the other person's shoes before they made moves that could exacerbate the situation. 

Mike points out that you must never back a person into a corner or make them look bad in front of other people. A negotiation doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The people you negotiate with will always have to explain their decisions to another person. They have to think about whether or not the deal will reflect well on them. It’s part of the social conditioning built around making a deal. It’s our job to help them feel confident and certain they can justify their decision to another person. They’ll go through with the agreement if they are confident in the deal being made.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mike Macchiarelli

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Sep 2, 2020

Why is knowing your walk-away point so important in a negotiation? How does it influence the process? In this episode of the Sales Reinvented podcast, Diane Helbig shares her thoughts on knowing your floor—your bottom-line walk-away point—and why it’s such an important part of the negotiation process. 

Diane Helbig is an international business advisor, sales trainer, and growth accelerator. She is the author of Succeed Without Selling and the host of the Accelerate Your Business Growth podcast. Don’t miss her unique take on the negotiation process!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:36] Diane’s definition of negotiation
  • [0:57] The key to long-term and successful relationships
  • [1:14] Change the mindset around the negotiation 
  • [1:58] Diane’s process begins with knowing your walk-away point
  • [3:54] The attributes Diane believes are important in a salesperson
  • [4:31] Tools, tactics, and strategies to prepare for the negotiation
  • [5:11] Don’t make assumptions during any part of the process
  • [6:52] How Diane’s firm walk-away point paid off big

How Diane prepares for the negotiation process

Diane’s negotiation process always includes calculating her walk-away point. It simply means that she writes out the point she is willing to walk away if an agreement can’t be made. She emphasizes that you must know this before you walk into the negotiation conversation. 

Secondly, you must let the other party speak. You need to ask questions to understand their walk-away point. If you know their floor and ceiling, you can identify where you’ll meet in the middle. Diane implores salespeople to listen without a preconceived idea or agenda other than to learn. It’s critically important. Be quiet, calm, and hear what they’re saying and create healthy dialogue. 

Don’t make assumptions about any part of the negotiation process. Don’t assume anything—the conclusion, where they’re coming from, and what the customer needs or wants. Diane points out that this is a recipe for disaster. 

Be prepared to adapt the conversation

Another ‘don’t’ that Diane believes is important: Don’t respond to things you don’t hear. Salespeople have a bad habit of hearing what someone is saying but responding with a different or competing thought. They tend to come into the conversation with ONE thing they believe the customer needs to know or ONE solution they’re dead-set on offering. When a salesperson responds to what they wish was asked—it causes a massive disconnect. It’s all well and good to be prepared to convey your underlying value message. But If it isn’t brought up—there’s no point in mentioning it. 

When being blunt with your walk-away point helps you win big

15 years ago Diane had decided to leave the company she was working for. She created an agreement and a process that she wanted to approach her employer with. She created a strategy and she told the owner she wanted to change their relationship. She wanted to be paid a commission on each of her customer’s sales, not a salary. 

The owner said no to her request. So she asked him to sit down to have a conversation about it. As she listened to him, she realized his reasons for saying no weren’t in the best interest of the business, but about staying in control. She knew what her walk-away point was and they hit a point where she just said she’d give him her two-week notice—and he backed off. 

So they started to negotiate her commission. She wasn’t asking for commissions on sales with the highest paying clients or the other 180 she worked with—just the 20 clients she had a strong relationship with. They finally agreed on terms.

When Diane went back to sign the paperwork and asked “What do you want to tell people about what I’m doing?”. He questioned why he would need to tell them anything. She pointed out that if a client called that she wasn’t working with anymore, someone would have to tell them something. 

She realized he hadn’t paid attention to that portion of her conversation or the addendum in the paperwork. She ended up getting ALL of her clients and got exactly what she wanted and more while he got exactly what he wanted. She learned that you must be quiet, calm, and confident in the moment. The success of this negotiation was because she knew the value of what she had to offer and was confident with her walk-away point.

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Aug 26, 2020

It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable with negotiation. The vast majority of the population finds negotiation uncomfortable and they allow that discomfort to derail the process. Today’s guest on the Sales Reinvented podcast—Perry Green—shares that it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be a game-changer if you learn how to embrace the discomfort and move beyond it. 

Perry Green is a highly accomplished and experienced negotiation executive, with over 25 years in the CPG industry. He is a past recipient of The President’s Award, Nestle’s highest sales honor. He’s currently the Director of The Gap Partnership, the world’s leading negotiation consultancy. Don’t miss this episode packed with expert advice from one of the best negotiators. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:40] Negotiation is an intentional and intense conversation
  • [1:21] Negotiation helps you identify how to move forward
  • [2:02] Why salespeople don’t like to negotiate
  • [3:50] Perry shares his “de-preparation” process
  • [5:12] The attributes of a great negotiator
  • [6:10] Embrace this powerful negotiation tool
  • [7:13] Perry shares his top 3 dos and don’ts 
  • [9:49] The hardest part of the negotiation process

Salespeople must get comfortable being uncomfortable

Perry points out that salespeople always focus on the ABCs: Always Be Closing. Once we hit our objective, we are high-fiving and celebrating. But with the negotiation process, you have to push yourself to a place where you’re uncomfortable. The deal you’ve “won” may go sideways or fall apart, and that’s hard to cope with. We want to feel good about the relationship, but then we want to get out of there. 

Negotiation is an uncomfortable back-and-forth. But Perry points out that we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. One way you can do that is by looking beyond why you’re there. Most salespeople represent a large organization. They represent numerous voiceless and faceless people within that organization. The revenue that you bring in allows those employees to take care of their families. 

Perry emphasizes that those are the things we have to think about—versus our own discomfort. We have to focus on the value that we bring to the table. 

Be a practitioner of the craft

Perry notes that a successful negotiator needs to be a practitioner of their craft. You need to be someone who is going to practice the craft every single day. If you’re studying body language in negotiation, are you practicing the techniques in conversation with your colleagues? Are you practicing at home? Applying those skill sets in your day-to-day helps them to become natural so that when you’re in an uncomfortable negotiation you’re able to overcome your discomfort.

Perry also recommends embracing the tool of silence. He believes it is the most powerful weapon that you have. Salespeople love to talk, so when we don’t talk it unnerves the other party. It allows us to see what’s going on inside their head. It’s also a tactic we often forget about. Perry believes that if we’re going to say something it should be followed by questions to glean information from the other party. Then you stay silent and listen.

Don’t let your customer see you sweat

Perry emphasizes: “Don’t ever let your counterparty see you sweat.” Instead, you have to learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Get out of your own head and don’t spend your time making rationalizations. Don’t focus on trying to figure out where things will go. Instead, get in their head and glean the information you need that will bring you to the outcome that you want. He also notes that you shouldn’t give the other party more power than they already have. Start the negotiation from an equal playing field. To hear more of Perry’s strategies to get comfortable being uncomfortable, keep listening!

The hardest part of the negotiation process

When Perry worked for Nestle, he worked with a national retailer that his company had an exciting relationship with. They had been working together for years. During this particular negotiation, they were working on a joint business plan. Both sides kept introducing more variables to try and make the deal work. The negotiation went on for a week.

When they finally reconvened, Perry was ready to do whatever necessary to get the deal done. 

But he’ll never forget what his category manager said to him: “Perry, no is an acceptable answer.” Unfortunately, the answer in that negotiation was no. From there on out Perry recognized that he had to get comfortable being uncomfortable and learn to say no when it was necessary. In the end they got better results because they didn’t try to force something and pay too much for it. 

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Aug 19, 2020

Do you have the right combination of negotiation tools, tactics, and strategies in your arsenal? Do you understand how important it is to develop negotiation skills? In this episode of the Sales Reinvented podcast, Kristie Jones shares some of her favorite negotiation tools. She also gives some sage advice about the negotiation process. Don’t miss it! 

Kristie Jones is the Principal at the Sales Acceleration Group. Kristie is the go-to expert for tech startup founders who want to accelerate their revenue by improving their sales strategy, process, and people. She uses her 15+ years of experience to help small and mid-sized technology companies take their revenue to the next level.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:43] What is negotiation?
  • [1:31] Why don’t salespeople like to negotiate?
  • [2:39] How Kristie uses anchoring in negotiation 
  • [4:01] The attributes of a great negotiator
  • [6:20] Negotiation tools, tactics, and strategies
  • [7:49] Kristie’s top 3 negotiation dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [11:07] Kristie’s favorite negotiation story

Negotiation is a critical piece of the sales process

According to Kristie, negotiation is the process of working toward an agreement on an issue formally not agreed upon. She notes that people don’t regularly see eye-to-eye on numerous topics. So the ability to talk through differences without damaging a business relationship is critical to ongoing and long-term success.

Negotiation gets tricky because people, in general, don’t like to negotiate. Not only that, but most sales reps don’t have the correct formal training or repeatable processes in place that allow them to deal with those situations—and proper training is key. Salespeople have a process for filling funnels. We have cadences and sequences to handle outbound leads, stages in the sales cycle, and more. But Kristie is willing to bet that no one could pull out a repeatable strategy for negotiation. 

Seek to understand your customer

Kristie points out that you have to seek to understand. She handles negotiation like she would an objection and she handles an objection by asking more questions. When a weird question comes up that seems out of left field, assume that the prospect has had a bad experience. Find out the reason the question is being asked. Find out if they have had adverse experiences. Then differentiate yourself from that past bad experience. 

If their question is an unreasonable request, she notes that you are completely free to say: “I wish I could. Unfortunately, this is the situation...” What if you could trade something else for money? If it’s a significant client with nice brand recognition, trade case studies or testimonials for a discount. Or adjust the terms of payment instead of reducing the price. Understanding what is influencing their behaviors can help you reach acceptable terms for both parties. 

Kristie’s negotiation tools, tactics, and strategies

A negotiation tool that Kristie likes to use is calculating the cost of not coming to an agreement. Make a list of costs to each side and write down the disadvantage of not coming to an agreement. Sellers think “I’ve got a lot more to lose than the prospect or customer if this doesn’t come together.” But that’s not always the case. They may lose face with their boss or their team if they don’t make a deal happen. It might not look favorable for them. 

People take negotiation personally—but it’s not your money. It’s the company's money. It is everyone's job to get the best deal for their organization. Kristie also states “Don’t set fire to a bridge you might need to cross later.” Some relationships won’t be repairable if you don’t handle them appropriately. There’s a difference between negotiation and personally insulting or offending the person on the other side of the table. An agitated and upset person will impact your bottom-line more than someone who is happy. 

What buying SIX Acura cars has taught Kristie about negotiation 

Kristie is a huge fan of Acura, so much so that she’s purchased six of them over the last 20 years. She buys all of her cars from a salesman that refers to himself as “The Polish car guy”. Kristie LOVES the negotiation process and haggling and negotiating with her car guy. They’ve developed a nice banter over the years. She waits for one phrase to come out of his mouth and when it does—she knows she’s won. 

She admits she employs the ‘Columbo’ technique. Columbo was a TV detective who would pretend everything was wrapped up and then—on his way out the door—would say “Just one more thing…” She always ends the car-buying process with “I’m going to need new floor mats”. 

Kristie notes that you must be prepared and know who you’re dealing with. Know how they’re going to react. She comes to the table having done her homework and knows the market value of the car is and what competitors are offering it for. Do the same with your negotiation and you’ll have a great foundation to work from. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Kristie Jones

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Aug 12, 2020

Asking leading questions may not be permitted in a court of law, but in the negotiation process it is inherently necessary to ask leading questions. Asking the right questions is the #1 negotiation tactic that Ian Moyse emphasizes in this episode of Sales Reinvented. We also chat about his negotiation process, attributes of a successful negotiator, and other tools and tactics he utilizes. Don’t miss it!

Ian Moyse is the EMEA Sales Director at Natterbox and based out of the UK. He is also an industry social influencer who is widely published on matters of Sales Leadership, Social Selling, and Personal Branding. He was awarded the accolade of UK Sales Director of the Year by BESMA and in 2019 was listed in the top 50 Sales Keynote speakers by Top Sales World. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:56] What is negotiation?
  • [1:53] Why is negotiation so important? 
  • [2:41] Salespeople prefer to avoid conflict
  • [4:48] You need to ask leading questions
  • [7:42] Practice and preparation is key
  • [11:40] Hone your questioning skills
  • [14:30] Top 3 negotiation dos and don’ts
  • [16:44] Ian’s favorite negotiation story

Negotiation is woven into the entire sales process

A negotiation consists of two parties who both want something different. You have to talk through questions that arise to get to a mutually agreeable outcome—even if it’s not moving forward together. It’s still a negotiation. The more complex and larger the investment the customer is making, the more variance there is. The more they’re creating their own package, the more the customer is likely to want something different. That’s why Ian believes you must ask leading questions. He also notes that you shouldn’t park the negotiation at the end of the sales process. The earlier you can drive what the customer wants and get the hard points on the table, the better.

A negotiation thrives when you ask leading questions

A negotiation is only as strong as the questions you ask. Which is why it should include asking leading questions. You want to gain an understanding of the things the customer is looking for that aren’t standard. Whether its payment terms, technology, or licensing—there will always be something that comes up. 

Ian notes that a negotiation is simply a discussion around what you can or can’t have, where you can meet, how you can adjust things, and whether or not you can come to a mutual agreement. If you can knock out some of the hard questions early on in the process you shouldn’t get blindsided at the end. 

Ian uses the analogy of the Titanic. If the captain had seen the iceberg 10 miles away and made adjustments there wouldn’t have been this big surprise at the end when the ship sank. A negotiation is the same. If you ask leading questions in the beginning, you can usually avoid a sinking ship. 

How to lessen the fear surrounding negotiation

The label “negotiation” often makes a salesperson quake in their boots. Especially because Procurement people are trained how to negotiate and press the buttons of salespeople. They're trained on what to say to a salesperson, what to ask, and how to behave to get the maximum they can out of the process. They are subtle and experienced

Another tactic that Ian recommends to prepare for the process and alleviate nervousness is to practice. Practice playing the negotiation out with someone. It’s not about having the answers—it’s the method of discussion that you engage in. Roleplay and practice ahead of time. 

He also notes that if you’re nervous, bring someone along with you who’s more experienced. If you’re the only person negotiating on your side, you spend your time formulating an answer. If there’s two of you, one can take notes and you can alternate answering questions.

Hone your questioning skills

Do you have the knowledge and proper approach so you ask the right questions and handle them appropriately? A customer can ask any question in the world—but it doesn’t mean they’re going to get the answer they want. Likewise, salespeople have the right to ask clarifying questions:

What are the most important things we can address first? Can you elaborate? Can you explain why? Is there anything else you need? Can I clarify what you’re asking? 

Get your counterpart to talk more and put everything on the table. If you can discuss some difficult things at the right time and with the right manner of professionalism it puts you in the best position to win. 

There is no perfect world. Sometimes—no matter how much you prepare and ask leading questions—a negotiation won’t move forward. It’s the nature of business and negotiation. To hear more of Ian’s expert advice, listen to the whole episode!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Ian Moyse

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Aug 5, 2020

Most salespeople can naturally sense tension but are wholly uncomfortable with it. But healthy tension in negotiation is a normal part of the process that salespeople should embrace. According to today’s guest—Melissa Madian—healthy tension is critical to the success of a negotiation. In this episode of Sales Reinvented she talks about how it influences a negotiation and brings value to both parties. She emphasizes understanding the value you offer and holding firm. To benefit from her years of expertise in the field, listen to this episode!

Melissa Madian is the Founder and Chief Fabulous Officer at TMM Enablement Services Inc. She was one of the first people to pioneer the Sales Enablement role and has spent the past 25 years perfecting the sales experience for revenue-generating teams. Melissa is one of the 15 Top Sales Influencers to Follow in 2020, one of the 20 Women Leaders to Watch in Business in 2018 and ranked 10th of the 35+ Most Influential Women Leading B2B Marketing Technology.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] Capture value while maintaining healthy tension
  • [1:38] Negotiation abilities impact profitability
  • [2:47] Negotiation is the entire sales cycle
  • [4:10] Melissa’s negotiation process
  • [5:34] A salesperson can’t be afraid of conflict
  • [7:16] Negotiation tools, tactics, strategies
  • [8:12] Melissa’s top 3 dos and don’ts
  • [10:42] Why you should always present two options

The inaccurate perception of negotiation

In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Melissa Madian points out that there’s a perception that negotiation happens at the end of the sales cycle. That when we get to that point it’s time to put our gloves on and fight it out. Instead, she emphasizes that you’re always in a state of negotiation. There’s always a balance of give and get. It’s not you versus your customer. 

It’s about answering the question: How am I going to make sure we get value and the seller maintains value? In order to do so, you must maintain healthy tension. Melissa’s definition of negotiation is that simple: It’s capturing value while maintaining healthy tension. 

Maintain healthy tension in the negotiation

Melissa references a McKinsey report in which they shared that for every 5% that we discount our solution or product, 19% of the profit is lost. So when discounts are given because a salesperson would rather concede than operate in tension, all of your value leaks out of the negotiation. It also undermines your position as a valued vendor. 

Melissa notes that you need to go into the negotiation with a plan in place and determine what value each party needs to get. Then you need to decide what kind of healthy tension will you maintain in the negotiation so you don’t give up too much—but acquiesce when necessary. It always comes down to: What value am I providing to the customer? 

Be a personal trainer NOT a bartender

Melissa uses a wonderful analogy of a bartender and a personal trainer. She points out that there is no negotiation process with a bartender. You pay them and they feed you endless drinks until you’re drunk. There is no healthy tension, no give and take. The bartender gives and gives, and you take. 

Instead of being a bartender, you must negotiate like a personal trainer. A personal trainer pushes you towards your goals. At any given time, there might be a lot of conflict in the relationship because they’re pushing you to be better. The balance of the relationship is a healthy tension where both parties are pushed towards the same goal. 

Hold firm to the value you provide

Melissa emphasizes that good negotiators don’t roll over, they curate healthy tension because they know they’re offering something of value to their customer. You must first know the value of what you’re providing and then hold firm to the value you’re providing so that you don’t lose profit and you maintain your credibility. 

In order to know the value you’re providing them you must do your research. You know to know your customer, understand their pain points, and recognize how your product or service is making a positive impact on their company. You must research the potential roles that may get involved, objections that may come up, and do not allow yourself to be surprised by anything that crops up. Do not wing it or you will be blind-sided. 

She also implores: Do not assume that the customer won’t pay more money for what you’re providing to them. Customers do not pay solely because an item is well-priced. They pay for the value that it offers them. If you maintain healthy tension in the process you are more likely to succeed. To hear the rest of Melissa’s negotiation strategies and her favorite negotiation story, listen to the whole episode of Sales Reinvented!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Melissa Madian

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jul 29, 2020

Emotional control in the negotiation process is difficult to master. It’s partly because as a species we are ruled by emotion. It’s difficult to take a step back and let go of the different influences on the negotiation and focus on the facts. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Jeb Blount shares his take on emotional control in negotiation and why it’s so important to the process.

Jeb Blount is the CEO of Sales Gravy and a Sales Acceleration Specialist. He’s a best-selling author and most recently penned: INKED: The Ultimate Guide to Powerful Closing and Sales Negotiation Tactics that Unlock YES and Seal the Deal. Jeb is a world-renowned keynote speaker and the host of the Sales Gravy Podcast. This episode is packed with information you can use to become a better negotiator—don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:01] Jeb’s definition of negotiation
  • [2:04] Negotiation is the precursor to profit
  • [3:10] Salespeople find negotiation uncomfortable
  • [5:20] The rules Jeb follows in the negotiation process
  • [10:01] Emotional control and other important attributes
  • [13:16] The MLP Strategy (motivation, leverage, and power)
  • [17:18] Important negotiation dos and don’ts
  • [20:34] Jeb’s eye-opening negotiation story

Negotiation isn’t an inherent part of western culture

Negotiation is essentially emotionally controlled conflict. Jeb points out that because it’s inherently conflict, it’s difficult for people in western economies to engage in. Negotiation isn’t an everyday facet of our lives like it is in some Eastern cultures, such as India. If you’re in the UK, US, or Canada you don’t negotiate—you pay the price

Because negotiating isn’t a part of our everyday existence, we aren’t good at it nor do we like it. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding negotiating. In some instances, if you attempt to haggle or negotiate a price it’s met with contempt and an upturned nose—leaving you embarrassed. When it isn’t a cultural norm, it can feel uncomfortable. It can feel like rejection. It feels like a zero-sum game with distinct winners and losers. 

Unfortunately, most salespeople aren’t properly trained how to negotiate. If they are, they’re trained by someone who typically doesn’t have sales experience. On the flip side, most procurement people are professionally trained negotiators who know what they’re doing and take advantage of that fact. 

Three rules for the negotiation process

Jeb embraces a few rules as part of his negotiation process: 

Rule #1: Don’t negotiate until you’ve already won the deal. Until you’re selected as the vendor of choice, don’t attempt to negotiate—or you’re just negotiating with yourself.

Rule #2: Leverage the negotiation triangle. Make sure you develop a great relationship with someone in the stakeholder group. Once they select you, you’re typically shoved off to procurement who want to lower your prices. It’s nice to have a stakeholder to reach out to if it seems you’re at an impasse.

Rule #3: Incorporate a give-take playlist. Jeb points out that you should never give without taking something in return. He emphasizes that “I want to be able to give things to the buyer that are low-value to me but high-value to the buyer while I take things away from the buyer that are high-value to them.” The more you take, the more painful the negotiation process becomes—thereby compelling them to stop negotiating and align on a deal.

A salesperson must master emotional control

Jeb believes that emotional control is paramount to your success:

“Don't negotiate when you're hungry. Don't negotiate when you're tired. Don't negotiate when you're worn out. Because when you're in those positions, you're more likely to give things away that you don't have to...When you're worn out, there's a limit to your willpower, your emotional control, and discipline.”

He notes that if you’re not in a position where you can exercise full emotional control, do everything possible to reschedule the negotiation so you don’t get into a situation where you're giving away the upper hand to the buyer.

Jeb goes on to share a negotiation strategy that he teaches in his book: The MLP strategy (Motivation, Leverage, and Power). He also shares some powerful negotiation dos and don’ts. To learn more about how he leverages these in a negotiation, keep listening!

A story about the power of emotional control and relationships

Jeb’s company had spent six months going through a discovery phase with a prospect they had worked with in the past. But the deal they were working on was the largest yet. They had reached the final proposal and were selected as the vendor of choice. So the stakeholder group sent them off to procurement to nail down contracts.

Their counterparties procurement team sent them a letter stating that they had found other businesses that can do what Jeb’s company was offering—but at a better price. Jeb’s saleswoman read that letter and lost all emotional control, worried they were going to lose the deal. She was poised and ready to concede and lower their pricing to save the deal. But Jeb knew it was a negotiation tactic and responded accordingly. He let them know that they’d be happy to lower the price to fit the budget, but that something would have to be removed from the deal to do so. 

They came back to the table and quibbled over details for three solid months. The executive team was being pressured by the upper-management to wrap things up because they were now way behind schedule. Jeb received a call from the executive sponsor trying to figure out what the hold-up was. Jeb filled him in and told him that procurement had stalled the process. 

So the executive sponsor made a call to the Senior Vice President. The VP then called procurement. 24 hours later, they received their original contract, signed and ready to move forward. Jeb’s emotional control and relationship-building strategy won them the deal

This episode is PACKED with useful resources from a top sales negotiator. Listen to the whole episode to take advantage of his vast knowledge and expertise. 

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Jul 22, 2020

Do you know what it takes to be a successful negotiator? Do you possess some of the necessary skills and attributes? Do you need to brush up on your negotiation skills? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Mladen Kresic hones in on why salespeople struggle with negotiation. He also shares some of his favorite negotiation tactics and gives some pointers for dealing with the negotiation process. Mladen is full of spectacular insight into the negotiation process. Don’t miss it!

Mladen Kresic is the CEO of K&R Negotiations—aka Negotiators.com. For 30+ years Mladen has successfully negotiated billions in deals all over the world on behalf of the most well-known international companies. His expertise is working with C-level executives in business transactions. He is the author of Negotiate Wisely in Business and Technology, a guide for sales negotiations and an Amazon e-book best-seller. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:59] Negotiation: an interaction to achieve a result
  • [1:12] Why is negotiation important in business?
  • [1:50] Why salespeople don’t like to negotiate
  • [3:22] Mladen’s value-based negotiation process
  • [5:00] Attributes of a successful negotiator
  • [6:51] Negotiation tools, tactics, and strategies
  • [10:03] Top 3 negotiation dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [13:25] Mladen’s favorite negotiation story

Why do salespeople struggle with negotiation?

Mladen notes that negotiation is viewed as an adversarial process. Most sales professionals want to be liked by their customers. They want to please them. To some, entering into a negotiation feels like they’re putting that relationship on shaky ground. But Mladen believes that if they must view a negotiation as a process to achieve a result versus giving it a negative connotation. Doing that will change the process for the better and help you become a successful negotiator. 

Secondly, Mladen sees a lot of salespeople who don’t know when to walk away. They can be so desperate for a sale to meet their quota that they overlook things they shouldn’t. They’re so focused on being liked and reaching a deal that they get frustrated when the deal is dead. They have to learn to walk away when and if necessary. 

How Mladen prepares for a high-stakes negotiation

Mladen focuses his negotiations around what he calls the leverage cycle. It’s value-based leverage that is about delivering an outcome to the buyers. It creates confidence in the seller that they can deliver what the buyer seeks to improve. 

Mladen also focuses on agenda management. Most people think about an agenda in terms of how to conduct a meeting, interaction, or phone call. Instead, Mladen focuses on a macro-agenda, or what the entire process looks like—the resources and activities that need to happen in that timeline. 

Mladen believes it is THE most critical aspect of the process that we should focus on in order to thrive as a successful negotiator.

The attributes of a successful negotiator

Everyone has natural traits that will not necessarily change so you must play to your strengths. Mladen emphases that negotiation is an art AND a science and there are some things that can be learned, but that these traits are paramount to your success:

  • Genuine Curiosity: Genuine curiosity is absolutely critical. What makes the other side tick? What do they value? What do they need out of this relationship?
  • Confidence without arrogance: A prospect wants to feel that you’re confident in your product/service but are humble in your approach.
  • Competence: You need to know your product or service well and be knowledgeable about the counterparty as well. 
  • Integrity: Salespeople have a poor reputation because they’re perceived as lacking integrity, which is why this attribute is so important. 
  • Compassion: You have to have a level of compassion for the people you’re negotiating with and be able to put yourself in their shoes.

Mladen believes that if a salesperson possesses these attributes they’ll be one step closer to being a successful negotiator. Mladen goes on to share his Risk/Reward tactic, how to break down levels of importance, and other strategies and tactics that are important to the negotiation process—so keep listening! 

Mladen’s negotiation dos and don’ts

Mladen shared some pertinent dos and don’ts in this episode:

  1. Listen more and talk less. Mladen admits he’s a type-A personality that loves to talk (as are many salespeople). But to be a successful negotiator, you must purposefully slow your pace and be sure to listen intently and talk less. He points out that you’ll always have the opportunity to say what you need to say at some point. But first and foremost, you want your counterpart to feel heard and understood. 
  2. Prepare and plan—don’t wing it. This is where agenda management comes into play. Even if you’re strapped for time, you make time to prepare. It is unprofessional to come into a negotiation completely unprepared. 
  3. Don’t make arbitrary concessions. Don’t respond to a request just because they asked. It’s detrimental to one’s credibility and prolongs the process. Instead, Mladen shares that you need to engage in principle concessions: concessions made with credible business rationale. Is the scope too large? Is there a lack of value in the deal? Is there a competitive alternative that is better placed and lower priced?

If you begin to employ some of these strategies in your negotiations, you’ll likely yield more favorable results. Mladen shares his favorite negotiation story and how it changed his negotiation style in the remainder of the podcast—so be sure to listen to the end!

Resources & People Mentioned

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Jul 15, 2020

Are you aware of how your mental mindset impacts the entire negotiation process? Do you walk into a negotiation feeling timid or unsure? Or are you confident and prepared for the negotiation process? Mary Grothe understands how mindset influences the negotiation process and has developed a strategy that she’s found success with. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to hear her take. 

Mary Grothe is the CEO of Sales BQ®, an outsourced RevOps firm of fractional VPs of Sales, Sales Ops, and CMOs who serve companies across the nation by profitably rebuilding their sales & marketing departments and growing their revenue by focusing on the Behavioral Quotient (BQ) and proven inbound + outbound strategies. Don’t miss Mary’s unique insight into the negotiation process!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:04] Mary’s definition of negotiation
  • [1:24] Why negotiation is so important
  • [2:15] Why don’t salespeople like to negotiate?
  • [3:27] A negotiation begins with your mental mindset
  • [11:38] Negotiations tools, tactics, strategies
  • [13:46] The 4 levers Mary recommends using
  • [15:52] Mary’s favorite negotiation story

The negotiation process starts with adjusting your mental mindset

Mary points out that most executives know how to negotiate. If you go into a negotiation knowing that the person on the other end of the table is educated in negotiation tactics, you can go in with a different mindset. You’ll know that they’ll take one look at your proposal and will never agree to the first terms set forth. If you have the expectation they WILL negotiate, it changes how you approach the entire process. 

A lot of salespeople crumble, give in on pricing, and don’t get great margins on their deals. So how does she prepare for the negotiation process? Understand that it’s about getting a win-win for both sides. Then you must calculate your walk-away point: your starting point, your middle point that you present as the walk-away point, and then your full walk-away point. Knowing what each of these numbers are helps prepare you and boosts your confidence.

Remove emotion from the negotiation process

Mary emphasizes that you must remove emotion from the negotiation process—it sets you up for failure. Salespeople are known for “desperation justification”. They have a quota they have to meet by the end of the month or end of a quarter. Most negotiators know this. What if this deal is HUGE and you’re behind on your quota? What if you don’t know your pricing? Do you come across as lacking confidence or knowledge about your product and service?

Trained negotiators—and your prospect—can pick up on your emotion and lack of confidence. Unfortunately, it gives them the leverage they need to negotiate a better deal for themselves. Knowing that you need a deal gives them the upper-hand. But if you remove emotion and any ulterior motives from the process you can level the playing field. Keep listening to hear Mary’s full thoughts on the topic.

The importance of PCE: passion, conviction, and enthusiasm

Mary strongly believes that a great negotiator must embrace ‘PCE’:

  • Passion: You must be passionate about your product or service and completely bought-in to solving the prospect’s problem. It helps the prospect become comfortable with moving forward with you.
  • Conviction: You must have conviction about how your product/service will help your prospect. Show that you can quantify your problem and present case studies, testimonials, etc. that prove you can solve their problem. 
  • Enthusiasm: If you exude enthusiasm and get the buyer bought in and enthusiastic about the sale, you’re shrinking the negotiation game. They’re excited about getting the deal done and less focused on negotiating price and contract terms. 

Mary also notes that salespeople must be assertive and confident. When a salesperson believes they can solve their client’s problem it leads to confidence. There isn’t desperation justification in play—they truly believe in their product. 

The four levers to implement in your negotiation 

Mary shares four ways that you can leverage concessions to make them work for your company, while also giving your prospect what they’re asking for:

  1. Are they asking for a discount? Agree to the discount, but ask what item they’re comfortable removing from the proposal.
  2. Do they want to decrease the price per item? Offer a decrease in price if they purchase over a certain threshold. 
  3. Offer them a monetary concession if they can execute the deal in the next 24 hours. This is a common end of month/quarter strategy that negotiators are accustomed to working with.
  4. Agree to some sort of concession if the buyer agrees to give a testimonial, be a reference, or introduce and/or refer people to your product and/or service.

Utilizing some of these negotiation tactics will help each side find a win-win from concessions and come closer to a deal. 

Mary shares a negotiation story that led her to develop her successful negotiation process—listen to the whole episode to hear how it changed her negotiation game!

Resources & People Mentioned

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Jul 8, 2020

The negotiation process isn’t always easy for a salesperson to navigate. But mastering the process is paramount to your success. The bottom line: if you can’t negotiate well you won’t fare well in anything you do in life. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Chad Burmeister joins me to talk about some of the parts of the negotiation process that salespeople shy away from—and how to change it. 

Chad Burmeister is the Founder and CEO of ScaleX.ai, which promises to deliver an “unfair competitive advantage” by helping your salespeople increase lead frequency and sales competency. He is the author of multiple books, including AI for Sales and Sales Hack. Don’t miss his stellar insight on the negotiation process. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:29] Our lives are built on negotiation 
  • [1:59] Salespeople aren't comfortable discussing money
  • [4:45] How to master the negotiation process
  • [6:29] Salespeople need to understand the customers’ problem
  • [7:58] Chad’s favorite negotiation closing technique
  • [8:55] Chad’s FUN acronym
  • [11:15] How one negotiation changed Chad’s life

The importance of negotiation

Chris Voss was the first to make the phrase “everything is a negotiation” popular—and for good reason. Chad points out that nearly everything we do involves negotiation. When you make a purchase, engage in a conversation, or play with your kids, some sort of negotiation is involved. Chad points out that it’s well worth any monetary investment to go from a ‘C’ level negotiator to an ‘A+’. Perhaps that change in status means more bookings, more revenue—maybe even fame and fortune. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve in life can be benefitted from mastering negotiation. 

Understand that the negotiation process means you’ll talk about Money

The Objective Management Group has studied close to two million salespeople and found that only 54% are comfortable discussing money. A salesperson NEEDS to be able to comfortably discuss money in the negotiation process—yet most can’t stomach it. Chad sees that as one of the biggest roadblocks to a successful negotiation. 

Chad notes that the discomfort associated with discussing money is often associated with the way you were raised. Did your family have money? Were they savers or spenders? Did they avoid discussing money at all? If you can understand your money mindset and buying pattern, you can learn how to master this part of the negotiation process. 

Instead of letting a prospect walk away to “look at other vendors” you have to be comfortable pointing out what you discussed. “I thought we’ve discussed your priorities and requirements? You’ll save a million and increase sales by 5.4 million. Why do you need to look at the other vendors?” Chad shares another story about haggling in Mexico that drives the point home—so keep listening. 

Roleplay the negotiation process

When Chad completed his MBA, he took a class on power, politics, and negotiation. They spent a lot of time role-playing negotiations. Roleplaying in class with other students was the catalyst he needed to learn the negotiation process inside and out. 

Aside from consistent practice, Chad recommends taking a class or reading a book—you can even play poker. Learning the art of poker is a great way to learn how to see people’s tells, when they’re exaggerating, etc. 

Chad also believes you need to master closing techniques. Instead of “let’s schedule our next step meeting” at the end of a meeting, ask “If I could... would you…?” You’re essentially giving them an option to voice any objections they have to closing the deal in that meeting. 

To hear more of Chad’s advice—including his thoughts on gap selling—keep listening!

How Chad’s negotiation process changed his life

Chad’s second job out of college was with Airborne Express. He had set up a meeting with Uhaul about some packages they had been shipping with USPS They were shipping packages of license plates for $4.50. The Uhaul would meet the USPS truck in whichever state the plates were to be delivered. They send 12,000 of these a month. 10% of the time, the USPS truck didn’t make it in time and the license plates got shipped back. So Chad took the time to dig and find out the impact of the 10% of trucks that were missed.

Other than being fined, every once and a while a cop would sometimes pull over Uhaul trucks with expired plates and make them empty the contents from one truck into another. So with the fines, he calculated Uhaul was spending $5.87 to ship the new license plates. Airborne typically charged $6 to ship, but he offered to do it at $5 and demonstrated the total cost of ownership that would save Uhaul money. 

Chad won the account—1,000 shipments a month. Then he won the Canadian account, which was 2,000 shipments a month. He went on to become the #1 salesperson at Airborne. Eventually, he got recruited away to a job in southern California where he met his wife and started his family—all because of the outcome of ONE negotiation. 

Listen to the whole episode of Sales Reinvented for Chad’s insight on the negotiation process. If you’re looking to improve your skills—this is the place to start!

Resources & People Mentioned

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Jun 30, 2020

Relationship building is an important aspect of the negotiation process, according to Dr. Daniel Shapiro. Whether you’re negotiating with a prospective customer, negotiating with a spouse, or negotiating with another country—it all hinges on the ability to build a relationship. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, we talk about building relationships, attributes of a great negotiator, top 3 negotiation dos and don’ts, and much more. Don’t miss this one!

Dr. Daniel Shapiro is a world-renowned expert on negotiation and middle-east politics. He was the US ambassador to Israel from 2011–2017. He also founded and currently directs the Harvard International Negotiation Program. Dan consults regularly for government leaders and Fortune 500 companies and has advised everyone from hostage negotiators to families in crisis, disputing CEOs to clashing heads of state. He is also the author of two best-selling books, Negotiating the Nonnegotiable and Building Agreement: Using Emotions as You Negotiate.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:06] Humans are constantly negotiating
  • [2:05] Changing the negative perception of negotiation
  • [3:49] Dan describes the pillars of his negotiation process
  • [7:37] The attributes of a great negotiator
  • [8:44] Allow your customer autonomy 
  • [11:44] Top 3 negotiation dos and don’ts
  • [17:05] Dan’s favorite negotiation story

The entire sales process consists of negotiation

The common misconception of negotiation is that it’s just one part of the sales process in which costs are debated. The reality is that the entire sales process is a negotiation. Anytime you interact with someone else with a purpose in mind you are negotiating. Most salespeople love their jobs and it’s simply one part of the process that brings them more stress. How do we change that? 

Dan states that you must change how you view the negotiation process. Firstly, you must focus on building a relationship with the customer. Many salespeople naturally excel in relationship building. Secondly, you must listen with intent: Figure out what your counterpart actually wants and where their interests lie. 

The process doesn’t have to encapsulate an “us against them” mentality. You should present options for mutual gains and invent new ideas with the customer. Be innovative with your approach so they don’t move on to the next salesperson. 

The pillars of Dan’s negotiation process

Dr. Dan emphasizes throughout the episode that relationship building skills are key. The first pillar that he sets forth is all about building the relationship. Building a relationship is your greatest source of influence now AND into the future. The more you can build a good trusting relationship with some sense of connection the more effective you will be in the negotiation process.

Per Dan, “The most effective negotiations by and large—in the business realm and the international realm—are side by side. They are cooperative.”

Conversely, no salesperson is in it just for the relationship. They are also motivated to make a good sale. Aside from building a relationship with the prospect, you need to be keenly aware of their interests. What’s motivating their behavior other than getting a good deal? Are they hoping for a promotion? Is their budget quite low? Dan acknowledges there could be 1,000 different reasons—but it’s your job to find out what those reasons are. 

With the foundation of a relationship and the knowledge of what motivates them, you can work to craft a potential agreement that meets their interests—and yours. 

The importance of autonomy

A great negotiator is an avid listener. They learn what their counterpart cares about, what they want out of the relationship, what they’re fearful of, and what they’re dreams and aspirations are. They don’t listen to exploit, but they listen to craft an agreement that works for everyone. You must remember that your counterpart wants the freedom to make decisions without it being imposed on them. They want autonomy

Dan first became aware of this concept when he was a teenager shopping for jeans at Gap. The slightly older teenager assisting him was showering him with compliments and telling him how great he looked in the jeans. Dan realized he couldn’t decipher if the compliments were real—or just being used to make a sale and therefore a commission for the pushy teenager. 

Instead of pushing someone into a sale, allow them the autonomy to make their own decision. Share the attributes of the product, why it meets their interests, and why your pricing is fair while allowing them the freedom to walk away. If they can find a better deal with someone else, then let them know that you won’t stand in their way. Doing this builds trust in your customer relationship. Having their best interest in mind speaks volumes.

The power of appreciation in relationship building

Dan believes that the power of appreciation is the single most important thing to apply to a negotiation. He emphasizes that in ANY human interaction we want to feel heard, understood, and valued—appreciated on a deep level. Yes, you want to come to a deal, but deals don’t happen on an emotional level if the other side doesn’t feel appreciated and respected. It’s more than a thank you. It’s listening to try and find value from their perspective. To find merit in what they’re feeling, thinking, communicating, and understanding. 

It isn’t an adversarial or antagonistic approach, but one bent on understanding their perspective and shifting into their seat on a psychological level. If you can truly understand their perspective and appreciate where they’re coming from, it can change the course of the negotiation. Dan shares a powerful negotiation story about how cooperation and understanding in a negotiation lead to more effective outcomes. Listen to the whole episode for more of his negotiation expertise. 

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Jun 24, 2020

Do you view negotiation as a conversation? Or a battle with clear winners and losers? Nicole Soames joins me in this episode of @SalesReinvented to start the conversation surrounding negotiation—and reveal why so many of the mindsets salespeople have regarding negotiation are faulty. She shares common misunderstandings, how to prepare for a negotiation, and much more.

Nicole Soames is the CEO & Founder of Diadem Performance, a commercial skills training and coaching company. She is passionate about applying emotional intelligence to negotiation conversations. Nicole is a best-selling author and sought after coach whose savvy advice is revealed in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Be sure to listen!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Nicole’s definition of negotiation
  • [1:07] Negotiation is a conversation
  • [2:52] Why salespeople don’t like to negotiate
  • [5:46] Negotiation isn’t a process—but a conversation 
  • [8:04] Emotional intelligence is the #1 attribute you must possess
  • [9:56] There are no shortcuts: negotiation preparation is key
  • [11:43] Nicole’s top 3 negotiation dos and don’ts
  • [13:24] Don’t engage in negative internal conversations
  • [14:35] How children are powerful negotiators

Common misunderstandings about negotiation 

Many salespeople mistake negotiation for haggling or bartering. If you shift your viewpoint to negotiation as a conversation, you’re better equipped to build a long-lasting relationship. People are only as powerful as the conversations they have. Nicole believes we achieve results based on the conversations we have with others. Everything is negotiable—but you can only receive if you first ask. 

Another faulty misconception is that salespeople are schooled in the philosophy that the customer is always right. So when they enter a negotiation conversation, they have placed the customer on a pedestal. By doing so, they cede control and power to the prospect and end up paying dearly for those relationships.

Salespeople are usually engaged with a procurement person—who is well-versed in negotiation tactics. Because each of these people are leaning on their learned skills, a negotiation conversation often ends in disagreement, deadlock, and disappointment. What is the easiest way to avoid that? Keep listening to find out!

Negotiation needs to be a conversation 

Most people who have received negotiation training are taught that it’s a process—it’s linear and theoretical. Nicole is quick to point out that it shouldn’t be viewed as a process but as a negotiation conversation. Thinking about it as a conversation changes the way you engage in the negotiation. You should approach your conversation by contemplating answers to these questions: 

Why should I feel confident? What will their challenges be? How will I handle them? Am I exhibiting an appropriate level of ambition? How will I break the deadlock?

Approaching your conversation with emotional intelligence is the largest differentiator and competitive advantage that Nicole can see. You must remember that you’re negotiating with a human. There is a real person on the other side of this conversation. It’s why Nicole advocates for face-to-face communication whenever possible (versus email). 

How to prepare for your negotiation conversation 

There are no shortcuts. Preparation for a negotiation is paramount to its success. One unique tactic that Nicole recommends is to “big yourself up”: write down all the reasons you should feel confident in the negotiation conversation. Build yourself up and read it to yourself. Don’t allow yourself to fall trap to inner conversations that say things like “They won’t say yes” or “Everyone is having a difficult time right now”. 

Secondly, you must prepare for any curveballs that may come your way. Nicole emphasizes that forewarned is forearmed. And while you want to prepare for variables, she believes that you should NOT prepare a walkaway point. Doing so is admitting defeat and claiming that it’s okay to fail. Nicole believes that you get the best results when you’re challenged and under some pressure. To hear Nicole’s top negotiation 3 dos and don’ts and her ‘ABC method’ keep listening!

Learn the art of the negotiation conversation from your children

Nicole admits that children are expert negotiators. What makes our children SO good at negotiation? Think about it—children are relentlessly ambitious. They use every overt tactic in the book and wind parents down until they get what they want. “All of my friends have this” or “All of their parents allow that” is a very effective strategy. Nicole admits she smiles every time she sees her children negotiating with her. They are ace negotiators and we can learn a lot from them. 

Talk about some unique insight. To hear the rest of Nicole’s thoughts on viewing negotiation as a conversation, be sure to listen to the whole episode! 

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Jun 17, 2020

Keld Jensen—today’s guest on the Sales Reinvented podcast—feels that many businesses struggle with the negotiation process because they aren’t focused on a collaborative negotiation. Unfortunately, they embrace the mindset of ‘needing to win’ at all costs and focus on squashing the competition. Keld shares WHY this is the wrong mindset to embrace and what a collaborative negotiation should look like. Don’t miss it!

Keld Jensen has over 30 years of experience in negotiation. He is the founder of the SMARTnership negotiation strategy—THE most awarded collaborative negotiation strategy in the world. Keld has written and published 24 books in 36 countries. He runs a consulting and training organization that works with governments and businesses around the world to change how they engage in negotiations. Don’t miss his years of expertise—listen to this episode now!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:52] Keld Jensen weighs in on negotiation
  • [1:37] Revenue can only be created with negotiation
  • [2:30] Salespeople can be unconsciously incompetent
  • [3:30] Keld’s collaborative negotiation process
  • [5:15] The attributes a successful negotiator espouses
  • [7:06] What a SMARTnership looks like 
  • [8:54] Top 3 negotiation doss and don’ts
  • [11:32] Keld’s unique negotiation illustration

What does a collaborative negotiation look like?

Negotiation isn’t just about reaching a mutual agreement, but about improving collaboration. Keld points out that it’s not about winning something at the cost of the counterparty. The great negotiators don’t set out to be great, they set out to make a difference for their counterpart.

Negotiation is important because revenue isn’t created without it. The second you have to interact with another organization it requires negotiation. Embracing a collaborative negotiation strategy is just as important as a market strategy or a research and development strategy.

Yet many negotiators rely on out-dated tactics that are about winning at all costs. Listen to hear how Keld seeks to change the world of negotiation. 

Negotiate how to negotiate

Keld believes that salespeople don’t necessarily hate the negotiation process, but that they’re “unconsciously incompetent”. They don’t know how to properly negotiate. But once they understand the concept and the value negotiation creates it changes their viewpoint. The 1st mistake salespeople make when negotiation is that they don’t prepare.

A step that Keld believes is imperative is to negotiate on how to negotiate with your counterpart. You can’t walk into a negotiation thinking you’re playing a game of chess when your counterpart believes they’re playing tennis. So how do you remedy that? Keld recommends having a pre-meeting with the sole purpose of learning how to negotiate together.

If you take that small piece of time to make sure you are on the same page in the negotiation process, it removes wasted time. You’re setting the rules for the negotiation to follow and it transforms the process. 

The importance of listening

Keld believes many negotiations fail because too much time is wasted arguing. Too much time is spent on claiming why your product is superior. You must eliminate argumentation and product promotion and instead spend your time listening. Listen for what’s in-between what they’re saying. 

If the prospect asks you if you can deliver a product 2 weeks early, instead of immediately giving a yes or no answer ask: What is the value to you if I can move up delivery time? You need to think about their values and interests in every part of the process. 

Keld says to consider the question: “Are you willing to take a cost if the benefit to the counterpart is bigger than the cost and if the counterpart is willing to compensate you for that cost?” It’s all about figuring out who has the higher value compared to the lower cost. 

Your negotiation strategy should lead to a SMARTnership

Many negotiators embrace “zero-sum” tactics—which is winning at the expense of your counterpart. Instead of landing on a zero-sum strategy, Keld believes you should aim for a high-level collaborative partnership instead. His collaborative negotiation strategy is all about showing a genuine interest in your counterpart and building a relationship.

Keld also points out that up to 42% of the value in a negotiation is often left on the table. To avoid that, you must establish the NegoEconomics—the difference between your value and my cost. This needs to be calculated before engaging in the negotiation process. 

A collaborative negotiation process must involve transparency, openness, and honesty. If you’re honest, you will always leave the table with better results while generating a higher level of trust with your counterpart. If you generate a high level of trust, it reduces transactional costs, and profit tends to increase. 

Keld shares his top 3 dos and don’ts as well as his favorite negotiation story in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Listen to the end to soak up all of the value he has to offer. 

Resources & People Mentioned

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Jun 10, 2020

Are you aware of how buying personalities influence the negotiation process? And that each different personality changes the direction of your negotiation process? In this episode of the Sales Reinvented Podcast, Sonia Dumas joins me to talk about how buying personalities influence negotiations. 

Sonia Dumas is the Financial Sales Expert with The Sales Experts Channel, a Cryptocurrency Strategist, and a Certified & Licensed B.A.N.K® Trainer. Sonia emphasizes the importance of understanding buying personalities and personality science in the sales negotiation process. Don’t miss her unique insight!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:06] Sonia’s definition of negotiation
  • [2:07] Why is mastering negotiation important?
  • [3:06] The reasons WHY salespeople hate negotiation
  • [4:39] Sonia’s negotiation process: determining buying personalities
  • [9:24] The attributes a skilled negotiator must embrace 
  • [10:28] Sonia’s simple 5-step negotiation process
  • [11:25] How to determine a prospect’s buying code
  • [13:07] Top 3 negotiation dos and don'ts
  • [15:38] Sonia’s favorite negotiation story

Why we should change the word ‘Sales’ to ‘Influence’

Salespeople don’t love negotiation because they have to do elevator pitches, create countless proposals, answer endless questions in endless meetings, create marketing campaigns, and can chase down indecisive prospects for months. Sonia points out that instead of trying to find new sales tactics, you should focus on fixing your mindset.

What if salespeople stopped calling it ‘sales’ and started calling it ‘influence’? Wouldn’t everyone like to be more influential with their company, clients, prospects, and network? Influence isn’t just a sales tactic, but the fastest path to cash. Sonia also points out that the most effective way to be influential is to know how your clients and prospects make emotional buying decisions

Determining buying personalities should be your FIRST step

Sonia is all about making complex situations simple. Figuring out your prospects ‘buying personality’ or ‘buying code’ should be your first step—that you complete well in advance. There are four main buying personalities: assertive, amiable, expressive, and analytical. It’s far easier to influence people who make buying decisions just like we do. 

However, you must strive to understand the buying language of the other personalities. Once you understand their buying personalities, you can create an agenda and presentation to match their buying personality. You must focus on what’s important to them and tailor thenegotiation to what they need to know AND what they want to hear. This is Sonia’s #1 suggestion to shorten the cycle and get to more yeses. 

How can you determine a prospect’s buying personality? Sonia shares that ‘Crack my Code’ is what she uses to quickly determine buying personalities. A simple 90-second process for the prospect can change the way you negotiate

Sonia’s simple 5-step negotiation process

This is the typical strategy that Sonia follows to prepare and execute a negotiation: 

  1. Calculate buying personalities
  2. Craft an agenda/presentation based on that buying personality
  3. Determine questions to ask to discover if you’re a good fit
  4. Determine what you will say ‘no’ to at any point in the process
  5. Follow up on the negotiation based on their buying code

Per Sonia: “On some deep emotional level a prospect has already said yes to meeting you, yes to reviewing your information, they’ve said yes to involving other stakeholders, yes to revealing their buying code, yes to their emails and the phone calls you’ve made up until now...You have more yeses on your side than you do nos.”

Implementing a strategy based on their buying personality sets you up to create a relationship with a prospect—the revenue will follow. 

Communicate confidence in your products and services

As Sonia shared her lists of ‘dos and don’ts’ she emphasized that you must not come across as needy, desperate, or inferior (or what is referred to as “commission breath”). Prospects can sense that you NEED their business—which gives them the power and leverage in the negotiation. Instead, you must communicate confidence and level the playing field. 

Sonia implores you to focus the conversation with their buying personality in mind. Focus on what is high-value to them while also communicating confidence in your own products and services. They need to understand the massive value that you bring to the table. Providing them with a transformative negotiation experience will be a gamechanger. 

Listen to the whole episode for our in-depth discussion on buying personalities, the negotiation process, and Sonia’s favorite negotiation story. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Sonia Dumas

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Jun 3, 2020

Negotiation preparation contributes to 90% of the success of a negotiation, according to Scott Chepow, today’s guest on the Sales Reinvented Podcast. The better prepared you are before the negotiation commences, the smoother the process will be, and the likelihood of a successful outcome is far higher. To hear more of Scott’s thoughts on negotiation, listen to the whole episode!

Scott Chepow is the Senior Vice President of Engagement Strategy for The Gap Partnership in North America. He works with some of the world’s largest organizations to help them create incremental value through negotiation. His 20+ years of experience in the industry is a welcome addition to this podcast. Don’t miss his take on the negotiation process!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:46] What is negotiation?
  • [1:35] Why is negotiation important in business?
  • [2:23] Why don’t salespeople like to negotiate
  • [3:30] Scott’s negotiation preparation process 
  • [5:20] The attributes that make a great sales negotiator
  • [6:23] Tools + tactics + strategies Scott implements
  • [9:07] Scott’s top 3 negotiation dos and don’ts
  • [11:46] 8 fundamental types of negotiations
  • [13:48] Scott’s favorite negotiation story

What IS Negotiation?

Negotiation in its simplest form can be described as a buyer wanting to buy and a seller wanting to sell. But Scott points out that it’s far more complex. According to him, negotiation “Orchestrates the creation of value for your organization beyond the sale of your products and services.” 

Every organization has its own priorities—such as capturing more pricing or increasing distribution—that goes beyond the role of price within a construct of a sale. Businesses work diligently to define their drivers and set their priorities. Scott emphasizes that “The ability to negotiate within those drivers to achieve those goals is paramount.”

Negotiation can be uncomfortable

Many salespeople dislike the negotiation process because it’s uncomfortable. So they seek to alleviate that discomfort by rushing through the process. But in reality, the best way to overcome that discomfort is to embrace it: get comfortable being uncomfortable. A negotiation will never go smoothly, so you need to understand the risks that may arise. 

You can mitigate or even prevent those risks with proper negotiation preparation. 90% of the process is strategic preparation for the negotiation. The other 10% is execution and how you behave in the room. To strategically prepare you must understand the people, the nature of the relationships, and the balance of power. Want to hear more? Keep listening!

Negotiation preparation allows you to adapt your skillset

Scott references 14 essential behaviors of a negotiator that you should master. One of them is learning to think clearly and manage discomfort. If you master those skills, you can adapt to any negotiation you walk into. But that takes preparation, research, practice, and learning to understand the variables at play.

What’s important to you? What’s important to your counterparty? What are their pressures and priorities? You have to plan which direction you’ll take when things go wrong. If you have an action plan in place when variables DO arise, you know what to do and are confident that you’re prepared to deal with any realities that arise. 

Model the appropriate behaviors during the negotiation process

As you’re engaging in negotiation preparation, you must understand what type of negotiation you’re walking into and subsequently exhibit the appropriate behaviors. Scott states there are 8 fundamental types of negotiation and uses a clock face to demonstrate: As you work your way from 12-6 on the clock face you’re either bartering, haggling/bidding, hard bargaining, or dealing. 

As you move further around the clock, the relationship deepens as you work through concession trading, finding a win-win, focusing on joint problem-solving, and building a relationship. Different factors dictate where you are on the clock face. 

The level of dependency between the parties, the length and strength of the relationship, the level of trust, and how many variables are at play all move you further around that clock. If you’re in the haggling/bidding phase your behavior tends to be more aggressive, cold-hard, and dismissive. Scott points out that this is likely to be a one-off transaction.

However, if you’re in the “win-win” phase you are looking to be cooperative, collaborative, honest, open, and flexible. This is when you want to deepen the relationship and find a profitable and sustainable deal for both parties. 

To hear more about this process, the importance of negotiation preparation, and Scott’s favorite negotiation story—listen to the whole episode now!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Scott Chepow

  • Connect on LinkedIn
  • Scott on Twitter
  • Call at 802.734.0717
  • Email Scott: scott.chepow(at)thegappartnership.com

Connect With Paul Watts 

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May 27, 2020

Do you possess an adequate level of self-awareness? Can you accurately pinpoint where you are weak or could use improvement? Today’s guest on the podcast, Bob Apollo, believes that you must be self-aware to grow and improve—and become more productive. Listen to this episode for an in-depth analysis of productivity and what can help set you apart in the sales world. 

Bob founded Inflexion-Point—a UK-based B2B sales effectiveness consultant group—15 years ago and has a strong global footprint. He is an advocate for creating customer-value throughout every transaction. As an expert in the industry, we are fortunate to have him share that expertise in this episode of Sales Reinvented. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:52] Bob’s definition of productivity
  • [1:44] Why aren’t salespeople productive? 
  • [2:45] Develop a level of self-awareness
  • [4:10] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [5:22] Lobby for a more effective CRM
  • [8:05] Top 3 Productivity dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [17:20] A productivity challenge Bob has faced

Developing self-awareness as a foundation for productivity

There are a couple of personality attributes and characteristics that are important to productivity, but Bob points out that cultivating self-awareness is up there at the top. You need to be aware of what you’re doing and the impact and effectiveness of your actions. Without self-awareness, you won’t know what to change and improve.

It is the building block to effectiveness. Once you’re self-aware you can pinpoint your struggles and your weak points and develop a strategy to improve them. You can learn what works and what doesn’t. Self-aware salespeople are more likely to learn from others and grasp new concepts.

The right CRM can make a world of difference

Bob points out what many salespeople feel: the user experience and ROI of a CRM can be pretty disappointing. The vast majority of conventional CRM solutions are built around an administrative metaphor and record activities after the event. They offer no real sense of guiding the salesperson. 

There are many plugins available that try and rectify some of the issues but very few CRM’s that have adjusted. Bob recommends that if you feel your CRM isn’t delivering value, lobby for something better. There are options out there that may be better for you and your sales team—don’t be afraid to push your company for something better

The ability to learn is a key indicator of success

Bob believes that one of the best things you can do to improve yourself is to model your behavior after the most successful salesperson in your company. You must be willing to share your successes and failures with the team. The more successful your team is, the more profitable your business can be. Embrace the idea of collective learning.

But you must also embrace taking responsibility for your personal development. Don’t wait for your company to train you or blame them for your lack of knowledge. You alone are the master of your own destiny, so you must plan accordingly. One way you can do that is by setting up a professional development plan so you remain relevant and successful. 

Some tips and strategies to increase productivity

Bob gave us some tips that are too valuable not to share: 

  • Plan ahead: Don’t start any conversation or meeting without knowing what you want out of it.
  • Be open to fresh ideas: What brought you success in the past won’t necessarily repeat.
  • Focus your energy on value-creating activities: the more value you bring to the client the more likely they’ll be to move forward with your solution. It is a give-get process. 
  • Be strategic with unexpected RFPs: Learn to discern if you’re “column fodder”—as Bob put it—and if you have a chance to actually compete for the bid. Don’t waste your time if you’re the rabbit. 
  • Don’t prescribe before you’ve diagnosed: Really take the time to listen to your client’s needs and pain points—and do not fall into autopilot and start pitching before the time is right. 

Listen to the whole episode as we talk about eliminating sources of error, the greatest productivity challenge Bob has faced, and take a deep-dive into productivity. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bob Apollo

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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May 20, 2020

Time management is something most people struggle with and salespeople are no exception. It can have a huge impact on productivity—so how do you manage your time effectively? How do you become more efficient and productive in the time that you do have? Mark Sellers joins Paul in this episode to share his take—don’t miss it!

Mark Sellers is the Managing Partner and Founder of Breakthrough Sales Performance—which has been operating for 24 years. He is the author of two books, ‘The Funnel Principle’ and ‘Blindspots: The Hidden Killer of Sales Coaching’. He is an executive coach who consults with small to medium-sized businesses to help them improve their sales. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented for his insights on productivity. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:59] Mark’s definition of productivity
  • [1:57] Salespeople need to focus on efficiency
  • [3:09] Focus on what is measurable
  • [6:41] Tactics to improve productivity
  • [9:36] What attributes or characteristics should a salesperson have?
  • [11:03] Mark’s weekly strategy: write things down
  • [12:15] The premise of Mark’s book: Blindspots
  • [13:26] Top 3 productivity dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [15:30] How Mark wrote 2 books and built a deck

Productivity is about time management and prioritization

According to Mark, productivity is measured by the function of energy multiplied by the task at hand. In other words, how long does it take you to complete a task? You’re more productive if you get things done in a shorter length of time. But time seems to be what all salespeople are short on—so the goal is to become more efficient with the time you do have.

Mark points out that one way to achieve efficiency is by only investing your time in qualified leads. You can’t continue chasing deals that are dead. You must also prioritize the things that move the needle on sales and achieving quota and everything else is secondary.

Sales managers need to focus on tracking what is measurable—which is why there is such an emphasis on goals, quota, etc. Mark is happy as long as he can see progress is being made towards a goal. But as a manager, you must know how many ‘calories’ your salespeople are burning to reach a goal. If they’re being inefficient, you can help coach them to be more productive and focus on priorities. 

Mark’s tactics to improve productivity

Salespeople need to stop running and reacting—if they can’t sustain their activity level it will catch up to them. To change, they need to plan better. Mark shared some cool strategies:

  1. The 6x6 priority management strategy: Write on index cards the 6 things that are important to you for the next 6 weeks (personally or professionally). You monitor those things for 6 weeks and evaluate your progress at the end. It helps you find focus and clarity.
  2. Practice necessary endings: Get rid of the things in your life that are no longer serving you and are distracting you. 
  3. Write things down: Mark sets aside time each week to write down 3 things: one thing to focus on for clients, one for business, and one for his personal life. He resets them weekly. If he’s nowhere near meeting his goals, he’s likely trying to do too much and adjusts accordingly. 
  4. Get coaching: No matter what level you’re at—be it CEO, sales manager, or sales rep—you can improve your skillset with coaching. Coaches can give us a different viewpoint when we are too close to the action and dealing with blindspots. 

Be sure to listen to hear our in-depth discussion of these topics. 

The attributes a salesperson should have

Mark believes the key to being a great salesperson, in general, is having a good vision. What you’re doing in pursuit of the vision will always move you in the right direction. You simply build your priorities around that vision and pursue them relentlessly. 

A salesperson must also know where they’re going to spend their energy, both personally and professionally. They have to have the ability to discern what to say no to and what opportunities to embrace. You can’t be successful if you say ‘yes’ to everything and end up burned out.

Mark’s tips and tricks to master time-management

Mark has learned a few tricks along the way that he shares in this episode that can help you maximize your time: 

  • Do a monthly funnel audit: It helps you reset your priorities and is a great way to hold salespeople accountable. 
  • Use your calendar for a 30-day plan: Go straight to your calendar and time-block and schedule appointments like you would for a customer or a Dr. appointment. 
  • Write things down: It’s hard to ignore something clearly written in your calendar.
  • Stay organized: Disorganization is the ultimate productivity-killer.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute: You will never produce quality work when you rush.
  • Learn to say no: Avoid taking on more than you can handle. 

Listen to the whole episode for an in-depth discussion on productivity, to hear about how Mark wrote his books, and the best way to knock out tasks. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mark Sellers

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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May 13, 2020

According to Steve Hall, a customer-centric culture boosts productivity because you are able to focus on the right things. It isn’t about you, your sales goals, or your product—but about connecting with and understanding your customers and offering them something of value. 

Steve is a “C” level sales expert, a member of the Sales Experts Channel, and the Managing Director at Executive Sales Coaching in Sydney, Australia. He likes to categorize himself as a corporate storyteller who can help companies craft a compelling narrative. Don’t miss this engaging episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] What is productivity? 
  • [1:50] A lack of productivity is an organizational issue
  • [3:25] How to improve productivity 
  • [5:07] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [6:53] Tools or processes to aid productivity
  • [7:57] Top 4 productivity dos and don’ts
  • [10:35] Steve’s favorite productivity story

A lack of productivity is an organizational issue

Sales professionals are judged by their results. They need the ability to achieve more with the same or less effort while reaching their short and long-term goals. Steve believes salespeople aren’t productive because things are structured incorrectly on an organizational level. 

Sales teams are expected to do many tasks that could be delegated elsewhere. They’re prospecting, wooing the clients, and expected to close the deal—with all the administrative tasks tossed in. This is something that organizations can focus on changing.

A customer-centric culture boosts productivity

Steve points out that most companies overemphasize doing more activity while still expecting quality work. Those two things don’t typically go hand-in-hand. Instead, Steve believes productivity is better served by better understanding your customers. Sales professionals need to be passionate about helping their customers succeed.

If you learn to see things from the customer’s perspective and understand the needs of their business you’re more apt to close the deal. Steve stated, “Rather than have product knowledge, have problem knowledge”. Educate yourself on your client’s business—commit to offering them value. Be nice, be genuine, and help your client succeed. That is the whole goal of productivity. 

Steve’s tools and tactics that make an impact

Steve said to invest in things such as sales navigator and a simple CRM, but that his methods to increase productivity are more strategic. Here are a few thoughts he suggests: 

  1. Record your sales calls. Play them back, pinpoint what you can improve on, and use the recording to help make a transcript for calls. 
  2. Don’t invest time in busy-work. Don’t spend hours perfecting a presentation that may never happen. 
  3. Sell to people who want what you have. There’s no point wasting time if they’re not interested. 
  4. Don’t work too hard. Be sensible—don’t work until you reach a point of burnout.
  5. Know your objective. Why are you making the phone call? Why are you sending the email?

You need to focus on what’s important and not activity for activities sake. Listen to the whole episode for more suggestions. 

Try team-based marketing and sales

Steve is an advocate for people to work as a team. Most companies have salespeople who work as individuals, with individual targets and goals. They’re less motivated to help their team because it’s every man for himself. But you don’t work in a vacuum. According to Steve, when people don’t work together it’s a “hammer to productivity”. 

He had a client who decided to build their company with a team-based marketing department. They set team quotas and goals. Anytime there was a challenge to overcome, everyone jumped in to lend a hand. This particular company increased its sales by 35% that year. The next year they increased sales by 50%. They now own 75% of the market share in their area

The moral of the story is that companies need to create an environment that encourages team collaboration and productivity and a customer central culture. They need people who are focused on doing the very best they can for their customers. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Steve Hall

Connect With Paul Watts 

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May 6, 2020

Salespeople are taught that it’s all about closing the deal. That it’s all about connecting with prospects and pushing them down the sales funnel. Today’s guest, Ian Moyse, points out that spending time on closing the deal may not always be in your best interest. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to find out why

Ian Moyse is the EMEA Sales Director at Natterbox and an expert in telephony. He is known as a cloud social influencer. Thinkers360 recognized him as one of the top 100 #B2B Thought Leader and Influencers to Follow in 2020. He’s also a panelist on the sales expert channel, was awarded the prestigious UK Sales Director of the year award, and is one of the top sales experts. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:04] Ian’s definition of productivity
  • [3:00] Why aren’t sales people productive? 
  • [7:12] There is more than one way to communicate 
  • [11:18] Multi-level questioning and active listening
  • [15:41] Tools and tactics to improve productivity
  • [19:57] Top 3 productivity dos and don’ts
  • [23:08] Ian’s favorite productivity story

Productivity is about efficiency—not activity

Ian states that “Productivity is about doing the right thing, not just doing something”. It’s about hitting the results, not the metrics. Ian’s definition of productivity is doing the right things in the most efficient manner to secure a sale. There is too much focus on pure activity. Sales leaders want to push their reps to make more calls and force more connections. But more activity doesn’t equal qualified leads.

They’re also focusing on the wrong activities. Sales leaders want their rep to make a hundred calls to get 50 connections to get 5 leads—but what if a rep could make 50 calls to get 10 connections and 5 leads? The focus needs to be moved from ‘more’ activity to connecting with the right people. 

The level of activity needs to be different for every rep. Some reps need 20 visits to get 5 sales—others only need 10 visits a month. Each salesperson is an individual and needs to be treated as such. Everyone’s personalities and strategies are different, so we can’t hold them all to the same strategies and expect the same results.

Be willing to switch your preferred mode of communication

Ian points out that we need to take a step back and think about the fact that we all block calls and filter emails. Most people won’t answer a phone call with a number they don’t recognize or respond to an email from someone they don’t know. And while email seems to be the preferred mode of communication, it can leave a lot open to interpretation. You cannot properly understand someone’s tone and verbal cues through a written message—but you can with a phone call. 

It can also take 5 days of email communication to knock out what could be covered in an hour-long call. Ian states that you must be willing to switch modes of communication based on the information you need or the topic being covered. Email is more of a communication dialogue while a phone call is more conversational. You must keep in mind the differences between them. 

When productivity = NOT closing the deal

Productivity is about getting to the end result in the most effective and appropriate manner for your company and the client. The end result is not always a sale. Finding out that a potential customer is not a good fit still being productive because you’re reducing time spent on something that won’t achieve the desired outcome—a sale. 

Ian points out that sales reps need to learn multi-level questioning while actively listening. Taking a deep-dive with a potential client on the front end and listening to their needs will move you towards the desired outcome, or help you disqualify them. Ian believes many salespeople are so bent on closing the deal that they ignore key disqualifiers.

A great salesperson has to learn how to see those red flags and make hard decisions early. The amount of time you could spend on large bids will eat away at your productivity. Bring in your sales group and management to give a listening ear and let the bid go if it isn’t a good fit. You don’t want to waste your resources.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

According to Ian, this mantra can save you a lot of headaches and give you better odds of closing a sale. He points out one way to put this into play: make a cold call a warm call. He suggests doing that by researching the person in advance. Learn facts about his or her business and different angles you can use to connect with them. You may not use all the information, but you are better informed and prepared.

He has another mantra closely tied to the first: Plan, Prioritize, and Push aside. You need to plan for your day ahead of time, schedule and time-block key things that need to get done. Then you must prioritize those things and push aside interruptions and distractions. If you qualify what needs to be done now, it’s easier to focus on the tasks at hand.

Listen to the whole episode for Ian’s thoughts on productivity, his ‘Ninja inbox’ strategy, and more.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Ian Moyse

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Apr 29, 2020

Better sales engagement is what drives sales, but many salespeople are fumbling with the concept. Sales engagement platforms give you the confidence to follow-up with leads and help guide your conversations with prospects. Many salespeople aren’t utilizing a sales engagement platform—but according to today’s guest, Darryl Praill, it’s absolutely necessary. 

Darryl Praill is the Chief Marketing Officer of VanillaSoft and is a marketing executive with over 25 years of experience in the industry. He excels with B2B marketing, is passionate about mentoring, and loves viewing obstacles as challenges. Listen to this episode for his rapid-fire advice. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] What is productivity?
  • [2:00] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [2:49] Steps to improve productivity
  • [4:16] The 5 attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [6:27] Use a sales engagement software
  • [8:03] Top 3 productivity dos and don’ts
  • [10:24] Darryl’s favorite productivity story
  • [12:15] BONUS: Pitch-slapped

How to improve productivity

According to Darryl, productivity is doing what you say you’re going to do, in the timelines you’ve committed to, at the activity levels necessary to achieve your goals. While Darryl admits that it’s a cliche—sales IS a numbers game. You need to operate with the right frequency, cadence and activity levels. 

Most often, sales professionals struggle to be productive because they don’t plan. They struggle to manage their calendar. Darryl implores sales professionals to block time on their calendar and protect those time slots as if your life depends on it. 

He also recommends knowing your targets—to define your target and chase it relentlessly. You have to know your product inside and out, typical objections, and be able to explain why what you’re offering matters to your target. 

The 5 attributes of a productive salesperson

Darryl believes the top-performing sales professionals embody some of these traits—If they don’t, they’re working hard to develop them:

  1. Competitiveness. A sales professional should strive to have the highest conversion rates and the highest quality calls. They enjoy overcoming obstacles.
  2. Committed. They must be committed to knocking things out and hitting numbers.
  3. Measurable results. Focus on what can you improve and measure. Try different scripts and see which works better. 
  4. Brutal honesty. Acknowledge your shortcomings and weaknesses and get a plan in place to improve them. 
  5. Willingness to learn. Always improve. Model after those who are more successful than you. 

You need to invest in sales engagement software

Darryl is the CMO of VanillaSoft, a leading sales engagement platform. He points out that you don’t necessarily have to use VanillaSoft, but emphasizes that a sales engagement platform is something you need to invest in. It helps feed you the right leads so you can call (or connect) at the right time using the right channels. 

He notes that 48% of leads never get called, and if they are called usually only 2-3 attempts are made. Many salespeople wait 36-63 hours before calling a lead. All of these errors kill the ability to develop leads.

Darryl recommends using a sales engagement platform, because it “bridges the gap between marketing automation and CRM software”. It can help you improve your interaction with your prospects and increase close rates. They serve you the best lead and help you qualify and triple your pipeline. 

Learn to eliminate what distracts you

Darryl admits that productivity doesn’t come easily to him. Just like many others, he’s apt to get easily distracted by social interaction and technology. The few times he’s consistently kicked butt, he’s bent on being hyper-focused. He locks his door and refuses to leave until he gets the task done. Each step he takes he sees himself progressing against his goal. As he gets closer to reaching said goal he becomes more confident. Having that one productive day amplifies his entire week. 

Darryl also recommends scheduling important activities during times when you’re at your best. He’s not a morning person and works best in the afternoons. You can’t work well when you’re tired, hungry, fuzzy-headed, etc. Above all, don’t avoid doing the work that you dislike. Instead, focus on improving it. Listen to the whole episode for his recommendations in detail!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Darryl Praill

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Apr 22, 2020

Staying productive is an ever-evolving problem as a sales professional—but leveraging the power of referrals could help. Salespeople wear many hats: they prospect, write proposals, work with internal teams, handle customers, and more. Utilizing any tactic to help smooth the process can be a gamechanger. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Joanne Black joins Paul to share her take. 

Joanne Black founded No More Cold Calling 23 years ago and has been helping sales leaders drive revenue for their teams ever since. She is a referral consultant, speaker, and author of multiple books on sales. Her goal is to help sales professionals ensure qualified pipeline leads and shorten prospecting time and increase close rate. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:19] Joanne Black joins Paul!
  • [054] What is productivity?
  • [2:00] Salespeople need to focus on discipline
  • [3:43] Do what’s closest to cash every day
  • [5:55] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [7:13] Joanne’s #1 recommendation 
  • [9:45] Top productivity dos and don’ts
  • [11:32] Joanne’s favorite productivity story

Sales professionals must face a hard truth

Joanne doesn’t mince words—she believes many sales professionals are lazy and lack discipline. She notes that salespeople do everything they can to avoid prospecting and connecting with customers. Salespeople resist CRM and systems because it is more work. It’s expected that marketing will source and send leads down the pipeline. 

But sales professionals are accountable for what they produce. They must take a long hard look at their behaviors and systems in place. Society as a whole wants the end results without the work that goes with it. Sales professionals must work hard to overcome the preconception that people have that they’re lazy. That starts by learning to be disciplined and staying accountable

Do what’s “closest to cash” every day

Joanne’s mantra is “do what’s closest to cash every day”. What do you have to do to move things along and meet your quota? Is it writing a proposal? Do you have to corral a team and strategize? She points out that your job is all about prospecting and proposal writing—and whatever it takes to move forward. 

To stay focused, you must prioritize and time-block what’s important. Limit how often you’re checking email and don’t get lost in the social media time-suck. She also recommends exercising and eating healthy. If you are tired and unfocused, you won’t be able to do your best work. 

STOP cold-calling and embrace referrals 

According to Joanne, it takes at least 8 touches to reach someone with cold calling. But if you get a referral? It’s one phone call and you’re in a conversation with someone who wants to speak with you. Her #1 recommendation to be more productive is to STOP cold calling and embrace referrals

This allows you to spend less time prospecting, shortens the sales process, and helps your conversion rates soar to over 70%. How? Trust. When a client refers someone to you, they have already forged a level of trust with that person. That bond of trust gets transferred to you and completely changes the conversation you have.

Focus on what customers are saying (or NOT saying)

Joanne believes many salespeople are so bent on “doing” that they don’t think to ask what customers actually need. Every customer needs and wants different things and you can’t assume you know what those needs are without listening first. Joanne believes, “Every individual has a different need to know at a different time”. It’s your job to find out what that need is and provide a solution. 

You also need to be able to know when a client is giving you the brush-off—by understanding their silence. Joanne worked for a company that was contacted to submit a proposal for what would have been a million-dollar deal. They were looking for some advanced sales training and their current vendor didn’t offer what they needed. But her contact gave her the runaround and Joanne ended up losing the deal. 

The constant stalling and dodging of calls was a red-flag that Joanne missed. Be sure you’re paying attention to a potential client to get a concrete answer—”maybe” or “not sure” isn’t good enough. Getting a concrete “yes” or “no” will keep you from wasting your time and lead to more productivity. Listen to the whole episode for all of Joanne’s strategies to stay productive!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Joanne Black

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Apr 15, 2020

Communication skills are necessary across all job fields, but Anthony Solimini adamantly emphasizes its usefulness in sales. You must be able to connect with prospects on a relational level. You need to effectively communicate the desired outcome of meetings. Above all, a salesperson must be able to ask for the sale. The foundation of a sales professional’s job must be excellent communication skills. According to Anthony, it separates the winners from the “averagers”. 

Anthony Solimini has worked internationally in London, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong in banking and sales. He is currently the Business Development Advisor at CSI Financial Group and starting his own training business—AGS training. He is the author of multiple books on sales and enjoys putting his comedic skills to good use on the side. He shares his expertise in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Be sure to listen!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] Anthony’s definition of productivity and its importance
  • [2:42] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [3:57] Steps to improve day to day productivity
  • [5:22] Excellent communication skills are an important attribute
  • [10:03] Tools you can use to improve productivity
  • [14:53] Anthony’s top 3 productivity tips
  • [19:17] Stop filling your pipeline with suspects instead of prospects

When salespeople confuse efficiency with effectiveness

When Anthony was in banking in Singapore, he was told by his boss that he needed to double the number of meetings he was having weekly to increase his sales. When he did so, his sales plummeted even more. What he learned was that doing more of the wrong thing makes you less successful—and less productive. 

Salespeople are often numbers-focused. They assume that if they schedule more meetings, make more phone calls, and get in front of more people that it equates to more sales. Anthony points out the error in this thinking and iterates that it’s about quality, not quantity. If you have fewer—but more focused—meetings you will have a higher closing percentage. 

He also notes that salespeople need to be in front of the right people who have a want, need, or desire for the product or service they’re selling. If they don’t, they are taking advantage of your time and expertise to gain information or knowledge. Don’t fall into this trap

Salespeople need to have excellent communication skills—and confidence

According to Anthony, salespeople need to be laser-focused on what they want to achieve. They should go into every meeting confidently, with the ability to take control of the situation. A good salesperson should walk into a meeting with an agenda and a specific outcome they're hoping for and be able to openly communicate that to their prospect. 

Anthony points out that most top-performers are great communicators. They have the ability to build a relationship based on trust with their prospects. They show that they aren’t just there to make a sale and move on. A good communicator can present their pitch in a style that makes the other person feel comfortable. 

Anthony knows that young up-and-comers in the sales world don’t immediately embody confidence. It takes time to become proficient at what you do. You’ll fail and learn from those failures. He believes that you can rely on the confidence your company has built—that it can come from the organization until you feel confident and prepared. 

Set the scene for your meeting 

Too often, sales professionals are laser-focused on their presentation and closing the deal that they forget about the human element. Anthony believes it is important to do your research—learn as much as you can about your prospect before you show up to that first meeting. Adding a personal touch is a means of differentiating yourself from everyone else pitching to them. 

Go into the meeting and set your agenda: clearly state what you’re going to talk about and what your desired outcome for the meeting is. Anthony believes that “The sales process is 70% setting the scene and 30% closing”. After you set the scene you must adapt to your audience, listen and learn, evaluate and explain—only then do you sign and seal the deal (His SALES acronym). 

Anthony shares his basic methodology in this episode, but you can get full details by reading his book that’s listed in the resources below. 

Stop filling your pipeline with suspects instead of prospects

Anthony inherited an account from his boss—an account that his boss had been trying to close for 2 long years. His company had been courting this person by taking them golfing, paying for elaborate dinners, and giving away tickets to sporting events. Anthony was fed up with this prospect. He was flying every time he met with him and it had gone on far too long. 

He finally switched tactics. The next time he met with the prospect, he prepared a summary of the last two years. At the end of his presentation, he said “I get the feeling you will never do business with us” and succinctly stated it was time to stop wasting each other's time. The prospect conceded that he wouldn’t be doing business with them.

When asked why he didn’t tell them sooner, his response was a simple shrug—“no one ever asked”. Anthony’s company had wasted years on this prospect when they could’ve spent 20 minutes discovering the reasons they could never do business together. The potential client would never ruin the relationship with all of the FREE stuff he was getting!

From there on out, Anthony adopted a new policy: He would meet with a prospect a maximum of 4 times (if they sale was under a million dollars) and then ask for a yes or a no. Salespeople sometimes forget that even if they get a no, they are still closing the deal and can move on to someone who does want their business. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Anthony

Connect With Paul Watts 


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Apr 8, 2020

It’s a day and age where accountability is key to obtaining results, but seldom put into play. According to Kristie Jones, productivity is the ability to identify and execute on tasks that will result in providing the highest value outcome from that task. But you must hold yourself accountable to the goals you’ve set—and the quotas your company sets. Kristie joins Paul to share her thoughts on how sales professionals can become more effective in their roles.

Kristie has over 15 years of experience in SaaS management with expertise in training and coaching. In 2016 she founded the Sales Acceleration Group, which specializes in helping small and mid-size businesses increase their revenue. Kristie believes many sales professionals struggle to meet their quotas because they aren’t held accountable to their goals. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to learn strategies to become a more productive salesperson. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:08] Kristie’s definition of productivity
  • [2:58] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [6:04] What can salespeople do to increase productivity?
  • [10:56] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [15:26] Productivity tools that Kristie recommends
  • [17:43] Top 3 dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [19:44] How Kristie landed a job with accountability and consistency 

A lack of productivity may be due to a lack of accountability

Kristie notes that productivity is a blend of art and math. You need to understand your sales math and what exactly it takes to hit your quota. If you don’t know what it looks like to reach your goals, how do you know you’re doing what it takes to make quotas? Kristie points out that you must know how many prospects you need in your pipeline at any given time. 

You also need to know what your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is. Wasting your time talking to the wrong people with the wrong businesses will halt your productivity. She recommends learning your niche—your specific region, industry, persona, etc. Once you’ve done these two things, you’ve laid the groundwork to improve productivity. 

3 ways to stay accountable to your goals

Kristie sees a shortcoming in the industry where sales leaders are not holding their reps accountable. It’s becoming a rampant cultural problem. Sales leaders need to understand their reps’ sales math and ICP. If they know this, they can track if their reps are on target to hit their goals. If they’re behind, they can step in and provide support and guidance. 

But they also need to set meaningful expectations on the front end. So how do they accomplish that? 

  1. Take advantage of coaching/mentoring your reps. It is critical, but many aren’t being coached. Sales leaders need to give their reps feedback from call monitoring or sitting in on virtual or live meetings. 
  2. Do a pipeline review meeting weekly: Kristie recommends a 15-minute meeting to go over the sales cycle checklist (link in the resources below) to look at your reps’ pipelines and gauge if they’re on target. 
  3. Complete a weekly tactical review: It’s a weekly (or monthly) one-on-one to go over goals and lay out a game plan for meeting quota. 

It takes discipline to yield results

Discipline is a character trait that nearly every guest on the show points out as an attribute a sales professional must have. Kristie also believes that past success is an indicator of future success. It’s one reason why she likes to hire former athletes—she knows they have drive and discipline. They have grit, determination, and understand the concept of hard work to reach goals. 

Kristie loves people who have a system in place. People who’ve done their due diligence and have nailed down a strategy that works for them to be productive. She knew a young rep who came in and did prospecting every day from 9–11:30 am, without fail. She refused to let deal prospects creep into her morning and was fiercely protective of that time. Anything else that needed to be done would land in her afternoons.

It’s all about finding a formula that works for you and staying consistent with it. Keep listening to hear Kristie and Paul discuss the mentality that athletes encompass that makes them ideal reps in the world of sales. 

Consistency and accountability go hand-in-hand

Kristie has found—both personally and professionally—that developing consistent (good) habits will yield more positive results. When you do the same thing every day, you begin to form habits. She believes you must hold yourself accountable to the structure that you’ve created for yourself.

Kristie was unexpectedly let go from a job she loved, and what she did next is what got her into her next job. She set up a home office and got up every day and spent her morning prospecting for jobs. She’d workout over lunch to get over the midday hump, then spent a couple more hours job-searching.

She set up networking meetings, sent out resumes, and watched webinars to continue learning and growing. She treated finding a job like it was her full-time job. After two and a half months of hard work and consistency, she landed her next job. She believes if she hadn’t kept herself accountable and followed a structured schedule her story might’ve ended quite a bit differently.

Listen to the whole episode for her top 3 dos and don’ts and more strategies to improve productivity!

Connect with Kristie Jones

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Apr 1, 2020

Today’s guest, Lisa Leitch, believes that proactive prospecting is key to productivity as a salesperson. It takes discipline, rigor, and drive to achieve results. It’s important to learn to be efficient and get into a rhythm. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Lisa shares her take on productivity and a few key strategies that can help you become a more productive sales professional.

Lisa is the President and Sales Strategist of Teneo Results. She’s been a sales and training coach for over 15 years and worked with thousands of salespeople in over 250 different companies. Her mantra is “Be strategic. Be Proactive. Be Brave”. She brings years of experience in the sales world to this episode—don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Lisa’s definition of productivity and its importance
  • [1:56] Why aren’t salespeople as productive as they could be?
  • [2:58] Steps to improve day-to-day productivity?
  • [4:30] What are the attributes of a productive salesperson?
  • [6:10] Lisa’s foolproof strategies to improve productivity
  • [11:58] Lisa’s favorite productivity story

Don’t get stuck in the day-to-day

According to Lisa, being in the sales industry requires rigor and determination. You need to achieve results—and discipline and rigor are what get you there. But in the sales world, no two days are the same. It puts you at a disadvantage because it’s difficult to get into a rhythm and be efficient. 

Instead of focusing on improving day-to-day productivity, Lisa proposes setting 3-year goals. Where do you and your team want to be in 3 years? You can then break those goals down into yearly, quarterly, and weekly goals. You dissect those weekly goals into 7-day tasks. It’s about having a long-term vision for success and being future-focused. 

Be clear on your ideal clients

Salespeople are often so focused on making sales and creating revenue that they lose sight of their ideal prospects. It’s not all about getting a yes—sometimes it’s about saying no. You must walk away from clients who won’t help you yield results or who you know will be high-maintenance. 

If you have clarity on your ideal client it helps you focus your prospecting. It helps you attract and do business with the right people, where you can help them grow their business. One strategy you can use is to refer clients who aren’t a good fit to other people who “serve those types of clients better”. In that way, it’s not a hard no, but the offering of a better fit.

The concept of Proactive Prospecting

A strategy that Lisa has found greatly improves her productivity is Proactive Prospecting. Salespeople always want to be growing their business and keeping their pipelines full. Lisa blocks time to prospect, reach out to existing clients, schedule meetings, and more. She points out that to grow the business you need to move the needle on your dashboard. 

Lisa blocks Thursday mornings from 7:30 am to 8:55 am. She has found that this is the most productive time to be prospecting. You catch VP’s of sales (or other senior leaders) in their offices before their 9 am meetings. They’re also more likely to respond to an email or answer their phones. She sets a goal to make at least 10 phone calls in that time slot. 

Another strategy that Lisa finds simple but effective is the “Double Whammy”. People are more likely to use email, but it is easy to accidentally delete a message. If that’s your preferred method of reaching out she recommends following up with a 2nd point of contact with a different medium such as call, text, or message on LinkedIn.

Lisa’s tips to keep you efficient

Lisa points out that if you’re trying to be more efficient you need to maximize your time. If you’re traveling to a meeting with a client, always look for a 2nd client to meet with. She also recommends shutting off your email notifier. It’s an unnecessary distraction and your messages are likely not urgent. 

Above all, don’t be a transactional seller. Do your best to answer client questions and respond to whatever they need, but focus on being consultative. When you focus on building relationships with your clients and understand their needs you can provide solutions to their challenges—and be more productive.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Lisa Leitch

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Mar 25, 2020

Mark Hunter believes that productivity is best defined by the incremental value you provide customers as you help them achieve outcomes. It isn’t about being busy or crossing items off of a to-do list. It is about providing value. What does that look like? How does a salesperson accomplish it? Learn more in this episode of SaleReinvented!

Mark—known as the ‘Sales Hunter’—is arguably one of the greatest minds in the world of sales. He is an accomplished speaker, consultant, and author of multiple best-selling books. With an astounding 30+ years of sales leadership experience, he repeatedly helps companies find and retain better prospects. Paul picks his brain in this episode—don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:57] What does productivity mean to Mark?
  • [1:51] Why is productivity important?
  • [2:41] Why aren’t sales professionals productive? 
  • [3:59] How to improve day-to-day productivity
  • [5:40] The mindset of a productive salesperson
  • [7:50] Productivity hacks that Mark embraces
  • [11:12] Top 3 productivity dos and don’ts
  • [13:33] A productivity challenge that Mark has faced

Where you spend your time is determined by the outcomes you desire for your customer

Mark is adamant that you cannot get hung-up on a to-do list. Instead, you must determine the desired outcome for your day and client. Once you have the outcome nailed down, you backfill the activities that will fill your day. In this way, you are more focused and not distracted by your list. 

He recommends staying on task by preparing for each day the night before. He writes down exactly what he hopes to accomplish so that he doesn’t spend an hour of his morning ‘dinking around’ figuring out what his day will look like. 

Mark points out that any professional athlete goes into their game with a game plan in place to win. They have a clear vision in mind. Sales professionals need to view themselves in the same way—as professionals with clear goals and outcomes in mind. 

A productive salesperson has the right mindset 

Mark states that you cannot “Allow other people to define your level of success—only YOU can define your level of success”. He often sees salespeople get discouraged because their performance doesn’t measure up to someone else’s. His message is clear: you must stop defining your success by someone else’s accomplishments. Instead, measure yourself against yourself

If you start each day with the mindset of an optimist, you’ll start to notice the incredible amount of opportunities available to you. You just have to be ready, open, and conditioned to recognize them. Mark starts every activity with the desire to influence whoever it is he’s dealing with, create impact for each party—and exit a better person.

Throw your to-do list in the garbage

Instead of relying on a to-do list, Mark lives by time-blocking. Once you have your desired outcome nailed down, block time in your schedule for each activity that advances you towards that outcome. When you define your time, you stop allowing the work to expand and overtake your time. YOU compact the work into the time you’ve made available for it. 

Mark is ruthless with his calendar, and other top-performers such as Richard Branson and Mark Cuban do the same. 

His second sage piece of advice is to do your most difficult task first thing in the morning. In his words, “The mountains are never high as you think and the lows are never as low as you anticipated”. Whatever you may be dreading won’t ever be as bad as you anticipate!

Mark believes you must think and process in the long-term but live in the moment. Following that reasoning, he states that everyone NEEDS a 25-year goal. If you don’t set long-term goals, “You go through life reacting to things, not acting to create them”. 

Marks tips and strategies to stay productive 

Mark operates by the adage that ‘tomorrow begins today’. So what are the things he recommends doing to get a head start? How do you continue being productive?

  • Build a list of outcomes and block your time accordingly. 
  • Celebrate success at the end of every day. 
  • Don’t start your day looking at emails—block them into your schedule. 
  • Avoid starting your day on Social Media. It can be critical to sales (but also a complete time-suck). Set a timer and move on when your time is up. 
  • Remember you don’t have to do it all. Delegate tasks and activities whenever you can. 

Lastly, Mark wants you to recognize that there will be times when you fail. He points out that every great baseball player strikes out more than they get to 1st base—but they’re still millionaires. 

Don’t kick yourself when you don’t get something accomplished. Stay positive and remember to focus on celebrating the good that has happened—because only YOU can motivate yourself. To hear the rest of Mark’s take on productivity and what you can do to achieve better outcomes for your clients, listen to the whole episode! 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mark Hunter

Connect With Paul Watts

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