Everybody Likes Truth-Tellers and Transparency

Photo Apr 19, 09 38 44 (1)It’s crazy… the more experience I gain working with different organizations, different industries and people with different experiences, the more ideas I can take out of this book and use in my personal sales life… Maybe that isn’t crazy for you, but it sure is crazy for me. On top of that, the other 6 salespeople I work with, I can give them examples from the book when they explain their situation.

Creating value for buyers has always been the focal point in the past few books I’ve read. It’s less about the features and more about what you can bring to the table.

“You could create value for crazy-busy buyers by showing them how to reduce the overall cost of the program while maintaining its effectiveness and integrity. You could share relevant information regarding “best practices” and what your company has learned from work with similar organizations.”1

Becoming a business improvement specialist can go a long ways. Once you’ve gotten experience in your role, you can use those personal experiences to help future customers. I’m currently talking with a company that is looking at purchasing the competition… Once I got in front of the prospect and shared with them that I’m switching over a company from that competitor, they wanted to know why.

That’s just one example of how I can lend some recently acquired knowledge to my prospect.

“They [customer’s] lack the knowledge, evidence, experience, trust and confidence necessary to invest and commit. More than anything, they are seeking reliable guidance that will give them the confidence to move successfully forward. No one likes change, of course. But no one likes standing still – and being left behind – either.” – Britton Manasco2

Your prospects want all of the juicy details. They want to know what you know. That’s why they’re talking to you. They are coming to you for help because you specialize in something they need. They want to feel like they’re in the most competent hands out there. It’s time for you to grab the bull by the horns and lead an organization to the finish line.

Once the prospect knows that you’ve done ‘this’ before, the light bulb will click on and they’ll be happy they brought you in. This next part hit home…

“When you’re late to the party

Before you get caught up in the seduction of the low-hanging fruit, slow down, catch your breath and gather your wits about you. Just because you have an interested prospect does not mean that a sale is imminent. In fact, depending on your product or service, it may be months before you have a signed contract.”3

You’ve got to live this one before you can truly appreciate this Ah-Ha Moment. I was so freaking late to the party… but I was there and I was excited. Got in, did my due-diligence, showed them the product, showed pricing… like clockwork all within a week. #Boom – crash and burn. I was just so excited that I wanted to compete against anybody and they’d already been evaluating the competition for a few months. I would have been better off taking my time or not competing at all.

Luckily though, for me, this prospect is extremely responsive and I sent tidbits of information every few weeks. It’s just a matter of time before I get back in there. I should have been honest, and let the prospect know that I didn’t have enough time to fully evaluate the situation.

“Today’s prospects want to know the truth, so don’t shade it. In this social media age, where customers freely voice their opinions online, you can be assured that any issue about your offering, customer service, and financial stability can easily be uncovered.”4

Wan evidence? Go on Twitter, Facebook or Google and look up your company’s name and add customer service, hack, experience at the end of it. You’re going to get a handful of websites where customers complain about your company or product. It’s just the nature of the beast being in the information age. It happens… so if a prospect brings it up, DO NOT lie about it. It’ll definitely come back to bite you in the ass.

Nobody likes being lied to… so if you’re transparent, the communication should be completely open.

“Your prospects like truth-tellers. Don’t be afraid to speak up. But make sure they understand the context of what you’re sharing. You care. You want them to succeed. That’s why you’re talking.”5

Pretty simple, right? I think, often, sales people try to be too salesy. They want to appeal to all of the must-haves an organization it looking for. They want to bend over backwards for their prospect and they’re willing to drop their pants to earn their business. In some sense, it happens. I think the sales people that rise up, provide value, take the opportunity by the horns and lead the prospect down the path of success will end up winning.

Telling them ‘no’ or ‘we can’t do that’, might be a deal killer. But when the competition says they can do it and then they don’t… guess who the prospect is going to come running back to. I get to see this on a weekly basis. The competition says they can do something and then the customer gets screwed. The salesperson is nowhere to be seen since they already closed the deal.

 

There’s more to come from me about:

Snap Selling | Jill Konrath

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If They Like What They See; They’ll Find Budget

Photo Apr 19, 09 38 44 (1)After a much needed break… I’m back baby! Michelle got me a trip to Costa Rica for my birthday… which I highly recommend! I wanted to write… but I knew I needed to stop for a few days. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with the Change Creators in the #SocialSelling world and I’m extremely excited and giddy about what’s to come. Along with that, I’m getting further and further into Snap Selling and I keep finding Golden Nuggets.

“Don’t wait for customers who are ready to buy. Be a sales initiator and learn how to create opportunities out of thin air. If you bring prospects an idea that makes good business sense, they’ll consider it. If the idea is aligned with their business objectives, strategic imperatives, or current priorities, it’ll be evaluated. If they like what they see, money will be found.”1

That makes pretty good sense right? When you need something so badly, you find a way to buy it. So, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and figure out how you can make that happen. If you don’t know what the buyer’s shoes are like, figure it out. The internet is full of information… start reading!

If people are willing to change their priorities throughout the year, they’ll change their budget if you give them a good enough reason to. If they’re giving you time… they can see the value in whatever you have to offer.

“The only thing they care about is if you bring value to their business. If not, you’re a waste of time.”2

That pretty cut and dry and doesn’t get any easier than that. People don’t want you wasting their time because time is money! You’ve got to deliver whenever you have the opportunity. If you get someone on the phone, capitalize. If someone responds to your tweet or LinkedIn message, provide value. Continuously providing value is difficult, but once you find the sweet spot, man does it feel great!

I talk about this all the time. Providing Value. Don’t lead with your product… lead towards your product. Pitching someone about a feature doesn’t seem to work anymore… unless someone literally asks you about the feature. OR, they’re pissed at the competition. Don’t feel the need to dive directly into the product.

“Unfortunately for most sellers, their itch to pitch is unleashed when they start hearing about their prospect’s issues and challenges. Before you know it, they’re leaning forward in their chair and talking excitedly about their offering or capabilities.”3

I remember sitting at my desk while are Cornerstone chomping at the phone because the person was telling me about their issues! I was pumped. They’d just told me a huge issue and I knew exactly how my product could help them. I ‘knew’ it was time for me to bring up the product… and pfft… it went from a great conversation to ‘another sales call’. The prospect closed up and stopped talking.

In retrospect, I should have kept asking questions, digging deeper and setting the stage for our next conversation. I didn’t shed any light on the current situation within the industry and I sure as heck ruined the conversation.

Once you get in front of a buyer, it’s time to get out the diagram to get a better understanding of where things are going wrong.

“I’ve seen other sellers draw the silos between departments and the multiple handoff points as they discuss the tremendous inefficiencies in departments.”4

Try and envision yourself drawing or creating a diagram in front of a buyer. It’s a great engagement opportunity for you to show them where the troubles are. Where are the disconnects in their organization? Where do they lose time and money because they have ‘bandaided’ together solutions? The majority of organizations are ‘behind the ball’, and the majority of them don’t know that. It’s your job to show them!

You’re helping them come to the conclusion that you can save them time and money. You’re leading them down the path to choosing you as a partner because you’re providing them with all sorts of value and content.

“… if you become an everyday value creator, you will stand you. So stop thinking about getting the order and start thinking of yourself as a business improvement specialist who product/service is only one part of the value you bring to your potential and current customers.”5

Are you creating value regularly? Are you pushing out content all the time to your network? Are you engaging with your prospects? Eventually, once you’ve accomplished that, they’ll be coming to you for information. You’ll be their source for information. It’s absolutely insane as to why people think that this is impossible. It’s not!

I’ve got a friend in the travel industry and I know that she could absolutely murder sales… She just needs to create a website, post pictures and talk about her trips. Who doesn’t want to look at pictures and fantasize about traveling the world. Twitter and instagram are visual feed where you can post pictures. Drive traffic from those, to a website and you’ve got yourself an incredible following.

Not to mention… travel bloggers have an incredible tight niche community. Publish, post, share, comment content and become the value creator!

 

There’s more to come from me about:

Snap Selling | Jill Konrath

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Don’t Get Deleted! | Snap Selling

Photo Apr 19, 09 38 44 (1)Day in and day out, salespeople are always looking for different ways to get in front of their future clients. Being in the information age, we want value immediately! If the subject line of an email sucks; boom, deleted. If a voice message starts out boring; boom, deleted. You’ve only got a few seconds to capture someone’s attention… so you have to make it count.

“Here’s what you need to remember: Your prospects read your e-mails with their finger on the Delete key. They listen to you voice mails with their finger on the Delete key.”1

The majority of your prospects are inundated with multiple sales calls and sales emails a day. Why should they listen to you? Why should they care? What do you have to offer that is so different than what they’re already doing?!

Value… You’ve gotta give ’em value. “Well Jordan, you make it sound so simple.”

It is and it isn’t. You need to catch their attention and spark their interest but in a way where you’re not talking about your service/product. You’ve got to personalize your approach… and sometimes that can be time consuming.

“Being able to clearly articulate your value – from your customers’ perspective – is foundational to your sales success.”2

Knowing something about their business or their industry will go a long ways when you’re reaching out. Referencing their website and seeing that they’re hiring for a handful of new roles can get you in the door. (You can help them hire people faster.) Following their social channels and learning about the latest breakthrough they’ve had, shows them you care. (You can confirm their security is impenetrable.) That’s pretty black and white, but you get the point… I hope.

If you can articulate your value by referencing their current pains… you’ll have sparked their interest. Don’t lead with the product.

That is only two examples of how you can clearly articulate your value from the customer’s perspective. Jill Konrath takes it a step further and dives into ‘Trigger Events’.

“A trigger event is an occurrence that shifts an organization’s priorities. It could be internal or external to the organization. It doesn’t matter.”3

You better have just had a big Ah-Ha Moment Baby!

I have trigger events happen all the time! Whenever a law changes; people need to know about it. If something changes with the Affordable Care Act (ACA); I need to alarm my clients/prospects. Those are two examples…  Think anything! They’re in the news, boom. New CFO/CEO, boom. One of your competitors gets acquired, Trigger. Growth, hiring, expansion… ETC. The list goes on.

If something changes (trigger event) and now you’re even more aligned with their goals/immediate issues… imagine how much simpler it would be for you to articulate your value from their perspective!

“Your prospects are just too busy these days to waste their time with you if you don’t pay this price of admission.”4

I’ve been talking about this for the past few months. It’s the idea of social selling and separating yourself from the rest of the competition. You must personalize your approach. You must do your homework on the company. Nobody wants to be pitched on the first phone call and they sure as heck don’t want a canned voicemail. Same thing goes for your emails. You can’t send them some junk, because, like we learned earlier… it’ll be deleted!

Spend a few extra minutes; go to their website and at least read their ‘mission statement’ or ‘about us’.

Okay, so let’s say you’ve done all that but no word back from the prospect. It happens… and it happens a lot. It happens to ALL of you reading this. No big deal… now it’s your job to find relevant information to send their way every once in awhile. I’m sure you’ve got some cadence of how often you call, email, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

“Content designed for your prospects should present business value, help build a business case, educate about problems, invite interaction across the buying cycle, share expertise and reduce the perception of risk. – Ardath Albee”5

There is so much reliable content out there about every industry. Find credible information and send it to your prospects. Depending on what organization you work for, your employer could provide that information. Statistics and numbers speak volumes to people. Saving people time and money, increasing security, minimizing attrition… the list goes on. Jill has some lists in the book that you have to read!

Leaving one voicemail and sending one canned email isn’t going to do it in the information age. Prospects are being bombarded daily… set yourself apart and rise above the noise. Everybody is capable… you just have to make it routine.

 

There’s more to come from me about:

Snap Selling | Jill Konrath

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Suck it up and get over it. Nobody cares! | Personalize your approach

Something that I’ve been sharing lately, with regards to social selling is the fact that personalization is huge… it goes a long ways and people feel like you care. It’s even better when you can show them you care!

“One-to-one marketing takes time but the ROI is tremendous because so few businesses are actually doing it. I finally figured out that’s why my results are so often the exception instead of the rule. When you’re listening and other people aren’t, you look like a star.”1

I’ll be the first to admit that personalized/one-to-one marketing is difficult and time consuming. You don’t see the ROI right away. But once you get in the groove and things start to click, you truly look like a star. You’ll be able to set yourself apart from the competition within the industry.

Gary jumps back and forth within the chapters to different Ah-Ha Moments. There are so many good takeaways that it’s hard not to want to comment on all of them. As humans, we complain… that’s a fact.

“Problems happen. Life isn’t fair or perfect. Complaining fixes nothing. Only taking action does.”2

Depending on when you’re reading this, you could agree or disagree. Is it 8am in the morning and you’re fired up and ready to go? Or is it 4pm and you’ve been shut down 20 times on the phone today? I’m writing this after being shut down on the phone today… and it honestly sucks because I want to complain so badly!

I can literally hear Gary Vee saying, “Suck it up and get over it. Nobody cares!” That right there is motivation enough to over the want to complain. I suggest you watch some of his most recent posts on Facebook or YouTube. They’ll motivate the heck out of you.

I’ve strived to be nice my entire life! I want people to know I care and that I’m a nice guy.

“Being nice is a choice, and how you choose to speak to people even when you’re pressed for time will reveal who you really are.”3

Man, ain’t that the truth? The more important you become, the less time you’ll have to give to other people. It’s harder to ‘look’ nice when you’re always under the microscope because you’re so busy.

Such an important thing to execute is in type of relationship whether it be work, personal or partnerships is communication.

“Communicate with your team. Communicate with your partners. Communicate with your clients. Communicate, communicate, communicate.”4

Maybe it’s just me, but I see a lot of miscommunication going on within every industry and with a lot of organizations. Communication is what keeps clients happy, doors opens, partners willing and coworkers excited. It’s the difference between doing incredibly well and just okay. It’s not hard to communicate with people… although we worry that if it’s bad news, someone is going to be pissed.

Keep the communication open and make sure you’re happy/excited to be doing it. GaryVee has ALWAYS talked about ‘doing what you absolutely love.’ Why do something that you hate?

“Self-esteem is the ultimate drug of our society. When you have it you give yourself the audacity to dream big, and when you do that, the little things stop mattering and anxiety cannot cripple you.”5

That’s the perfect way to say it. Stay high, stay confident and keep hustling. Nobody can stop you when you hustle.

I went from business to business this morning to meet local businesses. (I wrote the top half of this yesterday) Guess what! I got half my foot in the door at this one company and they said they were in a meeting and that I needed to leave. (They weren’t in a meeting). I smiled, handed them some information and left with 10 times for motivation than when I entered. It was pretty spectacular to feel that.

GaryVee wrote an incredible book and I hope you read it! It’s so worth it. He hits on so many other points too which I didn’t talk about. Do yourself a favor and like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

You can thank me later!

 

Connect with Gary on Twitter: @garyvee

Connect with me on Twitter: @Barta57

#AskGaryVee | Gary Vaynerchuk

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Content Creates Opportunity | #AskGaryVee

 Where did all the good storytellers go? Stories paint great pictures and people love putting themselves in the shoes of the characters. Remember “The Great Gatsby”? That’s an incredible story… Who wouldn’t want to be Gatsby for an evening. Hell, they have parties named after the guy because they’re so epic. Now take storytelling and relate it to sales!

“People buy with with their hearts, not their heads, and the way to every consumer’s heart is through a good story.”1

Tell them a story about you. Tell a story about the success of another client. Tell a story relating to the prospects pain point and how you can help them overcome their issue. Don’t just tell them, help them visualize. You’ll create some type of relationship and that will go a long ways.

If you’re already connected with them via LinkedIn or Twitter, you can use those platforms to help tell stories. Send them a YouTube video, whitepaper, data sheet or even a Twitter video. Personalize your approach and that will build rapport.

Gary talks about content and he creates a lot of Ah-Ha Moments for me. If you’re creating good content and sharing it with people, you’re creating great opportunity to reach a lot of people. But what about curated content? Taking someone else’s content, adding your personal touch and then sending it out onto the web. It’s kinda like how I post some material on LinkedIn or Twitter which was originally created by Paychex. I’m not taking any credit for it… I’m just changing the titles to attract to my network, adding some hashtags and giving Paychex credit.

“…if I added curated content to my original material, it would bring me even more exposure and create more opportunity.”2

It works! You never know what’s going to attract certain people. The internet is ALWAYS changing and there is always new information. Content at 11am could result in a bunch of likes and shares, however, content around 5pm could only get a few. The more content you’re able to spit out there, the more opportunity you can achieve.

I’ll be honest. It’s hard to create a lot of content and post everyday. I’m able to post about 3 days a week… I take roughly 5 Ah-Ha Moments I love from the current book I’m reading and then write about it. It can take me anywhere from 30-60 pages to find those 5 Ah-Ha Moments. Sometimes I’ll find a few Ah-Ha Moments in a row, but they all reinforce the previous moment. I’m trying to give the reader, you, what I think you’ll find valuable.

“Content Creates opportunity, and if you can’t produce the content at the rate your audience wants it or that benefits you, your business won’t survive.”3

Ain’t that the truth. In the information age, content is always being published. So much, all the time. There are so many different platforms to post on. Posting content is better than not posting content… so you just gotta do it! Alongside prospecting, content can help greatly. Why do you think so many companies hold webinars, offer free trials, give away stuff to engage their audience? It’s so they can create some type of connection, present some type of value and then sell you on it. But, you have to make sure that the value created is worthy of the prospect buying. Just because YOU think it’s value… does your prospects??

“Most people don’t jab – bring value – enough before pulling back for that right hook – going in for the sale. They’re less concerned with providing value than with making the sale, and it backfires every time.”4

It’s pretty true. There are all sorts of different ways to look at this too. It really depends on your job, your industry, your sales strategy… the list goes on. People want value… so you need to find a way to give it to them. There’s been a phenomenon online since SEO became important. CONTENT IS KING. Do it and don’t stop.

“Here’s what you must remember: No matter who your audience is, you’re always one great piece of content away from changing your life. Everyone you know started off as an unknown until they did the thing that made them know.”5

Ask Lindsey Boggs (@lindseyboggs) about her experience. She wrote “How I get a 50% Return On InMails“. Since posting, she’s had 22,011 views, 1,327 Likes, 281 Comments… That’s insane. Because of that, she got invited to a LinkedIn conference. Then, based on her SSI, the best at the conference with 99 :-O, she got to shoot free throws with Shaq. Ya… Shaquille O’neal. That’s freaking unbelievable. That just reinforces the idea that anyone is one post away from becoming a rockstar! #AlwaysBePosting

 

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#AskGaryVee | Gary Vaynerchuk | Part 1

Photo Mar 17, 08 29 14This isn’t Gary Vee’s first book and I sure hope it’s not his last. He writes about it all… literally everything! There is something new on every page and the book flows so smoothly. He answers so many different types of questions in this book, and it’s full of Ah-Ha Moments!

“… if there’s any advice I can offer you that will change the entire trajectory of your career, it’s to start pushing on both edges. Raise the bar on your business philosophy, dig deeper into your craft. You want to be an equally good architect as you are a mason.”1

This is coming from a guy that has it all figured out; literally! He took his family’s wine company and blew it out of the water. He built an empire of a brand and continues to follow through on his message. He’s on the ground digging in the dirt and he’s also up in the clouds building his empire. Honestly, the Ah-Ha Moments in this book will make you wish you’d followed his YouTube channel years ago.

While getting deeper into this book, I find myself rereading pages. The mental reinforcement Gary Vee gives the reader really show us that he knows what he’s talking about. Case in point: When I was considering leaving the country to go play football overseas… I was going to quit my job, put my stuff in storage and trust some random coach 5,500 miles away…

“Suck it up. Make the call. And remember: Be grateful if you’re lucky enough to have too many options. It’s a blessing and a half.”2

I made the call and boy was I right! I can honestly say… It was an incredible experience! So incredible, that I went to Germany the following year to do it again. Gary Vee takes it a step deeper though. What if the decision I made turned out to be the wrong one? Well, it’d have been a learning experience. Never walk away from a bad experience without reflecting on it. Learn from it and come back even better or stronger.

Half the struggle of making any decision in life is taking the first step!

“Taking that first step can often be the only thing standing in your way, because once you start getting shit done, the momentum just carries you forward. There’s no doubt that taking that first step can be terrifying. I get it. I really do. But I also have to wonder, would you be so afraid if you know no one was watching?”3

Dude! I love it! My reader… yes you… think back to January… would you ever have thought I would be writing?! Me neither. All I had to do was start!! I was worried, obviously. But once I got past that and said ‘F it’, I’m reading and writing all the time… and I love it! I hope you do too!

After reading “Not Taught” by Jim Keenan, I knew I had to do it and I’m so freaking happy I did. I took the opportunity that presented itself and ran with it. I’m still running baby!

“You don’t see obstacles – you see opportunities. Optimists accept that obstacles will be in their path, and assume they’ll figure out a way around them. Which is not to say the grind isn’t hard for optimists, too. It is. They just like it.4

I was pretty good at Football; not to toot my own horn. How do you think I got good? The right mindset and hard work. I played defensive end and I weighed 205 lbs. Everytime I steped into the gym, I was going to lift more weight. Everytime I steped onto that field, I was going to whoop that kids ass in front of me. The grind is where the men separate themselves from the boys and the women separate themselves from the girls. It’s in our DNA and we absolutely thrive off it!

I’ve always been an optimist and I’ve always known that I’ll continue to do better everyday. Why do you think I started reading and writing? I want to give people the Ah-Ha Moment! I want to continue getting better and also provide value to other people!

“I provided value with the content that I relentlessly pump out. You need to do the same”5

There’s that word again! VALUE. Give people value and they’ll become your greatest fan. I’ve got my people that provide value for me… Do I provide value for you?!

If there’s something that sticks out about my posts, don’t hesitate to comment! I love feedback… regardless good or bad.

 

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 7

There is a massive amount of Ah-Ha Moments throughout the entire book! Whether you’ve been in sales for a week, a year, 10 years or 40 years, you will learn something new. With an ever changing landscape of technology and information, you need to be on the fore front in order to be successful. As a sales person, you get leads. Whether it be an inbound demo request, MQL, they downloaded content or whatever the case may be; it’s time to think outside the box.

“When a (lower-level) contact takes some action, yes, your reps should follow up. Then, either at the same time or subsequently, they should reach out to a higher-level contact too.”1

At first I wasn’t too keen on this, but with the reasoning behind it, I feel in love with the idea. Instead of prospecting the prospect, prospect for the opportunity. Go above and beyond to reach out to the organization. What’s the worst that could happen? That person’s boss never gave them the authority… now you know that it’s not a legit opportunity. Nobody likes getting 75% through the sales cycle to find out that nobody else knew about the project. Prospect higher and wider.

Another Ah-Ha Moment that comes to mind is:

“…give the SDR’s themselves ownership to work on special projects.”2

Imagine the idea’s people could come up with if they got to own a project. It could be anything that could improve the department or the company. Because they’re in the trenches all day long, they could come up with solutions to their problems that the managers didn’t even know about. Give your people a little bit of freedom and they’ll repay you 10 fold.

Data… it’s a trending word right now in the tech industry. Big Data… etc. You’re right, it is a huge talking point, but only if you’re using the data correctly.

“There’s also a big difference between being data driven and data informed. I’m 100 percent in the camp of using data to lead a team. I feel equally strongly that data shouldn’t drive the manager; the manager should use data to drive decisions.”3

In order to have good data to make good decisions, you need to keep track of everything. Depending on what your data says, you can make some game changing decisions based off of it. All of those decisions will directly affect your bottom line.

“Every moment your team spends trying to figure out whom to call and how to reach them is lost to actually engaging with prospects.4

Do yourself a favor and keep your data clean. Bogging down your CRM with crap isn’t going to get you anywhere. I’ve been updating my system lately and it’s a pain in the butt. You have to do it if you want to ‘own’ your territory.

“What you do matters. You have the ability to influence not only the culture of your team, but also how your company is perceived by prospects. You have the chance to shape not only the career trajectory of dozens and dozens of reps, but also the growth path of your entire organization.”5

If you’re in sales or thinking about going into sales development, this book is a must read. This book paints a bigger pitcher and gives the reader a clear and conscience image of how a sales development organization should run. The Ah-Ha Moments Bertuzzi has displayed in this book are absolutely incredible.

 

Connect with me on Twitter @Barta57

Connect with Trish on Twitter @bridgegroupinc

 

The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 5

Losing employees sucks… it also costs companies a lot of money. You never actually think about the cost of hiring, onboarding and training people. Depending on what type of training your company does, it can be really expensive.

“Great talent is great talent – don’t let them leave your building.”1

It doesn’t get simpler than that. This echoes the previous post. Engage with your people and make sure they’re happy. If they’re not happy, find out what will make them happy. Nobody likes toxic employees.

I don’t know how many of you have every seen the Simon Sinek Ted Talk video; Start with why. But this video has helped me immensely in my roles as a sales person.

“Without understanding the why, reps struggle to connect with prospect priorities. Everything about the what and the how of a solution can be found online. …Our reps need to create value and offer insight and ideas that prospects can’t find on their own.”2

There’s that word again; Value! You have to create value with the people you’re trying to talk to. Buyers do a lot of their research prior to beginning their evaluations. If you’re reaching out to them… you need to offer them something different. And to get them to listen, you need to convince them why they should listen to you.

Bertuzzi presents a question that turns into an Ah-Ha Moment!

“Do you sell into a functional area that already exists within your company? For example, do you sell to sales operations and have a sales ops team within your company?”3

Recruiting.. HR.. sales.. Whatever you sell and whomever you sell to, is there a team within your company that does that job? Basically, what she’s getting at; is that you can go directly to that team and learn about their day-to-day. Learn what they do and how they do it. Then, when you’re calling your prospects, you have a better understanding of what they’re doing and how you can help. Makes sense right? Have you done this before?

The more you learn about your prospect, the better talk tracks you can create. The more likely you’re able to sympathize with them.

“Reps need to be fully fluent in prospect challenges, motivations, and status quos. In short, they need to use buyer based messaging.”4

If you’re going to get off of your agenda and onto theirs, you need to know what you’re talking about. Bertuzzi goes on to give some incredible examples of prospecting. The differentiators between a successful rep and a lazy rep. The different types of messaging that actually works. I wouldn’t be doing any of you a favor if I copied it and pasted it on the site. You have to get the book! It’s pure gold.

“Studies have found that it takes between six and ten attempts (including at least four by phone calls) to properly prospect a given contact.”5

Sales reps often give up too early. They get bored and move onto a different account. They don’t want to work for a deal… they’d rather find some ‘low hanging fruit’. They forget about their prospecting approach and leave their process. I am guilty of this recently. I have a huge territory and I’m trying to touch every account. Not to mention, our data is kinda old. Bertuzzi gives the reader great examples of a multi-touch approach. You have to read it yourself! It’s a game changer.

 

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 4

I had a manager tell me at a previous job that I should be going to lunch with different people within the company. “Meet someone in the elevator… see if they want to join you for lunch”. It gives you the opportunity to learn about them and what they do for the organization. Sooner or later, I was able to have conversations will all sorts of people because I took the initiative to learn about them.

Phill Keene (@phillkeene) gives me an Ah-Ha Moment that echos my previous managers comment!

“… I also take a ton of coffee meetings with reps that want career advice. This allows me to recognize the best talent out there and be top of mind when they’re thinking about making a career change.”1

I’m looking at this quote from the view of me being developed. I’m going to take the best rep out for coffee so that I can learn from them. People that have been selling longer than me are usually happy to share their success and sometimes their failures. Also, who doesn’t love talking about themselves? Regardless of what your job title is, try and make it a habit of taking someone out for coffee once in awhile. You could learn something cool about them! It’s a small world and somehow you may need each other in the future.

If you engage with your people, regardless the job you have, the more supported you’ll feel. The more supported you feel, the happier you’ll be. Bertuzzi has some incredible stats in here about retention.

“It’s time to gear up for what can feel like another fulltime job: engaging, developing, and motivating reps. The fourth element for accelerating revenue growth with sales development is retention.”2

Retention is hard! I see great people leave their companies everyday. Heck, I was one of those people in December of 2015. Obviously, you can never predict when people are going to leave your organization, but if you’re engaged, you should see the red flags. Good culture, good compensation, continuous learning and planned out career path is what’s going to help you keep people. If people are showing up to work everyday not knowing what their future holds, they may look else where.

“Today, reps expect a learning culture, they expect to grow professionally, and they expect you to deliver in those areas.”3

The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing. If you’re striving to be the best you possibly can, you need to keep learning and keep pushing people to teach you. There are so many websites out there that offer free courses. If you’re the boss and you’re not teaching your people… you may see them looking elsewhere.

We’re in the information age… and we’re getting hit up on LinkedIn weekly about new jobs. It’s exciting to feel wanted by a different company. Richard Bronson said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Your people should know that you care about their success!

“… What about hitting my number? … hitting your number is important. But I believe two things to be true. One, if you build up your people, they will overachieve. Two, hitting goals for any fiscal year is a marker of a job well done. But changing the career trajectory for dozens and dozens of people is the measure of a professional life well lived.”4

It doesn’t get any more selfless than that. If you really care about the success of your people and strive to make them better everyday, their numbers will come. Don’t forget; people are all at different walks in their careers. Can you think back to a manager that changes your career? Take a second and think about it! Where are they now? Maybe send them a thank you email!

“Making sales coaching a priority is a business decision. Coaching improves retention and performance.”5

What better outcome can you ask for? Retention and performance is huge! You’re not losing your people and your people are performing well. #Boom

 

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 3

When business is booming and companies need more employees to keep up with all of the success of their salespeople, it’s time to hire! Bertuzzi walks the reader through the mindset and process of hiring salespeople… I want to take it one step further and say that you can use her method to hire other positions as well.

“I’ll argue that the focus on recruiting needs to be upgraded from important to urgent.”1

It has to be a priority. I’m sure a recruiter is reading this right now and laughing at how obvious this statement is. Or, “Don’t tell me how to do my job, Jordan. You don’t have any idea how hard it is to find legit candidates.” You’re right, I don’t. But I can tell you that I get approached at least once a week with some lame ass excuse as to why I should leave my company and go work for theirs.

Finding the right people takes time. If someone is a passive candidates, meaning they already have a job, you really have to convince them to take your call. The job market is good enough right now that people can turn down job offers. Keep that in mind when you’re sending a generic LinkedIn InMail to someone. Why should they listen to you?!

“I felt that if I could get the right people into the system, even if I did a mediocre job at training and management, they would find a way to win. But if I got mediocre people in, even if I did a world-class job at training and leading, it wouldn’t matter.” – Mark Roberge2

That really says it all. People are a HUGE part in the process of having a successful company. If your people suck, the business is going to suffer. If hiring isn’t going to be a priority… how do you expect to get good people?

Passion… the people you hire must have passion for sales! Passion helps you overcome continuous defeat. I once had an entire  month where only one person picked up the phone when I called. They hung up on me right away. I made a few hundred calls that month and felt destroyed. My internal drive is what got me through that rough month.

“All the cash, leaderboards, and praise in the world can’t keep someone striving in this role. It has to come from within.”3

Now, if you’re only going to be in this role until you figure out what you want to do… money can definitely help. A lot of grads jump into sales because they have a business degree and that’s what you do. Then they realize that they weren’t cut out for sales… If you want to excel and have a career in sales, it must come from inside!

Competitiveness is another HUGE trait salespeople need to have. Recruiters typically target athletes because they’re competitive. Have you ever heard of the company ‘Athletes to Business’? I shouldn’t have to explain that business model, but it makes sense, right?

Lately, I’ve been hearing about companies creating such a competitive landscape that people are backstabbing their own coworkers to get a sale. WTF is with that!

“Alison Gooch shared that she looks for ‘compassionate competitors-reps who like to win, but not at the expense of their teammates.'”4

Don’t create such a cut-throat culture to where people are screwing over their own co-workers for an extra buck. That doesn’t end up working well for anybody. If you’re a manager… you’d be the one to decide who gets the bigger paycheck, etc. That would suck, if you ask me.

Another great trait that should be considered when hiring salespeople is curiosity.

“Curious people ask the best questions. Reps who are genuinely curious have an advantage when prospecting. Questioning is in their DNA; they don’t have to fake it.” – Peter Gracey5

That’s another awesome way of putting it. The questions become genuine and the prospect feels better about telling the salesperson their problems.

Bertuzzi writes about how to write compelling job descriptions, interview questions, compensation plans… all of the things that attract BDR’s and sales people. Each organization is going to have their own process for these, but I highly recommend reading her examples. These examples could help you lower your attrition among salespeople.

 

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Everyone Communicates, Few Connect | John C. Maxwell | Part 7

Assumptions… I’m sure you’ve assumed something before and were completely wrong. It happens all the time. We assume stuff before we know the facts. It’s never a good thing and we always get ourselves in trouble because of it.

“All miscommunications are the result of differing assumptions”. – Jerry Ballard1

It’s as simple as that. Everybody has different feelings, thought processes and perspectives. Assuming things about people won’t get you very far. That goes for generalizations too. We’re all guilty of it! We judge people based on their looks all the time. You’re shooting yourself in the foot even before attempting to make contact with that person.

Then, when you try to connect with that person, the assumptions you have about them block your ability to see them for who they really are. You can’t find a common ground with someone when you’ve already decided who they are… but you have no idea.

This next part gave me an Ah-Ha moment that will stick in my brain forever! It makes so much sense because I’ve lived it first hand with multiple jobs…. and I’m sure you have too. When employees feel like information is being hidden from them at work they feel like outsiders. They’re being alienated… and they know it.

“We the uninformed, working for the inaccessible, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful!” – Jim Lundy2

It’s so true! When things are hidden from you, or there’s always gossip at the water cooler, you feel left out. Managers, keep your people in the loop. Let them know what’s going on. Just because you’re a boss, it doesn’t mean you should isolate yourself from the lower level employees. You can’t connect with your people when you’re alienating them. How are they supposed to feel appreciated?

If possible, get their feedback. Include them in the decision making process. You’d be amazed at the motivation you can give people when you include them on things.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. People like people who like them.”3

It’s pretty true if you think about it. Nobody wants to be sold to. Nobody wants to be looked at as a means to an end. People want to feel like you understand them. They want to feel appreciated. If you can do that, you can connect with anybody. Show people that you care and that you’re willing to help them, and they will return the favor.

“Adapt to them – don’t expect them to adapt to you.”4

Ask people ‘why?’ Get to know them. Be intrigued. Take the initiative to get off your agenda and onto theirs. It’s what Maxwell has been talking about throughout the entire book!

When making the attempt to connect with people, talk with people and sell to people, I think of the acronym K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid. Being simple is hard… you have to convey a message worth listening to.

“It takes great effort to make any kind of communication concise, precise and impacting.”5

That’s exactly what I’m trying to accomplish here, with this blog. Simple, short, and to the point. Providing value to my readers. Make your point, make it good and provide value!

 

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Everyone Communicates, Few Connect | John C. Maxwell | Part 6

This week has been really busy productive! I can’t tell you how many new connections I’ve made this week, or how many incredible conversations I’ve had, but I can tell you that it took a lot of energy. Which is great! Now I can reflect on my week and tell myself, “Maybe you should do a little less, or maybe you can handle a little more.” It’s important to figure out where the sweet spot is so you don’t get burnt out.

When you really give it your all and the person you’re talking to can feel your passion, it can get tiring.

“People who want to connect with others must give it their all. And that takes energy!”1

Mentally, emotionally and even physically. Remember, people don’t always remember what you say… they remember how you make them feel. You better bet that I’m going to make that person feel as good as possible. If you can do this correctly, the person you’re talking to will truly trust you. Trust goes a long way in every profession.

I absolutely LOVE this next part. It will scream volumes for you too!!

“…the illusion of the first time…”- Jerry Weissman2

Think of someone giving a presentation to you. Now, think of that same person giving the exact same presentation to a new group of people next week. Each presentation needs to have as much passion, excitement and engagement as the first one! The presenter knows that the presentation is for the audience and not them self. Famous legend Joe DiMaggio once said,

“I always remind myself that there might be someone in the stands who never saw me play before.”3

Give it your all every time! There’s a good chance the person on the other end of the phone hasn’t heard your pitch before. You better make it memorable. If you’re a recruiter, and you’re interviewing someone; interview them like they’re the first person you’ve ever recruited. If you’re in HR and you’re delivering training… deliver the training with the same passion you had when you first did it!

Okay, so, let’s say you know someone super connected. Personal referrals go a long ways, right?!

“‘Who’ you know can open the door for you to connect with someone. Of Course, once the door is open, you still have to deliver!”4

Boom… it’s as easy as that! Just because people are going to stick their neck out for you and make an introduction, you have to be able to back it up! Honestly, a lot of personal growth and success comes from the help of other people. My last two jobs were from personal referrals. They stuck their necks out for me to get me the interview, but I sure as hell had to deliver. The realtor found a great town home for me to move into… I had to have the money and credit score to qualify for the place. Some of my connections are willing to facilitate introductions for me. I better over deliver when it comes time for me to have that meeting.

“If you have an area of expertise and generously share it with others, you give people reasons to respect you and develop a sense of connection with you.”5

You’d be surprised at the amount of people that will follow from afar. I’m guilty of it and I bet you are too. You look to someone for information and enjoy everything they talk/write about, but you haven’t introduced yourself. What do you have to lose? Show them they provide value to you and you’d love to introduce yourself. I reach out to people all the time because they write interesting stuff. Your network can grow so fast!

“America has a success culture. People want to be successful, and they seek out others who have accomplished something to get their advice. If you are successful in anything you do, there will be people who will want to listen to you.”6

There is always going to be someone better at something than you, and there is always going to be people looking to you for advice. Once you’ve established yourself as a credible resource and connection, the more people are going to look at you for information. Never stop learning! Maybe what you share today isn’t going to connect with all of your followers, but I can almost guarantee that someone is going to have an “Ah-Ha” moment. Look where I started… and look how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. It’s cliche… but anything can happen.

 

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Everyone Communicates, Few Connect | John C. Maxwell | Part 3

While connecting and developing relationships with people, you will begin to trust one another. That trust will blossom into something beautiful that all sales people strive for; referrals, letters of recommendations and raving reviews. If you take care of your clients, provide value and show them you care, they will make the introductions for you.

“Business goes where it wants to, but it stays where it’s appreciated. – Mike Otis”1

I recently received an email from someone that used to be a client of my company. They were so happy with their service from their prior job, that they wanted to meet and learn more about me and my current position. That screams volumes! They want to connect with me because they had such a good experience. Who knows what could come of it! It’ll definitely give me an inside look of what she experienced while using my company’s product.

“Whenever people take action, they do so for their reasons, not yours of mine.”2

That’s a pretty obvious statement, but it’s a nice reminder. They’re trying to fix something if they’re looking to make a change. It’s our job to get on their agenda and see their issues from their point of view. It’s all about them because we’re trying to fix their problems.

“You can connect with others if you’re willing to get off your own agenda, to think about others, and to try to understand who they are and what they want.”3

That drives home the whole concept of connecting with people! Ask people, “how can I help you?” Don’t go into a conversation trying to work on your agenda. The last thing you want to do is upset the person you were trying to connect with. If they don’t feel like their time is being valued, they won’t be connecting with you in the future. Be a great listener, find out what they value and build a relationship around your common values.

Talking to people is one way to convey a message. Words and tone of voice are two of the three components that help people get their message across.

“In situations where feelings and attitudes are being communicated:

  • What we say accounts for only 7 percent of what is believed.
  • The way we say it accounts for 38 percents.
  • What others see accounts for 55 percent”4

What do those numbers say to you? Well, hell! If I do business over the phone, I better make sure that I’m always passionate, excited and have great information to provide. If I meet face to face, I better make sure I’m listening, intrigued and in a good mood. If body language and appearance, play such a large part in communicating, I better make sure I’m looking extra sharp.

You need to make sure that you’re able to convey all three while communicating.

“… When I include all three components – thought, emotion, and action – my communication has conviction, passion and credibility.”5

If you can do those three things with anybody, you’ll be making connections all the time. Imagine the size of your network and imagine the size of your reach with your network! You’ll be successful in no time!

 

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Everyone Communicates, Few Connect | John C. Maxwell | Part 2

Regardless of what industry you’re in, your job title, what you aspire to do, everybody wants to connect!

“Yes, people are people. And wherever you find them, they desire to connect with others!”1

And just like that, Maxwell drives home the point about connecting. One thing that this blurb makes me think about, is my time in Germany. If you’ve read my ‘about me‘ section, you will know that I lived there for 7 months. Going to festivals, beer halls and other outdoor activities, you often find yourself at a large table. Next thing you know, you’re talking with people from all over the city and country. I was connecting with people! I even connected with those people on Facebook and have been following their careers. It’s Insane!

“If you will first help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want” – Zig Ziglar2 “Connecting is never about me. It’s about the person whom I’m communicating”3

We’ve grown up doing everything we’ve ever wanted. It was all about me and I was going to do me, all the time. Me, Me, Me, I, I, I. That is the wrong mindset and you need to change. It’s all about the service of other people. Maybe you’re in sales, or the service industry… so you should know what I’m talking about! If you don’t, you’re doing it wrong. Help others get from point A to point B, and they will help you in return! Make sure they enjoy their metaphorical travels too.

If you’re seeking someone out; you know what you have to offer will bring value to them. If they’re seeking you out; they know what you have to offer and think it will bring value to them.

“To succeed in life, we must learn to work with and through others.”4

It’s plain, simple and to the point! When you needed help on a paper in school, who did you go to? When you needed help on your resume, who did you go to? If you’ve got questions at work and don’t know the answers, who do you ask? Look! You’re already connecting with people. You’re already working with and through others and you didn’t know it. Keep it up and make sure you help those people in return. You won’t get very far in life if you’re trying to figure everything out by yourself.

“… good relationships usually lead to good things: ideas, growth, partnerships, and more. People live better when they care about one another.”5

Maybe you knew this, maybe you didn’t. Stop looking at people as a means to sell them something! Connect with them and see where that partnership can go. Your numbers will follow if you truly care about helping others. Your numbers will be blown out of the water once that person tells their network about you. People want to work with people they trust. Build that relationship right the first time, and you’re setting yourself up for success.

An easy way to put it is: Service others the way you would like to be serviced. Maybe you’ve got a tough client… then ask how you can help.

“Nobody wants to be sold, but everyone wants to be helped.”6

It’s amazing how overlooked this famous sales quote is! With the information age upon us, people are able to do 75% of their research online before they make a purchase. This is where you have to be proactive and start providing value. Connect with people on different social platforms and share stories. Ask them, “How can I help you?” Maybe they don’t need your help right now, but they’ll definitely remember you when they do!

I connected with someone the other day on LinkedIn. Once we got past the introductions and small talk, I asked her how I could help. In a perfect world, she’d agree to a meeting to talk about her needs and buy my product. It’s not a perfect world… but we exchanged some really good emails and developed a relationship. She told me about her previous employer, whom is a competitor of mine. And now she has a connection in the HR & Payroll industry to keep her up to speed on changing laws.

Neither of us walked away with a sale… which is OKAY! We established a mutually beneficial connection and now have an additional resource in our arsenal for the future.

 

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Everyone Communicates, Few Connect | John C. Maxwell | Part 1

I started reading this book at the PERFECT time! With all the talk about personal branding, social selling and connecting going on, John C. Maxwell drives home the why.

“Everyone communicates. But few connect. Those who do connect take their relationships, their work, and their lives to another level.”1

Want an example?! I connected with Jim Keenan(@keenan) after I read his book letting him know my thoughts. I then started this blog because of the motivation he gave me; here’s his response. In the process of this happening, I connected with another kick ass motivator and sales trainer, Larry Levine (@Larry1Levine). He invited me to join a blab conversation, in which I did. I got connected with a handful of other people and even got to share my experience with the group. This all spawned because I connected with Keenan and Larry!

“I began blogging and using social media to expand my circle of connection with people even further. Now I can also add value to people who may never read one of my books.”2

There’s that magical words that everybody keeps mentioning; VALUE! What value can you bring to people you connect with? Are you a problem solver? Storyteller? Knowledge bank? Teacher? The list goes on! Figure out the value you can bring to people and then ask them, “How can I help you?”

“I can tell you this: if you want to succeed, you must learn how to connect with others.”3

We live in the information age people. We are always connecting with people. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and the list goes on. When YOU choose to connect or follow someone, why do you do it?

“Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.”4

Imagine if you weren’t connected with anyone. You’d have to go through life figuring out everything by yourself. Now image if you had 10 solid connections… You’d have 10 additional resources to help you go through life. As you grow together, you’re able to influence each other in different areas of expertise. The 5 new connections I’ve made with people in the past three weeks have changed my life! The VALUE they’ve brought to me has been incredible. We were able to relate to one another and give each other different types of value.

“Connecting is crucial whether you’re trying to lead a child or a nation”5 – President Ford

It makes sense, right?! For people to connect with one another, you have to find something to relate on! Show people the value of connecting with you and you’ll move mountains. People want to feel engaged and related to.

“The ability to connect with others begins with understanding the value of people.”6

This goes for anybody! And for any organization. Greatness is built on the shoulders of men and women. There are no two people alike and someone is always going to be better at something than you. You’ll have your talents that trump theirs too! Connect with people, build a network full of value and continue to propel yourself forward. And don’t forget; They’re just as scared as you are. Make the introduction, connect, and provide value!

 

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