These sales experts agree, that there is more than one approach to a successful sales campaign. We're sure Chris Beall has some dark childhood story about alternate ways of skinning a cat, although he's never done it, of course. These discussions include modifications and redirections in the buying cycle, even though the basics are still there: awareness, consideration and decision. Join Corey and Chris in this episode of snippets from episodes about the buying cycle. This features Oren Klaff, Jason Beck, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Susan Finch, Dan McClain, Brad Ferguson, and our own Chris Beall and Corey Frank. To hear the entire episodes features, visit this collection:
Our Market Dominance Guys Chris Beall and Corey Frank have proven there is more ways than one to skin a cat. And I bet Chris Beall probably has some dark childhood story to support that information, but we all can agree on that. There's more than one solution to just about everything including the buying cycle. Now, the basics we know are awareness, consideration, decision. Those are the three basic steps, but let's hear what some of the best experts that we know that we've had on our show say about this. Including of course our own Chris and Corey. So among our guests that we're going to feature in these quick snippets, and you can listen to the whole playlist if you click on the post, we have Oren Klaff, Jason Beck, Garheart Gastraughtner, Dan McClain, Brad Ferguson, and your own yours truly Susan Finch. We hope you enjoy this playlist and learn a little bit more about the many approaches to the buying cycle.
Yeah, so the nature of business products, the nature of all products to some degree is recency of purchase has a radical effect on desire for another unit, especially from someone else. I buy a car, I'm not in the market for a car tomorrow. I'm a little bit more in the market for a car the next day, even though you can't notice it. And once I get out there about three years, I'm actually looking for a car. That's just the way it is. Most products, it's not the product life cycle, it's the replacement cycle for most products is around three years. Your mileage might vary. Your product, it might be four years or five years. If your product happens to be a power plant, maybe it's 20 years. But most products that we sell that we bother to have a sales force around, it's about three years.
And when you think about what needs to happen in those three years, your goal within market is to become the trusted go to person for everything about that problem. Not about your product, but about that problem. So as this individual company that they bought something and now we're in quarter two, after that quarter three and quarter four. You need to be interacting with them, not heavily, but interacting with them. Bringing them new stuff, bringing them new information. Not for the purpose of making them smart about your product, but just to use the asymmetry of information. You're the expert. You're the vendor. Vendors always know more than buyers about a problem because you're immersed in that world and they're busy doing their own stuff. So that information and the renewal of trust, you know how trust works? You only have to be gone from somebody for a day to have the trust, start to decay for this weird reason, which is nothing more than lack of interaction.
You're not quite sure who that person is because they might have changed. So your deepest best friends, when you get back together after 20 years, 10 years, five years, there's always this surprise, it's like we were never apart. If the trust factor didn't change, that wouldn't be a surprise. When we rediscover that person as the person that they became in our head, we're delighted and we go right back up to where we were trust wise. But it actually shows us the trust decay and the [inaudible 00:03:47] very subtly. Well, these are strangers for crying out loud.
I think I used to actually bring a magic wand by the way that I made into our big customer meetings, where we bring all the customers together and then have the elite group advise us. And I would make a magic wand each year out of three plants in my yard and tie it together with the right color thread and hand it around and say, "You got the magic wand. You could-"
I did not. That would've been special. Something that I found pretty consistently in discovery that's I think a big challenge that I see with our reps having is instead of wanting to find out, they want to get the other person to do what they want them to do. And it's a challenge. There's an implicit assumption, which is I want you to buy my stuff whether you are right to buy it or not. Whether it makes sense for you to buy it or not. I just went through this with one of my reps the other day he said, "So I'm trying to apply your techniques for selling and it's working really well, but it's really, really hard because I find myself over and over wanting to jump ahead an extra step because your process it requires patience." And my process, I operationalize the relationship at the end of discovery and stop selling entirely.
If you want to learn more, we do an intensive test drive. It's free. It takes you some time and a day of your people doing it. You will either produce results or not. Sometimes people get amazing results. Usually they just have a bunch of conversations and find out they suck. But even that can be worthwhile and it's a learning experience and I highly recommend you do it. And if you want to do it, I'll introduce you to my VP of customer success and boom, I'm gone. I'm gone. There's no selling that's going to happen from then on, ever, until the very end where they've had all the experience. And then the question is, so now that you've got the experience, do you see anything here that's worth doing?
I see one thing, which is I think your people aren't very good. And I think maybe doing some small sort of engagement to get them better might be a worthwhile activity. What do you say? Give them a little, that's my one variable because that's always the variable, the people always suck. Everybody sucks. So I got it easy. All the houses we're going to sell have the same problem. They all face north and everybody wants a west facing exposure. But unfortunately in this neighborhood, all the houses face north. So you're not going to be able to watch the sunset.
I'm pretty good at what you do. Give me something new. I'll take it up to the point where now it's running, it's functioning and somebody else will do a better job than I do at taking that to the next level of big. Now, when you look at enterprise health, the issue with the enterprise is always that you have two things to conquer. You have markets to conquer with your current innovation and you have the natural next innovations, which are never obvious, to turn into something worth conquering markets with. And if you don't do both of those, you just go out of business. We have a whole podcast episode called All Dead Companies Are Equally Uninteresting and it describes the process by which companies become dead companies by failing on one of these two fronts. So I think these are two different kind of horses, but I think the main difference is what is the cycle time that you're comfortable with going from strategy to execution.
So for me, strategy to execution cycle time is about a day because I can't imagine working on strategy for more than part of the day. You exhaust the possibilities. It gets uninteresting. I'm going to cross the river. I'm going to go this stone, this stone, this stone, this stone or maybe this one, this one, this one. Oh, they look about the same. I'll pick this one. Okay. Now let's go give it a go. Oh, wait a second. That one rocks, my foot got wet, I almost fell in. Let's come back now. What? Okay, let's try this one. That to me is natural. But for some people it's not. So I think it's a big part of it has to with your natural cycle time for running through that.
We set out here at Grand Canyon to create that. And we've had an interesting AB experiment. We've had students and grads from the university. So fresh, they didn't know anything. And then we had, let's call them killers, who had the thousand yard stare who worked with other technology companies, cyber security companies sold in the past and they came together. You would think then that this island of Dr. Morrow would happen where you have these two or these Lord of the Flies where you have these two cultures where the vets would teach the younger folks. But what's interesting is what happened is we taught everybody the same way, this is the books you read. We use the Sandler and Oren Klaff Pitch Anything methodology. You're going to journal every day. You're going to dress the part. We're going to teach you public speaking.
We're going to teach you how to read a financial statement. We're going to teach breathing exercises so when you speak, you speak properly. Zoom backgrounds, all that stuff. And you found that the killers, the ones who had experience, they really globbed onto this at a rate that was equivalent to what the new folks did. Because, and as you interviewed these folks after months and their performance went up, they realized that no one really taught them that before. When they started a new organization, it was all about product training and sales training was just a small piece of it. And they said, "Oh, you guys figure it out." And...
Here's a list. And so they had to really unlearn a lot of the basic cliche type of techniques. Well, I just like to wing it. I just like to have my personality shine through in the interview. Right Susan?
Well, what's the strongest part of your sales process before they come on? And I'd write it down, rapport building, relationship building. And of course they would say, "Well, probably my ability to build rapport and relationships." I showed it to them. I was like, "How did I know that?" It's because most folks have this mindset to have supplicative behavior that is needy, that I want to be liked, that I want to be included. I want to be part of the tribe. And I think we had Oren on, what about six months ago? I think it was? Oren Klaff? Pitch Anything. And he talks about, you need four key elements in every sales. Humor, you need intrigue, you need curiosity, but most importantly you need tension. And doesn't mean you're over the top and you're aggressive or you're jerk. It just means that ability where I'm going to come off as equal status and not supplicative or hat in hand.
And if I come off as equal status or at least professional, knowing my world, you know your world, the success is going to increase. And so that's been one of the things that a lot of folks had to unlearn. So from a success story perspective, that's really neat to see is that people crave a process or regimen, a structure, more than anything else. We tell a story, oldie but a goodie. I'd give credit if I knew where this came from. But there's a guy walks past a construction site and he sees five people laying brick, Susan. And he goes to the first guy and says, "Hey, what are you doing?" He's like, "Building a wall." Goes to the second guy, "What are you doing?" He's like, "Making 12 bucks an hour." Goes to the third guy and say, "What are you doing?" He's like, "Laying brick." And goes to the fourth guy and says, "What are you doing?"
He says, ""I'm building a cathedral. Then finally goes to the fifth and says, "What are you doing?" He says, "I'm saving men's souls." Now they're all doing the same thing. They're all laying brick, making 12 bucks an hour, building a wall. But it's the latter two who see building the cathedral and saving men's souls as the ones that probably are paying a little bit more close attention to detail, spelling in their notes, picking up a piece of paper in the corner of the office, refilling the soda machine if it needs it.
Not taking the last bagel in the morning. Those are the folks that really make the culture sing. And then you find a lot of the folks who weren't taught that way. They have five years experience, they say. But they really have one year, five times or six months, 20 times. So you'd assume that the veterans would be the leaders, but it's actually the newer folks, the grads and the current students who this is brand new, who are so enamored with the shiny object of why, finally. Four years of school and I finally figured out what I want to do. Versus probably people like you and I who drifted, fell into sales because we're liberal arts folks. And that's just, I guess what we do. We have a good personality and it's either drive a cab, tend bar, or jump into sales.
Example two, similar to that is, Susan, we all show up, we're waiting for Chris. It's 11:03, 11:04 and I say, "Listen, I'll tell you what, it's 11:04 let's go ahead and get started." And you may say, "Well, can we give Chris another minute or two? He's coming." And I would say, as opposed to, "Oh sure, no problem." And then you talk small talk waiting. Instead say, "I'll tell you what, Chris seems like a smart guy. He can play catch up. Let's get started." Now I say it with a smile, but immediately my status goes up like hey, listen, this isn't a vendor. This is somebody who has something critical to say. So those are two ways to introduce subtle tension into the sales presentation.
Oh, she's amazing. Yeah. I mean, I think Chris gives her the crown of the best cool caller in the world. And I would really put the onus on anybody to try to take that title away from her because it is just that. Right Susan? It is that her status in the Pitch Anything world, I have true status alignment. And that is something that is also worked on here. We're better at it today than we were yesterday. And we'll be better at it tomorrow than we are today at coaching on it because you have a lot of stuff that goes on in the life of a younger grad, certainly. Besides what's on the mindset of a CEO for hitting P and L and numbers and finances and raising money, et cetera. And so tone changes daily based off of what happened in their life.
Did they lose that Call of Duty? Did their dog crap on their carpet? Did they get their first student loan payment? Are they anxious about their roommate? Whatever it is, did their Bitcoin kind of plummet? And so they may read the same screenplay, but they may not perform it at an academy award level every single day. And I think that's one thing that Cheryl does is she's the modern day equivalent of the Iceman. Remember from Top Gun?
And Val Kilmer, his name was the Iceman because he waited for the other person to make a mistake. He flew ice cold. Cheryl certainly has a great personality, out sized personality, but she does not make mistakes in the pieces that normally cost other people conversions. It's consistent. It's amazing.
Towards the tail end of college, a friend of mine had a sister who married an entrepreneur that ran a company called Skyline Displays, they make trade show exhibits. And he saw how I was doing and he thought, I'd like to hire this guy and send him off to California to do what they called R and D sales. Because what they used to do is they'd come up with something new, they'd release it to the field before it was ready and then it was very expensive to make a change because it was on such a grand scale. So they thought, why don't we just have one person go try to sell some new stuff. And I just fell into it. I moved out to California pretty much the day after I graduated from college. And that was a very interesting move. December 5th, 1995, very cold Minnesota day. I drove out to Newport beach and it was one of the happiest days of my life.
Absolutely. And when I went out there on the recruiting trip, they were very smart. They flew me into the Orange County airport. And when you walk out of the Orange County airport, you see green grass and palm trees. So I told myself, I hope it's a good job because I'm taking it. And I think like most people in sales, I was young, started off, struggled and it took me a while to hit my stride to figure out what I wanted to do. And then I had a roommate who was a recruiter. He goes, "Hey you're in sales, but you're kind of struggling. I got this customer that's looking for sales and they're a software company. Do you know anything about software?" I said, "No." But it paid more money, so I took that job. And then I was in software for 10, 15 years and then my company did a ConnectAndSell test drive.
I was one of the test subjects using the weapon and it was interesting. I didn't know what I was getting into. And when you use ConnectAndSell, turn it on, you hit that green go button. Well, when it was time to hit that green go button, president of the company standing here, the VP of sales is standing here. These are big verbose gentlemen. They're like, "Turn it on." All of a sudden, my hands started shaking. My brain went blank and I hit the go button. And the first conversation came fast, 30, 40 seconds. I don't know what I said. It wasn't intelligent or legible. The person hung up. They yelled, "Do it again." Did it again. Then the second conversation came fast and it was, Hey. Yeah, call me next week. I think I want to talk to you. And the third one, guy picks up the phone. I schedule a demo, a meeting, boss and the president leave me alone the rest of the day. I think I scheduled two more meetings on my very first day and it was awesome.
False. The bottom line of professional selling is to go to the bank. This is a neat profession to make some money. Yes, we want to take care of our clients and yes, we want to serve them properly. But if we're trying to get our emotional needs met in this profession, it's going to take us off because we will not ask tough, timely, effective questions that differentiate us from the competition because we're busy being nice. And if I say something that might get them a little concerned or upset, they might not like me. If they don't like me, they don't buy it from me. So I'm going to be Mr. Nice.
Give us, the audience, maybe an example of a few questions that... Because I want to be a nice guy. I want to be respected. I don't want to be a jerk because I have a high need for approval. My mother told me be nice to this stranger, maybe people will like me. So I got issues, probably like a lot of sales people. I got a lot of baggage coming in to that entry level sales job, but maybe old school to new school. If for instance, when I came up, I learned Dale Carnegie. As is, should be barrier payout questions. What's the one we always talk about? How's it go? If I can show you a way-
What's wrong with those questions? That sounds fairly logical for a lot of our audience. They're going to say, if I can show you a way, would you? What's wrong with that? And how does Sandler improve upon that?
If I can show you a way, would you do business with me today? It's like you got a snare and you want somebody to step in it so you can catch them. And you're giving them, there's no alternative. And the Sandler methodology it's based on the prospect's right to choose. If I, will you? Is we're all moving and trying to get to the yes and that's not how it works. But if you go back to old sales training, they told you, nod your head a lot and smile and get the people to say yes. And this is teaching you how to be a clown. I mean, who wants to be a clown? Prospects write to choose.
Corey, I have an offer for you I think will probably work. It matches up with what you told me you need, with what you're willing to spend and how you go about choosing somebody. If this fits for you, we can get started. If it's not acceptable, say "No thanks, not going to do it." Either one's fine. The prospects right to choose. When was the last time a salesperson told you it is perfectly okay and acceptable to tell me no thanks, we're going to pass.
They have a ton of power and the ability to say no, let your prospect feel like they're in control. But if I deliver exactly what we've outlined together and we've co built that solution for them, I didn't know what's going. In the Sandler methodology, when you deliver a solution to a prospect and you've uncovered compelling reasons, found out what it's costing them, found out what they're willing to spend and how they hire people. If you have all that stuff available, only you can screw this up. They just told you their criteria. Now you just complete what they told you they require to purchase. They're not being sold and the salesperson is not convincing. The salesperson is discovering, which is different than convincing.
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