In this week’s Market Dominance Guys’ podcast, Chris Beall conducts a solo interview with Cherryl Turner, Chief Development Officer of ConnectAndSell’s new Flight School Division. In the first episode of this two-part conversation, Cherryl relays to Chris how she got started in cold calling and about the important experiences she had talking with prospects — experiences that helped shape how she approaches cold calls and conducts meeting-setting conversations today.
As an example, Cherryl recounts a pivotal moment during a call with a prospect, in which she had the impulse to stop talking and just listen — instead of pushing to make the sale — and how the whole tone of the conversation warmed up after that. This was a career changer for her! Chris alludes to this when he describes Cherryl, touting her practice of conversing with each prospect as a peer and the way she is constantly looking to understand and help them. Feel free to borrow everything you’ll learn in this week’s Market Dominance Guys’ episode, as Cherryl Turner shares “The Secret of Her Success.”
About Our Guest Cherryl
Turner is Chief Development Officer of ConnectAndSell’s new Flight School Division, a four-session, cold-call conversation training program for sale reps. Previously founder and CEO of BDPro Solutions, Cherryl’s extensive expertise encompasses sales and business development.
Here is the full transcript from this episode:
Chris Beall (01:41):
Hey everybody, this is Chris Beall, and I am actually going to be the interviewer on Market Dominance Guys today. Corey Frank probably was available, maybe not. I don't know. He's a busy guy off there running Youngblood Works and doing all manner of other things. I just thought today, a conversation that I was having earlier in the day with Cherryl Turner was worth expanding on for this audience.
I think as everybody knows, Market Dominance Guys is all about the nuts and bolts of dominating markets and doing so with what we call a conversation-first approach. Cherryl has been a master of the conversation-first approach to dominate everything as far as I've known. For a number of years before I met her, she did that kind of stuff for a number of other companies, including InsideSales.com, now XANT.
We stumbled across each other, I would say, at what we call a test drive of ConnectAndSell where she was participating in the test drive, rather skeptically I would say. She can maybe tell us a little bit about that. It didn't take very long for us to realize that we were kindred spirits and believed the same kind of stuff. One thing led to another, and just recently, very recently, five weeks ago, she joined ConnectAndSell as our chief development officer for our Flight School Division.
We're taking our world-famous Flight School out into the world as a standalone product. Cherryl is our head of sales for that and head of marketing and head of thinking things up and making the scripts actually work, and all sorts of things. She's kind enough to bring me into an occasional meeting and I yap a little bit. I'm Chris Beall, not Corey Frank. I'd like to introduce you to Cherryl Turner. Cherryl, welcome to the show.
Cherryl Turner (03:44):
Thank you, Chris. Always a pleasure.
Chris Beall (03:46):
It's truly an honor to have the real deal on this program. Corey and I could be accused of a number of things, but I don't think either one of us is going to be considered the real deal when it comes to cold-calling. We just have reputations. I'm going to guess that you have cold-called somebody on an average of more than, oh, I don't know, 20 times a day for each day, except for weekends and time off with family and so forth.
I don't know if you do that, in the last, what? Five, six, seven years? Maybe beyond that. How did you get into cold-calling? Why are you attracted to something that is so repulsive to so many people?
Cherryl Turner (04:27):
It's a fascinating story actually, Chris. I really started my career ... You mentioned InsideSales.com. I was just an entry-level BD. In fact, when they hired me, when I got interviewed, I didn't even know what a CRM was. I came from Vivint, selling alarm systems to B2C markets. What I did know about myself ... I wasn't concerned that I didn't know what a CRM was, or didn't know I need to know what a CRM was, but I did know who I was. So I always enjoyed proving the impossible possible.
That's just something that runs through my blood. That is what I sold what was going to be my boss. I ended up blowing 'out of the market', or in our department. Not only that, but spearheading new companies that InsideSales.com ended up acquiring, even though none of the sales reps really knew what they were about, so I did my own research and just hitting 250/300 quota.
Chris Beall (05:28):
That's interesting. I hadn't heard this story about you spearheading the go-to-market thrust and the growth trajectory of new acquisitions. I mean, that's really hard to do. Did you have to learn everything about their product before you were capable of setting meetings to sell their product?
Cherryl Turner (05:45):
No. I actually learned with each conversation. After that, I almost was ... I wasn't editing myself on calls, but as I was listening to people and learning about what was important to them, I went back and did research on my own time, because I wanted to talk to as many of these people as possible. Then I adjusted to what and learned as I went. I would not say I was an expert per se. I did do my due diligence and learned as much as I could about the company that they had acquired.
Then I even had senior leadership come to me, including ... I don't know if I can name-drop, but Jim Steele, they had brought Jim Steele in. He said, "What are you doing? Are you doing this?" It ended up being their leading product because of what I was able to create for the company. It started with a belief. They gave us a one-pager on it, and the little I did know, I found it fascinating. I was like, "Well, this is interesting. This is new. What does this little company do?"
What they did was pretty unique and interesting to me. I believed in what I learned of them at that point and then I brought that to the conversations when I was talking with people, and then pivoting and learning as I was going through that. The more conversations I had, the more I fell in love with it, because I realized at the end of the day, people want to be successful and they're still human beings, right?
They still have insecurities. They still have things that they have to accomplish and look good in their roles. We're all the same at the end of the day. It was fascinating to be a part of that. That's I think the passion that ran through my veins, if you will.
Chris Beall (07:34):
Oh, that's fascinating. As you said, we're all the same. I've always told people when I talk about you, "Cherryl sees herself as an equal of everybody on earth. So when she's talking to somebody, she's always talking as a peer looking to help them and to understand them." I think that's really remarkable. I think most salespeople, all of us in fact, have got some degree of, "Well, I'm the supplicant. I'm coming. I'm asking you to do something for me."
Because after all the salesperson's setup, so to speak, is, "If everything goes well, eventually we get a deal. I make quota and I get commission. Therefore, you're doing things for me." How did you come to this point of view? This is a really different point of view than I run into. You said you came right out of alarm system sales. Was that door to door, by the way, or was that by the phone or what?
Cherryl Turner (08:26):
No. It was just in Provo, the Vivint down in Provo, just call it part of the outside sales department there, just an entry-level team. Yeah. I started there and not really talking to people, but when I got to InsideSales, that's really where my career began to take shape, if you will. Talking with these entrepreneurs, these CEOs. I was calling in to senior leadership, and I really enjoyed talking to senior leadership.
I came from a world that not many understand. They're always on. Their brain is always on, "How can I tweak this or improve that in my business? How can I create organic growth and what have you?" I always love learning from those people. When I was at InsideSales, I think the shift, Chris, to your question happened, I was calling it. It was just high volume calling. People that downloaded whitepapers or looked at something on our website or what have you.
The initial entry was, "Hey, we noticed you had downloaded a whitepaper. Just calling to follow up on that. Did you get a chance to read that? I'm interested in what's going on in your world." I don't remember her last name. I don't remember the name of the company, but her name was Karen, and she was the CEO of this company. They were about mid-level actually, I do remember that.
For the first time, and I'd probably been in about three weeks in, I had the most amazing conversation with this woman because something inside of me clicked and said, "Just stop and listen." I had an agenda. I had to make quota. I had to, "Hey, yeah, let's get you over to a hot lead, a hot transfer." Right? I was push, push, push. We had just barely acquired this other company so I was still in this other position, this entry-level BD position.
Karen, when I was talking with her, it was the longest conversation. I think we ended up talking 15 minutes or so, which is almost taboo. You don't want to be on the phone that long. I said, "You know, Karen." I said, "After listening to what you've told me." I said, "I don't believe that this other core product of this company fits you, but we just recently acquired a new company and this is what they do."
What I have learned that they do, right? We just acquired them. I explained this to her. I said, "Do you think that may be beneficial to you just based on what you told me?" Immediately her tone changed. She wasn't sounding desperate, but she was frustrated and I could sense that in her voice. I took the insecurity that she was ... Not insecurity, but the uncertainty, if you will.
I said, "Here's something that might possibly help you. I don't know if it will or not, but here's some information. We can have a conversation." She said, "Actually, that does intrigue me." It was a hot transfer, but what is interesting, as a sales rep, full cycle sales rep, didn't even know how to pitch it. I was like, "Just listen to her." I'm like, "We just acquired this company." That is the switch.
That was the switch that I realized these CEOs were all the same, essentially. Also, something interesting is I always cared about who I was talking with, because we are human and it does matter. End of this big blue worry parent, as you like to say, Chris, it does matter. That's how I really started.
Chris Beall (11:58):
Well, that's fascinating. It resonates with me as a door-to-door salesperson who had to make some money quickly back in the day. I realized very quickly in that process, on about door three or four, nobody was going to buy anything from me. They opened the door into the desert heat in Arizona, but maybe I could do something for them. Maybe we could just have a very short human conversation, very short because the door was open and you know, in Arizona, we're talking five bucks a minute when your door is open.
The air conditioning pumping out trying to cool off the entire desert. I think that transition is the transition that lets people go from okay and somewhat unsatisfied as salespeople, to it being, I wouldn't say effortless, but in a way it is. Like, what's the effort that goes into talking? Not much. But the effort that goes into listening could be substantial and maintaining that listening posture, right?
I mean, can you think back to any deals where you heard something during a conversation? This might be impossible by the way because I can't remember these myself, but put me on the spot a little bit. Can you think of any situation where you were talking to somebody and you suddenly realized that you hadn't quite listened to them? Then it's like, "Hang on a second."
You ask them a question or you replay it in your mind and end up going somewhere that turns out to be relatively important for them and maybe good for your company. Is that an experience you've had, or is that something that you've been such a good listener from the get-go you don't trip up like that?
Cherryl Turner (13:43):
Right. No. We always trip up. I think becoming good in sales is not an episodic event. It's always a journey. I don't care how seasoned you are. If you're always open to improving, it shines through in your approach and your tone with them because now you care. To answer your question, if I had a quarter for every time that I experienced that, that's always going on. We're human. We're going to make mistakes. We're going to rush through it.
We're going to talk too fast. I flap my lips sometimes too much, you know? That's okay though. Before my conversation with Karen, I was, I think focused ... There was this pressure. She downloaded the whitepaper. This person downloaded this. Did you get it over? Did you get a totally qualified lead, right? Or whatever you want to call it. Every company calls it different. It was worry that I've got to get this person through so that I can meet quota.
When you remind shifts, it all falls into place because that comes through. You take the uncertainty that they're feeling and you eat it yourself as a rep. You're not concerned even if they show up to the meeting, because when you're empowered ... And I'm going to go to ConnectAndSell, because before coming on with you, Chris, I was a partner of yours and brought it into many companies because I saw the power of it and was a believer.
When you are empowered and not have to worry about, "Am I going to get this person back on the phone?" Well, the answer is yes, you will. That concern and that pressure is taken away so you can actually focus on listening. You can focus on improving the conversation. Getting those tidbits of information. They need to hear enough to want to accept a meeting with you. If they can't, nine times out of 10, it's not because they don't like you.
It has nothing to do with you. It really has nothing to do with you. It has to do everything with them and everyone is busy, but there's always time when they can make time and that concern disappears. There are several times where I edited in real time and I blew it so many times, and still do sometimes, but that's okay because you learn from those. Because I'm constantly listening to calls. I was listening to Scott Webb this morning and his team.
I was listening to James Townsend and Donny. Donny Crawford, the Yoda of Flight School and Matthew Forbes. I took some tidbits from him actually in my redirects from my script. I love learning from my peers. I love learning from those who are excellent in doing certain things in their approach.
Chris Beall (18:28):
It's interesting right there, so when I called you today, I called you back. You dialed me and it was a very short call and it rang once and then you weren't there. I was actually in a meeting doing something to do with something completely different. It had nothing to do with sales and everything to do with how systems worked and this and that. Then when I called you back, in the background I could hear someone talking.
I thought, "Oh, how interesting? It doesn't sound like somebody that I know in Cherryl's house." You eventually learn many of the voices over time. You were listening to calls from somebody that you knew was doing something different. I know you must have seen the numbers. This is somebody who is converting conversations to meeting at about a three out of four pace.
Frankly, he feels like that's not enough. I know that he feels that's not enough, that he thinks [crosstalk 00:19:25].
Cherryl Turner (19:25):
[crosstalk 00:19:25] I know [crosstalk 00:19:25] feel.
Chris Beall (19:27):
[inaudible 00:19:27]. Yeah. A hundred percent, right? You were listening and you hit the pause button and we talked about actually what was going on in those conversations. The reason I wanted to have you on today is that we had Matt Forbes on recently. Matt was talking about the power of belief and what happened to him inside and what happened to his results as a result of that transformation inside of himself.
When he finally, I'll say crossed the chasm from uncertainty and self-interest, to belief in the potential value of the meeting that he was offering for this human being that he was talking with, regardless of how that meeting might go, what might happen or not happen as a result. He described that in a pretty compelling way. Scott Webb, the guy you were listening to, I got a call from him once that said, "I'm going to try something. I think there's a mindset shift that will make a big difference."
Folks, anybody listening to this, Scott Webb is not just some guy walking down the street. I mean, he's a chief development officer of a multi-billion dollar insurance brokerage. Number four in the world. I would predict soon to be number three, then two, then one, on organic growth alone. God knows what'll happen when the inorganic power of the organic growth starts to get whipped up.
He is personally using ConnectAndSell and leading his team through Flight School, which is what Cherryl sells. He's doing blitz and coach stuff. We help. I don't know why we help, because he's so good. I think we're learning from him, not the other way around, but what was it about what Scott was doing that made you want to listen to him? Then, have you tried any of it? Because it's kind of crazy stuff.
If you really think about this mindset shift of insisting that someone take the meeting for their own good, it seems to have these vast implications, especially if you have the power of connection, which does one thing really, really well. It gets people on the phone, especially people you've talked with before, because, hey you know they answer the phone. That's why they're in your follow-up list. Tell me that story. How's that gone?
Cherryl Turner (21:45):
Yeah. This transition has happened I think just in the last week, kind of the same thing that happened with Forbes, which by the way, I love that podcast because I think I've listened to it like two or three times now, but it's true, everything he'd said. The approach that Scott had ... And he's teaching his team, and you can tell the transition over time too. He's not overly concerned if it's a hundred percent written in blood, "I'm going to show up to this meeting."
It is an insistence that, "We'll find a time. I'm going to shoot this out to you. If it works, great. If not, we'll move it around. I'm not concerned necessarily if this is a slam dunk or not. If you show up, great. I know the importance of this meeting." That comes through in his tone. That's what Flight School does. It really teaches us the belief in the breakthrough you're offering these people you're talking with.
That has to be present, but he says, "Look, okay, we'll just send you out something and [inaudible 00:22:53]." People are like, "Uh, sure." This has happened a couple of times and I was like, "Wow, that's fascinating." They didn't say, "Oh, yes, yes, yes. I'm definitely going to be there." I think sometime ... Actually not sometimes. Most often in order for it to be qualified, we've got to make sure that there's, "Okay. You're not going to be anywhere else, right? You're going to show up to this meeting if I send you an invite, right? Okay. Okay. Perfect. Okay. I can count them."
It's a shootover. "If it works, great. If it doesn't, I know I can put you back in ConnectAndSell and I will get ahold of you and we will find a time that ends up working out. Whether that is two, three, four, five times conversations later, we need to reschedule, great. If not, that's okay." First time works out, great. If not ... And that actually feeds your passion because you realize that's how a lot of people were.
They're like, "Okay." A lot of people aren't in front of the calendar. Actually, no, I'm not. I'm in a meeting or I'm stepping out or I'm walking with my dog. I do cold calls when I take my son to the park during the day, right? [crosstalk 00:24:00].
Chris Beall (23:59):
How do you do that? Wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, wait. You can't cold-call [crosstalk 00:24:03]-
Cherryl Turner (24:03):
This is life, Chris.
Chris Beall (24:05):
... you're carrying your computer around and you got a phone and then when your son needs something, what do you do? Throw it all up in the air? How do you do that? That's craziness.
Cherryl Turner (24:15):
It's actually awesome. It has changed my life in several ... Just ... It's amazing. No, it's the ConnectAndSell mobile app that you guys have. I was honored to be able to try it out. It's amazing. I still carry [Miskirk 00:24:36] with me. We have a park that's just about nine blocks from our house. We have several actually, and he is like a farm dog. He needs to be outside and run around or he's going to drive us all nuts.
It's in between, after my meetings and in between cold calls. In front of my computer like, "Hey, we need to go take a breather." I take my son on a stroller. He's got his little balance bike. He loves taking that thing out. We go to the park. While he's playing on the swing and slides and going, "Weee." I'm cold-calling. In fact, there was this ... I was doing that on Friday, last week, a couple of times.
There was another mom there with her kid and she started talking and when I started talking I said, "Hey, I need to let you know, I'm doing some cold calls right now for my work." She was like, "Oh really?" I was like, "Oh yeah, it's fabulous." She couldn't believe it. She was like, "I don't even know what that is, but okay." While we're talking, I put my hand out and then I talked to the person and then it was fabulous.
That is life. That is our new norm. We have people that still have to run a business. Now it's almost harder because kids think when you're home, "Oh, you're just at my disposal, or this is ..." Not even just kids. It's spouses or whatever, or family that just don't understand. Yes. That has been my new weapon of choice. It's been awesome. I really enjoy it. Yeah. I mean, going back to your initial question, Chris, the two meetings I had set this morning were like that.
It was, "Hey, I'll send an invite out for two weeks out. That works well for you, great. If not, just send me over some alternatives and we'll move it around." They're like, "Okay." I'm like, "Perfect. Moving on." It's awesome.
Chris Beall (26:33):
This brings to mind something. If you were working as a BDR, right? And you were setting appointments just for somebody else, this would be a hard technique because you would be putting appointments on your AE's calendar. Say it was paired up one to one, some people do that. You've got an account executive you're working with and you're doing the important part of the job, which is getting them in the meetings, getting the meetings and they're doing the easy part, which is holding discovery meetings and closing business, which anybody can do.
I actually believe that. Anyway, here you're doing that and now you're setting a bunch of interesting false positives. That is people who are not qualified, who would be showing up, at least you might've thought they weren't qualified if you quizzed them further and got the truth out of them, which I don't think actually happens in ambush calls, but we can pretend that it does.
Then you are also setting meetings, a lot of which are going to be no-shows, because in fact, they're going to be no-shows and declines and all sorts of stuff. Because your view is ... If I can encapsulate it correctly, you believe, now that you've listened to Scott Webb's approach, that operationalizing the relationship and going from if to when is the key to generating more relevant activity, which is thoughtful conversations, real conversations that go beyond the ambush.
Therefore, you're not letting the ambush conversation carry the load of qualification, or even of assurance of attending the meeting. You're just letting it open the door sufficiently that you go from an if, if we're going to meet, to a when, when we're going to meet. It reminds me of something I experienced this Saturday. Helen and I went down to a Mesquite furniture place, but it wasn't a furniture place. It's actually a mill.
They have these Mesquite logs. I don't know if anybody listening to this knows what a Mesquite tree is, but it's really hard, very heavy wood, really beautiful, full of all these swirly patterns. If you want a dining room table that you're going to treat as a piece of art in your house that you just bought here in Green Valley, Arizona, you definitely want a Mesquite table. I go with Helen down there, and here's what Valerie, the owner, did.
She asked whether we were seeing what we wanted or whatever. There's just pieces of wood around and then some examples of some finished tables. Helen said, "Well, yes, we're looking for a dining room table." She said, "Oh, okay." Then she flipped open her order book, took a pen and had it in hand and said, "So what are the rough dimensions?" It was not asking the qualifying question. After all, all dimensions of tables are qualified, right?
Big ones, little ones, and so forth. It wasn't the question. The question was kind of irrelevant. It was the fact that she went from, if we were going to buy a dining room table from her to, when are we going to do it? Let's get going on the process. She did it very gently and then went into a flash role a little bit later, as Oren Klaff would call it, about Mesquite.
By the time she was done describing where the Mesquite came from, how they caught it, what the challenges were, what the three kinds of table edges are, how they use five layers of tung oil in order to make the table last forever, why the butterflies and the joints in the table lasts longer than even the wood and the wood is incredible, what some of the considerations might be, how you might go about buying.
You might let us select the wood. You might come down and do it yourself. You might let us select it and you could come down and have a look. Some people like to see the project as it's being done. It'll take about this long, but these are the three considerations that would make it shorter and longer. By then, it's like we're in the hands of an expert and she's operationalized the relationship by having the equivalent of the calendar, in this case, the order book, in hand and she's writing in there.
When we were finished with the conversation, here's the piece of paper that looks suspiciously like an order for a table that doesn't cost much more than a small car. Here we are just going, "Huh." We ran into somebody else later, a different furniture store I won't mention and it's like, "Oh, yours are cheaper? Well, they must not be as good as Valerie's are." Right? Through this whole process, right? She did that and I was really impressed.
I discussed it with Helen afterwards. I said, "That is the opposite of selling after the close." I think when we're setting appointments, especially in a BDR role, our boss is telling us to sell after the close because the close is that little yes or the not not no. The not no, not not now, but not no, that allows you just to say, "I'll send you an appointment and if that doesn't work, we'll figure it out."
Cherryl Turner (31:45):
Chris Beall (31:46):
That it's a step on the journey instead of a, I gotcha. Do you sense the difference between what you do now? You're a full cycle rep setting appointments for yourself. Does that give you freedom to engage the way Scott Webb has figured out how to engage? Which by the way, everybody ... Okay. The average conversion rate among reps out there is 3% conversation to meeting.
Scott's is 72.4%, but that's only because he's dragging along an early tail of those that were only 25%. His current number is more in the 80s or 90s perhaps. If you think about that, any of you boss types watching, think an AE setting appointments for themselves, getting two appointments a day in about 30 minutes of work, two or three a day in 30 minutes of work, has this freedom to do this.
If you're managing BDRs and SDRs, maybe you should let them have that freedom too. How would you do that though? It's tricky, isn't it?
Cherryl Turner (32:52):
It is. I think because of the mindset of where most leadership is, right? There's always this pressure that is pushed up and down the chain as kind of .... You know those Chinese finger traps? That's what it feels like sometimes, because they've got to hit certain numbers and you're representing them. Then they've got to send that up the chain and then the chain isn't happy so they send that back down.
So there's this constant conflict that I've experienced in my own career with that. I knew there was a better way. I wasn't necessarily coached that way, but I knew there was a better way because we're not robots talking and doing business with robots. I don't care how much great AI a company has. We're not going to be replaced by robots. This fear that ... It's not, because we are human.
If this freedom ... In fact, before I even came on with you, Chris, over to sell Flight School, you and I had a conversation because I was talking about this other company I was wanting to bring in on to ConnectAndSell. There's this freedom that almost empowers you almost like a sense of liberation that, "Now I can relax and do what I do well, which is selling." Most reps that are in a position, they do.
They are good at selling. They just are awkward with the first conversation and they can't get out of their own way if they can't get past that. If I'm okay to show you, prospect, that we will find a time when it ends up being okay for you, that shows them, "Wow, I'm actually talking to another human being." It lowers the stress level on their end too. That's [crosstalk 00:34:48]. That's okay. You're totally fine.
In fact, the meeting that I set this morning, that was the case. He was like, "Yeah. I'm sorry, I got pulled into this other ... I'm covered for a manager." Et cetera. I said, "Totally fine. That is the end of this work." He's like, "That's perfect. Yeah. Go ahead and set it for this week." It was, "Okay. Awesome. Good luck with the remainder of your week." It allowed them to relax also.
What is interesting is there's this pressure you've got to qualify in advance. That's what I was brought up on my sales career. You've got to know they're almost too qualified before you get them on the discovery meeting. There is no possible way you can find that out before a discovery meeting. Sometimes it takes two or three of those to find that out because they're still warming up to you.
They don't know if they want to completely trust you to divulge the skeletons out of the closet and everything else that's going on internally, and especially with COVID and all the disruption that's happened in the market, that's even more so. I hope that any senior leadership that is hearing this one would allow ... And the AEs respectfully, if you have an SDR setting for an AE, respect the SDR to know if they don't show up, we'll get them back on.
Chris Beall (36:11):
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:36:11]-
Cherryl Turner (36:11):
If you are using smart technology like ConnectAndSell, right? It's-
Chris Beall (36:15):
Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes I think this is the main thing ConnectAndSell enables, this relaxation into the situation where you can both be human. I really do think that that's like the hidden gift, which shouldn't be considered to be hidden because it's the essence of being able to forge new relationships that could lead to something of value being exchanged.
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