This week on Market Dominance Guys, Chris Beall and Corey Frank continue their interview with Marc Hodgson, sales director at ConnectAndSell. What’s the topic? How to get the most out of a first conversation. As Marc says, “All the magic happens inside the conversation,” getting your prospect from fear to trust and then on to curiosity. But how do you take a green SDR — or even a fairly well-seasoned one — and develop the skills that get them to the level where the magic happens?
As Chris and Corey have discussed in previous episodes, first you need to have a clear idea of what the purpose of that initial conversation is: You’re not trying to sell anything but the discovery meeting. And to do that, you need to truly believe in the value of that meeting for the person you’re talking with. Once you have that belief firmly in place, it’s time to develop your skills, which start with learning a great script and how to deliver it in the right tone and with the correct pacing. After that, practice, practice, practice. As Marc explains, “It’s not enough to do it. Now you have to get really great at it. You’ve got to be frequent before you can get good.” As usual on the Market Dominance Guys, you’ll hear this and lots more sage advice on today’s episode, “Tried and True: Practice Makes Perfect!”
About Our Guest
Marc Hodgson has had an illustrious and successful sales career at a variety of companies and currently holds the position of Sales Director (aka Sales Headcount Multiplier and Cost Per Meeting Reducer) at ConnectAndSell. Marc resides happily in the Greater Boston area.
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Here is the full transcript from this episode:
Announcer (00:06): Welcome to another episode with the Market Dominance Guys, a program about the innovators, idealists, and the entrepreneurs who thrive and die in the high-stakes world of building a startup company. We explore the cookbooks, guidebooks, and magic beans needed to grow your business.
This week on Market Dominance Guys, Chris Beall, and Corey Frank continue their interview with Marc Hodgson, sales director at ConnectAndSell. What's the topic? How to get the most out of a first conversation. As Marc says, "All the magic happens inside the conversation", getting your prospect from fear to trust and then onto curiosity. But how do you take a green SDR, or even a fairly well seasoned one, and develop the skills that get them to the level where the magic happens.
As Chris and Corey have discussed in previous episodes, first you need to have a clear idea of what the purpose of that initial conversation is. You're not trying to sell anything, but the discovery meeting. And to do that, you need to truly believe in the value of that meeting for the person you're talking with.
Once you have that belief firmly in place, it's time to develop your skills, which start with learning a great script and how to deliver it in the right tone and with the correct pacing. After that, practice, practice, practice. As Marc explains, "It's not enough to do it. Now you have to get really great at it. You've got to be frequent before you can get good". As usual on the Market Dominance Guys, you'll hear this and lots more sage advice on today's episode Tried And True: Practice Makes Perfect.
Marc Hodgson (02:04):
It's about getting there and having them have the experience, the rest takes care of itself.
Corey Frank (02:11):
Yeah. We've had a couple of episodes where we spoken about from a connected self-perspective, Chris, how much you love those test drives too and the look of the change that you've seen and feel on those sales floors when we could travel, if we're getting back to those test-drive days. When you think Marc about this approach, what kind of guidance would you have of a new salesperson kind of getting in.
Corey Frank (02:35):
And I really liked the way how you described this Chris, right, is that you have to have, get your senior folks in a red ocean, a top of funnel, and then you have your executives of one portion, and then you have this other trinity with a small T as a, as a long play salesperson. Are there certain skill sets, mindsets, prep that you would give to because you're probably a five, two-player, you can do it all. But to do this probably requires different skill set that you probably would have talked to yourself 10 or 20 years ago, "Wow". But clearly it works. The math works. What advice or guidance would you give to me as a newer salesperson, a sales gal, a sales guy to get into this, to believe in the math.
Marc Hodgson (03:13):
There's the math, the sales, and then there's the multiplication factor of what really works, right. You see what's happening all over the place where you look at your inbox, things are noisy. Things are, are mucky, LinkedIn, and email and all that jazz. But I think what we're really seeing now is the resurgence in not just B2B, but human to human, right. It's that conversation. And I think the newer salespeople, the best thing you could do for yourself is learn how to have those first conversations. Right
Marc Hodgson (03:51):
We talk a lot about being able to move from fear to trust and curiosity and all that. That's probably the core skillset that any new sales rep could, should develop, right. That's the one that is going to pay dividends. And I think a lot of folks it's a bit lost in our digital world, right. We're looking for fast efficient, "Hey, what's going to ping the most emails or touches or activities or whatnot". All the magic happens inside the conversation, right. And I think getting good at that and working on that, if that's a core skill, if you had to work on one skill and one skill only, I think it's the value of a conversation on how to have it, how to get really great at it.
Corey Frank (04:34):
Absolutely. And I know you guys are launching or you have launched the flight school, where you teach big dumb farm animals like me, right, to, to have the right tone, and the right pacing, and deliver this trust that we've talked about for the last couple of years, Chris, right, in seven seconds or so. And that's a school that I think that every new sales special, they really are dear to their craft, should probably learn how to do, so that's a great, that's a great one, Marc.
Corey Frank (05:01):
It's almost as if you got this dirty joke level, right on this one matrix, right. And on the other matrix, right, you have your time. And too often, right, a figurative dirty joke level, but you have relationships with people over the course of many months, in many quarters where, you have sat on their left and you've asked them how their week is going. And they've told you, you have no idea. And They poured out their contents of their soul. And you do that month after month, quarter after quarter, you have earned the right to have that figurative dirty joke level, and that's where that trust certainly is engendered, wouldn't you say Chris?
Chris Beall (05:42):
Yeah, absolutely. I agree with you, Marc. I call what Corey is doing A young blood works finishing school for future CEOs. And it's helping folks start their careers and sales by learning how to have first conversations. The most important thing you ever learn in business is how to have a first conversation with a stranger when you're not prepared for that. The specifics of that conversation, oddly enough, the preparation has to be for the generality of speaking to a human being. And if you have an idea, a clear idea of what the purpose of that conversation is, the first order purpose that is, if I could only do one thing, what would I do is, you know, Corey, I, I used to be a bit of a systems designer, right? I used to build systems of a certain size, right. I just saw the princess bride the other day. So it was like rodents of an unusual size.
Chris Beall (06:33):
I used to, I used to build systems of an unusual size and, the key to building great systems of an unusual size that worked is to ask this question of the stakeholders, which is, I, you know, I would do it like this. I'd go up to a whiteboard and I draw a big circle. I'm not very good at it, but at least the two pieces would come together. If not perfectly straight, they would intersect in some way. And then, I would draw an arrow out of the right side of that circle. And I put a little stick figure there. I say, okay, so if our system can only do one thing, no compound sentences allowed, what would that one thing be? And, and by the way, who is this, right. In sales, we ask exactly that question.
Chris Beall (07:21):
If we can only do one thing in this conversation, what would it be, and who is it for? And the answer is simple. What it would be, is we would manufacture trust, and who it's for is the person we're talking with. That's the system of sales. And I speak as a guy who's, as you know, I've got a patent or two, we just had one awarded the other day. We had one for our mobile app, my 18th patent. And this one I'm very proud of, because Dhruv Shah who was 17 years old when he built our mobile app in high school is my co-inventor. And that mobile app does one thing. It lets you talk to people without touching the device that you're using. That's the key, that's its job. It allows Cheryl Turner to go to the park and watch carefully as a good mother, her three-year-old playing on the swings and have conversations with people like the chief financial officer of Johns Hopkins, advanced physics laboratory.
Chris Beall (08:29):
And she actually did that. She had that conversation while at the park, making sure her kid was having fun and being safe. That's the purpose of that thing. That was what was on that whiteboard. It didn't have a name. It didn't know its inputs, but it knew the one thing, it delivered a conversation to somebody and that little stick figure was a salesperson with no hands. That was the idea, right? So in a conversation, if you know what you're trying to achieve, and you can describe it with that level of specificity, and then you learn how to actually do it. As Marc said, it's not enough to describe it. Now you've got to get good at, it sounds trivial, right? How hard is it to get trust built with somebody in seven seconds? Ah, how do I break that problem down? Thank God Chris' boss broke it down for us.
Chris Beall (09:19):
So it's, this is the stuff, you know, if I were to ask salespeople to believe something, in order to have great careers as businesspeople believe in precision. Believe that human psychology is a precision science. It's not about generalities, it's not about aphorisms, it's not about opinions, it's not about what your mom told you, it's a precision science. You are a brain surgeon. You're operating with two issues that are really big for brain surgeons. One, you've got to know what's what, in that massive gray, you got to be able to tell the amygdala from the pons or somebody is not going to be able to remember anything in the future. And somebody else might get really pissed off every time, a dog barks way down the street. So you got to be careful. The other is, you can't faint at the sight of blood. And most sales reps faint at the sight of blood.
Chris Beall (10:16):
The discomfort of being the brain surgeon of having that conversation, where you're in charge of somebody else's mental state, that's too hard for them. And they quail, and they drop to the floor and then they aren't there. That's not good. You see, you got to get over the sight of blood through practice. Corey, you let dozens, hundreds, I don't know how many people come through your program, but I think it's the greatest educational program for business on the face of the earth right now, because they get to experience what it is to actually be a brain surgeon. And you got to do it over, and over, and over. You got to know what you're doing, but it's secondary to being able to actually do it and keep your hand from shaking so much that you've cut somebody's brain apart and make them a little worse than you intended.
Chris Beall (11:04):
Marc Hodgson (11:06):
It's not just your dad's marketing jargon. That's real transformation.
Corey Frank (11:13):
Well, it's what we had talked about. Our new best friend Henry right, had been coalesced in this right. Chris and me was talking about, I think it's got to be episode two or three where we kind of talked about this concept of when everything goes perfectly in your business, how does that change your customer's life?
Marc Hodgson (11:29):
Corey Frank (11:31):
And when you can yield that, right, when you can do that, that Vulcan mind meld in that matrix extraction, it could be that brain surgeon you're there. And so Marc, what you do clearly by playing long ball is because you're invited back into their brain every two to three weeks or whatever your cadence is, quarter after quarter, month after month, until eventually it engenders that fear to trust, trust, to curiosity. And then they'd make that leap to finally commitment. And...
Corey Frank (12:02):
Marc Hodgson (12:03):
They know I'm not going to cut left. I'm going to cut right. They'll be okay.
Corey Frank (12:07):
Marc Hodgson (12:08):
Corey Frank (12:09):
You can sit on their right in that bar versus sitting on their left.
Chris Beall (12:16):
Chris Beall (12:16):
Great Corey, I love that. Get to the point where you can sit down on their, right. And they're going to hit you with the shoulder and say, "Hey, my week, wasn't that bad this week".
Corey Frank (12:27):
That's right. That's right. Yeah. That's right. So listen to earlier episodes of that, that analogy if it's confusing for some of you guys, as a core tenet of the Market Dominance Guys, approach to the illustrators.
Corey Frank (13:18):
That's great. So here's where we're at. We've been enlightened that there are three key roles in a sales organization between the red ocean senior folks that you need, pay light bill. You have blue ocean, long ball guys and gals, right? Who keep the valuation up, kind of de-risk the organization so you don't have to get diluted, brings up capital that is very inexpensive. And then you also have the executive team CEO or in your case, you've got a triple threat between the VP of sales and the chairman, Chris, who are also bringing in dollars and not to mention what that does to keep fresh on the market understanding. We've talked about the fact that to have that arch in, which is really a science in, in the brain surgery of developing your skills to have that first conversation is a skill that everybody should have and continue to sharpen.
Corey Frank (14:17):
And certainly tools and repetition, I think as our friend Warren Cleft says, "You've got to get frequent before you get good". And when you have a weapon like ConnectAndSell, or any type of weapon that can help you be frequent before you get good. Those are good things, as you start an organization. Not only from the reps increase in efficiency and proficiency, but also in understanding what you had said earlier, Marc, about getting those false positives out of the way and using that to pivot. So I think it's a pretty juicy episode here, Chris, I think thanks to you Marc for, for jumping on word and making this easy. Sometimes when I just do these with me and Chris I'm, I'm the guy that has to...
Marc Hodgson (15:04):
You've been having a scotch? [crosstalk 00:15:07].
Corey Frank (15:10):
So this is, this is fantastic. Any final thoughts, Marc? Any other words of wisdom or things that the viewers should know there?
Marc Hodgson (15:18):
Well, no, I appreciate you guys having me. It's always an education to listen to you guys, like keep up the good work. I can't believe. I think you said earlier, it was, did you say 70 or 80 episodes in two years already?
Corey Frank (15:33):
I think it's one episode 85 times, but it's the same thing. [inaudible 00:15:36] I forget what it is. Yeah. It's a lot. It's coming up on two years since we've been on this journey here and I think we're rounding the corner, Chris. I think we actually will have some residue that is market-ready to show to our half dozen listeners here in the next month or two. So that's, that's exciting.
Chris Beall (15:59):
Yeah. It's pretty wild. I got a question for Marc before we go. So Marc, talk about sharpening, sharpening the tool, right. Abe Lincoln's sharpening the ax, right. So you're an expert at having first conversations, you do it all the time. You do it every single day. How often do you engage with the team in a structured blitz and coach environment and how often per year do you go through flight school, yourself?
Marc Hodgson (16:27):
Yeah, that's a good question. So I get to tell you, it's interesting. We didn't use to do things like that. We didn't used to participate like this. And then we go through flight school now a couple of times a year and it's a game-changer. I blitz with my team twice a week, two hours. It's on the calendar. It's mandatory unless you got something else that is, you know, supersedes it, which is a pretty tough case to make. Right. But it's been great. You know, we go through flight school, we've seen our own improvement each year because everybody drifts. Got the competitiveness you get out there, we're on a slack channel.
Marc Hodgson (17:09):
So we do it twice a week. We have four hours a week that we blitzed together as a team of sales directors. We're all closer to 50 than we are 40. So, you know, we're not the SDR type, but you know, it turns out it keeps us sharp, you know, and it's, it's a lot of fun. It's been a game-changer for us than just jumping in here and there. There's no excuses, Corey, there's no excuses, Chris, get out there. And...
Corey Frank (17:35):
Well, you know what we should do is [inaudible 00:17:37] calling you guys on the carpet, but Ryan Ricerd and, James Boughten has the SDR league, right. The vaunted SDR league sales, development rep league, where Chris, I know connect themselves and big sponsored proponent of this concept of bringing this e-sports concept to the world of outbound selling is you guys are, you guys are just minor leaguer kind of like us. I mean, you been on the wall and you, you're well past your you're a veteran contract here, but maybe we should have a little, a little ConnectAndAll SDR going at it and put them up against a take on all comers. Have another team out there that takes on the connected. So use your blitz time, but do it, do it online live. So maybe we should...
Chris Beall (18:17):
Well, my account executives have more dials and more conversations per week than the industry standard for SDRs by a factor of seven. That is every one of my million dollar plus quota carriers talks to seven times more people at the top of the funnel, than Trish Bertuzzi and the bridge groups say that the average SDR talks to.
Corey Frank (18:47):
Chris Beall (18:48):
And I love the fact that SDRs are out there talking to people. But the fact of the matter is your best SDR is an AE armed with ConnectAndSell
Corey Frank (19:00):
That's right. And a special plug. Steve Richard from foresight and I just did that. We were in the, the octagon, the vaunted octagon. And we show that, Hey, as, as AE's, we both sell, we're both CEOs of our companies and we both sell. And we use a weapon like ConnectandSell. And I think in our little short period, we had four dials and we had three conversations. So not many places where you can do that with...
Chris Beall (19:26):
Wait, wait... You didn't have four dials and three conversations, you had four conversations in three meetings. Right?
Corey Frank (19:31):
That's true. That's true. Well no, I didn't have actually three meetings but you know...
Chris Beall (19:34):
I was going to say $4, anybody can do four dials. I'm going to look right now. Let's just stay on for a second here, because I'm going to look right now at my AE team. This is account executives, carrying million dollar plus quotas. And I'm going to see for today.
Corey Frank (19:52):
And while you're doing that Trish Bertuzzi says the average SDR does about 47 dials per day, of which half are Colt, correct?
Chris Beall (19:59):
Exactly. 47 a day. So I'm going to look at our time allocation report. I'm not going to share this screen. Cause Susan says I can't share screens when I'm doing podcasts, but here's the deal. So I've got myself one, two, three, oh, I got to go down to one team. So I got to hit the team cause I was accidentally including some SDRs sales team only. So sales team today, they've had 183 dials and 12 conversations over three people. Let's go back to, let's just do a month cause a month. You can divide kind of by four and figure it out and let's take a look. So my account executive team has had 1005 conversations with decision-makers in the month of May. During that time they did, and by did, I mean they didn't do cause ConnectAndSell did it, navigate 25,001 dials. The number of people on this team I will now count, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. That includes my executive chairman.
Chris Beall (21:09):
By the way, my executive chairman in the month of May outperformed most SDRs in terms of dials conversations and way by meetings. And our VP of sales himself at $137, 12 conversations set, six meetings. And last I checked, he, when he uses ConnectAndSell to reschedule meetings, he makes us about $242,000 a day, or an hour, I'm sorry. And our top converter Cheryl Turner, who's been on our program, converted her conversations to meetings, her 52 conversations, mostly with CEOs at a 42.3% level. So I don't want to brag too much, but the fact of the matter is your best SDR is your most senior person armed to the teeth to have conversations at pace and scale.
Corey Frank (22:06):
Yes, absolutely. That's wonderful. Yeah. Those are stats that in our profession in your craft are just unheard of it. So as many of us who have it backward and I think become a believer in the theory of market dominance and certainly what we heard from Marc and Chris today, I think you'll experience that yourself. So thank you for your time, Marc. It's always a pleasure. We'll have you back again. Chris is out of scotch, I'm out of vodka, and we're out of time. So until next time this was the Market Dominance Guys with Corey Frank, and Chris Beall, until next time
Today's show is also brought to you by UncommonPro.com. Selling a big idea to a skeptical customer or investor is one of the hardest jobs in business. So when it's really time to go big, you need an uncommon methodology to convince others that your ideas will truly change their world. Through a modern, innovative sales and scripting toolset, we offer a guiding hand to ambitious leaders in their quest to reach market dominance. It's time to get uncommon with UncommonPro.com.
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