The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

19. Getting into a New Opportunity w/ John Kaplan


Salespeople, even veteran sellers, can struggle with warming up cold sales conversations and turning LinkedIn connections into active opportunities. 


An avid listener recently asked that we cover how to get into opportunities and become immediately relevant to a prospect. 


In this episode, John Kaplan explains how salespeople can be uncommon in their call preparation and conversations, so they can successfully earn the right to move their prospects into active opportunities.


Please note this episode was recorded prior to Covid-19.

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.


Here are some additional resources focused on getting into an opportunity: 


- Purpose Process Payoff Podcast;


- Starting Strong With New Prospects Blog;


- Internal Negotiation Process Webinar:

Talk to your champions and say something like Hey, thanks for the order today. I want you to think about three people that you could think of, or three companies that you could think of that could also use this solution or my services or what happ yet it's not Corny, it's very, very powerful and I highly, highly suggest you do it. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and thank you for joining us for the audible ready podcasts today. I am Rachel Clap Miller, joined by John Kaplan. Good morning, Rachel. How are you? I'm doing great, John, and I'm excited about this topic today because it really comes from an idea from one of our listeners. You came up up to when you're on the road? Yeah, I had. They had a really cool person come up to me and say and be honest, which was awesome, and said, you know, Hey, I love your podcast, I love the content, love the material. I got to be honest with you. You're talking about qualifying accounts and qualifying opportunities and movement up on accounts and I just love the content. But I'm embarrassed to say I'm struggling more with just getting into the account and I really thought about it for a second. I said, hey, don't be embarrassed that. That's a great topic for a future podcast and let me see if we can help you out. Yeah, obviously, who doesn't struggle with getting in to accounts? So we're going to talk about that today hopefully give you guys some ideas to help you get into those accounts that you're having trouble breaking in. So, John, I think the first place to start is really high level, making sure you have a rhythm behind the activity that helps reps uncovered pipeline opportunities. ...

Yeah, so first part of this. Let's talk about two companies out there. So you should have a real clear definition of who an ideal customer is and you should really make sure that your tailor your value proposition for that ideal customer and have great proof points that are associated with where you've delivered value. And that's all kind of the company's responsibility. Now to the sellers out there, I would say it's your responsibility to know this information cold, if your company provide you that information. Who An ideal customer is great of the value proposition for such of questions, the problems you solve, how you solve them, how you solve them differently or better than anybody else, and where you've done it before, as in great proof points. You got to know those cold. Yeah, that's your responsibility so you can be, so to speak, audible ready, as we say at the podcast, because when you when you actually had that moment when you can deliver a compelling statement, you want to have the information that is relevant to that person. And when we're talking about getting into an opportunity, John, we want to get beyond obviously just combing linkedin for connections. Right, who doesn't do that? We know how to do that, but it's what you do when you find that connection that's important. So give us some tips or some spirit around how you get those conversations started. Yeah, you know, I'd like to back up a little bit and just talk about a story of on the phone with a seller and it'll kind of give some good context for where we're going with this, but they were a little frustrated with you know how hard it is to get people on the phone and and the seller told me about a prospect who was actually furious when she realized that she was on the other end of the cone cod call, and she she said you're not actually cold calling me, are you? And then she also said, you know, why would you waste my...

...time, in your time, and I actually asked the cellar. I said so, so what did you tell her? Because that's a great question. And really it just kind of reminded me that people have often complained to me about this before or they're saying what do you do when that happens? And when I and when I asked him, I'm like, well, why are you cold call calling? In their answer it's always the same. It's like it's my job or I have to do it, and I really think that's just kind of the wrong way to think about it. Not that it's not your job to make great connections and greatly generation and get into accounts, that's not what I'm talking about, but it's not your job to call people blindly and coldly, if you will. So you need to focus on the purpose, which is getting someone to see your value as quickly as possible when you engage with them. Yeah, it's not just this necessary evil. You really want to focus on the purpose of doing that, and that goes to the concept that we talked about frequently. Many of you know it out there. There's three piece of purpose, process and pay off. Yeah, you know, I love the three piece because they're they're simple. Takes me back to the days when, you know, I actually hated cold calling in my career and I actually wasn't good at it and got better at it by watching the people who were successful and learning what they did well. And what I noticed is they they all used what we call now the three piece of the purpose, process and payoff. And for purpose they would immediately answer the why the call, and also they would use names and experiences that were relevant to the prospect, that the prospect would recognize, and so something like, you know, I'm calling because so and so suggested that I call you, and they were instantly making it warm. So I started to understand that these cold calls weren't cold at all. They're they're more warm. And if they were using, you know, proof points, that was like I'm calling because I noticed...

...that you're implementing this change which is similar to the change implemented by one of our largest customers, or something along those lines. And for process, they made it clear what they wanted, so the other person didn't have to wonder, why are you calling me, and so they'd ask questions, you know, like I'd like to meet with you to ask you a few questions, or I need twenty minutes of your time to do this, or I'd like to show you a demo. But they were very clear on what they wanted from the individual. And then, lastly, the payoff. And that's what's it's as old as dirt. It's what's in it for me, and this is where proof points again come in really, really clear. So the benefit to you, Mr Mrs Customer, is there may be an opportunity for us to do for you what we've done for Xyz Company, with XYZ metrics, with XYZ, you know, attachment to a bigger business issue would have you. So purpose process payoff. I've never forgotten that. I still use it today. Yeah, it's a good kind of sure, remember when you're writing those emails, are cold calling. If, like you said, John, it's a really good thing to work back from. Like if you don't have those three P's define, you're probably not ready to make the connection and you want to make sure those statements are to find and full of value. So the question is right is, how do you make sure you have a statement full of value they gets its attention? Yeah, you know, I think people often tell me. They say, you know, John, I don't know anything relevant about the target company. So you're saying, Hey, make it warmer by, you know, bring some relevant connections or relevant stories. And they say, I don't know anything relevant and I say, you know, in today's Day and age that's almost impossible. Because if you know, I want you to think about this. I want you to draw on a piece of paper. If you're driving, don't try to draw, but you know, re listen to this and just drawn a piece of paper, three...

...circles and like a bull's eye, and the outermost circle label that the industry, and then the next inner part of the circle labeled that the company, and then the next inner part of that Circle Label that the department, and then the bulls eye and read is label that the the individual. And so what I mean by that is you can always understand what's going on at the industry level by just pick going to the Internet and just understand what pressures are there in the industry and then how are those pressures creating pressures for the company and how are those pressures for the company creating pressures on the department and then the departmental pressures create pressures on the individual. But the problem is I think people get that turned around. They try to make a personal connection first. They go right for that les I, right for that red DOT and like to ask questions and get personal with people and I just think nobody really has time for that today. They it's not that we don't want you to be personable, but are in the right to be personable. And today's information age there's no excuse not to have warm information on a company, even if the company's not public. So if for some reason you can find any information on the company and in you know that company's private, then go to their next biggest public competitor and see what's happening with them. So their industry pressures, which great company pressures, which great departmental pressures, which then create individual pressures? And so again, I don't want to lecture the people out there. I just want to give you some spirit. It's a lot easier to make it warmer today than just picking up the phone and cold calling. Just put a little effort in and I you're going to have great results. Yeah, tool I've seen even our own people use is to stand type of the marking content that your team is producing. So sharing a new blog and new webinar.

That can be a really soft reason to reach out without appearing to push you. We just did a Webinar here, for example, on improving your internal negotiation process, which it's really good. If you haven't seen it, you should click on the on demand link. But I know a lot of our own salespeople are sharing that with prospects that that have been interested in improving negotiation or maybe have that pain point around. Too much is counting it and margin, and that's just sharing eleven. Are Not tricking them into information. I mean we've all seen those linkedin messages, right John. Yeah, you know I you're first of all just to shout out to you and the team and you know, I think the content that you guys are putting out is just fantastic. The feedback continues to come back that it's fantastic. But our sellers use that content and they're not trying to trick anybody. They're trying to add value to the people that they're trying to engage with and and that's what I want you to think about, is you're listening out there. Take Your Company's point of view in okay, let's say your company doesn't have sophisticated marketing or or content or what have you, but you can have a point of view. Read The Wall Street Journal, read the Technology Publications, get relevant and, you know, comment on things. I'm constantly on Linkedin. I see great content on Linkedin. I'll see an article and it will make me think about a CEO or VP of sales that I was talking to a few weeks ago. Would have you and I'll share the content with them and it's not trickery, it's I'm trying to add value. They may have already seen it, but if you haven't seen it, I thought that you would enjoy this. Make yourself relevant versus the people that, like Reachel, I get these. I must get five, at least five to ten of these a day and I look at them on linked in and it's like it's amazing, like the asked one I saw I was like Oh, and they were trying to like like a Maya Kalpa and it was like, Oh, I must have really upset you because you haven't, you know, responded to me.

I'm sorry if I upset you, and I'm like, I actually sat with the first second and said, what is this seller trying to accomplish with me? It's shaky and it's just like, you know, you know what I'm saying without saying it. Don't be shaky and value be relevant. Yes, so we're talking AOUT Linkedin, we're talking about the network and I know one thing that we have preached in a lot of pieces of content that can make it easier is to consistently ask for referrals from your happiest customers. Yeah, I think some of the greatest advice I got, I think back in the days and I was working for Zerox and my boss said to me, said the best time to do prospecting is right when you get in order, and the way he described it to me was is that, you know, the research says that someone's highest probability of referral is right at the point of purchase because, think about it, you've gone through your your awareness, your information, your competitive information, and you've made a decision and so and you've made a decision for that person or that product or what have you. And just try it. Right at the point, talk to your champions and say something like Hey, thanks for the order today. I want you to think about three people that you that you could think of, or three companies that you could think of that could all still use this solution or my services or what happyet. It's not Corny, it's very, very powerful and I highly highly suggest you do it. You're going to get it's in it's kind of related to the old buyers remorse, and not in a negative way, but think about it. When you bought a car, you bought of TV, your latest phone, and people ask you about it, you're like all fired up about it and you have a little bit of buyers remorse and what you do, by telling people about it and they get excited about it, actually validates your purchase. Give it a try. Summarizing, when you get in order,...

...ask that champion to give you three names of three companies or three people and other companies or three, if it's a big account, three people in another department or inside the company that could also use that solution. Give it a try and give us some feedback. Yeah, that it helps with that purpose statement. I'm calling because stone so suggested I call you and immediately warms up. Yeah, so the story you shared earlier about the salesperson who is frustrated with making all the calls, and I know you that you shared some advice of that person. I know it would be valuable for the listeners to hear what is about, like a daily sheet to kind of measure success. That helps in that preparation mode. Yeah, it really good point, Rachel. So, so I asked the person, how do you prepare for your your day of calling, and they kind of were you know, will I just kind of I just kind of pick up the phone and, you know, dial for dollars. And now it's like, Oh my God, I didn't know that people. I didn't know that people actually still do that today and don't do that. If you're listening to this, be prepared. The difference been stress and pressure is preparedness. Pressure we all love, we all kind of thrive in it and it's like an old friend that kind of leans up against you. But stress is brutal and in the real difference is preparedness. I told this person, I said prepare a daily call sheet with a list of targeted individuals and their respective companies that you're going to call, and on this sheet you should list the relevant warm information that you have on the company and on the individual, and if you don't have any warm information, then go get some before the call. And the last thing that you should put on the call sheet should be a purpose process and payoff statement and practice it. And yes, you should do this every day before you pick up the phone. And then, once you're working through that list, you want to track what works and what doesn't. Yeah, so you know, I told this individual to keep track of the things that work and the things that... know are less effective than I suggested that he compete with those around them and have some fun with some of the challenges and in some of the you know, some of the experiences that your colleagues, you know, are having, and and see who can be the most successful. Watch and listen to the people who are successful. Stay away from the people who hang out in the excuse department. It's not going to help you be more effective. And I'm saying that because this person was kind of telling me about the groups of people that were saying how hard cold calling is and blah, Blah Blah. So, at the end of the day, huddle with your peers and managers and get examples of the most successful strategies to make calls warm. I think that excuse department, point excuse apartment is closed as a good thing for all of us to remember. It everything that that we do. Yeah, I mean you've heard US talk about a lot if you've listened to our podcast. But I told the seller that everything that we just talked about is uncommon. So therefore the common man or woman won't do it. And you know, I also told the seller that when you start to do these things, you may in fact be ridiculed by some of your peers who like to hang out in the excuse department. So uncommon people are often ridiculed for doing the hard things that others choose not to do. No, stick to your guns, stay focused on being successful. Selling is not a popularity contest. In many ways, it's the exact opposite. Yeah, that's good to remember, and you know, there's not a seller out there who wouldn't like to break into account. That has eluded him or her and I know a lot of you out there have stories about how you're able to get into account some are some crazy stories that we've heard. was is people got in. We want you to share them. Yeah, you know, Rachel, we were talking about this before we got on this podcast. You know, I think it would be really cool to you'll see US repost this to Linkedin and we'd love for... to comment on Linkedin to us, linked in twitter, tag force management and maybe why don't we just why don't we use the Hashtag, Hashtag getting into accounts, and we know that there's some great feedback out there from our listeners. Tell us what your best strategies have been to get into accounts. So hashtag getting into accounts and we'll share them and make sure it's tag force management that. I can't wait to hear what you guys come back with and maybe we can have John Go back in time and share some of his stories from the war room up to thank you, John. Thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams are proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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