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

Episode 74 · 5 months ago

Lessons Learned in Sales W/ Marty Mercer


Our podcast series “Lessons Learned in Sales” continues this week as John Kaplan talks with Force Management Facilitator Marty Mercer. Marty shares some great stories, including:

- How he became a seller and he didn’t even know it

- A beneficial lesson in patience that he learned that drastically shifted his sales career

- Why he didn’t sell anything in the first nine months of his career

- How a colleague nearly broke their computer fifteen minutes before a presentation

This episode is packed with lessons that both reps and managers can use to propel their careers forward in the right direction.

Here are some additional resources based on the conversations with Marty:

- Virtual Selling Tips & Tricks [Podcast]

- Stacking Customer Requirements in Your Favor [Podcast]

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

So that was another wakeup call ofokay, I gotta learned something more than what I know down and it isn'tthe product. You are listening to the audible ready podcast, the show thathelps you and your team's sell more faster. will feature sales leader sharing their bestinsights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenuegrowth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in BTB saleseffectiveness. Let's get started. Hello, it's Rachel with the audible ready salespodcast. Today we're asking some sales veterans five questions about where they've been andwhat they've learned in their sales career. For this episode, John Kaplan TalksWith Force Management Facilitator Marty Mercer. Marty, great to see a brother. Howare you? I'm doing fantastic, John. It's glad to see yourhappy, smiling face as usual. Right back at you, brother. Hey, so thanks for joining us today. We've really been enjoying these, youknow, with our audience getting to know our facilitators better, and I thoughtmaybe one way we could just kick off today is tell us a little bitabout your background and how you wound up at force management. Yeah, question, that's a good place. It started the very beginning, right. SoI spent twenty five years. Was the pre sales demo guy for a whilethat I've moved into selling and then, like many sellers, one day theysay hey, you're really good at this. Once become a manage it. I'mlike, well, what you got to do for that? They didreally give me a very, very good of answer. So I got intothat. It is a small startup company. You know, we were all makingit up, to be honest, and you know, we got goodat it. Had A great product but a great solution, and you justkeep doing well and you keep getting bigger, better titles and getting bought by companyafter company and one day the last company that buys you just doesn't doa very good job, and so that kind of tank and they got ridof a bunch of us and I was kind of like what I would Ido the rest of my life? Right. It's so we had work with asales training company out of Atlanta.

So I called them up and Isaid, Hey, do you guys ever use you know, trainers, andthey said, but I we're thinking about it. So I knew them andthey need me. So I started working for them for several years and thenthat company kind of faded out and I got a call from somebody at forcemanagement. He said, Hey, your name was referred to us. Theysaid you were one of the best trainers that they knew, so we're callingyou to see if you want to come work with us. And I saidokay, where is it? Charlotte's. I go to Charlotte Lum behold andmet John Kaplan and the rest is, they say, history. So Ithink it's been about think it's been about five years. I was just thinkingabout that. I was trying to remember. Is it then, five years already? Wow, I think I think so. What I remember is,you know, I had to do a hooting audition for you. So youand if you're rooted at yeah, no, rude, yeah, and I thoughtI was the hot shot in it was. Everything was going great untilyou the first day and we got to this one segment and I just kindof MIS understood what I was supposed to be doing as a trainer and asaying that and I got done with it. Looked at me. You Go,Dude, man, you were killing it all day, but that wasterrible. Mr Subtle, toster subtle. Wow, here's here's the cool partabout it. So there were a couple stories that I had never told before. The different content come what I'd been doing before. So you and Iwork shot those two stories and you think you better go back to your RodalRoom, you better get those stories down because you got to come in tomorrowmorning and kill it. And so you're very kind of the workshop that Iwould me and turn out two great stories that I've used a lot and theywere new stories I never had. So yeah, you were. You werevery helpful. They're very kind and but what was important for me, whichwhat you said. Boy, that was terrible because I needed to hear thatright. I was just it's funny that you say that. I might havementioned this. I don't think I mentioned this on the last podcast we did, but I'm really all about this last chance you series that they do onNetflix, and the latest one, last...

...chance you basketball, I think,is it's the best one for me. It's so last chance to you.Is like the stories about these junior college it's kind of like the last chancefor a lot of these kids. In the last two or three years havebeen about football and the football coaches from a leadership perspect active have I don'twant to say anything disparaging, but like really, really rough and I really, really loved this coach Mosley at East Los Angeles Community College. It's agreat story if you haven't seen it. But the reason why I'm saying thatis something stuck out to me for what he said is that somebody told himhe was wondering why he wasn't starting and he went to his coach and he'sjust like had all these lists of, you know, why you should bestarting, and the coach just looked at him and said, I'm sorry,John, you're just not good enough to start here. And it was inno, I'm not saying that because that's not what I said to you,but I thought that what what a wonderful and he said nobody'd ever said thatto him and said it to him in that way where there was no malice, there was no was just like hey, and it really got him contemplating on. You know, talking to people and giving them straight feedback is really, really a blessing and I remember back in my life when people have donethat to me and just told it like it was, without any malice withoutany so anyways, if you guy, I know you're a big sports guydown there with Georgia tech and I think you'd really, really enjoy that.So to follow up on that last conversation we just had, much you diga little bit deeper for us and tell us specifically how did you get intosales? Well, I wasn't going to go into sales for cover reasons.One, I had a horrible in of sellers coming from my father. Myfather was a pretty successful civil engineer and Steel Fabrication Business, Small Little Company. It was a teo in the sophomore world. My Dad would have beenthe head of product. And then there was a third guy who was theseller, and I remember at the dinner...

...table hearing these kind of disparaging commentsabout Delta. He was just crossed them. Who went the Feller and course withmy dad and I love them. And you civil engineer and all thatkind of stuff. It's not a bad felf image that. And I wasgoing to go to medical school. My Mom's a nurse and I was abiology Undergrad and everything was on track and I'm taking the mcats and I'm doingall that kind of working in a hospital, but my junior year I started tobegin to realize I don't want to go to medical school. So Iended up getting graduate degree in industrial engineering and I stayed in the healthcare businessand I wanted to become the gray haired consultant in the corner office with thefull floor of the wall and ceiling, the floor windows, and I wasgoing to be taken a piece of very deal and they would all come tome with the hard questions that would give them the answers. That was myvision. I was going to be the whitened old consultant right and except Iwasn't all yet. It's so PC came out. They thought they should begetting into computers. We ended up doing a deal with a small software companyand I was the with the Demo Guy, so I just ran around doing demosall the time and by three years later I get a box at myhome and I opened up the box and inside is the original motor roll ofbrick phone, what I call the Gordon Gecko phone, the one her rightwalking on the beach with the rubber antenna. Yeah, I called the company,was from the company that we were distributed for them and I said,Michael, why did you send me this phone. This is the coolest thing. Of course everybody wanted one and he was surprised and he said, Horney, we send that phone to everybody who sells a million dollars software. Ithought it was a consultant. That was the revelation that you're not a consultant, you're a seller. That was a million dollars at twenty grand a pop. It was about forty deals, is three years, and that's what Isaid. Okay, if I consulting. Now when you got to clarify this? Some dude, we're they paying you as a seller or no? Okay, noonings died and I was just getting my salary and none of there wasno commission. But I mean it turned that was you had a happy ending, right, but I'm not kidding you.

I was a consultant who just happenedto be doing demos and cells offtware, implementing it, and when I gotthat phone, he said, we said do everybody who filled a milliondollars, I'm like, like, the wrong company and the wrong job.My different person than I thought it was. That no, all I got intosay. That is awesome. I gotta tell you. That's not oncommon I've talked to other people about how they got into sales and sometimes it'sa simple revelation of comp like they were either on the you know, onone end of one part of the process, which the only thing that they didn'thave officially, I guess, is the quota, but they didn't reallyknow what they were out there doing, consulting or application engineers or what haveyou. And some of the best sellers I've ever met are people that havekind of got that realization. They were natural sellers. They weren't really init for the compensation because they didn't know, but the minute they found out thatthat's what they should be making is when they jumped into sales. Ilove that. That's an awesome story. Yeah, along those lines. Tellme. Wow, got a list of questions for you here. Ye,tell me the worst mistake you ever made in a sales job. But Ithink it's the beginning when I thought the way you're going to be great atselling was to just tell them everything that was about that product. I mean, I need every module, every screen, I can go into the config files. I did go into the CONFIG but right. So I was completelyconvinced that because we had quote the best product in the market and I kneweverything that was about it and I'm arming and I'm energetic and I can answerany question there was. And that was all true. That all you know, because I knew it was great for them. They would automatically get itand then they would buy. And I remember for the first beginning in ACWof month, I didn't tell a thing and I finally hooked the deal talkingto the CEEIO. Why did it take so long? And he has you. He told me. Basically, I asked the people in nursing three orfour or five questions, but the business impact on the hospital, and theysaid, Martin, they were talked about... and we were working the contract, he said, and that's why you just gave you the account just gaveme. And again that's another one of those revelations of waybe you wishing thebusiness impact not about the cool function is. That was another wake up call ofokay, I gotta I gotta learn something more than what I know now, and it isn't the product right, I'm already good at that. SoI got maybe I oh, you know, and maybe one of the carryovers frombeing so technically first on the product, which is a huge advantage for youto make a leap in the sales but then realizing that you kind ofkind of have to hold onto that and when it's appropriate and you earn theright to share that information about the product. So that's really interesting. So forthose that are listening about the conversation we just had about the technical folksgetting in the sales is that it's really all about timing and kind of earningthe right to share that knowledge. But it could become a burden. Itwas a burden for me. I had to unburden myself of that technical knowledge. Yeah, not that I love that. That's really interesting. So I knowI'm going to get a good one on from you on this one.What's the funniest thing that happened on a sales call? So I was thinkingabout that and you know, we probably all had lots of funny stuff,but the first feller I ever hired as a manager, Lauri Martin, stillone of my best my you know, best friends of fact, invited medown to her sixty and birthday party, you know, and augustly that we'restill pretty tight right. So she was the seller. Now with the managerin many cases, I would go with them because they were big crowds ofpeople and we had to. She's going to do the demo on a PCand we had a projector to project this. Projectors finally come out and so wegetting the room set up and she's got a computers on this table,one of those movable tables like you would see in the cafeteria. This isnot a hospital. So we're getting all sent it up and the woman whowas our main contact comes up and looks how we kind of got things tofigure she will one hundred and know, Lo rate. She said that's notwhen the table should go and she grabs...

...the side of the table that hasthe computer on it and goes like that and the computer goes and he startedbouncing off the keyboard. Oh No, oh no. The Lori and Iare like and it's like, you know, Demo in fifteen minutes, you know, and she's leaving at the floor. And so we didn't laughing. Welaugh we laugh later. But Lori was it so calm and collected.Shoot the former. I see her. She'd seen a lot worse right,you know she did. I mean I kind of want to get super angry. She just kind on the floor, grabbed the key started sticking them backon. That's been those keyboards were. They had little clips on the wehave a clip by in the letters. Wouldn't work right. But she's somehowif the demo with and it didn't bother her at all. But she startedthe presentation you would have thought nothing had happened. Now it wasn't the funnythen, but then, all right, back to the airport. We're justlaughing, going. Can you believe she didn't think one of the computer orhome? No, no, but calm under pressure, though, Dude,right, and a pressure. Yeah, I'm the hands and knees. That'sawesome. That's a good story. All right. Now a salesperson or salesleader you worked with in your career who's the best one? In some ofour Tay I talked about this Guy Bruce. Bruce was a guy that filled upand the companies that all got melded together. And when I when Iwas able to move from managing teams that were selling pc bassed APPs to bigUNIX, big mainframe, million dollar stuff. I had never been in that worldand Bruce had, and so I was, I guess, hope,luckily, smart enough to listen to Bruce. The Bruce is the feller. Heworks for me. I'm the the VP, and I learned more fromBruce, I know, than Bruce Ever learned from me. But the twothings that I thought reflecting on this. Lauren Bruce was the seller that willcome to me. I'd say, Hey, I filled out our blue sheeter,filled out whatever it was very using at the time. I didn't emailit to you. Let's set some time...

...up so we can walk through thisdeal, so we can figure out what the next steps should be. Iwas beating everybody else over the head similar blue sheets, Simi your blue sheets. Boot was always proactively, only thought out, well thought out, goodconclusions, good strategies, and so we we had an amazing conversation because wedidn't have to figure out what the the details were. We were actually talkingstrategy, so so that he would the real rarity from that perspective. Theother thing that I learned from him it stopped talking so much. And maybeno by now. That's challenge for me right. I mean our real extrovert. He's a real introvert. I would open the show, close the show. Bos was very quiet and it's what I learn from him is I remembergetting in cars many, many time effort meetings and I would say, BruceMan, we got to get back to the office and put that pricing together. He would go, don't it's a boost. They wanted to do thepricing. He goes, you don't got to answer that question. Just becausethey ask you something, then you gotta answer it Nice he was a masterand waiting and waiting and waiting. So we had full scope, full understanding, full connections to people, champions, economic buyers, and then we putthe price together. And so that that again, you know, not rushingto the demo and not rushing to a proposal. Bruce was the matter atthat and he taught me because I didn't have that skill he had. Marty, that's a that's a really interesting perspective about your story about Bruce because whenI think about that story, I think about a couple of things, andI often tell this to companies, that if you are the way that you'remanaging and utilizing resources to help wraps get on stock or to do, youknow, to coach and develop them, if you if you focus on complianceversus the value that it creates, there's a problem and that's a really badvalue proposition. The second thing is which sticks out is is that Bruce cameto you and I used to tell managers that work for me. If yourreps aren't coming to you for help precall...

...planning, for help on strategy,that's also a real good indication that your value proposition to them is probably focusedaround compliance and not around with it. So I really like that story.I like that. Okay, last one, brother. What's the best piece ofsales by advice that you ever got? And that and that you don't hearthat often. Yeah, so I remember years ago my boss, thehead of sales, I was like it's a regional director that I'm Alan.He had come and kind of knew he wasn't from the old crew. He'sto the outside and in the beginning and a little culture was kind of cleaning. What Alan going to beat us? You know this kind of thing.I remember him very clearly saying to me Marty got to stop doing unnatural acts. Like what are you talking about? He goes, we got to stopdoing all these crazy things at the end of the quarter try to close thatdeal, to try to pull it in. And so when he said on naturalacts. That's all the things. Well, if you signed by now, you know you'll get this price, but if you don't sign by now, the price is going up. I mean all the crazy, goofy thingsthat we've all done. We know we shouldn't be doing them, but inour at our company at that point and we thought that's how you us todo it. Well, you know, the revelation of Alan coming in.We're thinking, he doesn't know anything. He's like we're doing way too manyunnatural acts. We got to stop it. If it goes the next quarter,that it's going to go the next quarter. I get happened. Themoney away just to book it. The book at Didcor and that led tous becoming much better and will be called diagnostic selling. It also led toUS becoming much better negotiators and planning for that negotiation phase. But that thouldnever forget the phrase, because I was like what are you talking because Icaused up some bad images. Right, unnatural act. Yeah, explained it. I'm like he's I guess I do one of those at what the week. You know, it's amazing, though, like it's so profound what that individualsaid to you because, like everything...

...we do is seller teaches our customersall these unnatural acts that we do typically in the last two weeks of thecord, or it teaches in a preconditions buyers. You know, when wewere at PTC, we had probably eighty percent of our revenue, and sometimesmuch, much more, that came in the last two weeks of the corridorand that's not uncommon for enterprise software companies. And the number one reason why isbecause the buyers were preconditioned by the sellars said if you wait till thelast two weeks of the quarter, these guys are going to do unnatural actsand and you'll probably get a great discount. So I think that's a really,really valuable less so and also I think the number one reason why wedo those UN natural acts is pipeline. It's always related to pipeline. Ifyou got a big pipeline, you're less inclined to do on natural acts.So I love that. Yeah, I love that. Great add brother.Hey, dude, you've been such a blessing to force management your you know, I thought you were going to come in and kill it kind of forus with your healthcare background and in that healthcare background and technology and software andyou know, you are one of the favorite facilitators out in the marketplace andwe just get nothing but raping reviews about you. So thank you for whatyou do for us and just wish you just continued success. Well, I'mmight keep hanging out with you guys. You got it, brother. Ever, Great Week. Dude of force management. We're focused on transforming sales organizations intoelite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuelrepeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy atthe point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is inour results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've beenlistening to the audible ready podcast. To...

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