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

Episode 45 · 1 year ago

The Pandemic: The Great Teacher w/ John Kaplan


Plan for a successful year and understand why some companies were able to turn the corner faster than others during the pandemic.

One thing we often emphasize at the end of each year is coming up with a plan to make the plan. This year, that planning process may look a little different. What are you going to change next year?

John Kaplan joins us to share spirit around how your entire sales organization can keep the focus on your buyer’s evolving business problems and drive great results because of it.

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

Here are some additional resources on the great teacher, 2020:

2020 The Great Teacher

Aligning With Your Buyer’s Changing Needs Podcast

The Plan to Make the Plan

Four Reasons Your Sales Messaging Framework Needs a Refresh

Those companies that have attached themselves that their customers biggest business issues have done really well. 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 BB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello, I'm Rachel Clut Miller with audible ready podcast. Today we are talking about nearing the end of the year. We're doing at two thousand and twenty is about to wrap up and we tend to talk about the same things every year at this time, encouraging everybody to come up with a plan, to make the plan next year. But this year is a bit different, as many of us have learned a lot of lessons. John Kaplan joins me. Hi, John, Hey, Rachel. You know in some ways this year can't end fast enough and in other ways that it's been a real amazing year. So I'm looking forward to digging in on the topic. Yeah, in our conversations, John, I know that you've mentioned off and that the pandemic is a great teacher and we can learn a lot of things in times like this. And why are you passionate about that point? Yeah, I mean I call two thousand and twenty the great teacher and no matter who you are, where you are in the world, we all have learned something about ourselves this year. And so you know, two thousand and twenty has been like boats in the harbor. And you know, the amazing thing about two thousand and twenty in the boats in the harbor is that at the beginning of the year all of the boats went down with the lower water level in the harbor kind of at the same time, but not all our boats rose together at the same time, and so you got to ask...

...yourself, why did some boats raise back up and others have not in and maybe will not. Yeah, it's a metaphor for organizations out there and a lot of salespeople individually or sales leaders, are assessing their year, where their waterline is and determining their key action steps for next year. And, like I said, we always touch on that concept of the plan to make the plan, and many of us are looking at that plan much differently. Yeah, I mean, no matter what, you still have a number to hit next year. You need to see the opportunity, even in this environment, in you you have to make a plan. To make a plan, you need to determine your plan, to make a plan, but you also need the context of how you're going to do that with what you've learned this year. And so I think it's really, really important as you put together your plan, to make the plan, you really put it in the context of what you've learned this year. But you make a good point. Even if, even if you're still struggling and a foggy sales environment does quarters keep coming right and it's important to assess what what we've learned and and in just course, and we've had several conversations about this idea, especially as we reflect Yo, even at force management, on what our own plan to make our plan is. Yeah, I mentioned the boats that will raise back up and others that won't, and I'm going to borrow and aviation metaphort to help kind of set the stage. You know, in aviation there's a critical protocol and sequence that they teach all pilots called aviate. Navigate and communicate. You know, in times of emergency you'll hear pilots refer to this as first fly the plane, and the best example I can give you this story is the story about the miracle on the Hudson and all of us have heard the story of Captain...

Chesty Sully, Sullen Burger and US Airways flight fifteen forty nine, and you know that made an incredible emergency landing in the Hudson River, you know, in New York, saving the lives of all a hundred and fifty five passengers on board. But you know, most of us don't know why or how sully and the crew performed so well on that day. So all pilots are taught that in the first signs of danger they must get control of the airplane. And flight one thousand five hundred and forty nine was struck by a freakish scenario where several birds flew into both engines and took both engines out. You know, within seconds Captain Sellenberger took control of the airplane from his copilot and had performed, you know, the the Co pilot who had performed the take off, and then selemburger had to get a feel for the airplane, what it was doing, what it was going to be able to do. And so in a sense he really did first fly the plane or, as they teach you in school, aviate. He aviated first. Yeah, it's is kind of doing what you doing, what you know, and this metaphor that you just need to keep keep going, do what you know. And then once you're doing that, then what do you do? Yeah, so the next part of the critical protocol is to navigate. So first you add you know, you aviate and next you now nvigate. And continuing on the story, sully had to immediately figure out where this plane was going. If you've seen the movie, there's a heart pounding scene where the pilots are looking out the window of the cockpit, ripping their heads from one side of the plane to the to the next, you know, using their instruments to make the calculations on how they might be able to get safely to the ground. So...

...within seconds they had a few scenarios and a few seconds later they had only one, and that was to put down in the water. So they first flew the plane, they aviated, understood what was possible and then they navigated, and then the last thing they did was get on the radio and communicate with their traffic control so there's no doubt in my mind that if they had not followed that protocol, all would have been lost on that day. And I actually knew somebody who was on that plane. So so what does that have to do with two thousand and twenty? You know, I found a huge correlation to this concept and why some companies performed well in two thousand and twenty. So at first management we unconsciously competently with unconscious competence. So we followed this same protocol and with three weeks to go in the quarter of this year, we were experienced record performance in the company and and then, like the rest of the world, both our engines caught on fire and we were in an emergency situation. And you know, we quickly assessed the airplane, understood what she was capable of, headed in a very specific direction and then focused heavily on communicating with our employees, are customers and our investors. So two thousand and twenty four force management is really been analogous to this emergency protocol of Aviate, navigate and communicate. Yeah, and for us to sales people and sales leaders, again, it's doing what we know how to do, selling you how to fly that plane and to know what you're capable of and to keep executing against it. Have a disciplined way of executing against what you know how to do. The other focus, as as you plan for next year, as it as it always is, is to keep the focus on your buyer and the proms you solve. Yeah, so really great point that. That's my next big takeaway for me for two thousand and twenty. So...'ve heard me say over and over again, those companies that have attached themselves that their customers biggest business issues have done really well. Two Thousand and twenty has been so confusing and noisy that most companies, including US at force management, got maniacally prioritized on our most critical business issues. So those parties and sellers that have attached themselves to those critical business issues have done business with us this year. So this concept is as old as dirt. Attach yourself to your customers biggest business issue. Make yourself relevant, make yourself urgent. Big Business issues are accompanied by big dollars for spending and big dollars for spending are accompanied by big people with power and influence. Yeah, and make sure you're aligned on how the answers to what we call the essential questions may have have changed. Will problems do you solve? How do you solve those problems? How do you do it better, in ord differently than your competition? And what's your what's your proof? If you're a sales leader, you want to make sure your organization is aligne on on those changes. If your sales rep it's having a great understanding of the those answers and how you solve those problems in this environment. And your proof, yeah, I mean so well, put two thousand and twenty the essential questions that you just talked about. What problems do you solve for your customers, how specifically do you solve them, how do you solve them differently or better, and where have you done it before? What I've seen very specifically this year is that those companies that have gotten again maniacally focused on the answers to those four essential questions, especially what problems do you solve for your customers, and just not assuming that in two thousand and twenty, as two thousand and twenty unfolded, the problems are the same that they were in two thousand and nineteen. They absolutely were not.

So there were different emphasis, different areas of focus. All of our customers, customers, were underseas, like I said, everybody's boat went down in the harbor. And so those companies that really really got close to those answers and then helped their sellers by enabling their sellers understand what those changes were and then the sellers owning the responsibility of aligning themselves and their solution to the answers to those four sets of questions for their customers, those are the people that killed it in two thousand and twenty. So I really really want you to remember that as you're preparing for two thousand and twenty one and really, John, as always in sales, like we said earlier, right, you still have numbers to hit. Make your plan for success and don't just sit back hoping this environment that we're in it is going to change. Yeah, I mean it's such a you know, if you think about this, this image of, you know, somebody going into a cave, there's a big difference this year. For me. There were not mentioned this before. There were a lot of and there's no judgment, I mean we all were dealing with similar but different stuff, right. So there were some people that went into a cave. Some companies and people that went into a cave and just hunker down. It's like kind of you know, in the game of thrones, winter is coming, and so they went into the cave and they they scrounds, whatever they could do. They got the basic essentials and necessities and they just they were sitting in there waiting, waiting it out. And again, no judgment, but I saw difference in some other in individuals and companies that work that left the cave quickly and, you know, went out and tried to capitalize on opportunities. And so the couple of takeaways for me in this regard. So I think it's important for us to remember that we were built for challenge and change. So there's a concept out there that I really love.

It's called the the psychological immune system and or, you know, I put kind of these two together, the warriors mentality. So God designed us in a really, really cool way. He gave us a psychological immune system and our psychological immune system is very similar to our physical immune system. So when we go through sickness and trauma, you know, our bodies have an immune response, like anybodies, if you will. So when difficult things happened to us. We have the ability to become stronger for the next time something similar or more difficult happens. But unfortunately most of us don't know how to tap into our own psychological immune system. So we get Amnesia. We forget how tough we are, what difficult times we've been through in the past, and that's why I like to call it tapping into our warriors mentality. The warriors mentality is the knowledge and the memory that we have all been through bad things before and we have emerged. In many cases we've emerged better than when the difficulty began. So for me, that's why two thousand and twenty has been a great teacher and prepared us for a great two thousand and twenty one. When this year started, when it started to unravel, and, you know, at a rapid and alarming rate, you know, I was able to remember. I was freaked out like everybody else, but I was blessed because I was able to remember this concept of a psychological immune system in the warriors mentality, and I continued to tell myself that not only is there a high probability that this two shall pass, but also there's a high probability that I will have an opportunity to emerge a better version of myself, just like what's happened in the past for me. So this is something really, really important to remember right now, especially again thinking about going into two thousand and twenty one right and that's a good reminder for all of you out there who...

...are listening right now. You have this opportunity to emerge better. I'm just getting abjected up as we're going through this. I'm motivating myself as we're going through the thought. I'd like to close, Rachel, if you're okay with it, on a quote from JFK and, and I think it's sums it up really, really well. On you know how we need to assess two thousand and twenty and make a plan for two thousand and twenty one, and so the quote is this. The Chinese use two brushstrokes to write the word crisis. One brushstroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger but recognize the opportunity. And so just to kind of summarize that, as you assess two thousand and twenty, as to look at two thousand and twenty one, remember opportunities where you've had the opportunity or will. You'll need to have the opportunity. First, fly the plane, whatever plane you have right now. Fly At full throttle. Next, ask yourself, am I attaching myself to the biggest business issues facing my customers? Am I making myself relevant and urgent? So get mastery on the answers to those four essential questions, both at the come anny level and at the individual level, and then remember you were purpose built to be a warrior. TAP into your psychological immune system understand that whatever difficulty you're going through, there's a high probability it will pass and there's a high probability that you will emerge a greater version of yourself. So right now, prepare yourself to go crush two thousand and twenty one. Let's do it. Thank you, John. That's a gradual leaser. All right. Thank you to all of you for listening. We have several plan to make the plan resources as you figure...

...out your own plan for for next year. That's in the show notes to be sure to check it out. Thank 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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