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

Episode · 7 months ago

What the Best Sellers Do


Hear the practices that the most elite salespeople exhibit. John Kaplan joins us to highlight must-execute action steps for sellers including: expanding your referral networks, defining buyer metrics, influencing decision criteria, getting multi-threaded in your sales approach, and asking for help. Take your sales career to the next level. Use these action steps.

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What problems do you solve, how specifically do you solve them, how do you solve them differently or better than anybody else, and where have you done it before? That's table steaks. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. will feature 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, I'm Rachel Clip Miller and welcome to the audible ready sales podcast. Today, John Kaplan joins me to talk about what the best sellers do. Hi John, Hey, how are you, Rachel? Good, good, sometimes, when I'm thinking about topics for the podcast, you know, I'm trying to dig deep and think about things we haven't done, and then this one I was like, why don't we just talk about what everybody what's the best practices all around? Yeah, like that. It's a it's a good kind of summary for the lot of the ones we've been talking about. Right. Sometimes you don't need to overthink it right. No, today we're going to run through some best practices that we may have touched on in other episodes, and this conversation should really feel like a good rundown of the best practices its sales people do. So let's get started on the first one I came up with. The best sellers. Build, build, pipeline. Yeah, I mean the grind of the pipeline is a is a great mentality to have. You know, those who stay on top of the pipeline are normally the best sellers that I've ever that I've ever seen, and there's a there's a saying that we like here force management, where we talk about pipeline cures all ills as a salesperson. So you know, if you find yourself cutting corners, it's often because you don't have enough pipeline. If you have, if you find yourself discounting and you...

...have trouble saying no to a customer, it's probably because you don't have confidence in your pipeline. And and the best sellers, they've got a really good rhythm around managing leads, the way that they interact with, you know, inside sales and marketing and and the way that they kind of collaborate in building that pipeline. There's always a there's always a good not just a mentality but also a good process involved, right, right, a rhythm around it, which brings me to that. My next best practice is having a rhythm around your referral network. John, I know you're always selling, but when you were, when you were carrying that quota back in the day, not too long ago, I know, but what were your best feels like it feels like it. What were your Best Practices for building that referral network? Yeah, for me I never wanted to make a cod call. You know, by their people were peddling books about cold calling, how to make cold client. I always thought cold calling just suck. That's like, you know, the thought of making cold calls, and I still believe it today, and I'm not just going to be over the top on that saying I'm trying to give you some ideas, but the thought of making cold calls is just, you know, it's just really, really bumps me out. So I like to encourage people. You'd leftverage. You champions. Talked about a referral network. If you truly have a champion, then they have a vested interest in your success, not just in the account that that champion is in but they have a vested interest in you being successful everywhere in the marketplace because they put their reputation on the line for you in their account. So I'm one of the first things I always think about is leverage, champions. I love thinking about happy customers and and using references and introductions and people like to talk to people that have had good experience. It's it's a it's lowering the risk of...

...doing business with you. Is Speaking to somebody else about what they have done with you. And also, you know, the most elite sellers that I've seen, they really have a good catalog, you know, good database of proof points, case studies, testimonials, and they use that to get new meetings. And so what you've done before will be a great abilility, in a great gift for you to help you in where you're trying to go now. And so I want you to take away, I'd like to have Rachel on this one, is warm calls, leverage your network. The world is so small. I'm just working out this morning in a gym and Marco Island, Florida, and there's a guy in there I have no idea who he is. We strike up a conversation it's from my hometown in the Detroit area. Play football against kind of like a rival team in the mid American conference, and so we strike up a conversation that just amazes me. I'm down to Marco Island, Florida. But the message there is the world is a very, very small place today with technology and Linkedin and and take advantage of it and the most elite sellers use that to leverage their networks. I think that point about warming up those calls is a good one, John, because it's easy for us to just sit here and say we'll just build pipeline. You need to build pipeline, but the crux move is, you say, is how do we do that? Well, right, if you start to chip away at that, one of the ways you can start to ship away that every week is to figure out how you can make warmer sales calls and that's a good way to build a foundation for yourself to build even more pipeline. Yeah, and for any companies out there, the listening or sales leaders that are out there listening, when you hear people talking about cold calls, when you hear your own company about talking about cold calls, you're not doing... when you guys got to hold up your end of the bargain. Your job as sales leader or as a company. You have to figure out how to make yourself relevant in the marketplace, relevant with these relationships and how to help your people make warm calls through technology, examples, through leveraging networks. It is just paramount. Those people that I talked to is the hey, I'm going to cod call the day. They're really struggling. It's a I hated it. I hated co calling. died smiling for dialing for dollars, you know, whatever the sayings are. I just don't think that's appropriate or relevant today. Really don't. Yeah, okay, so the other best practice that we often talk about is understanding the problems your solution solves and, maybe, more importantly, the ones that the solution doesn't solve, and aligning your conversations appropriately. Yeah, for me this is the most elite sellers on the planet wake up in the morning and they say, you know, they feel like their problem solved or so, and the most elite companies that I soap, that I've been associated with, they know that people are waking up and expecting the same things. It all begins with those essential questions that you and I talked about a lot. What problems do you solve for your customers? How specifically do you solve them? How do you solve them differently or better than anybody else, and where have you done it before? Companies out there owe it to the sellers to make sure that they have that knowledge, to the answers those for sunch of questions, because the customers expect it. So when you're calling on a prospect, they expect you to understand the problems that they're experiencing, to have a methodology for to be able to execute discovery in a way that's going to align what you do for a lipping to the problems that are relevant for me as a prospect, you know, and the you know, elite sellers also have the abilities through discovery to keep the customer focused...

...on those challenges. We talked about it standing in the moment of their pain, and that isn't that's a really, really elite skill to be able to ask discovery questions without alienating somebody, to make them kind of stand in their own moment of pain, and then from there they're more you know, they create more urgency. People rarely argue with their own conclusions and they're more forthright with their requirements and the outcomes that they're focusing on, and it's just that's what elite sellers do. And so two big skills that you hear me talking about in these podcasts. Rachel is attached to the biggest business issue facing your customers. When you do that, you are automatically focusing on the pain and the technical pain connected to the business pain, and those people to wake up in the morning and say to themselves, I'm going to attach the biggest business issue that I can understand from a customer today. And then the second thing I'm going to do is I'm going to influence decision criteria with my differentiation. Influence decision criteria. We're not, you know, we're not note takers, we're not okay, what is it that you want? And then we just get a list of what they want. Okay, I can help you with this, I can help you with that, I can help you with this. It is okay. How do I influence that decision criteria? Not In a negative way, not in the manipulative way, but can I take you to a place that to a that you haven't thought of? Can I ask you some questions that you haven't thought of before and therefore shape that decision criteria in a very, very powerful way. That's good for the customer and it's good for you as the seller, because it's influenced by your differentiation. So I know that's a mouthful there, but it's all related to those four censer questions. What problems do you solve, how specifically do you solve them, how do you solve them differently or better than anybody else, and where have you done it before? That's table stakes for elite skills right now. Yeah,...

I mean it's you can you called it a mouthful full, but it's really just having a rhythm around executing your own sales process as an individual seller in a way that aligns with with the problems and your differentiation and what's required for success. And part of that execution process that you're talking about, John, is another term that you use a lot, most recently in several of our most recent episodes, and that's being multi threaded in your deal. And if I think of the people that are listening to the audible ready sales podcast, many of you are selling complex solution with multiple decisionmakers. So this idea of being multi threaded is really important for those sales. Yeah, it's a great point, Rachel, and in bad things happen when all roads lead through one customer contact. Like I can't think of a solution today. I'm sure there is out there, but the the majority of people that we're dealing with every day, I can't think of one that has that would support a single threaded conversation, a single threaded relationship, and I just think it's a discipline that you need to look at on. You know, look at your pipeline right now, look at your forecast right now, look at the deals that you're working on and if you only have one contact or one relationship inside those accounts, your at risk. And I when I do like, you know, territory, reviews with people and I'll look at I like to see, like, who are the people that have produced, you know, customers that have produced revenue for us over the years, and then I look and I say, okay, how come they're not doing business with you anymore? Greachel, I'm telling you, ninety nine percent of the time one person left in that account, and I'm talking about big customers right. One person leaves. As I have an account and your entire strategy goes in the toilet, and...

...that is you don't ever want that to happen to you. So one way around that is to make sure you got this concept that we talked about it. Maybe you can link it in here, Rachel, to the show notes of the MMW that we've talked about before, Emas and Mary W as, in word, the and I want you to think about that. It's like the different levels that you're calling on. An M starts in the lower starts in the lower left hand so maybe the user moves up to the manager, goes to the executive, comes back down to the manager level, goes back to the executive level, goes back down to the user level. I want to see movement inside of account that's high, wide and deep, and I don't care if it's an m or a W, and a w starts up in the upper left hand quadrant kind of moves down. You start at the executive level, you get the hall pass to move down to the user level, move to the manager level, come back down and you're moving inside these accounts. If you don't have that type of movement inside of the account, your at risk and the most elite sellers really, they really really understand that. And the other thing that we want to think about when you think about decision criterion, decision process, a lot of people listening to this are, you know, your followers of medic and Medpick. Well, when you look at decision criteria, decision process US realistically, when you list out the decision criteria, the decision process and you start looking at economic buyers and champions and you it's almost impossible to have a single threaded relationship inside of those accounts. It's nearly impossible. And the other thing that you want to think about, so I want you to that's maybe a little a little strategy, Rachel. You know, think about the decision criteria, the decision process. Map that out with people inside that you're talking to, even if it's your single threaded...

...conversation. Start to ask questions about WHO's impacted by this, who's involved in the process, who's involved in the use of the data or the processes that you're that you're who the people you're selling to are creating or enhancing or what have you. Names are going to pop up, people are going to pop up. Don't miss an opportunity to go connect with those people. The last little advice I want to give you on this is the most elite sellers I see right now, Rachel, are the ones who are connecting technical pain to business pain. Those are never the same people, right. The person who's managing the technical pain is not the same person who is experiencing the positive business outcome, the business outcome of solving that technical pain. The most elite sellers on the planet they go talk to both of those camps and they sit right in the middle and they bring the technical pain in the business pain together. The it's elite selling again, another mouthful story about that. No, no, that's good, Yak. You can't be multi threaded, and I have multi a lot of points to make it in that set of people say they're multi threaded, right, Rachel, and then we go okay, let me see who you're calling on. Just look at, you know, the last ninety days, the number of phone calls, the number of contacts you made. Go into sales forcecom look at it. Whatever. Are you calm on the same person every time? If you are, you're just adding risk to your to your pipeline, into your opportunities. Get out there, expand. Yeah, okay. And the other another best practice that we often bring up and I don't want to fail to just to to discuss it here. You might be listening to John's tips here and say, okay, yeah, I know how to do that, I've got that, but I'm I'm struggling with being multi threaded in my deals. Or you might be struggling with one of the areas that John has mentioned. But one of the best practices that elite sellers always do is they know how to ask for help. Yeah, if...'re working for a great company, they realize that their job is to help you get unstuck. The best if your sales leader today, once you look at your calendar, and I want you to say I want you to look down at your agenda for the day today, how much are you coaching today? How much you coaching and developing? How much are you helping people get unstucked? You know, I don't need used to say when I was managing managers, I don't need weather men and women, you know, people reporting the weather to me. I need journalists, man, I need like people like you rate. So I needed investigative reporters. That are they know how to ask great discovery questions. They know how to get information, they know how to help people get on stuck. So to the sellers out there, and this is a skill, don't suffer in silence. People in your company have been there before and they are expecting to be asked for help. For me, I like to think about it this way and it was really liberating for me. It wasn't a crime for me not to know something, but it is a crime not to be doing anything about it. And then I look at like big deals inside a companies like go hey, tell me about a big deal, and there's all these people. They the entire company can tell me about a big deal. I call every deal has a thousand parents and every lass deal is an orphan. Nobody can tell me about the lost the offset. Okay, I'll come. We're not doing business with this company anymore. And people go out, I don't know, Boah, and nobody can tell me about it. And that's just kind of the it's a little bit of the mentality is that a lot of times you know the sellers are losing alone and it's just not smart to do so. Again, remember, it's okay not to know, but it's not okay not to be doing anything about it. And if you're a sales leader out there, remember today help people get unstuck. That's your job. Coach and develop. There we go and ask and as for help. So finally, John, the last one. The best sellers, the elite sellers, believe leave in their purpose.

Yeah, I mean I like to say the most successful sellers have passion about what they do and and for me, we're passion comes from. It's nothing more than just belief in purpose, in one of our favorite things, that force management. Is What we do matters, you know, and we hear these great business outcomes and we hear these great transformations that happened in companies. We often have we have a Hashtag and you know and slack you'll see it. It's so what we do matters and the most successful sellers I have seen all believe that what they do matters. And only you can answer that question for yourself today, and so I want you to just wherever you're on the TREADMILL, your walk in, you're driving, whatever you're doing, you got to answer this fundamental question. Do you believe what you do matters? If not, fix it. Go find somebody in the company to help you connect to the big business issues facing your companies, the big differentiation that you have. If you can't get those answers, then go find a job where you can make that a resounding yes, I love it. Thank you, John. My pleasure. Go get them all right. Thank you to all of you for continuing to listen to the audible ready sales podcasts. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver program Ms 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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