Tech-Powered Sales – w/Tony Hughes

Speaker 0 00:00:01 Welcome to grind grind, sell elevate with your host Tyzer Evans, a podcast dedicated to bringing you the top minds in all areas of business, entrepreneurship, sales, and leadership. Let’s elevate together.

Speaker 1 00:00:22 All right, everybody. Thanks for joining me on grindstone elevate. This is tide. I’ve got a special treat for everybody today. I’m here with Tony Hughes out of Australia. Tony, how are you?

Speaker 2 00:00:30 I’m really well tired. Really excited about having this conversation. Thank you.

Speaker 1 00:00:34 Yeah. So am I, um, so for those of you that may not know Tony Hughes, he’s an international speaker, author, B2B sales thought leader. Um, really incredible has put out a tremendous amount of content and helping sales reps in business leaders alike for the last 35 years. Uh, Tony, if you could though give us a little bit of context and background of who you are, what you’ve done and what will we chat about a little bit?

Speaker 2 00:00:57 Yeah, so I’ve, I’ve been in sales since I was age 25. Uh, I’m turning 60 next year. So that’s been a hell of a long time, right? So, uh, and about nine years ago, I left the corporate world. I was the CEO running the Asia Pacific region for north American multinational. So through my sales career, I ended up progressing up through the ranks and, and running the APEC region for big multinationals. Uh, and I’ve published three books. My first book was about how do you manage the complex sale? But when I went out on my own to do consulting, I really wanted to make a difference in the lives of salespeople. It’s really a tough profession. It really, really is. Uh, but what I found was the biggest problem that people face is not enough opportunity pipeline. It lost so many sellers say, Hey, Tony, I know how to sell.

Speaker 2 00:01:48 I just don’t have enough pipeline. And when they say that I smile and take a step back. And I say, well, if so, I’m at a reach, right? So, uh, I said, you know, you really did know how to sell. You would have enough pipeline. The very notion of trying to separate selling from pipeline creation, uh, is an act of lunacy. And I know in the industrialization of selling Salesforce really led that, um, movement around 2000 of treating it like the Henry Ford production line. You know, so we’ll have people that analyze all of the data and create the lists and we’ll have people to respond to inbound. And then people that drive outbound and set up a, uh, a second Cole with a field AEM or senior person, um, and that, and that’s okay, but the reality is the best it gets for any sales person in the world.

Speaker 2 00:02:35 That’s in those kinds of models where marketing or an inside sales function, BDR, SDR, ISR, whatever acronym soup we want to use, but you know, they’re receiving leads. The best it gets for those field sellers is, you know, maybe, maybe 40% of their number can, can come from that. I find for most people, they have to self generate about 80% of the number that they’re on the hook for. So what I then did is really focused on pipeline creation. So published combo prospecting that I know you’ve read and more recently have just published along with Justin Michael, a tech-powered sales, and those two books provide everything anybody needs to know to drive effective outbound.

Speaker 1 00:03:15 Oh, absolutely. And I, everybody listening, um, I have talked about combo prospecting on the show before. Um, it’s a phenomenal book. If you haven’t read it, go pick it up. I bought a tech-powered sales here and I told Tony, I, I read, uh, through a good bit of it, um, over the last week and a half. And it is incredible. I mean, it is loaded every page. There is a nugget that I opened two and I got to, but what really inspired you to have the tech-driven, you know, powered sales, because that’s something that’s unique that you’re just not seeing people talk about a lot in the marketplace.

Speaker 2 00:03:47 Well, Ty, where we’re in the fourth industrial revolution, uh, and what, what COVID did is, uh, served as a capitalist to accelerate a digital-first world and all selling became inside selling and everybody’s struggling and wrangling their tech stack to try and be effective. And the thing that just makes my head explode is the number of salespeople that just live in denial, uh, about them being disrupted by the bots. You know, if you look at, uh, LOR, um, accounting, aviation, you know, even yesterday, I finally got to go and see my dentist, you know, in other words, come out and walk down to this part of the world. I got to go see my dentist after a year and a half. But like even sitting in a dental chair, everything he’s doing is driven by technology. You know, all of the x-rays are digital. He’s got all of these things.

Speaker 2 00:04:38 He’s measuring my gum recession in my mouth and the x-ray teeth. And, but it’s all tech-driven. Um, and time, imagine if you were walking down the aerobridge at an airport to board a flight, and as you get to the threshold of the aircraft, the crew members, they’re asking for your boarding pass and you’ve, and you look to your left into the cockpit and you over here, the pilot side of the copilot, Hey, Hey, John, I love flying. I’m just not into the tech. Like, like for me, like I would just turn around and get off the plane, like every single profession, you know, we know that that, that, that blue collar roles are being automated away. Um, driving, you know, is a thing that’s going to be automated right. Already has in mind sites, but white-collar professions are all being disrupted by tech and for sellers to think, Hey, I’m okay.

Speaker 2 00:05:29 Because I, I build relationships with people, like have some news for you. Uh, the people you want to get to, to go and sell and not lonely and bored and looking for another friend in the land of sales, right. They all want their time back. So unless we create the level of value that funds our role, then we don’t have a role. And if, if all we do is help someone transact what they believe is a commodity, uh, there’s very little role for human beings actually in that process. So I’ll, I can talk about how we avoid avoid disruption in selling, but, but the book really covers this. So what sellers need to do is rather than worry about their role being replaced by tech or a bot, think about the paths of their role, the tasks that they do every day that could be outsourced to automation.

Speaker 2 00:06:17 And when we think about things like trigger events, which are incredibly important in selling, when we think about, um, transcribing a meeting and meeting notes and confirming the email and updating the CRM and the forecast, you know, all of these things can actually be automated. So there’s so many things that we can do that make us more effective that enable us to talk to people that are more likely to be in the buying window. Um, there’s tech we can use that’ll help us contextualize a conversation really rapidly, but most sellers Bumble around in the dark with their tech stack.

Speaker 1 00:06:49 Yeah, I totally agree. And that was kind of weird, talked about off, off-camera. The industry I’ve been in for a better part of a decade is still kind of in that archaic mindset. Um, and they’re very resistant to wanting to change. I’m just curious in your perception, why do you think that that is, is it, you know, the, the, it’s not better to know the devil, you know, what’s that saying? It’s better to know the devil did you know than the one that you don’t or something like that?

Speaker 2 00:07:12 Yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, well, human beings are very resistant to change. And for everybody that’s listening to this or watching, this is a sales person, when we engage with a potential client or even an existing customer that we want to up sell, cross-sell. The thing we need to realize is that people that have been in a role for a long time, especially in the middle layers of the organization, don’t like change, change is just a whole lot of work and risk. Why would they take on all this extra work and risk, but a new person into a role, especially a senior person, a new senior person into a role has usually been hired by their boss to effect change. So they’re really open to change. So when we think about following, following trigger events to create higher probability of success, role-based trigger events are the most powerful.

Speaker 2 00:08:05 So a new senior person into a role, that’s a decision-maker for what it is that we offer. Um, we’ve got a high probability of having a good conversation. And on average, those people have about a five month window where their boss will approve almost anything they ask for. And then after that, they’re another tired, broken person sitting around the boardroom table. That’s not delivering. Right. So, so there’s, so, so there’s that window with where they’ll get backed by their boss. And they’ve got an appetite to, to drive change in the organization. They’re the people we want to talk to.

Speaker 1 00:08:38 Right. And, and so it’s interesting that you define that window. So when you’re in that window and in, you’re trying to propagate change and you’re trying to bring in fresh ideas, what have you seen? There’s some of the elements of success for salespeople to maybe kind of leverage that in the right way?

Speaker 2 00:08:55 Yes, I, if it’s okay, what am I go through a sort of five fundamental things. I think we need to have in place to be successful as an entrepreneur, as a seller, uh, individual contributor, or even as a leader, that’s driving a team, really supporting a team. Um, so the first thing is we need brutal honesty and absolute clarity about product-market fit and therefore our ideal customer profile. So not everyone in the world is a prospect. And, uh,, the enemy of sellers is false hope and wasting their time. So, uh, now, now no buyer likes to be qualified by a clumsy pushy seller. Like we all understand that, but we need to think about what is my ideal customer profile. So if, for example, you said, well, you know, I, I sell to, I sell into the legal industry. So I sell into law firms and attorneys we’d need to go well, okay, well, not every law firm is a prospect for us.

Speaker 2 00:09:55 There’ll be in certain cities, there’ll be of a certain size. Maybe they specialize in a certain area of practice within the lore. Um, they’ll have a growth mindset, you know, so there’ll be a law firm that’s really wanting to grow. So, so there’ll be attributes. And we think about firmographic psychographic and technographic attributes when we think about ideal customer profile or ICP. And if you have clarity about ICP, what you know is that you’re, you’re fishing in the right pond and you can then go and create a target list. Now there’s even technology out there that, that runs headless browser tick that can go and do a lookup for look-alike companies across the internet to actually give you a list of potential companies back. Right? So the first thing is clarity about the organizations you should be approaching. The second thing is when you approach those organizations, you really be approaching individual people.

Speaker 2 00:10:49 So we need to understand the buyer personas with whom we engage. So again, for example, you might decide, well, I sell to the C HRO, the head of HR and the CFO and the CIO, and then, you know, what, you know, then that will be taken to the CEO. So they’re the four EIS that we need to actually cover in the process, right. Um, and with companies, uh, there’s never one decision-maker. There’s, there’s, there’s always consensus in an organization for change. So we need to cover those people off. So what you do is you’d create buyer personas and we make sure we know how they’re measured in their role, the, the stresses and the pressures that they’re under, the trends they’re dealing with, uh, and what they’re seeking to achieve. Um, we need to be very clear about what’s in it for them to change now, you know, rather than just have a narrative about us, we need to anticipate the typical objections that we’re likely to hear.

Speaker 2 00:11:47 We need to know the words and phrases that will resonate well with them. So we can talk, talk their language. You need to understand where the circles of influence are. And really importantly, the trigger events that occur in their world that create a witness of need and context for us to run outreach. So really important that we know are at our buyer personas. And then the third thing is based on knowing our ICP and our buyer personas, we then nail the narrative. We need to create the right conversation. Narrative. Most salespeople are narcissists. They spring from the bushes, they do fake rapport building and attempts and empathy. And then they say, Hey, let me tell you about us and what we do. And the truth is no one’s interested in us in what we do until I first in their own mind, think I need to change.

Speaker 2 00:12:36 I need to get something fixed and this person can help me. So we need to create a customer-centric narrative that has what I call a point of view. It has a point of view for how that person can drive improved results in their role and, and Tai, can I, can I give you an example about this? Yeah, absolutely. So, uh, you know, as, as we record this, it’s right toward the end of 2021. Um, so we’ve been living with COVID, you know, for at least 18 months, uh, last year when COVID hit one of my biggest clients, I work with globally as a travel management company. So they, they work with large corporates and they manage their travel programs. And their executive team called me and said, hi, Tony, our reps when calling prospects and our account managers when talking to customers are receiving the same pushback and the pushback is, hi, Mary.

Speaker 2 00:13:31 I don’t even know why you’re calling me. None of my staff had trebling phone me back when the airlines are in the air right now, if you’re a seller, you think, well, that, that that’s a pretty legitimate objection. Why would they want to talk to a travel manager for a company that was traveling? And what I said is we need to make that excuse the very reason why they should talk to us. And here’s the narrative that we’ve come up with a numb and the global companies, flood center, travel group, and the graciously given me permission to talk about this, right? Um, and I’ve been quietly switching, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of competitor accounts over during COVID. And this is how they did it. They’d phone up the CFO of an organization. Hey Mary, with none of your staff traveling right now, there’s an opportunity for you to drive somewhere between an eight and 12% of cost out of what will return to be the third to fifth biggest expense line item on your P and L.

Speaker 2 00:14:29 And when no one traveling, you’ve got no change management issues, and you’ve got the bandwidth in your admin team. Do you mind if I ask when’s the last time that you reviewed your travel policy and the way you managing it as a process, because that’s how you can drive those cost savings? And it’s a completely different conversation because our job in selling is to create the right comparisons. The crazy customer is often focused on us versus our competition. Do you do this? Do you do that? How much do you charge? Right? What we want is not them running that comparison. We want them to compare the cost of inaction and the opportunity for a much better future state. We want them to compare those things with working with us, because in essence, we’re creating a focus on the business case for change because there’s three reasons, the deals, slip, stall, and die.

Speaker 2 00:15:22 And the first one is a lack of compelling commercial that we can circle back to the others at the end of this. But if we, if we don’t open in a way that anchors the commercial value of change, anchors the deal to the commercial value of change, it’ll just drift along and drift along and drift along and just lose all of its momentum. Um, and that’s where we want to make sure that people go beyond some interest in what we’re talking about to a level of intent to change. So, so they’re the first three things we’ve re we’ve really got a net nail, the conversation narrative, no chances of doing that, unless we understand the person we’re talking to these buyer personas in the context of their industry, targeting organizations, where we think there’s, you know, there’s, there’s good fits. So, so they’re the first three. Any questions on that?

Speaker 1 00:16:08 No, that, that makes total sense. And is this something that, um, you know, this is why I feel like a lot of reps will hear this and they necessarily won’t always understand their own compelling reason for change. And this is why I think that maybe just touch on a little bit on leadership. It’s listening to this to help their reps understand, to give them the right tools, uh, to come up with that compelling reason to change

Speaker 2 00:16:35 At time that’s. And that’s my biggest challenge. When I work with sales teams, you know, I always, I was coaching a team yesterday, um, uh, big multi-billion dollar, um, global company are saying to the rep, you know what? Why like, so this, this is the question I said to the rep, but they’ve got to deal in their forecasting it for this quarter. And it’s the end of the day, their fiscal year. It was, we run up to Christmas. I said to them, imagine that your champion, coach sponsor whatever you want to call them, but the person in the customer organization that you’re working with and wants to buy, imagine they go to their boss, the CFO, the CEO, and they say, look, can you approve this? And then imagine that their boss says to them, look, I’ve got, I’ve got 27 things on my desk right now that I’m being asked to approve.

Speaker 2 00:17:28 Um, there’s a lot of change fatigue in the organization. We don’t have the bandwidth and resources to do everything. It’s not about the money. It’s about the bandwidth and resources and the change fatigue internally. You know, w we look, we can’t do everything. What, why this? And as I said to the rep, how will your person answer that question? And I said, and they, he, he, he struggled. And I said, well, look, you answer it. What, what do you think the answer is? Now this company sells so software. And the words that came out of his mouth were, oh, well, it’s a single pane of glass, right? And I said, are you, for real? I said, a single pane of glass is not a benefit. A single pane of glass is an attribute of how people look at your software, right? They’ve got everything on one screen is what you’re saying, rather than multiple sprints that end up the click around.

Speaker 2 00:18:18 I can see it all on one screen. So, so I said, but what does that do for them at a business level? Because the, so the thing I said is this your customer, and you need to be able to finish these two sentences. This is essential because, and it pays for itself by, and if you are, they can’t say that the chances of the deal getting through is really low. So, you know, we like, we need, we need to be able to say something like if you’re only going to approve one thing, it needs to be this, this is how we de-risk hitting the growth goals that you’ve committed to the board, Mrs. CEO, that you’re turned to the board, and this pays for itself within nine weeks.

Speaker 2 00:19:02 Can you sign it off right at the moment, we talk about attributes of what we have, what we do, people just get lost. And if we, and opening is the most difficult and the most important phase of selling, we never get to close. We never get to do solutioning and all of these other things, if we don’t open world, so we need to open around the commercial value of change, and yes, we need to speak the head and heart. So aligned to the vision for a more, a more positive future state, because selling in my view is all about making a positive difference in the lives of others personally and professionally. So how are we helping this person in their career? But at the end of the day, it all gets funded by driving an improved results really, really important.

Speaker 1 00:19:44 No, I, I totally agree. And I think that that’s, um, it’s a great point, you know, be able to provide that commercial value. And I’m always surprised at the amount of reps. And I think that this is my message is they have to take ownership of their own craft and not rely so much on management to go out and continue to learn and look at it from this perspective that if you’re not being given the tools to start to be able to create your own tools, uh, so to speak.

Speaker 2 00:20:09 Sure. Yeah. To tie that that’s really great advice for everybody. That’s listening to this, and I’ve always believed that the great salespeople are successful despite their boss and their organization, not because of them. Right. They just think if it is the B it’s up to me, uh, if I’m not getting that late. Hi. Hi. That’s okay. That’s all normal. I need to self generate pipeline and Hey, Hey, most of the leads I get are with lower level people that are in evaluation mode. They’re tire-kickers yeah. I want to go and create opportunities in the C-suite. I want to talk to people of genuine economic and political power and the organizations. And I want to have business conversations around the commercial value of driving positive change in their business. I want to adopt a consultative selling model when I actually engage and that’s, and that’s what it takes to not be part of the one third cohort of people and feel the selling that will disappear this decade. So that that’s one of the bold predictions that Justin and I make and take pound sales is one third of field. B2B sellers are going to be gone.

Speaker 1 00:21:14 Write that down. I think you say quoted in the book, 30%, 30% of field sales are going to be going away. Um, yeah, that, that was a really big takeaway. And I don’t want to get too off track of the five points. Um, well, let’s, let’s just stay on that before. Uh, I’ll I’ll end up getting into Pluto pretty, pretty quickly. Uh, no. So can continue on with the point number four.

Speaker 2 00:21:39 Okay. So, so the full thing is once you sorted that message within need to go and deliver that message into the marketplace, right? And that’s why combo prospecting is principle or combat prospecting. So what combat prospecting is about, it’s a really simple technique, and I didn’t invent the idea around Jeb Jeb blend, and others have talked about this thing of triple touch and pattern interrupting, right? But it’s really about pattern interrupting the way that buyers tend to ignore anything they perceive to be marketing or sales outreach. So anything that’s from a stranger and time embarrassed to say this, but in my inbox right now, I’ve got 22 and a half thousand unread emails. Um, when I, when I, when I opened LinkedIn, um, I’ve got 340,000 followers and first degree connections inside LinkedIn. So my InMail inbox, you know, is a complete nightmare. My Gmail inbox had to move to G marks, kept fill it, filling up my political email folder.

Speaker 2 00:22:41 Right. So, uh, and I’m not proud of any of this, right? But this is the world of really, really busy senior people. So every day when I fire up my email, I just skim. And if it’s, if it’s a stranger or it looks like marketing, it’s just delete, delete, delete, delete, you know, all, I just try to skim and try and delete as much as I can. Um, I’ve even resorted to getting out my iPhone and taking photographs of emails that I need to make sure I do something about, so they don’t get lost in the stream. Right. So I know this is all bad, but this is the world, right? I’d I, I do a CEO sales insight show where I interview a CEO to give sellers a sense of, Hey, what’s the world of these people really? Like, how do you break through?

Speaker 2 00:23:19 Anyway, what we know is you need a point of view about how that person in their role can drive improved results for their company or organization, right? That, that needs to be the heart of the conversation with any to pattern interrupt, using combo. And that means get back on the damn phone. So most sellers and neglecting the phone, most sellers do just enough every day or week to not feel guilty, rather do what it actually takes to be successful. And if you want to be successful in sales, get back on the phone, people in neglecting it. So you phone, the person will see their phone ringing. They’ll look at it and go, you’re not in my phone book. I don’t know who this is. I’ll just let that go through to voicemail. If they have voicemail and that’s all okay, you made their device ring and being that’s great.

Speaker 2 00:24:05 Then it goes, Dean. Oh, they left a voicemail, right? Hey, Hey, Ty, it’s up to Tony from sales IQ. Just looking to get 10 minutes with you. I’ll send you an email, that’s it. Or Hey, Hey, Hey, Tai macro Bush suggested that you and I have a hap, you and I have a quick chat. Um, I’ll, I’ll send you an email and a calendar invitation, really looking forward to speaking. That’s it. I don’t give my elevator pitch. You think, oh, I wonder what that’s about. Then your phone goes ding. And there’s an email there from me. You’ll read the email, right? So the point is not whether they answered the phone and talk to you. The point is you made their device go buzz, ding, Bing, and they’ll look at the email. So you drive up on average. It takes between, depending on whose research, we choose to believe seven to 13 touches to get someone to respond.

Speaker 2 00:24:55 But if you can condense these into combos, right, where it’s all happening together in 90 seconds, they’re far more successful. So you typically find on your first or second combo, you get engagement, right? Which all happens within the first week. So then what you do is two days later, maybe three days later is you run another combo, but you up your game, you phone, you leave a voicemail. Hey, Mike, I’m just following up. I’m wondering how Thursday 10, 15 would work for you. I’ll send you a calendar invitation. You hang up, you then bump the email back to them and just change the header. Thursday, 10 15, question mark. You send a calendar invitation for a zoom meeting. Senior people are wired to accept calendar invitation because the only people that normally send them to them are people that deserve to be in the calendar. Now again, when the whole world of selling all starts doing this, that’s another thing that won’t work anymore. Right? Well, we need to keep building, but if you think about that in two or three days, you’ve had seven touches two or three days, and you’ve done it in a way the pattern interrupts. And if your message is about their opportunity to drive improved results in their role, they’ll be okay with that. If your message is all about you and what you do, you’re just an annoying spam. Yeah.

Speaker 1 00:26:07 You know, it’s interesting. And I want to give you a big kudos. We didn’t talk about this, but, um, I took the heart, it combo prospecting and I took over a failed sale, a sales team in 2019. And so we read the book and early, uh, it was mid 2019 and we read the book early 20, 20. I, we honestly, I had had 10 reps and the business when I took it over was doing about 8 million in revenue premium. And by the end of last year, when I left at 20, in March of this year, I left, they were doing 25 million.

Speaker 2 00:26:41 Wow. With the same number of reps,

Speaker 1 00:26:43 Same number of reps. And, and so, you know, but it came from that one. We hit the phones, followed up with the call and it was very sequenced. And I made my entire team. We wrote out sequences. We wrote out a couple of different sequences to see if like, Hey, maybe week three is email hit better than on sequence a than on sequence B. And we really fine tune that. And then through in LinkedIn and everybody around the organization, we were, we went from dead last to number 1%, the goal year over year. And it was honestly, it was because of that combo prospecting of just hitting the engagement of people. We jumped up a mark that people have that had been dead for decades. So I want to say kudos to you because I’m living proof that it actually works.

Speaker 2 00:27:24 We’ll tie. The real truth is that all of that success was not due to combat prospecting. It was due to you as the leader. Right? So the thing, the thing I universally find is that sales management is the critical role in an organization. Sales management is often the weak link in the revenue chain, but a sales managers are role in coaching and holding people to account for executing the right activities at the right time. The right way is really critical tire love the way that you would disciplined in a and B testing. You know, the messaging the, the day of the week, the channel, you know, you, you, you testing and measuring and finding out what works best. Because again, like so many reps, you know, we’ll just think, oh, well on Monday mornings and I’ll do some prospecting, you know? So by the time they cruise into the office and have their coffee and groom their LinkedIn profile, I should make some calls.

Speaker 2 00:28:17 And, and if the reality is, you know, every industry is different, but if the reality is for the industry that they’re calling into is that Monday mornings is usually meetings, mayhem, you know, in that organization that is back to back meetings all day on Mondays. They’re never going to get anybody and they’ll say, oh, no one answers the phone. You know, I’m prospecting. Well, no, you’re just being a lazy idiot, right? So you need to think about when’s the best time to call the people. Is it, is it the lunch time slot? Um, you know, COVID is all dying down and going away in the world is the reality. People are get back to lots of travel. And when people are driving into the office, senior people regard that driving time, you know, not as the period to listen to classical music and chill, they regard that as productive time, like let’s get all my calls out of the way, right.

Speaker 2 00:29:04 So that I then have to be at the office making calls. Right. Um, or if they’re standing on, on, you know, in the subway or something or an airport that they’re checking all of their emails, so they’re going through that on their iPhone looking. So that’s where I’m, when we send that banned emails, we need to honor the rule of 18. I suspect the first 18 words that anybody ever really sees. Yep. So we have to get to the point quickly. So, so that’s really combo prospecting. That’s a whole big topic in its own, right. And people can get the book combo prospecting. And then the latest book tech powered sales gives a lot of detail on exactly how to implement combo, um, especially in these sales engagement platform tools that people are using to drive automated, um, seek sequences. So the next thing is, uh, the last thing is I think, well, so just go through these again, clarity about your ideal customer profile.

Speaker 2 00:29:51 No, you buy personas, nail your narrative, your message, use combo, prospecting, the pattern, interrupt and breakthrough, and put the phone at the center. And now the fifth thing is we need them to ask the right questions to create the right comparisons. So I actually mentioned earlier that customers, especially if it’s an inbound lead customers want to make the conversation about, well, how are you different to the other thing that we work with or use right now. And now when you’re running out bound, um, they tend to be interested in, in what you do maybe, but that’s actually a trick question that I care about us and what we do. They just care about them. Right? So we need to treat that as a trick question. So when we answer what we do talk in terms of the results, we help people in their role drive, right?

Speaker 2 00:30:37 So if someone asks me, what do I do? Um, I say, I, I work with the heads of sales that have got big teams to help them get more people on target here, to date, and in a way that de-risks the forecast that you’re passing up to your boss, you know, with much stronger pipeline coverage. Do you mind if I ask, how many of your reps are on target year to date? How much a pipeline coverage have you got in the business? How does that compare with, do you think it needs to be, ah, okay. Look, it definitely makes sense for us to talk. Right, right. Rather than, oh, you know, I’ve, I’ve created the combo, the combo prospecting methodology and the RSVP selling methodology for managing the complex deal. You know, I do sales training, you know, all three of those things, people do not want, right.

Speaker 2 00:31:20 They don’t take their reps away from revenue, generating customer facing activity and go on a course. We all know training courses, don’t work. Um, they’re not interested in another methodology. They’ve already got two or three that nobody uses properly. Like why would, why would they want to fourth? But what they do want what they do and that they, they may need what it is that I offer, but they don’t know that yet. Sure. What they do want is they want more reps on target. Yes. They want to forecast. There’s not going to get them fired. They don’t want to feel like they age a whole year of their life, every quarter, you know, with all of the stress. So talk about the better result that they can drive. So we want to ask questions that lead to, to the value of working with us. Um, but, but not clumsy questions.

Speaker 2 00:32:05 You’re going to laugh at this. I once had a life insurance sales person call me up, uh, and did the rapport building thing in a short period of time and then said, Hey Tony, do you mind if I ask, do you love your wife? And children said, yes. And I’m thinking that the follow-up question is going to be a Zynga. Here we go. And then the follow up and if, and if you weren’t around anymore to be able to provide for them, would you want to know that they’d be okay financially? And I said, um, actually, no, no. I said, yeah, the answer’s no, I’ll be dead. I want to care. And this conversation’s over, but it just annoyed me that this person’s trying to manipulate me with their questions. So, okay. So the intent we want to convey in that questions is that we’re all about just trying to understand, does a conversation even make sense, right.

Speaker 2 00:33:01 Is, you know, would there be any kind of business case that would, that would warrant us exploring this together? So, um, just as a takeaway for people, here’s three really powerful questions that are really encouraged you to think about when a lead comes to you. Don’t don’t be uncooperative, right? So be friendly, be co-operative might say, say, Hey, Hey Mary, absolutely. I’ll fill out that spreadsheet. You’ve sent me with the 1,374 questions, you know, and with our price, I’m looking forward to that. I’ll absolutely get that done for you. Yeah. But do you mind if I ask, do you mind if I ask and here’s the first question what’s happened inside the organization, that’s caused you to want to look at this now many sellers go, yeah, I get it. Hi, Mary. What’s happening in the organization that causes you to think our company would be the best solution for you.

Speaker 2 00:33:49 I go, no, no. That is not the question. That’s a manipulative sellers question that it pushed them away. Just say, what, what what’s happening in the organization that’s caused you to, you don’t want to look at this. The next question is if you were to implement something in this area, you know, with us or anybody else, what improved results are you expecting both for the organization and for you and your role. And if Mary says, look, look, you know, tired. Don’t even know why you’re asking that. Just fill in the spreadsheet and give me a damn price. What Mary, the reason I’m asking is I work with people going through this process. You’re going through now working with people to do this a lot. And the biggest risk that you face is not having the right level of funding and resources and support behind this as an initiative.

Speaker 2 00:34:38 It’s really important that you now the business case for this, to make sure that you’ve got the right level of support and funding as, as the project manager, uh, and I’d love to be able to help help you with the business case. Um, so that’s just what I’m really trying to understand. So, so what, what improved results is the organization looking for here? Because I’d love us to be able to respond in a way that addresses your risks in getting those outcomes, because I know you’re focused on which vendor to pick right now, and I really respect that, but that’s not where your risk is. It’s pretty easy to figure it out. The shortlist of vendors that could all do it, where your real risk is not the right level of funding and support and running this as a change management program. So I’d be happy to share with you, you know, um, let’s set of template for, uh, for, for a business case to really elevate this within the organization and get, get the right level of support, um, sub scenario, where do you see the risks of the third question is where do you see the risks?

Speaker 2 00:35:38 And a lot of people in there think about qualification. You know, the, the most brutal, simple level of qualification is banks. You know, ask them if they, if they’ve got budget, if they’ve got the authority to decide, you know, whether there’s a genuine need and what’s their timeline, again, prospects don’t like that. But the real measure of engagement is the degree to which the other person shares with us, insider information and access to others. And if they’re not sharing insider information and access to others, then we’re nowhere like that. That’s, that’s the absolute reality. And we need to earn that level of trust with our points of view and our intent, right? So we’ve got a point of view on how they can drive risk out of this, this, this project, how they can direct right to benefit for the organization, how they can doll down the risks of getting it done successfully.

Speaker 2 00:36:28 Um, and we just trying to figure out a way the right fit or not. And if we’re not, we’ll just bow out. That’s for me, it might’ve been recommended. We think they should be talking to what we find is the tension just melts away. And now we’re on the same side of the desk as them. So, so the questions are really important. And remember, we want questions that create a focus on the business case for change, get them comparing the cost of inaction, the cost of not achieving the positive future state. They’re thinking about with us, not us and cheap commodity competition.

Speaker 1 00:37:00 Th that was my, my takeaway is that I felt as you’re going through those questions, I was being disarmed to be able to, it was coming from a place of service. How can I truly help? And as you were trying to help, it’s like, you know, asking great relevant questions to them. So they don’t feel like they’re being commoditized. And I think that that’s really important too, because people get so stuck on comparing competition and that type of thing versus really, Hey, I’m not the right fit. I mean, you know, that’s great. Let’s, let’s just assess that need so you can find the right fit, but we got to go through these questions, the best serve you and help you, and you will disarm you. So I really love that approach and those questions. Very powerful.

Speaker 2 00:37:39 Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1 00:37:40 So, so we went through the questions. Um, I did want to just circle back around it and it will wrap up here in a few minutes too. I know you’re busy. I did want you to touch a little bit on the TQ. Cause I felt like that was such a huge takeaway in the new book, uh, tech powered sales. And I think that there’ll be something that not most salespeople I’ve heard are familiar with this term. And so I was just hoping you could touch on that for us.

Speaker 2 00:38:03 It’s funny. Um, Justin and I actually coined the term TQ, well, maybe we didn’t, but we’re the first ones to actually use it. And now everybody in the, in the sales industry is talking about TQ, right? Um, so CTQ is technical potion. We’ve always known in selling business and life in general, you need a reasonable level of IQ. You, you don’t, you, you do not need to be Mensa level genius, but you certainly can’t be dumb and be successful in life, right? So you need so, so you need IQ, you need reasonable IQ. The next thing you need is emotional question. You need to understand yourself and the interplays with other people. You need to be able to read politics and other people’s body language, read, read a room well in a situation, know your own strengths and weaknesses. So you, you need EEQ, we’ve always, we’ve always known that, but the third thing today’s, NetQ you need technical potion, um, success now for almost every profession in the world, whether you’re a pilot, a dentist, a surgeon, a pathologist, a lawyer, an accountant.

Speaker 2 00:39:09 It doesn’t matter what it is. If you’re not good with technology, you are in deep trouble, right? And we’ve always known for, for blue collar trades. You know, if you were a builder or a carpenter, you have to know how to use your tools. Well, otherwise you can’t perform your job. Yes. And yet, so many sellers, you know, if I, if I sit down with a seller and say, Hey, Hey, fire up LinkedIn sales navigator for me, imagine that you’re, that you’re going off to Chicago in two weeks time, and you’re gonna be there for two days. And you want us, you want to set up eight solid meetings in those two days with prospects, show me how you would use navigator right now to, to find those people in, in Chicago, show me how you’d build a Boolean search using the navigator wizard. Most people look back at you like you’re from another planet, right?

Speaker 2 00:40:04 Let, let, let alone far up Google and build a Boolean search, right. To go and find organizations that you’re looking for. Um, uh, even with a CRM, you know, show me how you, you build your own reports and dashboards and CRM. Um, some people are getting access to these sales engagement platforms, like, like, um, outreach.io, SalesLoft, you know, these kinds of products, you know, show me how you can set up a campaign, you know, in this tool. They’ve no idea. Um, and then they just think, yeah, but, but I’m good at relationships. Well, relationships aren’t enough anymore. There’s, there’s no value for the customer and in the relationship. And that’s really the paradox of selling. We cannot be successful in our role unless we build relationships of trust. But the people that we’re trying to get to are not looking for another relationship in their life.

Speaker 2 00:40:54 Right. But we have to earn the relationship by providing some value in the conversation. Um, so, uh, this thing of being insight led and how we sell is become critically important, but we have to outsource the repetitive tasks. Um, and there’s so many good things we can do. Like, you know, for example, when you’re, when you run an online video meeting with something like zoom, you can put a plug in there. That’s, that’s recording the call and you can say, and you just say to the person, um, Hey, would you mind if I despise a plugin, that’s going to record this and transcribe it for me. It’ll just be an, I can focus on the conversation rather than taking notes. And then I’ll go back and review it. And I’ll, I’ll send you a confirmation email. Oh, sure. Right. So you don’t say, do you mind if I record this for training purposes, but Hey, do you mind if I record this so I can get a transcript of the meeting and I’ll, I’ll I’ll, uh, you know, then I can just focus on the conversation, but you know, those things record transcribed. You’re gonna upload the meeting notes into CRM. You know, we’re all looking at technology is going, is mind boggling, right? So, um, you know, video coaching is all coming. You know, it’s already here already analyze this talk time buying signals, um, it’ll start to prompt us. It’s just incredible.

Speaker 1 00:42:09 Yeah, no, it really is. I appreciate you touching on that. And I think there’s important because those that are listening that are not thinking of where sales are going to be in five years, it’s going to be drastically different than it is today. I mean, it’s drastically different than it was five years ago and it’s getting exponentially faster as we moved through time. So it’s so important to pay attention.

Speaker 2 00:42:30 Yeah. Yeah. Hi, Ty, what am I finished with it with a true story? It’s a us company I’m always talking to about 30 CEOs in Australia. Um, uh, for a half day workshop I was doing with them. And in, in, in, in the, in the coffee break, the morning tea break, we call it here in Australia. But, but, but in the coffee break, we were having one of the CEOs. He, he runs the Australia New Zealand region, uh, for big north American, uh, global company. And he told me this story because it was to reinforce the reality, what I was telling the group. He said our company in the states in COVID, we lost two reps and each of those reps had very big high-performing territories for four months. There was no rep. We couldn’t, we couldn’t replace the reps during COVID what the management team noticed when they’re running.

Speaker 2 00:43:19 The reports was that these two territories were growing at the same rights as all of the other territories, but something we’d was happening the highest margins in the whole company. So these searches now have the highest margins in the company and it was sustaining and all trending up. So they, they talked, they interviewed their customers. And this company provides, um, compounding powders and things for pharmacists, people in drug stores that make appointments and medicines. And so they, they called their customers and said, Hey, we’re really sorry. We haven’t been able to replace Mary, you know, the person who look after you. It’s how can we get new people at the moment? Um, and we really appreciate the way you continuing to do business with us. Um, you know, we just want to ask you a few questions. And this was the really disturbing thing they found universally.

Speaker 2 00:44:09 The feedback they got was that the customer regarded the rep calling on them as something that interrupted their day and took them away from customer facing activity. Next they’d stand in the line. I want to talk to the pharmacist. Um, and they, and they then said, and, and where’s the mat. They don’t really provide any value. You send us a newsletter, you send us bulletins and updates. We, we read them like they just they’re telling about what we already know. Um, so, so look, if you don’t, if you don’t replace the post that ever it’s all okay. You know, and, and the company said, really, you, you gotta be kidding me. Like surely there was some value that was being provided, but with the big investment that we make for you, so well, actually, yes. Yeah, actually, yeah, there was one thing they always did for me. They’d get me a discount.

Speaker 2 00:45:02 Yeah, exactly. That was how they reacted. So he’s the experiment they ran. I said, let’s, let’s not damage our coal market in the USA, Canada. I said, let’s find a representative, small market that if we, if we screw this up, you know, we can, we can, we can recover and wind up damaging my business. They picked Australia, they had three reps in Australia. They got rid of those three reps and they invested money in upskilling the technical advisors on their hotline. Right? So if you have an issue, call in about what to do, um, and they improved the way they’re engaging digitally with the customers, their business, it’s been well over a year. Their business has never been stronger. Now, will that sustain over a long period of time? Like, will they competitors visiting these people regularly over time result in them losing the customer?

Speaker 2 00:45:52 Um, that’s, that’s certainly not what has happened, but it’s an example of what businesses are doing is they’re reapplying capital because in the fourth industrial revolution, first time in history, people in white collar fields can reapply capital away from labor, into technology, the technology doesn’t, doesn’t complain and moan and groan that the size of the quota and the prospects are idiots. And, you know, the competition’s tough, right? They don’t turn up late and hung over. They haven’t, they haven’t just had a fight with their partner. So the reality is tech is just there 24 7. You can get video chat bots now working on websites, right? So, um, if people are looking for information and a way to transact something easily, if that’s what they’re looking for, the role of humans is going to fade away. So if you’re listening to this as a seller, what you’re looking for is environments where they’re big, risky decisions, where there’s complexity, where there’s politics at play.

Speaker 2 00:46:49 They need to secure a consensus in the team. They need to, to do this thing as a change management program, they need to build a business case. There’s lots of competition. These things are where humans can apply themselves with, with sense of humor and creativity, where you can go sit, set a vision. You can navigate politics, you can build the business case, or you can deal with all the ambiguities that there’ll always be a role for them. But if it’s all about filtering data, making recommendations, helping somebody transact, the role for humans is all going to disappear. So choose your employer carefully. If you are an employer, think about customer experience that you creating, rather than just throwing money at people, because you were too lazy to really define ICP, think about buyer’s journey, align your selling process and build customer experience. Um, but that really is how the world is changing. And for all of those, I really encourage you, you know, you get hold of tech powered sales. Um, there’s a lot of information in there. That’ll, that’ll really bot proof your own career

Speaker 1 00:47:54 A hundred percent. Thank you so much, Tony, where can people pick up the book?

Speaker 2 00:47:59 Uh, if you just look at, look in Amazon, but it’s available through all retailers, uh, Justin himself and the rights to the audio book. So it’s audio book, it’s ebook, it’s available through bookstore channels. Uh, obviously Amazon is the number one retailer worldwide. So just really encourage you to get that. And if you’re wanting, if you’re wanting to connect with me, obviously LinkedIn. So Tony J Hughes, there’s a few Tony uses in the world, um, in LinkedIn, uh, and the best way to, to get access to a lot of free content that I’ve got is, uh, Tony hughes.com.edu, Tony hughes.com.edu. And if you’re looking to get trained with e-learning around combo prospecting and how to build a pipeline, go to sales IQ, global.com sells IQ global.com as a new business I’ve started, and we’ve got to create pipeline program, uh, including live coaching sessions with cohorts. That’ll really help you solve the pipeline problem that you’ve probably got.

Speaker 1 00:48:56 Excellent. Thank you so much, Tony. If everybody listening, I will list all that in the show notes. If you’re watching this on YouTube or listening to the podcasts, all that will be there for you, Tony, thank you so much for your time. Super, super appreciative of you coming on and dumping all this wisdom and knowledge on us and everybody pay attention.

Speaker 2 00:49:15 Thanks, Ty. Thank you.

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Tech-Powered Sales – w/Tony Hughes

Tony Hughes is an international keynote speaker and thought leader when it comes to sales training. We sit down and talk for over an hour on the direction of the sales.

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