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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Women in Sales virtual learning session sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales on November 9, 2021. It featured an interview with Experts Never Chase author Cat Stancik.]
Find Cat on LinkedIn.
CATS TIP: “Everything that we’re talking about has everything to do with marketing and sales. How are you positioning yourself and how are you “convincing” someone that it’s time for you to be promoted? The first thing is all about authority. How are you branding yourself? Are you identifying the job that you want? Are you communicating it and are you positioning yourself as an authority? And there’s community. Your job, especially in the corporate space, is to make your boss look good. If you want it to work, then start looking at what you’re doing and how you’re showing up. The third piece is how you Engage. Identify that sponsor, who, and invest in them. This is about giving them value, support them. So many people want to take and they don’t give first. Look at what you can do to help them, support them. Find out what are they looking for.”
THE PODCAST BEGINS HERE
Gina Stracuzzi: I would like to welcome my guest Cat. Nice to see you, Cat. You are an author and you are called The LEAD Boss, which I love. Welcome to the show. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to this point where you are now The LEAD Boss.
Cat Stancik: Well, I come from a corporate background and did some consulting back in the day, and basically wanted to set out to be able to achieve and visualize and see and feel the impact faster than what I was seeing in the corporate space. That led me down a kind of biz-dev road where now that’s what I help my clients do, is either create more leverage in their business and identify the ways to create more ease and flow so that leads come in consistently and predictably without all the hustle and the grind. Whether they’re doing it and their team is doing it, it’s all about creating that process that creates that consistency.
Gina Stracuzzi: Well, tell us a little bit about the book you wrote too.
Cat Stancik: I coauthored a book that’s called Experts Never Chase, and experts never beg to be promoted in this case. It’s all about really stepping into that empowered space as an authority and expert and identifying how to really truly build relationships over time without coming across as sleazy and salesy. We’ve seen that a lot on LinkedIn. I call them pitchy Petes. They slide into your DMs, they’re ready to sell you something right away, give you PTCD, post-traumatic connection disorder, and really kick up the sleaze and slime dust, and really make it a lot harder for people who are there to be genuine and integrity to really try to build relationships. It makes the process harder.
Gina Stracuzzi: That is very true. There seems to be some new method to get into your direct message box. Now, it seems like LinkedIn is changing things all the time and it’s like, “Where did this person come from?” I appreciate that. Let’s talk a little bit about your lead process and how you help companies. Then let’s turn it a little bit and make it so people can use your approach in their own sales.
Cat Stancik: My process is simple, because one of the things I like to do is take complex concepts and simplify them down so they’re actually implementable. We know that a confused mind never buys. A confused mind also doesn’t implement. Basically, what I work people through is how to connect, converse, and close people. Whether they’re cold leads, or warm leads, or hot leads, everybody goes through that same process of, “How do we connect with them?” Which is just beyond the hitting the blue connect button. We can do that easily every day, but how do we make genuine connections, have that conversation? Which is where most people get stuck, which is how do we go from talking about the weather to whether we should work together?
That weather to whether turn of the conversation is where that sleazy, slimy stuff kind of gets kicked out. Usually it’s a trigger within ourselves. What’s something that helps you feel empowered about having the conversation so that you’re adding value and not just taking from people? Then moving from when you move that conversation over to the sales, in terms of closing, how do you lead someone through the close? We often tend to sell the way that we buy. Instead of doing that, starting to sell the way that other people buy and understanding what they look like when they’re having that conversation so that you can present the information that lets them make that buying decision faster.
Gina Stracuzzi: You bring up two really good points. How does one get through the, “It’s time to stop talking about the weather and talking about whether or not you’re going to do business together,” so that it feels natural to you? Then going back to your second piece of how is it that you know how they buy? You talked about the sellers and the buyer.
Cat Stancik: That’s what you usually want to know. The first piece is how do you transition? How do you do this weather to whether kind of aspect? A lot of it isn’t necessarily about follow this exact script. I’ve seen so many people and I’ve disqualified them when they say, “I just want to know what the words are.” I can’t give you the words. I can give you scripts, I can give you templates, but at the end of the day, conversation is an art. It’s not a science. It is about mastering the conversation and understanding when to show up, how do you build a relationship, what’s your process, and finally getting that down to a science. Moving the art into a scientific approach and being able to document that.
One of the things that I have people do is if the conversation feels forced… I would say, how many of us love when someone reaches out to us and say, “We’re ready to buy?” Those are the easiest kinds of conversations, so are referrals. How can we create more of that happens through experiences. In the corporate world, for example, when someone knocks on your door back in the day, you used to go in. They would say, “Hey, I need this thing,” and you would just turn around and you’d help them do the thing. Then they’d leave and then you’d start getting back to your work and then someone else would come knocking. You’re like, “Oh my God. Close the door. Leave me alone. Stop interrupting me.” That’s what’s happening online. People are just coming into your direct messages, they’re coming into your email, and they’re bothering you. They’re interrupting your day, but not with something that’s worth your time.
Now, if that same colleague came to your door and said, “Hey, I’ve got Pink tickets. Want to come?” You’re happy. You’re, “All right. Cool. Let’s go. Let’s go do this.” That’s the relationship starting to be built. When you then have an opportunity for someone, who do you think you’re going to think of first? That person who gave value to you, who created an experience. When that person then maybe at a future date comes back and asks you for something, because there’s context, because there’s a relationship, you’re more likely to support and help that person.
What you want to be doing is creating these experiences, and I call them firework experiences. It’s how you go from knocking door to door, which that’s what it can feel like when it comes to lead generation, especially when it comes to high ticket sale, to having a massive amount of people coming to you, like a firework. Where we’re planning for it, everyone’s going, you invite your friends to it. It’s an experience. People are in awe, they’re in amazement, and they’re looking forward to it. What are you doing to help people come to you? What are you inviting and giving them a value that makes them want to come and doesn’t feel like there’s some kind of angle?
A lot of the problems with some of the firework experiences out there, like webinars and masterclasses, is that they’ve been perverted. They’re so focused on the pitch, they provide no value, which is why it doesn’t work anymore as a strategy because the value isn’t there. Part of what I do is identify what’s the fastest way for you to put on an event/experience without all the complicated funnels and production to create that experience. Then that person is in a place of desire. “Oh my God, you’ve been featured as an authority and expert.” You’re the one hosting it, so it reinforces that. Then you’re basically sharing information that makes them go, “I want to work with you.” Then the conversation happens naturally.
Here’s the magic sentence, “Would it make sense for us to talk about working together?” It’s all about permission base. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. I’m not forcing anything, I’m getting your permission throughout the entire relationship and experience so that you’re saying, “Yes, I’m still involved,” so that it doesn’t become salesy and sleazy. You’re providing opportunities throughout the conversation for people to exit, to disqualify themselves. No hard feelings, all good. But then that person is more likely to come back when they’re ready, because you treated them like a human being. That’s that first piece.
The second piece of how do you identify people in terms of the way that they buy, versus selling the way that you tend to buy? There are certain characteristics that we emit. The problem is, is that most people are just looking at demographics. For example, if you look at someone the same race, ethnicity, age range, income, location, even right down to like city, it brings up two people, Prince Charles, Ozzy Osbourne. Which one do you want to be working with? Very different if we’re just looking at demographics. What a lot of people aren’t doing is looking at the psychographics and then the tribal graphics. I go into that into my book as well. Well, Experts Never Chase, here’s a little snapshot. But we want to start looking at what values are people communicating. This is how you use social media platforms in conjunction.
People behave differently because different platforms have different norms. They behave differently on different platforms and share different information. One of the things I love to do is pull up LinkedIn and Facebook next to each other and identify what this person likes. How do they behave? What are they sharing in terms of information? They’re going to be sharing posts about their pets, and their kids, and taking vacations, and writing their book, or whatever it is on Facebook. Maybe they’ll share about writing their book on LinkedIn, but they’re going to put something that’s authoritative in terms of their positioning on LinkedIn. When I combine those two, I can start qualifying someone in terms of potentially being my ideal client, but also it tells me how they behave in terms of their buying style. I have five different buyer types that I train my clients on in terms of identifying who they are.
Now, the good news is my process actually systematizes the whole thing. It’s not about necessarily having to create all these different funnels. The person goes through the same funnel, but they get the information they need to satisfy how they buy so that when they show up to the sales call, they’re ready to hand over their credit card information, because it’s just a validation of energetic matching at that point. What I mean by that is, is this someone I want to work with? Is this someone that I like? Is this someone who’s going to be in my corner and that I believe in who also believes in me? That energetic match.
Gina Stracuzzi: Let me get clarity on this. Some of what you just talked about, is that outlined in your book?
Cat Stancik: Not how the buyer types are. I co-wrote this book with someone else. The buyer types just would be its own book actually, in terms of putting up the process in place and understanding the different behaviors. I call them, for example, producers. Producers are very logical. They’re very numbers-focused. It’s just facts and figures. If you take an hour to explain everything that’s included in your program, you’re going to have lost the sale. Within 30 seconds of getting on the phone, they need to either already have known the price, or you need to tell them what it is, or you’re going to lose them. There are plenty of people I’m sure we’ve talked to that we know are exactly like that. A director needs a little bit of creative understanding.
We’ve got the crew, which is more of a community feel, and they’re going to consume every single piece of content. They’re going to read your sales page five times. They’re going to go and look at the case studies. They’re going to consume every little bit of information, and they need that, which is part of the process. They’re going to take maybe multiple calls. If you know that you’re talking to a crew type person, a crew member in terms of a production site, then you won’t get frustrated when you’ve had two, three, four, five sales calls. You understand who you’re working with and what their buying behavior’s like. Then you know how to plan and build out your pipeline. If you’re not wanting to work with that kind of personality, then you’ll know how to qualify or disqualify them faster because you’ll identify their buying characteristics offhand. Then we’ve got the stunt double and then we’ve got the star.
Gina Stracuzzi: There’s a big dose of emotional intelligence in the way you come at things. I like that. Because this is a Woman in Sales program, let’s talk about how women excel in these areas, and if there’s a piece of it in which they don’t excel, and what they can do about it.
Cat Stancik: I think sales is probably one of the most natural things that women do, yet we get so triggered by it. The reason is that the selling type that will always work, no matter what trend, no matter what gimmick, no matter what strategy is out there, is building relationships. Marketing and building relationships is always going to work. It’s worked since the beginning of time, since the first barter happened, to when money was exchanged, all that stuff. It had to do with being able to communicate value. I think what happens with women is that we get triggered internally because a lot of us are brought up to be submissive and compliant. We’re taught that being humble and just demure, are things that are valued by society. If you start making noise, if you start getting loud, if you’re starting to leverage persuasion in an ethical way, then you’re triggering those things that you’ve been taught your entire life are wrong.
You walk away from the thing that feels uncomfortable, instead of leaning into your natural strengths, which I think every woman has a capability to sell anything that they want if they would be able to work beyond those emotional triggers that are living within us, that the other person is never communicating. It’s why we take things so personally sometimes. I always like to use the example of the Heinz ketchup. If you go into the grocery store and you don’t buy every single bottle of Heinz, mustard, ketchup, relish, whatever it is that they’re selling, do you think the CEO is cow-tailing in the corner crying, saying, “Oh my God, she doesn’t like me. They think that I make the worst product in the world. I suck. I’m never going to be able to do this.”
No. What they’re doing is they’re leveraging the two most essential assets and strategies that they can. They continue to market and they continue to provide you an opportunity to buy, so that when you are ready, when you run out of ketchup, maybe you’ll even go for the organic. Because you value the same values that they have, because that’s something that you’ve been communicating in terms of your interest, and you’re willing to invest and pay more for it. So many people, especially in the bro marketing world, where these super, hyper male strategies of forced decision-making, of building out compliance, I don’t even want to get there. If you could see my face right now, I’m just disgusted talking about it.
Gina Stracuzzi: I can see your face, but I get it.
Cat Stancik: It’s not about forcing a decision. It’s about continuing to market so that when the person is ready to make a business decision, that they’re looking at you as one of the people. It’s why you build relationships. You stay on their radar. You continue to add value, because eventually, if they’d ever had a communication and engaged with you, they’ve seen value. It’s never a no, it’s a not right now – until it’s an F-off kind of situation [laughs]. Until you hear that, continue to build a relationship, because, I’ll go on this little tangent, which is, most people look at leads and it’s just like any kind of promotion in terms of a lead is a client. They’re thinking about things one dimensionally, and it’s not one dimensional. It’s multi-dimensional, which is a lead is a power partner, is a referral partner, is an affiliate, is someone who can help you get on a podcast, is someone who can help you get booked or speaking. The list goes on and on. The problem is, is that most people just walk through that door once or twice. But the thing is every time you walk through the door, all of those opportunities become available to you again. It’s how you take one relationship, one lead, and turn it into an infinite supply of opportunity.
Gina Stracuzzi: Fred Diamond, who runs all the Sales Game Changers Podcasts, he’s great at that. Women tend to build rapport, I think faster, in a general sense with a cold lead. I think guys might get into the bro factor, as you say. They might fall into that rhythm, but it doesn’t necessarily get them that much further in the door. It’s just that it’s in place of the weather. It’s, “Let’s talk sports,” or, “Let’s do whatever.” Let’s talk a little bit about how you think women can leverage the natural rapport building skills that we have to take the weather/whether conversation up a notch faster.
Cat Stancik: In terms of having that conversation, and I’m assuming you’re talking specifically in terms of being promoted within the corporate space. Entrepreneurial strategies and mindsets and tactics are so applicable in the corporate space and vice versa. One of the things, and I just created this right before we started talking, which is basically how you can ace it. At the end of the day, everything that we’re talking about has everything to do with marketing and sales. How are you positioning yourself and how are you “convincing” someone that it’s time for you to be promoted? That’s the sales. Marketing is all about the positioning and the content and things that you’re sharing.
The first thing is all about authority. How are you branding yourself? Are you identifying the job that you want? Are you communicating it and are you positioning yourself as an authority? Or are you just saying, “Oh no. Brad, you’re better than me. Go ahead.” No. If someone gives you a compliment, you receive it, that’s it. Then you continue to grow and do these things. Again, we’re fighting things that we’re being socialized to do. Planning and communicating your goals and then taking initiative. I think a lot of people, especially as women, we’re just waiting to be recognized. I said this before we started recording, which is, this isn’t about someone crowning you and saying, “Hey, congratulations, you’re promoted.” It’s saying, “Hey, I’m getting promoted,” putting that crown on your own head and then doing the work that needs to happen. But people need to know that this is your ambition.
When we’re looking at authority building, and you talked about this too, which is how are they getting that visibility? How are they promoting themselves? What opportunities are they taking advantage of? All of that lands a lot in terms of the marketing and making sure for the goodness of everything that is good and holy in the world, please just focus on your strengths, forget your weaknesses. That’s what building a team is all about. Let someone who loves doing what you hate, do the thing that they love doing, because there’s always someone who loves doing what you hate. That would be the A in terms of authority and branding yourself.
The C is all about community. I just talked about this in terms of building a team. Your job, especially in the corporate space, is to make your boss look good. If you embarrass them, if you demean them, they’re not going to look at you favorably. If it’s not a boss you want to be building up, if you don’t want to build a relationship with them, then that position, that work environment may not be the one you need to be in. Stop making something that you want to happen, not happen. This is where people self-sabotage, because they think that there’s this only opportunity you’ve invested all this time. If it’s not going to work, don’t make something work.
If you want it to work, then start looking at what you’re doing and how you’re showing up. Basically, what I’ve seen this as is sponsors. Who’s in the company who is willing to advocate for you? Unfortunately, for the most part, you’re going to have to find a man, because more men own positions of power. They’re the ones that need to advocate for you. How are you building that relationship? That comes down to that third piece, which is engage. We have authority, community, and engage. Building the relationship is the most critical aspect to getting promoted. You can’t expect, again, someone to come out of the blue and say, “Here you go.” Identify that sponsor, who, and invest in them. This is about giving them value, support them. So many people want to take and they don’t give first. Look at what you can do to help them, support them. What are they looking for?
You don’t have to just look in the confines of work. Get to know who they are, their family, get involved in their life. Cross over that personal versus private boundary. It happens all the time. People are hanging out with each other at the golf course and at the lunch bar or whatever it is, they know each other’s information. For goodness’ sake, track it. If he tells you, “Hey, Betty’s birthday is this Friday,” you better write that down in your CRM and send her a happy birthday that next year. They’re sharing vital information, whether you’re in sales or trying to get promoted, same difference.
Gina Stracuzzi: Mentors and sponsors are such a huge piece of getting promoted, and men still have way more connections than we do, and you cannot really get promoted without the visibility and the connections. I’m in total agreement with everything you’ve said.
Cat Stancik: When it comes to the rapport, women use mentors as places to confide and to complain. Men use mentors and sponsors as a way to get advice. It’s not about having someone safe to complain with, it’s about leveraging the relationships strategically and thinking about what’s the plan in the future. Men tend to think about that more strategically, or are less attached to in terms of what the outcomes are. You made a great point beforehand, which was all about being willing to fail. There’s such this embarrassment or this internal trigger about failing, but I welcome failure. Failure helps me learn faster more often than succeeding right off the bat. Looking at being able to leverage those things and the learnings and being able to implement and bounce back from it also, because again, the measure of your character isn’t how you are when things are going well, it’s how you are when things are going wrong.
Gina Stracuzzi: It’s okay to confide in your mentor, as long as you’re asking for advice. If you have something that you know is perhaps going to get in the way of a promotion you want. Here’s the problem I think I have. Let us think about how I’m going to overcome this, how I can go around it, how I can address it and tell them it’s not going to be an issue actually. I love the idea that confide and complaint is what women do. That’s where we really shoot ourselves in the foot. Men don’t sit around complaining as much.
Cat Stancik: Yeah, they get over stuff so fast. It’s so amazing and so frustrating. They get mad and in five minutes they’re done and they’ve moved on. As women we’re chewing on something that happened when we were eight years old still. Yes, everybody needs to go to therapy and release those traumatic, rewrite them, and use them as empowerment. I get it. I’ve had my fair share as well. But it’s looking at what’s the strategy? What are you trying to do and what’s going to serve you best? Versus what’s going to make you feel good in the moment? You absolutely need to have someone you can confide in. Find your safe people, but it’s not always the relationship that you think it should be because you might be doing more harm than good.
Gina Stracuzzi: It’s seek out short-term mentors, long-term mentors, and yes, seek out men. For sure, because they can give you the strategy or help you build the strategy to move forward in a way that is completely unemotional and not attached to anything that you think might have been some big transgression but wasn’t, and everybody else has moved on.
Cat Stancik: There’s so many biases that we have to overcome. First, the unconscious one, which at this point, it needs to be conscious. The fact that we’re 24% less likely to be offered advice from a senior leader than a man, 24% less likely. You can’t wait around for it. You’ve got to ask, and ask, and ask. If they call you whatever names they’re going to call you, those women are still getting promoted. They’re still getting placed in and provided opportunity. This also doesn’t mean working and not honoring your boundaries.
I got promoted faster when I was in corporate when I said no and honored my boundaries, because I was more efficient with what I did and I narrowed down my specialization. They knew exactly when to come in and get me in to provide the rescue resources I was able to do on projects. But owning your no is one of the most powerful things you can start doing, so that when you say yes, it can have that huge impact. The lack of self-promotion is one of the biggest things that women don’t do. You have to be an entrepreneur in every aspect of your career or business. You have to advocate for yourself, because no one’s going to advocate for you harder than you’ll advocate for yourself.
Gina Stracuzzi: Well, you pretty much have just covered half of a speech that I gave as part of the She Sells Summit last week, when I was talking about the three things that were keeping women out of sales leadership. We are definitely on the same page. I know that there’s a lot of extremely talented, highly motivated, really creative women out there that are just this close to taking the world by storm. I hope that our conversation will help them get into a little bit closer to that. We are at that point where I’m going to ask you for one piece of walking advice that you can give people to put into place today. Something they can really start thinking about that will help them get to the points that you addressed so well today.
Cat Stancik: With my clients, it’s not often that they don’t know what to do. I think a lot of people know what to do. Nothing that we’ve talked about today is super groundbreaking, but it’s the mindset behind it. One, please invest in yourself and do some personal development, but here’s a little nugget that you can take away. Get uncomfortable. Seek to get uncomfortable. Growth doesn’t happen from a place of comfort, that’s where you add on 15 pounds. Growth happens when you get uncomfortable so that you can step into that next level of who you’re meant to be. Seek it out. Embrace it. Lean into it and see the opportunities unveil in front of you as you do it.
Gina Stracuzzi: That is great advice. Well, thank you so much for being with us, Cat. If anyone would like to reach out to her, you can find her on LinkedIn. She is The LEAD Boss, and I’m sure you can find your book on Amazon.
Cat Stancik: Amazon, all over the place. Yeah.
Gina Stracuzzi: Wonderful. Well, thank you so very much, Cat. I hope you’ll come back and see us again sometime. Thank you, everyone. We’ll see you next week.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo