EPISODE 308: Business Development University’s Lisa Peskin Shows How Squeezing All of the Juice Out of the Lemon is the Way to Grow Your Sales Efforts

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Optimal Sales Mindset Webinar sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales and hosted by Fred Diamond on November 12, 2020. It featured sales expert and consultant Lisa Peskin of Business Development University.]

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EPISODE 308: Business Development University’s Lisa Peskin Shows How Squeezing All of the Juice Out of the Lemon is the Way to Grow Your Sales Efforts

LISA’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Squeeze the Lemon. It’s not about making lemonade out of lemons. It’s about getting the most juice out of everything in your life. Squeeze the lemon in our sales lives by asking partners for a LinkedIn recommendation or to be used as a reference. Are you getting the most out of every networking opportunity? Are you getting the most out of every client visit?  Are you preparing as you should be to ensure you get what you need to help the customer achieve their goals?”

Lisa Peskin: Fred, thank you so much for having me. For all of you that are out there listening to this, this is something that is so near and dear to my heart because I’ve been in sales now for 34 years and if you count my waitressing days, now we’re going to maybe 40 somewhat years. After all these years I figured out that half of your success is going to be this and this, what’s between your two ears and your motivation level. I’m so excited to talk to all of you about that today because if you could focus and make improvements in this one area, it can have such an impact on your success.

Fred Diamond: Just give us a little bit of perspective. You work with sales professionals and I also mentioned non-sales professionals so what are some of the other things that you help them with before we get into the motivation side? And I agree with you 1000%, that’s why we’re doing a show every single week on mindset and mindset always creeps into the other webinars and podcasts that we do as well. Every Wednesdays we talk to sales VPs and they always talk about things like focus and education and continuous learning which we’re going to be talking about but give us a little bit of perspective on some of the other sales processes that you might help some companies with. Let’s get right into the talk after that.

Lisa Peskin: At the end of the day I’m a numbers girl, it’s been 12 years at ADP with weekly quotas, worked my way from sales to sales leader to running a 40 person sales force and at the end of the day it’s all about driving results. Back then when I started in sales management in 1994, I wanted them all to be little Lisa Peskins, have my same level of motivation, do things exactly the way I did it. What I’d come to realize is everybody’s got their own strengths, everybody’s got their own areas of opportunity. What we do is we take a much different approach than our competition because we’re all about the numbers at the end of the day. It’s not about having somebody be well trained or well coached, it’s not about helping them with their game plan, it’s not about putting together playbooks for them, all this stuff is what eventually drives the sales and that’s why I started my company 17 years ago because it is all about the numbers. We do sales training, coaching consulting, playbooks, game plans, help companies figure out their triage areas but at the end of the day we drive results.

Fred Diamond: We spend a lot of time talking about prospecting and rhythm and those kinds of things, nurturing, step-process, how to make ideal phone calls, when to make them but we do spend a lot of time on the mindset side because one of our conclusions has been that the #1 factor, Lisa, that we’ve seen with great sales professionals is courage. The courage to pick up the phone, the courage to make phone calls, the courage to identify where there’s a block and get past those things. Again, we’ve done over 290 episodes of the Sales Game Changers podcast and this show that we’re doing now is in the future going to be a Sales Game Changers podcast and every single sales leader I’ve known, it’s been courage. It’s been about having the courage to make the call, to ask for the deal, to show up when you don’t necessarily want to show up, to be empathetic if that’s not how you do it, the things necessary to help you reach those results. I’m excited to hear about what you’re going to talk about and I can see some of the people who are watching today are already chiming in. Mary over here – Mary is in Philly not too far from you, by the way, Lisa’s broadcasting from a suburb outside of Philadelphia, my home town, and of course I’m in Northern Virginia right outside of DC. Mary says, “Let’s get it going here” and we have another Lisa in DC and Lisa says, “I’m anxious to hear because my motivation is waning.” Let’s get started, Lisa.

Lisa Peskin: I understand that, it’s not easy times for all of us right now and I’m going to hopefully give you some things that you can think about and that you could implement right away that can help when it starts waning. You know what? I never thought I’d be a salesperson, it was the last thing I thought I would ever be. I was shy, insecure and I had all those bad connotations about salespeople. After thinking I was going to be a doctor, then a psychologist and then I got my MBA in marketing I just wanted to do sales for a little bit but now after all these years, I want to say sales by far is the best profession out there. You get to meet new people all the time, you get to make unlimited amount of money, your schedule is always different, it’s exciting, the wins are fun but why wouldn’t everybody in this whole wide world be in sales?

Because we’re going to get way more no’s than we are yes’s, we’re only as good as our last week, our last month or our last quarter, it’s, “What have you done for me lately?” Our salaries, our compensation is not always guaranteed so it’s not so easy. How do we make sure we keep our attitude where it needs to be in order to be successful? You see a lot of pictures here up on this screen and I’m going to go through them because this is all about what I call keeping your head screwed on straight. If your head is not screwed on straight and it’s this way, then I’m going to go in the wrong direction so we always got to make sure that we’re what I call mentally strong and it’s not so easy, especially with all the anxieties that we might have in our personal lives but all you can do is the best you can do.

The first thing is we’ve got to have a positive attitude, I’ve been called a little Miss Mary Sunshine in a positive and maybe sometimes a negative way but the reason I’ve been called that is because I learned from a great man, he was my father and he was my hero, he passed away almost 24 years ago, had his first heart attack when he was 39, after 27 years in the radio business they fired all the top management. He went bankrupt, he had a triple bypass, he had a stroke and then he had his legs amputated and the man never complained a moment in his entire laugh. I figured, “If that guy didn’t complain with what he dealt with, I don’t have too much to complain about.”

He gave me this piece of advice that maybe will be helpful for you as well, he said, “Lisa, you don’t have control about everything that happens to you in life but you have control how you handle it.” And some days I have to repeat it to myself a bunch of times but I think about that. I also think about something that I didn’t even put as a picture here. Everybody go like this with your hand [holding palm out facing upwards] and then take your pointer finger and go like this [pressing the center of palm], that’s called your reset button. Some other time we have a bad day and we’re like, “Tomorrow I’m going to have a better day, I’m going to reset” why do you have to wait until tomorrow? You could reset in the middle of the day and if the rest of your day is good and you only had a couple bad hours, then it goes into the good day category.

The next thing I want to talk about is courage, what you were talking about earlier. Do we have the courage to do what it takes to be successful? Pick up that phone, shoot that little video on Loom right now that’s going to help get a prospect’s attention. When we don’t have the courage, what we start losing is confidence and confidence, I say if I could give you a whole big can of confidence right now and you could just drink it down then that’s the key here. If you think you can or can’t your right but during these times it’s so easy to focus on what we can’t do. “I can’t go to networking events”, “I can’t see my prospects in person”, “I can’t knock on doors anymore.”

Yes, maybe that is all right but what about all the things we can do? All I know is I’ve got more time on my hands because there’s no travel time anymore and I’m developing relationships with people because I get to ask about their home, it’s a whole different thing. As far as the easy button here, selling is easy if you go at it hard but it’s hard if you go at it easy. The problem with going at it easy is then we start playing shoulda-coulda-woulda. It’s one thing to know that you’ve given it your best shot and didn’t necessarily achieve all the results but the worst feeling is knowing you didn’t get where you wanted to be but knowing you didn’t give it your best shot.

If you come across as more of a consultant and helpful, it’s going to be huge for you. The other key thing is how we deal with the no’s and the obstacles. If we look at every obstacle and every no and we let it get to us, then it’s going to affect the rest of your day. Think about it like this, if you’re prospecting think about the world as a finite jar of black and white jelly beans. Every black one is a no and every white one is a yes, so if you’re prospecting you need to pick out so many black ones before you can get to the white ones. Every time you get a no, say, “This is good because it’s bringing me closer to the white one and again, it’s all about the way we look at things, just the way we view things all the time. I have Eeyore here because so many people are negative and what if this is our only shot at life? Do we want to go through life looking at all the negatives and everything or do we want to find the good in everything because there is so much good? Quite honestly, if we’ve got our health and our family has health, there’s no other problems. That’s all about attitude that I wanted to share today but I thought it was really important.

Fred Diamond: It is and the people that we typically bring onto the Sales Game Changers podcasts and webinars that we do every day are aspirational, we’re in sales, we can say we have to bring through results. It’s interesting, everybody thought 2020 was going to be their best sales year ever and then of course the pandemic kicked in so things had to change. But one thing we’re beginning to see is one of two things, we’re seeing that some people are succeeding beyond their wildest imagination because they’ve shifted, they’ve decided to do some of the things that you said here. I really like your point that you can make a shift right now and that’s the reality, and the best way to do that, Lisa, is pick up the phone and call prospects or pick up the phone and call the customer. I had a long conversation this morning with an exec who’s a senior leader at Salesforce and I said, “What’s the advice that you’re giving your people that may have a down moment or something?” He said, “Very simple, pick up the phone and call a customer and have the customer engagement.” You might not necessarily be talking about a transaction or a deal but asking your customer, “What are you seeing? How are you dealing with things right now?” How is your customer’s customer challenged right now? We’ve gone through so much of an evolution on the Sales Game Changers daily show because things have evolved and changed so much, at the end of the day if you’re in sales and you’re looking for a burst – we’re going to be talking about some more of your ideas here – call a customer, engage with a customer, engage with somebody who appreciates you. If it’s a prospect, just pick up the phone and call them anyway as well.

Lisa Peskin: I couldn’t agree more and we’re going to talk about this in a moment, find something positive. Call a customer, make yourself feel good and then you could call a prospect after that and often times it’s just these little things that can make a big difference so I love that idea.

Now let’s talk about a thing that’s really important next to attitude and again, between these two things it’s half of your success, these two areas, and the awesome thing is we have control over these two areas. The next one is your motivation level. I just assumed that everybody in this world cares about being #1, all I cared about at ADP was getting the plaque at the end of the month telling me I beat everybody and after collecting a hundred pieces of wood that I threw away probably around 15 years ago, I realized that not everybody really cares about that. Understanding what gets you up out of bed every day is really important and you’ve got to look at this career of yours as your own little business.

The awesome thing is if you’re working for somebody else, you don’t have to pay for operations, you’re probably not paying your expenses but you are your own little boss. The reason I have a set of twins over here is the first thing is to have a game plan. I’ll just talk to you, Fred, in this example but I want everybody to think about it. Let’s just say I got to send you on an all-expense paid vacation anywhere in the world for three months, where would you go? And don’t worry about COVID right now. Fred, where would you go?

Fred Diamond: I haven’t seen my parents in a while so I wouldn’t mind going to see my parents but I’ll be bolder, I’ll say Australia.

Lisa Peskin: Alright, so everybody, we’re going to Australia here. Imagine you’re on a beach, the sun is setting, the sky is gorgeous, I’m now having butlered hors d’oeuvres and your favorite drink is brought over to you but is there any way your business could be without you for three months? No, so I’m going to put your identical twin brother or sister in your spot for three months. What would you have them do? If you’re not motivated enough to have a well-defined game plan that’s going to be a 30, 60, 90 day game plan that’s going to really make sure you maximize your time, it might be something that you put on your little paper today as something that you want to do. I never played football a day in my life but how many football coaches come into a game without the game plan? Except, Fred, maybe back in the day Rich Kotite tied up in Philadelphia. We’ve got to have the game plan and be motivated enough to plan out your time meticulously so that you get the most out of your time.

Fred Diamond: We’ve got a comment here from another Rich, ironically, who says, “Nice obscure Eagles reference” so good for you, Lisa, it’s very impressive. Rich Kotite of course was not the most successful coach as well but you’re so true about the plan. We have a couple dozen people watching the webinar today and a couple people here are regulars, are with us every day, good to see you all. Preparation comes up all the time when people suggest what you should be doing and we spend a lot of time talking about that. I mentioned before you should be calling prospects and one of the big things that comes up is preparing. As a matter of fact, tomorrow on our Creativity in Sales webinar we’re actually going to get into that with the great Lance Tyson very deeply but you’re right. It’s always the time to prepare and have your plan and I see some people who are watching today’s webinar are sales trainers at their company, that’s the big thing right now.

What should you be doing today because you have to because of all the results of the pandemic? But today’s going to be next month which is going to be January, it’s already middle of November, you’re going to need a plan for next year, it’s going to be different than it was at the beginning of this year. I like that idea of working on what you’ve got to be doing today but also thinking about how you prepare yourself because your customers are also simultaneously going through many challenges as well.

Lisa Peskin: It’s so very important and don’t wait till January 1st to do this because what we do right now and for the next six weeks is going to really affect what’s going to happen at the beginning of 2021 and I’ve learned psychologically it’s much easier to get off to a great start and ride the wave for the year than climb an uphill battle all year. Talk about the challenge psychologically to your attitude, so right now we’ve got to be making sure everybody’s got a 30, 60, 90 day game plan with both activity goals and results goals because no matter what you do, it’s all a numbers game. We’ve got to figure out those numbers, revers-engineer and when you do that and you have that well-defined game plan, you’re going to feel good about yourself because now you’re going to have a plan of action that’s going to help guide you and because it’s a rolling 30, 60, 90 day game plan you’ll be able to make the modifications necessary.

Here’s the book I’m writing and it’s a concept I’d love all of you to think about and it’s called Squeeze the Lemon. Everybody thinks it’s about making lemonade out of lemons. Although I’d be very good at that, that’s not what this is all about. This is about getting the most juice out of everything in your life, in your personal life if I’m going to hit the microwave for five minutes, what can I do in those five minutes? Or I’m walking up the stairs, what are all the things that I can pick up? Squeeze the lemon in our sales lives, let’s just say this happened to me last week, a customer said, “Lisa, you helped us get to growth of 17% last year, we didn’t even know we could hit those numbers. I pulled a number out of a hat and you helped us get there.” Squeeze the lemon is what can I get out of that conversation?

Ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation, “May I use you as a reference? Do you have anybody else that I might be able to help out?” The words that go along with this Lemon are being purposeful in everything that you do because if we’re purposeful, we’re going to get a lot more out of it. Are you pre-call planning before everything that you do? Are you checking them out on LinkedIn, all the people that you’re talking to? Are you getting the most out of every webinar? Are you getting the most out of every networking opportunity? Are you getting the most out of every client visit? The reason why this is the name of the book, one of my clients up here in Philadelphia, Pico said to me, “We’ve got to make sure our folks are squeezing the lemon” so I knew that’s what the name of the book was going to be. Again, are you motivated to go a little bit above and beyond what you’re doing right now?

Fred Diamond: I love that concept, because of everything that’s happened a lot of the sales professionals we talk to there’s a degree of pressure to ensure that of course, we’re being empathetic and that’s been a big theme. But a lot of people haven’t been asking their customer, it’s more like, “What can I do for you?” One thing we talk about all the time, Lisa, is you should be one, two or three steps ahead of where your customer might be so that you can provide them value for where they’re going to but one thing we really don’t talk about too much is what could you be asking your customer for?

Of course there’s the deal, the business, a sale but it could be value in a referral, it could be value in an idea. Right now one of the interesting things is that we’re all wondering, “Is our messaging correct?” Prior to the pandemic we always talked about talking to your customer but it’s hard to because you have what you want to get across and we talk a lot about the ways to be a more effective listener. Right now it’s not about asking what their pains are but asking them, “How can I be helping more customers like you get us more insights into the challenges that you’re going through?”

Lisa Peskin: Doing your homework, checking them out on LinkedIn ahead of time, saying who they know that you might want to know. There are so many different ways to squeeze a lemon and one of the tools that you’ll be able to find up on our website – it’s free – at businessdevelopmentuniversity.com is in the resources under BDUtensils you’ll find a client visit checklist. It’s not meant to be comprehensive but it’s all the drops of juice that we might be able to get out of a conversation, so that’s the next one.

The next one is since you’re your own boss, my boss is awesome. She is awesome, if I ever need a day off she gives it to me – and my boss is myself, by the way – but she also drives me so hard and she makes me work long days sometimes and is always pushing me to a different level. Are we really pushing ourselves to that different level? The analogy might be going to the gym back in the day we could go to the gym and feel good about it. We want to do three sets of 15 but the trainer wants us to do three sets of 25 and with the trainer we’re coming out and our arms are sore. Are we making our arms sore? Are we going above and beyond the call duty and are we going after, not just hitting our quota, but far exceeding our quota?

Fred Diamond: I’m looking at a lot of the names of people who are watching the show today and I know that they’re VPs or they work for companies, we tell everybody, “You’re the VP of your own career.” You might be working for ADP or wherever you’re working for but at the end of the day, you’re the VP of your career so treat yourself as being the best boss ever. I love that analogy, it’s tremendous.

Lisa Peskin: Thank you, and the next piece is we’ve got to build that pipeline with good qualified prospects on a consistent basis and all of you might be saying, “Lisa, I can’t do so much right now, how do I get those new prospects in my pipeline?” You’ve got to take a multi-pronged approach, you’ve got to go after it from different levels. If you’re not using video in your prospecting, you might want to start doing that. I had a guy from Israel send me a personalized video, he asked, “Why did you take my meeting?” and I said, “Because you made a personalized video for me.”

Pick up the phone, the phone is 10 times more effective than emails. Now’s a great time to use phone and video, you can use letters, all these things are going to differentiate you from other people. Literally one of my clients used the InfoAt on somebody’s website and got into a large shark tank company, I’m not going to mention the name, but did it because he went to InfoAt. We try different things, not everything works for everybody, not everything works in every situation. Make sure that you’re motivated enough not only to pick up that phone but to have a cadence hitting so many heavy-hitter prospects on a consistent basis with a multi-touch program. If you don’t have a program 8 to 12 touches, you’re not going to get in the door with as many net new prospects and that’s one of the keys to your success. When that pipeline is full we stop pushing and then we get that confidence.

Fred Diamond: The pipeline is so critical, we like to always say that the pipeline is the key and at the end of the day you need to be focused on that as well. I like the idea too that you had about going into the AtInfo, Friday’s show is called Creativity in Sales and sales has always been a creative juncture and you’re giving us so many interesting, thoughtful ways to think differently, think out of the box. The most successful sales professionals that we’re familiar with, they’re thinking creatively, not just tactics to get in the door but thinking creatively how to solve their customer’s problems, how to show the customer that you can help solve their problems. You’ve got to be thinking that way as well.

Lisa Peskin: The last thing that I want to talk to you all about today is Kaizen, and those are the Japanese words that you see in front of you and it means continuous improvement. Am I a little bit better today than I was yesterday? Am I a little bit better this month than last month? Am I a little bit better this quarter than last quarter? We have the tendency to compare ourselves to other people but the person you really should be comparing yourself to is yourself. At the end of every day you could do something so easy, it’s called a mirror check. You look yourself in the mirror and you say, “What did I do great today and what worked well? What didn’t I do so good today?” and then you’re a little bit better today than yesterday, that’s Kaizen and that’s continuous improvement and that’s why all of you are taking the time out of your very busy day to listen to today.

It’s all about sharpening your saw, making yourself the very best you can be so if you’re underperforming, how do you get to hit those numbers? If you’re average, what do you need to do to get to be good? If you’re good, can you get to be great? And if you’re great, can you truly become a superstar? I have really good news for everybody on this, there’s not a big difference between the average performer and the superstar, sometimes it’s the little things. I’m going to go back for one last baseball analogy, if I said someone was a 280 hitter over their lifetime, Fred, what would you say about that hitter?

Fred Diamond: There’s a couple guys in the Hall of Fame who had a lifetime batting average of 280. It’s good, not great but it’s good.

Lisa Peskin: Now if I said 330, what do you say?

Fred Diamond: You’re a Hall-of-Famer, you’re first ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Lisa Peskin: Exactly, so let’s think about this. Math, 280 is 28 hits for every hundred of bats, 330 is 33 hits for every hundred of bats. The only difference is five hits for every hundred of bats which is only 5% so if you’re sitting here and saying, “There’s so much I’ve got to do to get better”, sometimes it’s just these little tweaks that can be the big difference.

Fred Diamond: Let’s talk a little bit about some specific things that you think the top performing sales professionals would be doing to get from the 280 hitter to the 330 hitter.

Lisa Peskin: #1 is you need that 30, 60, 90 game plan. If you can’t immediately email your boss right now with your game plan, that means you don’t have it so get that done, it’s not that hard, it should only take you around an hour. There are some tools at my website, a BDU goal sheet and a wheel of fortune that can help you do it, we can get it done within an hour’s time but get your game plan done. #2, analyze your business. In doing your game plan you’ve got to go 15 feet up and I challenge everybody to figure out what your triage areas are. Those are your three areas that if improved upon will have the biggest impact on performance. #3, I would be looking at where your business came in from last year specifically, the source of business analysis because that’s going to be an eye-opener for you.

Take a look at where your businesses come from, I just went through this analysis with a client this morning, he got four out of his six brand new pieces of business that he got this year out of two people and he hasn’t even contacted one in the past three months. Take a look at where that business comes from and make sure you’re contacting your A’s and your B’s centers of influences because it’s a smart thing to be doing right now and all old clients.

Fred Diamond: Lisa, before you give us the final action step that people should do today, and those are three great ones, if you could show us some of your upcoming slides I know there are some resources that the BDU makes available. Show us some of those things so that some of our people can go get some access to your information.

Lisa Peskin: I’m just going to tell you this real quickly just so you wonder why this is up on the screen. Life isn’t once upon a time, lived happily ever after, it’s more like a whack-a-mole, you pick your head up and somebody bobs that baby down. You have control, just like my dad said, of your attitude and when something happens to you and here’s an easy way for all of you to put your tough days or tough times or no’s or whatever in perspective. I want you to imagine yourself old and gray sitting in a rocking chair and you say, “Am I going to remember that on November 12th, this happened to me?” if the answer is no, put it in perspective. It’s not a big problem.

As I mentioned, up on the website at businessdevelopmentuniversity.com under resources you’re going to find a ton of tools, they’re all for free and you can pick them off. One is the sales profile and that will help you with your triage, every Friday we do a sales success peer group and I bring in people from my life that have been extremely successful, again, it’s complementary. And starting next Thursday, we’re so excited to announce we’re doing a book club so our first book is going to be Fanatical Prospecting and it’s 5:30 to 6:30 Eastern standard time so you can have an adult beverage and talk with other professionals about this great book. Here are all the different ways to follow me and to get in touch and then please, if I can help you in any way, LinkedIn to me, send me a message, call me, text me, whatever it might be. Anything I could do to help you out would be my pure pleasure. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this opportunity, I hope I’ve given each one of you at least one little thing that you could think about, take away that can make an impact on your success moving forward.

Fred Diamond: Lisa, I want to thank you so much, we’re getting some nice comments here. A comment from Jerry saying, “This is excellent, I’m going to work on my 30, 60, 90 right now.” A comment here from Claudia – hey, Claudia, it’s been a while – Claudia says, “Thank you so much.” Got a comment here from Gina – not our Gina, a different Gina – who says, “This was great, look forward to listening again.” Lisa, give us one final action step. 30, 60, 90, the other ones you mentioned are tremendous. Give us something that people should do right now if they’re watching the webinar or if they’re listening to the podcast in the future or if they’re reading the transcript. One critical action step they need to do right now to implement a lot of the great stuff you just talked about. You’ve given us so many ideas but give us one.

Lisa Peskin: Go buy a set of 3×5 cards, I want you to break it into two sets. One set I want you to write one self-affirmation or one goal on each card and I want you to look at that every single day in the morning and I’d like you to look at it again at night but if I can just get once a day, I’ll take once a day. The second set I’d like to you put away, put it in an envelope and open it on December 31st right before your New Year’s Eve party and this could make a huge impact. Self-affirmation cards, “I’m going to have this much net worth by X, Y, Z.” Make them in the smart format, put your personal, put your business, you’re going to be amazed if you look at these every day how many you’re going to accomplish.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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