EPISODE 284: Thomson Reuters Sales Leaders Larry Goeckner and Rob Beattie Offer a Wealth of Creative Sales Ideas to End the Year Strong

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the SALES GAME CHANGERS LIVE Webinar sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales and hosted by Fred Diamond on October 29, 2020. It featured Thomson Reuters sales leaders Rob Beattie and Larry Goeckner.]

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EPISODE 284: Thomson Reuters Sales Leaders Larry Goeckner and Rob Beattie Offer a Wealth of Creative Sales Ideas to End the Year Strong

ROB’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Find a way to affect your reality, not accept your reality. I’m a big student of history, I love quotes, there was a commander of the French Army in World War I named Ferdinand Foch and he famously said once, “My center is giving away, my right is in retreat, situation excellent, I shall attack.” I try to bring that type of mindset every single day no matter what’s happening, “Okay, my center is giving away, attack.” Bring that sort of, “How can I impact what’s in front of me?” There are certain things you can’t control, put them aside, find the things you can do something about.”

LARRY’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Now, more than ever, we need to engage. Looking at what’s possible, if there were no constraints, if everything was at your disposal what would you do? It’s amazing when you get that kind of ideation going and then you start looking at what could actually do?” Incredible innovation that comes from engaging with people other than who you typically would.”

Fred Diamond: You may recognize our guests, Rob Beattie and Larry Goeckner, they were guests on the Sales Game Changers podcast earlier this year, they’re both based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We’re of course broadcasting the show live here from Northern Virginia. Gentlemen, it’s good to see you, you’re up in Michigan, you said it’s a nice early fall day up there, the weather’s going to start changing probably soon. Why don’t you give us a little bit of an introduction? Everybody’s probably heard of Thomson Reuters but they may not know exactly what the company does so Rob, why don’t you give us a little bit of a description of what the company is, what you do and then Larry, why don’t you tell us who you guys sell to?

Rob Beattie: Fred, it’s great to be back with you, I really appreciate it. It’s funny, the last time we met there was unexpected snow throughout the ground in Ann Arbor and today we have a nice fall day. It doesn’t really matter because I’m down here in the bunker of love, AKA my basement, instead of in the building where we met the last time. It’s been a little bit of a weird summer.

Thomson Reuters is a company I think a lot of people have heard of, the most common thing that people know is Reuters News which is a piece of our business which is what I think is the best and unbiased news providing just stories from around the globe. Thomson Reuters itself, we work with professionals in legal, tax, corporate divisions providing information to them, software services so that they can do their job more efficiently and better. We like to refer to ourselves as the answer company, when people aren’t sure what they need, come to Thomson and get that answer. That’s who we are in the big. Larry, why don’t you tell them about what our division does specifically?

Larry Goeckner: Echoing Rob’s comments, just the graciousness, I appreciate being back with you, Fred. It does seem like a lot more than a year ago, it seems like multiple years ago but I feel like in the time of COVID it’s hard to say how long a day, a week or a month is. The specific part of the business that Rob and I are with is the tax and accounting professionals, that’s predominantly your public accounting firms. Specifically for our part, we’re working with firms that are in that 1 to 30 professional range as well.

Fred Diamond: Let’s get right to it. You mentioned that we did do the interview at your beautiful office in Ann Arbor which, for people listening around the globe, it’s about 30-40 miles west of Detroit, Michigan. That was an interesting trip, it was a nice snow day with about 10 inches of snow sometime in November. You guys manage teams and obviously you’re not in the office, Rob, you mentioned you’re in your bunker there so let’s get right to it. Larry, why don’t you go first? How has the pandemic affected your sales process and how has it affected your management of your sales team?

Larry Goeckner: It’s been really interesting. I think the level of disruption that we had was pretty minimal and I think that was from some very strong foresight of being set up with office 365, we made – I wouldn’t say an overly painful move, but we made a move to that a couple years ago which meant that we went from thinking about working remote, “This could be coming pretty soon” to, “We’re going remote” and there was almost no interruption. Just basically left the office, grabbed some hardware and we’re up and running. It’s definitely affected us from a standpoint of making sure that everybody had access to information, that we’re continuing to communicate well with people and I think it forced us to be a little bit more creative on specifically keeping our people engaged. Then we’ll probably get into this a little bit more in some of the questions but I’ve also seen tremendous creativity amongst ourselves in ways of serving our customers and operating a little bit differently. This kind of move we may not have gotten to or it would have taken much longer so it’s been a real accelerant on that ingenuity front.

Fred Diamond: How about you, Rob? I know you’re very much involved with organizations like the AA-ISP and when we first interviewed you, we went really deep into best practices and behaviors of sales professionals. A lot of people said, “I’m inside sales so I’m typically in remote mode.” This is the first time that everybody’s been remote, not just the sales team but the managers and support, finance and marketing and not just internally but externally as well and everybody’s family and spouse. What have been some of your observations? It’s interesting, we’re 8 months into wherever we are right now so everybody’s figured out how to get home, everybody’s figured out where to be in the building or your house, I should say but from a sales perspective, where are you right now and how are the changes taking hold?

Rob Beattie: It’s really been an interesting journey. When I think back to March 16th which was I think the first day we actually officially went to home, the week before I was in Phoenix speaking at a conference. I got the notification that we were laying off the travel and it was time to get home and all that stuff and I’m like, “This doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal” and then suddenly here we are 8 months later. What was a unique, “All right, we’ll deal with this for a couple of months”, I remember saying to my wife, “The kids will be back in school by May 4th, this is going to get fixed” and now here we are, I think it’s changed a lot. It’s exposed some strengths within the organization, Larry alluded to a few things and we’ll dive into those a little bit later on, some things I think forced innovation on us where we weren’t necessarily ready to innovate before but it also exposed some weaknesses in the way that people onboard people into their organizations.

How important for us that centralized culture has been over the years to now, “When you’re going to join our team, how do we replicate that feeling, that sense of belonging that we used to get from people being in the office?” Now you’re doing it over a Teams call or a Zoom call, whatever it might be. I’m sure a lot of organizations are going through this too, as you mentioned, the AA-ISP, the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals. I’ve spoken to a lot of organizations and depending on who they were and where they were this has either been a slight disruption to their process to a massive overhaul to their process and everything in between. That spectrum is very different, let’s not forget throughout the middle of the summer we had and saw the long overdue rise and look at social justice and the impact that was having. You have people who are used to being in an office able to connect with their friends and coworkers and really talk through things, they’re now in their own office by themselves at home.

We had a time where there were some people on our team who I don’t think had really left their apartments for a couple of weeks so that sense of isolation and loneliness, that’s not really something that I think a lot of centralized sales teams were prepared to deal with. There’s a psychological toll in addition to the physical manifestations of your work environment that are different and you alluded to it. I have two coworkers, one who’s in first grade and one who’s in fourth grade, they are constantly needing attention and help and don’t quite understand, “Why does dad have to be on this call? Why can’t he help me with this math lesson?” That disruption of life comes in as well.

Fred Diamond: Larry, what are the priorities right now? Again, you manage a team, you have to still sell. It’s interesting, there’s been an evolution. In the beginning everybody was trying to figure out, like Rob said, “How do we now deal with this?” and like you mentioned, some companies were better ready to transition than others, if you will. Now it’s 8 months in, we’re doing this interview, October 28th, three days before Halloween. What are the priorities today, Larry?

Larry Goeckner: I think the biggest thing with all of this is that when there’s the disruption of this magnitude, there’s an opportunity for those who are willing to really get close to their people and close to their customers and look at how they can be part of creating something or co-creating. I think about in a world where things are less in flux, there’s more of a norm, it’s a lot easier to take what you have and then figure out how to have a better conversation with the customer. In a world where everything shuts down and you say, “There’s no precedent for this” first of all, how do we make that outreach? Rob mentioned a little bit the feeling of isolation but it’s interesting that it wasn’t just us. Think about this, what I’ve always thought is very fascinating about our customers who are small to mid-type accounting firms and their staff, they’re very much normal people so if we’re feeling something, they’re probably going through something similar. They have children at home, they’ve got staff they’re concerned about or if they are staff they’re saying, “I miss seeing my customers or my clients, I miss seeing my colleagues.”

In many cases they  were actually very happy to hear from us often times even those who weren’t current customers as we wanted to know what’s going on, what’s working well, what are the challenges, what are the things that you’ve done so far? Looking at how we could bring what we had to bear of software, tools, research and guidance and whatnot to them in some cases to make the terms work for them and that oftentimes meant very generous trials or length in promotions. In some cases it caused us to get incredibly creative and figure out how we either modify something we had to make sense for them or to come up with something very different co-creating that with them. That’s been an incredible amount of fun in a way that you’d think, “Taxing accounting? That can’t be very exciting.” As small businesses, think restaurants and retail shops that either went out of business, were in danger of going out of business helping our customers help their clients keep the lights on which is not overstating, those are the things that drive the American economy, we’re sitting right at that intersection.

Fred Diamond: Rob, let’s focus on that a little bit. We’ve seen an evolution over the 8 months that we’ve been doing these daily webinars about the types of conversations people are having. Again, we’re 8 months past when we got started so what should those conversations be right now? If you’re a sales professional right now watching today’s webinar or listening to the podcast, what would be your advice on the types of conversations? I ask this question a couple different ways. We’ve had some sales leaders who’ve said, “Talk about how are you doing, how are things going, be empathetic” really deep into that and then we’ve had some of the sales leaders who’ve said, “They’re getting that, I don’t want to waste your time, let’s get right to what you and I need to talk about” which is how you get past COVID and how you get past the financial challenges that might be going on right now. Rob, you’re an expert on these types of conversations, give us some of your advice on what they should be looking like today.

Rob Beattie: Fred, obviously a key there is to know your potential buyer and your customer so if it’s somebody who needs that empathetic ear, make sure you’re bringing it because otherwise you’re going to lose them before you even have a chance. At the same time, some people don’t want that and they want to get going forward. What I’ve been encouraging people to do is recognize that this is normal now, there is no after COVID, we don’t see a path to that. That’s coming someday hopefully, but I said to a friend of mine yesterday, “You’re going to probably be wearing a mask to go grocery shopping for the next 10 years so that’s where we are.” So if I’m talking to a prospect or a customer, I’m trying to change the conversation to, “What are the thing you’re doing today to continue to enhance your business so that you can continue to be successful in this world?”

Larry didn’t mention it but in our particular world, they’ve also got significant delays to their filing deadlines and new rules and laws that were dropped on them ad-hoc and people are calling them up begging them for information. “What does it mean if I take this loan out? Do I have to repay it? Is it a gift?” They were having to deal with that kind of stress so anything we could do that would help them acknowledge, understand and then, “Let’s deal with it, what are you doing? How are you going to approach this in our world next tax season? If you’re selling software to a sales organization, how is it going to impact what they can do today?” All of those things to me are really what you want to focus on not too far off in the future because we handed every prospect the ultimate delay to buy. “When the pandemic is done, then we can talk.” That’s never so you have to assume that, it sounds really bleak and I’m certainly not a pessimist but there is a normal to this right now, so deal with what’s in the moment.

You ask Larry what are we focused on, a lot of what we’ve been talking about this summer is, “How do we transform our organization to better deal with the situation that we have at hand and set us up for long-term success?” Don’t make decisions that are only valid if there’s never a vaccine for COVID, make decisions that make sense for your business on both fronts. Take that time to look and say, “If I’m making this choice now, will this benefit me long-term?” We had an event that we used to do in person, it was one of our signature things – obviously can’t do that anymore – and we would do a series of them throughout the summer. We were forced into recognizing we have to do that virtual, our team got together, came up with a great plan so now in my thought is, “We’ve got the virtual, when we can go back to in-person that’s going to do nothing but add to what we’re able to do.” It’s not take one and get rid of it for the other, now we’ve got a great idea, let’s see how we leverage both.

Fred Diamond: Larry, I have a follow-up question to that. Rob made a really good point that the people that you sell to are on the front lines of a lot of what’s been happening with the PPP loans and everything related to that, bankruptcies, obviously those are things that accountants get to deal with. All of a sudden there’s been this rush of information, how have you trained your salespeople to be able to have the right types of conversations with those types of customers who are relying upon Thomson Reuters for the answers like Rob mentioned in the beginning? A lot of companies had to deal with getting their people focused on remote selling and using the systems, looking at the dot, using your hands, those types of things and being empathetic. Your customers were on the front end of they need to know real things, not just how to use a piece of software. How have you prepared your sales team to be in that position to really be a true trusted partner of your customer who needed your help during this time?

Larry Goeckner: We did a couple things on that and again, I’d like to say we had a crystal ball and looked ahead on this. We’ve focused a lot on that business level of conversations with customers as opposed to just getting into features and benefits, I’d say that’s been a hallmark of our way of selling. If you have the right types of conversation, the sale follows naturally out of a conversation or a relationship. I think about for myself being a consumer, there’s times where you’re the buyer and you probably have more gratitude for the seller than that seller has for you as the buyer because they did something exceptional for you.

I’d say we were already well down that path. There are some great resources that we had between internal resources and customer facing resources that were podcast that were along this exact same theme. We’ve got a particular one called Pulse of the Practice that’s about the advisory type of relationship that again, crystal ball, I’d started the last year promoting that with my sales teams to be listening about this. It was more with the intention of selling an offering that we have, embedded in there were the types of nuggets that we needed to help our staff engage customers and very much prospects as well which is very unique. Second thing too is I think the virtual world has created some tremendous opportunities as well where in the past I think we were sometimes restricted by who is in our geographic space. If the three of us work in the same office and those on the call work in the same office and we’ve got a great colleague that is somewhere else or a resource that we could tap into someplace else, we wouldn’t necessarily think about then.

When all of a sudden the playing field is level and everybody is bilocated in a certain way, if that person is in a different part of the state, a different part of the country or the other side of the world, to be able to bring them in to address the group and share that information, engage in a conversation, it has this tremendous leveling effect.

One last thing I would say too on this is it’s amazing how frequently customers are willing to help educate you so that you can then help others. We had a couple of customer interactions, these virtual client panels that were outstanding from an opportunity certainly for us to learn and those launched off there before, they also got so much out of being part of that conversation with us and connecting with the other panels we had on that. It had a great educational effect and I think they came out of there with their tanks really filled as well from something that they were giving back to us, giving to one another and then getting just as much in return as well.

Rob Beattie: I’m glad you didn’t say that was good in spite of the host of that, by the way.

Fred Diamond: [Laughs] so speaking of the host of that particular session, we have a question here from Kevin. A slightly different angle here but Kevin wants to know – Rob, why don’t you start with this? – “‘How have you continued to keep the team’s morale high during these unprecedented times?” That’s been a big challenge. We’ve talked about this so many times, 2020 was going to be everybody’s best year ever. Back in February, the beginning of March and January everyone had these amazing plans for 2020 and we all know where it’s gone, without having to deal into certain opportunities or industries that really have thrived and we’re all familiar with those as well. Morale, again, you haven’t seen your team I presume in person, you both are very hands-on manager types so to Kevin’s question and then Larry, take it as well, how have you maintained the morale of your team during these unprecedented times?

Rob Beattie: Fred, I think as a leader you’ve got to be thinking about that because what they need from a morale standpoint changes as time goes by. When this whole thing first started, on the first Tuesday I actually sent out an invitation to everybody and said, “Let’s do a virtual happy hour Friday.” Nobody had really thought of virtual happy hours at that time but it was something where I’m like, “Let’s do a quick connection, we’ll see how it’s going, we’ll tell funny stories, we’ll see how it goes.” We did those basically up until July 4th but that sort of petered out, it stopped having the same desired connection effect because now we all were experiencing cam fatigue or however you want to call that. If you happen to be watching this live and are looking at me on the screen, behind me there’s this pirate flag that’s hanging up. On the day we left the office I took that, brought it home and put it up on the wall because it’s a department symbol for us and it’s way too deep to go into why, but I wanted people to visually see that and say, “That’s part of who we are.”

I want that connection, that visual connection to the culture, it’s one of the main reasons I’ve maintained an office in the basement. To the point about this is the normal, this is what we’re dealing with but I still feel like being in the basement here gives it a temporary feel so that people feel like, “Okay, there is going to be a time where things go back, Rob’s in the office and things look different.” Doing some of that, certainly been doing a lot more connection with people, doing virtual meetings, Larry does this too. It’s interesting to watch but I can tell that we’re focused on the morale of our people because every meeting we’re on we have our webcams on. There’s a lot of people within the organization that do not, but I think that’s something that says, “Look, I’m transparent, here I am, genuine and I’m going.” The last thing is I mentioned it before, when the country started to really examine social justice and where we are we had some very transparent conversations with our teams, shared our thoughts and feelings about how that was affecting us, made it as much of a safe place as we possibly could.

When times are tough, the leadership hallmarks that you have to represent are true transparency, strong communication, you do have to have empathy and I always tell people – it sounds silly when I say it, I think we talked about it on our original podcast – you’ve got to show love. You’ve got to have that love for your people, you have to really genuinely care and people recognize that. I think that does more to help morale than anything else, we have a lot of salespeople who have had their hardest year and it doesn’t feel like it’s going to get better in the next couple of months, it’s just right now you’re like, “Man, this is really tough.” I like to hear that and say, “What are you going to do about it?” From an ownership standpoint, how are you going to do this? I think sometimes just having that conversation gives them that energy to, “I’m going to go at this at least one more day. How do I handle this one more day?” I’ve always said that’s one of my jobs, I just want to get people to not quit one day later.

Fred Diamond: Let’s talk about that specifically. We have sales professionals who are watching today’s webinar who are senior, we have some that are a little more junior, if you will. Let’s talk about how you’re coaching the senior, more seasoned sales professionals and how are you coaching the more junior sales professionals? Larry, why don’t you go first? What are you expecting?

Larry Goeckner: It does build pretty nicely off Kevin’s question which I think is a good one. In some ways I don’t know that it’s so entirely different, my two cents is one of the biggest learnings that I’ve had coming out of this time is what I think is the ideal colleague and staff members. If you think about somebody at your peer level or above or that reports to you, it’s that focus on, “What can I do or how can I…?” This whole thing of resilience, co-creation, things of that nature and I don’t know that that’s so unique to more senior or more junior. I do think it is an important thing to figure out what is training and what is coaching. If you think about some of the more junior ones, it could be training and that training could be product or business level conversations, it could be industry acumen, it could sometimes just be helping people know, “Things are going to be alright.”

Relatively early in my professional career I was often in the same part of the business with Thomson Reuters, we went through the financial meltdown in 2008-2009 so I lived through this. There’s still not a precedent, but there’s something more akin to this to compare to so I could relate to that. For the more senior ones, I think part of it is just reminding people about the places where they’ve been excellent, reminding them of the success they’ve had, they didn’t stop being good, they didn’t stop serving customers in an amazing way. Often times it’s reminding people, “Get out there and talk to your best customers.” You never want to minimize what we’re going through right now as if to say, “All this is like a sales bump” because it’s certainly not. The stakes are very high, the widespread nature of this but it’s not entirely different conversations than I would have with somebody when they hit just a little bit of a slump let’s say specifically their sales career. Did you stop being good? Did you stop having anything of value to bring to a customer

Go seek out a couple people that think highly of you, that have said really good things to you before and talk to them to get that going. The other thing for more senior people, it’s important that they get in the right mental state first but that whole thing about the customers on our customer panel who got more out of being part of that in that giving mode probably than we did. If you can get people that are good, they just get a little bit questionable on whether or not there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, get them in the right mental state and then get them giving back. Those people that are a little bit more senior that are excellent, have been excellent, getting them in that mode where they are mentoring and coaching again. Once they’re in that right mindset it can become incredibly invigorating for them.

Fred Diamond: Rob, we have a follow-up to the question about the camera that we were talking about and how people are more willing to keep the camera on. The question comes here from Gabrielle, first of all she says, “Go Blue” so obviously an Ann Arbor reference. “Keeping the webcams on 100% of the time can lead to burnout. If it’s a one-on-one meeting I always keep it on but in a mass meeting I turn it off unless I am talking. How do you suggest that we balance the on-camera meeting burnout with your people and for yourselves?” Let’s get a little bit specific about being on camera. To let everybody know, right before today’s webcast started all three of us put on sport coats and something you’re typically not going to do in your basement. I wear a sport coat every time we’re doing a webinar, so let’s talk a little bit about that, about your recommendations for not getting burnout. Gabrielle, thanks again for your question.

Rob Beattie: I’m wearing a sport coat but there’s a still a question of whether or not I’m wearing pants, right? [Laughs] I actually think that’s a great point, my wife and I talk about this a lot, the phrase people use is Zoom fatigue, I don’t care what you call it but it is exhausting. There’s stuff all over the place, I think whatever works for you. In a lot of meetings I’m addressing a large group of people so I feel obligated, I’m going to have my camera on for that to happen. I’m many times the most senior person on the call, therefore I say I’m going to do that. For one-on-one meetings I will leave it on but there are sometimes when I’ll say to somebody, “We’re just having a phone call, I’m going to call you on your cellphone and I’m going to walk.” Because if we’re not having to do something, don’t be afraid of that. I had a great conversation with somebody Monday and we were both walking, it wasn’t like we needed to share a document, we just wanted to talk through some strategy.

That pattern interrupt I think becomes really important, I try to do that for myself, I have become rigorous about trying to make sure that I get up in the morning and I take care of the things that are Rob-only things before my children get up, before I have to go to work. I took yoga back up again and if you saw me you’d be like, “That guy is not a yoga guy” but I find when I do those days I feel myself balanced. I don’t get as much Zoom fatigue but again, you can see I’m in sort of a dark space. I put some different lighting down here so that when I’m talking I’m not seeing all the stuff behind me and I change the lighting depending on what I’m working on and what I’m doing but that to me helps minimize that. I try to work very hard on the environment itself. I used to have a wired headset and I realized that that was disruptive to me because it kept me locked into my chair and I would move around and knock stuff over so I dumped that and grabbed a wireless headset and I feel a lot more free now, and I changed out my chair.

There’s a lot of environmental things but Larry was alluding to this too, I alluded to it with customers, Gabrielle, it’s a great question. Everything is personal, like when you’re going to coach your reps, it’s the same thing. I’ve got to know who that person is. I used to refer to one of my reps, he was like a jet fighter and another one of my reps was like a B-25 Bomber, I used to call him the Memphis Bell. If you ever saw the movie The Memphis Bell, that plane comes back and it’s missing a wheel, an engine, its tail is shot off but they’re still able to land that thing, it can handle anything. A jet fighter loses a screw, it’s in the side of a mountain so knowing who your people are and how you as the mechanic have to help them navigate stuff, I think becomes super important.

Fred Diamond: We have time for two more questions that are coming in here. We’ll address this to Larry and then we’ll address the next question to Rob. What are your expectations for sales or BD professionals right now? Again, you manage a whole wide swath of teams, I think Rob made a really good point and we talk about this all the time too. What’s in front of you, we started using the hashtag #rightnow, what do you need to do right now, what should you be doing right now? Larry, what are your expectations for your sales team? It doesn’t matter if they’re senior or junior, what are your expectations as the leader from them right now?

Larry Goeckner: I’m thinking about how to sum this up a little bit more succinctly but what I always think about both in good times but especially in challenging times, I always think about the basketball example. When you’re learning to play basketball, especially when you start getting into defensive posture it’s the balls of your feet. To me, that says I’m ready to pounce, I’m ready to spring, I’m bringing initiative. I go back to even how did we have a successful transition from being in the office on March 12th or 13th and then working from home on March 15th or 16th just like that? Our mindset didn’t go into, “We’ve just got to survive this.” We never stopped having that outgoing expectation of we’re moving forward. I think that’s the thing I always look at for employees and colleagues as well, what are you doing about it? And it should always be forward looking, if there’s a challenge then what do we do with this?

Rob used the example before, we have a couple marquee in-person events that we’ve had to shift pretty significantly and we could have just said, “We’re not going to do it this year” and miss out on that, or we do something where we just mail it in and say, “We’ll do something that’s virtual.”  We can do better than that, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our customers to do something outstanding and again, working with them on making it excellent and getting a cross-functional group. When I say cross-functional that probably sounds different for a 25,000 employee organization versus maybe a 6 person small company. But those who can impact it with some input of the customer voice, be looking at ways to continually move forward. To me, there’s a certain point where that’s all I can ask. If you do those things repeatedly over time, good things will happen.

Fred Diamond: We’re coming down to the end of today’s Sales Game Changers Live webinar. Larry, I’m going to ask you for your final though in a second. Rob, we have one final question I want to address to you, the question comes in from Kevin again. Thanks, Kevin. Kevin says, “Being new to sales, I find myself feeling robotic right now. Any advice on how to spread my day?” That’s an interesting question. We’re all in our basements or garage or kitchen table, wherever it might be, the computer is always on, we’re not going somewhere. One thing that occurred to me the other day, someone said, “What are you missing most?” and it occurred to me, going out for lunch. Every lunch I’ve had has been pretty much from upstairs, I’m on my first floor but not just meeting people for lunch but going somewhere for lunch, going somewhere different. What are some of your suggestions for some of the people watching today to be in the mode of difference or how to shift the day? Give us some advice on that and then Larry, I’m going to ask you for your final thought, then Rob, I’m going to ask you to wrap it up for us.

Rob Beattie: I would say that on that front, listening to this is the kind of thing you need to do. You need to find time to escape the day to day stuff, I keep saying that Zoom fatigue is a real deal so find a way to break up your day. Lock your schedule, read a book, take a walk, find somebody who’s not in your company to connect with. I’m lucky enough that I’m married to somebody who basically functions as an executive coach, that’s what she does so she and I will take a walk throughout the day and I’ll talk through issues and things that I’m going through at work. It becomes a nice break in both of our days to have that professional conversation.

Larry and I will actually talk to each other all the time just impromptu in different issues facing the business and I try to do that also with my reps and other people on my team, find a way to do that. Kevin, I would offer, absolutely, find me on LinkedIn, set up a call, let’s just talk. I think sometimes getting a little bit of inspiration from a different place, whatever that may be, can really be that game changer. Right now the sales game is a different game and as part of the Sales Game Changers podcast I would say one of the ways you’ve got to change is I can’t be robotic. If I recognize that’s going on, I’m on a slow path or a fast path to failure because robots eventually break down. I have to bring that human element, I have to find ways to affect myself so that I can put myself in the best mental state I can.

Fred Diamond: Gentlemen, I want to thank you so much. Give us one final action step, we like to end every webinar with an action step that people can take today. We have about 30 seconds each so Larry, give us your final action step and then Rob, you’ll bring us home.

Larry Goeckner: A final thought that springboards off of that last question is just continue to be learning. Now more than ever especially just engage others, you think about October being Mental Health Awareness month, we’re meant to be communal beings and honestly what makes this very challenging is not only everything else that’s going on but we’re separated from people. I would extend that same offer to any of your listeners, I know time is always at a premium but I’d be thrilled to have that conversation with somebody within our organization, outside the organization. Someday this may be flipped around and I’m the one who’s asking somebody, “I need somebody to give me a different direction on this, can you give me a tip?” Looking at what’s possible, we did this exercise back in March, if there were no constraints, if everything was at your disposal what would you do? It’s amazing when you get that kind of ideation going and then you start looking at, “Are all of these crazy or is there something we could actually do?” There’s some incredible innovation that comes from that but that’s taking the time to think and sometimes engaging with people other than who you typically would.

Rob Beattie: Let me build off that real quick for my final thought. I think what Larry just said is you’ve got to find a way to affect your reality, not accept your reality. That to me is what it all boils down to, I’m a big student of history, I love quotes, there was a commander of the French Army in World War I named Ferdinand Foch and he famously said once, “My center is giving away, my right is in retreat, situation excellent, I shall attack.” I try to bring that type of mindset every single day no matter what’s happening, “Okay, my center is giving away, attack.” Bring that sort of, “How can I impact what’s in front of me?” There are certain things you can’t control, put them aside, find the things you can do something about.

Fred Diamond: One of the things that we’ve learned through doing all these webinars every single day is that it might be different, you might not be doing the transactions that you were doing in the past but if you’re a sales professional, be a professional. What does that mean? Like Larry said, continuously learn, like Rob said, find something new to mix up the day and find people to talk to, be of value and of service to your customer.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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