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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Sales Game Changers Panel Webinar hosted by Fred Diamond, Host of the Sales Game Changers Podcast, on May 20, 2020. It featured sales leaders Gary Milwit (JG Wentworth) and Expert Sales Trainer Bob Greene.]
EPISODE 236: Great Ideas for Leading Sales Teams and Customers Forward from Wentworth’s Gary Milwit and Sales Training Expert Bob Greene
Listen to Gary Milwit’s Podcast .
BOB’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “What’s my advice for sales professionals today? First thing I would do is pick up the phone. When you’re having a conversation with your prospects, just pick up the phone and say, “I’m calling to see how you’re doing. I want to understand your business and what challenges you’re facing.” Once your prospect realizes that it’s not a sales call and that it’s a caring call that’s huge because now you have an opportunity to hone your phone skills and build rapport the same time.”
Fred Diamond: Gary Milwit, it’s great to see you today, thank you so much for being here. Wentworth, you guys are an IES member, you’re also an IES Premier Sales Employer so congratulations on that, it’s a great place to work. I know that you’ve been very busy over the last two months, you’re hiring a bunch of people getting them on boarded. Why don’t you tell us what’s going on with you? Tell us what your big priorities are right now.
Gary Milwit: It’s great to be here, thanks. That is right, we are hiring a lot of people. Since we went remote we’ve had 39 newly hired salespeople graduate from our onboarding program and we have 31 that are in the program currently. They’ve never been to the office, not one of our offices, never been there so it’s a huge priority to make sure they’re trained up and to make sure they’re sales ready when they get to the virtual sales floor.
Fred Diamond: What are some of the things you’re doing if you’re onboarding people right now in this virtual world? They’re not going to see their coworkers or maybe they’ll see them on a Zoom screen or something. What are some of the things you’re doing to get these people acclimated to the company?
Gary Milwit: That’s the challenge, the challenge is getting them acclimated to the company, they’ve barely even been inside of it. We have to have people come to visit us, we have to have a lot of meetings, we have to be short, we have to be very productive in what we do and we have to be organized. One of the things that we’re doing to make sure the people are engaged is we have to add value every time we have a meeting and we have a lot of meetings. If they don’t add value we’re no good.
Fred Diamond: It’s great that you’re hiring because a lot of places aren’t. Introduce the people to what your company does, they might have seen your company on commercials or something but tell us again what Wentworth does for the people who don’t know.
Gary Milwit: We have two different divisions, we have one division that deals with debt release, debt settlement so we help people settle their credit card and secure debts which is a brand new organization for us, brand new division. Then we also have a division that buys future payment streams, so structured settlements, annuities, lottery wins. Bob knows all about this, Bob had a structured settlement from a company that he sold and is a former Stone Street Capital client, actually. We buy future payments for present value money and we usually deal with consumers.
Fred Diamond: What do your salespeople do? Before we went into this “new world” if you will, constantly prospecting, making phone calls, is it a hundred call a day type of a job or what type of things do people do who work for your company?
Gary Milwit: It’s a huge sales force. We have three different offices, huge sales force, lots of inbound leads, you see the commercials, we’re on TV, direct response television, TBC advertising. You have to earn your way to that lead floor so we have an inbound team and we also have an outbound team. The people that are onboarding are learning how to onboard and sell through outbound calling which for those of you that are on this call, that’s a 2% close rate on average on outbound call, not easy so you’ve got to learn how to leave the voicemail, got to learn how to receive that and engage quickly. We have inbound and outbound all inside sales.
Fred Diamond: Bob Greene, I’ve known you for a while. You’re a sales trainer extraordinaire, you’ve trained thousands if not tens of thousands of people in many industries, association world, the financial services world, if you will. You’re a pretty upbeat and positive guy, why don’t you give us a positive surprise that’s come out of this? Again, from the sales and business world what’s something positive that we can reflect back on today?
Bob Greene: It’s funny, one of my clients have to use a call center and I’m training them similar to what Gary is experiencing, we’re doing national recruiting, we’re hiring, we’re figuring out onboarding protocols and a pleasant surprise I found is we’ve gone from a physical to a virtual call center, productivity has increased. We’re getting people spending more time focused on their job, taking less breaks, not showing up for work late, not calling in sick and the actual productivity, their actual workflow is better now that they’re working virtually because they feel that we’ve invested in them and they’re returning the investment to us.
Fred Diamond: Gary, how about with you as well? What’s a positive thing? We’ll get deep into some of the challenges that sales professionals are having to overcome right now and we’re going to be aspirational.
Gary Milwit: I think the best thing that could ever come out of this is that you can’t manage by proxy, you can’t manage just because you’re there, it doesn’t mean you’re managing, it doesn’t mean you’re leading just because you’re present. The virtual presence is real, you’ve got to be on time, you’ve got to be prepared, you’ve got to actually plan your day and if you do that, it gives you the chance to be a little more flexible with other people, understand that things are going to happen and I think we’re being flexible for the right reasons now. It’s because we’re planning, because we’re doing more managing and more leading by being in the fire, basically, we have to be there.
What’s present? Believe it or not, by being virtual. It’s a whole different game and I think it’s going to change when we get back to work in that you can’t just think that you’re managing when you’re there, just because you’re talking to someone doesn’t mean anything more than you’re nicely mentoring. We’ve got to manage hard and lead better and we do that by being more organized. The biggest surprise is how disorganized, really, we might have been. That’s the biggest thing, we were disorganized, now we’re organized.
Fred Diamond: Gary talked about his day. What does an ideal day look like for both of you? Bob, as a sales leader, sales trainer, no one’s driving anymore, no one’s having to go from meeting to meeting or driving to the office. We’re all getting up, we’re eating breakfast, taking a shower, whatever but what do you think the ideal day today looks like for sales professionals?
Bob Greene: The ideal day starts the night before, you have to do your planning of what you want to accomplish the night before, you have to have that plan in place. I typically put together at least 10 things I want to accomplish the following day whether it’s scheduled meetings or activities I want to pursue and then I start my day at 5:00 in the morning and I use that time because it’s quiet. That’s when I do my reading, I’ll check the periodicals, I’ll check the internet and then around 7:00 o’clock I’m working from home. I’ve got my family that I’m working in making sure my kids are getting up for their online school and things like that. Starting the work day it’s a structured day, I’m at my desk every day by 9:00 o’clock sharp engaging with clients, reaching out to prospects, I actually block out a time around lunch time where I’ll do my prospecting for an hour or two and then it’s a standard work day. Then I shut it off by 5:30, 6:00 o’clock I turn off the switch and it’s now time for my family.
Fred Diamond: Gary, how about you? Again, you manage a lot of people who are maybe in their first or second job, maybe their third job in sales. What do you think the ideal day looks like today?
Gary Milwit: The ideal day looks like hour blocks. If you take your day and you block it off by every hour, the ideal day looks like a 45 minutes to an hour of work and then at least 15 minute break, a real break. The distractions that we get in the office weren’t so bad because we need distractions, we need to get our brain settled down so the ideal day is blocked out every hour. My day every day starts at 6:00 o’clock in the morning and then I make the schedules and do all that stuff and my first call is 8:30 in the morning and then it goes from there. I do a lot of training now, I didn’t used to do a lot of training before and really it’s not training, it’s teaching, there’s a difference because we’re teaching and teaching is the foundation. If you can’t coach then you can’t train till someone actually knows what the hell you’re talking about. Teaching is different, I used to be a high school teacher but I haven’t taught sales in a long time so it’s new for me and we’re learning. My ideal day is 12 hours [laughs].
Fred Diamond: That leads to the next question here, what’s changed for you? Again, over the last 7 weeks how have you changed as a sales leader? Both you guys are really instrumental in helping sales professionals. Now, obviously Gary you’re helping a lot of people get started in their career, you’re also helping people get started, be more effective. Think about yourself, how have you changed as a sales leader in the past 7 weeks? Gary, why don’t you go first on that?
Gary Milwit: The biggest change for me is that I stopped thinking about what to do and started doing it, or telling somebody else what to do. We only have one other person, it’s me and my Director of Learning Development, it’s just two of us doing all the stuff. What we know is that everyone forgets quickly so repeat, repeat, repeat. That’s changed, I’m never going to forget that, I’m always going to do it and I’m practicing now because when I talked to you last week I assume that you’re going to remember something and the assumptions are what kills every sale. I’m treating this like I’m selling every day, earn trust, build rapport, engage, add value. That’s what we have to do, that’s how it’s changed, I’ve always done it but now I’m really doing it, I’m in the game. We’re going to be better afterwards, I think.
Fred Diamond: Bob, how about you, how have you changed? Again, you’ve worked with tens of thousands of sales professionals, maybe hundreds. You’re also a pretty reflective guy, we see the reflection in your dome up there.
Bob Greene: Yeah, a little bit [laughs]
Fred Diamond: But seriously, how have you changed over the last 7 weeks?
Bob Greene: Outside of the beard, my Corona beard, I think it’s a change of messaging. The outreach for me is still sales focused but it’s not sales oriented. My goal is not to move a sale forward or to close and earn business right now, it’s to maintain relationships and to establish myself as somebody who is there for them when they’re not buying so that when my customers are again ready to buy I’ll be top of mind and they think of me first. I employ a concept called gifting which I spoke about earlier of communicating value. If I see an article that is relevant to a customer, whether it’s to their business needs or maybe I know that their kids play sports or something like that, I forward it with a little note.
I’ll write personal handwritten notes and put them in the mail because that’s a point of differentiation, people aren’t getting physical mail and it goes to their office and then it migrates to their home and they eventually get it but again, the thought is recognizing how to communicate differently. Everybody is using email so another tool is how to write effective emails and how to write them in a way that people will respond so it’s not a long involved email, it’s short, no more than 125 words, easy to read on their phone screen, simple things like that. The messaging has changed to one of care and concern rather than sales.
Fred Diamond: Let’s talk about that for a second. We’ve been doing four webcasts a week, I mentioned before we’re actually doing a new one on sales mindset every Thursday. One of the key things that’s come across for me is that if you’re a sales professional now may not be the easiest time to “sell” but you’re still a sales professional. What are some things you should be doing today as a sales professional? You may not be closing but what are some of the attributes that you should be thinking about? Gary, you mentioned preparation before, let’s be real specific today. Again, it’s May 20th, 2020, what are some things sales professionals if they’re in a space where their customers are not buying the way they might normally have in the last 5, 7, 10 years, what are some things they should be working on? Gary, why don’t you get us started with that?
Gary Milwit: They should be working on meeting their objectives, not the goals. The goals are to sell, every salesperson’s goal is to sell and close business. Stop the nonsense, that’s not your prospect’s goal, prospect’s goal has nothing to do with that so you have to see what are the objectives of the sales process. The first thing you have to be is engaging and there’s only three ways for someone to engage, you’re going to make them curious, they’re going to be familiar with you or there’s something there for them. Figure out what it is for them, why are you calling? To give them something. Be interested in the people that you talk to, not interesting, no one cares. No one cares about you right now but you have to care about them, that’s how you’re going to be a pro with or without the virus, that’s how you become a sales pro, engage with the objective and then go for each objective after that. Build rapport, earn trust, then you can start to talk about what it is that you want to talk about, but not until then.
Fred Diamond: Bob, how about you? What are the top two or three things that sales professionals should be working on right now to become the deeper, richer professional?
Bob Greene: I always say that sales is the closest thing you can get to sports without having to lace up a pair of cleats. I’m a huge baseball fan and the Washington Nationals which is the team I follow, they’re not playing baseball but what are those baseball players doing? They’re still practicing, they’re still honing their skills, they’re still working out, they’re still keeping their bodies in shape so that when the season starts, they’ll be able to start playing. It’s the same thing for us, we’re professionals, we have a job to do. Yes, we might not be on the field to play right now, we might not be closing business but we still have to do all the preparation that will enable us to be successful when we do step on the field so we’re ready to play.
Fred Diamond: Let’s get specific, Bob. What are three things if someone said to you, “Bob, I’m a sales professional, my customers aren’t buying right now, tell me three specific things that I should do today, May 20th, to improve myself as a professional”?
Bob Greene: First thing I would do is pick up the phone. When you’re calling somebody and you’re having a conversation with them, you just pick up the phone and say, “I’m calling to see how you’re doing. I want to understand your business and what challenges you’re facing” and once your prospect realizes that it’s not a sales call, it’s a caring call that’s huge because now you have an opportunity to hone your phone skills and build rapport the same time.
The second thing I would do is look at how you write an email, and I talked about this before. You have to have clarity of purpose, you have to have a bottom line upfront approach and I think now is a great time, there’s lots of resources out there. I know I provide resources to help people write better emails, their communication skills should be improved, now’s a really great time to hone those skills.
Finally, I would do reading, I would read either sales books, periodicals, understand what’s going on in the economy so that you have interesting things to talk about when you get on the phone or when you’re sending an email so that you can be engaging. If all you have to talk about is your company and software, you’re boring, there’s no curiosity there but if you can engage someone in a conversation that’s of interest to them, now you have a dialogue which can lead to a relationship.
Fred Diamond: Get on the phone, read. Gary, how about you? Three specific things people could do when they leave today’s webinar in about 45 minutes.
Gary Milwit: Practice this: how, why, tell me more about that. That’s the way you build rapport, ask those questions and you win every time. How…? Anything after that is fine. How are you? Wait for the answer. Tell me more about that, and why. Those are questions that build rapport, practice those questions, practice with whoever you can. If you’re on the phone or whenever you pick up the phone if you ask, “How are you?” wait for the answer, just don’t blow over it. How questions work, why questions work and tell me more about that. I tell my people that all the time, it’s what we practice and then to what Bob’s point was, NBA players are in the lay-up lines every day until they retire. Every day from the start of their junior leagues until they retire they go to the lay-up line mark and do lay-ups. NFL players practice every day for their entire careers until they retire. Salespeople stop working at it, you stop working at it after each training session. Work at it every day.
Bob Greene: Every day.
Fred Diamond: Bob, you mentioned some books. Look behind me, people, you see I’ve got bookshelves, every sales book, there’s great ones out there, coming out there, some of the people we’ve had on our past webinars have written some tremendous things. If you have a question for Bob and Gary, send it via the question panel or if there’s a point that you want to get across. Gary, you were talking about engagement a few moments ago, I want to talk about the other big E word which is empathy. As a matter of fact, the first two, three weeks we were doing the webcast everybody was saying, you need to be empathetic. You talked about, “How are you?” the how questions to get started. We’ve gotten some questions from people over the last couple of webcasts who have said, “I’m getting empathy fatigued, what do I do now that I’m done being empathetic?” Bob, what does empathy really mean in the sales process and how do we avoid what some people are now referring to as ’empathy fatigue’?
Bob Greene: Empathy is a buzz word. As sales professionals we’re trained to be active listeners, the action of active listening is empathetic. You’re hearing what somebody says, you’re responding to it in a way that shows them that you care but you have to be careful because a sales professional is not to let empathy devolve into sympathy where you feel sorry for your customer and you don’t ask for the sale and you step away from the sales process. Empathy is what we do every day, as a sales professional it shouldn’t be a scary word, it’s active listening.
Fred Diamond: I want to talk about listening for a second. Gary, what’s your take on empathy? Bob, I want to follow up with you after Gary talks about listening. Listening comes up all the time on the Sales Game Changers podcast. How do you physically become a better active listener? It’s easy to say, “Be a better listener” but give us some of your ideas on how you get better at listening. Gary, why don’t you give us your thoughts on empathy and how can people be more empathetic today when maybe this empathy fatigue is setting in?
Gary Milwit: I agree with Bob 100%, empathy is a buzz word, it’s like morale used to be back in the old days, “our morale”. This is how you’re empathetic: listen, be interested and ask the question and wait for the answer and then ask again and follow up with it and stop talking. The way you stop talking, I’ll just jump in on that, listen for the buzz words from your customers. Okay, yes, right, uh-huh, all those things, whenever they say that they’re not listening anymore, stop talking. We call it the reverse play, run the reverse play as soon as you start talking and you start hearing, “Right, uh-huh, yeah” you’ve got to reverse the field beyond talking too much and then ask the next question. Hopefully it starts with a how or why.
Fred Diamond: Bob, how about you? Give us some thoughts on how you become a better listener.
Bob Greene: Basically when you’re asking questions – and before you go in to talk to a client you should prepare a question tree so that you have understanding of what you want to uncover and the questions you want to ask and you’re anticipating the response. Here’s the important thing, when you ask a question and you’re hearing the answer are you hearing it to ask your next question or are you hearing it to understand? Hearing and listening are two different things. Hearing is the physical noise, listening is the conceptual understanding of what’s being said so when you ask a question, listen to understand and then pause and then ask your next question.
Don’t just check a box, “Okay, I asked that question, here’s my next question” and you’re not processing the information. To be an active listener is simply using your listening skills to process the information that’s being shared and not to stay on a scripted response sheet that, “Okay, I asked this question, what’s my next question?” and you’re not even listening to the answer because you want to go down the checklist.
Fred Diamond: Again, if you have a question for Gary or for Bob, submit them via your question panel. Gary, you mentioned recently that your company has one a whole bunch of new hires. A question comes in, “In the remote environment which we’re all in today and it looks like it’s going to be this way for quite possibly through at least the end of the summer, what’s the #1 thing you’re looking for in a new hire knowing that there’s this new environment? What should they be prepared for before joining your team?” Gary, you just mentioned you hired a whole bunch of new people. Bob, I know you help your clients with a lot of recruiting. What are some of those things that you’re looking for in a new hire in today’s environment?
Gary Milwit: We’re looking for people that are eager to learn and especially now because they’re teachable, they’re actually learning more so they have to want to learn more. People that are coming right out of school are used to learning so it’s a good time to get them and if they’re not, this is their second or third job or they’re a little more veteran, be willing to learn. We don’t know everything, just be willing to learn. Outside of that I think you’re a winner.
Fred Diamond: Bob, how about you? What are some of the things we should be looking for in our new hires?
Bob Greene: Gary summed it up really well, I look to hire the smartest people who are willing to learn how to learn and who don’t come in with any preconceived notion of, “I know this” because that shows me that they don’t. The main thing is – again, it’s a coaching philosophy – I hire the best athletes and then I find the right position. If somebody has good cognitive skill and they’re smart and they’re bright, if I’m hiring somebody entry level I’m not hiring them for that position, I want them to move up into the organization, I’m hiring them for the next level position and I’m seeing if they have the capability to move up into that position. They might start off a little bit lower than they’d want to but now they have the experience of working within the company and moving themselves up through the ranks.
One of the things I like about this call center that is one of my clients now is I’m training their call center personnel but in order to train them I have to be on the call center, I have to be on the phone. I’m functioning as a screener, I’m functioning as a closer, I’m living that life, I’m eating my own dog food because if I’m going to train somebody how to do the job, have to know how to do the job. I have tremendous respect for anybody who takes inbound calls because my career has always been outbound calling. Inbound calling is a whole different talent and a whole different mindset, kudos to people who do it well.
Fred Diamond: Question says, “I am one of the people who’s concerned about the future of my company. What are your suggestions for me?” That’s an interesting question, we’re in a stressful time, a lot of us have gotten “used to” whatever we are today. If you’ve never worked from home you’ve gotten used to Zoom, you’ve gotten used to a schedule. This is two months into whatever we’re in so people have gotten acclimated and accustomed but what’s happening right now is customers are struggling and customer’s customers are struggling, people have been laid off, people have been furloughed.
We have some members that are in the hospitality space and 90% of the people in the hospitality space at some of the larger companies, let alone the hotels themselves, have been furloughed. How would you help a sales professional that’s dealing with stress right now? We also have salespeople who are working home with kids and a spouse and you can’t travel, we talked about this before, we’re doing today’s broadcast from Northern Virginia, Bob and I are both in Northern Virginia and Gary is across the river in Montgomery County. People can’t travel, you’re scared to death about going into a restaurant still. What’s your advice for your sales professionals on how to deal with the anxiety and stress that we’re seeing today? Bob Greene, why don’t you get us started?
Bob Greene: I like talking to other sales professionals. I think LinkedIn is a great network for me, I reach out to people daily just to touch base, to get a pulse, get a temperature, how they’re doing across the country, across the world, I have global contacts. The other thing I find very interesting is I’ve been getting a lot of people reaching out to me who have been laid off and asking me to introduce them to other people within my network. I do have an extensive network within LinkedIn and I’m always happy to provide those introductions and connections, I think you have to pay it forward, you have to take care of each other, we are a community of professionals.
I think it’s really essential that if you reach out to somebody in earnest for help that we extend the helping hand and assist because it might be us the next day and if you can demonstrate kindness and you can demonstrate caring and you can help people, you don’t know where they’re going to end up but they’re going to think of you. They’re going to remember what you did for them so down the road if you need something from them in terms of a contact or a lead or something like that it becomes reciprocated. I think the most important thing we can do as sales professionals right now is to care for ourselves as a community.
Fred Diamond: Gary, for you. Once again, Wentworth is a IES Premier Sales Employer, congratulations for that, you do a lot of great things for your team. How are you helping them deal with the stress right now?
Gary Milwit: I’m more flexible, I listen to find out not necessarily what’s wrong but I understand if there’s anxiety, I try to give positivity every day, I try to stay positive, I’m pretty optimistic as it is. I always give the same advice here, make sure that your manager knows what you’re doing, you’re remote, don’t assume that they know. Manage up a little bit, let people know what you’re doing every day. If you have a good idea, share it with people, call your colleagues, call for a Zoom meeting or a Lifesize meeting, whatever tools you use, get together with people. Don’t wait for somebody to do it for you because when you’re out there and you put yourself out there and you get a little uncomfortable you’re going to grow and people are going to recognize it and you’re not going to be the one, it’s the other guy. Don’t let someone make a decision for you, it’s like the umpire, don’t let the umpire make the call for the third strike, go down swinging, get aggressive. Don’t let somebody else make the call for you.
Fred Diamond: I always love that bit of advice which is, “Don’t think for your customer, don’t give your customer the answers.” We’ve got a couple great questions here about prospecting. The question was, “What is your biggest challenge?” and 42% said it’s difficult to connect with customers so let’s talk about the concept of new business prospecting. We know where everybody is, some people are going to start going back to the office in a couple of weeks, we’re seeing a little bit of that but for the most part people are going to be home, we know where people are.
Bob Greene, what are some of your thoughts? Should people be prospecting right now new business? We know people are home, we know that they’re home almost 7/24, is it okay to call somebody at 7:00 o’clock in the morning on their cellphone because we know that they’re home? In most cases too, there aren’t the gatekeepers that we have historically been aware of because they’re also at home so we know where people are. Let’s talk about prospecting for new business today. Again, we’re doing today’s webcast, it’s May 20th, we’re 7 weeks into whatever we’re into here. Let’s talk about that for a little bit and then Gary, you’re going to get that same question as well. Let’s talk about prospecting for new business today, not talking to existing customers. What are your suggestions on that? Bob Greene.
Bob Greene: I like to use a soft touch right now, I wouldn’t demonstrate cold calling per se but what I do, I post a lot of content on LinkedIn and then when people like and comment on my content, on what I posted I look to see who these people are and if their company is aligned with my ideal customer profile. If they do, I reach out and I thank them for liking or commenting on my content and I start the conversation in that regard and I say, “How are things going?” Much like Gary says, how are you doing? Tell me more, why is that? You do it virtually through LinkedIn and it’s a way of establishing rapport and it becomes an organic way of actually prospect because now you’ve qualified a customer and they’re not even being qualified. You’re just having a conversation but at the same time you’re building up the ability to say, “Who would I talk to in your company or what’s your process for becoming a vendor, or how do I get started working with you guys? Is this something that could be of value?” and you do it incrementally over the course of several conversations, it’s not a sales pitch.
Fred Diamond: Gary, how about you? Prospecting new business. Do you guys do a lot of prospecting as it is normally?
Gary Milwit: We have a ginormous database so we actually make tons and tons of outbound calls, people are on this thing today, they’re averaging in 175 calls a day. In some of them we’re doing more, in some of them we’re doing 140, 120. What you need to know on prospecting, when you call somebody they don’t need anything, you’ve got to unlock the want, you’ve got to unlock what they want. They don’t need anything, they call you when they need something so know the difference.
I can separate that easily with the inbound/outbound mentality because we have a lot of inbound leads but when you’re calling outbound you have a 2% chance to close and a 5% chance someone’s going to pick up, leave a great voicemail, that close rate goes to 6% because they’re calling you because you’ve spurred something on. You have to be engaging, you’re calling out and when they say pick up the phone you thankfully pick up the phone and get into it with engagement. What’s in it for them? Absolutely you can prospect, just know that you’re dealing with a different animal when you start making those outbound calls, they don’t need anything, you’ve got to unlock wants.
Fred Diamond: If you have any more questions for Gary or for Bob, we’re going to go till about 45 minutes after the hour, thank you so much for the great questions. The question comes in here, “If you’ve only been working remote, what’s the best way to get acclimated to the office once all this clears?” I have a slight variation of that question, “How do you see the pandemic” – I hate using the word – “How do you see this situation changing the way we sell moving forward?” Again, you all don’t have crystal balls but is it going to be all Zoom? Is everybody going to be home? From a sales perspective, what do you think we’re going to be once this clears up? Gary, why don’t you get us started?
Gary Milwit: If I were to bet all my money I’d say we’re going to be exactly the same as we were before, just better at it. I think we as humans revert back to the way we were but we’re going to be stronger and better and we’re going to be more flexible. Our company had three people work remote in the history of the company before we went on this pandemic, we’re a pretty big company, 400 in change people were remote so it’s going to change everything and it’s going to be better but people are going to be people, we’ve still got to train and we’ve still got to repeat, we still got to do everything we’ve done and we’ve got to be better at it. I don’t look for anything crazy, it’s crazy now, it’s not going to be crazy when we get back to work.
Fred Diamond: Bob, how about you?
Bob Greene: I used to do a lot of international travel for business and I think that’s going to be diminished, I think that organizations are going to recognize the efficiency and cost savings that can be derived from virtual meetings and I think there’s still going to be business travel but it’s not going to be with the frequency or the relationship building that it used to be. I feel sad for that because it was probably the best part of my job was building the relationships and cultivating those lifetime friendships that I have with some of my former clients and current clients. I think that you’re going to see, Gary was talking about blocking off certain parts of the day in a schedule and I think you’re going to see Zoom meetings or similar type of video conferencing become part of everybody’s daily routine, the challenge is how to avoid the Zoom fatigue. I don’t have an answer for that and I don’t know how you differentiate one teleconference from the next whereas when you’re going to meet with somebody, there’s a lot of energy that you bring into a physical office when you’re going to meet with a client that’s gone now. You don’t have that so how do you reach through the screen and create that sort of comradery and rapport? It’s a challenge, I think people are still figuring that out so I hope Gary is right that it does resume and that people go back to their normal workflow but once an organization realizes the cost savings that they can derive from not having to travel sales personnel, I think you’re going to see a diminished travel budget.
Fred Diamond: We have time for a couple more questions if you have a last question you want to get in. A good question here from the audience, “What are these guys doing to stay fresh?” We talked about what the sales professionals can be doing. Bob, you look good, your beard has been trimmed, you look healthy. Gary, you look great, too. What are you guys both doing? You talked about when you get up and what your day looks like but you guys are hard-charging, Gary, you’re a classic hard-charging sales professional. What are some things you both are doing right now to stay sane, to get yourselves better as sales leaders and professionals?
Bob Greene: Gary, you want to take this one first?
Gary Milwit: I do yoga once or twice, believe it or not. Actually, I make sure that I at least do some exercise every day and I have done some yoga with my wife in front of the TV which I never would have done that before [laughs]. You stay fresh by being comfortable, getting comfortable being uncomfortable, do different things and that’s how you grow. This whole thing has been great for me personally, believe it or not because I meet more people in different meetings, I see different people in a company I never saw before. I see them virtually but I was in Rockville and they were in Pennsylvania anyway so I can tell you definitively that I have relationships with people I’ve never seen in person and they are deep relationships. I just got off a session with six people that are sales reps force that just finished our training, I’m close with all of them and I hope they feel the same way and I’ve never seen them in person.
Fred Diamond: Bob, how about you? You look good, what are you doing?
Bob Greene: I’m practicing cooking, actually. Not that I’m the best but I did lamb the other night which came out really good. The other thing is I’m probably an eternal optimist so I always want to keep things in perspective and with this COVID-19, my sons and I, our four boys still at home, we’ve been binge watching The Walking Dead on Netflix and it kind of put things in perspective.
Fred Diamond: That is true. Besides, obviously some of the financial stuff that most people we’ve been working with are dealing with because of the economic issues, a lot of people are developing relationships. I agree with you, Gary. I’ve connected with people on LinkedIn that I just knew from LinkedIn and a 30 minute Zoom call takes those relationships so far ahead. We have time for two more questions here, a lot of questions come flying in here. What are your expectations for your salespeople? Again, we know that in certain cases the economy is challenged right now but Gary, your company helps people, you get them cash right now when they need it with the settlements, why don’t you answer that question? What are your expectations for the salespeople today? Then we’ll ask you for some of your final thoughts. Gary, why don’t you go first?
Gary Milwit: We haven’t changed what we expect, we expect people to do what they’re supposed to do every day, make the calls, close the calls that come to you and write business, that’s what we expect and we are not compromising on that. I’m not compromising on putting people on the sales floor, they’re not ready so it’s ratcheting it up a little bit. We know that what we’re doing is the right thing, we want to be good for our customers and to do that you’ve got to be sharp every day. We’re not compromising, our expectations are you’ve got to be on your A game every day.
Fred Diamond: Bob, how about you? What are your expectations right now?
Bob Greene: I would say the same. Be professional, do your job, you know what you have to do. As management you look at the KPIs to make sure that they’re aligned with the outreach you want to achieve, be professional.
Fred Diamond: I want to thank Bob Greene, I want to thank Gary Milwit, you both have been great friends and supporters of the Institute for Excellence in Sales. By the way, Gary has been a guest on the Sales Game Changers podcast, just go to salesgamechangerspodcast.com/garymilwit, you see his name there and you’ll find his episode.
Gary Milwit: Episode Twenty-two.
Fred Diamond: Yeah, you were way back. [Laughs] Bob, we’ll obviously get you on the show. We’ve already recorded today’s webcast as a Sales Game Changers podcast, it’ll be available on Friday, we’re also going to post this on LinkedIn as a replay. I want to thank you both for the great ideas, the great insights. Why don’t you give us one final thought? We ask this question at the end of every webcast. Things are happening every single day, we’re not asking, “What do you think things are going to be like in the next year?” We’re asking, “What are things that people should be working on today?” You’ve given us some great ideas, just to wrap up here, Bob Greene, get us started. What do you think the challenges will be the next week as we get to next week’s programs? What are the challenges for the next week and once again, how do you suggest that people overcome them listening to today’s webcast?
Bob Greene: I think the most important thing is like when you get on an airplane and they tell you when the oxygen masks drop, “Take care of yourself first before you take care of your children or anybody else in your family”, I think as sales professionals we have to take care of ourselves first. We have to make sure mentally that we’re in a good place, physically we’re taking care of ourselves, we really have to invest that time because if we’re not taking care of ourselves we can’t be there for anybody else whether our company is going to rely on us, whether our customers are going to rely on us. It’s not going to mean anything if we’re not there to be dependable, we’re not able to be relied on because we haven’t taken care of ourselves. Get enough sleep, exercise, eat right, do the basics, be professional, have an intellectual curiosity about the world around you and otherwise, the economy hasn’t opened up yet so basically it’s Groundhog Day but do these things every day.
Fred Diamond: Thanks, Bob. Gary, bring us home.
Gary Milwit: I think everyone needs to recognize that everyone is partially correct, no one is ever wrong 100%. Find out what’s right, find out what’s good, ask the question, “What good has come out of this? How do you improve because of this?” The bad stuff will come out in the wash. Find out what’s good, there’s good in everything, find the 1% that’s good if it’s only 1% and then capitalize on it, nothing else matters.
Fred Diamond: I want to thank you both once again for the great insights. Bob Greene, thank you so much. Gary Milwit, thank you so much. I want to thank all the people from around the world who’ve listened to today’s webcast and who are listening to this episode as a future Sales Game Changers podcast. My name is Fred Diamond, thank you so much.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo