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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the SALES GAME CHANGERS LIVE Webinar hosted by Fred Diamond, Host of the Sales Game Changers Podcast, on July 1, 2020. It featured sales leader Mark LaFleur and entrepreneur Pramod Rajeha.]
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EPISODE 254: Sales Leader Mark LaFleur and Entrepreneur Pramod Raheja Offer Ways to Recharge Sales Efforts as Business Begins to Ramp Up
MARK’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Sit down and intentionally write down a plan for what you need to achieve in the short term but also what you might need to do for the long term. We don’t know if we’re at the end of the first inning or the seventh inning here so we’re going to need long-term mindset with a lot of short-term goals.”
PRAMOD’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Do something every day to up your game. You’re not commuting to work, you’re not driving, you got some extra time, so read. Sales is a sport and you need to continually learn and get better.”
Fred Diamond: Mark LaFleur, it’s great to have you here, you were the first guest on the Sales Game Changers podcast, we actually produced your show probably three or four companies ago, you’ve led sales teams for some amazing companies, you’re a startup executor. Mark, it’s great to have you here, where are you right now in July 1st? What’s the biggest priority?
Mark LaFleur: Thank you, Fred, it’s great to be back, I appreciate it. I think where we are today is back to some semblance of normal around business as usual. Early on in the quarantine we, like a lot of companies, went into what we call the revenue protection mode. We’re a SaaS platform and making sure our customers were taken care of and that they were in a good place and that we could continue to deliver value for them regardless of what was being thrown at us. Now I think we’ve gotten into a good rhythm where we’re in a business as usual state right now, we’re continuing to grow, we’re continuing to build our team and hire good people. That’s pretty much where we’re at today, it’s business as usual.
Fred Diamond: I’ve got a quick question before we ask Pramod how he’s doing. You and I were talking this morning before we got on the webcast today about recruiting and you just mentioned you were looking for some good people. How’s it going right now? Like you said, a lot of companies hunkered down back in March and April, tried to serve customers, figure it out, you just said you’re getting back together. I was driving around yesterday and saw a lot more cars in parking lots than I had in the past so how’s recruiting going and how’s it going to look for you in the near future?
Mark LaFleur: Recruiting is going well, obviously we’ve been fortunate to be in a position where business has been stable and growing and we’re continuing to grow our team. Unfortunately there’s a lot of really good people, a lot of really good talent who through no fault of their own found themselves in the job market. We all know how tight the market typically is for really good sales talent, we’ve had a lot of good conversations with a lot of good people and brought a lot of really good people on board in the last couple of months as a result. Unfortunate situation obviously but hopefully for some of them it’s resulted in landing in a good place with us.
Fred Diamond: Pramod Raheja, it’s great to have you on the Sales Game Changers Live, your show went live in January. Technically, Mark you were #2 because my introduction to the show is #1 but you were our first real guest. Pramod, your show was posted back in January so it’s right before everything happened and you’re a unique guest, you’re a sales guy but you’re also an entrepreneur, you’ve created some businesses. For people who are watching today, you’re wearing a shirt that says ‘EODC’ or the President of the DC chapter of the Entrepreneur Organization, a word that I can never get out effectively. You’re running a company now, Airgility, it’s in the drone space, I’d love to hear what you’ve been doing the last couple of months. How about you? How are things going for you and how do things look? Again, we’re doing today’s show July 1st, first day of the second half of 2020.
Pramod Raheja: Thank you, Fred, it’s great to be here and I appreciate you having me on again. First of all, not only can’t people pronounce entrepreneur, they can’t spell it either so you’re not alone. I think my mindset as an entrepreneur dates back to way back when I was a teenager just selling T-shirts and things like that, it goes way back and it’s something that I just enjoy doing. To answer your question about what happened after we talked in January and COVID hit and all that, if you go back to your polling question it went from, “What is going to be the future of the company?” with some uncertainty to now, we’re seeing a lot of opportunities. During that whole phase in the second quarter of March, April, May, we just put our noses to the grindstone and we were working 12-14 hours a day making sure that we were staying focused. I’m sure everybody’s heard the quote, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” and we looked at it that way. There’s going to be opportunities and to add to what Mark is saying, yes, we’re also seeing a lot of talent that through no fault of their own are out there. I also look at that as an opportunity that we will hopefully get to have some of that talent join us as we are growing as well now as we hopefully come out of this. We know this is going to be choppy for a while but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Fred Diamond: Mark, you’re right now with WireWheel and you manage a team of people across the country. What are some of your top priorities as a sales leader? Then Pramod, same thing for you and actually this question came in from one of our viewers in London, so thank you so much Robert in London. Priorities, we were talking before the show as well that like a lot of the sales leaders we’ve had on the Sales Game Changers live, you’ve been glued to Zoom. You get up every day at 7:00 and Zoom is on or today of course we’re using GoToWebinar, thank you to the nice people at GoToWebinar – who aren’t really sponsoring this, but thank you. What are your priorities right now?
Mark LaFleur: I mentioned we’re doing a lot of recruiting so our priority right now in addition to trying to keep our eye on the ball in terms of selling and growing the business, our #1 priority besides that is our people. For folks who have been with us for a while and are already on board is making sure that we’re supporting them through all of this. For the people who are joining us now, interviewing, hiring and onboarding people all without ever meeting them in person has been a new experience for me and I’m sure a lot of other people but nonetheless we’ve put a lot of good processes in place to make sure that we’re effectively onboarding people as best we can and put them in a position to succeed. I would say that’s probably our biggest priority right now outside of continuing to close business.
Fred Diamond: A question just came in and we get this question every week. For the most part everybody’s been home, some companies are beginning to open up a little bit but some of our companies that are members of the Institute for Excellence in Sales said they’re not going to force people to come until January. In some cases they’re not really opening the offices at least until September and some are saying that they’re not going to open until the January time frame. Question for both of you and Pramod would be slightly different but as you’re hiring knowing that the person is probably going to be spending most of their time in the office, they’re not going to be traveling, events are going to be curtailed for the most part. The IES, we’re going to be starting holding some events in September. Today Virginia moved into phase 3 so we’re hoping that it goes well, phase 3 means you can have events for up to 250 people. What are you looking for now, Mark? Then Pramod, same thing for you. What are some of the skills that you think a good salesperson, let alone a great salesperson, needs to have in this new world moving forward that’s slightly different than maybe back in February?
Mark LaFleur: It’s probably the same skills that we’ve looked for always but now they’re acutely more important or critical. What we look for are people who what I refer to anyways as have sales in their DNA, self-starters, always thinking about customers and how to close business and how to add value for customers, all the stuff the good salespeople just do innately. We’ve always looked for that first but I think on top of that we’ve always looked for people who have a level of maturity, self-directedness and business savvy. That hasn’t changed at all, if anything we have just been more focused on that and we’ve frankly been very picky throughout the hiring process in terms of who we want to bring on board because of this new environment.
Fred Diamond: Pramod, how about you? Again, you have the entrepreneurial background that we talked about, you also carried a bag for some companies a good part of your career as well and you know I like to refer to you as one of the renaissance men that I know. What do you think about that maybe even from an entrepreneurial perspective as a business owner? What are some of the skills that you need to have now moving forward?
Pramod Raheja: I think you’re right, how we look at this from an entrepreneurial perspective might be a little bit different because in our case, we’re an early stage technology company so we’re launching products, we’re going into markets that aren’t even defined, the business models aren’t even defined so we’re doing all that at the same time. You’re trying to figure out how to light the fire as you’re lighting the fire, you’ve never done it before but as far as the characteristics I think entrepreneurs should have, right now we are hiring for sales and looking for sales leaders as we build out our management team as well. I think the same characteristics I could have almost said exactly verbatim what Mark said which is self-starter, discipline, value added but I’ll add a couple more things.
If they’re working remotely, for example, and we’re not going to be together all the time I think we’re looking a lot more at are they goal oriented? Are they outcomes based in terms of their thinking, in terms of what that should look like versus just pure numbers? Let’s look at what’s the outcome is going to be because it is tough when you’re working from home and you’re doing all these Zoom calls. I think salespeople in general get energizes around other people and when you’re not around other people you don’t have that same energy so you have to figure out other ways to get motivated. I think by being more goal oriented you can get there so we look for that.
Fred Diamond: Mark, do you have any comments on that or do you agree that the goal orientation today is so critical?
Mark LaFleur: There’s no question because I think to Pramod’s point you really have to be self-directed and you have to be thinking about and worrying about and obsessed with to a certain extent with, “How am I going to achieve the goal?” The reality as how you’re going to achieve your goals during this period of time is probably going to require some different approaches than how it may have in the past so you have to have that focus on the outcome.
Fred Diamond: We have a question here, it comes from Mary in Chicago, thank you so much, Mary. “I’m starting at a new company, what can I be doing to be most successful?” You just mentioned you’re meeting people, you’re interviewing them over Zoom, you’re not meeting a lot of people face-to-face and they’re seeing the whole team in one day. What would be some of your advice for someone who’s starting with a new job? Like you mentioned, Mark, a month or two in a bunch of companies were forced to downsize, some great people were put out into the marketplace, we may see some more of that happening as the further compression happens. What would be some of your advice, both you guys, for someone who’s starting at a new place, even though you said you still need a lot of the same skills? What might be your advice for someone to really get off to a great start in this new world? It’s also the summer, too so people’s vacations are modified, they’re shifting, they’re spending their vacation on the deck instead of the beach or in Europe or on a cruise. What are some of your thoughts on getting a great start if you’re going to a new place?
Mark LaFleur: The biggest thing that I would say because I’ve lived it from the other side in the last few months is own your own onboarding. Everybody’s onboarding processes and programs are a little bit in development, I guess would be a way to say it. You don’t have the luxury of coming in, even if you’re a remote employee, of spending a couple weeks in the office before you go back to wherever it is you’re based and learning through osmosis and just sitting in on things. I would say own your own onboarding and what that means to me is read everything you can get your hands on, take the initiative to reach out to people across the company even outside of sales, reach out to engineering and product and others and just get on people’s calendar and research as if you were researching a company that you were trying to target or something like that. Own your own onboarding in terms of just trying to get up to speed as quickly as you can and assume that the current process isn’t going to get you there on its own given what we’re going through right now. That would probably be the biggest advice I’d have for somebody who’s starting a job in this environment.
Fred Diamond: That’s a critical point, now you’ve got to be such a self-starter. Pramod, how about you? Again, you keep mentioning entrepreneurial, EO, you think about that from your perspective and when we did your Sales Game Changers podcast interview we talked about that all the time, being an entrepreneurial sales professional. I like what Mark said, you’ve got to own your own onboarding. What are some of your thoughts? What should sales professionals do now if they’re moving someplace new to succeed?
Pramod Raheja: In the sales world it’s all about relationships so own your own onboarding, absolutely. To add to that using a very current example in our own company where we’re trying to go after a certain type of business and normally you would have to get in front of a lot of people and normally we would get in front of a lot of people to get this business. Unfortunately that has not been possible at all and we got this opportunity just as COVID hit so everything’s online. I’m going to get a little more tactical in terms of what I’ll say, LinkedIn has been an amazing tool, I always like to say if you’re not LinkedIn, you’re linked out. All of sales is building relationships so we’ve been building relationships using LinkedIn as a tool so now three months after COVID I’ve got so many potential in-person happy hours with people across the country once we get past all of this because of the relationships that are being built online as well. It’s not the same but you could still do it and I would say that doing what you normally would do online versus in person, you continue to do that as well.
Fred Diamond: That’s a great point and actually I was a guest on a webcast yesterday talking about sales now during this period and the host asked me what was my final thought before we closed down. I said, “If you’re in sales and you don’t have a perfect LinkedIn profile right now you totally blew not just even an opportunity but table stakes right now.” We do a Women in Sales program every Tuesday, Gina Stracuzzi who runs the IES Women in Sales program is the host of that. We’re taking a break next week, we’ll be back on July 14th but she’s had Brynne Tillman who’s a LinkedIn expert on her show a couple times and she’s given some amazing advice. If you’re a sales professional, you’re watching this webcast or you’re listening to the podcast you better go make your LinkedIn profile perfect because that is the #1 tool on the planet. Mark, I’ve been asking you every question first so I’m going to go to Pramod. Pramod, how have you changed as a sales leader? Again, you’re a business owner as well. Mark, same question for you, we’ve been in this for about three months now. How have you seen yourself change as a sales leader, as a sales professional?
Pramod Raheja: Something that has changed – this goes to what Mark said earlier about own your own onboarding – I’ll take it from the entrepreneurial perspective. If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to scale a company you have to learn to be able to delegate and trust others. As entrepreneurs by nature we want to do things ourselves, we want to do things just perfectly and you have to be able to let go. I’d say that’s something I have certainly grown with in terms of, “We’re going to just find the right talent to make sure that those qualities are in place.” We always thought that before but now it’s even more important.
Fred Diamond: Mark, how about you? You’ve been a sales leader for a long time. As a matter of fact, at the Institute for Excellence in Sales every year we have a big award event that was supposed to be on June 12th, we’ve postponed it till October. You were one of the first recipients when you were at the previous company as an IES Sales Excellence award winner. How have you changed as a sales leader over the last couple of months?
Mark LaFleur: First of all, I think what Pramod said was spot on. I would say maybe one hard skill and one soft skill. On the hard skill side whether it’s LinkedIn or beyond LinkedIn you really do have to embrace all the collaboration tools that are available to us. I’ll be the first to admit that there are some tools I never liked to use, I won’t name them but the reality is you have to use everything at your disposal today because everything is a collaboration in a different way during this environment. The other I would say on the soft skill side of things, most definitely approach things more holistically today both in terms of sales reps, customers, prospects. The example I would give is how many of us now have been in pretty big meetings, pretty big demonstrations or whatever it might be that you’re doing online and you’re doing it through Zoom or GoToMeeting or some other platform and a customer might have a dog or a child or something come in? I think these last couple of months – maybe I’m just speaking myself – have made the process in some respect a little more human in that regard. To Pramod’s point, nothing’s going to be perfect, you are going to get to see people’s real life mixed in with their business life and I think that’s a good thing. Accepting that and embracing it is actually a really good thing and that’s probably not a perspective I had three or four months ago.
Fred Diamond: Because we’re using Zoom we can see people’s houses and everybody has their Zoom set up in different places, Pramod, you’re in your office right now and I’m in my home office, Mark, you’re at your home. I’m curious, Pramod, you mentioned relationships being the core of sales, do you think this is going to continue moving forward? The fact that now we’ve broken through. Everybody was in the same situation, everybody is dealing with the pandemic and all of the other things related to it. For the first time in most of our generations, we talked before about the 1918 Spanish flu but even 9/11 and the banking crisis, that came up a lot on some of the early webcasts we did. We dealt with that but those were different, a lot of cases they were isolated. For the first time we all had to stay in our homes, we all couldn’t see our parents, now we’re all wearing masks for the most part. Mark, do you think this is going to continue, the fact that we’ve broken through some of those barriers? One thing that we used to talk a lot about on this webcast has been a concept of empathy, talking about, “How are you doing right now during the situation? You’re a homeschooler”, those kinds of things. Do you think it’s going to continue and should it continue?
Mark LaFleur: I do think it should continue. I think it’s almost certain to be the case that it will continue for some period of time, I think the momentum of this is going to be so strong. Whether or not a decade from now everything has changed permanently, that always remains to be seen. We tend to refer it back to the mean but that said, I think that to successfully do business in the next year or two is going to really require that level of empathy if you’re really going to have a relationship with people you work with, both coworkers and customers.
Fred Diamond: Pramod, how about you? You mentioned relationships in the beginning. Is this going to continue? The fact that we’re able to ask different questions, a little bit deeper questions, “How are you?” just a simple tap on somebody via LinkedIn or via email, “how are you?” opens the door, usually gets a response right now. Prior to February we would never just send an email to a customer, “How are you?” Now you should be doing that.
Pramod Raheja: I’ve been getting a lot of those and I have been giving a lot of those and going back to my earlier comment about relationships, it has strengthened the relationship. In spite of the fact that I’m not in person with the people that I’m either pinging to say, “How are you doing?” or they’re pinging me to see how I’m doing, the relationship has become stronger in some cases because, to your point, we might not have done that before. We might not have just said, “I was thinking about you to see how you’re doing, I hope everybody’s well.” I’m not saying that wouldn’t happen but it’s definitely being emphasized or accentuated now during these times. I think when we do go back to some sort of new normal or old normal or whatever, it’ll be a different normal, the relationships will be there in place. I can tell you when I remember back in the 90s when they said that video conferencing was going to kill in-person meetings, I don’t know if you guys remember that but that never happened and I don’t know what the timeline looks like but I foresee that everybody’s going to be really excited when we can get back to person for a sales conference or whatever as well.
Fred Diamond: We got a question here from Walt, thank you very much. Follow up to what we just talked about, what should we be doing today to develop those relationships? Walt, I’m going to bring your question down a little bit but he said the hardest challenge he’s having is building and developing executive relationships right now because you can’t take somebody for dinner, you can’t go take them to a game or something like that, you can’t bring three of your coworkers to an office and talk about strategy, everything is online. Even though it’s broken through a lot of barriers it’s still made it a little bit harder to Zoom. One of the questions that came up early on, the big word, the first two months of our webcast was empathy. “Be empathetic” and empathetic selling is such a core part but can you keep asking your customer via Zoom, “How are you?” every week? You need to take that relationship to the next level and Walt’s right here, it’s challenging when you can’t do some visceral things to grow that. What are some of your suggestions today on building those relationships knowing that we’re probably still going to be stuck? You’re not going to be able to get on a plane and fly to St. Louis, most people aren’t doing that right now, it’s not totally safe – no disrespect – but what are your thoughts on building relationships today with critical customers to keep it going? Pramod, why don’t we start with you?
Pramod Raheja: First of all I’ll answer the general question and I’ll use an example in our own situation as well. One general statement I’ll make is that in spite of the fact that you’re online and yes, I’m absolutely with the asker of that question which is getting together, going to a game, having the chance to just have rapport, I still think you can find a lot of commonalities. Going back to the tactical tools using LinkedIn or what have you, there’s ways to find commonality. You were talking about everybody seeing the Zoom living rooms and things like that, I think the NFL draft was something that I felt was very interesting where you see coaches’ houses and they’ve got their kids sitting there next to them or in the case of Bill Belichick, he leaves the Zoom cameras on and the dog hops on the chair and you’re like, “That’s where the genius comes from.” You learn some insights into people and their personal lives which I think builds empathy at the end of the day. In the case with regards to using a specific example with myself and Airgility, very similar, I would say we lost so many opportunities to be in person with people especially as an early stage growing company where it’s vital to be able to do that. However, we’ve learned through all the collaboration tools that you brought up earlier and Mark brought up – some we like, some we don’t like – that we continue to do that. I think that even the people you’re trying to reach are having that strong desire to do that as well.
Fred Diamond: How about you, Mark? You have a lot of relationships, you know a lot of people, a lot of people respect you. What are some of your advice for Walt and the other people watching today’s webcast?
Mark LaFleur: First, let me just say to Pramod as a fellow Boston native I appreciate the Belichick reference, let’s see what they can do this year.
Pramod Raheja: [Laughs]
Mark LaFleur: It’s like anything else, there are a range of things that you can do and don’t underestimate the power of even a subtle gesture. I think a subtle but genuine gesture is better than an overt disingenuous gesture. An HTML form email going out asking people how they’re doing probably isn’t going to win you many friends [laughs] but I think at the end of the day, if you think about it from an executive relationship standpoint, are there ways that your relationship with that person – either your personal relationship or the business relationship between the two companies – may be able to help them with something during this time? Spend some time thinking about that. “I had an idea and by the way, I’m not trying to sell you anything but have you considered doing this? It might help.”
Doing things like that all the way up to more formal, there are two industry events in the industry that we’re in that were impacted by the shutdown so we as a company put together a two day virtual conference. Without the bells and whistles we had some really fantastic speakers but what we really focused on was creating an environment where we could host a series of conversations for people in our industry that you would normally have after hours at the big conferences that you go to. It was extremely well received and attended and people appreciated that and there was no selling, we tried to come up with something that could add value to the community that we are a part of. I think you have to think of it that way, “What can I do to add value to my customer more than just asking how they’re doing?”
Fred Diamond: One of the key thoughts that’s come through across the Sales Game Changers live is the fact that it’s not about you in sales and especially now, it’s really about your customer. The opportunity right now is to know the fact that your customer is facing challenges, the same way your company is facing challenges in sales your customer is facing challenges because their customer is facing challenges because their customer is facing challenges. Some of the most successful people that we’ve spoken to over probably more than the last month are thinking about things to bring their customer, but they’re not asking, “How can I help you?”
They’re not asking, “What are you going through?” They’re figuring out before they even go to the customer, “What are you going through? What are the opportunities? Here’s a solution, here’s a suggestion of something that I read about that you may want to do.” Get ahead of the game, spend this time and energy thinking about where your customer is, what they’re going through. Another question that comes through the audience here is from Julie and Julie is in New York City. Hi, Julie, thank you so much. Julie asks, “What’s the biggest positive surprise that’s come out of this situation for you both or something that you’re most proud of? Pramod, how about you? Are you okay there, Pramod? You doing alright?
Pramod Raheja: I was just going to think about that as you were asking it.
Fred Diamond: Pick a surprise, something really great. Again, we’re in a pandemic, but something great that’s come through for you or for your company or for your family, maybe.
Pramod Raheja: I’ll do two examples, one personal, one professional. On the personal side the biggest thing is to be able to spend quality time with family. I have a college aged son and a graduated senior which means you should never see them because they’re busy but we were obviously able to spend tons of family time together and it’s created a lifelong even stronger bond. On the professional side just having the opportunity to create an online presence for ourselves that we didn’t have before because again, we were forced to do that. Now, I’m not saying that we wouldn’t have done that but we had to zero in on that because that’s all we had so that’s really been a big boom for us, we’re getting a lot of attention and a lot of opportunities because of that.
Fred Diamond: Mark LaFleur, how about you? What’s been a positive outcome of this for you?
Mark LaFleur: I would agree with Pramod that on the personal side it’s impacted all of our personal lives, friends and family and the dynamics that go on outside of work and it’s been in a positive way. On the professional side I think probably two biggest things, one we touched on a bit which is for the first time you’re doing business in people’s homes, that’s been pretty amazing. I’ve got procurement people who I can tell you what color wallpaper they have in their home, it’s this really weird but in a sense positive thing but more pronounced probably I would say is the teamwork that’s come out of it, certainly on our team. Doing business right now in this environment I found really does require much more of a team effort and a team approach and you really see stars rise to the top, people who are all in, who’ll do anything. “You want me to format the PowerPoint? I’ll do whatever I have to do to help win this piece of business” or what have you. I think for me that’s the best part to come out of it, I think as a team in a professional sense we’ve gotten so much stronger through this process.
Fred Diamond: We’ve got a couple more minutes here with Mark LaFleur and Pramod. We’ve got a couple questions here that are coming in. Customer conversations we talked about a second ago, we talked about bringing opportunities to your customer, the question here is, “How can I be approaching prospects?” A lot of the people who’ve been on the Sales Game Changers Live have talked about optimizing your conversations with your existing customers, go back to them, make sure they’re okay, help them get up on cloud, whatever it is that you need to do. Mark, you guys are deep into that space, what are the customer conversations going like now and are you prospecting for new business?
Mark LaFleur: Absolutely, you have to, I don’t think you have an option there, at least I haven’t been told I have an option [laughs]. I think you have to handle it professionally, is the best word I can think of. You have to have a little bit of a soft touch and you have to be willing to shift on the fly a little bit. Not everybody has had a good experience through this process, in fact, some people have had a very difficult experience obviously both personally and professionally so I don’t think you can assume people want to be asked a lot about how they’re doing or talk a lot about things. You really have to, just like anything else, let prospects dictate the pace at first so you can understand where they’re at with everything that’s going on. I think you just have to go into your prospecting with a little bit of a soft touch, lead like we always do with some thoughtful business of value and have a good business conversation. Then I think let them bring the relationship part in as they feel comfortable given everything that’s going on.
Fred Diamond: Pramod, again you’re with the startup Airgility and you have a lot of challenges just getting a startup going, you’ve had a lot of success. What are some of your conversations going like right now as we move off of the pure empathetic into the fact that we need to get some things done? I don’t know if you need more funding or what it is you need or partnerships or relationships, what are you doing to shift? We’re coming down to the end here, we have one final question which is going to be, “What is your advice?” We have almost a hundred people watching today’s webcast, thank you all so much. Pramod, after you answer this question, Mark, I’m going to ask you for your final thought for the people watching today and then Pramod, I’ll swing back to you as well.
Pramod Raheja: I would say that just like you said, everybody’s got to make a sale, nothing happens without a sale. That’s across all organizations so even organizations that maybe put things on hold, they still have problems that they need to solve where they’re looking for solution. I would say that there are some smaller companies probably out there on the entrepreneurial side that maybe aren’t going at it as hard because they’re thinking that potentially, “What’s the point? Nobody’s doing anything anyways” and I would say that’s very far from the truth. The point is that everybody’s going to be doing something, it becomes a timing issue so your forecast changed, your pipeline changes but it doesn’t stop, so why not be in the front of the line if you can? Not only that, as I mentioned earlier about being online, being at home everybody’s online so if you can get online and have those lines of communications open, add value to what they’re doing, when I say add value an example would be as simple as, “Hey, I saw this article.” I just got two of those today from somebody who’s trying to talk to me and said, “Hey, here’s an article you should look at.” I find that to be valuable, I find that to be thoughtful and I think that when it comes to your prospects you continue to do that. The other thing is going back to the word empathy where you thought you were going to do something second quarter, now it doesn’t look like it’s going to be until fourth quarter 2020 or first quarter 2021. That’s where being adaptable and flexible comes in and you realize that you just have to be that way and that will go a long way in spades because you will build that relationship continuing knowing that at some point, something’s going to happen. It just becomes a timeline issue.
Fred Diamond: Mark, give us one quick thought, something people should do today. When we end Institute for Excellence in Sales programs it’s always about action so give our listeners something they should do today
Mark LaFleur: That’s a tough one. I would say really sit down and write down a plan for what you need to achieve in the short term but also, what you might need to do for the long term. We don’t know if we’re at the end of the first inning or the seventh inning here so we’re going to need long-term mindset with a lot of short-term goals and that to me is the main focus.
Fred Diamond: I also like what you said before talking about relationships, little things can go a long way. It’s not the grand gestures, it’s a quick note, the article, maybe a recommendation on LinkedIn. Go back and recommend all your partners, that’s a huge thing. Pramod, bring us home, my friend. One final thought that people should be implementing today.
Pramod Raheja: I will give you two but I’ll be quick. #1 do something every day to up your game, you’re not commuting to work, you’re not driving, you got some extra time, read, up your game especially if you’re in sales, sales is a sport, you need to always be continuing learning and getting better. Second piece of advice, as soon as you get off this webinar do three emails, phone calls, doing something that Mark, Fred or I mentioned in terms of adding value to your prospects, clients or partners.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo