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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 August 5, 2020. It featured sales leaders Chris Tully and Will Fuentes.]
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EPISODE 259: Sales Performance Specialists Will Fuentes and Chris Tully Suggest You Do These Two Things for Sales Success Right Now
CHRIS’ TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “If you haven’t read The Challenger Sale go do it right now. If you have read it, go back and re-read the section on “A New Model for High Performance,” in Chapter 2. It talks about the value that you bring when you bring insight to your clients. If you’ve read The Challenger Sale, go back and read that part. If you haven’t read it, go read it. Bringing value to customers who are struggling right now will set you apart.”
WILL’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Practice doing Question Trees. Think about the bold open-ended question you want to ask, then think about the possible answers they could give you, and then think about what your response will be, given those answers. That’s going to empower you not only to be prepared to ask the question but to respond to the answers. You do that today, you are going to get to the honest answers you deserve as a sales professional in order to move your deals forward or out.”
Fred Diamond: Will, why don’t you get us started? How has the pandemic affected your efforts?
Will Fuentes: It’s been interesting. What we’ve found was that there was a group of organizations that saw an opportunity but didn’t think that their sales team was prepared to capture that opportunity. We had a lot of inbound interest in helping set up process, helping set up remote sales, the right KPI’s, teaching the right messaging particularly during this time. For us it actually got really busy and really exciting to work across technologies focused on healthcare, remote education as well as debt collection of all things knowing that coming out of this people are going to want to go ahead and resolve their debts, so they’ll have to figure that out as well. We’ve had a lot of inbound and been working really hard with our clients to figure out what the right messaging is today and how to accelerate the sales cycle to take advantage of the opportunities that have been presented.
Fred Diamond: Great point you made today. Prior to the pandemic I’m sure you were working with organizations to train their people for the next year or the next 18 months, right now we’re focusing on “right now.” As a matter of fact, we’ve added the word ‘right now’ to almost all of our descriptors that we’ve been doing. Chris Tully, you’ve been a sales veteran for a long time, you help companies either as an outsource sales officer, you help them with strategy, you’ve had a long, distinguished career in technology. How about for you? What are some of the things that you’re most focused on right now?
Chris Tully: I echo some of Will’s comments. I think in general I’ve been very busy over the last 3 or 4 months. We work mostly with CEO’s and business owners who are trying to tune up their business to drive faster growth and that need hasn’t gone away. In fact, I think the pandemic has exacerbated it. We are spending a lot time talking about sales enablement, presentation techniques and really drilling into the sales process to make sure that at every stage along the way you’re doing the very best you can for each piece of that process to make sure that you’re not taking things for granted, particularly around qualifying the sale. I think Will alluded to this a little bit, a lot of CEO’s and business owners have used this period of time when pandemic has caused them to think really differently about their business. They’ve gone back in, they’ve started to look at their sales strategy a little bit through different lens and it’s caused them to really work to understand in each area whether it’s sales and marketing integration or outbound sales, technologies and techniques or whatever it might be, what’s the best they can do to ensure that their revenue growth is going to stay where it needs to be.
Fred Diamond: We’re doing today’s webcast, it’s August 5th, we’re four months into wherever we’re into right now. A question comes in right away which is, “Were your clients prepared?” That question comes from Jerry and Jerry looks to be up in New Jersey, I don’t know if you guys have clients up in New Jersey but thanks, Jerry, for the question. We’re four months in and things are changing on a daily basis obviously. Were your people prepared and are they prepared now? We’re four months in and there’s so much that we’re learning. Chris, where are the teams and the organizations that you’re working with?
Chris Tully: I think it’s a great question and I think it deserves a two-part answer. At the very beginning of this whole situation everything changed at about the end of the second week in March, and for about 30 days, maybe a little bit longer, maybe through till the end of April clients were scrambling to make sure that they knew how to work in a virtual environment. You would have a Zoom call or a GoToMeeting call or something like that and it’d be, “Can you hear me? Can everybody see me okay?” and everybody talking about the technology and how it works, and that’s changed. In fact, it’s a real positive that I think has come out of this, I’m seeing people really embrace the tools that are at their disposal once they figure out how to use them well and how to get good at it.
I think the second piece of it is with respect to the sales methodology or the sale engine in a company. Businesses have been learning how to interact with their clients and prospects in a very different way and that changes what you have to do to prepare for a sales call. Before if you were face-to-face with a client you might pull something out of your briefcase or lay something on the desk to help them understand what you were talking about, or you might have gotten up and worked on a whiteboard to try to do that. You don’t have that opportunity now to do that face-to-face so they’re learning how to adapt those processes to work effectively through this screen.
Fred Diamond: Will, how about you? Chris eluded to some of the technologies and I know you’re a big technology user. How’s the adoption been and maybe what are some of the technologies that you’re seeing that are very valuable right now that sales professionals need to be excellent at using?
Will Fuentes: #1 is really good data source. I love SalesIntel, I use them because they have a lot of cellphone numbers so it allowed my clients to be able to go reach people on their cellphone. #2 Vidyard, the ability to make a quick video and drop it into an email to make it much more personalized because when you can’t get in touch with someone on their office phone you have to send them an email, so how do you make that personalized and get that interaction that you would with voice? Vidyard is an amazing tool. I will say what was interesting to me about the process here was the really great sales professionals started digging right into, “How do I use Zoom or GoToMeeting differently? How do I create an experience that makes it seem like we’re almost in the same room? And how do I coach my prospect to use the tool correctly as well?” They got really familiar. We always teach the Seven P’s and the first one’s Preparation, that preparation around the tool usage and how to coach someone to say, “If you click on the top you can expand the screen so you can see my presentation this huge.” The last thing that I found that was most interesting was that the risk in deals really changed dramatically. What I started finding was that prospects were used to being able to go knock on the door of legal and say, “Hey, when are you going to get that contract to me?” or to the CFO and say, “When can we sit down and review the ROI case?” That wasn’t happening anymore so we had to coach our clients to coach their prospects to say, “Have you reached out to your CFO to ask them when they can get on a Zoom call with you?” What was most interesting was we’d say, “Ask them if they have their CFO’s phone number” and they’d say, “No, why would I have that? I just would walk to his office.” So, deals were getting delayed because they couldn’t get in touch with the right person, it really started to change dramatically what the risks were and we immediately shifted into how do we mitigate that risk by asking better questions? We started coaching all of our clients on that methodology.
Fred Diamond: Chris, I want to follow up with you on that too, the whole concept of training your customer to interact with you right now. Again, a lot of the customers were working from home, some salespeople were comfortable with working from home because a lot of them are on the road or they’re traveling or those types of things. But what are some of the techniques, Chris, that you’ve seen people be successful in, in training their customers to be more responsive?
Chris Tully: To Will’s point around tools and helping people understand the tools, I have one client where we have been very focused on, if we have a champion in the sales cycle, trying to provide that individual with the right tools to take. Will’s example was the legal department and it could be in any other department but to take what we’ve laid out as a proposal [Unintelligible 10:13] on investment assumptions to help that person figure out how to bring that case in front of somebody else in the organization. I would say that many times that was not a natural thing for them to know how to do. I love the idea of embedding videos, I’ve seen clients of mine start to do that, little video snippets to try to explain things. I think for me, it boils down to don’t make any assumptions about what it is that your clients actually know how to do, particularly when it comes to electronic tools and how to use things like the annotate feature on Zoom or the whiteboard feature. As you interact with them, if you can show them how to do that, it helps them immensely.
Fred Diamond: Will, you want to say something?
Will Fuentes: Yes, I want to say something because it’s interesting. One of the things that we always teach is the beginning of every presentation, a lot of people say, “Can you see my screen?” What we’ve taught our people is, “You should be seeing on your screen right now a slide that shows Sales Game Changers Live. Can you see that?” Because what ends up happening with, “Can you see my screen?” is the prospect doesn’t want you to think that they don’t know how to use technology so they’ll be like, “Yeah, we’re good.” [Laughs] so getting the affirmative is a huge win for a salesperson.
Fred Diamond: We have a relating question that comes in from Jessica and I want to talk a little bit about interactions with customers. “Have you run into clients with work-from-home fatigue? If so, how have you responded?” We originally thought this was going to be a one month process, we’ve heard a lot of Zoom fatigue. We do a poll on some of the webcasts, “When do you think you’re going to be back in the office?” and people are saying January, some people recently have been saying April 2021. We have to get used to being at home but how about that whole concept of the whole work-from-home fatigue, especially now? Again, we’re doing today’s broadcast on August 5th, it’s right smack in the middle of the summer, they’re telling people, “You can’t get on planes, can’t go on cruises or anything.” Maybe some people have snuck away to the beach but for the most part you’re at home and it’s sunny and you can’t go to the pool because the pools are closed. Talk about that a little bit, I presume Jessica’s asking about the sales professionals that you’re working with. Chris, why don’t you take that one first?
Chris Tully: I think for me and to a large degree with my clients as well, this has really caused us to think very differently about how we interact with people. Fred, I’m not sure I remember on which one of your webcasts someone made this comment about the fact that we’re all navigating the same storm but we have different boats. I don’t know who said that, it’s a great quote but it’s really true if you think about it. Everyone’s personal situation is really different and what I’ve learned in this process is to try to really work to be an active listener, ask questions around their personal environment, “How’s it working for you being at home? Do you have a spouse working at home? Are there issues with children? How are you dealing with all that stuff?” You probably wouldn’t ask those questions exactly that way but as you get to know your prospects and clients it causes you to want to dig in with them a little bit more deeply to figure out what’s going on in their life.
They’re dealing with many of the same issues that we’re dealing with and they have many of the same challenges. In order to try to help them through it you can talk a little bit about your own experiences and here’s how you’ve dealt with that problem. This is a really simplistic example, but I learned the other day – probably two months ago at this point – I shouldn’t do a video call on Wednesday morning at 9:00 o’clock. The reason is because a home owner’s association yard crew shows up and they cut the grass, can’t hear anything. That’s a really simple example but everybody’s got these issues in their life that they’re trying to sort through and the more empathetic you are, the more human you are in your interactions with them, I think you’re going to get a great outcome from that.
Fred Diamond: Will, I’m interested on your thoughts on that and I have a follow up after you answer that question.
Will Fuentes: In Episode 4 I talked about something that Chris brought up earlier which is the 40-20 rule, 40 hours of work, 20 hours to hone your craft. In those 20 hours, honing your craft is really about understanding yourself and right now with the work-from-home fatigue people should start to journal and recognize when is it that they work their best and how do they reset their clock. Is it a walk around the block? Is it just to go sit outside and get some vitamin D? Is it to watch some mindless Real Housewives for 15 minutes just to get away from what it is? That to me is the critical element to be really effective from work-from-home. I recently bought – you guys are going to laugh – a punching bag. When I get really stressed and tired I just put the gloves on, I take 10 minutes, get a good sweat, sit back down and I’m reset, my mind is clear and I can get back to it. For others it might be cooking, whatever it is, you should really start journaling and thinking, “What is it that resets me and puts me in a great mind frame?” because that’s what’s going to help you throughout all of this. If you just try to power through it, you’re going to power down.
Fred Diamond: Chris, do you have a comment?
Chris Tully: Just to follow on that comment, I think the idea of you have to remember in the goals that you set for yourself that one of those goals is good self-care, taking care of yourself. Every one of us has a different activity that helps us free our mind up to go back and refocus on things. For me, I love taking a 4-5 mile walk and I find when I come back from that I can do pretty much anything with really good focus for the next two or three hours. This is different for everyone and I think the more examples that you can help your reps, your clients, your prospects and others with, help them understand that it’s a critical part of maintaining their peak performance level is finding a way to unhook without getting completely distracted by all the distractions that are out there, because that can happen.
Fred Diamond: I want to follow back up on your comment about empathy and we actually have a question here from Silvia, thank you, Silvia. Silvia is in New Jersey as well, a lot of people calling in from Jersey, thank you so much. The question is, “Should I really be empathetic right now? I’m tired of being empathetic.” There’s been three big words that we’ve used in almost every of our webcasts and again, we do a webcast every single day. Empathy, mindset and creativity are the three big words. Are you encouraging the sales professionals that you work with to get deep into those conversations or do we all know that we’ve had all the situations? If you have kids, you’re home, you can’t go on the vacation, if you have parents you can’t see them. Let’s get a little bit deeper on if those conversations really should be happening now August 5th or should we just presume and get right down to business? Chris, why don’t you start with that and then Will, why don’t you take it over?
Chris Tully: I was just thinking, first of all you can’t fake authenticity. You are either an authentic, grounded, professional salesperson or you’re not so part of this for me and I think for really top salespeople is to remember what got you into this profession in the first place. For the most part, I think many of us are wired to help other people achieve their goals and objectives in a professional setting so don’t lose sight of the fact that part of your role is to help your clients and your prospects and your team accomplish their objectives in the best most expeditious and authentic way possible. They’re looking to you for real guidance on how to solve problems and the problems are important problems. This environment we’re in is unlikely to be changing anytime soon and I would also argue that that same authenticity that should be at the center of these engagement should have been there before we had a pandemic as well.
Fred Diamond: Will, I want to take a question here that came in from the audience which will give you a little more background here. I want to thank Mark for this question, Mark is in Maryland and I’m going to actually read the question. “If sales is about connecting, what are some new skills or perspectives that should be learned, trained, developed right now to help us be more empathetic or able to connect? Not everyone’s naturally wired this way.” I agree with what you said before, Chris, that before the pandemic, empathetic seller was a table stakes. If you didn’t have that there was no way you were going to be successful in sales but a lot of people are struggling right now because things were going great up until March 12th or whenever we all were told to start working from home. So many of the people that have participated on our webcast were having their best year ever in 2020 and everyone is in a new role, if you will. Will, what are some of your thoughts on that? Thanks again for the question, Mark… “Question mark” [laughs]
Will Fuentes: [Laughs] a couple of things. #1, one of the things that I tell salespeople today is ask your prospect to turn on their camera. Just to say, “I don’t get to see a lot of people, I’d love it if you could turn on your camera.” Here’s why, if they say to me, “My kids are running around and I don’t feel comfortable” you say, “No problem” and now you also know that they’re probably going to be distracted during that call. Your empathetic moment which is also a sales moment allows you to come back and say, “If you’ve got to take care of your kids maybe we can reschedule, I’m happy to do that, I’ll provide some times for you” and it really levels that to you. If they say, “No, I’m good” you now have permission to move off of empathy into sales mode because they are telling you, “I am ready to listen to what you have to say.” #2 is absolutely 100% you have to be focused and time-conscious.
If you ask for 30 minutes, you’ve got to deliver in 25, give them back those 5 minutes. If you ask for an hour you’ve got to deliver in 50-55 minutes. Having people run over, having all of these things happen gets people really anxious because they’re planning their day around the meetings that they have to attend and maybe they’re going to feed their kid at 12:00 o’clock because your meeting is done at 12:00, but now you’re running to 12:05 and their child is pulling on them or their husband needs to get on a call. You really have to focus and use your time wisely and give back as much as you can, I think that’s the best way that a salesperson can show empathy. That along with understanding that sometimes it’s not the right time to sell and give them permission to tell you that it’s not.
Fred Diamond: One thing we’ve talked about – and then Chris, I want your answer to the same question – there aren’t as many transactions happening over the last four months for all the obvious reasons but if you’re still a sales professional, you still need to be a professional. What should you be doing today to be a professional if you’re not doing all the transactions? What are things that also go into a salesperson being a professional? Chris, what are your thoughts on, again, if you’ve gotten some empathy fatigue? What are some of your strategies on how to get there? Because like Will just said, if you’re not there you’re not going to be even remotely successful.
Chris Tully: I like the idea of giving people back time. I would very much encourage as you have a video session or even a phone call with one of your clients or prospects, first of all you need to be very clear about what it is that you’re actually trying to accomplish in that call. You should have an agenda, you should do your homework, you should never wing it, you should know what you’re trying to accomplish. You should be thinking about, from the perspective of your client, what is it that they’re expecting you to bring them in terms of value and how are they thinking about it? Because your interaction probably started somewhere along the line because you had a solution to something that they cared about, a problem that they had, a technology issue they were trying to solve, some sort of service that your firm was able to provide. You have to really think empathetically, you’re bringing value to them, it makes their life easier, it shortens their time to market if that happens to be one of your objectives. It brings value to them, there’s business value and there’s personal value and the more you can combine those two things in your conversation with the client to make it evident to them what it is that you do and how it solves their problem, both the personal one and the business one if you can, I think that’s a worthwhile thing to spend time on. It really causes you to have to think about how do you present what it is you do in a way that your client understands immediately and instinctively how it can help.
Fred Diamond: Will?
Will Fuentes: A couple of things. I’m big on tips and tricks, you know that, so for me the big tip here is always the time check at the beginning of that call. You should have the tech check, “You should be able to see on your screen ‘Sales Game Changers Live’, can you see that? We’re scheduled till 2:45 today, does that still work for you? Do you have a hard stop?” Great time check, I’ve got permission to keep going. To Chris’ point about the agenda, we’ve spent quite a significant amount of time and money with psychologists trying to figure out why the agenda works so well. The two driving emotions for human beings, one is love, the second is fear, fear of the unknown. Right now there’s so many unknowns so wipe away one of those, is this salesperson going to waste my time? No, an agenda shows you that it’s not going to be a waste of time so do one every single time. Then to Chris’ other point, we teach drive and there’s two letters in there, the I and the E that people should always remember. The I is the business Impact, the E is the Expectation. Ask your prospect, “What is the expected personal win for you?” Then continue to drive towards connecting both of those things and you’ll accelerate that sale. No other people in sales are really doing that, they’re asking, “What’s the business?” Really ask what’s your personal win and that’s a great way for a salesperson who’s got empathy fatigue to show empathy but at the same time continue to drive their sale forward.
Fred Diamond: I want to ask a follow-up question, this comes from Nelson and Nelson is in the Washington D.C. area, thank you, Nelson. “What do you see most sales professionals struggling with right now?” and a related question is how are you coaching the people that you’re working with? Let’s take that from a senior and junior level. What’s the #1 thing that you see most sales professionals struggling with right now and then how would you be coaching senior and junior people? Will, why don’t you take that question first?
Will Fuentes: Honesty. People are not being honest with themselves, they’re holding onto deals that have no real chance of closing.
Chris Tully: 100%.
Will Fuentes: They’re holding out hope for things that will never happen and they’re not asking the tough questions from their prospects. How do we coach? We teach question trees and we get people prepared by really focusing on how to ask the tough question. “You keep telling me this is a priority, however, your actions are indicating to me that it’s not. Tell me, where am I wrong in my assessment?” That’s a tough question to ask someone but it’s a necessary one during these times because you have to take advantage of the real opportunities and move on from the ones that are not. A sales leader right now has to be relentless in the accountability that they hold their people to. If they’re not doing that, dishonesty will run rampant and you’ll get bloated pipelines and ineffective salespeople who Q3-Q4 are going to be very upset when their commission checks look a lot slimmer and the pipeline isn’t full.
Fred Diamond: A quick follow-up question, Will. Obviously that’s a historic problem. Has that gotten worse over the last four months?
Will Fuentes: Yes, let’s be honest, life is not easy right now so you hold on hope to whatever you can and you’re going to hope that deal is going to close and the other deal is going to close because there isn’t a lot going on outside. You’re just trying to figure out what’s going to make you feel good and salespeople love to have happy ears, and there’s no better time to have happy ears than right now when there’s not a lot of happy news.
Fred Diamond: That’s a great point, for the first time in our lifetimes everybody’s dealing with the same challenge. We know that everybody is dealing with, “How do we recover from the pandemic, from the economic downfall from it?” Chris, how about you? What are most people struggling with right now that you see?
Chris Tully: First of all, I love Will’s answer, I think it’s spot on. I have maybe a slightly different angle on it, to me in any given sale cycle at any point in time with pretty much any type of product or service, the most difficult piece of that sale cycle for a sales rep to clear effectively is getting the opportunity really properly qualified. It’s because of Will’s comment on honesty, it’s because we’re not often honest with ourselves that deals linger in that phase of the sale cycle for way too long. If you think about it, you would really much rather have a smaller pipeline with a higher probability of actually really closing than a bloated pipeline that you were lying to yourself and everybody else about because you really needed the deal. That’s what’s going on, I think at the root of that whole issue and Will’s point about giving people very specific tough questions to ask, I think it’s absolutely spot on. If you can’t get that opportunity properly qualified because you don’t know how to ask the right hard questions, you’re going to have stuff in your pipeline that isn’t going to close and the uncertainty that people have, it’s complicated now. I just had this conversation earlier this morning, we can’t tell sometimes if what’s causing things to be slow is our own skill set, our messaging, our customer’s issues, the COVID situation or summer. You get paid as a salesperson to help figure that stuff out and to do the best job you can to demystify it.
Will Fuentes: I just want to add one thing here. I think the other issue that we don’t encounter is exactly what you were talking about, Fred, that we’re all in this together right now. What ends up happening is that a prospect doesn’t want to let that salesperson down so as a salesperson we have to give them permission to tell us no. We have to let them know that it’s okay for them to say, “This deal is not going to close” and so often I have gone back after a loss and asked people, “What happened?” “I was really trying hard to convince my boss even though he had told me no, that’s why I kept pushing out our meeting.” In my mind I said, “I should have just given them permission to tell me no” because that really was way more valuable than this non-real opportunity that I thought existed. Right now empathy becomes really strong on both sides and we have to tell people that honesty is more important.
Fred Diamond: Chris, do you want to comment on that?
Chris Tully: I’ve heard that thought expressed one time that really stuck with me which is being able to say to your prospect something just as simple and honest as, “Look, if this really isn’t a good opportunity for you and this really doesn’t solve your problem, I want you to know that it’s okay with me. I’d rather you told me that it wasn’t going to work because then you and I can go on and do whatever else we need to do, but please. I want you to know that I’m strong enough and I value our relationship enough that if it’s going to be no, I’d really rather you just told me instead of giving me a maybe that lasts for 6 weeks.” There’s loads of ways, I’m sure, Will, you train and teach to this, giving people the right words to say around that would really be helpful.
Fred Diamond: We have time for a couple more questions, then I’m going to ask you both for your final thoughts, for your action steps that our listeners and people listening on the podcast can take today. Let’s shift the conversation a little bit to some of the positive things. Again, we’re past the first couple of months when it was new and people were getting used to things and discovering things, here we are smack dab in the middle of the summer, it’s August 5th when we’re recording this. Chris, you just made an interesting point that maybe sales aren’t happening right now because it is summer, there are some markets that do shut down in August in a lot of ways. There are some that grow, the federal marketplace – we have a bunch of people listening on – obviously is heating up right now and luckily for a lot of the companies in the D.C. metro area, we have people listening to today’s webcast all around the globe. What are some of the positive things that you’ve seen come out of this situation that you think will make the sales profession and sales professionals better moving forward? Will, why don’t you take that one first?
Will Fuentes: I think some of the positive things that I’m seeing is a renewed interest in really learning about their industry and finding the edge. The really great sales professionals are not only taking the time to learn about their prospects but really get wide in terms of their understanding of the industry and to Chris’ point, becoming that trusted adviser that really knows a lot. I’m seeing a leveling-up of professionalism that often I struggle to get people to try and do, but because they aren’t commuting, they aren’t traveling, they have a little bit more time, they’re using that time effectively to do that. The second thing I’m seeing we call a gifting which is the idea of creating momentum in deals by offering all of this richness of information that’s out there and using that effectively, so getting creative. Finally, people have had to get a little bit bold so the use of videos and the different use of technologies, I’ve found that to be great because if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. You can’t always do what you’ve always done now so you’ve got to try new things. I love the creativity that’s happening out there in sales today.
Fred Diamond: Chris, how about you? Tell us a positive thing and then I’m going to ask you both for your final thoughts, things that sales professionals can do right now, today August 5th or whenever you’re listening to this podcast, to be more successful.
Chris Tully: We’ve touched on a couple of these maybe in one way or another over the course of the last half hour or so, but I think the rapid pivot and embrace of the tools that are available to help people do their jobs. Online collaboration tools, team software like Slack, project management software like Monday or Asana, I see businesses with really tight sales and marketing integration getting creative around conversational chat bots really trying to use the technology that’s out there to help get to a more qualified prospect. Will mentioned the integration of video through Vidyard or others. The other piece is I see people getting really creative with really well thought-through email cadences, not just three or four but 12-13 of them that are on different things that bring insight to the client. I think that’s key, if you want to bring value you’ve got to help the client understand something that perhaps they haven’t thought about.
I think the other piece is focused around generally the commitment, Will talked about skills improvement but trying to understand in each phase of the sale cycle for every stage you have, what is the best expectation that you should have? What needs to happen in that stage? And the willingness to go back and really be rigorous about looking at that and making changes where appropriate to try to improve your performance by virtue of wrestling with what you’re actually doing during the sales process. Literally looking at qualification, proposal development, objection handling, sales communication, every one of those things and not trying to fix just one but try to get as many of them as you can.
Fred Diamond: I want to thank Will Fuentes and Chris Tully. You can go listen to their Sales Game Changers podcast episode and you’ll enjoy what they had to say prior to the pandemic, a lot of great ideas coming up now. Gentlemen, let’s be nice and crisp and pithy here. Chris, give us something that people can do today and then Will, you wrap up for us.
Chris Tully: Fred, you’ve had a lot of the folks from The Challenger Sale on your podcast at different points in time. I don’t know what the number of people are that have actually sat down and read The Challenger Sale, if you haven’t read The Challenger Sale go do it. If you have read it, go back and re-read the section on A New Model for High Performance, it’s chapter 2. It talks about the value that you bring when you bring insight to your clients so if you’ve read The Challenger Sale, go back and read that part. If you haven’t read it, go read it.
Fred Diamond: We always talk about sales professionals being value creators, now more than ever you need to bring value to your customers because one thing we talked about through the course of today’s webcast is they’re faced with a lot of challenges as well. It’s not like prior to the pandemic where we’re trying to persuade and motivate, now we know everyone’s dealing with challenges. We have some people on the webcast today who are in industries that are having very big challenges, people in the event space, people in hospitality, there’s not a whole lot you can do with live events being cancelled. Will, bring us home here, give us a nice, pithy, crisp action step people can take to be successful.
Will Fuentes: I would say go do a question tree. Think about the bold open-ended question you want to ask, then think about the possible answers they could give you, and then think about what your response will be, given those answers. That’s going to empower you not only to be prepared to ask the question but to respond to the answers. You do that today, you are going to get to the honest answers you deserve as a sales professional in order to move your deals forward or out.
Fred Diamond: Once again, Chris Tully, thank you so much, Will Fuentes, you’re two of the top sales performance improvement guys out there. I thank you so much for the great insights. People are now chiming in with thank you’s, Cindy says, “Thank you”, Susanne says, “Thank you so much”, Martin says, “Thank you very much”, thank you all who’ve spent the last hour with us. Gentlemen, Namaste, thank you all so much.
Chris Tully: Thanks very much, have a great afternoon.
Will Fuentes: Thank you.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo