Meridith Elliott Powell: [00:01:04] Welcome to Sales Logic. The show where we dive into the strategies, we discuss the techniques and we give you the tools exactly what you need to be more effective at sales and well to approach the sale logically I’m Meridith Elliott Powell, and I am here with my cohost.
Mark Hunter: Mark Hunter and welcome Darryl Praill to today’s show.
Darryl Praill: Hello. Hello.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Well, Darryl, we are excited to have you here because listen, let me talk a moment about how the show works. We’ve got a topic that we are going to dive into. We close the show out with a with a lightning round, but we kick every show off with a question. A question from one of our listeners dealing live with the challenges that sales professionals are dealing with today. So, Mark, if it’s good with you, I’m going to go ahead and jump right into the question. And the question today is from somebody that you know Mark. You ready?
Mark Hunter: Ready to go.
Meridith Elliott Powell: So
Mark Hunter: the question comes from Bob.
What are the best ways to stick to the basics, the tried and true methods of what works in sales? And Hey, you know what, before we answer it, we should say, how do you get your question in? You get your question by going to saleslogicpodcast.com, little piece there that you can send us your question, or just go out to social media, put your question and do #saleslogic and we will see it.
And Hey, we may just answer it on next week show. So back to answering the question, I guess I’ll repeat it one more time here. The question here, the best way to stick to them the basics, the tried and true methods of what works in sales. Meridith. Jump in.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Well, I love this question because I think in everything that’s going on today and we’re all in, the moment you get into crisis, everybody starts to grab for the newest, latest, shiny object.
But this question really speaks to what’s true about sales. I mean, one of my favorite books on sales is, How to Win Friends and Influence People one cause it was written in the 1930s and two because everything in it is still relevant today. And at the end of the day, it is about the basics with sales.
And one of the things that I think you need to do to in order to stick to the basics is you’ve got to ask yourself, do you have a sales strategy? And do you track and measure that strategy. I mean, Mark, you were talking earlier about busy versus productive and the only way that I can measure whether I am busy versus productive is I know what I’ve got to do to hit my numbers, what sales calls I’ve got to make, what proposals I’ve got to write, how many proposals I’ve got to close.
And that day in day out of tracking those things and seeing what’s getting me results and what isn’t getting me results. But Darryl, would love to have you weigh in just basically your thoughts on the basics in general. And then what, if anything, you do to make sure you’re sticking to the basics.
Darryl Praill: So I may go off on a slightly different tangent. For me, it’s funny, I’m actually glad to you talked first Meridith, because it gave me time to ponder the question. My immediate reaction, I think about the basics for me is it’s not necessarily the processes because I’m pretty confident you’ve got tools today. Would it be VanillaSoft or something else that you’ve probably got processes that worked for you. And I love that Meridith said, you’re looking at what’s working and what’s not. Productive versus busy. That’s incredibly kind of the powerful. But to me, the basics are, what do we do when we’re selling, you know, at its most basic is we’re having a conversation, a relationship if you will, with our buyer.
So am I actually engaging them in a way that shows that I care that I add a little value, that I’m not necessarily pitching, that I’m not viewing them as a transaction and that I’m a resource for them to help them overcome their challenges? So I’m looking at what’s my phone script? What’s my email script? What’s my social media script? And does it embody that? Or is it just pitch, pitch, pitch and I’m going to not personalize anything and I’m just going to crank through. I’m going to use sales engagement for bad cause with sales engagement, in the irony of sales engagement is, I can do massive amounts of activity.
So many people play let’s play a numbers game, or I’m just going to do bad crap in high volume. And that’s not the basics. Then the other thing I would do is I would actually challenge your assertion around the relevance of the basics. Hear me out. I’m a big believer. you know our show Inside Inside Sales podcast about being marginally better. The only way we can get marginally better is you take what’s working, which are the basics, and then you say, okay, I want to do an AB test. And I’m gonna do one little tweak and say, let’s monitor for a week or something. And am I better? And if you know, the traditional way, won. Great next week, I do a different tweak against the traditional way, or if the tweaked way won next week, I do another one against the tweaked way.
So I’m intervally getting better. The basics are good, but that doesn’t mean you stop. But what it does mean to me is you don’t get overwhelmed thinking that a new piece of technology or a new script or a new piece of content is going to change everything about your success. It’s not. And if you fall into that trap, then you’re going to have a lack of success.
Mark Hunter: just heard from Darryl Praill and you might say, wait a minute, when did he come on to Sales Logic Podcast? Well, when you’re the sponsor, he’s the Chief Marketing Officer at VanillaSoft. Hey, we are happy to have him on the show, but you know, what did you catch something about his answer to that question?
He is incredibly insightful with his answers. So that’s again, why we enjoy having him on the show here today. I’m going to add one more piece to this question. Cause then we need to really get into the topic of today. And that is ask yourself this question when you get done talking to anybody, and talking is so key that the telephone is more relevant today than it’s ever been, what makes you believe that customer thinks there’s a reason why they should even buy from you? You see, what I find so many times happening is that salespeople are just throwing stuff out there. They’re throwing stuff out there. But you really have to stop and ask yourself what was the compelling piece that is going to move that customer to sit there and say they want to engage with you.
And what does that mean? The tried and true basic? Do you create a call to action? Do you create? This is one of the big reasons why people are busy, but they’re not productive because they’re not creating that call to action to get that next step. And all you do is wind up spinning your wheels over and over. But hey, we need to jump into the topic today.
The topic we’re talking about today is really discovery skills that are relevant in today’s marketplace. How do you tailor your value proposition? Now, if you think about this, it’s a key issue. So let’s go ahead and jump into it. Mere, I’m going to let you run with it first, share some thoughts on it.
Darryl Praill: Sure.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Yeah, I love this topic and I really stole it from Anita Nielsen, a friend of ours, a real sales guru, but she had used it to answer a question that I had asked about sales on LinkedIn. And I’ve got to tell you that I’m really passionate about discovery because I think it’s one of the most underutilized and most understood parts of the sales process.
And the one thing that I think that people need to understand about discovery is it is not a stage in the sales process. You don’t do it at step three and you don’t do it again. It happens over and over and over again in the sales process. Every time that your customer is talking, every time you ask a question and they’re saying something, you need to be listening for ways to go deeper, discover more about what their pain points and their challenges are.
So often what I see salespeople do is they go through discovery, they hear a problem, they jump the problem. They sell a product. The customer account is closed. Move on to the next customer. Discovery when it needs to be done over and over and over again through the sales process.
But Darryl, what do you think?
Darryl Praill: No, I love that you said it needs to be done over and over and over again in the sales process, because it does. And the thing about discovery is you need, and this, if I’m candid, this is where I see most sales processes break down, is that you’re not A: you’re not doing discovery, right?
You’re trying to rush to a demo, for example, so you can do a feature dump. B: you’re not doing a discovery by stakeholder because a champion versus financial advocate versus a technical advocate, whatever, all have different requirements. And instead, once you find somebody that is taking up your ca lls, who will actually take your calls and listen to you, you just stick with them and you put all your money on them. So discovery is a process. It’s not just about their pain, but it’s also discovery around the opportunit. Who has influence on this buying process? Who will be affected? Who will be impacted? Can I talk to them? And if more people did that, you would actually have shorter sales cycles, you would actually have shorter demos, cause you could only show what matters to them, and you would dramatically differentiate yourself from your competition. Most of you are scared to do that because you don’t want to upset anybody. And I think what you need to do is change your mindset. It’s not about upsetting anybody. It’s about making sure you’ve heard everybody and your champion will be the victor here because they will understand, if you tell them and educate them, that in fact, you’re helping make them a rockstar, but getting all the stakeholders to have inclusion of input. So when the recommendation is made for you, they’re going to support the decision as opposed to object because they weren’t heard.
Mark Hunter: What you said was so spot on and I’m glad you linked it to the demo, because this is one of the things that I vomit over, I vomit- the race to the demo. And let me tell you something. I don’t think too many people wake up in the morning and sit there and say, “Oh, joy. I get to sit through a couple more demos from stupid salespeople”, because that’s what they are- they are featured dumps. If you are really concerned or if you’re really interested about creating incremental sales, then you need to run deeper into the discovery process and it occurs at every phase and I’ll argue the best discovery occurs just after the introduction at the early stages of when confidence is being built, because it’s at that point that they’re willing to share with you truth.
They’re willing to share with you ultimately what it is. It’s not about crafting a solution that does everything. It’s about crafting a solution that takes care of their deepest, most critical need. And you’re only going to find that out by going deep into the discovery process. And I’m going to pick up on two other pieces here.
This is where I can’t stand so many sales processes because they’re kind of built on this automated system. I go from point A, to point B, point C and it does not allow in there for the whole discovery phase to take place, because I don’t necessarily know where the discovery phase is going to take place.
I mean, I don’t know where it’s going to go because it can run in several different directions. But here’s the whole thing, I gotta be prepared to let it go where the customer wants to go. Now I’ll bring it back in. I’ll bring it back in, but I got to let the customer share. And the only way I’m able to do that is by sitting there, by being able to put that question out on the table and letting them chew on it. And then me coming back with that next question that just keeps building and building and building.
But here’s why I think so many people are afraid to do discovery because they really don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what they’re doing, and they just want to stick to this process. And they’re afraid.
Cause I’ll argue the best salespeople out there, the best discovery process, you know you’re hitting a home run when you can ask the customer a question that they can’t answer and you can’t answer. Now think about that for a moment when both the customer and you can’t answer that question, what’s that gonna do?
That’s going to force a dialogue. That’s going to create a conversation that is the ultimate in discovery. That’s how you really create incremental opportunities and not just be a stupid order taker. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box. Mere, I’ll let you put a close on this.