Freshsales CRM partnered with Deb Calvert (President, People First) for the “Stop Selling and Start Leading” webinar on April 18, 2018. In this webinar, you’ll discover that the very same behaviors that make leaders more effective also work to make sellers more effective, too. This critical shift in the selling mindset, and in the sales role itself, is the key to boosting your overall sales effectiveness.
In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:
- Inspire, challenge, and enable buyers
- Change your behavior to build trust and increase sales
- Step into your leadership potential
Tejas: Awesome, thank you so much, so I think we had a bunch of people tell us where they’re from, what they do, and I guess most of them are from a sales background. So, I think that pretty much sets the tone for today’s webinar, so thank you so much for that. We’ll just do a quick round of introductions before we begin, so thank you so much for joining us from across the globe for this very exciting webinar today, my name is Tejas Kinger and I’m a part of the product marketing team for Freshsales CRM here at Freshworks, Freshworks is a high-growth SaaS company which specializes in tools that help improve teams within organizations. We work with functions such as customer service, CRM, IT Service Management, Live Chat etc. This particular webinar is brought to you by Freshsales, Freshsales is an intuitive and easy to use sales CRM product, Freshsales is now a little over a year old and since our inception, we have about 10,000+ customers from about 50+ countries across the world and we are really excited about today’s webinar.
The webinar is called; “Stop Selling and Start Leading,” we have with us here Deb Calvert, Deb is the president of People First Productivity Solutions, a boutique training and consulting firm that builds organizational strengths by putting people first. Deb is also a top sales influencer and she has been named as ‘one of the most influential women in business’ by tenfold, she is an author, she’s written books such as “DISCOVER Questions Get You Connected: for professional sellers” and a second book which in fact goes by the name as today’s webinar, which is; “Stop Selling and Start Leading.” So thank you so much, Deb, for joining us and we really look forward to learning from you over the next hour or so.
Just a quick note for everyone who’s here before we begin, I would like to let you know that this webinar is being recorded, so for those of you who’d like to listen to this webinar once again, we will be providing you with the link to this recording by say Monday. We will also be taking questions towards the end of this webinar, so please feel free to scheme your questions as and when the webinar proceeds in your “GoToWebinar” panel and I will definitely curate them in the end for Deb to answer. I guess I’ve covered pretty much everything, so without further ado, I will hand it over to Deb, are we good Deb?
Deb: We’re good, thank you Tejas. I really appreciate the introduction and the opportunity to be here, thanks to the whole team at Freshsales, including Zach in San Francisco. I want to welcome the folks who came in early and gave us a little bit of context Doug in Canada, Miguel in Mexico, Sergio in Latin America, thank you all for being here and to everybody who’s attending live from around the world, plus those who come in later and are listening to this on demand. I like that the Freshsales blog gives us an opportunity to do that. Today what I’d like to do is share with you the backstory behind this book and I’ll give you some sneak peek into our research which we did with buyers, I say we an hour because I was fortunate to have the opportunity to write this book with my two highly esteemed co-authors, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, their research and work it has created an evidence-based framework of leadership and that work spans over three decades, eighty countries and over five million respondents. The more recent research that we’ve conducted with buyers and sellers stems from that platform, so let’s dive right into it, I’ll be starting here with just an overview a quick look at how buying and selling have changed, then I’ll describe the journey that took us from pondering how buying and selling has changed to musing about what would happen if sellers adopted certain leadership behaviors.
I’ll describe our research first with buyers and then with sellers, and then I’ll describe the evidence-based framework that has become a behavioral blueprint for sales success, complete with a couple of stories that we gathered from sellers, some of the data that we gathered and a few action items for those who want to get started right away with making behavioral shifts that make a difference in your sales results. So we’ll start by taking a look at what really has changed in this new age that the buyers in the informational and digital age are doing some things differently, but let me just have you think of yourself as a buyer which of course you sometimes are even if that’s not your professional role and as you’re thinking as a buyer I’d like to ask you a few questions, just consider each of these from the perspective as a buyer.
As a buyer, do you expect more than you used to from the businesses that you do business with? Do the businesses you choose need to offer more to you if you’re going to continue selecting them over and over again? Next question, still thinking like a buyer, as a buyer, do you dodge sellers who call you on the phone or in businesses where they approach you? are you avoiding them? Are you first gathering information and educating yourself about major purchases or maybe even minor ones like which restaurant to go to before you ever take a conversation with the seller or a business, and as a buyer looking back ten years or so, are you less loyal today to brands and companies than you used to be? Are you open to trying a new product if it’s less expensive? more cutting edge? Better quality or simply newer and more interesting. The buyers that we talk to in our research said; yes, emphatically yes to every one of those questions, you probably did too, we’ve all seen these shifts in our own day-to-day lives in others research and in the challenges that most sellers are facing today, see buyers are empowered by the explosion of choices and the easy access they have to so many options, buyers are emboldened by the information that they can gather independently and the opinions of others that they can quickly find online. Buyers aren’t so sure they really need sellers anymore at least not until it’s time to try and negotiate a better deal or finish up a transaction.
Sadly, according to data from Forrester only 19% of buyer’s rate time with sellers as valuable, so clearly it’s a different world and that’s one reason why we wrote this book, the playing field has changed, buyers want something different, we’re responding to that need to share what buyers want in their interactions with sellers and because buying has changed, selling has changed as well. I think that’s why smart companies like Freshsales are creating tools that make it easier for small businesses. if you haven’t already be sure to check out their CRM with intuitive features that put everything that you want and need right at your fingertips without the need for accessing a whole lot of multiple tools. You can find it all right there with the CRM from Freshsales okay, but what I’d like you to do now is to think about your work as a seller, whether you are a salesperson or a business owner think about the times when you are selling as you answer these next questions, if selling is your primary role these questions won’t surprise you, but for those who sell only on occasion try to answer these questions from the perspective of sellers that you observe or those you interact with, does this seem to you that buyers are dodging and avoiding your phone calls? that it’s really difficult to reach them and getting through to them even after you’ve made that initial contact is also challenging.
Does it seem like decisions are delayed and that sales stall out because buyers are so unresponsive? as a seller have you ever felt like buyers are a mystery? have you ever been left wondering what went wrong after a sale didn’t close? ever tried in vain to figure out what it is that buyers really want? it certainly can be perplexing and as a seller are you sometimes a little uncomfortable with those pervasive negative stereotypes about sellers and selling? do you have to exert extra effort just to prove you’re not like all those other stereotypes? does it take more than it used to, to win a buyer’s trust and here’s a hard one, do you ever feel a little less than proud of our profession? if so you’re not alone, that’s the second reason we wrote this book. Sellers are struggling and many very good sellers are missing quota, feeling frustrated with buyers and confused about what to do differently, some are even leaving the profession, we actually open up the book with a story from a seller who experienced this and felt all those ways and she did, in fact, leave the sales profession. The work that she thought she was supposed to do just didn’t feel right to her, she was disappointed and she was unable to continue in sales because she thought she had to adopt a stereotypical persona and become something other than herself. I do field coaching and I know that many sellers feel exactly like Amy Spellman did, sellers want to see themselves differently and they want to feel good about the work they’re doing, sellers want opportunities to succeed and to simultaneously help their buyers in meaningful ways.
We know what sellers want, but there hasn’t been any clarity and consistency and the answers offered to this question when it comes to interactions with sellers what is it that buyers want? what do buyers want sellers to do? it seems that we had a general sense but not concrete clear consistent actions that we could take, for example we’ve been hearing messages like this for quite some time in the world of selling, you’ve probably experienced something like this too, we could all continue to do the work of selling that we’ve always done, automation using those tools in your stack or a great tool like the one from Fresh Sales, pipeline management, grinding it out, competing on price, we could put all of that into the first option bucket and keep trying to get to buyers first fastest and more often ahead of our competitors and thank goodness there’s an option, we can give buyers this experience. One kind of an experience that causes them proactively to come to us to choose us as the sellers they want to do business with and to stay loyal to us because of this experience we give them. But that statement, as accurate as it sounds because we’ve all been buyers, that statement still falls short, it doesn’t tell us what to do, it raises more questions than it answers, for example, what would that awesome connecting experience look like and in order to create it what would sellers have to do. I had been pondering this question for a really long time, I’ve been looking for the answer in field observations with sellers for a long time and I wasn’t finding the answer to this question but then something very interesting happened that caused me to think about this in a whole new way, see for over a decade I’d been working in two worlds; in a corporate role for a fortune five hundred and later as president of my own company that does training and consulting, I’d worked extensively in both sales and in leadership development and in my mind, these were two entirely disparate fields. Some days I’d wake up and I’d put on my leadership development hat to go connect a workshop or some sort of related coaching, other days I’d focus exclusively on the work of sales training and sales manager support, it was kind of like a like a toddler’s dinner plate.
These two things; the peas and the mashed potatoes, they weren’t supposed to touch each other in my way of looking at them. But then a couple of years ago I was being mentored by Barry Posner one of my co-authors, I was pursuing an accreditation as a certified master of the Challenge for those who aren’t familiar with that body of work, let me just tell you that Jim and Barry, they have that evidence-based framework of leadership that’s backed up by over thirty years of research with over five million people and their certification process is very rigorous.
I was in the phase of that process where I was doing some reflection on the impact of certain leadership behaviors and how people respond to those behaviors when they choose who they will follow and suddenly it just hit me like a lightning bolt, my two worlds collided at that moment and the question that struck me was; what would happen if sellers exhibited these behaviors that make leaders more effective, and soon after that I couldn’t help but wonder would those leadership behaviors create an awesome connecting experience? would they change the way that buyers responded to sellers? so I took my questions to Barry and Jim and we formed the hypothesis that buyers would be more likely to respond to sellers if the sellers were behaving as leaders, but we couldn’t be absolutely sure so we went straight to the source, straight to buyers and we asked them some questions, we conducted a study. This was our original research through Santa Clara University with 530 verified buyers in a Qualtrics panel study.
The buyers in our study, they were a cross-section of people who participate in purchasing decisions and all types of business settings, they came from midsize and large organizations based in the U.S. and from a variety of industries. They were a mix of age groups, some were solo decision-makers with ultimate authority, others were parts of buying teams for some sales were routine and repetitive with the vendors that they worked with and for others purchases were extremely complex, but in this study, the one thing we wanted to know was how buyers felt about leadership behaviors being demonstrated by their sellers. So I’m just putting on screen for you now some examples of thirty behaviors that we asked buyers about, the thirty behaviors we asked them about were adapted from the leadership practices inventory that’s the assessment instrument that Jim and Barry used to measure the extent to which leaders demonstrate exemplary practices. The leadership practices inventory or LPI was part of their original research on leadership experiences and we modified that with this research we were doing, that later became the book “stop selling and start leading”, now the behaviors of leaders that struck me as highly relevant for sellers all came from that leadership practices inventory and from behaviors just like the ones you see on screen, as we presented those thirty behaviors to buyers, we asked them about these things, we asked them for each of the thirty behaviors, how frequently the sellers they already choose to do business with we’re exhibiting those behaviors. And we asked them, how often would you like for sellers to demonstrate those behaviors, what would be ideal?
Then we asked, would these behaviors cause you to be more likely to meet with the seller? would they cause you to be more likely to buy from a seller? and finally we asked them to tell us which out of these thirty behaviors they were most wanting to see from sellers? here’s what we found, we found that buyers considered all thirty proven behaviors of leaders to be highly desirable. They wanted to see a higher frequency of all these behaviors from the sellers they work with, and buyers are significantly more likely to meet with and significantly more likely to buy from sellers who exhibit these behaviors more frequently. In short we now know exactly what buyers want sellers to do, these thirty specific behaviors are what buyers want sellers to do. Buyers want sellers to behave the way that leaders do, buyers told us in fact that if a seller more frequently demonstrated leadership behaviors then they will respond by accepting meetings and buying from those sellers who are more frequently exhibiting these behaviors, and not only that the comments we got from buyers also indicated that these behaviors were linked to positive seller differentiation and to buyer perceptions of value creation, and yes those comments they were packed with words like trust and relationship and experience and all sorts of glowing adjectives that certainly sounded like leadership behaviors led to awesome connecting experiences. So we knew that we were onto something big, but we had a little bit more work to do, by now we’d heard directly from buyers so we believed it was time to turn to sellers and hear what they had to say and this is what we did, we put out an all-call to gather stories from a cross-section of sellers in a wide variety of industries, sellers of all ages, sellers who had varying levels of experience and all sorts of products and services that they were selling. What you see on screen is the only question we asked them, we didn’t tell them about the buyer research, we did not tell them anything at all about the leadership behaviors, we just wanted their raw stories. We wanted to know what was happening and what sellers were doing when they were at their own personal best, and as we read and heard their stories, we saw sellers demonstrating these behaviors, the very same behaviors of leaders when they were at their personal best, something interesting, sellers did not attribute their success to those leadership behaviors in a lot of cases the behaviors were just an aside, an add-on into their story.
They were there but the connections were not being made, the cause and effect was largely unrecognized by sellers when sellers were making extraordinary sales, they were showing up as leaders and they didn’t even know it. So here’s what we were able to conclude once we put it all together looking at this from every angle, sellers are more effective when they exhibit leadership behaviors, sellers are creating awesome connecting experiences when they lead, buyers want sellers to exhibit leadership behaviors more often and they respond favorably when sellers do, in short when sellers lead, buyers buy. Now just like these thirty behaviors helped leaders to be more effective, they also help sellers to be more effective, we now know that sellers need to lead oh and one more thing when sellers step in to their full potential as leaders, they feel really good about the work that they’re doing, they get a certain swagger back and they no longer experience dissonance and who they are and what they do. They become ennoble and energized by the work that they do, so now that you know the background, I’m just going to go ahead and jump right into what we did next, we saw all of this taking shape and we knew we needed to write a book, so we did, we wrote this book, it’s only been out for a couple of weeks now and this book includes several things, it includes in an opening chapter what happens when sellers behave as leaders and how credibility is so foundational, so critical to what buyers are looking for. We include stories like one from a guy named Robert Lehrer, who experienced firsthand what happens when buyers put their guard up when buyers don’t automatically trust sellers due to all those negative stereotypes that are out there.
Robert’s story reveals how important it is to find common ground and connect human to human versus maintaining a defensive posture if you’re a seller, one that only creates more barriers, the point of Roberts story is that buyers automatically will feel that way, they will feel defensive and have their guard up until sellers give them a reason not to, credibility matters greatly, any breach of trustworthiness can destroy credibility because buyers can’t believe your message if they don’t believe in you as the messenger. So when it came to credibility something very interesting in all of those comments that we gathered from all of those buyers over a third of the comments had something to do with seller credibility, that’s why we chose to open the book with a chapter on credibility because buyers had a lot to say about how they measure credibility and what they do or don’t do if they see you as credible even from the very first encounter.
From there the place we went next in the book is to cover the five practices of exemplary leadership, these practices are the very same ones that Jim and Barry have been researching for over thirty years, the five practices are groupings of the thirty behaviors that we put into our research, each of the five practices is defined by six behaviors for the purposes of our conversation here today in the fact that we’ve got some limited time.
I’m just going to continue talking in terms of the five practices, I want to introduce you to them just know that underneath each our behaviors that take you to that the deeper level, the first of the five practices is to model the way. When you model the way you’re determining for yourself, you’re getting real clarity about what your own values are, you’re also learning about the values of others around you like your buyers and you’re aligning your actions with your values. So that your values are expressed outwardly the same way that you feel them inwardly and because of that you’re very credible to the people around you, everything lines up, now we collected these stories from sellers and in each of our chapters, for each of the five practices we tell seller stories to help illustrate what this looks like in action.
Remember the stories that we collected they came from personal best stories that sellers told us about their behavioral choices that resulted in sales success, their choices often were driven by their own internal beliefs you know sadly I have to say that in sales there’s some sort of myth out there that suggests that you have to be something other than who you are, but when sellers like leaders know their own values they have guiding principles for how they interact with buyers, what they say and do reflects who they really are, not some phony stereotypical sales persona, it’s just not true that people have to set aside their ethics and ideals to make a sale. Audrey Morrison told us a story about how she made her annual quota by closing the very first sale she made after starting a new job, she just made that sale by being herself, she described how deeply she values service, honesty, and commitment to customers, she recognizes how her core values need to show up in her actions and she understands that she doesn’t need to be something that she’s not in order to make extraordinary sales. In this book, we also have brought in a great deal of data and I’m just sharing a little bit with you from each chapter, important data points like how we learned that when sellers are very clear about their leadership philosophy that includes their values.
They are more proud about telling others where they work and they self-report as being much more effective in their jobs than sellers who are not clear about their own philosophy, when people don’t have their values ironed out, they tend to do the things like what you see on screen here and buyers have a very negative reaction when sellers divulge information about a competitor for example or when sellers don’t maintain price integrity, buyers see that as a lack of credibility.
So in model the way one item that you might choose to take action on, this is from our chapter on clarifying values, one thing that you might do is just start out by identifying those values that for you are the ones that are non-negotiable, the ones that become your internal compass and when you have those you know when to say yes and when to say no and it can guide the decisions and the choices that you make in a way that keeps you credible with buyers and helps you to be more effective as a seller.
Let me take you through the other four practices and show you a little bit from the book, for each one of these, the second practice of exemplary leadership is to inspire a shared vision and when you’re doing that you’re envisioning the future with your buyer because this is a shared vision and you’re helping them to see the exciting possibilities out there in the future and they are sharing in that what you’re doing is appealing to their own aspirations so they’re enlisted, they want to move toward that vision with you, a story from Brian Schneider inside the book explains how working with a customer he was able to create a shared vision, he was able to draw the seller in, the buyer in and to create a synergy between seller and buyer where it was their vision together and Brian just created the pathway for how to get there. When sellers do this, when they work with their buyers and help to shape the vision together with buyers they close more sales, that’s why we say that seller ship is leadership, vision by the way when I say that word I just mean that it’s an ideal and unique image of the future for the common good, common at a minimum between the buyer and the seller. So here’s the action for you to take, don’t go away and create your solution or your proposal or your ideas by yourself, involve your buyer.
This is something that you can do together and when you do, there’s going to be buying long before you ever ask for the buy, sellers, please know that buyers want to be involved, so let them be, get them involved creating that that exciting and no bling state of the future that they want to do some work to move toward. The third of the practices of exemplary leadership is to challenge the process, see challenging the process is where we experiment and take risks and we look outside of our usual places for new ideas so that we can bring innovations and ideas to the table.
Buyers want sellers to do all of this and they also want sellers to help them engage in these activities too, one of the stories contributed by a seller gave us a great example of doing both like all of the stories that we gathered, this one from Ted Hyman really embodied the ideals of one of these leadership practices, challenge the process in this case. Ted was given an opportunity to bid on a very large-scale project, most of his competitors actually bowed out because the complexity and the urgency were daunting plus what they were being asked to do had never ever been done before, adding to the pressure of that situation this project was for the Department of Defense and it was a matter of national security for the United States, well Ted he experimented, he took some risks and when one way didn’t work he tried another, he looked outside the known and he brought in partners with other types of expertise, Ted was relentless in pursuing a solution that would work for this buyer, his innovations led to an extraordinary sale by innovating and accessing solutions from a wide variety of sources Ted and his partners repaired a huge security breach, for his efforts Ted won the prestigious Gracie Award that’s the government technology Leadership Award, without Ted’s leadership existing processes would not have been challenged and this problem would not have been solved and that sale would not have been made.
Like Ted, the most productive sellers more frequently experiment and take risks even when there’s a chance of failure and when they fail leaders and sellers alike ask the question, what can we learn? so they’re even more effective the next time around and the next, sellers who don’t experiment and take risks as often are significantly less productive than those who do, let’s take a look at what buyers in our study had to say about sellers who challenged the process, these are just a few of the quotes from people we talked to, I’d like to point out that there’s an added benefit that comes from challenging the process not only do problems get solved and not only do sales get made but buyers respond to sellers who lead in this way by feeling that the relationship has deepened that the seller who will do this is open and honest because they’re investing time in solving the problem for the buyer, buyers, in turn, feel grateful and less stressed when sellers do this with them. See these feelings they’re evidence of an awesome connecting experience, these kinds of feelings and this kind of experience can only come from leadership practices, not from old-school sales tactics if you’d like to get a start on challenging the process? here’s one an action you can take. Perhaps you already conduct a POCs or pilot projects or idea generation with your buyers, but do you continuously experiment or do you offer the same presentation or demonstration over and over again? I think about how you could experiment and innovate to continuously improve what you’re offering and to build in new ideas for each and everybody buyer, four out of five practices number four.
This practice enables others to act seems to take most sellers by surprise, there’s a whole lot of opportunity within this one practice for sellers who have overlooked or misunderstood this in the past, to enable others to act means to involve buyers more, to give them a chance to participate in creating what they want. What this would mean for sellers is doing less for buyers and more with buyers, as one of the buyers in our study told us, buyers want sellers to give them an opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways even as those insights and solutions are being created, we all know today’s buyers they’re less likely to tolerate being sold to, instead they want this awesome connecting experience where they’re actively involved and engaged. Buyers want to have a dialogue with sellers, they don’t want to hear a monologue from sellers and they want a sense of equality in the relationship, that’s why they’re being more assertive about being involved in the process, it’s also why buyers don’t wait for sellers and are doing their own homework before meeting with a seller, when sellers are leaders they draw buyers into conversations and decisions. They dignify their buyers contributions and facilitate collaboration, all of this builds trust and buy-in and that awesome connecting experienced, sellers who do this get to benefit in some other ways too, for example when sellers more frequently support buyers decisions, they feel more effective in the work that they’re doing, enabling others strengthens them in turn a leader is also strengthened, and by giving buyers this sense of self-determination, sellers build by our confidence and competence in order to do this we might need to reframe the way that we’re interacting with buyers. So we’ve got to give them that equality, we’ve got to have two-way dialogue, involving them in decisions co-creating with them and if you want to take action to get started, here’s the aim, it might seem a little counterintuitive to the service mentality that we’ve seen in the past in sales but today’s service is providing an experience that makes buyers feel powerful and in control.
So think of the ways that you could modify your sales approach to involve buyers more in the decisions being made, look for ways you can get them engaged as active participants in creating what they want, last but certainly not least our fifth and final practice of exemplary leadership is to encourage the heart. This one is also puzzling at first to a lot of sellers, this description that I’m about to give you might seem more important for managers of people, we might more typically think of it in this way, when leaders encourage the heart, they’re recognizing contributions, they’re celebrating the values and victories, they’re creating a spirit of community. But let’s break it down to encourage someone means to bolster their courage and buoy their spirits, doing that can include praise, recognition, acknowledgment, affirmation and celebration, all of those things go together here. In sales the simple thank-you at the contract signing or the handshake when the sale is closed is no longer sufficient, buyers are wanting to see more frequency of other types of encouragement at other steps in the process, I consider the straightforward way that this Speier said it.
See this is no small thing, this buyer says that a seller’s praise is what impacts him or her the most and this is not something that would be all that hard to do to simply say “good job” to a buyer when they’ve contributed to the process, one thing that sellers may not realize or remember is that buyers do a lot of work behind the scenes, inside their own organizations to champion and secure the sale that you’ve proposed to them, they convince others that it’s the best solution, they move budget away from something else in order to do business with you, they sever ties with established vendors in order to shift the business to you. They overcome the objections and they respond to the concerns of their colleagues, they put their own necks out on the chopping block because of the faith they have in you and your solution and all of that deserves a little recognition, throughout those internal struggles some well-placed encouragement can help your buyer tap into reserves of strength and keep going all the way to the finish line.
As you encourage buyers, you’re also letting them know you have confidence in their abilities, sellers who do that more frequently rate themselves a whopping ten times more effective than sellers who do it less frequently, so as you can see here and you can see in all the practices these behavioral shifts pay big dividends for the sellers who exhibit them more frequently, here are some places some natural places where you could do this with your buyers, these are the places where they could use a little extra encouragement and it’s taking action here’s just one simple way that you could do it instead of a rushed transaction that won’t afford many opportunities for any of these leadership practices. Look for the places where you can give some feedback and make that part of the experience you’re creating for your buyer, create a conducive environment for giving and receiving personalized feedback and that’ll help you to connect in ways that you never even dreamed were possible with a buyer. Now I’ve gone through this at lightning speed, I hope you have some questions that you’ve been sending in, I want to turn this back over and hear questions that have been selected out now but also for those listening on demand or listening at some point in the future, please be in touch with me. We’re going to give you information about how to do that but Tejas what questions are you seeing come in?
Tejas: Awesome, so I actually have question here which you know says especially when it comes to you know the modern buying process, I’m assuming that it talks about how a lot of it happens over the phone or maybe a lot of it happens over video, wherein how does body language play a role in customer interactions?
Deb: Yeah, I do believe the body language plays a role and a student as a student of body language and all sorts of things related to communication, I understand there are many good ways for us to use body language when we have that face-to-face or video interaction, but I would also want people to know that it’s not just your body language that will make or break the sale, what credibility comes from is being able to do what you say you will do and building trust very quickly, if you have the opportunity to be in front of a buyer use the body language but as we all know with so many of those initial conversations starting by phone we have to make sure that we are paying attention to all the other elements too. Don’t rely on body language alone certainly know about it and utilize it to your fullest potential but don’t sell the rest of everything we’ve talked about here short because it can compensate for a lack of body language if you don’t have a direct connection.
Tejas: Thank you so much, Deb, I hope that answers the question, so for those of you who are listening in, it would be great if you could use your GoToWebinar panel and actually type in the questions that you have for Deb. We actually have another question here which talks about how does one personalize at scale this I’m assuming would be say in context when you have to call email or cold call, how does one go about doing that?
Deb: Yeah, there’s a rule of selling that I like to use and it is E equals O, E equals O stands for; efforts equals opportunity, so if you are pursuing someone where there is a great deal of opportunity within that account you’ll want to spend more effort on the front end doing some research, never more than about five or ten minutes before you make the initial cold email or cold call that’s on the high side, five minutes on the high side but you can personalize the way I like to do it is by going straight to their website and looking for any mission or vision or values that they talked about so I understand something that matters to that company and when I have that I can include just a simple sentence in my email that talks about how to do that and by the way, there’s a lot of other tools and techniques that I can recommend so anybody who would like to have actual tools and techniques for that we can talk offline about that too.
Deb: While we’re looking for the next question to come in I’m going to go ahead and put this up on screen because we want people to take action be sure to notice that we’re going to give you a copy of the first chapter of this book, the folks at fresh sails are going to be emailing that to everybody who attended the webinar live and for those who are listening on-demand right there in the blog you’ll be able to find a link, I hope you like it, I hope you’ll go by the book and be able to order it that the prices are still on Amazon and other major book retailers at pre-order prices that they’ll go up any time so act quickly and most important of all step into yourself as a leader, be the leader that you already are and own that leadership because that’s how you’ll be able to make a transformation from being a stereotypical seller to truly being able to lead with your buyers okay, back over to more questions.
Tejas: Thank you so much, Deb, we’re so glad that you’re you know having the special giveaway of the first chapter of your book, so Cindy here has very specific questions for you, should you have specific advice for those in the advertising sales particularly navigating the difficult world of print advertising sales? thank you so much for that question, Cindy.
Deb: So Cindy must know that my background is in advertising sales and I used to work for a fortune five hundred company that sold newspaper print advertising and since then I’ve worked with about three hundred and fifty-eight media companies, so maybe Cindy knows all of that and yes I do have some very specific advice for folks who are in advertising and that is you know there are so many products that you have to offer and it’s important that you know the suite of products that you have to offer and that you bundle them together appropriately for your advertisers and your advertising prospects. A much better way to do that is what we’ve talked about here, advertisers are blown away when an advertising sales rep steps in and begins to involve them in the process of creating what they want, it begins to give them an opportunity to have a dialogue as opposed to just pitching print and digital products advertisers are fatigued by the way most advertising sales professionals approach those first meetings. So everything I’ve talked about here is absolutely germane in fact one of the stories I told you about earlier Brian Schneider comes from the world of advertising, so Cindy, we can talk more and I can give you lengthy answers but for starters it’s about that participating to create what they want that will really appeal to advertisers.
Tejas: So I hope that answered your question Cindy, so Rupam from India has a question, so he is looking for an answer to can you tell us about maybe an anecdote where a seller has actually followed a promise that you know he or she has made to a buyer?
Deb: So an anecdote where a seller has not kept their promise or has kept their promise…
Tejas: Has not kept that promise.
Deb: Has not okay, yes, so Rupam let me answer that, that’s as I said over 33% of the comments that came from buyer were sort of tattling on their sellers and early on in the process when they’re just getting to know you and they have nothing else to gauge your trustworthiness. Buyers are quite harsh, they don’t give us any leniency, so I heard several stories from buyers where it went kind of like this, the seller said that they were going to call me back at 9:30 on Thursday and they didn’t call until 10, they didn’t keep their promise, so I don’t trust the seller and as Extreme as that sounds because buyers already have their guard up and they’re already suspicious about sellers, it’s almost as if they’re looking for proof, they’re looking for a reason not to trust us. So we have to make sure that we do, if we promised it even if it’s just a lightweight promise like what time we’re going to call we have to follow through on it or there hold it against us and we just have to dig ourselves out from something we never had to be in the first place.
Tejas: Thank you, I hope that answered your question Rupam, so Sergio here has a very interesting question, I think this is something that’s on the top of our minds especially you know given that all of us now the world’s a bit of a global village and all of us are sitting in different parts of the world and actually selling two people in different parts of the world. So his question is talking about cultural bias, so have you noticed that in some cultures a buyer experience is different from the others, he’s even given a bit of an example where he says in some cases a mild salesperson might be seen as more welcoming than somebody who’s a little more leading, somebody aggressive, so what do you have to say about that Deb?
Deb: I love that question Sergio, thank you so much and I wonder if that’s the same Sergio who spoke earlier and is from Latin America? I’ll answer it as if that’s the case and apologize if it’s not, yes.
Tejas: No, he is the same Sergio.
Deb: Okay, so our buyer research was then in the United States, our seller stories were collected from all over the world and those sellers’ stories did include leadership behaviors just like the ones that we researched with U.S. based buyers, we just haven’t had time yet to extend this research but here’s what I can add on to that the thirty plus years of research that Barry and Jim have done around leadership behaviors are from eighty different countries around the world and I’ve heard this question as someone who’s well steeped in in their work and who conducts leadership development courses. I’ve heard a similar question which goes like this, in some places in the world isn’t it true that there’s a different relationship between a boss and a subordinate employee, in some cases for example humility is a valued aspect of a leader, a manager or a boss and in other places that would make that particular person look weak and it would not be something that was valued, that’s the perception that’s the kind of question I hear which I think is what you’re getting at and yet even with that even with those cultural norms and perceptions even so the thirty behaviors of leaders that are included in this research show no difference in any part of the world. They are all important and they all have an impact that causes people to more willingly choose to follow the leaders who exhibit those behaviors, so I suspect although it’s too early to say this conclusively, I suspect given all the evidence from those different angles that these behaviors will see something similar between buyers and sellers even though there are certainly cultural differences in addition to these.
Tejas: Fantastic, so we actually have a follow-up question, this was from the question that was about the anecdote of sellers’ behaviors, so the question here says what other sellers’ behaviors do buyers like? so I’m guessing apart from the ones that you have mentioned in your presentation, are there any additional seller behaviors that a buyer would appreciate?
Deb: Yes, thank you for that question, there are thirty behaviors and all thirty of them ranked favorably with buyers, they want to see higher frequency in all thirty of them but we did ask them to rank order them so how about I tell you the number one behavior and that is that the seller answers my questions in a timely and relevant manner, out of all the behaviors, all of them favorable that’s the one that buyers said was the one that mattered the most to them, they ranked it at the top and this really comes up in their comments, it comes up for example when they asked a question about price because the sellers we know we’re not supposed to answer a price question until value has been firmly established. We don’t want to answer that question early on, so I’ve done some additional work, I’ve done some additional writing about how to handle a price question in a way that still gives buyers what they’re asking for a timely relevant response without destroying our opportunities to first put value out on the table and if you will email me, we’re going to make my email available aren’t we? I hope we are, because I’d like to give you a link to an article that gives you a much more extensive answer than what I’m going to be able to provide here.
Tejas: All right, thank you so much, I think we are almost coming to the end of this so last couple of questions before we wrap but just before I go to the question Doug here has actually sent us a little positive note, he says, “Deb I think you are brilliant and I will definitely buy your book really excited… information with my team I want to thank you for this webinar and for your time.”
Deb: Well I appreciate that very much, thank you.
Tejas: Thank you so much Doug and we look forward to seeing you in our next couple of webinars as well, all right, moving on to the last couple of questions. So we have a question here that says is hard, there’s no denying that so how do you motivate yourself each day? how do you feel good about what you do?
Deb: That’s a great question, I’ve been in sales my entire life and we have those times when success breeds success and we’re feeling good and we’re pumped up and we’re out there and we are more successful when we feel that way. So what I love about this question is that it’s not just about the feel-good because we know in sales that the feeling good leads to better results, so it’s important for sellers to feel good, I used a word earlier that I should probably step back and explain that word was ennobling. We talked about sales enablement and awful lot, every bit as important for this very reason is sales and nobleman’s and that means to make a person feel worthy and important and good about the work that they do, it’s a real world, I didn’t make it up. So how do you do that? you do that by making sure that sellers have the opportunity to be successful, they’ve got the tools, they’ve got the enablement, they’ve got the leads and the prospects most organizations do a very good job of that, what managers and organizations sometimes forget to do is around the culture that they create and the environment and the ways that they encourage inside their own organization so these five practices of exemplary leadership, are also relevant for what we do as we manage people, to help sellers to feel more motivated, let them step into their full potential as a leader and find ways for their own success and create the culture where people can thrive by creating leaders in the management ranks of your organization too.
Tejas: Thank you so much Deb and a quick shout out here for Cindy, Cindy tells us that she really loves the word “ennoblement.” She found it to be a wonderful word and she really liked this webinar, so thank you so much, Cindy, I know we’re all running out of time but here’s a really fun question that I want to take, Deb do you think we have time for that?
Tejas: Okay, so it’s one of my favorites because it has a bit of a pop culture reference here, you know in the past we’ve always seen salespeople you know portrayed like take for example Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross where he’s the Always Be Closing kind of type and then we have you know maybe the kinds you see in the Wolf of Wall Street. So how is this behavior changed over time? could you give us maybe an example?
Deb: Absolutely, those are the stereotypes, I don’t think that sellers by and large used to behave in those ways everywhere, I think that those stereotypes have cropped up because that’s what has been thought to be the slick kind of way that you manipulate people and make the sale so there are some negative stereotypes that are more pervasive than reality. The change or the shift that we have seen if there is one came with professional selling skills that the PSS program that was introduced at Xerox that’s where consultative selling first came into our vernacular and that only in my mind spotlighted the best practices of what most salespeople with high integrity already did, what we’re talking about now in terms of leadership behaviors. This is a way to continue to sell with integrity and to sell in a way that’s an effective and to distance yourself, to let people know right from the get-go that you aren’t like the guys in Glengarry Glen Ross or any of those other stereotypical movies.
You’re not the wolf of Wall Street, you are you and you’re here to guide that the root word of lead means guide, you’re here to guide the buyer to this ideal state of the future where they want to be and you can do that by demonstrating these behaviors more frequently and that helps them to be more willing to follow you to get where they want to go.
Tejas: All right, thank you, I think that is a wonderful way to include this webinar, so thank you so much Deb and thank you all for joining us, we really look forward to seeing you in our webinars once again and as promised all of you will receive a recording of this webinar by next week and thank you so much Deb, courtesy of Deb we will be able to send you the first chapter of her book “Stop selling and start leading” and we hope you also you know read that like it and pick up the book after that. So thank you so much Deb once again and for those of you who have questions about fresh sales, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org So thank you so much, have a great day, have a great night whichever part of the world you are in and we really look forward to seeing you again, Deb do you have any closing words?
Deb: No, Tejas. I just want to say thank you so much for the opportunity, it was fun to meet the people here and I’ll look forward to any follow-up that people need.
Tejas: Wonderful and then we look forward to working with you again and thank you, have a great day, have a good night.
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