How the Consumer has Changed
The whole concept that we're talking about is how to sell the way your customer buys. And in order to sell the way the customer buys, we have to understand who today's customer is. And I'm showing you this picture, this is a picture of my mother and father and me, and we grew up in the East Bay, not too far from here, a little bit close to where Mario lives, about 45 minutes from here. And when I was a little girl, my father spent $942 on an Encyclopedia Britannica. Why? Because he knew that if his kids were going to get ahead, he had to pay for knowledge. Now, fast forward. This is me at my first sales job at Marriott, and I woke up every single morning at 6:30, and drove to a sales meeting. Why? Because I knew if I wanted to be the best salesperson I could be, I had to physically go to where the knowledge was. So the question I have for you is from where do we get our knowledge today? From where do we get our knowledge today?
Yeah! Yeah, everywhere. In fact,...
knowledge comes to us. Today, there's so much knowledge, neuroscientists tell us we've taken in five times as much information in the last few years as had in all of humankind. We take in 75,000 gigabytes worth of information a day, all of us, or the equivalent of 175 newspapers. We're on overload, right? There's not a single person in this room that is not on massive information overload. Today, accessing information isn't the challenge, it's filtering it. And it's the same for our customers. There's so much information, that it's become devalued. When there's a lot of something, it's worth a lot less. I mean, everybody has information. Think about it, Alexa has information, right? Anybody have Alexa? Yeah, you do. I have Alexa. I programmed her. So every morning I say, "Alexa, Alexa on the shelf "who's better looking than myself?" She says you are, Shari. Well, the problem is she's lying. And the other problem is, she doesn't care. In order to make it today, we have to do everything Alexa can't. In order to make it in sales and in life, we have to ask ourselves, "what is uniquely human that we can do?" I was watching something on the news this morning before I got here, and it was about, of course how everybody talks about AI is gonna take over sales jobs. AI is gonna displace us. The leaders of the future, the people that are gonna make it in the future, are those who can truly connect and be creative. And that's why what we need to do as salespeople, as creatives, is for things. And I'm gonna give you a sales process that works no matter what you're selling or how you're selling. And that is, we need to... Connect. Only human beings can connect to another human being. Ask, ask questions that get to the heart of why somebody would buy your product or service. Listen, and I mean really listen. Listen to the emotion behind the words. And then link. Link what the customer says to your product or service. Those things. So we're gonna be looking at connect, ask, listen, link, we're gonna dive in, and look exactly how to do that in order to increase our sales. And what I'd like to do right now is find out, just from the audience, maybe we can pass the mic around a little bit, how many of you have an actual sales process? So I'd like to see that, and I'd also like to hear from the home audience, particularly creatives, do you have a sales process? Yes, no, do you have one. So who would like to share if they have an actual structured, refined sales process.
Thank you again for having me. We do have a refined sales process we've been working on for the last year as we've refined our product. We go after larger corporations that have dataset data, CRMs in house, that we know that need cleansing, so to speak. After we identify who the decision or probable decision maker would be for considering looking at that monster, we then go after them, whether it be through social media or a phone call, I love to do that, or also email. Then once we make the connection there, we set an appointment, and then we do go through a discovery phase, and that's always very interesting. What's most interesting about that is actually informing the client that they have a problem and opening their eyes to it. And once they see that, they start to go, "Oh, so you mean that you can actually improve our sales?" Which is dynamic. After we go through that process, we ask, "Would you like us to conduct either an internal audit "or run a fresh data sample for you?" And then, once they see that set, third party verified, they are on fire excited about what the opportunities could be. So, that's how we hook them in. Like a little carrot out there, and then we draw them back in.
So there's a process that you follow. You're doing A, then B, then, C, then D.
Okay, great. Because I find people usually fall into one of three places, and again, particularly I'm talking to the creatives and the entrepreneurs, I find that many people are doing certain activities, but they don't have a repeatable process. They don't have stages. And the problem with that is, if we don't have a process, we don't know what it is we're doing right. We can't make changes. We can't continually get better. We can't tweak one little piece of the process, right? And then count and see is that getting better. The other thing is, if we don't have an actual process, each time we're with somebody, we're winging it. And we're thinking, "Okay, what do I say now? "What do I do here?" And we're in our heads instead of in our hearts. Only if we know our process inside, outside, backwards, and forwards, can we open our hearts to the people that's in front of us, and that includes knowing your technology so well. Knowing your demos so well, that we can truly connect. So, number one, there's people that don't have a process. Number two, I see a lot of companies, they've got a process or a script, this is big, particularly with SDRs, they've got a script, but they don't know the psychology behind the process, so they just sound like Alexa, they're robotic. And unless you know why you're doing what you're doing, unless you know the deeper psychology, salespeople can't pivot when something goes wrong, when something comes up. I'm not kidding you, I was with a client, and I was listening to SDRs calling. And one of them was calling to book an appointment, and the woman at the other side said that she was not doing well because her Schnauzer had died. And he literally says, "Oh, that's great. "Let me tell you about our software," like, really? Right now, this sounds absurd, but you wouldn't believe what you hear out in the field. Right? Because they don't know why. They don't know that I am in the phase now where I need to build trust and I need to build rapport. I need to connect. That's an actual phase. And then the third place that I find people are is, they have a process, they know the psychology behind the process, but they don't stick to it. So, we need to do a lot of different things in order to actually stick to that process. Alright, somebody else. Is there anybody here that just doesn't have a sales process? Brandon, you said you were new? So, how do you work around that?
Um, like to wing it, yeah. (audience laughs) Winging it is definitely a lot of fun, and it's always interesting.
Is that working for you?
So far, yeah, actually, it's worked.
Okay, great! And you've been doing it how long, for six months?
Yeah, six months.
Okay, so when you say you wing it, do you have any idea of what you're gonna say or what you're gonna do before you meet with that client?
Yeah, normally I do a little bit of planning, do a little research on the client. Most of my current clients have all been referred to me, so there already is somewhat of a trust that's been built with whoever referred the client, so the client already has this, if they trust the person that referred-- That, I don't know that word, the word that I'm looking for, but, there is a level of trust that's already there, and then I do, if I have any sort of process, it's that I do like to have a bit of a conversation with the client and really assess and listen to their needs, and then go from there.
Alright, so does Brandon have a process? Ladies and gentlemen, does Brandon have-- We have a whole room of salespeople here. Does Brandon have a process?
Okay, who wants to share, what is Brandon's process that he has? Because he definitely has a process.
Yeah, Jared. Jared does a lot of training, so Jared, what is the process?
So the process that I'm kind of seeing from your experiences is that having that initial trust, that referral, that gives you a lot of credence to your product in itself. So you're kind of building off of that foundation, but from that, I mean, selling in my opinion is really just solving a problem. And in that case, when you listen, and when you're actually hearing what the customer is saying, and you come back, you don't have to prove yourself any further. You've already kind of gotten past that cold call experience. Now you're at the stage where you're simply giving them what they need. They've came to you for something, now you're there to solve it. So, really, I think that you have the greatest hurdle over with, and that's listening and providing them with what they need.
What I heard him say was that he gets the referral, he researches, he does the call, he assesses for the problem that they're looking for, and then he addresses that problem through, I think it's software development. Through software development. So to me, that sounds like a process, in my opinion.
Congratulations Brandon, you have a process! Let's hear it for Brandon! (audience laughs and claps) Now, you're the number two though. So, again, number one, people don't have a process. Number two, they have a process, but they don't know the psychology behind it, and I think that's what's going on for a lot of us. But once we refine the psychology behind it, and we're gonna break it down into little bits. I gotta tell you, for years as a salesperson, I don't know about you, but I heard clichés like "Build trust." And I'd say, "Okay, what does that mean?" I hear things like "sell emotionally." Right? What does that mean? Does that mean like, "please buy!" Right? But you can actually break it up and look at what it is. So when we talk about asking questions, what are the questions we need to ask, okay? So you will become more consciously competent because you're already doing it. So you'll know the psychology of what you're doing right, so that when you're not doing it right, you can self correct, and bring yourself back. Okay, yeah. One more. Somebody else have a comment for Brandon?
In my observation, Brandon, he needs this process when he tries to duplicate this. Replication is a challenge in the sales, and that is where you would discover all the process. And also success behind this is genuine, intentional, solving client's need. And that is why you are putting all this process in place, analyzing the customers, who they are, and all you can solve the problem. You rightly said, Sharon, that intention, that genuine intention of solving a client's problem. When you have that intention, you will come up with the process. The real challenge, and I'm sure Sharon will help everyone, for us to establish the process. We can take the process out from us, and establish organization process is what will really make organization to grow.
Yes absolutely. Thank you for your comment, excellent, excellent. Yeah. Did you have a comment too?
I think it was mentioned, obviously, without saying it, we go through a prospecting phase, but you get referrals, so you get the cool part, yeah. Because that's the hardest part, usually. You do some research, which is understanding the customer's needs, then you do your presentation, and again, it's understanding each part of the process to see where you can get better and where you can adapt it to different customers. That helps us.
Exactly. Exactly. What is trust? Well, trust is based on empathy, competency, reliability, integrity, and vulnerability. And I'd like to ask you a question, and that is this, if you had to choose, I'm gonna make you choose right now, what is more important in the sales process? Empathy, or knowing your client, or competency, knowing your product. And what I'm going to ask you to do in this studio audience is to pick a partner, we're only gonna take 30 seconds. And if you're watching this at home, you can write down the word. You can just write down the word "empathy" or "competency." But in this studio audience, I want you to choose someone that you have never been in a motor vehicle with, and I want you to take 30 seconds and answer the question, "What is more important in selling, empathy or competency?" On your mark, get set, and go! (audience murmurs) How many of you said it was competency? Can I see a show of hands? Okay, one person! Very brave, raise it high! You're okay, we're in a sales class here! Okay, we can raise it high. Awesome. So, and what did we get from home?
Nobody online for competency, all empathy.
All empathy! Because most of them are artists, and we love them, and we are gonna teach artists how to make more money, and I'm very excited about that. Okay, so one of you said competency, and all of the rest of you said empathy, let me see a show of hands. Okay. Well, if you said competency, you are 100% right! Let's give 'em a hand! (audience claps) And for those of you that said empathy, you too are 100% right! (audience laughs and claps) Alright, it was a trick question, I admit it. They're both important. And they're equally important. According to Harvard Business Review, empathy and competency are the two most important characteristics when it comes to influence. So this is critical, and again, influence in anything. Not just sales, influence. Empathy and competency. But here's the trick. The order matters. And most salespeople, most leaders, get that wrong. You know, several years ago, my husband and I were in the market for a new car. Well, he was really in the market for a new car. He had been driving what we lovingly called "the shopping cart," it was a 10-year-old Prius. So I guess he thought he would upgrade to a new shopping cart, a truck! And so he did his research, he's a real researcher, and he called the car dealership, he said "We're gonna be coming down and looking at these trucks," and on the way down, we're driving down to Salt Lake City, he looks at me and says, "Now, just so you know, whatever happens, "I am not buying a truck today. "I'm not buying a car, I know you're emotional, "I know you want to buy things, but I do my research, "and we are not buying anything today." I said, "Okay, fine, fine, whatever you want." So we get down there, and out comes the salesperson, his name was Jared. Very handsome guy, Canadian, sort of middle aged, and he takes one look at my husband, and he says "Lee Gerstein." He says, "I hope you don't mind, I always like to look up the customers I'm going to serve, so I looked you up on LinkedIn, and I just wanna thank you for being the past president of the National Ability Center." He said "I have a son who has autism, and the work you're doing is amazing, so thank you." Well they sat down in Jared's office, and for the next 25 minutes they talked about autism, they talked about research, they talked about new treatments, and about 25, 30 minutes later, my husband and I start walking out onto the car lot, we had not even seen a truck, my husband turns to me and says, "I think he has what we're looking for." (audience laughs) He bought the truck without even seeing it. And here's the thing, Jared had all kinds of competency. He knew all about trucks. He knew all about horsepower. He knew the future of driverless trucks. But he knew something more important. He knew my husband Lee.