Teaching Not Selling

Sales are not simply “selling”. It’s much more than that.

The best sales conversations are rooted in teachable moments and come from a place of empathy.

They come from a realization that our potential buyers are busy with many other priorities but understand the importance of solving problems. However, they may not have the time to research all of the options or feel there might be too much information to make a decision.

By teaching new ideas or ways of thinking, not trying to sell a product, can open up the conversation and allow the potential buyer the freedom to consider an alternative path. 

An alternative path that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered if we were just trying to sell them something right out of the gate.

Teaching Not Selling2021-11-21T21:05:02-04:00

Persistence: Part 5 of 8 – The Evolution of the Modern Day Sales Professional

selling

Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

I have to believe that persistence might be one of the attributes of top sales performers that won’t be questioned on this list. It’s real simple. You must have the ability to push conversations and stay on top of people to be successful because when working with humans there are a lot of commonalities that take place no matter which type of potential clients you are working with.

I could mention a ton fo them but will settle on a few of the major ones:

When They Say “No” Right Away:

This one took me a little while longer to figure out but when you understand the human psyche it actually makes perfect sense. People have been sold to in every which way throughout their lives so unless they are 100% actively searching for exactly what you say you offer then sometimes the early “no” or “not interested” is a reflex reaction that they don’t want to be bothered right now for a numerous amount of reasons you may not know about. This is where having persistence coupled with the fact that you believe you can really help the client based on the information you have can come in handy.

I had this situation come up on many occasions and one, in particular, was back in 2015 when I received a message back from an email that the person was not interested in what I was offering. Fair enough but I had some notes from conversations with this company in the past and really felt that we could help them make a difference with their business. I wrote a very professionally persistent email back explaining why a meeting for 30-minutes would be well worth his time and explained what I thought we could discuss. Long story short, he replied back and took the meeting and two months later they came in as a partner of ours. It was a great fit for their needs at the time and was a great partner and “logo” for our growing company. It turned out to be a win-win all around.

When They Say “Call Me Back In 6 Months”:

This type of conversation happens all the time and is very understandable if you are in the shoes of the potential client. This particular problem you solve is not a top priority at this time and they tell you to contact them back in 6 months or so. Happens a lot, right? Partly, this comes down to good documentation and organization of your accounts but it also mixes nice with a little persistence. Sure, you can wait 6 months and nobody would fault you for it. In fact, you’d be doing better than most sales reps who never call them back at all. However, if you know this should be a higher priority for them based on knowing their business then make a point to reach out 2-3 times over the next 6 months. Not to “check-in” but add them tremendous value. This could be an invite to a webinar that’d fit well for their business case, asking if they are attending a conference in their area, or anything similar to this. It shouldn’t resemble anything other than purely caring for them to improve and trying to help how you can. The reason this approach is helpful is most likely even though the problem you solve is not a high priority it still may be talked about internally and you should be seen as an advisor in their eyes, which makes it fitting on why you would be sending over additional information.

The Potential Client “Ghosts” You:

This should never happen if you have built a trusting relationship early on centered around respect and candor. However, in the case this does happen, use patience to first assess the situation and come up with the various scenarios as to why you haven’t heard from them. After that, persistence tempered by patience will be the winning formula.

You don’t need to “check-in” regularly

You don’t need to say “Hope you’re okay, haven’t heard from you”

You don’t need to tell them you’ve left several emails/voicemails and are following up.

They received them. They aren’t returning them for several reasons:

  • There is no new news
  • The timeline has been pushed back
  • They are swamped with other pressing matters at the moment
  • They are having some personal life challenges
  • And so on…

I tend to lean toward the side of logic in most cases and it’s probably that they are really busy with their actual day job that they get paid to perform at or they have had some challenging personal life things come up. Either way, if you come off as a pest from too many follow-ups you will seem desperate and that will lower your stock value. Continue to provide value in the ways we mentioned above but instead of every other month maybe it’s every couple of weeks especially given the timeline you might be aware of from past discussions. Keep them conversational and continue to back up the points you’ve agreed upon are important for them. Remember, if someone wants to buy something they will. If they don’t, they won’t. The need to remind them you’re there doesn’t help your case at all and can only put you in a worse position once you do get back in touch with them.

There are so many facets to persistence in personal and professional life and I firmly believe that continuing to push through when the times feel tough because you believe in what you are doing will end up paying huge dividends in the future by strengthening your relationships and adding new partners to the mix that didn’t seem possible before.

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Persistence: Part 5 of 8 – The Evolution of the Modern Day Sales Professional2021-03-19T10:43:05-04:00

Candor: Part 3 of 8 – The Evolution of the Modern Day Sales Professional

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If you seek out the opinions and perceptions of others about who you are you will generally find a lot of consistency in those responses. If you can look at that objectively and take it for face value then it can be a true eye-opener to confirm the things you already knew about yourself or things that weren’t so obvious and you might want to consider working on to improve.

To that end, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly how I changed over the past handful of years but I knew I changed a lot especially in how I was speaking to all various types of people. I had one friend recently say that I had a great balance of “compassion and confrontation” which came off as very genuine and honest and they knew that I was trying to help.

That’s where I fell on Candor as a trait I believe has made me successful in sales and have seen this in many of the folks I have been lucky enough to be around in sales roles and otherwise.

Candorthe quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.

I think it’s a 2-part equation to get there, though.

Growing up I remember hearing something on a TV show, and can’t recall the name of the person now, but I remember them saying that they don’t tell any lies at all and are completely truthful in most situations. When pressed, they added “I never have to remember my lies” and that clicked for me. I was sold. I’ve been that way ever since.

Am I going to sit here and say I haven’t lied, of course not, I certainly have at times but I’m not speaking about a “white lie” that we all tell to save a friend from embarrassment or our kids from the joys of Santa Claus. I am speaking about your communication of facts and information to the other people you are around, both personally and professionally.  What has always been interesting to me is that we get upset when others deceive us or lie to us but then we can turn around and do the same exact t thing on a call to a potential client.

Deceiving a potential client to “get the sale” always comes back to bite you in the end. That could be if you are setting up an early discovery call, product demo, or bringing in the business, deceiving at all levels is a bad practice. Listen, we all know there are a lot of bad actors out there and one of the reasons why sales get such a bad rap. Don’t let that be you.

Answer questions about what your product can do completely honestly and be proud that you were able to provide the client with the correct information to make the informed decision.  More times than not, that questions about features they need may end up not even being that important and they’ll appreciate your honesty in sharing the correct information. But if they needed that feature and you blatantly lied then that will be found out during implementation or early use of the product. 

Remember, whether you believe it or not, most people don’t think you have the perfect product because they’ve been scorned in the past so don’t front and act like its the greatest thing in the world. It’s good to have a few warts and it’s okay to share those.

And that is why this is a two-part equation. Honesty is great but when used with Directness, it becomes much better.

Being direct has always been a skill that I’ve struggled with until much recently. I grew up a shy, unconfident, and an out of place kid and always had a hard time expressing myself to others. Additionally, when having conversations that were highly important I tended to succumb to the pressure of it all and give in. I never pressed the situation, I never came back and asked the really tough question, I crumbled.  

My confidence grew slightly as I got on my own as an adult but I really don’t think the directness piece became a strength until just the last few years. I had the great fortune of being around a couple of key people that would shape the way I looked at interactions with others and how to communicate much more effectively.  One of the things I learned from them is how to take my honest approach to sales, coupled with the relationships I was building, and be confident that I could make the room awkward and be okay with it. 

That’s at least how I framed it. Being okay with the awkward silence or look by asking a very direct but needed question. Boy was this a tough task. But it was so needed and it was refreshing the more times I’d do it. Not thinking this would be the case, but people appreciated that I was asking the difficult questions and wanted to uncover all the issues even if they were difficult to talk about. The by-product of it was that I was also more respected when I left the room versus when I came in. My stock would go up in their eyes and merely because I was intentional about solving a problem, doing it in an honorable way, and doing it together.

For that to happen, you must inject honesty and directness into each and every one of your conversations or said more simply Candor.

The most important takeaway I want to share is that this might be the most difficult of all the attributes needed to be successful in working with potential clients. It generally is the most difficult because you may be good at one side of the equation versus the other. It doesn’t work so well that way.

As I shared above, honesty without candor is good in a way because you are giving truthful answers but if you can’t rephrase the question, pose additional prying questions, ask the importance of it all and do it in a way that comes of genuine, it can fall flat. If you take the opposite and just have directness without the honesty, then you may just come off like a complete a**hole. You haven’t shown that you are honest and trustworthy so therefore you don’t have the long leash to pry and prod deeper.

I’m not sure where I’d be without candor. It matches my personality so well but I didn’t realize I had it in me until surrounding myself with people who perfected it and helped me pull it out. That is why it is so important to listen to “top performers” on calls if you can. You are not so much trying to dissect what they say but how they say it and what the reaction is from the person on the other end. I can almost guarantee, if they are one of the top sales professionals, they have a tremendous amount of candor and you can too if you put in some time to focus on the simple equation.

Honesty + Directness = Candor

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Candor: Part 3 of 8 – The Evolution of the Modern Day Sales Professional2021-03-19T10:43:05-04:00

It’s Halftime…How Is Your Sales Year Going To End Up?

It wasn’t too long ago when everyone was at the same starting line. I don’t care what company you are at or how big your quota is. We all started from the big “goose-egg”. Sales, unlike many other careers, has very specific metrics to it. Generally, called a Quota, it’s a number the company gives you that in their estimation is how much revenue you should bring in for the given year. This number can be calculated a variety of ways and it depends on the company and their specific goals and projections for the year as a whole.

Bottom-line, You either hit it or you don’t. And all Sales reps know that going into each year.

If you’re not in Sales, that’s okay as some of the ideas I want to share can still help you think differently as you navigate a long year of work and goals that you want to accomplish.

For sales reps though, it’s pretty simple.

On the one hand, many are way behind there annual quota halfway through the year. We can come up with a number of reasons why but excuses don’t matter. Facts are facts. The numbers speak for themselves.

On the other hand, several are out ahead of the pack and well on their way to achieving and potentially overachieving on their goals.

And if you are wondering, there are a good chunk in the middle of the pack (like me!). On par and in a good position heading into the second half but still work to be done to keep pace.

So, 6 months in, which bucket are you in?

Here is the secret: it actually doesn’t matter which one it is. Because if life and sports has taught us anything it’s that there is still time on the clock. The game isn’t over yet.

Think back to the Super Bowl a few years ago when the Falcons were all but engraved the Lombardi Trophy heading into halftime. The scoreboard read 21-3 and Twitter was ablaze with reactions. That’s a stout lead especially when you are playing that well and the odds of relinquishing it are very small. Ironically, it’s a great metaphor for where we are at in the year and something all of us can learn from. Let’s observe some things that happened in that second half in hopes that it’ll help you attain your goals by years end.

Mindset is everything

Bill Belichick might be the best 2nd half coach we’ve seen in history. He is great at assessing the game and understanding where to make adjustments, if needed. However, the best thing he does (and he does this all season long) is to get his team to buy into the fact that the game isn’t over until it’s over. You must stay positive and level-headed through the good and the bad times. That consistency in mindset and focus on the steps needed to get back into the game is most likely the “X-Factor” that led to them making that historic comeback.

If you’re behind, remember what has gotten you there before. We all get into slumps but it’s the positive attitude and confidence that we can do it again that ultimately pulls us out of it. Stay focused and keep a level head and the good times will just be around the corner. If you panic and get frustrated, it will be hard to overcome future obstacles and maybe make you lose that partnership you had in your grasp because you got desperate or impatient.

Do Your Job

This is Bill Belichick’s classic mantra. Know your role and get your job done. Don’t let the noise and celebrations around you knock you off your perch. Think back to the Falcons and some of their biggest mistakes. They went away from what was working. They were running so well but yet late in the game they decided to call a pass play and had Matt Ryan drop back to throw which lead to a sack. That play-call kept them out of field goal position. However, The Patriots stuck to their game plan and never wavered. They knew there was time on the clock and they knew what made them successful all season long. It was only a matter of time before it clicked and they continued to chop away at the lead (which by the way ballooned to 28-3 late into the 3rd Quarter, if you remember.)

You know what needs to be accomplished to continue building value and guiding your future clients down the right path for them. Additionally, you can’t forget about the early part of the funnel and your prospecting efforts. You’ll win some and lose some but having a healthy and flowing pipeline will ensure that you have opportunities to finish strong. Now, if you’ve started out of the gate strong and are in a rock solid position, you can’t get complacent. You can’t think that you can take your foot off the pedal just because you’ve had a few good months. Things can change quickly if you don’t watch it. Don’t all of a sudden switch things up just because you’ve had certain results up to this point. Yes, some things may have to be adjusted but most of the time it’s small tweaks and not the grandiose ideas we like to think are going to be the difference.

Make Your Own Luck

Hey, we all need a “Julian Edelman type of catch” every now and then. I’ve noticed in my sales career we all get at least one of these a year, maybe more if we are opportunistic.  

However, you have to be in the right position to get those breaks. Are you creating enough pipeline? Are you building great rapport? Are you progressing partnerships forward? Are you bringing in the right people that are making the decisions? All of these questions help you get to a position where you can succeed and sometimes the timing just happens to be right.

That’s life, it happens, and you want to be on the right side of it but the only way you get there is to put yourself in those positions. Take a good hard look at your performance and where there might be one or two small tweaks you can make. If you were being honest with yourself, where have you fallen short? Where have you whiffed on some opportunities? Start there and make some subtle movements in the right direction. Maybe you have done zero call review or role play and need to get back to the fundamentals. It could be the “X’s and O’s” on your sales process need a retooling or slight shift. It could be something else. Like I said above, you don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Have some self-awareness and make some great halftime adjustments to put you back in the game.

Just like with Football, in the end there are two things that generally win out. Talent and Work Ethic. Some only have one, few have both. But either way you need to recognize where you fall short and what you personally need to do to crush your second half, whether you are way ahead or dragging near the bottom of the pack. As cliche as it sounds, the first half of the year “is what it is” and you have to remain hyper-focused on the path ahead and do what you need to do to get to that mountain top. It’ll be different than others around you. Don’t get sidetracked. Focus on yourself and your abilities and have the mindset that when you are ringing in the New Year, you know you’ve given it everything to make this past year the best one yet.

Carpe Diem,

Brian

It’s Halftime…How Is Your Sales Year Going To End Up?2021-03-19T10:43:07-04:00

Selling Like a Human – One Mic with Brian Ondrako

BRIAN ONDRAKO

ONE MIC: Selling Like a Human

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On this episode of the One Mic series I start the conversation around Sales especially as it relates to people who have never had to “sell” before. This idea was originated from a great conversation I had up at the Next Gen Summit in NYC this past weekend. A lot of Start-up Founders have many talents and skills but one of the challenges a lot have is actually understand sales and the sales process of pitching VC’s, selling their first clients, etc.

I’m going to turn this into a multi-part series but wanted to give a taste of how I look at Sales and what has helped me become successful in the world of Sales.

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Selling Like a Human – One Mic with Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:42:29-04:00
  • Morgan J. Ingram Profile Headshot

Morgan J. Ingram

MORGAN J. INGRAM

EPISODE 23: Motivational Speaker | Sales Coach | Host, The SDR Chronicles

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Had an awesome time connecting with Morgan on Episode 23 of the Podcast and we covered a lot of ground in a short period of time.  Morgan provides some great insight into how he leveraged his learnings from being on 2 State Championship Basketball Teams to help him be a better coach and mentor to young sales professionals.  We also discuss how he started his SDR Chronicles show and some different ways he’s developed his chops as a sales professional which might be helpful to younger sales reps out there.  I know you all will love the energy and positivity Morgan brings to the show!

About Morgan:

Morgan J. Ingram is a motivational speaker who has been nominated to the final round for TEDxSBY and TEDxUGA. His clients have begun to nickname him the “Liberation Sensation” because of his powerful messages.

An avid fan of social media and communicating on-line, Morgan has been featured in the Red and Black and OnlineAthens for a previous startup company Collegiate Gaming LAN, written college articles for CampusSports, and has done sales and marketing research for a start up shoe store that Dunta Robinson started and has also done Partnerships for a start up music company which helped promote artists in Athens,GA such as Judah and the Lion and the Shadowboxers.

In addition, Morgan won two state championships in basketball during his high school years.

Morgan’s mission now is to liberate others from their negative thoughts to turn them into positive thoughts by using motivation and social media. Through his speeches Morgan teaches students how to remove negative thoughts from their head and to cleanse their environment to unlock their potential to strive for excellence as a scholar.

In Morgan’s free time, he enjoys a good book, watching The Flash or Arrow, and going on a hike.

Books He’d Recommend:

“I Got My Dream Job and So Can You” by Pete Leibman

“The Law of Success” by Napolean Hill

“15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John C Maxwell

Where to Find Morgan Online:

Website: https://www.morganjingram.com/ 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/morganjingram

Twitter: https://twitter.com/morganjingram

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/morganjingram

SDR Chronicles: https://soundcloud.com/thesdrchronicles

……..

If you enjoyed this interview you may also like my Just Get Started Podcast Interview with John Barrows, Founder of JBarrows Sales Training

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Morgan J. Ingram2020-02-12T03:00:19-04:00
  • John Barrows Profile Headshot

John Barrows

JOHN BARROWS

EPISODE 19: Founder, JBarrows Sales Training

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In Episode 19 I get a chance to talk sales with one of the most well sought out after Sales Trainers out there, John Barrows.

John has provided sales training and consulting services to some of the world’s fastest growing companies like Salesforce.com, Google,  LinkedIn, DropBox, and many others. His previous experience spans all aspects of Sales at every level from making 400 cold calls a week as an inside sales rep to a VP of Sales at his first start up that was sold to Staples.   

He’s an active sales professional who has learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work in Sales and loves sharing the tips and techniques he has found to have had an impact along the way. His main goal is to improve the overall education and quality of Sales by sharing ideas and techniques that work.

In this episode I get to talk with John about his upbringing and how he came about to become a sales trainer, insight for sales professionals and how they should look at their careers, and one of the biggest differences between top performing sales professionals and the rest.

Links / Quotes in Episode:

12 Guiding Principles of Sales Success eBook https://app.box.com/s/41vaelagx0108zdle0ci

“The Creative Curve” by Allen Gannett – Link to Amazon

“The Unfair Advantage: Selling with NLP” by Dr. Duane Lakin – Link to Amazon

The Acronym Him and His Daughter Discuss Every Day – E.A.T – Effort, Attitude, and How to Treat People

Find John Online:

“Make It Happen” Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/jbarrows/

Website – https://jbarrows.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JohnMBarrows

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/johnmbarrows/

Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnbarrows/

……..,

If you enjoyed this interview you may also like my Just Get Started Podcast Interview with Kevin Dorsey, Senior Sales Leader

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John Barrows2020-02-05T21:51:46-04:00
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