Episode 145: Selling Above and Below the Line – Skip Miller

Predictable Prospecting
Episode 145: Selling Above and Below the Line - Skip Miller
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How are C-Suite buyers different from the typical inbound lead buyers? How is the conversation different with these different types of buyers? Today’s guest is Skip Miller, sales training expert, President of M3 Learning, and author. In today’s episode, Skip discusses ideas from his new book Selling Above and Below the Line: Convince the C-Suite. Win Over Management. Secure the Sale. Listen in to learn more about the difference between above the line and below the lines sales, tools you can use to create an above the line narrative, and what to focus in in above the line conversations. 

Episode Highlights:

  • Whether an SDR is naturally inclined to prefer inbound
  • The different languages above and below the line
  • Different value propositions for buyers above and below the line
  • Tools to create an above the line narrative
  • Whether inbounds are typically above or below the line
  • Use cases where getting people to go above shortens the lag of time
  • What above the line conversations focus on
  • When to discuss what the new normal will look like
  • Understanding above the line energy
  • The ratio of questions in above the line conversations
  • Call planning
  • Importance of understanding both above the line and below the line conversations


Skip Miller

M3 Learning

Selling Above and Below the Line


Marylou: Hi everyone, it’s Marylou Tyler. This week I have a really fun guest. Formally, William, but informally, Skip Miller is my guest today. He’s the president of M3 Learning, which is a proactive sales management and sales training company located in Silicon Valley. Today, we’re going to talk more about Skip’s book, Selling Above And Below The Line. I’m going to let Skip further talk about his accomplishments; there’s so many here. I don’t know what he wants to talk about that relates to the book. I was very taken by some sections of the book, especially the dealing with inbound conversations and outbound conversations that I hope that we could talk about today. Skip, welcome to the podcast.

Skip: Broadcast, podcast whatever you want to call it, I’m happy to be here.

Marylou: The event, how’s that?

Skip: There you go. I’m happy to do it. Thank you for the induction and again, whatever we can do to help your audience, especially as the outbound and inbound. There’s a big difference in inbounding and outbounding. Inbounding it’s why you called us. There are some nuances there. You’re starting a stage zero, you’re not starting at stage one. I’m happy to talk about some of those differences.

Marylou: Okay, great. For those of you listening, SDR World and MRR (Marketing Response Rep) World, sometimes we’re dealing with blended SDR roles, where you’re actually fielding inbound leads and those are usually what I call continuing the conversation, and then outbound leads are the self-generated ones, the targeted ones that we’re looking to reach out to someone to start a conversation. In some cases, we’re working off a list that we had had a conversation in the past, they went dark on us for whatever reason, or we put them into long-term follow up, and now we’re coming back into the fold with these accounts trying to get them to the next stage in our sales process, that next action.

Let’s start with the inbound. I liked the way you described it and one of the things I want to ask you is, if you’re a two-year out SDR, are you more naturally inclined to like inbound because of the implied psychological thing? Or do you find it doesn’t really matter once you get the actual tactical knowledge of how to separate these types of calls? They’re both the same. They both feel the same. They both are just as fun to do. What are you seeing out there in the world?

Skip: The whole inbound marketing automation stuff was “Hi, you’ve touched our website, ask for a trial, download a white paper. How may I help you?” and I hear that very reactively. Because now, the buyer is in charge of the buy-sales cycle. “Well this is what I want and we feel if I do what they tell me to do and I do it well, I’ll get an order,” which for the low-hanging fruit does work and then create success patterns. Once those low-hanging fruit things are gone and companies start having to deal with other people—not students and stuff—coming in and selling above and below the line. We talk about two value propositions.

Marylou, I’m on a mission to destroy the term “decision maker,” because I think there’s two. I think there’s one below the line who says, “I’m responsible for making whatever we buy work,” and there’s one above the line who says, “That thing I just bought for $100,000 that’s going to make a dent in my $10 million problem.” I don’t really care if it’s blue, green, yellow, or if it’s left-handed or right-handed.

What happens is, all these inbound leads are typically below the line buyers. The SDRs and the marketing folks in the world have been taught in bootcamps and in all the meetings they have feature function, feature benefit, competitive wins, land mines, grenades, all these things. We have a great time talking about the below the line buyer. They want to talk about us. We want to talk about us. Everyone’s talking about us. We developed that tool set. When you go outbound, you typically try to go to the C-suite which we call above the line. Using below the line language to above the line buyer isn’t going to work.

Marylou: Not at all.

Skip: No. We actually have a little metaphor that’s kind of fun. I was born and raised in Ohio and we’ve got a big family and stuff. Every holiday, we used to get 50-60 people for Thanksgiving and stuff, and there’s so many people we have two tables. We have the kid table and the adult table. The kids love it because they get to speak kid talk, and the adults love it because they don’t have to speak kid talk. It’s just like the two different value proposition thing. If you’re going to go start outbounding or accepting above the line leads, you better learn a new language. That new language is more business value than it is the product value itself.

Marylou: How does one go about? I’m sitting here and thinking, “All right, I like the analogy. I get the big kid table and the little kid table.” How do we frame these conversations? Are we still talking about features but talking about them in a way that’s business language-oriented? Or are we just scrapping the whole feature benefit thing and talking about return on investment and all these how-how, more I guess result-oriented type? What’s the difference in this narrative between the two?

Skip: Let’s talk about similarities. Both above and below the line buyer want outcomes. The below the line buyer says, “Listen, I’m tired of working weekends. I’m tired of working at the thing I have. I’m going to do 40% more next year with the same stuff. It’s not going to work. I need a different tool.” The business above the line buyer has these initiatives.

Our analogy, Marylou, is we call it trains in the train station. Imagine the CMO is the train station master and he’s got five initiatives for the year. “I want to generate 30% more leads. I want to open up a new marketing arm. I want to open up a new channel in Latin America.” So, if you can make it dent in those initiatives, in the trains that are in the train station, that’s a different value proposition than the user buyer, this below the line buyer who says, “I’ve got to make this thing work. I’ve got to be trained on it because if I do this, I’ll be able to not have to work weekends, and I’ll be more productive, and we won’t have to hire as many people as we need to.” Two different value propositions.

Marylou: Two different ones, but it’s so difficult to map out or to guess. Below the line, is let’s face it, it’s easier for us because it is feature benefit-oriented. It’s the tasks that the folks that we’re trying to sell to below the line.

Skip: They want to talk about us. We want to talk about us. We have a great time.

Marylou: Right. When you’re going above, though, what are the tools in the tool kit that we can use to create a narrative for these people if we don’t really have a sense of the profile of the type? Tell us that example that you’re saying of the CIO versus the CTO. Where do we learn about stuff like that? How do we figure that out?

Skip: I’m an immersion program person. If you want to learn Russian just dive into Russia or whatever it may be. If you want to learn about CIO, it’s really simple. Number one, if you ask me when I go on a sales call to an ATL, an above the line buyer, my job is real simple. I hunt for trains and I identify gaps. Why is the train in the train station? I’ll go to the VP of Sales and say, “Hey, as you look at 2020, what are your top goals and objectives?” “One may be to increase revenue by 30 points.” “Great. How are you doing on that?” “Well, we got 20 of the 30 going, but we’re missing the 10 points.” “Well, I don’t know if I can make a dent on those or not, but at least we’ve identified the gap.”

The below the line buyer is never invited to those meetings. I think energy for a sale typically is generated above the line. If we can outbound to those ATLs, I’m hunting for trains and identifying gaps. If we don’t have any trains in the train station and there’s no gaps, I don’t think you have a qualified sale. That’s what we do differently when we go above the line. We just hunt for trains. “Hi, as you look at the next six months, as you look at the next nine months, what are your initiatives that aren’t out there making you money? They’re in the train station for a reason,” to play that metaphor out.

Marylou: Right. Also asking them the priority of getting things fixed because in the outbound world, the other thing we’re worried about is time. We need to be able to understand, are there long-, short-, and medium-sized time elements where we can bucket these things because we’re trying to manage a pipeline that’s equally balanced so that we can forecast with more regularity. In addition, they’re also the keeper of the time to get projects done. When you say six months, is that six months to completion, or six months to show a dent, is there a ramp process involved?

I like the way you described that because anyone can ask these questions, is what I’m trying to get at, but the people who are like, “No, I’m an SOO. Yes dear, I can talk to the president of the company.” Is it possibly mindset that you’re seeing? Obviously, you figured out how to get them over that hump of feeling confident to be able to have these business conversations because they’re not getting into the weeds of the bits and bytes of how that’s going to happen. They’re trying to scope out what is on the horizon, what priority have you placed on this, which ones have the highest impact for you.

These are standard questions that my kids can ask. We can all ask these kinds of questions. You should get over that fear that just because they’re in a leadership position doesn’t mean that they don’t want to have a conversation with you because you’re hitting at the heart of what’s concerning for them.

Skip: Yeah. Think about it this way as well. In an inbound lead, it’s, “How may I help you?” and our receptors are open of, “Okay, I’m going to listen to how we can help. It’s all about us, what we do, and how I might be able to put together a proposal, or a solution that can help what you’re talking to me about.”

Outbound or especially an ATL, it’s kicking in that natural curiosity. It’s, “Hi, as you look at next year,” always time travel, “what are the trains in the train station?” Because if you ask an ATL, “What train station do you have on the station right now?” he’s going to go, “I don’t know. I’ve been attending meetings that talk about 2020,” and every one of their trains has a reason.

To your priority issue, you go to Europe, there’s the TGV trains, very fast trains, there’s the intercity trains. The TGV trains, the real fast trains, those are going to be a top priority. What I love about talking to the CIO, or CTO, or CMO is they have the trains in the station for a reason. They want to talk about getting them out. You sit there and you want to give them a slide deck, pitch deck. No. “Why would a CIO or a CMO talk to me?” Well, if you ask them about why their trains are in the train station, they’ll light up because they want to get them out. They don’t want to sit through a, “Let me give you a quick five-slideshow deck on who we are, and what we do, and why are we uniquely qualified.” The number one thing we found talking to CEOs is what do CEOs hate when talking to SDRs or salespeople? It’s when I pick up the phone and it’s a solution looking for a problem.

Marylou: Exactly.

Skip: That natural curiosity is the top trade of top SDRs.

Marylou: That’s such a great advice. I’m cringing on this side of the phone because the emails that I get from people are that very thing. They asked for time and give me no reason why.

Skip: Right, and then they start pitching because that’s what they’ve been trained to do. We call it, Marylou, we don’t talk about the dog. You can’t woof, you can’t bark. For years, I’ve told people in your initial touches of your cadences and sequences, “Don’t talk about yourself. Have the other person talk about themselves,” and everybody goes, “I get it. Okay, sure,” and then you get on a live connect and it’s like, “Hi, what we do quickly,” four minutes later they’re still talking.

What we tell people is no barking and no woofing. I’ll get an email, “Here’s my email I want to send to the CMO. What do you think Skip?” I’ll just send it back with a big woof because you used the word “I” 17 times. “What we do… our company…” Stop it. Just really ask questions, listen, hunt for trains. That’s your goal.

You could hunt for trains by persona. Your SDRs are pretty smart. What keeps that type in, what keeps the CMO awake at night in 2020, what keeps the CIO awake at 2020, what keeps a small business owner awake in 2020? You’ll get some ideas of what trains are in the station.

Marylou: Right. Plus the internet is very helpful in looking around and researching. I think in your book, even, you talk about how to find out where to uncover these value props, and just by looking through the internet. Now, my guys, I want you to develop a profile of these folks that are in that bullseye that you’re going to be having conversations with. The role, not the title, the role of the person because that way, you can make a decision as to whether you want to develop a sequence. You want to develop a lengthy touch cadence over a time period, or if this is a blitz type of conversation where you’re mapping to the organization to find the right person for example.

I had a client that had 30 marketing positions in the firm. “Which one is the right one for me to talk to?” You still have to map. I hate it when they say, “Yeah, the Internet’s here. We know who’s who. We know what they want,” Yeah. Go through three marketing titles and you tell me which one specifically is going to be the one that I want to start.

Skip: “Who’s the alpha dog? I just want to talk to the alpha dog.”

Marylou: Exactly.

Skip: Also quickly, for your SDRs that are inbound, most inbounds are going to be below the line. “Hi, I noticed you guys do this, can you give me a demo or a trial?” and that happens and then what we hear from SDRs and salespeople is, “Once I’ve done that, how do I get to the above the line buyer? I don’t want to go over my below the line buyer’s head. How do I get there? Do I say, ‘Hi John, this has been really good, but I need to talk to somebody who’s more important than you.’” Which never really works well.

Marylou: No, that’s what we’re thinking though.

Skip: Yeah. We really try to really position the question where. Not who, not what, because who is attacking. Where. “Hey John, what we offer can really affect numerous trains in your organization. It might be of little effect in lead gen, this and that. Where should we go to find out the other trains for the investment you’re making that—for the same amount of money—could make a dent in two or three other different business issues?” John being the conductor on track one is going to go, “Well, I really don’t know,” and then you can say, “Well, let’s go find out because my job as a salesperson is to make sure I am maximizing any investment you guys are going to be making. Boy, I would be derelict in my job if I didn’t find additional trains like lead gen, opening new channels, whatever else your company does, to help out.” That’s a good way to try to get to ATLs, by using the question where, not who.

Marylou: I love that and if you get the hands-on-hips guy saying, “The buck stops here,” you can still navigate around that, “I appreciate that the buck stops here,” and then segue into that conversation you just said about my role and it’s my duty to find and look and make sure that what we’re going to be talking about going forward will have more insights into different parts of the organization as well. I’m going to be looking out for that because that is what I must do in order to be a quality partner with you going forward. There’s lots of ways to get around it.

Skip: Yeah. Think about it. Right now, it’s October. Every ATL in the world is thinking about next year and every BTL in the world is not invited those meetings. How BTL know what’s coming down the track next year? Why don’t we find out because we don’t want in four or five months to go, where all of a sudden the ATL goes, “I want to do this, too,” and the BTL goes, “Well, you never asked for that. I didn’t buy that.” Then we’re all in a mess. We’re not a good place.

Marylou: Right, definitely not in a good place. I love that and it’s very comfortable. To everybody listening, didn’t that sound like something we can all do and do well? If we practice and make sure that we role play that with our peers and our colleagues? These are natural questioning skills that allow us to go both inbound, outbound, and even referrals. When we get a referral from a client or a colleague or an external person, in addition to asking them to make the introduction we still need to have a way to get to the right person. That might not be the right person, they may be that those below, as Skip calls below the line people rather than the above the line people, where we want to have those conversations.

That also is going to shrink the lag. Do you have any hunt that you can share with us? Some case or use cases where getting people to go above more often has actually shorten the lag of time, the cycles have shrunk to get to that next action in the selling cycle?

Skip: It happens all the time. Quick story, a couple years ago, we started with the company that sold some stuff to marketing, especially to ecommerce people for AB testing. I walked in there and said, “What’s the average sale?” They said, “$60,000.” I said, “What’s the average sales length?” They said, “132 days.” I go, “That’s impossible. You cannot take 132 days to go $60,000.” They said, “Skip, you don’t understand AB testing.” I said, “Folks, you don’t understand business.” I go, “Let me explain how this works.” The VP of Marketing just got her butt kicked, because she missed her ecommerce revenue goals by 50% last year.

She’s at the board meeting going, “Trust me, I got it down. Give me another shot,” so they do. She goes to her manager of ecommerce website and says, “Hey Bob, why did we missed the number? What happened?” He goes, “I don’t know, maybe we should do testing.” She goes, yeah, okay. We should do some testing.” So Bob and her take 132 days to run the business, to run the sales cycle, 60 days to run a trial, 30 days to get the results. They’ll have the results of the AB testing website issue by October.

Well by October, the VP of Marketing’s fired, because right she’s run through three quarters. All of a sudden when you sit back and go, “Wow, there’s two different energies here. The below the line buyer does want to make a mistake and wants to buy the right one, but the business is you can’t wait. Their sales cycles dropped in half. We see that constantly when you get more above the line business understanding of what are the trains in the train station, what priorities are there and what’s the results expected for those trains, are different questions than what do you want our stuff to do for you? For a small deal, take it down and go, but for your bigger deals, you got to identify trains and hunt for gaps, that’s for sure.

Marylou: Now, tell us about the differentiation above the line dialogue. Let’s say you’re trying to go and replace the current vendor. Will the above the line people focus on, “Hey, we’re happy. We’ve got somebody. What makes you different?” Do you hear those conversations a lot, above the line?

Skip: Typically, above the line lives three, six or nine months in the future, so it’s like, “Okay, what do you guys are going to be doing in nine months that you want your current thing to do? Because if it’s still what you wanted, based on the new goals and drivers in nine months, I wouldn’t switch either.” But typically, there’s going to be a gap. That’s gap’s going to say, “Guys, if your current vendor can solve that gap, great. My guess is they can’t. That’s why you’re talking to us.”

I’m always going to time travel with the ATLs. The BTLs don’t know what’s coming up in six or nine months, so it’s going to be more of a feature benefit war. That’s what we do differently to the ATLs. We definitely time travel and ask them, “As you look in the next six months, what new trains are coming to the station? Because if those are your new trains, I wouldn’t want to use what you guys are using.”

Marylou: Right. There is some discussion then or is there some discussion about what the new normal would look like six to nine months down? Do you give them a teaser, any taste at all or you’re just focused on the sense of urgency of the moment?

Skip: You are so correct. I’m going to sit there and say, “In nine months, what do you think the outcome should be?” and let them paint their picture, which is what ATLs are really good at and then go, “Well boy, if that’s your outcome you want…” You want them to paint the outcome and you can prompt to help them, but that outcome is with the ATLs are all about. I’m going to get 30% growth and once I get there, I’ll be able to start this division and do this and do that.

They know they’ve got hiccups of trying to get to their vision, which is why the trains in the train station. That’s where you can actually start having a good dialogue with your ATLs, but always time travel. Always time travel.

Marylou: I love that. You have a chapter in the book about understanding the ATL energy. I’ve really enjoyed that and I think that’s a great chapter for SDRs to read, because we have to get ourselves over this fear of talking to people who have a higher role value than we do. I think that is the key to the beginning of this, because if you can get the mindset to the point where you’re on equal ground, then your natural curiosity as a sales development representative will come out and you’ll start asking those questions.

You’ll start sitting there really wondering why they do things a certain way, how they do things, what makes them different and unique. Those kinds of questions are not role specific. We’re peer-to-peer at that point. I really want you guys to think about that and get over this, “Well, I have to really understand ROI.” Have you heard, Skip, talk about ROI the whole time?

Skip: I find it funny that we can go to a party and talk to anybody. You know, “Hi, how are you? What’s your name?” and stuff and so on, but when we get an ATL on the phone, we just kind of like shrink because, “Well, they’re much more important than I am.”

Marylou: That’s exactly it.

Skip: No, they’re not. Number one, use your curiosity. Number two, they want to talk to you because they want to talk about themselves and their trains and their gaps. Just be focused and let them talk about their trains and their gaps, you’ll win. You’re a lot better than that, “Let me give you a quick overview of what we do, then you could tell me how I fit in your stuff.” There’s that solution hunting for a problem again.

Marylou: Right. This is something that also if you’re in the technical industry—I’m working with a client right now, very technical people, scientists and technologists—they still have these business issues. They have to get a product to market. They have to make sure that their stuff works so that they can get it to trial. There are these issues that are everyday issues, that all humans have, about the quality of what they’re producing and making sure that it’s going to be done right and that they’ll get it done. If we go in with that mindset, we could talk to anybody. Anybody, right?

Skip: Because they want to talk about themselves. They want to talk about their gaps. If they can just get past the, “Hi, quickly, let me frame up who we are for you,” no. You’ve got to earn the right to get there and that’s a whole different issue. Once you there, let them talk about themselves.

I’m convinced initial ATL conversation should be almost 70/30 where were asking questions. Now, we may have to frame up a little bit of who we are put context to it. Marylou, quickly, if you’re going to talk an ATL, your vision should be next-next. Your vision should be, “Okay, what’s the outcome of the call I want and what’s our next step after that?” Always think next-next before you pick up the phone, so you’re intentional and directional on the call rather than, when I ask a couple questions and see what happens, that’s not really kind of cool.

Marylou: Yes, so we like to do call planning forms when we’re starting out with SDRs, especially when we’re calling into our, what I call, jump accounts. Jump accounts for us are the accounts that if they move an eyelash, we jump. We definitely want these accounts, so call planning especially when you’re not confident and you want to make sure you have all your I’s dotted, your T’s crossed would get you to the point where you would have the next action. You would basically ask your questions but then suggest next steps. Let’s go through that. You have a chapter on that your book, too, about what happens now to accelerate the next step.

Skip: Sure. If I need energy, deals are always going to be important and in my opinion, energy is pretty much going to be above the line, where they’ve got a revenue gap or they’ve got some train the train station needs fixed and they realize that and then give their below the line buyer, Bob, a budget and Bob have to go for a ride. Energy is going to be above the line, which we believe if you’re going to start as an SDR getting leads and I don’t really care if you follow a lead through sale or if you flipped it over the wall to an AE, if you’re going to find a good lead, finding out what the BTL buyer is all about, the features or functions they’re looking for, and the ATL’s gap, now I think you’ve got a very energized deal.

Rather than let the BTL say, “Well, we’re going to take six months to evaluate all vendors.” What’s the ATL think on that one? Because business need is not going to go away six months. The problem we see is leads go to stage three or four then they go dark, they ghost, they go deck south, and we have names for these, is because in six months that BTLs taken a lot time to evaluate and pick a vendor, the ATLs trains already left the station and there’s new trains coming in. Don’t expect the deal that’s in your pipeline for six months or nine months.

We were at this deal the other day with a company, where they were looking through their pipeline and they had a couple deals there were 272 days old. The deal’s dead. The guy died. The ATLs trains left the station. I’m sure you want to be the selected vendor, but now when they go back to the ATL and ask for, “Do we release these funds?” The ATLs are going to go, “No, we kind of solved that problem. Here’s my new problems.” They’re going to be playing musical chairs here.

Marylou: The cookie is to try to get a synergy between the above the line and below the line early on and that way progress the sale with you being essentially the coach, the consultant, the person that’s going to move the sale and advance the sale forward and keep everybody lined up. Like you said, if you’re going to carry it all the way to close, getting to close or if you’re going to do a hand off to the person who’s going to take it to close, the more that you can get that synergy in that energy aligned before it gets handed off, the better. You’re saying stage two, right?

Skip: Yeah, but Bob’s my champion. He’s my below the line champ. He’s my guy. You’re doing you’re killing yourself because there’s two value propositions you want to get early and taking a risk by thinking that just the below the line value prop’s going to carry you through. It may, but your deal’s going to be longer and you’ll have more increase of the deal going dark because you didn’t get ATL early.

Marylou: The operative phrase here that I want you guys to internalize is you’ve got to get both. No matter what your sales development role is, you have got to collect and understand the business conversation and, not or, and the future benefit conversation in order to be able to have a qualified opportunity that can take it to the next steps. It’s not one or the other.

Skip: Kids table and adults table. Everybody’s having Thanksgiving, but there’s two tables.

Marylou: There are two tables, so that influence map is your guide to get your foot in the door and start the conversations, but to continue the conversation to the point where it gets into discovery and further down into the pipeline, you have got to have that knowledge and pass that along if you’re going to be passing that lead along.

By definition, it’s not one or the other, it’s both and I think that’s where we missed the boat a lot, a lot. We’re not collecting enough of the conversation and the energy, as you say, of the conversation to be able to take the business and the future benefit discussion to the next stage in the pipeline. I love it.

Tells us what else we want to know before we say goodbye, because I’m already over our allotted time for our conversation.

Skip: If your viewers want to get at my LinkedIn, I’ve got a bunch of videos. When I go to cities, like Paris, Amsterdam, Chicago and stuff, I do these two- to three-minute videos; they’re free. Just a reminder of some of the stuff we talked about here. That’s an easy way to get a hold of me, watch some of my videos, and I try to get those out. Or visit the website m3learning.com. We’ve got about 20 two- to three-minute videos on a lot of topics. They’re all free. I’m not going to capture URL and market to you. We don’t do that. There’s some free stuff for you. If they want to do that, that’s great and just continue when it sounds like it’s really aligned with what you’ve been telling them as well.

Marylou: It is and I think the book is a must-read guys. It’s going to be a reference book for you. I have a Kindle version of it that I highlight that way, but really we’re all about role-playing, we’re all about huddling in getting better with our sales conversations, and this book is a great guideline to practice during your huddle sessions, in order for you to all get better as a team.

What we’re trying to do here, remember, is to reduce the amount of time it takes to get from initial or follow-on conversations, all the way up or we’re really looking at the high revenue potential of clients which typically you’re going to need that C-suite discussion at some capacity.

What I’m telling you today is that you need both and Skip, he’s the one. He’s the main man. He definitely has drank that Kool-Aid, because the whole book is about that.

Skip: What’s fun is when once you try it and start exercising the muscle. When the BTL says, “I’m in charge,” you go, “Yes you are, Bob, but my job is to hunt for additional trains. How can we do that together?” or, “Where should I go?” I mean, just don’t say, “Well who’s making the decision?” and Bob goes, “Well, I am.” Then you go, “Well, there’s no way anybody on the planet would give Bob the authority to make this decision,” but now you’re stuck. Nah, you don’t want to […].

Marylou: Yes, you’re stuck. We’ve all been there. We’ve all been stuck with that level of buyer who will not let us in, who will not let us talk to anybody else. A lot of times you have to do what I call blow the account, go around them, it’s just yucky. Using the where question, that’s a game changer. I think it’s a take away for today is definitely, if we had one thing to change that would be it. It is change the narrative of trying to get to the higher level buyer by using the where question.

Skip, anything else that you want to share with everybody? I’ll put all the links and stuff on your page at the podcast, but get the book. It’s on Amazon and you have the M3 Learning website. Anything else we want to add or we’re good to go?

Skip: The bottom line that we see in SDRs is that underlying confidence, the confidence to make these calls and ask where these additional trains. Marylou, I was told a long time ago that the definition of confidence is an equal share of wins and losses. I’ll ask any sales rep, “Who in this room would agree that you’re brewing more from your losses than your victories?” and everybody’s started to raise their hand. If you want to really get good at ATL and especially early to getting both value props, you’re going to have to get dirty and take a couple punches and take a couple hits in the head, you’ll figure it out. You can make lemonade out of lemons. Do the right thing and get through your customer both value propositions early and everyone wins then.

Marylou: Definitely. We have a way to do that if you guys remember, when we look at our tiers of accounts or segmentation, go to those level three minnow accounts and practice this conversation. They’re nice to haves but they’re not going to make or break you. As you feel more confident, move into the tier two and then finally to those jump accounts and I think that that’s a good training way to feel more confident.

The more conversations you have, the better you get. We all know that, but start with the smaller minnowy type of accounts and practice that way and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly you can pick this up.

Skip: The CMO of $5 million minimum account has the same problems of a CMO of $100 million, so you’re right. You’re exactly right, try things small and then work your way up and all that confidence. Wonderful to be here, thank you..

Marylou: Yes, I enjoyed it tremendously. Thank you so much, take care.

Skip: Take care.