Episode 25: Techniques to Strengthen Pipeline and Boost Revenue – Jeb Blount

Predictable Prospecting
Techniques to Strengthen Pipeline and Boost Revenue
00:00 / 00:00
On this episode of Predictable Prospecting we’re joined by Jeb Blount, founder and CEO of Sales Gravy and author of Fanatical Prospecting. A leader in Sales Acceleration, Blount’s unique approach to prospecting makes him a sought-after trainer, keynote speaker, and advisor. Join us as we discuss his personal sales philosophies, the lessons he’s learned from advising million-dollar companies, and the techniques you can start using today to strengthen your pipeline and boost your revenue.
jeb-blountEpisode Highlights:

  • Introducing Jeb Blount
  • Why balanced prospecting is the best technique
  • Targeting direct and indirect influencers
  • Voicemail as a marketing tool
  • Jeb Blount’s method for improving sales
  • How sales has changed over time
  • Using empathy
  • Why smart companies constantly train their employees


Episode Transcript

Marylou:          Hi everyone, it’s Marylou Tyler, Predictable Prospecting. Today’s guest is a gentleman who I followed for quite a long time. He’s the CEO and founder of a company called Sales Gravy. You probably know him from the seven plus books he has generated and sold on Amazon and elsewhere. His name is Jeb Blount.                       His most recent book, Fanatical Prospecting, really caught my eyes obviously because I’m really focused on top of the funnel prospecting and outreach channel. But his unique approach is, I think, amazingly simple, concise and impactful. I really wanted him and I’m so glad that I was able to catch him between all of his engagements to talk to us today about what his top learnings are that he can share with you and things that have happen to him since he launched his last book and then just overall in the ten years he’s been doing this, running around. What’s changed, what’s the same, what are the issues that he can share with us so that when we stop listening to this phone call, this video call, that we’ll put everything that we learned into action right away? So welcome Jeb, thank you so much for joining us. Jeb:                  I’m so glad to be on, I know we have tried so hard to make this happen between everything that was going on, I’ve been in Asia and traveling so it’s fantastic that we finally have a chance to do this together. Marylou:          Yeah, thank you so much. I think the last time, it was me, I had knee surgery, crazy stuff but you’re here now. Tell us about you. Jeb:                  I’m a trainer, a speaker, an entrepreneur, a CEO. I’ve got an entire sales team right over in the other building. I’m sitting in Sales Gravy studios right now but we have an entire inside sales team, we have an outside sales team, we sell both employment advertising. A lot of people don’t recognize it, salesgravy.com is the largest employment advertising web site on the internet. We’re also a training and development company and we own several other companies that are in that space. We own a company called Channel EQ that’s in the indirect sales space, in the channel space. Between that and the coaching and the training programs that we build and create for our clients, we’re pretty busy people. When we talk about prospecting, I have to wake up every single day. I just, before we get on that, walk through my sales floor, give everybody high fives, talk to them because whatever they’re doing, everybody in there is in the telephone, prospecting, everybody. Marylou:          It’s funny because you mentioned the word telephone. One of the hardest things that I’m discovering is getting the younger crowd used to using the phone. The Predictable Revenue that Aaron and I co-authored in 2011 really focused on the email engine. I think to a disservice, it made it seem as if you really didn’t need to pick up the phone until someone engaged. What are your thoughts on that? Jeb:                  Well, let me give you a quick stat. We’ve been tracking this since March of last year,  we’ve gone all the way in. We’re about on the 14 months end, or just 15 months end on just a basic experience. I’m the CEO of a company that spends not a huge amount of money but we spend close to about $650,000 a year with vendors who provide services for us. Some of the vendors are as simple as US Post Office, some of them are software as a service vendors, some of the people who clean our office, but a significant amount of money. I’m a pretty good prospect for a lot of salespeople. I’m the person in my company that generally is the person who’s going to say yes or no. I’m not always the decision maker, but I’m the person that, in a lot of cases, has the ability to fund it. I’ll give you an example of that. Yesterday, my Vice President of Business Development said yes to a one year contract with a company that was going to help us do a little bit better job of scrubbing our database. He said yes, he signed the contract, I said no because I’m not willing to pay for it so he had the authority to say yes to the contract, I have the authority to say no. I’m a pretty good target. Now I just want you to think of this for a second. It’s been 15 months now. Over a 15 month period, I am now up to 2373 as of yesterday, can we count every one of them emails, prospecting emails. Marylou:          Wow. Jeb:                  I received four phone calls. Marylou:          Oh my God. Jeb:                  My fourth phone call was yesterday. A gentleman named Chris, he sells software as a service and he called my line, I answered my phone. If I’m in my office, I’m going to answer my phone. He called into our offices, our phone number’s on our websites, not like it’s that hard. You call into the phone three, you ask for me and I answer my phone. His call was terrible, I coached him on, I worked him on it cause the first thing he asked me was how he was doing and I explained to him that he was doing really good before he interrupted my day not to ask that stupid question. We worked on some things but he called me and the calls he called me were having a conversation about his software. In fact, of the four phone calls I received, three of those companies are currently doing business with my company, just to give you an idea. One of those guys, a guy named Luke Rivers, Luke if you’re listening, you know this is true, that he called me out of the blue on a cold call because he listened to one of my podcast and I answer the phone, he goes, “I didn’t think you were actually going to answer the phone.” I ended up referring him to a bunch of other people because he’s a really good sales representative. He’s a great account manager and he takes care of me. But here’s the thing, the kid that called me yesterday, if he had sent me an email, he would not have gotten a response cause I don’t respond to prospecting emails anymore. I’m tired of them. I’m done with them. They’re driving me nuts, most of them suck, most of them have no relevance to me, and most of them I know are being sent by robots. I explained this to a group of representatives the other day. If your entire prospecting mechanism is just to send emails, I can fire every single one of you because I can get a robot that can do this for me, I don’t need you to send emails. And this is true. In our company, we have three different email engines and we use email as a prospecting mechanism. If you’ve read my book, you know I believe in a balanced approach, I don’t believe in one single approach. We use all those things. I don’t need human beings to do that. I can have one person that can run every email program that we have. Reps that are concentrating and focusing on email are doing themselves and their companies a major disservice and they’re sub optimizing their results because the phone is, it will always be, it will continue to be, the most powerful tool that you have in your sales arsenal. Especially if you’re an inside sales rep, this is what you and Aaron wrote your book about Predictable Revenue. If you’re inside sales rep, it’s one place where you can actually have a conversation. That kid that called me yesterday, his call was horrible, he got an A+ for picking up the telephone which is why I gave him a chance. But he and I are at least having a conversation now because he was calling me. He took the coaching and was appreciative of it and that made me feel good so we have a relationship now. He sent me a text message this morning. Now think about that. He used the phone, he used text message, he sent me an email with the follow up demo that I can watch. He’s used all the prospecting mechanism at his disposal and that’s the real key. That’s what I mean by balanced prospecting. Use all the channels. Marylou:          It’s such a disservice to continually slam people with the same message and think that because you’ve done it five, ten, 15 times that they’re going to for some reason change their mind, it’s just wild. I had an email stream sent to me by a client the other day where it was a company out of San Francisco and they basically sent one email and then had I think eight in thread replies like “Did you get my email?” “Hey, did you get my email?” “Hey, did you get my email?” It was like, “What are you thinking?” “Why do you think this works?” Jeb:                  I want you to think about this first. People who are watching this, think about the psychology with this. By the way, it’s the same thing with voicemail. You don’t leave a voicemail and then leave the other a voicemail and say, “Hey I left you a voicemail yesterday, you didn’t call me back.” You know how it feels when you got that next email that says, “Hey, why didn’t you reply to my email?” Or, “I sent you an email, you must not have gotten it.” I get these things all the time and I don’t know who’s teaching this cap. Whoever is teaching this crap, stop, you’re killing brands. It makes you feel like the company sending this to you sucks. Just think about this for a second. When you got that, at the sub-conscious level, you felt bad. It made you feel bad because the person was calling you out and saying you didn’t respond to my email. Now, I want you to pay attention to this, people who are listening. It’s a really, really, really stupid way to start off a relationship calling you prospect as schmuck. Stop doing that. I’ve been teaching this since the 90s, you leave a voicemail and you got to leave another voicemail and you gotta leave a voicemail. I get persistence, persistence always went. I get that. But if you leave a voicemail, you leave the exact same voicemail every single day. You leave it because you’re being persistent. But if you call up and say, “Oh, I called you yesterday,” or, “Hey, I’m calling you again,” or, “I’m doing this.” This doesn’t mean you can’t leave a series of voicemails that have a different message on them. If you start leaving voice mails and say I called you before, I called you before, I called you before, trust me, the prospect gets madder, and madder, and madder at you and the same thing happens on email. I was on this rant the other day if front of a group of CEOs. The room exploded. They are like, I’m being hammered by all of these stupid salespeople who were sending me emails telling me that I didn’t respond to their email. They’re not getting any value, they’re not giving me any relevance, they’re not doing anything that make sense to me and I’ll give you one that’s even more moronic, I mean this is moronic. You’re a company and you sell Telephone Prospecting services, we’ll do your cold calling for you. We pick up the phone and call and engage prospects. The way that you prospect to me is via email. How does that help your credibility as a company? I promise you, zero, because it tells me you’re not going to call anybody. All you’re gonna do is send emails and sending me crappy leads that no one is ever gonna respond to me. Marylou:          Definitely. The other thing too about voicemail, I’d like to go back to that, is how do you feel about direct and indirect influencers. When you’re actually working on a calling campaign and you have your bull’s eye, your target, the person that you want  in the middle of the bull’s eye but then the next ring out, you’ll have what I call direct influencers, people who have the prospect’s ear or at least they value them at a peer level. And then you have the third ring which is indirect people like perhaps colleagues or people in other divisions if you’re selling at market companies. How do you feel about the voicemail engine using that to do what I call intraday calling in and around the ring? Jeb:                  Personally, that’s exactly how I approach it. You’ve got a complex account, if you’re selling something that’s really transactional, I’m not sure if that really makes a lot of sense. If it’s a one call close, calling an influencer probably isn’t going to do a lot of good because they’re not going to be able to make a decision and you’re just gonna prolong your pain. I’ll give you a great, real life example. One of my client sells enterprise level software and these are your big spends so we’re talking about anywhere from half a million to five million dollar software purchases. Because they’re at the enterprise level, basically when the company gets their client to sign up, if they’re getting married for life, I mean this isn’t something that they’re gonna shift out of it because the risk of getting into it and getting out of it is just so high. For quite some time, they were going after a market of companies that weren’t actually using the software. They were taking a green field and converting them into this particular type of software and that was a pretty easy sell. You had status quo, the way we’ve been doing it but you also had a lot of market forces that were creating a situation where these companies really had just start making decisions about how they were going to be managing their data. That market began to tap out. They had a very pretty limited market of companies that would be eligible for this type of software. They had a few competitors and once they took out the green field market, they had to start going after competitive accounts. They have to go and start chasing businesses. The cause of this type of software is a long, long term investment, that’s a much harder not to cry. What we set down with them and built was a strategy that was exactly what you described. The strategy was we need to find people who are actually using the software, the competitor software. We know that there are problems there and we know there’s dissatisfaction. We have to leverage that group up in the channel to start really pushing the people above them to push the ultimate decision makers because in this case, the software was so big, it would’ve be a CIO, CFOs, CEO, sort of a joint decision and these decisions generally have to go to the board. You have to get those folks in your camp willing to go the board with a recommendation to make a change to their software. There was no way you were going to make that happen just by calling into the CEO’s office and chatting for a few minutes. You had to get an entire group of people around you working up the channel. As you said, there were some people that were more separated from it, users, people who had an influence but had no real ability to make any decisions at all. Then, you got people above them who were feeling that level of pain, who could push the people above them who had a lot more influence. What they focused on was building out that coalition of people and a lot of that was around a voicemail campaign. By the way, I think this is important for voicemail. Voicemail is not just a, “I’ll leave you a message, you call me back,” but it’s also marketing. If you have a really good voicemail message, you begin to create familiarity. What happens is you begin to help people move into your familiarity bubble so they know who you are, what your company is about. Like you said, it’s a campaign over time. That increases the probability that when a buying window opens, when there’s a trigger event, when there’s a place where there’s some level of dissatisfaction with their current situation, that they’ll either take your call or they’ll respond to your call or email or what have you at that moment. I think that we can’t ever forget that. To run these type of campaigns, you have to be able to manage your database in the way that you can segment your database out, you can run this campaign against the right prospects. Also, I think you gotta make sure, because voicemail is very time intensive, that you are blocking your time appropriately for that. For example, what we do is we do our voicemail campaigns at the end of the day, when our probability of actually getting a live person on the phone diminishes, we do voicemails in the afternoon because voicemail can be answered anytime. We do our calling campaigns generally first thing in the morning. We sit down, everybody’s got to listening in front of them. Calling campaigns, then social, then email, and then email we can schedule it typically, run our email campaigns, schedule them for 8:00AM. As soon as the email hits, we’re watching all the people that are opening the email a lot and then that triggers our phone calls out to them. We see an explosion of productivity and getting people on the phone cause they answered the email, they’re typically at their office. They show some level of interest. We can get them on the phone and typically convert them into a sale. Again, by business from the advertising standpoint is a little bit transactional so the person that gets the email, that’s the decision maker and we need to get them closed on that particular call. I know that was a long explanation but I hope it makes sense. Marylou:          Yeah, it does. One of the things that we work with clients. I just specialize really at three stages of the pipeline I like to call it, which is the initial conversation to qualified opportunity. That is my area of expertise. But within that area, we do exactly what you’re talking about. We call it cadence where we actually blend in the phone with email, we look for first response rates cause all of our emails are persuasive copy, they’re looking for a call to action. They’re adding value but they’re also asking for something in return. Very simple things but we’re looking for response rates, we follow up with those. We embed click through content in some of the emails, we follow up on those with telephone campaigns so then we know the pain point that has resonated with that person. We try to do that in a systematic way at the top of the funnel so that we can build multiple engines. The while you’re sleeping engine is the email only engine and then we blend the intraday calling like we talked about before. For those accounts that have those 5.4 people that ebb and flow throughout the sales cycle that we need to talk to. I think your definitions are great. It does depend on exactly how many people are going to be introduced at certain stages of the pipeline. But for the most part, lots of the clients that I worked with, they have at least three, at least three people that are ebbing and flowing somehow through the initial stages of the pipeline either to start conversation, to continue conversation, or to get through the discovery sequences so that they can create a qualified opportunity. There are people now who are driving along listening to this thinking, “Ahhh, this really sounds great, I’m not sure where to deploy what Jeb is talking about.” When you come in and work with a client, are you specializing from initial conversation all the way to close one close loss? Are there certain segments of the pipeline that you specialize in? Or do you look holistically at the entire pipeline with clients and then start attacking certain areas? What is your preferred way of working with clients? Jeb:                  We’re more of a holistic firm and we work with companies all over the globe. We don’t walk in with a preconceived notion of what we do and we don’t specialize in any particular part of the pipe. Nor are we specializing in any particular industry. As a rule for the last ten years, we’ve been industry agnostic and it’s been a huge boom for us because we’re able to find, there are a lot of commonalities, a lot of patterns that companies are facing so we’re able to bring best practices from one industry or one company to the next. We’ve seen some just explosive growth rates. For example, one of my clients is in capital equipment, they were a $45 million company two and a half years ago, they’re $100 million company today. We were able to work with them on improving their inside sales team, at the same time working with a mash up between inside and outside sales. This is a company that pulled all their people inside and it recognized that it was killing them in the marketplace because their clients no longer had the relationship that they counted on and their competitor started ringing their clock. I’ve had at least ten or eleven clients over the last two years that have been redeploying an outside sales team because it makes sense to them to do that but we’ve been able to mash these things up so we’re getting the most productivity out of every single channel. We are an organization that sits down with our client, we spend time with them, we try to understand where the touch points are, where the levers are that will allow us to get them the highest productivity or the highest performance in the shortest amount of time. Typically, what we find is a lot of times, it’s things that are really, really small that are holding companies back, especially merging companies. But we work with companies that are in the Fortune 100 to merging, I’ve got a client that’s $5 million and that’s what’s beautiful about not locking yourself into a particular space. It’s a little bit harder for us sometimes to explain to companies that no we don’t just do one thing and you have to trust us that we’re really good at what we do. But on the other hand, there’s never a dull day. We’ve got training programs that go all the way from top of the funnel all the way to the end of the funnel and we’re able to apply things like cadence like you described in the appropriate way for every client. Every customer is different, every industry is different, every company is different and they know that your prospect is different. If you don’t leverage things the right way, you lose. If you read Fanatical Prospecting, I’m clear about that. I don’t believe that there’s one way. I don’t believe that there’s a one size fits all approach, I believe in basic principles. I believe that if you call your prospect a schmuck, they’re not going to want to have anything to do with you. I believe if you’re more familiar to them, which is both a marketing and sales function, there’s going to be a high probability that when there’s a buying window, it’s going to open to you. I believe that you have to prospect relentlessly every single day because the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipe and the number one reason there is an empty pipe is because sales people fail to prospect. I believe that if you use robots to prospect all the time, then you’re going to sub-optimize your sales because sales in it of itself is an emotional endeavor and until we can find robots that can be human, it’s going to be that way. There are certain transactional sales in the marketplace that, for example if you wanna buy something over the Amazon, the experience is so good that you only need to talk to a sales person in order to buy a toilet paper, I get that. But as we begin getting more complex, buyers are asking and you use the 5.4 thing which is one of the most, in my opinion, this is my opinion only, it’s a ridiculous stat that came out of CEB and because there’s not .4 of a person. I think that the reality is this, some companies there are a lot of people making decision, in some companies there is one person making a decision. There is not a pattern, it’s just a merge where you have a group of people making decisions and that early 90’s, when I was selling, I would sit down with committees of people on a regular basis and sell to them. Sometimes, there were ten people, sometimes there were five people. To think that all of a sudden that change in the world, it’s just not true. The reality is that people are more risk averse than they were before the recession and so what’s happening is that people are less likely to make a decision just on their own because they want to go check with someone else because they feel a risk. As a sales person,  that is an emotional issue, not a 5.4 people issue. As you described if I can go in and start using a campaign to reach into organizations and build relationships across the organizations, some of those relationships are really shallow, some of them will be deep that will help me build a coach or really tap into influencers, then do I give myself a high probability of closing the deal? Absolutely. That’s the real message here versus saying the buyer has changed or all this things have changed because I just don’t buy into it. I don’t believe there is an old school or a new school. I believe that there is the school of selling and if everybody who’s listening to this, if you search your heart and look at the top salespeople in your organization, they are doing things that the top salespeople in the organization were doing in 1970. They are relentless, they are persistent, they have a great mindset, they’re mentally tough, they ask great questions, they build relationships, they recognize that intrapersonal skills, the ability to manage their emotions, and interpersonal skills, managing the emotions of other people are absolutely critical to their success. They are adaptive, and they’re flexible and as new technology and new ways of connecting with prospects have emerged, they’ve adopted those and they built an end into their entire system so they become more powerful. This is to me, the greatest fallacy in sales right now is that sales is harder than it’s ever been which is complete BS. Sales is easier than it’s ever been. I worked when sales was hard. Sales was hard when there was a phone book, sales was hard when there was no CRM, sales was hard when my serum was a stack of business cards. Marylou:          Roll of decks, I had a roll of decks. Jeb:                  Today, we’re talking about, I can sit on an engine overnight, we use a company called TelWise we really love, we send an engine overnight, we send out emails. At 8:00AM, the emails hit, people open them up, we attach documents that they can look at. But when they look on, we use proactive chat to engage them on a conversation with us and get them on the telephone. We have a telephone system that, when I’m in Asia, I’m able to take a call and transfer to somebody in my office from Asia. I can do video calls. Lord, have mercy. It’s easier than it’s ever been before. Yet, just the other day ago, in one of our sales trainings, I was sitting there looking at three 20 somethings, I’m in the front of them, we were doing a prospecting blogs because we do live phone blogs in our Fanatical Prospecting bootcamps, had a stack of business cards in front of them, dialing off the stack of business cards. My mouth is open. I’m like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” That’s how you go about organizing your day? Don’t tell me about millennials and how good they are with technology because they’re really not that smart with technology. They’ll adapt it faster than other people but they’re not that smart. Don’t tell that there are some new school or old school and please don’t tell me that everything has changed in sales because it hasn’t. It just hasn’t. Marylou:          Amen to that. I think a lot of it is there’s this difference of leveraging technology and hiding behind technology. What we really need to embrace as a community is that we can leverage technology where it makes sense to help us create better consistency in our work habits. In my area of expertise at the top of the pipeline, it’s all about habit. It’s really that consistency, you mentioned persistence, Aaron used to call me, “Patiently persistent Marylou,” because I would be patient but yet persistent in my sales conversations. I agree, I think we have a lot of work to do ahead of us because of this thought process of the younger or just sales representatives in general that the things have changed that much. There are some behavioral things, I will admit to that. My kids, you know with the swipe left, swipe right thing. Their attention span is a little bit shorter so you have to break through the clutter a bit. But all of that means, Jeb, is that you really need to think through what is my value? What value do I bring to the table? When I work with my clients and trying to create this grid, this value grid a friend of mine calls it, of why I matter to you, it’s a hard to thing to do. That’s step one for us, is to try to figure out why should people change? Why now? And why with you? Jeb:                  Even deeper than that, and this is the where, it’s not just millennials, it’s everybody. One of the core sale specific emotional intelligence skills is empathy, the ability to step into the prospect’s shoes. We use a qualification exercise we have in some of our sales training. Then, we ask our sales people to articulate the customer’s problem. They’ll make a list of problems and all the problems are their problems, not their customer problems. The problems are basically all of the features of their product. I’m like, “That’s not the customer’s problem, the customer’s problem is deeper than that. The customer’s problem is that they just hired Marylou as their intern who’s supposed to be getting them Starbucks, but Marylou’s not getting Starbucks because Marylou is going through the invoices that your competitors sent over because it doesn’t make any sense. They don’t trust your competitor.” That’s the problem. For me, it’s not millennials specifically, it’s every sales person. It’s getting out of your own self centered skin. When you start thinking about value, think about it in terms of why is it important to your customer? How does it fit into your customer’s language? With millennials, I get the span of attention, myself-trains had become video games. I’m literally never stop moving, it never stops moving. Nobody has a moment because if I don’t, I lose them. But my attention span has changed. I’m consuming information at such a speed that, I’m trying to read a newspaper the other day, I used to love to read the newspaper and it’s too long for me and I’m like, “I can’t move it.” I get all that, but this is what I mean, sales has not changed. What the great sales people always did was understood the emotional context from which their prospect was coming from. That emotional context changes over time. We’re an evolving society, technology has moved us. But if you don’t have the ability or the discipline to get out of your own way and think about your prospect, then it gets very, very hard to deal with them. If we go back to prospecting, I totally get millennials love text messaging. I’m 50, I love text messaging. I’m into text messaging. One of my vendors sent me a text message the other day, “I noticed something about your business, we can fix it, here’s what it is.” I wrote back and said, “How much?” They said, “This much.” I said, “Okay go ahead and do it.” That was the entire sales call. Now they were familiar with me. I knew who they were but that’s what I used. Later on that day, they called me and said, “Here’s what we’re doing.” That anchored the trust I felt for them. The relationships can be fluent across all those channels. But if you don’t get that it’s a relationship and it starts with the top of the funnel. If your prospecting email sucks, if you call your prospect and go, “Hey how you doin’?” How stupid is that? That’s not a way to start a phone call. If you waste my time, if you don’t bring me something even in your email that’s relevant to me and my business, if you don’t connect with me in that way, you’re gonna fail. This is what I mean by it, you would’ve failed and if you were selling tools to the Egyptian, you would’ve failed then, you’re going to fail now. It’s a different context but the emotional part of sales has not changed. Marylou:          Very good. Now before we go, one of the things I would like you to elaborate on for the audience is the concept of education and training. It’s not a set it and forget it, it’s not a one time shot. Tell us about the most successful clients you’ve had in terms of continual education and how they go about doing that and how you support that through your company? Jeb:                  I’m so glad you asked me. This is one the messages when I first started working with the client. One of my very first messages is, “Great companies don’t have the courage to train. They have the courage to train the same information over and over and over and over again.” This is true for leadership, it’s true for customer service, it’s true for most customer facing disciplines when in business because this is a skill position, these skills, these techniques, these dealing with people, these are skills that have to re-up on a regular basis. When you have that mindset that, “Oh, Marylou has been trained,” and you expect that the training that you gave Marylou was going to sink in and it’s gonna be working forever and ever and ever, you are sadly mistaken, it doesn’t work that way. The analogy that I used with companies to help them understand this is like a professional sports team. I always ask them, “Who’s your favorite NFL team?” Imagine if your favorite NFL team, were moving in August so they’re all practicing right now. They came to camp and had one practice. They went over the play book once. They went over the place once. And then the coach said, “Everybody is trained now, we’re good to go,” and then they never went to practice again. Imagine that. The coach will be fired, the ESP will be up in arms, and all the people have talked about sports be going crazy because nobody would do that. Here’s the deal, salespeople are the elite athletes in the business world. If you don’t have those elite athletes working at peak performance, your company will fail, I guarantee it. The number one reason why businesses fail is because they run out of customers, number one reason. As an organization, it’s your job and your role to train your people over and over and over and over and over again. A great example, we’re talking about prospecting, filling the top of the funnel. You teach a group of salespeople how to get on the telephone and call, we do this in our training classes. We watch business leaders watch the training class and they are amazed at what happens over the course of just three 30 minute dialing blocks because people get so much better. Then they go out and for two weeks, three weeks they are killing it. And then their skills begin to diminish. Why? Because you’re making 30, 40, 50 calls a day, if you’re doing that, you’re getting reinforcement by the call, the customer, you begin to boost that skill. If you’re not re upping that, some of that’s the manager, some of that’s online self directed, some of that’s bringing the backend of the classroom. But if you are not constantly doing that, you will fail. You asked me about clients. One of my most successful clients. They have two rules. One, every morning they train, every morning. Every morning, they do a training class. These are 15 minute trainings, they take things that you and I have been talking about, they’ll take one part of that and they’ll teach that every single day, every day, every day, every day. This plays, their rocket ship is incredible, they’re sales people are always on. Number two thing, this is the number two rule and this by the way is a rule that I recommend to every single leader. Number two rule, they never, ever, ever, ever get their sales people together in a room for a meeting or online for a meeting, however they they get sales people and not train them something, not teach them something. That way, they’re always teaching. The most successful clients I have, have that as a culture. They teach and teach and teach and teach and teach and teach and teach. I learned it because I work for a company that, we train the same stuff over and over and over again and it was an amazing place to work. It was so much fun. That doesn’t mean you can’t layer on new ideas and new trainings. It doesn’t mean that. What it means is that you can’t send someone to a training class and then expect them to be trained. This is not like teaching accountants how to use a bunch of spreadsheets. This is teaching people human relationship skills. We know how hard it is to deal with other human beings. When I look at the companies that I worked for that were the most fun, the most dynamic where we had people who we were really building on their talents, these are companies who had the courage to pick a path and teach it over and over and over and over again until it was wrote because they believed and understood their self-professionals were their elite athletes. Marylou:          Perfect. One of my friends is a sales director at a company in Seattle and what they do is they have block time everyday where they’re doing their calls. They take 15 minutes, it seems to be 15 minutes as I remember, I don’t know if it’s just palatable or what but they do one topic, one objection, they sometimes do writing exercises where they’re writing emails but they do something every day with the team. If they do a call related warm up, it just gets them ready for their block time. Incorporating it into a daily rhythm isn’t a difficult thing. It’s just like you said, I love the term you used, having the courage to do so. Because it really will change your life and your revenue. Jeb:                  Absolutely and if you take that concept of 15 minutes, I’m working with inside sales teams and working with the managers and supervisors. Far too often, in my opinions, the managers and supervisors are separated, their offices are over there and the salespeople are over here. Not all of them are configured that way. With the supervisors and managers inside of an inside sales team, everyday even if you have multiple shifts, you should be doing shift huddles and for 10 or 15 minutes inside that huddle, you should bring a training, something that you’re teaching. We supplement this with our clients, we have a really powerful elements, we call Sales Gravy University. It allows us to create private programs for our clients so we can create a series of training programs and most of our clients use the mobile app cause the mobile app is slicker and easier and there’s a lot of video based training, we keep them down to two or three minutes. What the manager can do is they can take one of the modules, show the video, and then have a conversation about it so that people can actualize that. Like you said, then they go get on the telephones and they go work or they go sit with the customer and they work. If you’ve got really good leadership team at that point, the leaders are anchoring the training with hands on coaching. I’ll give you a really nice example of one of my clients who I think just took it to the total next level. Most inside sales organizations, they had a quality control group that was listening to calls and going back through what was happening. They will sit down with the representatives in the coaching, they will give them all this things. Nobody can deal with everything you did wrong on a call. What the leader did on Jen, I think one of the best inside sales leaders I’ve ever met, she said, “This is not working for us.” We built training for them, we customized an entire training suite just for them, spent months with them really understanding their business. What she did was start taking the modules, we try to build training in short modules so that managers can then take those later on and use them for their idles. She took the modules and she said, “This week, we’re focusing on this.” That’s what every manager would focus on all their little 15 minute get togethers will be that. Then the quality control people, the only thing they will pay attention to was the thing they were focusing on. Then they will give the managers feedback on the people they were listening to base on how they were doing against that particular focus. The managers were able to use that to really concentrate their coaching. They just got better and better and better and their representatives felt like they weren’t getting fumbled by hey, you did all these things wrong. I’ve got a group of people that are really trying to help me approve a particular skill and then they were growing to the next one, growing to the next one, growing to the next one. I recommend that to a number of my clients, I recommend that to anybody listening. To me, I never thought about doing it that way, it was a game changer for them. Marylou:          That’s great. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and I know we can go on forever cause you’re just so knowledgeable about so many different things. But to keep it short, be respectful of the people who don’t have a lot of time to listen. What’s the best way for someone who just is totally excited about what they heard today and want to connect with you? What’s the best way to do that? Jeb:                  A couple of things you could do, one is you can go to my blog, a personal blog, it’s jebblount.com. There’s a ton of resources there, videos, blogs, that type of thing. You can also find me on YouTube, so the YouTube channel and you can go to Sales Gravy, @SalesGravy on YouTube. My Facebook is Jeb On Demand. My personal Facebook is Sales Gravy, connect with me either way, I’m happy to take you and bring you on. I post pictures of food and cats so you can look at that. Twitter, I’m @salesgravy. Instagram I’m @salesgravy. I’m Jeb Blount on LinkedIn and I’d love to get your LinkedIn connection. And then you can find me on iTunes and on Stitcher and wherever you find podcast if you type in my name or type in Sales Gravy Jeb Blount, you’ll find my podcast on those channels. You can also send me an email if you like I’m jeb@salesgravy.com, send me an email, I answer, trust me I gave out my email address, I get tons of spam. It’s okay. I’m happy to connect with you any way that you want to and definitely go pick up my book Fanatical Prospecting. It is the one book that I guarantee you, I guarantee that if you read that book, it will make you more money this year. Marylou:          For those of you who listened and took to heart what Jeb said about phone calls, I will put his office phone number on this show page where I’ll have all these links he just mentioned and other resources that I think would be of value for you to consume. But definitely look him up, if you really want to radically change from where you are now to where you can be as a sales professional, Jeb is your guy for sure. Jeb:                  Thank you. That was very nice of you. Thank you. Marylou:          Thank you so much for your time and it’s great finally connecting with you. I wish you much success going forward. Jeb:                  Awesome. Thank you.

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