Episode 59: The Human Side of Sales – Diane Hamilton

Predictable Prospecting
00:00 / 00:00
Have you ever taken a personality test to find out more about your strengths and weaknesses? Personality tests like the Myers-Briggs are great for revealing more about our inner selves, but they can also be useful when it comes to connecting with your prospects. Our guest today is Dr. Diane Hamilton, author, speaker, and Emotional Intelligence expert. We’re talking all about the human side of sales how to connect with a prospect based on their personality type, doing research before the first conversation, and building up relationships over time.
Episode Highlights:

  • How can studying emotional intelligence and the psychology behind communications help us with sales?
  • Diane’s method for identifying the personality type of a prospect within seconds
  • Using social media research to create a personality profile
  • Developing a relationship with a long-term prospect based on common interests
  • Preparing for the first call
  • Techniques for improving your confidence and tone in conversation
  • Diane Hamilton’s radio show


Episode Transcript

Marylou: Hey everybody, it’s Marylou Tyler. Today, I have a special show for you. You know how we’re always working on sales process, sales enablement trying to get all of those records coming in to the top of the pipeline. Organized, categorized. Today’s special episode is with Dr. Diane Hamilton, she’s a speaker, author, she has been an instructor at multiple schools, thousands of classes, she’s a nationally syndicated radio show host, and she is going to talk to us today about the human side of selling. The reason why I asked her on the show is because we do all this work to get to the point where we have our first dialogue with our prospects, have our first meeting, have our first conversation, and we bungle it. Not always but we do it enough and we work so hard to get to that point that I really want you to listen to Dr. Dianne today about the types of things that she specializes in like emotional intelligence, like communications, and help us set aside the actual process pieces for today and really focus on the human side of selling. Welcome Dr. Dianne, it’s so great to have you on the show. Diane: Thank you, I’m excited to be here. Marylou: Tell us, you’re a specialist in emotional intelligence and communications, how does that align with the sales roles? My guys are all business developers, net new business. They’re really trying to start conversations with people we don’t know. We leverage technology to help us get there. How does your expertise align with, once we get there, how do we handle that first conversation? Diane: It’s interesting because I’ve spent many decades in sales and I’ve had all different types of sales jobs from very sophisticated training that got you very well prepared to the office where they hand you the Yellow Pages. It got me interested as I started teaching, I do teach some courses in marketing and sales related things and then I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the impact of emotional intelligence on sales performance. I looked at subprime sales individuals for that particular research. I was interested in the components of communication and interpersonal skills and that type of thing and how it impacted their results. There’s no surprise that you do need to have very strong interpersonal skills to do well in sales. It’s kind of interesting because I worked for a sales company where they gave us personality tests to determine our personality type before we even got the job. Then, they made us post our personality results on our cubicle so that we all knew how to interrelate to one another because if you were a blue, you were a certain personality, a red, green, and yellow. In sales, we all wear reds and greens. Every once in awhile a yellow would get in, it was almost like the movie Pushing Tin where the people are betting as they’re watching to see if the guy is going to be able to get from his car back up to work because he’s so stressed out because we didn’t think the yellows would make it. The reason why they didn’t do very well was because they were more analytical and they really weren’t meant for sales job as well as the more direct reds or the more extra verdant green. It’s not that they were inferior in any way, they were just mismatched for their job. I looked at a lot of the personality issues behind sales in my research because I think that there’s a lot that people need to do in terms of self-reflection to see what skills they have and where they can develop in terms of their personality. There’s a lot of research in emotional intelligence which I think it’s really important to understand that, but I also think that understanding things like Myers Briggs assessment where you learn about whether you’re an extrovert or introvert and all of that can be very useful for sales people because sometimes we tend to think that everybody thinks like we do because that’s how we think. Once you learn how other people prefer to receive information, you can adjust and present information in that way. That’s so important in the sales call because if I’m an extrovert and I’m calling an introvert, I’m doing it my way, I’m turning that person off completely. That has be something that they have to think about if that’s their first and only chance at this person, they better connect in a way that they want to be connected with. That’s what a lot of people make mistakes. Marylou: Right now, the way we work is that we’re working with a lot of contact records and we finally dwindle it down to the top 10, 20 that we want to put into our calling sequence so we can contact them. How do we know when we say hello, what kind of personality they are? Are there cues, is there a rhythm, is there a way we can tell within the first five to ten seconds what kind of personality we are dealing with? Diane: It’s a lot harder on the phone but a lot of it is how they respond when you ask a question. An introvert is going to take a lot longer to respond. They’re going to think about it, they don’t do it at the same time. The speed at which they respond will be one good clue. The quick questions they ask will be another clue is if they’re a thinker versus a feeler. If they think, that means on the Myers Briggs kind of a personality assessment, if they are thinkers they are interested in you giving them more solid base data and facts. They are less interested in making decisions based on their value. Pulling on their emotional heart strings is not going to work with that person. If they’re starting to ask you data, give them data. Don’t try to appeal to them in an emotional way. I think you can get some of these cues right off the bat from just asking a few questions because what you’re trying to do at beginning is find their pain. The mistakes a lot of salespeople make is not finding out what they need. They just start selling right off the bat, this what I have and then they send out all this information when maybe that’s not anything they even want and they’re wasting time. Marylou: We get some cues when we’re doing our email because the way that our rhythm works is that sometimes we send emails first or we blend emails and telephone trying to leave them a voice mail or whatever. We do get some cues in the email because people may respond back to us saying I really want more technical information about this, I want to understand others who have gone before you and actually come out the other side successful and transformed. We do get a little bit. Is there some pre-work we can do based on or have you discovered based on the actual role or title, because my folks are mostly business to business so we’re selling into companies that are certain role based. For example when I sell to marketing people for my work, I know that they’re more touchy feely. They’re more personal in their goals. Whereas if I’m talking to a sales ops guy, it’s more strategic. Are there cues like that that we can when we’re developing the actual profiles for the people we’re trying to call into that we can sort of at least get 80% there? Diane: I agree with you completely. I just attended the board summit for CMOs in Coronado last November. They definitely have a unique way of looking at things. Their pain right now is trying to reach people in so many different ways with so many different platforms and personalizing content. They have a real obvious emotional issue attached with what they’re trying to do. It depends on the product of what you’re selling, do you have particular product that your listeners focus on? Marylou: It’s all over the map, some are doing actual widgets and some are doing services but what we teach or what I like to instill in my folks is we have to do a profile, we call it persona profile development for sales, where we really are looking at the person in that role and we’re trying to figure out the pain like you talked about before. I’ve given them an extra three ways to look at the pain, it’s strategic, financial, and personal. We make some guestimates based on whether this particular pain point affects our prospect either strategically, meaning a business related issue, is it financial or is it personal, meaning growth or something to do with movement in the company or culture of the company. I’m curious if there are other things that we can think about as we work on these persona profiles because doing this exercise in my opinion propagates throughout our entire sales conversation. It helps us understand which case studies we should present to them like you said based on their profile. It helps us understand preempt objections they may have during the sale cycle itself. I have some steps of things that I want them to look at. You always wonder, are there other, more human elements like the Myers Briggs that you’re talking about, are there other things that we should be looking at for profiling the person that we’re trying to get that first conversation with from your research that we may be missing? Diane: I think you can use a lot that you find on social media and different websites to find out more about them. You just think of a job interview, you’re going to research everything you know about the company before you go in because you want to show an interest in them. Anything you could find about them personally without sounding creepy like you’re stalking them. You want to be genuine, anything you could find out about the company’s mission, their strategic plans. That’s what you’re focusing on is helping them achieve their goal. If you don’t know what they are, you’re wasting your time in the call. You need to know everything about this person. I had a boss that was wonderful when I was in sales about just looking around the room before we even said two words to anyone. Knew what school they went to, check out the flags, whatever it was in the room he could figure it out what their sports team because he was so perceptive and he just paid attention. You make it about them and you show an interest in them, it makes such a huge difference because you’re not there for you to sell something, you’re there to create a relationship. I’ve had jobs I was a pharmaceutical rep for 15 years where that was a long term relationship. It’s not like, buy this car, I’ll never see you again, kind of thing. You’re in there every week and every month. It’s something you have to develop, you don’t want to start off by having it be all about you. It depends on the type of sales they do. If it’s shorter term sale, you have to go a little higher pressure, if it’s a longer term relationship, you have to build that relationship because you won’t get back in another time. Marylou: I definitely think for our audience, we’re developing a relationship but some of us are just long enough to hand it off to a closer, a quarter carrying sales rep who closes the deal. Over half of my audience is prospecting, closing, and servicing accounts. There’s a big relationship builder at the same time. This first call has stymied us for so long on how to prepare properly for it, how to understand the opening of that call itself. The more we can get intel going into the conversation, the better. I think your suggestions about the research of looking in forums or group discussions with these people and these roles, just like you said when you’re at the conference, you got the jist and the vibe, it’s an emotional time for marketing because of all the different channels that they have to worry about now with the internet. What other things have you seen or do you recommend that we look for to help us be better on that first call? Diane: I think being prepared, having notes right in front of you, having a good customer relationship software is important to make sure you have everything right there because you don’t have answers to anything about them right there, that’s going to be a problem. I used to type my notes while I talked to them sometimes so I would be able to have that for the next call. I think you really have to keep really good notes. I know you don’t really want to multitask but you can do something at the same time to free up some time. I think for the first call, just starting off, trying to figure out their pain is going to be your major focus because if you start off thinking I want to sell this, you may be selling the wrong product and a lot of salespeople have multiple products and they may be going in a completely wrong direction. The first thing, if you don’t know their pain or you may assume you know their pain, I would focus on that first, I would start with what I know about them and maybe say you’re impressed by something you read about them. Start it off on a positive note. In any sales, they’re going to give you a negative response to things. If they say something negative to you, of course you can’t just jump in and say why they’re wrong. Support what they’ve said, give them some kind of yeah I understand, some other people have agreed with you, or give some support before you limit them as we learn in sales. A lot of salespeople lose people because they just limit them right off the bat. They don’t say you have a really good point and other people maybe would agree with you and give them a little bit of basics, yeah my competitor, they do have a good product, that’s why we use some of those things in our products but we’ve improved it by blah blah blah. You have to learn the process of developing the relationship and you have very little time sometimes. I never had less time when I was a pharmaceutical rep because they gave you one minute sometimes as you’re tracing them down the hall. It’s tough sometimes in certain industries. When I dialed for dollars, you have very little time. Telephone is a lot more challenging, you have to develop your presence. It depends on the industry, it’s really hard to give a blanket answer that is applicable to all sales jobs. But I have worked in real estate, I have worked in lending, I have worked in pharmaceutical sales, and different types of sales. It is all different. That’s why shows like this are so great and what you do is so great because they can pick and choose the things that are applicable to their industry and their type of sale. Marylou: Is there a process that we can put ourselves through for preparing or when we’re actually in the conversation that we hear certain things and we react a certain way? Is there some type of process in the communication aspect? Diane: In pharmaceutical sales, they had a certain sales process. I think that in terms of what you can do is create your own process based on your industry of what works. I recommend that you go to the best person in your field and find out what works for them. I always think having a good mentor is part of the process that works. I can remember one guy, he came in 11 in the morning, the rest of us are at 8, he leaves at 2 and he killed everybody in sales. What is this guy doing? I sat in and listened to his calls, he was just so conversational and just right off the bat you could tell that he was an expert. A lot of people, the new sales people have difficulty with that. They don’t feel confident. They have to learn to fake the confidence a little bit until they make it. There’s a great TEDtalk about how sometimes you have to portray a certain image until you actually become it, which is kind of in contrast to see the book about an introvert which was called Quiet. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of introverts in sales. I think that you probably would do better to listen to the first TEDtalk about how you can portray confidence to the point where people are going to listen to what you have to say a lot more openly, even if it is your first call. Marylou: Because it’s the telephone, it doesn’t matter if you’re 20, out of college talking to a CEO, it’s a mindset change of you meeting that CEO at that peer level. That’s one of the things that’s so important for us because we’re not doing face to face sales in many cases, we are on the phone. The tonality we know from research is 75% of that conversation is based on your tone. It’s not being perfect in your wording, it is about enthusiasm, smiling on the phone, having that conversation with confidence. Like you said, I think the main way to get there is role playing, listening to people who have these great conversations, mirroring what they’re doing as much as possible, adding in your own style as you start to feel more confident. Is that the best way for us to get better at this first conversation? Diane: I think so. I’ve had some mentors give me advice that may be very uncomfortable. I can remember in subprime sales I had a wonderful boss but she was tough and I wasn’t a tough type of a personality, I was more of a relationship kind of a personality. In mortgage sales, you get some of these tough guys, there’s not a lot of women at that time, that were used to just bluffing it out, it was a mad man kind of a thing on the phone, I can’t explain compared to today it was a lot different. She listened to me and she goes, “Just tell him, this is what it is and if he doesn’t like it, too bad.” She made me do this for the phone call and the guy got really mad and he was just like, “Nobody talks to me that way.” I wasn’t really mean, I just put it the way she said it. “This is how it is, if you wanna do it, let me know.” Marylou: Very direct. Diane: He kind of got mad and hung up. Later, he ended up being my best customer. He kept calling me back because he respected me after that. I think it depends on the industry how tough you can be or how you should be. I think you learn, she was obviously really good in this job, she was the leader in it, and she’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever had. She gave me good advice for that particular situation, not that I’d say that would work in every situation. That’s why I really think you got to find the proper mentor for that industry. It just depends on the industry, I think mentorship can’t be rated it’s just the like the top thing you can do. Marylou: One of the suggestions I like to make with my audience is that if you’re selling to a CMO for example, then go to your CMO in your company and roleplay with them. Do it by role. Luckily for us, we’re sometimes talking to three to five different roles before we can actually get in the door. We’re trying to navigate through the company, we’re talking to multiple personalities, trying to figure out which one of those is going to let us get our toe in the door. We do have to be a little bit of a chameleon depending on who we’re talking to. This conversation is great Dr. Diane because I really want people to understand that we are going to change our delivery based on who’s on the other end of that line. It’s not that we’re changing ourselves, it’s just in that moment we are really focused on the caller, the person we’re speaking with, and trying to get them feeling comfortable to trust us so that we can do what we need to do to get in that door. The more we practice, the better we’re going to get at it, that’s what I’m hearing from you. Diane: That’s true and I recommend practicing videotaping yourself. We did a lot of that in pharmaceutical sales, a lot of the details we did videos and then we would critique each other, not just have you look at it, have somebody else look at it and it’s tough sometimes. It’s pretty intimidating for a lot of people who do that when they’re new but it’s a very important thing because we do things that we just have no idea we’re even doing until you see it on video. Now that you have the iPhone, there’s different ways to simply recording yourself, it can’t be any easier. I think that’s a key thing to do to just kind of look at the things that you’re doing and think of it, put yourself in their shoes which is a big part of empathy, think like they’re thinking which is a big part of emotional intelligence and that’s the way we work. I really think that doing that would be a huge step in improving your sales presentation. Marylou: Tell us a little bit about the radio show, what are the topics of that show and I’ll put in the show where people can listen to you, how often is it gonna air and what’s the topic? Diane: It starts next month, I don’t have all of the information for you yet but it takes a lead. It’s about leadership and communication and just about anything that leaders deal with. A leader could be an entrepreneur, just all levels of a lot of the stuff that we talked about today, salespeople. Others can really benefit from it because we’re gonna go in a lot of different directions. I don’t really have all the information for you yet but you’ll be able to find it on my site which is drdianehamilton.com. I do have some really wonderful people that I’m gonna have on the show right off the bat, the top 30 under 30 list of people that Forbes voted the most influential of the 30 under 30 are going to become my guest. I’ve met some wonderful people from working at Forbes and I hope you’ll get a chance to listen to that. I do have a video interview with Ken Fisher that you might find interesting. If you look up Dr. Diane Hamilton and Ken Fisher who’s the billionaire behind the Guru genius, behind Fisher Investment, that’s on YouTube. There’s also something that your listeners might want to see on YouTube, I spoke at Forbes Mentor, look up Dr. Diane Hamilton Forbes Mentor Week. It’s all about the future, when I speak, I speak about just the millennials and different generational conflict issues that I think that would be very helpful. Marylou: Yeah, a lot of the roles for the business developers are the younger crowd because it’s usually the entry level sales position besides following up on leads coming in. It’s another position in sales that grooms you to become, if you want, an account executive that’s going to be more of a closing type person. This position typically is held for younger people generally, not always but they’re coming out of school, they’re not necessarily enamored with the telephone and a lot of our work is still done heavily reliant on the telephone although email is becoming a good conversational piece but to get 15 emails equals one phone call in my world. At some point, we really need to embrace the phone and maximize the way we have conversation. Diane: I’m just gonna say I have one more piece of information. I think that if you’re getting millennials and younger people listening to the show, one of my books would really tie in well to learning a lot of the stuff we talked about today. It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality, and you can get that on Amazon. In that, I give a lot of stuff on how to deal with different personality type traits and not actually having to take the case of MBTI, all the different personality tests, emotional intelligence, but the kind of things you would learn had you taken it and how to use it to interact with other people. I think that would tie in really well with the younger generation because it was a book I wrote with Toni Rothpletz who is my daughter and she helped make it focused for the younger generation because I think post boomers would do really well to learn that type of thing. Marylou: That’s great, so it’s called It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality? Is that correct? Diane: Yeah. Marylou: Okay folks, make sure you get that book to download and listen to because I think that’s another area where we’re trying to start these communications with people from a cold status. They haven’t necessarily opted into us, they may not necessarily be aware of who we are and we’re disrupting them. The more that we can really align our conversation to what is important to them but be able to switch modes really quickly based on what we’re hearing and listening is a big part of this, then we’re gonna be more successful in generating those meetings. Diane: Everything, yes I agree. Marylou: Very good. I just appreciate so much having you on the show today. I’ll put all the links that we talked about in the show notes. Once we get the radio show, I’ll add that in as well for our audience. In the future though, if they want to find to more about you, drdianehamilton.com is a good place to go? Diane: Right, drdianehamilton.com and most social media sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, it’s Dr Diane Hamilton. Marylou: Very good. Thank you so much Dr. Diane for your time, I really appreciate it. Diane: You’re welcome, I enjoyed it.