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Episode 81: The Characteristics of a Good Closer – Mark SA Smith

Predictable Prospecting
Episode 81: The Characteristics of a Good Closer - Mark SA Smith
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Process and metrics are so important, but there is a whole other side to selling. In this episode, I have a conversation with sales expert Mark SA Smith. We talk about selling professionally and being authentic. We talk about polishing the saw not only with systems and frameworks, but when it comes to the conversational side and speaking from the heart.

Mark shares stories of exceptional sales professionals. Ones who have skills like caring about their customers success, having foresight, choosing who you do business with, and being pragmatic. He talks about the importance of trust, and how the number one salesperson is usually the most trusted salesperson. We also talk about the importance of customer motivation and more.

Episode Highlights:

  • How life can be easier when you are in build mode because you have a path planned out.
  • Moving from knowing what’s next to being OK with uncertainty.
  • Having a growth mindset and progressing in a way that is comfortable for you.
  • How life is a series of challenges and triumphs.
  • How the person who signs the checks is the person who actually closes the sale.
  • Being a trusted partner as opposed to a sales person.
  • Creating customer success through foresight. Making a mutually profitable transaction.
  • Characteristics of a closer are caring about customer success, having foresight, picking your customers, and being pragmatic.
  • Working consistently instead of working hard.
  • The importance of trust and relationships with customers.
  • The product line is only 10% of the sales equation. Most sales people focus on the product. Focus on helping the customer relationship instead.
  • FAB charts or features and advantages. Attempting to map product to customer motivation. It should be mapping motivation to product.
  • Stop pitching and start asking questions and listening.
  • Offering permission to defer helps with building relationship.
  • Where the empathy comes into play and being open.

Resources:

Transcript:

Marylou: Since you and I last talked, I’m pushing 60. I got a notice from my broker to save all my retirement stuff, to check my balances. I have hit every woopy goal that I set out. If this is when I was younger, I’d probably have no idea what I was doing. I’m faced with, “Wow. Okay so I’ve hit all my goals. Now what?” I feel like an Olympic athlete who won a gold model. Then you’ve got to kind of like, “What’s next? Should I push harder? Should I change directions? Should I become a welder?”

Mark: I hope we’re recording this because it’s a really dreaming podcast.

Marylou: It’s all being recorded.

Mark: I think almost anybody who would listen is going through the same situation. If you’re an executive, if you’ve been doing something for 40, 50, 60 years, you’re going to hit that place where you go I’ve done it all, I’ve hit all my goals. Do I grow my business bigger? Do I go for lifestyle? I had a really interesting conversation with Bo Burlingham a couple of weeks ago. His podcast went up last week. Do you know who Bo is?

Marylou: No.

Mark: He was an Editor at Large of Inc. Magazine for 25 years. This man is a repository of knowledge for entrepreneurship through so many business cycles and he’s pragmatic, and he’s wonderful, and thoughtful. One of the most amazing interviews that I’ve ever had just because tapping into that extraordinary depth of experience.

He wrote a book. His last book is called Finish Big and it talks about entrepreneurial exits, similar to what John Warrillow did with Built to Sell. With this one, he talked about the psychological impact of people who sold their businesses. More than half of the people he interviewed regretted selling their business because they lost their identity.

Marylou. Wow. I definitely relate to that. A lot of the folks who listen to this podcast are in build mode. I used to tell my kids this, we don’t have a lot of choices. You’ve got to put food on the table, take care of your kids, take care of your family. Life seems a little bit “easier” because you have a path.

When I went to school, for example, my daughter’s going to school to become an English major, she’s going to college. I went to the college of engineering and computer science. As soon as I set a toe in the door of the college, my whole four years was planned, every task that I needed to take, everything. There were no options. You just buckle down.

Sometimes, it seems that when you have that defined path, life flows a lot easier. The other phenomena that I’ve been discovering is if I have too much time on my hands, I seem to not get projects done but if I have five projects lined up that I’ve got to do, somehow they all get done.

Mark: The miracle of the deadline.

Marylou: I’m trying to figure out how to harness this energy, this goodness that we go through when we have these multiple things happening, to focus on being a better prospect or being a better salesperson, whatever that definition is that you have. But approach it more with that growth mindset that I’m not there yet but I will get there and these are the steps that I’m going to take in order to get those daily wins, micro wins, whatever you want to call it to get to that point.

Mark: I think what we have to do is move from this place of knowing what’s next to being okay in the uncertainty. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s a wild and crazy world both politically and economically and spiritually. It’s a crazy place.

We have been rewarded, Marylou, by our knowledge. We’ve been judged by our knowledge. We’ve been paid for our knowledge. You and I are at that place because I’m only a few years behind you. I’m 58. This notion of what happens next and all the things that I’ve been rewarded for are starting to disappear. My knowledge of the world of I.T. is going away because I.T. is going away. What happens next? There’s this fear of, “Am I going to fail?” Yeah I fit all those goals, all those things like you. Every one of them, boxes have been checked. Now what? It’s an interesting philosophical question. Any answers?

Marylou: I turn to what do I love to do and I just try to focus on how can I get some improvement out of that? Everything in life, you can always improve a little bit more. The other thing I’d like my books to really grasp is this notion of turning pure will into habit. This is for top of funnel, I can’t speak for bottom of funnel. So those of you who are rolling their eyes who closed business, I’m sorry but I’m top of funnel. You guys should know that.

But I think if you could really focus on changing the behavior from sheer will to determination to drive to discipline and eventually to habit, that’s going to be what’s successful. You wake up in the morning and you not necessarily have your whole day planned but you have it blocked out so that you can accomplish the things within that block time, single focus that will allow you to advance whatever it is you set out as your goal. But I think there is a goal though.

One of the things that I’m struggling with now that I got this news about meeting my retirement, financial goals is what are my new goals? What do they look like? I’ve been working so hard over the last 30 years to meet the goals that I thought would be so far out there that if I’d be 100, I still wouldn’t have made it. It’s really sitting back down now and say, “Okay, I have a couple of levers that I know I love to do.” One is to have this podcast, to talk to people, to help them with their prospecting. The other is more of a creative side which for me, believe it or not is programming because that’s where I was trained in. I want to continue.

My other hat in life is a market research analyst and that business is actually picking up lately with surveys for employee, Net Promoter Score loyalty. That’s another area that I can focus on. I wasn’t kidding. I am taking welding class because I want to know how to weld. That project is going to be putting little 4×4 gabions. For those who don’t know what they are, look it up. Putting 4×4 gabions in my ravine and stringing LED lights that I can change the color with so my ravines sparkle in the winter.

Mark: Magnificent.

Marylou: Those are all levers. Obviously, I don’t know the first thing about welding but it’s a process. I’m sure even in your life, Mark, with the work that you do with your clients, there is a system, there is a method, there is a process and really, you have to start on that journey and be okay with the fact that you’re not mastering it on day one.

Mark: Absolutely true.

Marylou: That you’re moving along the journey and that you’re not there yet but you will be someday and you have to have that growth mindset of, “I’m going to get there. It won’t be tomorrow but I’m going to do things that I need to do to progress in a way that’s comfortable for me that I’m not killing myself.”

Mark: Absolutely true. One of the quotes that came out of our podcast conversation is discipline is something I have to do, and habit is something I do. That was such a powerful thought for me. Of course I made a meme out of it. It’s all over Twitter because of that. You’re right, it’s about systems, it’s about habits that push us a little bit forward everyday whether it’s reading or listening to a new podcast or trying something you’ve never done before or just the willingness to step out and fail or the willingness to step out and say, “I’m wrong.” We have to be so right. We’ve been programmed from kindergarten to be right.

Marylou: And rewarded like you said. Our parents, whenever we have that great piano recital, they get up and clap but they don’t clap or encourage, not all parents, but some parents don’t clap or encourage the path that got us to the great recital. The daily getting down into the living room, hitting those keys, that notion of I’m going to work on this every day, that’s what we really need to reward. Yes, the end result is great and fabulous and wonderful. We’ve all seen our children, our friends and family or colleagues, achieve a goal but it’s the path to get there that really should get the reward because then, you’re going to take the next goal and do the same type of thing.

Mark: Taking those daily steps sometimes can be really boring. People can laugh at us. If we consumed a regular diet of standard media, we’re going to think that what we’re doing is stupid because they can wrap up any problem in 30 minutes. That’s just not the way life works. Life is a series of challenges and triumphs and disappointments and challenges and triumphs. That happens in prospecting and it happens at the bottom of the funnel too. Let’s talk about the bottom of the funnel just for a moment. You mentioned the fact that we’re the people that close businesses on a regular basis. Listener, I challenge you, I don’t think you’ve ever closed any business. I don’t care how much money you’ve made selling.

Marylou: This is good.

Mark: The reason why is, who controls the sale?

Marylou: The client.

Mark: Always. Whoever signs the check controls the sale. If you think it’s anything else, you have robbed yourself because the thought that I control the sale has driven away extremely profitable clients who refuse to be manipulated by salespeople. They can buy the same thing from a lot of different places and if they feel that you’re a jerk as a salesperson, they’re not going to buy from you. They’ll just quit returning your phone call. They’re going to buy from somebody else. In fact, my bet is you’ve closed more doors than you’ve closed sales with that attitude.

There’s only one guy I have ever met in the 35 years that I’ve been doing sales, his name was Gary, and he had signature authority on all his customers’ checking accounts. He wrote himself a check at the end of every day for the customers he did work for. He closed his own business. But he did so by providing such extraordinary service that his customers were willing to give him that level of partnership. He was a trusted partner, not a salesperson, a trusted partner.

They saw him as a partner. Even though what he sold was a commodity, building supplies, lumber, studs, that’s what he sold. But what he did instead was project management. The contractors he worked with finished their houses in an average of six weeks sooner than anybody else on the market. What did that do to those contractor’s profits? It massively magnified them. Because they could have their crew on another project six weeks early than everybody else and you kind of increment that along over 5 or 10 years and that’s a huge increase in profitability over no difference in costs.

What Gary would do is he’d look at the weather report and say, “Okay, for the next week, I see we got some good weather, we got some bad weather.” He would load up a truck of everything that he thought that they would need for that day for an inside job or an outside job based on the weather. Every week he would send out a truck to sharpen the saws and repair drills and to make sure that no worker would ever have to leave the job site to get a piece of lumber or a tool. That’s what he did. He’s the only guy I’ve ever known that really closed sales.

The rest of the time we close sales is when a customer agrees that what you’re offering is worth more that the money they’re paying. The reality is that as salespeople, what we get to do is facilitate a profitable, a mutually profitable transaction. When we can show it’s mutually profitable, that’s when customers say yes and they make the commitment. That’s my thoughts on closing. Stop fooling yourself, you don’t close anything, you just facilitate.

Marylou: Can you share with our audience what are the characteristics of someone like Gary? You mentioned that there’s a lot of knowledge of his people, knowledge of how they do their work. Rattle off some of the characteristics that some of our closers are not probably thinking about because they’re so focused on just closing the deal that Gary, or a Gary-type of person would have just a part of his DNA?

Mark: I like that. That’s a great question. Thank you, Marylou. The first one is Gary cared way more about his customers’ success than he cared about his own success. Because of that, he was number 1 in 57 stores, ahead of number 2 by 300%. He cared more about his customers’ success than his own personal success. That ties to a thought that I share with salespeople when I say, “How can I position myself against my competition?” I say, “Stop it. Stop being a child. Instead, help your customer position themselves against their competition.” When you do that, people will do business with you because you are so valuable to them.

Marylou: Perfect, indeed.

Mark: The second thing that Gary had was foresight. Most salespeople don’t have foresight beyond the next quota period. But customer’s foresight runs substantially beyond the quota period. What he looked at was his customer’s business cycle, not his business cycle. And he mapped his behavior to their business cycles, not his business cycles. I think that’s so important because once you get into that alignment, the business just flows. The boss keeps saying, “Why can’t you close something?” “Well, nobody’s pulling out a checkbook.” “Well no, you’re outside of your customer’s business cycles.”

For Gary, because of that, he had contractors lining up to do business with him and he would only do business with people who are easy to do business with. He had earned the right to choose his customers. He didn’t work hard, he worked consistently. And he lived a really wonderful life because of that. People really cared about what he did, and cared and found value on what he did. I think that’s the third characteristic, it’s Gary was picky about who he did business with.

The fourth characteristic of Gary is he’s very pragmatic. One of his regular customers said, “You know, Gary? You charge $1.59 a stud, I can go down to 84 Lumber and get them for $0.84. Man, you’re ripping me off!” Gary says, “Jump in the truck.” They drove down to 84 Lumber, he says, “Okay, let’s pick some studs. No, that one’s crooked. Nope, that one’s worked. Nope, that one’s not going to work. Oh, there’s a good one. Throw it in the truck. Okay, let’s do another one. How long did it take for us to pick 100 good studs?” He said, “90 minutes.” And he said, “At $18 an hour, for your people to do that plus drive down and drive back, it’s going to cost you probably somewhere around $1 a stud to get all this stuff done. Is my $0.60 more a stud ripping you off?” He says, “No, I get it, Gary. You always send me out straight stuff. Anything that’s crooked, you fix right away.” He says, “That’s right. I charge more because it makes it easier to do your job.”

He was really good at understanding the true value and being able to illustrate it. Salespeople are so important. He did it through the discovery of his customers versus attempting to argue with them. He went and created an experience that was undeniable. That customer, never again, questioned Gary’s pricing. It was over.

As salespeople, we have to remember this critical concept, adults don’t argue with their own data. When the insight comes from the customer, it’s forever versus you attempting to argue and the customer doing their very best to be right which kind of harks back to our starting concept of us needing to feel like we have to be right. That’s just a human behavior.

Because of that, customers will lie to themselves to justify their crappy behavior towards us. That’s bad. That doesn’t work because we have no idea why the business just goes away. It just does. I think those are some of the characteristics that Gary illustrated that quite frankly, if you do all four of those, you’re going to be number one.

I was in a real estate office just this past weekend, Keller Williams’ office here in Las Vegas. The number one salesperson had twice the revenues of the number two salesperson who had twice the number three salesperson. You have to ask yourself what’s the difference between number one, number two, and number three, doubling in each particular case? By the way, the bottom salesperson was probably 1/10 of 1% of the top salesperson.

You have to ask yourself, what’s the difference? Are they smarter? Do they have a better product? Do they have a better process? What’s the difference between these? I think salespeople, you need to ask that within your own organization. I don’t have specifically the answer for that particular situation although I’ll bet, I will bet that it’s a matter of who trusts whom. The number one salesperson is usually more trusted by their customer than the number two salesperson. The number two salesperson’s more trusted by the customers than the number three salesperson.

My bet is it’s that level of trust because quite frankly, the relationship is what you control. Because in any sales situation, 50% of your success is the customer’s motivation. Do they want what you’re offering? Does it create value for them? Is it something they’re willing to risk their career to purchase? Risk is a big thing that kills deals. “Too risky, too risky, too risky, I feel risky. If this fails, I have to explain myself up the food chain and it doesn’t feel good.”

Marylou: Not at all.

Mark: “My boss, he’ll rip me a new one if I screw up. Oh man, that’s not a good sign. I’m just going to say no.” Motivation of the risk avoidance is a big issue. 40% of our success as sales professionals is the relationship we have with our customers. Do they trust us? Do they believe us? Do they think that we are acting in their best interest or are we just trying to close them? 10% of our success is the product that we’re offering.

That surprises a lot of people because I think that’s really what it’s all about. Well it’s not. There’s not a product out there that’s unique. The reason why is because there’s a lot of ways customers can solve the problem. Even though you believe your product’s unique, there’s a lot of ways to solve the problem, that are completely acceptable and other people have risked their career purchasing and bringing into play. If it wasn’t the case, then your competitors wouldn’t be in business. Your competitors are doing a great job for at least somebody.

Most salespeople put all their focus on the product. See, that’s not what Gary did. He put his focus on the other 90%, on the relationship, “I’m your partner,” and the motivation, “I’m going to help you be the best contractor you can be by managing your projects and making sure your people stay on the job working, getting the job done.” Then that lumber was ancillary in that particular case.

Marylou: A by-product.

Mark: Indeed. It just happened to be the vehicle but it wasn’t the relationship. I believe that from a salesperson standpoint, we have control of our relationship which is four times more important than the product. We can do a really great job understanding and working with our customer’s motivations. May I share this idea with you about features, advantages, and benefits which I think is a big, interesting issue especially for both prospecting and closing deals?

Marylou: Yes, indeed.

Mark: I was taught FAB selling, feature, advantage, benefit, back in the 1980s when I was working for Hewlett Packard. We’d have these really cool products. They were disruptive and they would do things nobody else could do. We’d have these FAB charts which are the features, the advantages, and the benefits that our customers would enjoy while they purchase our absolutely amazing equipment.

The FAB charts that I would create and share with my customers, I won. Then I’d take a look at competitors’ FAB charts who happened to be done by Tektronix in those days, and they’d win. How the hell could this happen? It’s because our FAB charts are attempting to map our product to the customer’s motivation.

Marylou: Say that again. That really hit home.

Mark: The features, advantages, and benefits is attempting to map our product to our customers’ motivation.

Marylou: Our product to our customer’s motivation, when in fact it should be?

Mark: The other way around, mapping the motivation to our product.

Marylou: There you go. That’s really hard to do, Mark.

Mark: Yes, it is hard to do because it means that we have to, as a salesperson, stop pitching and start asking questions and listening. We’ve been taught all our life that the best salespeople have the gift of gab, that’s bull. The best salespeople have the gift of empathy and understanding, and trying to connect with a customer and figure out how to do something bigger and better than even they can imagine.

Marylou: Mark, at what point when you’re going down the empathetic questioning rabbit hole does one feel we’re intruding in our customers’ lives?

Mark: This is where you get to use your professional judgment. We started this conversation extremely intimately for somebody who’s only had one other conversation.

Marylou: Yes, true.

Mark: From that standpoint, you can look at the signs. There are times when you step into a customer office and you know something else is going on. You say, “Man, you feel a little off today. What’s going on if you can share it with me?” “No, no, it’s just a personal issue.” “Okay, well if you trust me enough to share it with me, I promise to keep it confidential and perhaps telling me could help. Sometimes telling it somebody who cares but is a disinterested third party can help.” “I just got divorce papers.” “Wow.” Just be with them for a moment. “You’ve got a lot to process. You’ve got a lot of things to think about. You want to have this conversation on another day? How do you want this to play out today?” “No, no, no. I’ve got to get this stuff done. I’m up against the deadline. Thank you for your sympathy. I’ll deal with it.” “Okay. If there’s anything I can do to refer you to lawyers, guns, money, whatever you need, I know people who know people.”

Marylou: I know people.

Mark: That’s where that professional judgment comes into play of where do you go? You can’t force it. If there’s any resistance, you back off. Blessings on you, I hope it works out for you. I hope that you see some light in the darkness along the way. I hope you find a pony in the pile. Until then, do we proceed? Do we reschedule? What do we need to do in this moment to take you to where you need to go next?

What I found is just offering that permission to defer often flips them around to say, “No, no, no. Let’s get back. Okay listen, should we just go get a cup of coffee maybe just kind of shift our energy and then we can talk a little bit about what you have in mind and where you need to go and how you can move forward.” That’s it. That’s relationship.

Marylou: We’re humans talking to humans, we sometimes forget that.

Mark: What are you doing? B to B, B to C? It doesn’t make any difference. It’s still person to person and that’s why relationship is 4x more important product.

Marylou: I have a schematic in my office. It’s two half circles, like a moon, facing each other and two little tiny circles inside the bigger circles. It’s supposed to be representing belly to belly. That’s really what our conversations are, belly to belly. Even though we’re virtual, even though we may be on the phone, you and I are on internet, I don’t see your face, you don’t see mine, you’ve got to make that connection, a human connection.

I think that the sales rep executives who take the time to just take a deep breath and get an assessment of how your person is doing at the top of the call whenever you want to do it is just really the way to set the tone for the conversation.

Mark: Indeed. The tone like any good piece of music, can vary. It can increase, decrease, get loud, get softer, you can go up, you can go down. What we get to do is track, in some cases, lead. Follow sometimes, sometimes you lead.  I think a really good example that even sales, music is a great metaphor for sales. Sometimes you step back and let somebody else solo, sometimes you’ve got the spotlight and you’re going to play 16 bars.

The only reason why we’re playing is because we have an end in mind. The reason why customers entertain your conversations is because they see ultimate value in accomplishing their objectives, their goals, their outcomes. They’re not going to waste time working with you if that’s not the case so you have to let them lead sometimes and you have to follow and sometimes, you get the solo. That’s a really good metaphor, I believe, for what you’re talking about.

I want to step back to your concept of belly to belly because you’re saying it in this context really gave me a new light on it. Thank you, bravo. That is we feel so much in our gut, in our belly. So many of our feelings come from that area of our body; fear, satisfaction, comfort, warmth, coldness, prickles, warm fuzzies. When we are doing belly to belly kinds of conversations, that’s where the empathy really comes into play. That’s a cool logic.

It’s that, “Do I trust you as a human being? Do I feel good in your energy? Do I feel good in your intention? Because if I don’t, I’m going to buy from somebody else.” A lot of salespeople think that’s selling yourself. It’s not, it’s just being open. It’s just being open to how other people are feeling and then helping them navigate to where they want to be and how they want to feel.

Marylou: Let’s face it, sales executive, salespeople, sales professionals, we chose this occupation because theoretically, “we love dealing with people,” we love talking to people, otherwise we would be engineers in the back room with the pizza underneath the door writing code, which is my former life.

Mark: Likewise. I’m an electrical engineer. Yes.

Marylou: We do this human aspect of sales, we can still stick on task to what we’re trying to do but we’ve got to open up our hearts, we’ve got listen to our gut as you said. Somewhere in there too, I’m hearing proof of concept. You’ve got to have the business case ready to go should you come to that type of conversation. Getting back to Gary again where he was able to take that $0.84 and justify the gap, the delta, whatever you want to call it, because he had that story, that case study, story, business case in his head ready to go. We need that too as part of our conversational pieces.

Mark: Absolutely. The 10% profit is still important. Mapping the motivation of the product is still important. The thing that I think we’re talking about here is the relationship, is the basis of being able to get permission to understand their motivation.

Marylou: And to further those conversations.

Mark: That’s exactly right. Relationship, when you’re selling complex things as a combination of corporate brand, do people trust IBM, do people trust HP, do people trust Oracle? As well as your personal brand, are you somebody who shows up on time or even a little before? Are you somebody who keeps their promises? Are you somebody who is mapping to the brand of the customer?

One of the things I learned decades ago is that an executive will never bring somebody into their inner circle that will embarrass them, never. As a salesperson, I have to have behaviors and language patterns and dress codes and speech patterns that are acceptable to the executives I’m selling to. It doesn’t necessarily seem fair, they’re writing the checks, they get to choose that culture. If we don’t fit their culture, if we don’t augment their culture, there’s no way that’s going to happen.

Marylou: So true. I’ve seen so many blogs and posts on LinkedIn about the dress, about the appearance. It’s amazing now the conversations around that because we grew up in the 80s and 90s of selling where you did have to dress the part. You did have to look at your clients and prospects and dress the way they dress. If you’re there on casual Friday, you’re not going to show up in a suit. You’re definitely going to be a part of the team.

Mark: Right. That said, you always wanted to dress just a little better than the person that you’re going to be talking to. You and I grew up in an era where John T. Molloy’s Dress for Success was a required reading of any sales professional.

Marylou: And there was one Dress for Success For Women.

Mark: Yes, absolutely. Without a doubt, across the board.

Marylou: Yes. No gigantic necklaces. Then I see a lot of women today wearing those and it’s funny. I think back to that book, pearls or nothing.

Mark: Simple, no big diamonds. You wear the diamond ring but nothing else. No big hoopy rings. No, no, no.

Marylou: Exactly. This is bringing back memories.

Mark: But the thing to keep in mind is remember the folks that are writing multi-million dollar checks. Read that book and embrace those principles.

Marylou: Exactly.

Mark: There’s a bit of that and it just depends on where you wish to play in the marketplace. There was a time where I put on a tie because I knew that’s how I made money. Maybe it’s time for me to do that again.

Marylou: We’re getting to the point where we’re going to wrap up, Mark. I could talk to you forever but I know our audience is like, “Okay, Marylou…” We’re there now.

Mark: Half a dozen great points. Thanks very much. Kind of went to a little different way than I expected.

Marylou: We can always have another conversation later.

Mark: Anytime. I’ve got plenty.

Marylou: Very good.

Mark: We’ll find some new things just like we did in this conversation. This conversation brought new ideas for me. Thank you very much.

Marylou: You’re welcome. How do people get a hold of you Mark?

Mark: Best way is Mark’s on linkedin.com. Let’s hook up on LinkedIn. I find that as a safe place for us to meet. From a business standpoint, I write an article every week about customers and sales. By the way, Gary’s story is up there, some place in my LinkedIn articles. Let’s do that. If you think this is interesting, shoot me a message on LinkedIn. I’d be delighted to connect with you.

In fact, I have a call later on, today, from a guy who reached out just yesterday. He said, “You know, you seem like an interesting guy. Let’s have a conversation.” I’m delighted to give anybody 15, 30 minutes of my time because I always learn.

Marylou: Yes. I think this conversation today, while we usually stick to process and metrics and things like that, there’s a whole other side to selling and selling professionally and selling through being authentic that I think this conversation was just really wonderful for that. Because we do, we are humans, we are selling, people to people, belly to belly. It’s important that we polish and sharpen the saws not only on the methods and systems, and frameworks side but also on that conversational side, the heart.

My kids used to go to Waldorf School. They taught head, hand, and heart. That’s the curriculum for that school.

Mark: Three H.

Marylou: Yes. For the selling, it’s the same thing. The head would be all of the business cases, use cases, stories that compel people to move further into the pipeline. The hand is really understanding that you’re human on the other end and what their struggles, challenges, priorities, goals are.

Mark: For motivation, yes.

Marylou: Then the heart is knowing that in your heart, you’re going to be able to help them but you’ve got to let them drive the train but you help steer it and you guide them.

Mark: Fuel it.

Marylou: Exactly.

Mark: That’s exactly right. That’s how it works. It’s all important. But I’ve got to tell you, if you don’t have the heart, you got nothing. It’s unsustainable.

Marylou: Definitely.

Mark: It’s all important. All of it is important. All of it has got to be there.

Marylou: Let me get you on the spot because I wrote down 10% is product, 40% is success, what is the other 50%?

Mark: 40% is relationship, 50% is motivation. 50% motivation, 40% relationship, 10% product.

Marylou: For those of you out there saying, “Wait a minute. I didn’t get that other 50%.” We just got it.

Mark: Yep, motivation. I don’t care how good you are, if they’re not motivated, they’re not going to buy it. If they don’t trust you, they’re not going to buy it. Give me 15 seconds more. Here’s the reason why even though you have customers, they may have another relationship with another vendor. If you can better understand your customer’s motivation to their current vendor, you can take them out. I’ve got processes to do that. I can take out an existing vendor with six questions. If it’s possible, those six questions will take them out. We’ll leave that for another call podcast.

Marylou: That is a cliffhanger. Yay! Okay audience, you need to call Mark now to find out. I love cliffhangers. Mark, thank you so much for your time. I enjoyed speaking with you. Just keep in touch.

Mark: You know it.

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