The world has shifted dramatically within the last three years, and many of these changes are here to stay. But relationship-building is still as important as ever, especially when it comes to sales. Join Doug C. Brown and Ryan Dohrn, a top motivational speaker, podcast host, and business strategist, as they discuss the new (and old) faces of relationship-building, self service sales, and much more.
Ryan Dohrn is a top motivational speaker and business strategist that won an Emmy for sales & marketing excellence while working for ABC TV/Walt Disney Co. and was recognized by Forbes.com with the “Best of the Web” award for his business strategies. Ryan holds a Psychology of Leadership certification from Cornell, is an internally certified business coach, and is a professional member of the National Speakers Association. Ryan’s focus is personal growth, leadership, sales, marketing, and team performance development. His passion for sales and marketing has given him the unique opportunity to touch half a billion dollars in revenue for companies in 7 countries in 15 business sectors.
Visit his website: www.ryandohrn.com
We have another amazing guest. His name is Mr. Ryan Dohrn. We’re going to talk about how sales has not just changed but really changed. Our relationship-building in the sales process has changed. He has something called Selling Flip Forward, where the relationship is built on the front end, but the majority of the relationship is built on the back end because now, people can access information so much more than they could in the past. It’s important to understand that because a lot of people, not that they are not intolerant, but they have the information already. It’s going to now change our discovery process a little bit, and shorten up our sales cycle and the time of meetings. Let’s go talk to Ryan. Get your pen and paper out. Here we go.
Ryan, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here. I appreciate it.
Absolutely, Doug. I love the opportunity to talk about sales, especially with somebody who knows the business. It’s great.
You’re way too kind. I appreciate it. We’re going to talk about what’s different now in sales. October 2022 is when we’re recording this. We’ve all been through this pandemic and these crazy up-and-downs with recessions going on. Sales hasn‘t changed but the way we must communicate selling has changed. I’ll speak for myself as an old guy. How do you teach an old sales guy or gal a new trick? How has sales changed from three years ago to now?
I have the opportunity to coach and work with a couple of hundred salespeople every month. It has gone from tears to joy then back to tears. With economic uncertainty in the air, whatever that means to folks without getting into politics, and the pandemic a little bit behind us, one of the biggest things that I have noticed is that we’ve flipped a little bit on the relationship sale.
It used to be that I would form a relationship with somebody through the prospecting process. I try to form some level of a relationship albeit it might be a little bit superficial. Build a relationship, sell somebody, and retain them for a lifetime. What I’ve observed is that the relationship piece being in front of the sale is not as important. It still needs to exist.
What I’m noticing now is that people will buy products or services, and then you service them. You build the relationship and then you retain them for a lifetime. There has been a little flip. I’ve been criticized pretty heavily online even in some of the book reviews on people saying they don’t agree with me that relationship selling is dead.
I didn’t say relationship selling was dead. I said that it’s flipped. I’m working with folks all the time now and when I’m selling them something, I’m realizing they want three things right now. They want to know how much it is and who else has tried it. They just don’t want the runway or all the preamble in advance of it. One of the biggest things also that happened is people learned to buy without ever talking to salespeople. We had so much time to research and do our own due diligence, whereas, before COVID, we were running crazy all the time. We never slowed down.
Now, people had the time to research during COVID and they realized, “I don’t need to meet with Ryan or Doug in person because I can do it on Zoom.” The relationship piece is the biggest thing that has flipped. It’s not that relationship selling doesn’t exist. We’re just building relationships after the sale to retain them for a lifetime, as opposed to this big runway that was needed to build the relationship before the sale actually occurred.
That makes a lot of sense to me. A lot of companies now are doing massive research before they ever even talked to the sales channel. Before, it used to be the old way of the salesperson would be interruption marketing, the cold call or whatever. It’s not that cold calls don’t work. They still work. It’s just that now, we have to be far more credible as sellers than we were ever before because the pandemic has allowed people to step back and take a look. They can get information anywhere, Google, Bing or whatever you want to do.
Even with myself in our company, what’s surprised me is people go and check out who I am before they talk to me, which a few years ago, they’d be like, “Whatever.” Even in a referral, if you had a referral 4 or 5 years ago, it’d be like, “I trust this other person. This is fine. I’ll talk to Doug whenever I talk to him.” Now they’re saying, “I see you wrote an article in Authority Magazine. I see you in Forbes. I checked your LinkedIn profile. You went to Berkeley College of Music.”
It’s surprising to me, Ryan, how many are queuing at Berkeley College of Music. It’s like, “I’ve got a Nuclear Medicine degree and this degree,” but it’s always about Berkeley. It’s wonderful that I had that opportunity. The point is they’re checking me, the company, and the people in my company. On top of that, they’ll say, “I noticed this employee here also had a degree from this place.” That never happened before to me, but now it has become so much more of a process.
Harvard Business Review wrote it best, and it’s a little bit of a phrase called Quick Trust. What you’re doing is you’re building quick trust with folks instead of this big long relationship. I remember and you may in the sales process when we would wine and dine, and take people to dinner, ball games, and things like that.
What I’ve observed is not because I’m 50 selling to people that are 30. That’s not what it’s about. As a matter of fact, folks younger than me are easier to sell to than folks over the age of 50 because we’re all jaded and callus from this war of sales. I had a gentleman in New York City. He is a big Yankees fan. He was younger than me. I had an opportunity to get four Yankees tickets. He was a prospect so I invited him to a ballgame. He said very politely, “I appreciate it but no, thank you.” I sensed that he wanted to go but maybe not with me.
I said, “I’m more of a Cubs fan so let me give these Yankees tickets. Go with your buddies. All that I would ask is a couple of weeks so we could have a little time together and talk about your business.” He’s like, “That would be great.” I earned the business and his trust. Here’s what it came down to. He just didn’t want to go to the game with me. It hurt my feelings at first then I realized, “Ryan, you need to suck it up. We’re living in a little bit of a different world. People don’t want to try to build these big relationships. They don’t need more friends right now.”
The process to me was very enlightening. I’m a nice guy but he didn’t want to go with me. Stop taking it personally and realize that things have flipped a little bit. Sell them smart and right. Maybe we can talk about self-service sales in a second. Make it easy for them to buy, and then the other piece of it is built that relationship after the sale.
You don’t have to have this big and long runway in advance of it. I heard somebody on a podcast the other day, “The most important question to ask is what’s your budget.” Is that the most important question to ask? Is that the top question that’s on every prospect’s mind? I don’t necessarily know if that is true. That sounds like old-school sales to me.
That’s a very important question if you’re playing win-loss because the reality is most larger sales don’t have a budget already. Budgets are created out of opportunity and finding problems. When we’re coming in and doing what we’ve done our whole lives, which is solve problems or help opportunities along, then the budget works itself out anyways. No one wakes up in the middle of January 1st or maybe two people out of the world wake up and go, “I’m going to appropriate a budget for this. That’s going to happen in July and I don’t even know if it’s going to happen. It’s just going to happen. We’ll slide $130,000 this way in case something comes up in July.” They don’t do that.
It doesn’t work like that. One of the things you shared briefly about is this whole idea of people researching and looking you up online. Seventy-some percent of the time, somebody will look you up on LinkedIn before a meeting. This could be one of your audience’s big takeaways. When you go to LinkedIn, the pictures are outdated and it looks like a resume. Nobody can get a glimpse into your soul of who you are or things along those lines.
The other thing I noticed is self-service sales is so unbelievably important. What I mean by that is Doug’s ability to come to Ryan’s website and get about 70% to 80% of the way towards the purchase without ever talking to Ryan. A lot of older school sales folks would say to me, “That’s why we have a job though.”
We do have a job. I like the word you used, which is help. If you’re somebody that’s helping along the journey and you’re an advisor, you recommend stuff. If you’re a salesperson, you sell stuff. Self-service sales is something that every CEO at every company should be thinking about. When someone comes to our website, how far down the journey can they get without us because that’s what they want?
I was trying to buy a learning management system and I’m looking to get a new one. On almost every website that I went to, you had to put in your first name, last name, serial number, date and rank. There was a ridiculous budget for these forms to fill out. You couldn’t even get pricing and feature sets you could get. There weren’t testimonials or videos.
What I did is I kept going until I found somebody that had a website that would self-service me to a point where I’m a smart guy. You’re a smart guy. We should be able to get about 70% down the road before we ever have to talk to a salesperson. I’m a sales guy so I’m not trying to dog on salespeople. Tell me what your thoughts are on self-service sales because it’s not something that everybody does.
Before I do that, let me plug this. We’re speaking with Mr. Ryan Dohrn and he is at RyanDohrn.com. We’re talking about how the world of sales has changed. Now, we’re going to talk about self-service sales. I love the fact that you’ve even coined this self-service sales. You and I have talked to maybe 10,000–plus salespeople or more collectively. Here’s the weird part. When you talk to them, they’re always complaining about marketing leads.
When you look at three categories of lead, marketing produces a lead which says, “Marketers, don’t yell at me but this person expresses interest and they have a pulse.” That’s a marketing-qualified lead in most marketers’ worlds. We got something to build a relationship off of. You then go to a sales quality lead which says, “This person has a pulse. They’ve looked at this. They have these 2 or 3 qualifications. They’re in the right demographic, psychographic, or whatever.” Salespeople like those better than marketing-qualified leads. You can now do more of a discovery process versus trying to just build the relationship on the front end.
What salespeople really want or the majority of them, I’m going to say all of them, are purchase order-ready leads. It’s like, “Hello, Ryan. It’s nice to speak with you. My name is Doug. How many of these would you like?” That’s what they want. When you’re talking about this self-service-ready process, what you’re talking about is creating a purchase order-ready lead before the sales channel talks to them.
I’m on the same wavelength that you are. I have battles with clients all the time because the cost of doing that sometimes is more than just passing those leads off to the salesperson. When you look at the sales conversion rates on the back end on these non-ready leads and you start factoring in all the money they’re spending in marketing on the front end, it’s more cost-effective to get them sales purchase order-ready leads if you do it the right way.
I have a gentleman on this show and he’s got a SaaS product. He’s doing exactly what you’re talking about, Ryan. He’s given everything upfront and he built a significant size company. This is his second one. This company now is growing at twice the rate as the original company did when he didn’t do that.
A lot of people are afraid to do that because they think they’re going to give so much information that the potential buyer is going to look at it and go, “I’ll take all this to my competition and shop for it.” The reality is what we’re doing is we’re building a relationship, but we’re building it through technology, information, and expertise. When we’re talking with them, then we’re developing the relationship.
I’m seeing folks using video in the process. I’m seeing folks that are taking people through an actual sales call, but it’s on demand. When I’m going in on a sales call with somebody and I’m on a Zoom call, I know what I want out of that sales call. Very rarely do I get on with a client or a prospect and they don’t know what they want out of that call.
That’s why a part of my process is at the very beginning, “Here are the three things I’d love to cover on the sales call, but how about you? What would you love to cover?” We’ve got so many salespeople that are showing up and throwing up. They’re pulling out their slide deck. They’re forcing people through the deck. Much of that can be done before the sales call occurs.
Let’s say I’m not concerned about an app that’s a part of a SaaS product as an example. You spending time on the app is not important to me because I don’t care about the app. What I’m concerned about is the SaaS part of the product and how it works. Let’s say you’re concerned about sharing with me the billing piece. I’m not concerned about the billing piece because I don’t touch that. Janus over here is going to deal with billing.
I want to be able to go into the self-service sales environment and go, “Tell me about how content is uploaded. Show me a video on that. How does it impact SEO? Show me a video on that.” It allows me to customize a sales call for me instead of having to walk through what I think is the best sales call that’s out there. I also would suggest to you, Doug, that 60 minutes is now 30. 30 minutes is now 15.
I believe that if you can’t sell your product in a highlighted way unless you’re building a rocket ship in 30 minutes or less, I feel like something in advance of that sales call hasn’t occurred. Many times, people are requesting a 60-minute meeting. Do you really need a 60-minute meeting? In a lot of cases, the answer is no. That’s what we’ve always done. Why are we doing 30-minute or 45-minute meetings?
We’ve always done 60 and if you keep doing it the way you always did it, you’re probably going to get the result that you always got. If you want something different or you want to survive or thrive, you got to do things a little bit differently. I’m not suggesting, nor you, anything that’s crazy or wacky. It’s a matter of flipping a few things, doing things to smidge differently, and getting out of our hole.
There is a point that you and I would agree on but disagree on longer meetings. It depends on what we’re selling. The more complex the sale is, what I have found is it’s usually a need for a longer sales cycle, and then you’re bringing more and more parties to the sales process like IT is affecting or HR is affecting. By the way, I’ve told this so many times on this show, those of you who want to be in the top 1%, do not show up 1 person to an 8-person meeting. You better bring people who are peers to peers.
That’s what I think drags out the meeting time. If they’ve got an IT person at the table, you better have an IT person at the table because, as a sales channel, we’re going to say something that IT is going to go, “Hmm.” They write it down, then after the meeting, they’re going to go to the CEO. They’re like, “Do you realize this is going to cost us an extra $50,000?” The sale is dead at that point.
On the whole, I’m in full agreement with you. We can shorten up our meeting time. A lot of times, salespeople do this longer meeting time for their own self-interest. They’re like, “I want to be accepted, needed, or whatever in that regard.” I don’t think that serves the client because, as you said, when you were looking at a SaaS product, you wanted X, Z and M in the alphabet. That’s all you were interested in.
If somebody is renting a car or buying a car and they want to go functionally from point A to point B, no one gets them there safely. They’re like, “I want to be able to get in the car every day and start, get to the location, and be there safely.” I’m talking about heated seats, XM Radio, and all the bells and whistles that come along with this car. It is breaking rapport at that point.
When you’re talking about self-service sales, which I love the name of self-service sales, what we’re talking about is being able to pull down a la carte things that are important to that person. That compresses the ability for us to compress our time, and therefore, you don’t need those long meetings if it’s done correctly.
Fair enough. Sometimes, with the 30-minute, I like to suggest, “Doug, could we get together for 15 or 20 minutes to talk about this?” If it goes longer than that, it goes longer than that. Maybe on my calendar, I’ll block out 60 but I only have 15.
The other thing that I like about shorter meetings is let’s say, Doug, that you have a meeting with me. I’m the sales guy and you’re the client. You have a meeting with me this morning. Your calendar pops up and you go, “I have a 60-minute meeting with that joker. I don’t have 60 minutes today. I’ve got stuff to get done.” A 15 to 20-minute meeting is a little micro meeting. You go, “I’m not going to cancel it.” I’ve noticed when I go from 60 to 15 or 30-minute meetings, about 50% of the time, not quite 50% of the time, you get stood up for meetings of new prospects.
I’ve noticed it’s almost none. I almost always have meetings. Sometimes in 15 or 20 minutes, it’s over. You know pretty quickly if you have got a client or not or if you have a path of brain. If it goes to 60 minutes, it does. If it goes to 90 minutes, you cancel something and it does. From a strategy perspective, asking for 15 or 20 minutes to gauge somebody’s level of interest and excitement for you and the product is super fair. It allows you to book more meetings and not have as many no-shows as well.
I agree with that. There was a gentleman on this show. He was a very successful man. He said on the show that he limits meetings to five minutes. If you can’t come into his office and say what you can in five minutes, what does it mean to have half an hour? That type of thing. I started adopting this in my own personal life and it works. My wife and I agreed now that anytime we have a disagreement, we get it resolved in five minutes.
That’s a whole other book right there.
We could write a book on this. It works amazingly well because what happens is if we have a disagreement, it cuts all the emotion out of it. It’s like, “What’s the solution to the problem? Let’s remove the cause and get to the problem in the first place.” You never solve problems by solving solutions to problems no matter what people think. If you remove the cause of the problem, then the problem goes away.
If we practice it ourselves, I love what you’re bringing up because we teach people how to be in the top 1% of sellers and earners worldwide. If we can go and do four appointments that are as effective as one appointment, what we essentially have done is we’ve seen 4 people versus 1. We can compress our meeting time, spend more time on prospecting, and therefore, generate more sales as a result of it. Ryan, how does somebody go about creating this process that we’re talking about? For people reading this, some of them will go, “That’s brilliant. How do I do it?”
The first thing is you want to slay the small dragons first. I get a little bit of hate mail on this because there’s a book like Do The Hard Things First and Eat That Frog or whatever the book is. It’s a book about doing the hard things. I feel like that takes a lot more budget and time. I like to slay the small dragons first, and then look at the things that are the easiest for us to fix because everybody has already got a website. It’s not about building a new website and slay the small dragons first.
What are the three most common questions that we get from every client? On every single call, we always get these 3 objections or 3 questions, then create a little video to answer those as a part of the sales process. When someone goes to connect with us, book a meeting, pricing or whatever, we begin to walk them through the process of what are the most common questions that we get asked.
Maybe the CEO is answering the question or it’s a sales rep that’s good on camera answering the question. It’s better if it would be a client of yours. Maybe give them a little deal, pay them a little on the side, or whatever it is to get them to explain how your product or service fixed or answered that particular question.
Social proof is so important for us to have in the sales process in setting this up. Social proof is your customer talking positively about you. Testimonials with a photo that shows who the person is and how your company, your product, your service, or whatever changed their life fixed a problem. Slaying those small dragons is about, “I like video because it’s telling and people are willing to watch.”
I do a lot of videos in my email replies and in the sales prospecting process, but on self-service sales, they need to be able to go through and say, “My question is this. Click on that.” When you walk them through the video piece of the process, starting with something small first, then you’re going to have fewer questions on the call itself.
Also, to your point, it will disqualify some people. I had a gentleman say, “When you let them disqualify themselves, what if they do it wrong?” That is not what I found out. What I found is that people will self-qualify or they will disqualify themselves pretty accurately. Sometimes it’s price or a feature set. If it’s a point of misunderstanding, that’s on you because you should know where those points of misunderstanding are. That’s where I would start. It’s with the smallest and easiest things, and add those videos to your page.
The second thing is to stop with these long freaking forms. We need to know, “What is your first name? What’s your email address? What’s the best way to contact you?” I maybe would like to know, “Do you want somebody to call you right now or in a couple of weeks? Are you considering it? What are you thinking?” Let them give you that information. This is so important. You have to give an immediate promise of gratification.
When you ask for someone’s data other than their bank account, but their God, their kid or their spouse, your data is so important. When you’re asking them to not give you firstname.lastname@example.org when you want a legit email address, you need to give them immediate gratification and promise.
It needs to say, “Doug, if you give me this bit of information, I will immediately send you pricing, and give you access to this and that.” There’s nothing worse in my opinion than filling out a form that says, “Thank you for filling out the form. Ryan will get back to you in the next 48 hours.” It’s like, “It’s 2022. We’re better than that.” It’s a long way of answering the simple question of where do you start? Start with the easiest stuff first and use videos to explain.
Video is extremely important now in search engine optimization, and search engines love video. Keep them short. That’s the other thing too, under two minutes if possible.
I’d rather have ten short videos than one well-thought-out video that’s 15 minutes long. I agree with you. Maybe 90 seconds would be fantastic. Get to the point.
Now you expose my email address of email@example.com.
If you’re going to be emailing people things from your form, you want to give them a reason not to give you that Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud, iMac, or mac.com address. A lot of times, I’ll say to folks in those forms, “We’re going to email this information to you. Please provide a business address.” Sometimes, you could even go so far as to say @Gmail, @Hotmail, or whatever is not accepted or something along those lines. You could have your form kick that back out, “Please provide a valid business email address.”
When you build a form, you can have rules in the background. In my forms, when you try to give me a Gmail address, it’s going to say, “Please provide a valid business email address.” Otherwise, I am giving away the information to them. I don’t have a good lead because Gmail means they want the price and they’re not serious about it.
I will argue a little bit on that one too. I have a lot of $5 million businesses that’ll send in their Gmail address. I even have one. If anybody wants to email me, it is DougB5069@gmail.com. What we’re worried about is we’re going to get spam to death on our business emails. What I’ll do is I’ll send that out first, and then I’ll change it. I agree with you. You want accurate information. It depends on your screening too, Ryan.
If you’re like, “This is my process and I only work with people who do this process,” that’s a great qualification tool. Nobody wants a Hotmail. Who even uses Hotmail anymore? There are some legacy people that are using it, but most people don’t even use it any longer. I found that a lot of people, including myself, will use a spoof email to see if it’s legitimate because nothing drives me crazier than when I send something out, and then they’re hitting me with stuff and I’m getting fourteen emails on this every single week. I’m like, “Please remove me. Please unsubscribe.” They don’t and it keeps filling up. There’s a little bit of gray in that area that we could look at. The one thing I love about you is, and you said this to me right up front, “If you don’t agree with something, tell me.”
I’m with you. When you walk people through the self-service sales process and you answer their questions with videos and things like that, I find that you build a certain level of trust with them. You are more likely to get a valid email address. The other thing you can do, which I think is a good one for people not wanting to give their valid email address and give a Gmail or Hotmail or whatever, is to be able to share with them a promise under where they click submit, “Our promise to you is we will not spam you.”
Wen you walk people through the self-service sales process and you answer their questions, you build a certain level of trust with them, and you are more likely to get a valid email address. Click To Tweet
The marketers within your group need to recognize and understand. No matter what they’ve heard at the last conference they went to, people are not going to accept or heard a guy say, “People will accept 4 to 6 emails per week before they unsubscribe.” I wanted to raise my hand and say, “This isn’t because I’m 50. This is because I have a brain. No one agrees with that. Nobody in this room agrees with that.” Don’t ever write that down. That’s a bad piece of advice.
I’ve had people say, “I’ll send three a day because they won’t read them anyways and I’ll get my name.” It’s like when we’re dealing business to business especially if you try sending six emails a week, you are going to lose the deal.
Fair enough. You can only poke the bear or the gator so many times before you’re going to get your hand bit. It’s happening all the time. I had a very excellent thought sales call with a client. For whatever reason, they put me in their system and I started getting emails back from them. I thought, “What in the world is going on?”
They say that a good email address is worth $1,000. They say it’s what Confucius says. If it is, let’s treat it like it’s worth $1,000. I’m not a big spam marketer or a text spammer in the sales process. I feel like it’s a little more sacred than that. I believe that most of my clients respect and appreciate the processes we put in place because we don’t spam the heck out of them. That’s important.
Let’s say you live next to a highway and you’re hearing the noise all the time. It starts to get less and less in your brain as you go along. When they’re seeing 30 emails a week coming through from people, they’re not even reading them and they think about the impression. That doesn’t work. What we’re looking for is a response now. It’s so easy to hit unsubscribe, ladies and gentlemen.
In the marketing process of getting good sales leads, unfortunately, folks are not changing fast enough to do that. To use your road highway example, if you lived in the middle of nowhere and didn’t get any traffic and that one car came down the long road, now all of a sudden, you are paying attention to it.
I believe that people become quite numb to the process. Also, keep in mind during COVID, I don’t remember the exact number. I don’t have it in front of me, but it was something along the lines of a 500 some odd percent increase in email marketing. That’s why now direct mail creates a 4.2% ROI response rate rather than no ROI response rate because, during COVID, nobody said anything.
We were getting nothing during COVID except for emails over and over again. I also feel like the marketing side of the business, which is what we’re talking about here, needs to get on board with the changes that have happened. If you’re in B2B and you’re trying to market on social media, I’m telling you right now, it’s a lost cost. There are so many better ways to market your product than social right now. Interestingly enough, I see so many of my customers going back to traditional forms of media because you’re not banging people over the head all day long. People are tired of it. I also believe they’re a little tired of the sales process. I’m glad we’re talking about it.
I think it has its place. It’s great from a branding perspective. People check out what you put out there if you put out quality stuff. Somebody is posting every single day to pitch whatever. In a B2B context, it’s not. If you’re 20, 18, 22 years old or whatever. I see my daughter looks at kittens every single day if somebody puts out a new kitten. She loves that. That’s cool. It draws her to it. There’s an appropriate time for that. If we’re selling laser-guided machines to companies, throwing out kittens every day is not going to help. It’s okay once in a while to do something like that. Humor is always good but stay away from religion, politics, and spousal jokes.
The kitten sales strategy is yet another book that we should put together.
We’re speaking with Mr. Ryan Dohrn at RyanDohrn.com. Check him out. Flip Selling Forward is the concept of this whole thing. Ryan, how do people get ahold of you? That’s something I didn’t ask people.
I’d love to speak at sales conferences. It’s one of the things that I do most. It is to come in, motivate, and inspire teams. My license plate in my car says, “Motivate Around.” I love talking about that. Hit me up over RyanDohrn.com. We do all kinds of weekly updates on YouTube as well. Search for Ryan Dohrn and I’m sure you’ll find it. One of the things that I have also been speaking and talking to folks a lot, especially CEOs, is rethinking how we incentivize and compensate folks.
Incentivizing positive sales behaviors is something that hasn’t been done in the past. Doug, as we grew up in the sales world, it was always a carrot in front of us. Here’s the carrot or the commission. That keeps us going. What I’ve noticed is a lot of clients of mine are moving salespeople to a salary with a bonus, not necessarily commissionable per sale. What I’ve noticed also is a lot of folks are incentivizing positive sales behaviors.
Let me give you a brief example, and maybe it’s something for another show that we can talk about. In incentivizing positive behavior, one of the biggest problems in sales with sales managers, CEOs, etc. is getting your salespeople to put notes in the CRM. People don’t like using CRMs. I’m a big CRM fan. I love CRMs. It’s super important for me. If you don’t incentivize people in a positive way to use the CRM, a lot of times they don’t want to use it. They don’t use it or they use it with a lackluster attitude.
I’d like to always talk about and put in place incentivizing positive sales behaviors. It might be the person with the best notes this week in the CRM is going to win a $75 Amazon card or a $100 Amazon card. I’m making this up. I’m going to go through whoever is following the sales process, the closest in the CRM is going to get to work from home on Friday or is going to get a $300 dinner for you, your spouse, your partner or whatever.
Incentivizing positive behaviors, creating proposals, getting people to respond quickly, making sure that people’s proposals look right, their slide decks are perfect, or they’re well rehearsed, all those things are beneficial. If we don’t incentivize people to do them, unfortunately, they don’t typically do them or they’re lackluster at best.
One of the things I wanted to make sure I shared with you and your audience is that I’m seeing a big trend towards incentivizing positive sales behaviors to get somebody to do the job better as opposed to the only incentive being after the sale is done. It’s incentivizing upfront and also, “Pay me when I sell,” as well. Incentivizing in advance is a very important piece because it helps keep people happy. When people are happy, they tend to sell better and sell more. I’d like to put those plans in place. It has been working quite well.
It’s a great tip. For anybody who’s got a sales team, do it now because that makes it measurable as well. When we’re measuring performance and behavior, we know the process is working or not working, and then we can correct that process throughout. Ryan, I appreciate you being here. I know everybody else is. Thanks for bringing the A–game. Thanks for putting up with me. I love to have you back. I’d love to do a show on incentivizing positive sales behavior. I think that would be awesome. Do you have any parting last words for anybody?
You want to make sure that you’re making changes to your sales game, even if you’re doing quite well right now. Let’s go from good to great. Let’s go from great to superstar status. Always be open to new ideas that are out there. You’ve got folks like Doug and I that have access to hundreds of companies. When you get some advice from people, get a coach and get some coaching outside of your bubble. You’ll almost always discover something that you’ll go, “I knew that. Why am I not doing that?” One of the beauties and benefits of your show here, Doug, is you bring people on, listen to folks, and be open to new ideas. When you’re open, you can grow. That’s important.
I agree. Thanks again, Ryan, for being here.
You bet. It’s my pleasure.
I got a lot to unpack here. Building the relationship on the backend requires something called follow-up. Ryan and I didn’t get a lot into follow-up but your follow-up should be multi-modality and it should be something that is inspiring people to at least consume it. We did talk a lot about using video on the front end. Video is cool. Keep those videos short though. Even if you look at YouTube, they do something called YouTube Shorts. It’s under a minute. Why? People’s attention span is not that long anymore.
This long-tail copy that people used to send still does work to some degree, but the reality is usually you’re finding very simple pages where you go up, see a video, not long, and you see a very short copy. Those are converting the best. For social media posts, anything you’re putting out there for follow-up, make it short. Make it meaningful, relevant, and timely. Being timely is important. You don’t wait for three months to follow up with somebody because, no disrespect to you or anybody else, they’ve gone by. They’re onto their own day, week, month, etc. We all do this.
Selling Flip Forward means you’re building the relationship not in full like you would try to do on a golf course. Going to a sports game, all that stuff still works, but the majority of people now are trying to consume something to buy. They want to build a relationship with you but it’s built differently than it was in the past. If you have a subject matter that you want to hear something about, and maybe you’re the expert on that subject matter, reach out to me or my team at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. Let us know if you want to be a guest on the show. If you have some subject matter that you want to hear more about, let us know that too. We will respond to all inquiries. We will let you know if it works or not for the show. If so, great. We’ll do business together in that capacity.
As always, go out and sell something. Go sell a lot of it. Sell a lot of meaningful stuff, play win-win, and make somebody happy. Make yourself happy and you’ll make a lot of money. If you love this show, I ask you to review it. Please give it a five–star if you feel it’s worth it. Tell your friends about this. Referrals are always a part of the 1% of growers earning capacity. The more referrals we have, the more people we can see, and the more people we can help.
That’s it. If you want to be in the top 1% of all earners in the world in sales, if you have a friend or you know your company wants that to happen because you want your company revenues to grow or if you’re a company and you’re like, “I want access to those elite performers, the people are already trained and they know how to sell,” reach out to me at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. I’d be happy to have that chat with you. Until next time, this is to your success.
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