Transcript of 151st episode of podcast Predictable Revenue

Transcript of 151st episode of podcast Predictable Revenue

Sean O’Shaughnessey   

Yes. The primary book of all books for sales training is Strategic Selling, which was written back in like 1984. So it’s an old, old book. It’s older than me in sales. It was the very first sales book that I actually read back when I was a young man. 

Colin Stewart   

Mine too!

Sean O’Shaughnessey  

Yeah. It’s a great book. One of the things that they taught in that book and I don’t remember what page, but I could check because the book is right behind me in the cabinet. But one of the things that they talked about is where do you want to be versus where are you? What is that gap? If that gap is small, that is there’s a very little gap between what your goal of what you want to be like, and the reality of where you are, then you don’t have a deal. If there’s a big gap, then you might have a deal. 

Colin Stewart   

100%, and I love Miller-Heiman. That was certainly the first book I read. I think the New Strategic Selling was still only updated 20 years ago. So I’ve read both versions. They’re very similar. But you’re right. One of the phrases that stuck with me and helped me understand was you’re looking for a delta between reality and expectations. If you can find that, you’ve got a deal.

Sean O’Shaughnessey   

If you find that, you’ve got a deal, that’s what that very first statement is on this timeline. Are we missing a goal? Somebody in the organization realizes that there is a gap, and it always starts with one person.  We may not find that one person. It’s kind of like patient zero in the healthcare scare that we’re going through right now. We may never find that person. But some person realizes that we are missing a goal and then it goes from there. 

Then the, “Do you agree?” step is critical. The prospect has to go through this step, especially for complicated, expensive products like I tend to sell. That “Do you agree?” step takes a lot of work because it has to get enough people to agree that, “Yeah, we are missing our goal.” It’s not just one person’s going to say that. 

And then it’s, “Do you care?” and then, “Do you really care?” Did the prospect get more money? Did the prospect get enough money to solve the problem? So yes, somebody cares, but does the executive that owns the budget? Does he really care about solving that problem? 

This is where most people enter the sales process when we get to, “How do we fix it?” That’s really when salespeople get excited. “How do we fix it” and “Come up with ideas on how we’re going to fix it” and then “Evaluate those ideas.” That’s where salespeople like to be involved. But the customer started a long time before that. 

If you can be an influencer in that process, then you can really start to control the ideas and the formal evaluation of ideas. And that’s really what a Trapper is all about. The other three personas are very good, but a Trapper is saying, “How do I get so early in the process that I can now completely control the ‘How do we fix it?’, ‘The ideas’, and ‘The formal evaluation.'” If I can control the early process, I can control that last step, which is who gets the order?

Colin Stewart   

Yeah, there have been so many opportunities that I’ve worked that have just spun. You submit the bid, and it’s essentially recycling. You know, like you said, you called it column fodder?

Sean O’Shaughnessey   

Column fodder. I guess that I’ll make a call out to that book as well, and that is Solution Selling by Bosworth. Bosworth made a big thing about this whole idea of being column fodder. If you’re not driving that decision, then you’re just not relevant. 

I took my first Solution Selling course, probably 20 years ago. At one time, I was actually certified in coaching Solution Selling. But my challenge was, how do we get salespeople to actually drive that decision to not be column fodder? I saw that gap: you need to move earlier in the process, but by going earlier, the cost of sales goes up. I’m the VP of Sales, I worry about that. Every salesperson is their own VP of Sales as well because they have to be self-motivated. So how does a salesperson take care of that gap without digging into a hole where they really can’t even keep up with my accounts? Then the rep has to go to the boss and say, “I have too many accounts, but I’m still not making my quota.” You don’t want that conversation ever to happen.

Colin Stewart  

Right on. Yeah, for sure. And it was Michael T. Bosworth. I had to look it up. But I thought it might have been Mike.

I want to get to talking to the story of those bottles behind you and ask how you reward yourself after closing a big deal. We had a conversation in our pre-interview. You had some interesting perspective on what a great salesperson does: your three legs.

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