Transcript of 151st episode of podcast Predictable Revenue

Transcript of 151st episode of podcast Predictable Revenue

Sean O’Shaughnessey   

So let me go to a different slide.

Colin Stewart  

And if you’re listening along, I’ll include a link to the graphics that Sean’s sharing here in the show notes. So definitely hit those up there, if you’re curious. 

Sean O’Shaughnessey  

Every salesperson sells three things. And I think this is really important. And it’s a good way to think about it. 

You sell your product. You sell your company. You sell yourself. The bad thing is, only one of those matters. And that is yourself. 

You need to be a really good salesperson in my business. You sell your product. You have to know your product. You have to know all the features and benefits of your product. You have to be able to position that product in front of the prospect. All of this is a given. 

Your company. You have to talk about how that company has good services. They’re gonna stand behind the product. They have good R&D or whatever, whatever the case may be. So that’s the company information. You’re gonna be around tomorrow. That’s the other company information. 

Unfortunately, those two things: product and company are almost always ties in most sales contests. 

Now you might be lucky, you might have a fantastic product. There is no other product on the planet that is as good as this product today, and it just sells itself. And that’s great if you have that product. There was a point in my career, that for about a year and a half that I worked for a company that had that product. And literally, we were just selling it like it was nobody’s business. That was a fantastic sales time. I blew away my number when I sold that product back when I was the direct salesperson. 

But it doesn’t happen typically. Typically, most products are plus or minus the same as all the other products in their space. There are two or three or five or ten products that are almost as good as the product that you sell. Now, every salesperson listening to your podcast right now just said, “But my product is better!” Okay, your product is better in this area or in that area or that other area. But it’s probably worse in two areas. Essentially, it comes out to a tie. You have to almost assume that it’s going to be a tie. 

Same thing with the company. Chances are most people work for really good companies. They’re reputable companies. They’re trying to do the best by their customers and trying to help their customers as much as they possibly can. Some companies may have a bigger bank account, so they are more stable. But for the most part, the company becomes a tie as well. 

But like I said earlier, if you work for a fantastic company, and you’re a Gatherer, you’re talking about your company all the time. We mentioned a couple of companies such as SAP and Oracle that kind of fit that. They are unique companies in their space. And some people say, “I don’t like SAP,” or “I don’t like Oracle.” So maybe those companies aren’t always a plus. But for the most part, customers don’t buy because of the company. They may buy because of the product, but they rarely buy because of the company. And if they do buy due to the company, you know that’s a customer that’s going to be hard to steal away.

So those are ties. This means the most important thing that you’re selling is yourself. It is your ability to work with your prospects and actually grow your deal and be valuable to them. 

I worked for a guy a long, long time ago that preached this. Once again, this is in the IT space. The only thing we can do to help them before they’re a customer is to make them smarter. The only thing that matters to them is to make them smarter. Because if I make them smarter, they might get promoted. They might have more influence in their peer group. Which is good, because then maybe they’ll buy my product. The only thing I can do for them personally is to make them smarter. 

In my world, I have to make everybody around me smarter. I have to convince people that they should read an article, or white paper, or book. 

Sometimes my salespeople send out articles and videos that aren’t even made by our company. They’re made by somebody else. It’s a really cool idea. It’s a really good technique. It’s a really good success story. “Gee, Mr. Customer, I just thought you’d like to see this.” I’m not trying to sell them at that point. All I’m trying to do is sell myself. I am trying to make them smarter, and we want to do stuff for them. 

When we think about that decision-making timeline, when you’re really, really early, that’s what you’re doing. Primarily, you’re selling yourself because you’re not ready to sell your company, and you’re not ready to sell your product. 

If we think about all those things, I will win an order. And I’ve had customers actually say this, “Your product was not the best product on the market for doing what we wanted to do. The company tied, but your product was not the best. But we’re going to buy from you because we’re confident that you’re going to make us successful.” That’s a great way to win a deal. Because then you can overcome a lot of deficiencies in your product and deficiencies in your company. 

If you are a fantastic salesperson, and you’re really trying to put the other person first, you will be successful. 

Zig Ziglar is the king of sales motivation. He had a variety of sayings and I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of them. One of them was “Stop selling and start helping.” Essentially, I’m going to help you. If I keep helping you and I keep making you better, then over the long term you’re probably going to give me an order. I’m going to be in a position where I’m going to influence that sale. I’m going to influence those ideas and how you evaluate those ideas so that you can get the deal. 

I think it’s really important for salespeople to understand that “yourself” is the most important thing that you sell. And you need to put that front and forward in the sales process.

Colin Stewart 

100%! I can remember numerous sales, especially when I was in the diesel generator space and whether it was selling or renting. I had a number of customers that called me because they called me all the time.  They didn’t know how to size up or spec out a generator. And they didn’t want to learn how to do the math, which is fair enough. It was straightforward, but it took an investment of time to figure out how to answer all the right questions, and they could call me in in two minutes. I would do that, whether it’s mine or not. And all of a sudden, I had 15 to 20 guys that called me every week that said, “Hey, I’m doing this. There’s no project here yet, but thanks for helping me, and when you do figure it out, we’ll give you a call.” 

Once I had built that network of those 15 to 20 people, it was a total game-changer. All of a sudden, it wasn’t a competition about price, price, price, price. It was, “Oh, it’s just Colin. You got a new guy, and you’re renting a genie? Okay. Phone Colin?”

Sean O’Shaughnessey  

I’m not sure when this podcast will come out, probably a couple weeks from the time we’re recording it. But it’s going to be an uncertain time. We are now re-entering very uncertain times, and people are going to struggle. A great salesperson can call up the 15 people that he has that great relationship with, and not all 15 are going to be in a position to return a favor. But some of those 15 people will say, “Yeah, I’m going to do something, and I’ll accelerate it just for you. I’m going to take care of you in this time of troubling times.” You’re going to get that deal because you sold yourself. That is when the great salespeople really rise to the top.

Colin Stewart  

Speaking of deals Sean, talk to me about your unique way of celebrating when you close a big deal.

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