The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode 0 · 8 months ago

203. Putting People at the Center of Sales Conversations


In this episode, we have Andy Paul, author of Sell Without Selling Out. Andy is an award-winning podcast host and a career sales veteran, having seen the growth and evolution of the entire technology industry. Join us for a fascinating conversation about how a more buyer-centric sales process leads to more sales.

What You’ll Learn

  1. Efficiently moving buyers through their buying journey
  2. Building deeper relationships with your buyers
  3. The four pillars of selling
  4. Looking at alternative ways to grow  

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. About Andy Paul[3:45]
  2. Reflections on how things have changed in sales [6:12]
  3. The four pillars of selling [12:30]
  4. True personalization at scale [14:51]
  5. Winning bigger deals without brand recognition [18:11]
  6. Good companies vs. bad companies [22:48]
  7. Paying it forward [24:49]
  8. Sam’s Corner [27:20]

One, two, one, three, everybody at Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the salesacker podcast. Today on the show we've got Andy Paul. Andy is an award winning podcast host. He has a career sales veteran, having seen the growth and evolution of the entire technology industry and having worked in all kinds of different industries over the course of his career, and he's written a new book called Cell Without Selling Out, all about how to bring human centric buy or centric sales process to your sales process. And the results of that is, of course, that you'll make more sales and and close deals more effectively, while developing deeper relationships with your buyer. So it's a great conversation. Now, before we get there, we of course need to hear from our sponsors. So let's listen to our sponsors and then we'll get right into the interview with Andy Paul. This episode of the salesacker podcast is brought to you by outreach. outreaches the first and only engagement and intelligence platform built by revenue innovators for revenue innovators. Outreach allows you to commit to accurate sales forecasting, replace manual process with real time guidance and unlock actionable customer intelligence that guides you and your team to win more often, traditional tools don't work in a hybrid sales world. Find out why. outreaches the right solution at Click, dot outreach, dot io forward slash thirty MPC. That is click, dot outreach, dot io forward slash thirty MPC. This episode of the Sales Haacker podcast is sponsored by pavilion. Pavilion is the key to getting more out of your career. Our private membership connects you with a network of thousands of like minded peers and resources where you can tap into dozens of classes and training through Pavilion University. Make sure you take advantage of the pavilion for teams corporate membership and enroll your entire go to market team in one of our industry leading schools and courses, including marketing school, Sales School, Sales Development School and Revenue Operation School. Unlock your professional potential and your team's professional potential with a pavilion membership. Get started today at join Pavilioncom. Once again, that's joined pavilioncom. This episode of the saleshacker podcast is brought to you by fresh works. Have you ever been in a digital sales room. Well, if you haven't, your sales team should be in one soon. Gartner and its latest report predicts that by two thousand and twenty five, fifty percent of all enterprise be tob sales technology implementations will include digital sales rooms. Create an immersive digital sales environment with fresh sales. With fresh sales, you can develop digital customer journey maps, integrate advanced digital commerce capabilities and to be to be sales, create unified experiences across touch points and enable visibility for your sales and marketing teams. See how thousands of businesses use fresh sales to shorten sales cycle and improve sales conversions faster. Get a free trial of fresh sales at FRESHWORKSCOM. Fresh sales. Get a free trial again of fresh sales at fresh WORKSCOM. Forward Slash fresh sales. Hey everybody at Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the sales hacker podcast. Today on the show we're excited to have Andy Paul and he's hit accelerate. Your sales podcast was acquired by ring DNA in two thousand and twenty since renamed sales enablement. With Andy Paul, the show continues to inspire thousands of sales professionals each week. He's also written to award winning sales books, zero time selling and amp up your sales. He's ranked number eight on Linkedin's list of top fifty global sales experts. He's consulted with some of the biggest businesses in the world, including square, Phillips, Grubhub and more, and he's got a new book, a new book called sell without selling out, and we've got him on the show to talk about it. Andy, welcome to the sales hacker podcast. Sam, thanks for having me. We're excited to have you so before we dive into the new book, because we want to help you sell thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of copies, we want to learn. Thank you. Yeah, no problem, that's we're completely lined. But my question is, who was Andy Paul? So give us a little bit about your background. You know, I just walk through a bio that talks about how you are one of the leading sales experts...

...out there and certainly one of the biggest influencers on Linkedin. But how'd you get there? What's your background? How did you first get into sales? Walk us through a little bit of your admitted condensed life story. Yeah, Andy Paul, this is your life. YEA, started, started out of college and computer sales, and that time computers meant room full of of computing equipment as opposed to anything smaller. And yes, or earn my spurs selling computer systems to primarily into the construction of the street a San Francisqual area. And Yeah, driving to a business park and park in my car and making gold calls and did that for a little while. And then got into the personal computer business. Work to apple in the early days of Apple. Serve a software evangelist. We're trying to get software to companies, to develop applications for the apple, to business applications for the apple, to an apple, three computers and then the Mac. Had the first MAC. Wow. Yeah, and then start my littlejourney through star world. Or worked for Co Company made the first battery powered notebook computer coming called GAVELIN. And then got to the wireless and satellite communication spaces where I really start change from, you know, selling smaller things of selling really big things to big, big enterprizes. So selling large complex satellite communication systems to big companies around the world. And the thing it was interested with that is developed a specialty of like, how do you, as a small company was such a no brand name and no track record, go out and compete for these these deals that sometimes the size of its almost as big as our revenue as a company in several instances, competing against with no brand name and no track recker, competing against these big name track tech companies of the day. And that sort of became my specialty, if you will, and so did that about twenty years ago. I started own company to be able to help other small companies learn how to transform themselves by learning how to sell bigger deals. Wow, you've been doing. You're one of the sounds like, you know, just one of the early vet ends of Silicon Valley and of the growth even of just the broader technology industry. What are your reflections? Okay, so much for better for worse. Right, whether whether you chose to be or not, give us some some reflections. I mean, you've seen so much change, is there? What do you have that's not, you know, super generic like wow, life is change, or the rate of changes accelerating. But I'm sure you've got like some really interesting observations. And and also how is the the act of selling changed over over the last three thirty years? Yeah, well, I think in many cases it's changed less than people want to believe, and I think that's that's something that probably surprises people is, even though you have this grouble, influx of technology into the sales and marketing space is basically we're automating processes that have existed for decades and I think perhaps missed and opportunity to really transform how we engage with buyers in a way that enables buyers to move through their buying journey more efficiently and effectively. So it's actually part what motivated me to write this latest book was that sense, and looking at the data and talking to hundreds and thousands of peoples I do on my show and my work, is that, yeah, we're kind of struggling and we just fundamentally haven't gotten better. We haven't taken advantage of the technology, I believe, to do that, and so that's probably the biggest takeaway as like, yeah, the more like the old French seting, the more things change more than the same. It's sort of like that interesting. So so well, walk us through, let's let's dive in, so sell without selling out. Give us, give us a little bit of like the overview to your point right, like we're automating processes that we've been done for a long time. But when you say sell without selling out, what do you specifically what is selling out mean? What are you referring to and what's the way to do that? Well, we're all yeah, the way to avoid selling out, yes, is we're all familiar with the reputation that sales people have in the world at large and and the B tob space. I mean, there's no mystery...

...about that. And while on one hand it's hugely unfair to most people are selling, of the other hand it's not undeserved either because, to a large extent, I believe we continue to train sellers to think that their job is to go out and persuade a buyer to buy their product, whereas I think the real job of a salesperson is to go out and listen to the buyer, to understand one of the most important things to them relative to this, challenges they face and the outcomes they want to achieve, and then help the buyer get that. And so one is very sales centric. Give me something right, I need an order. I'M gonna go persuade you and course, you to give me that order, or I'm really going to listen, to understand what's important to you and then say, yeah, we've got a joint objective here, a joint target. Now we know what we can aim at. Let me help you get that. So the first one is what I call selling out and the other approach is what I call selling in. Interesting not, you know again, these are these are, I guess, reasonably well understood ideas. But how do you respond? Some part of the reason that people's take such a direct kind of selling out approaches because they have a number to hit and they feel short term anxiety, pressure, focus, motivation, however you want to frame it, to hit that number. Do you think that we're compensating sales people the right way? I guess that's one of my question. Well, two questions that are one is do you have to act a certain way if you have a quota? And the answer is no, right because, as I talked about in my book, is if you're selling in, you're actually going to help the customers shorten their decision cycle because if you understand what's most important to them, now you know exactly what it is you have to do to help them reach a decision, whereas if you're just the pushy, persuasive, throw up and show up type seller, you're just you don't know that. So you're selling without understanding the buyer and understanding what the objective is. The only objective you on mind is yours. So yeah, that's that's where the basic disconnect is that I think exists, is that we're still too often trying to push people, push sellers, train sellers, that, yeah, we've this is urgent. You know, we've got a hit our numbers. Of course you have to your numbers, but there's not just one way to hit the number. This way by all means or data points that are available. Selling out way just doesn't work. That that's true, I guess. Of the reasons, like one of the I don't know if it's a counter argument, but most sales people are paid fifty percent of their money is base salary, fifty percent is commission, and so maybe, I don't know, I don't know if you if that has something to do with people's emphasis on sort of pushing harder in the absence of like having a better framework, but does it? Do you think maybe we should over over index more in base salary so people feel like they can take a longer term, more value based approach to the conversations with buyers. Yeah, large, large question and perhaps, but perhaps there's other ways to compensate sellers that that's more aligned to giving the outcomes to the buyer ones to achieve. And so, yeah, I don't think commission itself is the is the evil. I think it's how we socialize sellers about what their job is, because there's multil ways to accomplish that and they're sort of the sets of this assumption that in this is sirt baked into sales, and this is not new, this has been round for forever, is that given the pressure of hitting a quota, I must act a certain way, and we know that way of acting. Take persuasion, for instance. I talked about this in the book is Joonah Burgers, or in this book called the catalyst. He's Professor Wharton about persuasion and in his book is got the Sea Sites as research says that humans, humans not just buyers, humans, universally resist being persuaded. It's so...

...obviously it stands reason, then, that we spend billions of dollars a year and sales training to train sellers how to be persuasive. We train them in the one at one behavior that we know that every human in the world resists. So yeah, there doesn't make a lot of sense there. So this is not, Commission A conversation. The issue is how our training people to understand what their job is and what's the best way to go do it. Fair enough. So if you're you know you're a human being out there, your salesperson and you say, okay, Andy, I bite, I know that I'm currently selling out. I want a shift to selling in. Are the frameworks that you introduced in the book? What's the process that I'm sure you that you illuminate or articulate in the book to help people make the transition? So I talked about with four pillars of selling in. So thing was selling out. These behaviors are learned behaviors, right, we don't pop out, being pushing in, persuasive, for the most part. I'm sure there's exceptions, but what I talked about, the four pillars of selling in, is based on a nate human behaviors. Now we amplify those in order to help people become the best version of themselves and so the four pillars of connection, of excuse me, of selling in our connection curiosity, understanding and generosity. And you know, we are wired as humans to want to connect with other people and it's through our connection that we build the necessary credibility and trust to ask questions of the buyer, to really start to learn about them and to dig a little bit deeper, beyond the surface scripted questions to really understand them. Curiosity. We are wired to be curious as humans. This is how we navigate the world around us. If we weren't curious, we couldn't do that. You know, that leads curiosity. Best, asking my questions lead to understanding and unfortunately, often times the sales we approach questions on a curiosity and very rote fashion. I've got my list of questions that I typically ask a buyer. I'm going to ask those and it's more like a survey. But so you know something as a result of that, but you don't understand, and that's this a level of understanding what's most important to the buyer. There really is a it's a source of value to the buyer and be it. oftentimes will different at you as a seller, because most sellers don't go to that level. And then it's how you give value to help the buyer make progress in the journey. That is generous. So it's those four pillars that are heart of selling. In do you what's your response or there? Maybe don't have one, maybe there doesn't need to be one, but sometimes people say you can. When you do, we talk about curiosity and understanding, true connection, as you pointed out, and true empathy. Sometimes again, people will say that's all well and good, but I've been given a list of two hundred people to call today and I don't have time. Andy. I don't have time to be genuinely curious because I got too much stuff to do. Hat, which is a really a broader argument about like what is the opportunity for for true personalization at scale, or is it an oxymoron? The idea of mass personalization of scale is is an oxymoron. But you divide the role up putting on for an str you're probably not going to get to a true level of trust understanding. That's not their job right. What they need to be able to do is they need to be able to connect with the human at all level in order to engage in enough conversation to set a meeting or a Dumbo or whatever, and so that really starts with are you really coming across as sincerely interested in this other person? Right, are you? This is how do you make yourself interesting to others? As you do it by May being interested in them. And so there's a sort of cohort of people out there and say, Oh, yeah, you know, strs or even as to customers. Enough time for small talk? They don't have a time for any of that. Yeah, they just want to get right to business. And that's just not the way the world works, not the way humans work, and so we need to help enable sellers as start with sdrslet's start the Querk, because our oft types, the most inexperienced...

...of our sellers is say look, it's going to stay. You have this need to be able to connect with this person, to build some sort of quick bond. That says, yeah, I want to continue to invest time either with this person or with this person's company, because that's that's the decision buyers are making. This this person worth my time and attention, an investment of my time and attention. And if I do that, am I going to earn a return on that time and invest an attention. So for SDRs, they've got a really tough job because they have to do that very quickly. And Yeah, you're not going to starily do that with a mass emil bone. You get a chance to get on phone and talk to somebody of that opportunity. What do you think about the role of the SDR? You've watched, you've been doing this a long time and if we're thinking about sort of buyercentric sales process, is the concept of like a somebody that doesn't really understand much about me but needs me to be willing to spend more time with a different person. There's just a lot of debate around. Is the role? You know, is the role actually is productive? Everybody's adopted it. Is it the right thing to do? Is it too focused on the seller, not enough on the buyer? What do you think? Yeah, it's. Yeah. Well, it's a tough, tough job, because we're taking people who areus at our least experience, least knowledgeable people and making them the tip of the spear. And I believe that in general, you want to try to put as much expertise toward the front end of the the spear as you can because if you actually get hold of someone, the equation is again, yeah, they've got a limited amount of time and attention to invest. Does this become a worthwhile investment of their time? I think the oftenized that works against the strs when the actually get hold of the people they want to speak with, because they're saying yeah, based on Centeraction, no more time. So I think there are certainly product areas in particular where more of a team approach, where both the stre in the eyear involved in prospecting, makes sense. I think when you're more transactional than sure the str forms a really valuable role. Interesting. I want to shift to, you know, something else that you've written about and you mentioned, you know, earlier in the conversation. You talked about one of the first big trainings that you sort of focused on was helping people that didn't have brand recognition or name recognition around their company when bigger deals HMM, walk us through that. How do you had do you do that, because I think that's the top of mine for a lot of people. Yeah, well, it's it's comes down to the person at the end of the day, it comes down to the seller, I mean, and it could be the the team of sellers, but it comes down to the cellar. And Yeah, can you go through and like give an example, not on the book but other places, about a deal is working? At one point my career where one of the largest telecom companies in the world was was considering hiring my company to develop a brand new hardware product for them and then manufacture the product for them as well, and I'd work on the deal for long time and and it came down to sort of crucial meeting with their CEO, and so I brought my ceo with me from the startup and as walked out of the meeting, my CEO turn to me and said, well, there's there's no way we're going to win this deal. That's at all. What do you mean? He says they've got more people, more engineers on their staff were paid a salary to develop this type of product. Then we have an entire company and the O they're not going to do that. But they did do it because I told him, I said they trust us more than they trust their internal people. We have more credibility than their internal people did. So that's as a small company, what you trying to do is you have to build a build that credibility and trust. So it starts with obviously are God. You got to connect and understand what's most important to the people you're talking to. This level of the way you differentiate yourself is by learning more about the buyer and understanding more about the buyer...

...and the problems they have and things they're trying to achieve, and then giving them perhaps a different perspective and how they can go about achieving it. You have more flexibility. Often Times a small company to be able to do that. You can be a little more nimble and so, rather than being at a disadvantage, you can actual use your size to your advantage. It's a great point if you were giving advice to your younger self, where to somebody just getting started in the sales world and they're interested in making sure that they do things the right way. What advice would you give people that are just getting started in their sales journey? Expose yourself to as many influences as you can so you know, the great things about age we live in is is content as everywhere. I mean I I was driving between calls and my car or my first job, listening to cassette tapes of Zig ziggler. But you know, these days we have podcasts. I got linked in, we've got books. Yeah, all this content online that you can you can download and learn from, take advantage of it, read widely about business. I think one of the things that benefit me the most of my career is got a lot of repetitions and my first two years talking to CEOS and entrepreneurs had built successful companies and I knew nothing about business at that point in time. But I they kept giving me time because I was sincerely interested and in them and what they were trying to achieve and their their companies and how I could help them. And so they I was always surprised see these senior executives and give me all this time and I was a Punk, I knew nothing, and but they saw value from that, from the questions I was asking, and they saw valued the fact that someone was trying to understand them and their situation. And so that for me was business education and you kind of take advantage of it when you have that up doing to talk to somebody is being trusted ask great questions. Have a quote in the book when Clayton Christians in, which I really love, he was the fortunately passed away a couple years ago, but he said questions are places in the mind or answers go. You don't ask the questions, the answers have no place to go and you just have to have that perspective, as see him, be curious, expose yourself to a lot of said, a lot of influences, customers, bosses, books, podcast whatever, and then experiment, try different things. It's unfortunate. I think we're in an age where too many managers feel like they have to have rigid compliance to a process is the path to success, and I think that's completely misguided. I think the paths to success is enabling each of the people that work for you to become the best version of themselves, and the way you do that as give them the autonomy and the agency to go try things, learn new things and put them into practice. Well said. You mentioned that, you know, one of the first great exposures you had was to more senior executive teaching you about business, and there are so many different companies out there. There's a lot of capital sloshing around in the in the early stage and venture capital backed kind of technology markets. That one of the big decisions, one of the big challenges that people face is picking the right company and leveraging some understanding of business to make a good selection about which company is ultimately going to be successful in which isn't. What have you learned about what makes great companies tick versus versus bad companies over the last couple of years doing this? Yeah, it's it's I think you're ultimately you choose who you want to work for a from a personal standpoint, for me, I want to I looked as much as I felt companies are hiring me. I was hiring a boss, and I think that's our perspective you need to have. Is Who are you working for? Another about help you get to that next stage, if you even aware of what that stage is. But if usually coming into a job, you sort I think, okay, I want to get better at what I'm doing, maybe that results in a promotion. But once I got passed are my first job, then become very conscious of...

...that as am I working for people or a person who can help me get to that next stage and do they have something to offer me? And I was reasonably successful at making those decisions. You never, never really know, but you got to go in and do your work. Now we have more access to resources to whether it's Linkedin and seeing what people are posting that you might be working for, where they've worked or going on rep few or something that you can learn more about it. But, Sirre prioritize the person, and it's really because you can't predict a company. I mean I worked for companies that have been very successful or go on public, been acquired, and I've worked for a couple there were just abject failures that I thought had potential, but I chose them because I thought it was the right person to go to work for. Almost at the end of our time together and one of the things we like to do at the end is is paid forward a little bit. And you as an author. You mentioned exigular, you mentioned a bunch of important influences. When you think about books, ideas, people, besides, of course, your own books and yourself, that you think our listener should know about. WHAT COMES TO MIND? Who Do you think we should we should read up on? Boy, there's I said, there's there's a lot of good stuff out there. I would argue for people sort of earlier in their career to focus on learning about business in general right if you don't subscribe to the Walster Journal, get a subscription online and just make a habit of scanning the walster journal. Plus they'll send you alerts every day. A few, you know, pickstiring's things you're interested in. Yeah, I'm not a fan of Walter Journals editorial page, but in terms of their reporting on business it's still the best. Right. So early in my career I would scan the Walter Journal every day. I was, you know, just this great resource that me learn about business. There's other books that, you know, worthwhile reading. There's even things like a vest pocket, Mba and resources like that that just make sure you understand how your customers make money. Right, so you can go into a business and read a financial statement, if you're talking to companies, a publicly traded company, so you can familiarize yourself about the business and develop, just I said, better acumen. Because for us as sellers, I think the sort of the bad habits we get into as we want to treat every situation as the same. Right, we've got us. I've got a ICP, the CUSSO prospects within our ICP, we're talking to a certain persona within it, and really the strength of a good sellers, that the acumen to know not how every situation is like the other, but how every situation is different from the other and be able to ract accordingly. Great advice and it's been great having you on the pod today. We're going to talk to you again on Friday for Friday fundamentals, but in the interim, if folks want to reach out to you or I guess, what action would you like to take for people to connect with you more deeply? Is it go to Amazon and by the book? Can they email you? How do you prefer people get in touch should they wish to? Yes, well, yeah, please do. Go to Anason and by the book sell without selling out. Certainly encourage that. If you, as an organization, want to buy more than one copy at a I'm you can reach out to me, Andy at Andy Paulcom and love to have that conversation with you. And then, yeah, do follow me on linked on them. I'm very active there and yeah, I think a lot of stuff to share. Awesome and he thinks so much for being our guest in the show this week. We'll talk to and Friday for Friday fundamentals. Thank you said everybody. Sam Jacobs Sam's corner. Really enjoyed that conversation with with Andy Paul and I think you know the takeaway. I think Andy mentioned it right like sales is still about putting people, human beings, at the center of the conversation and too much historically people have been focused on just driving features and not having an accurate conversation or an interesting conversation about the person on the other end and what what really makes them tick, and then bringing value to that conversation. Now, that's not really that different from how sales has worked over the course of, you know, the last forty, fifty, even a hundred years. It's never really been about giving something to somebody that they didn't want or need. It's about having a conversation, it's about understanding them and it's about...

...making sure that there's a human to human connection so that you can understand what they need and bring value in sights and expertise to that interaction. And that's something that Andy reminds us of in his new book. Sell without selling out. And it's also about just the simple fact of curiosity, right, just leveraging curiosity to go deeper than scripted questions in templates, but to really try, you know, curiosities of function, of empathy. More than anything else, it's about, can you put yourself in that other person's shoes, even for just a moment? Can you imagine what it's like to be them, and can you have a conversation with them that brings new insights, information and perspectives, while still thinking about the world from their perspective, what their needs are, what they're struggling with, what their challenges are, and effectively. Again, you know, sales is a beautiful profession when done right, because it's not about giving something to somebody that they don't need. It's actually but understanding people so that you can better help them. That is, effectively what's selling is. So I really enjoyed that conversation with Andy Paul. Now, before we go, we want to thank our sponsors, which we will do. If you haven't given us five stars on the itunes store, please do so. If you haven't, if you'd like to reach out to me, you can linkedincom forward, the word in forward F Jacobs, and of course we always want to thank our sponsors, so we'll talk to you next time. Here's a closing message from our sponsors and we'll see then. Thanks again for listening to the Sales Hacker podcast. Once again, thanks to our sponsors. Outreach, the first and only engagement intelligence platform built by revenue innovators for revenue innovators. Go to click dot outreach, DOT AO forwards thirty MPC to learn more. Also, pavilion and roll, your sales team, your marketing team and your entire go to market organization in Sales School, Sales Development School, marketing school and many, many more. Learn more at joint PAVILIONCOM. And finally, fresh works and their new product, fresh sales. With fresh sales you can develop digital customer journey maps in a great advanced digital commerce capabilities and create unified experiences across all of your digital touch points. Get a free trial of fresh sale at fresh works COM. FORWARD SLASH FRESH SALES.

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