May 5, 2022

12 Simple Tips to Elevate Your Sales Effectiveness

12 Simple Tips to Elevate Your Sales Effectiveness

In today’s episode of the ‘Sales Samurai’ podcast, host Sam Capra, who helps marketing leaders in the retail space go beyond the sale/transaction, talks with guest, Brendon McAdams, the Managing Director and Founder of Kinetics. He is giving 12 simple tips to elevate your sales effectiveness.

Episode Highlights

  • 01:49 – If you get back to some of the fundamentals, those are oftentimes all the things you need to be successful, says Brendon.
  • 03:07 – Brendon shares his sales background. Now he is doing sales coaching and consulting on a very specific basis, usually with early-stage start-up founders.
  • 05:02 – Sam enquires from Brendon, about what has changed for the better and what’s gone in the wrong direction, in his opinion from a sales perspective.
  • 07:59 – Sam always looked at sales tools as it drives efficiency and allow you to scale faster.
  • 09:00 – Sam asks Brendon if there is any context he wants to provide before we jump into the list of simple tips to elevate his sales effectiveness.
  • 11:20 – When customers are measuring you at the beginning, it's the little things that they catch up on like if you can't get their name right in the email it seems such a little thing but it is an attention to detail.
  • 20:00 – Brendon highlights, your customers don't know how you're going to deliver and so they use these little events to measure you.
  • 22:33 – Sam questions, sometimes we get lost in our process and what we need to do is to qualify or disqualify it that we forget the root cause, how can we help this?
  • 24:35 – If you ask the right questions when you need to, it is so liberating.
  • 26:30 – Brendon shares, you have to figure out ways and say this isn't going to work. 
  • 28:56 - When you're promising something that you can't deliver, that again is in the category of first impressions, states Brendon
  • 30:48 – You can look at things and say, here's how we can help your business. 
  • 41:43 – You've spent less time talking and more time listening. Then when you do speak, you're more educated because you understand the question better.
  • 45:22 – If someone has to leave early, cover the stuff that they need to cover and you can even pin them down and say to follow up with you afterward.
  • 47:00 – The two assets of a salesperson are, being professional and yourself.
  • 48:41 – Brendon shares, he thinks that authenticity helps you to connect with your customer.
  • 50:31 - I don't think you should be doing things that aren't rewarding and satisfying. 

Three Key Points

  1. Brendon says, he tributes this episode being sales tips, but they're just good practices in general and that's intentional because, for a lot of people that he coaches and talks to they're not professional salespeople, their founders are oftentimes very technical. And so, what he is trying is to bridge this gap and get them to understand that these skills aren't exclusive to salespeople, salespeople tend to execute on them better if they're good at it.
  2. The customer discovery process is critically important, and the thing you have to do and get better with practice is being able to explain to the customer why you want to ask these questions. 
  3. If you've got 30 minutes to get through something, you want 10 minutes, in the end, to be discussing where this goes, and working out calendars and figuring out who needs to be involved and what the action items are and who's responsible for them.

Tweetable Quotes

  • “I didn't necessarily aspire to be a salesperson initially, but I ended up doing things that were sales related.” – Brendon McAdams
  • “One of the obvious things that have changed is you have a much more informed consumer, or customer they have the opportunity to learn so much more.” - Brendon McAdams
  • “The more people that are in the meeting, the less productive it becomes.” – Brendon McAdams
  • “The admins have always been kind of a secret weapon for me, I try and work as much through the admin as possible.” – Brendon McAdams
  • “If I would show up five minutes before, those little things carry so much value when it comes to first impressions.” – Sam Capra
  • “What salespeople oftentimes get wrong is that they think somehow or another it's not a mutual relationship.” – Brendon McAdams
  • “Do what you say you're going to do.” – Sam Capra
  • “Customers are more knowledgeable and so the way that plays out for salesperson is you have to become more knowledgeable about their business.” - Brendon McAdams
  • “I find that everybody's perspective can help me to understand the company and what's going on.” - Brendon McAdams
  • “You want to get the customer to speak and if they speak, you end up learning a bunch of stuff.” - Brendon McAdams
  • “If you don't get to the next steps, the deal is dying before it ever began.” – Sam Capra
  • “This is why minimum viable answers are so important because you're eating up your clock.” - Brendon McAdams

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Speaker 0    00:00:01    Coming to you from Orlando, Florida, Orlando, Florida, and streaming around the world around the world. You're not tuned in to the sales samurai podcast. The only B2B sales podcast, providing unfiltered unapologetic views and tactics directly from the sales trenches. Here's your host, Sam Capra.  
Speaker 1    00:00:29    Welcome to another episode of the sales samurai. Thanks for listening. Before we begin, do us a favor, take a moment to subscribe and download. Have an amazing solo show for you guys today. We're going to be talking about 12 simple tips to elevate your sales effectiveness. Really getting back to the basics, the foundations, the starting points that we really need to have and many times get away from is sales individuals. And I have an amazing guest for you guys today. Brittany McAdams, who's the managing director, founder of kinetics is with us. Brendan. Thanks for being here.  
Speaker 2    00:00:59    Hey Sam, thanks for having  
Speaker 1    00:01:00    Me. Well, you know, this is something I know we were talking offline with multiple technical difficulties on my side, not on your side. This is something that is really, and we're going to jump into it, but this is something I think is far too often overlooked. The simple things that if we just follow it puts us in a better position to succeed. Like, do you find this is a common thing among salespeople is just kind of abandoning the basics.  
Speaker 2    00:01:27    Yeah, I do. And I spent a lot of time, both professional salespeople on, in a coaching role and also with founders that are startup founders that are looking to kind of grow their business and they need to do some level of selling and they oftentimes overcomplicate the sales process or, or are intimidated by it. And I find that, yeah, if you get back to some of the fundamentals, the basics, those are oftentimes all the things, those are the things you really need to, to be successful  
Speaker 1    00:01:55    Without a doubt. Hey, so before we hop it, tell the audience a little bit about yourself. I know you found a connection, but give a little bit of about the background just to kind of familiarize the audience with yourself.  
Speaker 2    00:02:05    Yeah. So I've been in sales for a long time and I started on enterprise say, well, I started out as a kid doing some selling and then I ultimately ended up in enterprise sales, selling to a T and T bell labs and then sub you know, enterprise software sales, and then, and then to wall street, you know, group and Merrill Lynch and so forth. And then, and then I made a switch to healthcare. I've been in healthcare technology sales for decade, couple of decades. Anyway. And then I went off a while ago, uh, 11 years ago and went off on my own as a, kind of a freelance sales resource, kind of a hired gun. And that in that invariably morph into assignments where I was kind of more than just a sales person. I was usually like some sort of, you know, I'd help with strategy and messaging and, and marketing. And oftentimes ended up in a kind of a chief revenue officer role either on a fractional basis or, or what have you. And then now, um, I pivoted about a year or so ago and I'm doing more, I'm doing really sales, coaching and consulting on a very specific basis, usually with their early stage startup founders. And so that's what I'm doing these days. Yeah. Yeah.  
Speaker 1    00:03:16    So what got you in, cause I always loved the origin stories behind because, and I've said this many times before, no one ever seems to grow up saying, I want to be a salesperson. We typically fall into it or there's a dad who did it, which got us interested. What what's kind of the origin story for you, Brendan.  
Speaker 2    00:03:32    So I didn't necessarily aspire to be a sales person initially, but I ended up doing things that were sales related. I had a little mail order business where I would sell orthopedic belt buckles. My, my dad was an orthopod or is an orthopod. And so I would sell these belt buckles and I did that and I, I sold, I made and sold barbecue pits when I was a kid, but I never thought of myself as a sales guy. And then I got, I graduated from college in the eighties to give you an idea how old I am and the economy was just rotten. And I didn't, I graduated with a degree in English and so effectively had no proper skills and which actually worked out to my advantage. Having an English degree basically forces you to be decent at communicating and writing. And, and that's a lot of what sales is. And so I ended up kind of falling into sales, which that's kind of, that's what I was capable of doing and worked out kind of quite well. But I wouldn't say that was, that was my career strategy.  
Speaker 1    00:04:29    Yeah. Yeah. It's a, it's funny. It very rarely is, but it's funny how people are kind of edged or find the route to sales for one reason or another. But that's great, man. Yeah. Talk to me a little bit about, like you said, you let the cat out of the bag. I did. And you said, listen, the eighties that tells you all like, so you've been doing this a long time. So I would like to ask the question during that span of time, you know, there's a been a lot of changes and I would argue that there's also changes. There's really not been that much changes in sales when it comes to the basics. But during that time, like what is changed, what does evolve for the better, in your opinion? And what's, what's gone the wrong direction in your opinion, from a sales perspective.  
Speaker 2    00:05:12    Oh, okay. That's it. Great question. So one of the obvious things that's, that's definitely changed is you have a much, much, much more informed consumer or customer. They have the opportunity to learn so much more when I was first doing it. When I first started out, you know, I had all the product knowledge and they had to come to me and my technical team to get product knowledge. And now it's just out there and they usually, you know, so the value that I have to deliver is greater than it was then in order to compete are a lot. I think there are a lot more competitors from day to day. It's just a, we're in a Cambrian explosion of new products, right? If you go on product hunt or whatever you see, I mean, just every day, there's just a new this or that. So there's that.  
Speaker 2    00:06:01    So I don't know if that's positive or negative, it does push you. It does require as a salesperson to continue to grow and develop. I think one of things that doesn't really change as human nature doesn't dramatically change what motivates people. I think there's, in some cases, there's an over-reliance on tools on, I think one of the things I find, especially with younger salespeople is this hesitancy to speak on the phone. They would much rather text someone or email them than speak on the phone. And for me, email and texts are just really ways to generate and schedule a conversation. I want to have a physical, I want to have a voice, a person to person conversation because that's where the nuance is. That's where you can inject humor or empathy and curiosity. And those things don't show up in text messages and emails. And so I think that's probably one of the things that, that I would view as kind of a potentially negative. If you don't use it properly,  
Speaker 1    00:06:58    That's a good call out. And I know we've kind of circled around in the past, but taxi call out. And I agree with you and I don't know if it's generational, but you're right. There is a propensity now that if I build it, they will come. If I send the best email in the world, if I do this, I don't want to pick up the phone necessarily. And I've actually had this conversation just a couple of days ago with an old colleague of mine that even though we're seeing that more and more, is that the leaning towards the digital and not the old tried and true phone is becoming more and more prevalent. So I agree with you 100% there. And I, I, 100% also agree on the tool saturation, right? You it's over you. I find myself jocking that line with my sales team and Hey, you want to provide the right tool, but you can't inundate because then it just becomes too much, right? Yeah. Yeah. But one of the things I will say is I've always looked at sales tools as it doesn't sell for you is not the intent of those tools are not to be the sales person or we wouldn't need a Salesforce. It's really just to drive efficiency and allow you to scale faster. Right. So instead of you being able to it maximizes the time, and I think sometimes that line gets crossed for anywhere. Like it's like, that's almost a Salesforce, I'm just the person behind it doing it. But like, I think that gets confused.  
Speaker 2    00:08:15    Yeah. Oh, I think that's like, I, there are tools that I just, I couldn't live without. I mean, email, I mean, I've been using email for, since its invention basically, and I can't live without having a CRM and things like that. And a mobile phone is just invaluable, but it doesn't replace the conversation. And the, I think that, that, that's the thing you really want to get to is have a conversation  
Speaker 1    00:08:38    Without a doubt, 100% agree. So let's jump into this because I can't tell you how many times I've had these type of conversations or I read something and I'm like, why did I stop doing that? Like that's table stakes and somewhere along the way, I lost my route. So this is why this intrigued me. When you sent those over to, we're going to talk about 12 simple tips just to elevate your sales effectiveness. Is there any context you want to provide before we kind of just kind of jump into this list and kind of walk through it a bit?  
Speaker 2    00:09:06    Yeah, sure. I mean, I guess the thing I would say is that many of these things are, you know, I attribute them to being sales tips, but they're really kind of almost just, they're just good practices in general. Right? And that's intentional because for a lot of the people that I coach and talk to, they're not professional salespeople, they're founders, there are oftentimes very technical. And so what I'm trying to bridge the do is bridge this gap and get them to understand that these skills aren't exclusive to salespeople, just salespeople tend to execute on them better if they're good at it. And it's a way for them to understand that, listen, you can do this. This is, you have this in your wheelhouse. If you here are the fundamentals. And the one other thing I'd say, and I say this a lot, and that is if you're, you know, I hate to use a sports metaphor or sports analogy, but a lot of sports breaks down to fundamentals in the sense like footwork is a good one, like to be a good tennis player or be a good, like a line lineman in football or a soccer player.  
Speaker 2    00:10:04    It's so footwork is just fundamentally important and, and at the fundamental, and then once you get that down, you don't have to do it anymore. You can then be creative, but to know what those fundamentals are, is it just helps you, it gives you a foundation to work from. So that's, that would be my preamble.  
Speaker 1    00:10:22    Yeah. I, 100% agree with you. I mean, like, I don't mind the sports analogy. I think it just resonates with people because that is the foundation, right? I mean the muscle memory that you have to create central, right? Yeah. Without a doubt. So, I mean, because that's really what your mind recalls because you're doing these things in split instances, what's, you're doing in sales and many times you're, you're having a dialogue and you're reacting to those conversations as well. Let's jump into this. Cause there's a few on here that we'll dig into. There's a few of them that are just table stakes. But this actually one was funny to me because I think at the top of our call, I tried to, I was confirming your name, Brendan. And you're a little easier than some I've had on the past, but I love this one because I've actually found that I hopped on ill prepared and I was wrong. I didn't pronounce the name wrong. So get the name. Right. I mean, it sounds easy. It sounds like table stakes. But walk me through that just a bit. Well, this,  
Speaker 2    00:11:18    Several of these things fall into this general category of first impressions, right? And attention to detail, kind of, if there are multiple categories you lump them into and when customers are measuring you at the beginning and they're measuring you, they are, it's the little things that they catch up on that hang up. And when you can't get their name right in email, if you type it wrong, it's such seems like such a little thing, but it is an attention to detail. And so, so I, the point I make here is if you get the name, right, it's like, make sure you spell and pronounce the name. Right, right. And make sure you, you write the name right. If they do one of those wacky things where they, they compress two words together and hyphenate one or, or, um, or, um, italicize one, try and do that because it just, it shows an attention to detail.  
Speaker 1    00:12:06    But I like about it. Cause we're one of those companies that do something, not real quirky, but we don't capitalize the F and flexing gauge it's lower case and then know where most companies to capitalize there. So I can tell you, and we comment behind the scenes, how many emails I get, where the flex, the F is capitalized. And it's kind of one of those bugaboos that's. I mean, it's everywhere. It's on our social, it's on our website. It's on every day you couldn't catch. So you're right. Those are the things that do stick out, which seem very nuanced. Those are the things that may separate you from the fact. The other thing I loved about that is, Hey, is it Jeff or Jeffrey? Like, because I tried to mimic what people say when we're talking, like, like if you said, Hey, Jeff here, well, I'm going to call you Jeff. That must be how you want to be related to versus you said Jeffrey here. And that's telling me, maybe it's a more formal thing, but those are things we often miss as well. So I thought that was a great call out.  
Speaker 2    00:13:04    Thanks. I've been in that situation a couple of times where someone will correct you and you know, until you want to, you tend to want to be kind of informed. I want to be kind of informal. I want to be casual and friendly. And, but at the same time, it's, it's important to note that there are certain people that they may be very casual and friendly, but for whatever reason they fixate on it, they want a certain, they want to be referred to in a certain way.  
Speaker 1    00:13:26    Yeah. So just a couple of tips and we're going to move on from there. I think it would be good as, you know, if you are having an email communication, what's their signature say Jeff Jeffery in their email signature, which is really gold. Yeah. Ours are company spelled, are you, to your point, is it a lowercase app that smushed together as an italicized, just being detail oriented and picking up on those nuances? I find number two, something I used to do well, like I always tried to confirm the appointments, but if you look Brendan across the ecosystem, some people will say, don't confirm, like assume the appointment. So walk us through how your thought, your thought process around confirming appointment,  
Speaker 2    00:14:08    Strong feelings about this one. And that's actually also, I it's the one thing that I, I also write in this either a little five, this five sales hacks that we talked about before, we can connect those on your, you know, in your show notes, if you want. But I fundamentally believe you ought to confirm the appointment because if they're going to cancel, you want them to cancel beforehand. You want to know beforehand, if you don't want to be on the phone, when the call takes place and just be sitting there dumbfounded kind of a thing and unexpected. If they're going to not show, you want to know that ahead of time. And that is just part of qualification that determines whether or not there's genuine interest or if you're kind of fooling, there's a real deal there. So what I recommend someone do is that they, when they confirm the appointment the day before, or a couple of days before, however, whenever you do, you send an agenda, Hey, this is, it can be really simple.  
Speaker 2    00:15:06    It can be three or four sentences. Here's what we plan to cover. Do I have this right? What would you like to cover and give them enough time to read it and think about it and then respond back and then confirm the appointment in there. And this is what we're going to talk about. And what that does is that invites them, Hey, it shows you're prepared. You know, you're thinking about it confirms what the topics are, and it gives you an, a chance to say who should be in the meeting and maybe uncover who might attend that you either want, or don't want. I'm a big fan of small meetings. Like the more people that are in the meeting, the less productive it becomes. It's almost it's, it probably scales exponentially, but in any event. So I would much rather have a one-on-one conversation than talk to 20 people at one time. And I'd rather have 20 of those conversations because that's when people will open up and tell you stuff. And that's where you learn.  
Speaker 1    00:16:00    I think the differentiator I heard and what you said, which is probably good to call out is I love that ahead of time. Hey, here's what I was planning to discuss this align with what you were looking to get out of the meeting and maybe within there, Hey, listen, I think we're scheduled for Tuesday at two o'clock. Does that still work for you? Here's what I plan on discussing anything you want to add to the agenda? Do that a couple of days earlier, because I remember that's a lot different than maybe the old school thought processes, pick up the phone, call them and say, Hey, is we still good for Tuesday? At two, o'clock giving them an be like, there's nuances to this that shows you're prepared, you're professional. You know what you're doing? And I think that's the difference, right? I mean, being prepared with an agenda heading into that call.  
Speaker 2    00:16:44    Yeah. If they get far enough up the food chain, then they might have an admin, right. If they have an assistant, then that might be a phone call. Right. Instead, it's certainly an email. You certainly copy the admin. Like for me, like the admins have always been kind of a secret weapon for me. I, if I can, I try and work as much through the admin as possible. So that may be a phone call that may be a socializing a little bit and just, Hey, you know, here's what we're planning to cover. Can you talk to him about it or her about it and make sure, and, and it's just a way to, to develop, uh, another relationship and yeah, that's another kind of nuance. Yeah.  
Speaker 1    00:17:20    I've actually used that, that step. I tried to send it about three days before the agenda and confirmation. If I don't get a response as to if they're senior level, I'll do this across the board. But especially if I've never had a chance to speak with, maybe it's a new stakeholder being involved. I'll copy them on it. I actually use that as a reason. If I don't get a response for them to engage and say, Hey, I just think we're meeting, we're meeting on Tuesday, send an email a couple of days back. Just want to make sure this is a productive use of your time and try to engage them. One-on-one in an offline conversation.  
Speaker 2    00:17:54    Yeah. That's huge. Especially if you're, yeah. You're putting a spin on it. I want to make sure we're covering what you want to cover. Is there anything I'm missing? Is there someone that should be in the meeting that we didn't, we don't know of. If there's recent events that have happened that matter, like you're checking their, their, um, their newsfeed, you know, the news about that company, if it's a big enough company, is does this event matter is I was going to, this came up, whatever we thought we might address it, if it's applicable.  
Speaker 1    00:18:21    Yup. That's perfect. Yeah. So this one, I am, even though I was horrible about it today, I'm going to call myself out. I was late, so I should shut my mouth on this one, but I have an excuse, but we all have excuses. So it's not an excuse, but showing up on time, this is the one I think is inexcusable. Especially for client meetings being late, for any reason, that's just, can't never happen, right?  
Speaker 2    00:18:46    Yeah. I just, it lives now. I've always, I've kind of always been that way. It just, it telegraphs showing up on time, being there on time being prepared, it just, Telegraph's such an important kind of a characteristic for them. And when evaluating you in the sales process, the thing about as the deals get bigger and more complex, they're picking a partner that they can rely on. That's going to make them look good. That's going to deliver. And so much of sales is about risk. And I heard an interesting, fascinating thing the other day I'm in healthcare and the person I was having my accelerator was speaking about a guest speaker was talking about how most doctors, you can't evaluate them on their surgical skill. You know, there's no real way to value them on their surgical skill. The way customers do it is by how they present themselves in the office.  
Speaker 2    00:19:38    And one of the ways that this particular company was doing it was they were, they had a bunch of demonstration videos that they could show. This is not a procedure is going to do. And they would play the video. And then the doc could talk about it as it's going on and stop it and say, here's how we're going to do. And it was that, oh, this, this person's on the cutting edge. They're doing stuff. They're, they're up to like, oh, I feel better. And so that was the kind of the surrogate for being able to know that they're good at surgery. And, and so, so your customers don't know how you're going to deliver. And so they use these, these little events to kind of measure you and they're showing up on time. It's just critically important that way, because it's just, it's again, it's a first impression.  
Speaker 1    00:20:21    Yeah. And I think there's a couple of things. I just to piggyback off that in the virtual world, you just don't know what zoom is going to do. You should be on 15, 20 minutes making sure the video's coming up. Audio is coming up. Those types of things, even in person finding parking spots, accounting for, Hey, do I know where to go? Like those little things that you just assume. I can't tell you how many times I thought I was going to the right area. I mean, this seems like it was forever a face-to-face meeting these climate, but you know, these big corporations I would go and there'd be a guard check and they would tell me, no, no, you got to go around. If I would show up five minutes before I'd run late. Cause I have to find like, those little things carry so much value when it comes to a first impression.  
Speaker 2    00:21:04    Yeah. Yeah. You're, if it's important, you know, it's important meeting, you're a big company, you know, you're going to get signed in. You have to walk, you have to get an elevator, you have to walk down a hallway. You want to be there before the conference rooms available. If you've got a presentation, you know, you got, you've got to figure out if you've got the right. HTMI HTMI, it's like all that stuff. Yeah. Yeah. You got to plan for that. So  
Speaker 1    00:21:29    Let's move on to the next one, because this one's kind of a little broader, but it's about them. So help me understand a little bit kind of from that standpoint of what's the thought process behind  
Speaker 2    00:21:40    This is so fundamental and it seems so obvious again, but the best thing I can say here is, is when you're out shopping yourself, think about what you care about and it's why you want to solve a problem for you. Right? And so when the salesperson comes up to you in a retail setting or whatever, you just want them to help you solve the problem, you don't care about anything else. And I think in almost all cases, customers want to know, they only really care about is can you fix a problem? Can I pay you to fix a problem for me? Right. And so, you know, worrying about who the competitor is and trying to find out who the competitor is. I think telegraphs the wrong thing, it telegraphs, oh, I'm worried about me. And whereas if I'm focused on what they're communicating in terms that share that, explain the value to them, asking questions that help get you to understand what the value is to them, how what's their problem, what's their pain. What are they trying? What are they contending with? How can we help? It's just has to be front of mind, I think all the time.  
Speaker 1    00:22:42    Yeah. I mean, I think that's a good call is that, you know, I think sometimes we get lost in our own process and what we need to do to qualify it or disqualify, whatever that we, we forget the actual root cause or the root should be, how can we actually help this? Is there a fit here between what, what is important to you and what we offer and acknowledging, sometimes there may not be a fit. I know as sales people, we want to bat a thousand, but sometimes there's just not an, a fit. Maybe whether it's immediately or down the road, but I think that's a good call.  
Speaker 2    00:23:11    Yeah. And you want to find that out right away. And that's where like, so you're going to ask them questions. I'm a big fan of, I just find discovery. The customer discovery process is critically important. And the thing you have to do and you get better with practice is being able to explain to the customer why you want to ask these questions, why? And it's really to figure out if there's a fit to your point. If there's not a fit, you want to tell them that you want to say, listen, this, we can't help you. These people over here might be able to help you. But I can't, if you can go that far, but you're actually doing them a favor. If you qualify them and figure that they're what that, they're unqualified that you're actually doing your book, them a favor and yourself.  
Speaker 1    00:23:50    I think it's a good segue because you said the questions and the discovery is the ability to ask the tough questions. Yeah. That is a next kind of low-hanging fruit. And that is a little bit more challenging for, I think that's what separates the good from the mediocre in all fairness, right. Brands who can ask the right questions, the tough questions. That's what separates people from the pack when it comes from a sales performance standpoint.  
Speaker 2    00:24:15    Absolutely. And the funny thing about this, first of all, it pivots on, or it it's based on confidence in yourself and understanding and the understanding, the problem, understanding the, what you do in your, uh, in your expertise, it helps to not need the sale. It kind of a corollary to this is being able to walk away, being able to say no, if you can do those sorts of things, but, but what's really fascinating about this is if you can get a hang of this, where you ask the right sorts of test questions, now you have to articulate them properly. But if you ask the right questions, the tough questions, when you need to, it is so liberating. The world opens up. I always say this and that is because all of a sudden you'll find that the customer will accommodate you. They'll you are in a different space because if you don't need the sale, if you can say, Hey, this is the, we need to know if you can do this, because if you can't do this, we're probably not a fit.  
Speaker 2    00:25:11    And then all of a sudden that customer is going to go, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Here. We want to work. We need this thing and oh, we'll work with you. And here's how we'll do it. And all of a sudden, you're in a completely different level with that customer because now they have to work with you. One of the things I think salespeople oftentimes get wrong is that they think that they're that somehow or another, it's not a mutual relationship. You get to make all the demands. And that's not the case. It's a mutual agreement. It's a partnership. Really. If you're selling a commodity, I have to sell it to you. You buy it and then that's it. And you, they go away or whatever, buying stuff off the shelf, kind of thing. It's price and so forth. But even that I wish we could spend some time that that's really, I don't even think there's such a thing as a commodity, but you know, in most cases for most salespeople, it is, it should be a mutual agreement. And if it's not, then you want to think about walking away.  
Speaker 1    00:26:07    Yeah. That's a tough thing for salespeople. I think we're overly optimistic on things where there may not be anything. I think that's really part of the reason why we don't ask the tough questions because we don't want the answer that we're we might  
Speaker 2    00:26:21    Reveal.  
Speaker 1    00:26:21    Yeah. I had an old mentor many moons ago that said, Hey, no is just as good as yes to us though is fine. Let's move. That allows us to move on. Right  
Speaker 2    00:26:34    In the book, I have a chapter that says killing your deal. And like, I actually think that you have to figure out ways to you to go up to that edge and say, Hey, you know, this isn't going to work. Or I don't think this is gonna work. And here's why. And then the customer says, oh, you know what? That's a good point. You're right. We can make that work net. You just saved everyone a lot of time. What happens way more often than you think is they go wait a minute. No, no. We can help you. And that's, you know, you're not, not understanding this correctly. And then all of a sudden they're on the same side of the table with you and they're working out the problem with you. And that's what you want  
Speaker 1    00:27:07    Without a doubt, without a doubt, that's a good call up. This one is my biggest bugaboo. And when I say this one, I mean, do what you say you're going to do. And this is a creative one that's ever trying to sell to me ever in the future. Like if you say you're going to send something to me by X time, if you say you're going to get something to me and I'm not sure whether you under promise, don't promise me in today. And then I don't have it for three days under promise and say, Hey, I'm going to have this to you probably no later than tomorrow by end of business, knowing that you're probably going to have it to me by, into today. Yeah. That is a huge bugaboo for me. So walk me through, it seems very easy. It seems very simplistic, but this is a big one. This is where a lot of trust is.  
Speaker 2    00:27:54    I have a joke that I often say, cause the sales joke and he goes, what's the difference between a, a used car sales person and a computer sales person. And the, and the punchline is the car sales person knows when they're lying. And, and I say that because I grew up in software sales and, and like people say, oh, does your thing, oh yeah. It's software. It does that. Sure. It does that. But it doesn't, you know, because you don't even know. And so you oftentimes you'd find yourself in a situation where you're promising something that, that the engineering folks back at headquarters would say, how, why would you say that we can't do it? What did software? I mean, you can't, you do that. So I guess back to your point though, is this is kind of a variation on the being able to say no thing.  
Speaker 2    00:28:35    And that is once you get pretty experienced, you know, when you can get stuff to someone, right. And there's this underlying urge to tell people exactly what it is, they want to hear either price quote today, where in the back of your mind, you know, oh, I've got to go home, I've got to go back to the office. I've got home, I've got type it up. I've got to send it to my boss. It's got to get approved and so forth. And it's got to go through the system and I won't get it back. And so a lot of times you'll say, I'll get you a price quote right away. And you're not specific enough about what right away is. And it may take whatever. And a lot of times, you know, when you're promising something that you can't deliver. And so again, it's a little bit in the category of first impressions, it's a little bit in the category of kind of execution.  
Speaker 2    00:29:20    So when kind of corollary to that, or one thing that I always talk about is have a set of kind of templates and tools and have what I call a sales tool kit that you have readies, whether you stuff it into your CRM, or you have it in a set of Google drive files or on Dropbox or whatever. But if you've got standard templates that you can use things that you can use over again and become more, more productive, that can kind of help you compress time and get things to someone sooner. But ultimately, yeah, you don't do what you say you're going to do and do, when you say you're going to do it these right.  
Speaker 1    00:29:56    So I mean, I, 100% of Grammy, like there, I think there's two buckets to that, right? To your point, like we're in software sales, which I'm in as well, but in, for a number of years is it's very easy to get caught in that trap of, well, can your solution do this? And you're like, well, sure. I guess so. Yeah, sure. Yeah. Versus, Hey, help me understand, like maybe even say, I don't know, but that's something I can get you that feedback or I could dig in there, but is that something that I think you can also qualify it out to understand, is that a non-negotiable, is that something that's going to be a part of this and they may be like, no, I'm cool with that. I was just curious more than anything and that helps you.  
Speaker 2    00:30:31    Yeah. Well, in fact, I'm of the opinion that, well, we talked about this a little bit earlier about how customers are more knowledgeable. And so the way that that plays out for a salesperson is you have to become more knowledgeable about their business so that you're con you're staying so that you're, uh, you become a trusted advisor and to them that you can look at things and say, oh, here's how we can help your business. And the more that you can do that, the more you differentiate yourself and kind of remove yourself from any kind of competitive threat. And usually oftentimes that competitive threat or that competitive force is the inside and doing it themselves or not doing it at all. So I think that, that what, that scenario you just mentioned, that's a great opportunity to say, well, why do you do it that way? Right? And then they explain it and it may very well be, oh, you don't have to do that at all anymore. And here's why, because we have this, this feature, or this is how we would do that. And they would sit back and then maybe ponder it for a second and go, oh, that's oh, that actually is easier. Or that won't work. And then, then you're getting the kind of conversation, which is where you want to be.  
Speaker 1    00:31:35    I think it's a good call out. And I think the next one kind of dovetails, I kind of almost bucket it together, but they are a little bit different deliver on time. That's the over promise under deliver or early. So when I think of that, if I'm off, like if I've said, Hey, I'm going to have, Hey, I'm going to have the proposal to you, or I'm going to have this, or, Hey, we're going to coordinate the it team. But I got a couple of pieces I need to move around to make that happen. Yeah. I'll get some times and I'll send the availability over to you by end of day tomorrow. I've had it myself to give me that time, knowing typically what it takes for me to do that. Maybe giving a little bit more, but another layer that is, I've missed that before I get to the 11th hour.  
Speaker 1    00:32:15    Even though typically I get that response, I can have that back to them. I have found where I know I'm not going to make it. I've no, I'm not going to hit. I told them by end of the day, tomorrow, I'm not going to hit it typically that's enough time. But here's what I've learned is that most people are pretty forgiving. They don't forgive us. You just go dark. And like now three days later, you're like, Hey, oh, by the way, here's that thing I actually emailed person back to, Hey, I promised this to you by end of day today. Some things fell out that I'm not going to have it to you, but I didn't want to leave you in the dark. I just wanted to give you some quick feedback on why you're not getting, and I've always received a positive response from that being like, Hey, thanks for letting me know. I totally forgot, but I appreciate you giving me a heads up.  
Speaker 2    00:32:58    Oh, I think that's, that's kind of fascinating. Uh, well, it's not any here, but sometimes a screw up is a, you know, for lack of a better term is a great opportunity because if you can, you can use that to your advantage sometimes to great advantage because it shows your humanity and your, your follow-up and it kind of, it reflects your character. And that's, again, this is why customers are constantly measuring, oh, you know, is this the right company for me? Is this the right? And so much of who the company is, is you, right? You're the representative that they're going to see the most. They're the, you're the person that they're going to pick up the phone and yell at if something's goes wrong. Right? So that's that I is, I think a really underrated kind of sales technique is to come forward and say, Hey, Hey, we're not going to make this date. We're not going to, I promise you the proposal day. And I can't, and you probably don't want to hear why, but here's why, but you'll get it tomorrow. Right. Is that going to fail you up? How bad, you know? And then usually they'll say, no, I got no problem.  
Speaker 1    00:34:05    Yeah. I think it, it almost to your point, we get back to, Hey sales at the end of the day is just being humans. Right. And that it humanizes you that, Hey, I'm not perfect. I thought I was going to have it, but I'm holding my I'm falling on the sword for lack of better terminology that I'm owning it. Now let's work through it and figure out how to, how to recover. So I think,  
Speaker 2    00:34:25    Yeah, it's like, that's why, that's why I say that's why cell phones were invented, were invented so that you could call your customer from the car when you're late, before you're late. That's why they invented. So you could get, when you get stuck in traffic or you're behind and you call your customer and say, Hey, we're scheduled to meet when 20 minutes and I'm sitting in traffic and I can't get there. I'm going to be 10 minutes late. That's exactly why cell phones were invented. Right. Right. And that's what they should, and you should be. So that's like, I've had customers tell me that like, oh, thanks. That's great to know. And then now they know, oh, I don't have to be in the conference room, sitting on my hands for 10 minutes. I can pound out two more emails. And, and this guy saved me time. Right. And they appreciate it.  
Speaker 1    00:35:09    Yeah. I mean, what's the old salmon times. The only thing everyone has a finite amount of time is probably more valuable than anything else that you could have done for that individual. I love this one because I've always found a lot of value in everyone matters. And I know that sounds very macro. I kind of have a thought process around it, but when you say everyone matters, help the audience understand kind of the context around everyone matters.  
Speaker 2    00:35:33    Well, like I'm accustomed to calling on enterprise accounts, right? And so they tend to be complex sales and there are a lot of people involved in the sale. And if it's an enterprise account, they have all sorts of problems and inefficiencies and they're there. And so I find that I try and talk to everybody and I find that everybody's perspective can help me to understand the company and what's going on. And, and these are oftentimes, you know, it's kind of weird is I think salespeople really need to leverage this. And that is, they're probably in a position to talk to people that nobody else in the company can talk to the CEO, doesn't sit down and talk to someone that's it's in the mail room or, or in some, you know, staff position very often. And even if they do, they're not going to get a straight answer.  
Speaker 2    00:36:19    Right. And whoever it is is not going to complain to them that this doesn't work right. Or that doesn't. And so I find that like, I can learn so much from just the conversations I have with people about what's going on. And, oh, I just heard you guys are doing this or whatever. And people will tell you what's going on. People that are dealing with, with crap or inefficiencies will say, oh, you man, this is so messed up. You know, we, we have to do this and this and this, just to do this. And then there's an opportunity. Right. Potentially. So I don't know. I find that it just helps to, it generates Goodwill, you know, and that I've, I don't know, I believe in karma. And I think that karma comes back and pays you off somehow, without a doubt,  
Speaker 1    00:37:00    I think along the same lines of what you've been saying, when I think everyone matters and they used to be this real, I still think it's a great approach. You know, the old top down, bottom up approach, target accounts, but you know, we're sales people at some point just got, so laser focused, I got to get to the C suite. I got to get to the senior level. There's a lot of value in understanding who's doing it day to day. Now whether they can pull the trigger or sign, okay, that's irrelevant. But what can you learn from 'em that perhaps you can leverage to get to that C level meeting or bring value to the C level and say, Hey, here's what I understand. Having 47 conversations with many of your, like that's to your point. Cause they don't really have those conversations. So can be a value to there's a lot of value that comes out of it.  
Speaker 2    00:37:46    Yeah, exactly. And that, that differentiates you from anyone else that's talking to that person, you have context and so much about sales, you know, especially in a more complex sale it's contact. How do things fit together? Uh, you know, the various organizations who's working well, who's not. And then what they'll do they see that you're a student of their enterprise as it were. And then if you have a gap in it, and this has happened to me more times than I could ever count. And that is, they'll tell you where the gap is. They'll say, oh, you, you gotta talk to this person or you don't this isn't right. It's this guy runs this or this gal runs that, or this is, these are how these two organizations work together. And then you kind of triangulate everything. And then you get this really rich understanding of how that company works without  
Speaker 1    00:38:34    Now. I think these are two big ones. So we're going to kind of merge them together. I think they tie together, get to the point and confirm the next step. So let's tap and get to the point because I think if you're being succinct and you understand the business needs and you can articulate it clearly getting to the next step should be just a natural evolution to that process. But get to the point, this is the big thing that I find sales reps love to throw it up on the wall and hope it all sticks. But talk to me a little bit about getting to the point.  
Speaker 2    00:39:07    This is salespeople love to talk and they somehow, or another, they've gotten into their head that when they're talking, they're selling. And I find that that someone will a customer will ask you question and rather than give a yes or no answer or a succinct answer, they'll go on and on about stuff. And I have a blog post somewhere that talks about the minimum viable answer. And the point being is that you want them to talk mostly, right? You want to communicate what you need to communicate, but I find that you want to get the customer to speak. And if they speak, you ended up learning a bunch of stuff. At least that's how I am. I, I always go into this idea of these meetings, assuming that I'm not the smartest guy in the room and I want them to teach me and if I'm busy talking, that's not happening. And so, so I just think that you, you know, if you've got any, if someone asks a question, try and get to the point. Yeah, yeah. Just be succinct.  
Speaker 1    00:40:01    Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a good call up. Maybe even taking a breath, writing down, what kind of, what you heard from the customer. There's a question or coming into that, meeting prepared with the use cases and not just demoing everything or talking about everything. Hey, I don't want to take a ton of your guys' time. Here's what I understood the issues were. I really want to laser focus on those. Is there anything else that I might've missed coming into this conversation and kind of net it out and they'll say, yeah, that's exactly what we want to talk about. Perfect. Let's clip it off. And then as you get those questions, to your point, we are very eager just to jump at something and, oh, that's a question I can answer that is maybe I try to, and I'm not great about, I try to write it down, like, Hey, this real quick.  
Speaker 1    00:40:43    Cause as I'm doing that, I'm registering. Hopefully it shows I'm trying to listen through it. Yeah. But I always try to give myself more time by asking, Hey, is that a current issue? Like where did that question stem from? Is that something that you guys are facing now that you're trying to solve for? And nine times out of 10, it is like, yeah. If we do make a decision or move, we got to make sure that that's resolved before we do so. Okay. That gives me some background around what kind of, what are the questions stem from?  
Speaker 2    00:41:10    Yeah. I've been in a number of situations where three or four people on the call or in the meeting or whatever, and someone will ask a question and then someone else will answer it. And I, I thought it was a different question. Right. And this I'm sure you've, you've been in a situation where I thought she was asking this. Right. And so I often go back and say, I mean, if it's a simple question, then you answer it bright. But, but oftentimes they'll say just so I'm clear like this and I'll sort of reframe the question and it's funny how often I did just additional clarity, like, oh, that's it. I get that. And then you answer. And what I find is when they go to re state the question, the question is different. The details richer. It may even answer itself. Right. And you've learned more, you've spent less time talking more time listening. And, and then when you do speak, you're more educated because you understand the question better. You're more to the point. Right. And what they do is I think they go through their head. At least this is how I think when I'm shopping, when I'm buying stuff, oh, I check it off. Oh yeah. They satisfied my curiosity and my level of risk just dropped.  
Speaker 1    00:42:23    Right. Without a doubt. Yeah. So let's talk about next steps, because I think this is an area where, you know, we were kind of merging, I'm getting to the point then getting to next steps. Yeah. So this one is an area where I think there's, I think this is the most critical. Obviously if you don't get to next steps, the deal is essentially dying before it ever begins. So next steps are critical. Talk to us a little bit about kind of what your thoughts are around confirming the next step from an effectiveness standpoint. So  
Speaker 2    00:42:51    The, one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make, once they're in the sales call is they let the clock run out and they don't manage with a buffer to the end. And what happens is you get to that end of the 30 minutes or that hour. And then people say, oh, I got to go. And then you've, you've lost the momentum. So it kind of, of, uh, part of this is if you've got 30 minutes to get through something you want 10 minutes at the end to be discussing where this goes and working out calendars and figuring out who needs to be involved and what the action items are, and who's responsible for them and all of that sort of stuff. And it's a certain discipline it's it's time management, it's clock management, right? And so this is where the agenda comes in and knowing where you are in the agenda and, and that sort of thing.  
Speaker 2    00:43:41    And this is why minimum viable answers are so important because you're eating up your own clock. And so it's just part of the discipline of managing your, your sales call is you, as you listen to what's going on in that call, you have to listen, you have to respond and you have to be thinking about taking down. As you said, you know, writing down what are the things that need to happen. And so, you know, if it's a 30 minute call, you want to be at minute 20 or minute 22 saying, okay, so, all right, just, I know everyone's itching to get to there. You have to, you know, I know we have a hard stop at whatever, and here's what I'm here. Here's what I, what I took down, we're doing this, we have to do this, you have to do this, et cetera, et cetera. You know, we'll handle this part in, but know when should we get together and get calendars out and figure out who assigned those things. And so it's really a of, you know, I've said this before already, but it's time management. It's having the discipline to know that you have to back into when do you have that part of the conversation? Yeah.  
Speaker 1    00:44:42    I think that's a good call. I mean, everything you've basically walked through this, this 12 point cell of effectiveness of led to this, right? The whole succinct you get, long-winded minimal viable answers, those types of things. You're eating your own clock. You're right. I mean, everything you do that elongates those pieces basically bumping up against it. Then before you know, it, people have to hop and you're like, well, what are the next steps? I didn't get any. Now it's all about trying to resuscitate it, getting them back on the line to get next steps becomes an act of utility or diminishing return.  
Speaker 2    00:45:11    Exactly.  
Speaker 1    00:45:12    Only piece I would add to that. I mean, I know my thought I've always tried to do this is at the top. When I'm doing the agenda, you kind of brought it up. I always confirm time. Hey, I think we've got about 30 minutes allocated. Does that still work for everyone's calendar? Because nothing worse than you get 15 minutes in like, Hey, I actually have to hop. I have a call that came up. I want to know that early. So I know how to condense the call if I have to.  
Speaker 2    00:45:35    Yeah. And if someone has to leave early cover the stuff that they need to cover and any, you can even pin them down and say, Hey, I'll follow up with you. I'll follow up with you afterwards then. And we'll, we'll sync up. I'll get on your calendar and I can sync up with you for a few minutes.  
Speaker 1    00:45:49    Right. And I'll basically just recap what was, what was discussed towards the tail. And then when you stepped out nine times out 10, that'd be great. Yeah. I would love to see what I missed. Yeah. We've got a guy next steps. And I'll follow this by saying, you should send a recap email after that, after that meeting your agenda, Hey, here's what we discussed. Here's the pain points. Here's what we all agreed to. Here's the next steps, Dennis, anything thoughts that should be kind of everything you need to kind of close that piece out.  
Speaker 2    00:46:20    And the thing about that is if you do that, right, you just drop that into your CRM as notes and you don't have to do it twice. Right. You just, whatever attachments end up. And yeah, I think that's, that's really important. It's again, it's that it shows your professionalism,  
Speaker 1    00:46:35    Right? The last two I think are important, but they're kind of, I would kind of bucket them and they're more just being genuine and authentic being yourself and obviously have fun. So we could talk about it, these table-stakes. But when you say be yourself, I have some thoughts on it, but what's your thoughts are on being yourself. So  
Speaker 2    00:46:53    I think that it goes back to this whole notion of authenticity and being genuine and being, being who you are. I think your best two assets as a sales person are to be professional. The things we're talking about being, just having the fundamentals down and doing, executing on the fundamentals. Well, and you combine that with being yourself right, being you, I think is your best advantage. And so what I find is people that are not authentically themselves come off as being phony. And that just is a trigger for folks. They don't want to work with it. And I think one of the things kind of a corollary to that is you want not to work with customers that you don't like, but you can't trust. That's not always easy to do, right? But wherever you can, life just gets a lot easier if you're working with people that you can trust.  
Speaker 2    00:47:42    And one of the reasons they ended up trusting you is by being authentically yourself and I'm coaching some, uh, younger salespeople right now. And one of the things is there a couple of they're really sharp, but they hung up on being really professional. And I don't mean professional and not following up. I mean, being kind of serious and buttoned down. I find that to be kind of boring because they're not buttoned down people, right. They're actually quite entertaining and funny and so forth. And I there's this scene in Boulder, um, where Kevin Costner is talking to Tim Robbins and he says, there's fungus on your shower shoes. And he says, you're just a slob. And the journal, the press is going to look at this and they go, this guy's a slob. And then it goes on and he says, listen, when you go to the show and you win 20 games, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes, and then the press will think you're colorful.  
Speaker 2    00:48:33    Right? And I just love that. I love that example because I think what you want to get to the point is you want to get to the point where you're good enough that you can be colorful. And then it's like, those fundamentals don't apply as much, but you have to go through certain steps to get there. So you have to earn that, but you really kind of aspire to being colorful. And the thing that, that people fear is like, oh, I have to be all buttoned down in order to be colorful. So to me that I think that authenticity really helps you to connect with your customer. This is going back to that idea that you brought up about, oh, you make a mistake. I can't get you the proposal on time. You call them or you email them, you know, apologetic, it's sincere. Oh, that guy's human. I get him, I get pro I have problems like this, you know? And that's, I appreciate that. And then those sorts of things are that's authentically you, I think,  
Speaker 1    00:49:25    Yeah. 100% agree with you. I think this humanizing and just having things that should be who are you as an individual that should shine through. Now, this is a stretch like sales is not for the faint of heart like this. You hear what is the old saying? Like the best closure is probably close to 30 from an enterprise standpoint at best 30%, which means you're losing 70% of the time. Like it's not for the faint of heart. You've got to make it fun. You've got to enjoy what you're doing. Right. So that goes without saying you've got, when I would probably correlate to that. Brendan on my side is you've also got the one plug you've got to recharge. I think this whole environment and culture of you got to constantly be grinding. It's not doing anyone any favor. So that's my thought on it. What's your thoughts?  
Speaker 2    00:50:10    I agree. I, I think if you're in sales and for founders, like when I talk to founders, this is also true. And that is it's so much of it is dependent upon your mindset, having the right mindset, approaching it from the right kind of from the right perspective in, if you do that, then it should be satisfying. It should be fun. It should be rewarding. Like I, you know, I look back on my deals that I've done and I invariably have like really good relationships with the customers. They're they're friends, they're, supplicate in a few cases that I work with them now and, you know, we're there, I get rehired by them in different companies, in different roles and so forth. And so I think that that's, it should be, I don't think you should be doing things that aren't rewarding and satisfying, and if they aren't, you're not doing it right. Somehow you're just simply not doing it right with that.  
Speaker 1    00:51:03    No, I'm here with your whole heart. Hey Brian, we we've met, we've been chatting man for forever and a day. I've enjoyed it. How do people get ahold of you? How they learn more about kinetics, what you're doing, those types of things.  
Speaker 2    00:51:14    Yeah, sure. I have a newsletter. You can find K I N E T I C or Brendan will get you to all my links and that sort of thing that you can connect with me on Twitter or a LinkedIn I'm there. Yeah. Thanks. I, and I, I have to say, I really enjoy your podcast. I've been listening for a while and I, I just listened to one with Andy Paul and it was, it was really excellent. I really, it was a great conversation. He's a great guest. You did a great job. And I so identify with his philosophy and his approach. And he and I both kind of came up around the same time in a very, very similar circumstances, I think. So I would encourage your listeners to listen to that one too. Cause he's just fantastic. So well done.  
Speaker 1    00:51:58    Well, I appreciate that. It was 98%, Andy, 2% me, but I appreciate the kudos. Hey, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time and thanks again.  
Speaker 2    00:52:08    Oh my pleasure. Thanks Sam.  
Speaker 0    00:52:11    Thank you for listening to the sales samurai podcast with your host, Sam Capra. Be sure you subscribe to our podcast and visit sales and join the conversation. Access show notes and discover bonus content. 

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Brendan McAdams


Brendan McAdams is the founder of Kiinetics, a sales coaching/consulting agency that works with startups and founders to excel at sales execution and customer success. He is also the author of Sales Craft, which emphasizes sales fundamentals as the key to sales success. And he’s the host of the Let's Chat Sales podcast, focused specifically on discussing B2B sales from the unique perspective of the early-stage startup founder.