Michael Pedone is no stranger to hard work, and in this episode we get a full rundown of his best advice for what you should and should not say on a phone sale. A pro at cold calling and closing in high-pressure situations, Pedone started his sales career at a very young age and pulled himself up by his bootstraps to achieve all that he has done over these past 3 decades – and it's a lot! In this episode, he shares his personal routine for cold calling, steps to address call reluctance, and the importance of planning, formal training, and role-playing the conversation. We then learn how to ask an engagement question to put your prospect's attention where you want it, and then engaging with the opportunity presented. Pedone also imparts some sage advice, gleaned from hard-won experience, around the importance of constantly upskilling yourself to survive the ups and downs of the sector. If you want to hear prime examples of what you should and shouldn't say, including when to bring up price (it's not when you think), press play now and join the conversation.
Key Points From This Episode:
“The thing I love about sales is that it's the one profession I know that, the better you are, the more you can earn.” — Michael Pedone [0:02:46]
“Your job is not to close every lead you come across, your job is to close as many qualified prospects as fast as possible.” — Michael Pedone [0:45:58]
“You really want to make sure you're always improving yourself so that you can survive.” — Michael Pedone [0:34:32]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
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 00:00:30 Well, welcome to episode 26, man. It's hard to believe 26 episodes of the sales samurai. Thanks for listening. Before we dig into our topic today, and I introduce our phenomenal guests, do us a favor, take a moment, subscribe, download. This is actually one of my favorite conversations to have, and this is probably the leading requests that we have for our podcast is all around phone prospecting, top of funnel, outbound, those types of things. And so we're going to be discussing phone prospecting, kind of what you should and shouldn't be doing. And we have a fantastic guest today, Michael . That is what he is constantly doing. So Mike, welcome to the show. Thank you
Speaker 2 00:01:08 Very much for having me on I'm looking forward to it. I
Speaker 1 00:01:10 Am super stoked to have you, man. I know we've kind of indirectly in some circles. I think you already had some of my team take your training course before, which was phenomenal by the way, but give the audience a little bit of a background. I know sales buzz, but kind of give a quick background. If you don't mind, Mike,
Speaker 2 00:01:26 I've been a straight commission sales rep forever in a day, right? I mean, I never went to, I never had just go to college. I've barely graduated high school. You know, I was, I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth by any stretch of the imagination. And the only way I was going to have a better life than what I was growing up in is if I, you know, if I, if I made lots of money and nobody was going to hand it to me. Right. You know, so growing up, I really wanted to be a rock star, to be honest with you. I was always into the guitar stuff. And before I met my wife, I was waiting to hear back from Ozzy Osborne and see if I was going to get that gig. So I was pretty into that stuff. We're going back in the early nineties, but even before then to pay the bills.
Speaker 2 00:02:00 So I got into sales and actually what it really was is I got tired of being, you know, washing dishes on a midnight shift at Denny's and in Youngstown, Ohio, or Boardman, or to Ohio to be exact, you know, making minimum wage, you know, sucks. And you know, there's never a better motivation than that. You know, you're realizing like you're out of school, you're doing this, you're trying to get your band going on the side. You know, at the end of the day, it's like I had two choices. I just stay in that kind of level of mentality and that kind of income level. And then just, you know, stay in that type of scenario, which is, Hey, that's what you want. That's fine. But, or I was like, you know, I want more for myself. I mean, someday I get a family and things I need, I don't want to, you know, I don't wanna have to have a bologna sandwich and Kool-Aid for dinner.
Speaker 2 00:02:43 If we don't have to, that was my motivation. I got into sales. And the thing I love about sales is that it's the one profession. I know that the better you are, the more you can earn. And there's like, no, there should be no ceiling to it. Right. So that's really what did it for me. I can, you can live like a rockstar. Literally you've lived like a rockstar. If you've learned to be a really good Salesforce and, and you get with the right scenarios, you're selling the right products and the solutions that you love, you can make a lot of money helping people. And that's what I decided to do. That's awesome.
Speaker 1 00:03:12 Hey, so just out of curiosity, is I always loved those origin stories and kind of the foundation story. Like what was the first sales job you had Mike,
Speaker 2 00:03:19 Technically, I mean, if you, if you think about it on my first sales job was mowing lawns when I was a kid. Right. But my motivation though was, I mean, cause I was, you know, at the time in the early eighties, after the parents got divorced. So when we went from New York back to where the sheep, my mom took us to Arizona where her parents were, my grandparents are in Phoenix and I got into the, you know, the heavy metal scene and ACDC and Jewish priests and kiss and, and they were coming to town. He was like, no, if you want, if you want to take it, you better go learn it. If you want to go see them in concert. So my first sales job was bought on a lawn mower and going, knocking on doors. So I get enough money so I could afford a concert ticket and a shirt.
Speaker 2 00:03:55 But with that being said, when I got older, I really got to blue rock, got into car sales. I really have to think if the, if, if my technically my first sales job was, was car sales. I was in the east side of Ohio in the east Liverpool, which is rounds out of Pittsburgh. And then the Youngstown Boardman area and the band that I had there at the time, you know, it was things were getting shaky, you know, rock and roll is a tough business, right? With that being said, you know, I need to get a better job than washing dishes and I wanted to make money. And you know, who's going to hire somebody that barely graduated high school and doesn't have a college degree. And, you know, I had long hair at the time, but I found a car dealership to give me a shot.
Speaker 2 00:04:33 And I was horrible at it. At first. I really was. I mean, they had great training, right. And I just wasn't getting it like it didn't click. And you know, so I did that for a little bit and then it just, wasn't working out. And then the music store in Youngstown, Ohio, it's not there anymore, unfortunately, but there's a, like a musician music store. Right. They were hiring. And I went there and I got the job right away. Notice I'm a musician, but that doesn't mean I know all the ins and outs, the owners of these speakers and all that bullshit. They had one guy there that was the technical expertise. He was the top salesman. You know, he knew all the specs I came in and all of a sudden my call, the things that they were trying to get me to learn in the car sales just clicked and where he would get somebody and they would come in and they're looking at this big 25, $30,000 PA system, you know, and he's talking to all the ohms and all this other stuff.
Speaker 2 00:05:26 And I just see them getting bored or whatever. I get a customer and I would just go, when's your next gig? You know, they're like, oh, this weekend, like what are you using now? Or is this all that doesn't sound the best? No, wouldn't you love to have this for, for, for Friday's gig. Listen to this shit, turn it up, put yourself like, holy shit, dude. I from selling left and right. And the tech guys, like just going, what's going on, just started out selling them. And so, yeah. So then everything I learned in car sales, I kind of transferred to that, but add a little bit of a story. Got me to Florida. So I gave him to Florida. I kind of job at glamour shots in the mall. I don't know if you remember that. Okay. And I come in out of the gate, I killing it.
Speaker 2 00:06:04 I'm the number one sales rep like the first week out of the game, no one sells her up in Florida. I'm still, and I'm in Lakeland, Florida. I'm selling these people coming in heirlooms that are like this big, you know what I mean? Pictures of them, you know, hundreds of dollars, 18 minutes, like a free shoot and a $39 package. The next thing you know, it's $400 later. They're walking out the door and I'm just having a great time. And I'm loving. That's actually where I met my wife. But yeah, after that, I was okay. I got to find another job. Getting your glamour shots was a gray was a sure flash in a pan type thing. Right? The business model was never going to last. But after that, I was like, okay, I need to find something else to do. I was young. I was hungry. I was motivated for some reason, the Tampa, Florida insight sales, you know, phone rooms are Lenny and they're hiring you right off street. As a matter of fact, when I would go in there, they would hire people every week, like 20 at a time, knowing that 19 of them would be gone within a week. And then if one a month would stay in the produce, they were happy. So I got into phone sales that way and it just never looked back. That's fantastic.
Speaker 1 00:07:02 I asked that, man. Hey, so you've been doing this now. So just to give some context, I always relate back to myself. I've now been in sales B to B or sales just in general for about two decades. So about 20 years, a little bit more, a little bit less. You've probably been in what, three decades? Close to
Speaker 2 00:07:19 Selling the three days for sure. Right? I just turned 51. What? Two weeks ago? Three weeks ago. Something like that.
Speaker 1 00:07:25 Well, it looks fantastic on you, man. So in your opinion, I always ask this, especially if people that's kind of been doing it for a long time, in your opinion, what's the biggest thing that's changed in sales. I'm going to ask you two buckets of this. My salespeople are
Speaker 2 00:07:38 Weak. They're weaker today. Okay. So
Speaker 1 00:07:40 Let's do like for the better, for the worst. So let's start with the worst
Speaker 2 00:07:44 And whether that's better or worse, I'll let the audience decide. But I think the weaker today, and I say that because one, they're afraid to pick up the phone and then listen, there was call reluctance back then, too. Right? You had to understand the majority of the people that were getting in the sales. When I was getting into, we had to do it by necessity. It was either hard labor or, you know, you dig out your $3 tie, put it on, try to look presentable and go to this sales position and hit the phones and learn how to hit the phones and be in this boiler room. But these boiler rooms, there's no benefits. There's no $40,000 base salary. It's you sell or you die. Right. I literally know what it feels like to where to go. Like it's Thursday afternoon. I've got nothing on the board.
Speaker 2 00:08:24 And the payday is like week to week. And like, if I don't put anything on the board, I'm not going to have a paycheck this week and yet. So I know what that feels like. And the pressure that that has today, these kids come out of the columns. They want 40 to 80 grand a year, depending on their location. They can't close the door behind them. They're afraid to pick up the phone, you know, that they think that's our cage or they want to send 10,000 emails just to get, they look at their open rates and they think that's great, but open rates don't pay the bills, you know? And if they get one or two appointments, they think they're rock stars. And it's just, I don't mean to be so hard. It, but that's what I see right now.
Speaker 1 00:08:57 But it's fair. And I'll tell you, cause I remember back in my days, I was very similar from, it was weekly. It was Cintas. I was selling uniforms. I was Hocking uniforms to every mechanic in Birmingham and you can name it. And it was just walking in cold calling had to make 300 dials a week. And it was a weekly quota. I remember early on. I never truly understood the term. You eat what you kill, right? Like that doesn't have the same meeting in today's day and age like that doesn't exist hardly anymore. So I get it. What do you think on the good side? Like what do you think has evolved on sales?
Speaker 2 00:09:29 Oh my God. So much. I mean, when I got into sales, when you got into sales, when, when you were starting cold calling, it was either there's a phone book or there is literally eight and a half by 11 sheets of paper with names and numbers. And you would go to the car deck over the desk that they had this little fold-up desk, grab your leads, get on the phone and don't talk to me unless you got a prospect on the fonts ready buy you. That was your sales manager. So you'd had to come in early, you had to role play, right? You had to role play and you either, you know what, what does that great line in one very good lost you either F or you walk, right? It's that simple, but that's really what it was. But today, I mean, this is, it blows my mind.
Speaker 2 00:10:11 When I go on LinkedIn, these days in the, in the fees, I can't even go on there because it raises at my age, it raises my blood pressure now. Cause all these people saying that it's harder than ever, you know, to sell today. And I'm going all right out of your mind. I mean, one, you have CRM systems, which when I first got in, there was like, you know, ax or goldmine was like the original one. Right? And it was so clunky. You have all these systems, you have, you know, the internet, you can research stuff. You have all these tools that are out there that can build you a list in a heartbeat. You have LinkedIn, which connects with, I use LinkedIn sales navigator for Salesforce. So every time when I pull up a lead, it pulls in their profile automatically. And so it takes me literally 10 seconds, really three seconds to look and make sure that, Hey, they still work there.
Speaker 2 00:10:55 So I don't have to call and go that dude, hasn't been here in five years click. Right. So I can see right away, they still work. I can see what their title is. I can see what their company does real quick. And so, I mean, that is so easy before we were totally blind. And it was like, you know, what was call? I didn't know. He died three years ago. Well, do you mind telling me who took his place? You don't even have to get that person. You don't have to sell that person to make your number. That's the old days today you have so many tools that you can really get that. But I think the problem is, I think there's too many fakers out there that try to present, like they're killing it and that they're doing it easy. And they're just doing it by sending an email and posting a video and things.
Speaker 2 00:11:33 Any Trump listen that branding can definitely help. You want to generate inbound leads. I would rather handle in de qualify. Inbound leads all day long. And there are better ways now that you can do that, that you couldn't do that. When we got started, when you and I started for the company to generate a lead, they would have to commit at least $10,000 a month to a full page ad. And they had to do it for 12 months with no guarantees to hopefully get that phone call to come in inbound lead right today. Plus I built and sold one company already for some figures. And I started this company as well, the same way where I would start with a free webinar, get people to post, talk about what they want to know, help them solve that. And all of a sudden I generate anywhere from 500 to 5,000 leads for giving 20 minutes away of my free advice on a webinar.
Speaker 2 00:12:20 And then I can market to them, right? To you get 5,000 leads back in the day, you had to spend a hundred grand, right? So there's so many ways that we can, you know, that you can generate leads and promote yourself and things of that nature. But at the end of the day, you still have to know how to sell and you can do all these things, get somebody interested, but if you get somebody that's interested and then you cut out all the steps, you just try to be likable and you try to make them your friend and try to be your, build a report. And then you try to explain what you do. And then you try to go for a cost. Sure. You'll get a deal once in a while, but dude, you're missing so many other steps in there that you're missing it. You can be 10 X in your income if you learn how to properly sell.
Speaker 1 00:12:59 No, without a doubt. And you know, it's funny cause I want to get into this because I know that's where we're headed with it. Actually, when it kind of kicked this off my, the standpoint of, you know, phone prospecting, what we're kind of talking about is phone products, but kind of the best practices, what we should be doing, what we shouldn't be doing. But I want to get your thoughts on this because you brought up something really good around kind of the thought leaders on LinkedIn. And we've all seen the statistics. I'm going to read a couple to you. I'm going to get your thoughts on these. So only 2% of cold calls, phone prospecting results in an appointment, according to leap job, 74% of companies don't leave voicemails. So sales rep just Bandon 26% of the time they do 74. They don't back in 2007.
Speaker 1 00:13:44 This actually kind of shocked me a little bit. In 2007, it took 3.6, eight cold calls to reach a prospect. Today. It takes over eight. It's a little harder to reach them according to the statistics. And on average sales managers make no more than two attempts at a lead through a cold call. So after two they're done and you and I both know it's gonna probably take a lot more than two attempts in some cases to get that individual on the line. So when you hear those things, my first question to you is I always had these social selling gurus. Hey, the phone is dead. Talk to me a little bit about what is the channel doing as it still a viable channel for those listening?
Speaker 2 00:14:22 Sure. So here's the thing. So you say 2% is a result, right? And they, some people think that's horrible. Okay. What's the, what's the result for advertising in a magazine lower than that. Thank you. Yup. Right. But the difference is they get that one lead come, coming and go look at work. I'm like, okay, well you spent your copy spent 10 grand. You know, let's say 10 leads come in from, but you only get one deal out of it. And I mean, there's, you know, it might not be in your favor. Right. And listen. And if that's the case, then your company probably doesn't need 10 other sales reps sitting around. They might be able to be able to do it, you know, cut the salaries from eight of them. Keep two and just get the inbound if you want, if you want to go down that route by all means, go ahead.
Speaker 2 00:14:59 Right. Right. But the thing is is that if it takes more to get ahold of people, then you got to outwork the problem to see here's the thing. Sure. It might take more attempts, but I'm also going, I'm going to be honest with you. I can't remember the last time I got somebody when I first started sales buzz. And when the company came out and he got listed all the stuff, I was getting people cold, call me every day. I didn't even get one once a week now from people it's like such weird. I get their stupid emails. I check my spam folder every once in a while. And I'll see like a bunch of spam. I just delete them right there. Like you and I can see like the follow-up follow-up and the drip thing. And listen, I try that too. I'm trying the drip, I'm doing everything, but I'm also doing the outbound calls.
Speaker 2 00:15:38 So I think you have to have that combination there. But I think if you start calling where people, I think there's a way to go ahead and while everybody else is sleeping on the phone, you might start benefiting by everybody else. Not calling people anymore. Now, when it comes to voicemails, listen, I have a very unique system. I call, leave a voicemail, send an email, and then I will. Now sometimes what I do then is I have an automated system that'll call voicemail, email, and then I'll have two more emails go out automatically. Like one is just a reminder, but with a new hot button, then the last one B doesn't sound like right now is a perfect time for you. And you'll be more than happy to help you if this ever happens. So then I, I just need a pain and then I have a link in there for them.
Speaker 2 00:16:19 They can just schedule a call with me, but I say something memorable in that where I'm agitating that pain so that when they do have a trigger and they remember that they're going to go dig for that email. But then I also bump it to, I can't say the word followup calls, because here's the thing though. The definition of a followup calls after you've already spoken with somebody. So what I do is in my CRM, I have a lead my lead source as FTC number two, plus, which that means stands for first time, call number two or more. So if I call voicemail email, and then after those two other emails after that, that, well, I don't get anything. It moves over into the FTC number two part. And so when I have a call block time, and then so when that call block hits, I pull that lead list up.
Speaker 2 00:17:01 I just start burning through the calls. And if I, if I get voicemail, I just hang up and go to the next, next, next. And it's outworking the problem. So I'm always looking to replace and get new people in the system. We call them for the first time. First I call voicemail email, and then I move them over into the FTC. Plus two, when I get somebody on the phone, if they're qualified or we're having we're talking, but they're not ready to buy it. And they move into the working spot or they're disqualified and I moving them out, but you just have to work the problem. You just have to outwork it.
Speaker 1 00:17:29 So here's what I think you're saying, because as you've said, I just want to make sure I'm boiling down the ocean a bit. So, you know, phone it's like anything else, right? I mean, there's no such thing as a silver bullet in sales, you gotta, you gotta be doing a lot of different things and you should be out working the channels that people are not particularly leveraging to your point. I actually feel the same way. Like I can look back on my phone that I have not my cell phone, but my phone, how many calls I've actually received in the past month. And I can count them on one hand to be quite candid with you. So you're right. I 100% believe that, but it's all a part. Hey, how's that was that. Omni-channel how are we approaching it holistically? So I liked that, but let me ask you real quick on this, because the one thing you were kind of walking through is kind of preparation, the plan, most people. And I want to get your thoughts on this, the whole ICP. And should you be blocking out call times? I'm going to get the preparation before we start talking the tactics, but is that where it starts? The call reluctance is like, is that where it starts? Hey, I'm just not prepared. I don't have the basic blocking and tackling in place to even be set up for success. Is that what you're seeing? Like what's kind of the tipping point.
Speaker 2 00:18:41 Yeah. So here's the thing. It depends on, I mean, if you're a solopreneur like me, right, well, you're going to be doing multiple things. So I'm going to make sure I get some inbound leads coming in. I'm going to make sure I'm posting stuff on like that. I'm going to be doing things like this to share my knowledge, to grow the awareness, things of that nature. Right. I'm going to have my weekly newsletter that goes out to my database, give free stuff away. That's valuable. And then, you know, see if we can generate some interest that we, but then I'm also going to be okay, I'll start ties it down. I'm going to be doing some outbound calling. I'm doing everything because it's my own company is what I want to do. And I have it. Yup. Okay. If you're an organization, right? Let's say it's a smaller organization where you have 10 sales reps. What is your, what did they hire you to do if it's the sell or if it's, well, now you have things like
Speaker 1 00:19:25 SDR, BDR,
Speaker 2 00:19:26 SDR. So let's just SDR is for sales. Development is usually for people who are pre-qualifying inbound, warm leads, right? Here's this development is more where you're doing the outbound cold calling outreach, trying to get stuff going. Right. So that's, I know those acronyms get crossed, but that's technically what the difference between the two or if you're just an inside sales rep like me and I don't mean the word just, but I mean, if you're an inside sales rep, like where you handle everything from start to finish, you have to. So what's my role and responsibility. It's not list. And the last thing I want to do is hire sales reps to try to brand themselves about my company on LinkedIn. They can say something stupid, listen, kids are, I'm going to say something stupid. Get myself in hot water as it is. I don't need 10 other kids out of college saying something, right?
Speaker 2 00:20:09 So what is their job? They're not supposed to be to produce. So whether you have somebody that builds the list for them and then hands it over, right? Or you could just use something like up lead and there's other seamlessly. I, and there's all these other tools that are out there to build that list. But you have to build that list based on your ICP, your ideal customer profile, who, what are the characteristics that match with the people that buy from you the most, right? And then you have to know what to say. And so, so much. So people will always say, well, is the phone work? Well, let me ask you a question. If they were interested in, you had to sell them. Like you have to qualify. You have to present on how are you going to do that? Okay. Well, if you say computer, are you going to do a live demo?
Speaker 2 00:20:48 It's still a phone, right? That's the same thing. I don't have a hard phone anymore. It's all voice on my computer. Right? So you still have to have that conversation. And are you doing a face to face or are you doing it virtually? So we can just call it that, right? If that's what your job is to do is to generate business. And whether you're going to pre-qualify and hand it to an account exec where you hand everything in between, you have to have a system in place. And no wonder why so many salespeople have call reluctance because their companies have onboarding training, right? Product knowledge, training, service, knowledge, training, whatever you want to call it. And then they go, Hey, we hired you. You said you had some experience. There's a phone years, leisure your CRM, you know how to work. So I didn't get to it.
Speaker 2 00:21:26 You don't bring me some deals. Right? And then they start to feel the pressure or whatever as time goes on, they don't have anything in the pipeline. Next thing you know, they quit or get fired. It's rinse and repeat. And it's expensive to everybody. You have to have formal training. I mean, just on the basics, just just know that, like, if I, if I guarantee you, you can just probably get any one of your gurus on here. Sales grows. I will, Hey, listen. Okay. Let's agree that you got them on the phone. What's the value. Once you've piqued interest and gain permission, you've got them willing to have a continence prospect out of the blue. They're willing to have a conversation with you. What is the purpose of the very first question you're supposed to ask the prospect and I have yet to find somebody that knows what the answer is.
Speaker 2 00:22:05 And it's very simple. The answer is you have to ask a question that's called, I call it an engagement question. Now, what does the engagement question do? An engagement question puts your prospect's attention in an area. You need them thinking about no. Why do I want to do that? Well, I want to do that because I have to ask two or three questions to get them involved and get them to see if a problem exists. Because if I can't get them to recognize a problem, they're never going to pay for a solution. You know, they're never going to listen to the solution level and pay for a solution if they don't recognize a problem. Right. And it's amazing to me that a lot of salespeople don't realize that that's the first step. A lot of times, I say, when you're calling a first-time prospect and you get them on the phone, what's your purpose.
Speaker 2 00:22:48 Some people say to close them and they go, well, how do you close on qualified lead? Well, I already know they're qualified. Really? How do you know that? Well, they have the right title and they match this. They match my SAP. Okay. But what if they don't have a problem that exists, that your solution solves, right? They're like, ah, they're not listening. They're not qualified. Then they might be down the road with something that happens. They need to change. But that means right now. Okay. What if they don't have the money? Will they always have confined the money? Really? Are you the decision maker on what car you drive? Yeah. Would you like to drive a Lamborghini? Yeah. Can you afford the payments on 300 grand right now? No. Guess what? You're the decision maker, but you can't afford that car. Right? So when I try to say this to them, they realize I'm like, listen, there really is a simple, step-by-step basic process of the sales. And if you learn this, you're going to sell a shit ton more because it's all about calling. The first thing I do every time I call a lead is the first thing that pops in my head is, you know what, let me just call, see if I can help this person. So that settles me down. It takes the anxiety away. I'm just calling to see if I can,
Speaker 1 00:23:51 Hey Mike. So real quick on that. So your initial approach is, Hey, we're not picking up that phone. Cause call reluctance not call your approach to kind of lower. That barrier is, Hey, let me just see if there's an opportunity to help this individual. That's why I'm actually picking up the phone.
Speaker 2 00:24:06 It has to be because when I first got into sales, right, it was, I'm not gonna be able to eat, you know, there's no salary or whatever. I was like, I have your clothes. And what I learned through that is I close people. I shouldn't have in the back. Then there was art. We would get an RMA once in a while it was Stanford return, merchandise authorization. Then your commission checks goes back out, whatever you don't feel good about yourself. And so, so I went through that process really early on. I go know I'm not doing that anymore. No matter how desperate things get. And then so I mean, there was literally times on the, on my way to work. And I just know that man, the gatekeepers are going to be a pain in the ass. They're gonna shut me down. Like the anxiety was just building and it was just wasn't fun. But my back was to the wall
Speaker 1 00:24:47 Back to that, because that makes sense to me. I just want to kind of for the audience, there's no secret remedy there, but it was you. That's how you approach it. Just to kind of, Hey, let me pick up this phone, but let me see. My approach is how can I help this individual?
Speaker 2 00:25:00 What I ended up learning is that's always what you should be. There's times now I've turned deals away because it wasn't the right thing for them. And you just, you know, you sleep better at night and Carmen goes back to you. But yes, you know, it's always let me call and see if I can help them. And it acknowledges it, calm me down, takes that fear away. But it also has you in the right presence of mind and it also has the right tone and the right level. And you're able to take the canal. Just that alone is not enough because you can have the best intentions. But if you don't have a well laid out plan, you're not going to be as successful as you could be. Right. So when it comes to, I want to call, see if I can help. I need to know that the only way from making an outbound call to get them willing, to want to at least spend more than the first five seconds with me on that call because I break things on, like, I just want to get to the next step.
Speaker 1 00:25:51 Yeah. There are micro steps. That's what you're doing. You're not trying to, they're all micro.
Speaker 2 00:25:55 Absolutely. So the first night, the first I'm in the batter's box, I'm more of a hockey guy, but I'll use a baseball analogy. I'm in the batter's box. And every time I pick up the phone, I want to get to first base first. Even if I hit a double, I still, I can't run over the pitchers mound straight to second base. I got to go to first and then, then, then second. Right. So, okay. Well, how am I going to get the first? Well, I have to peak their interest. I have to get them interested in hearing having a conversation with me. Right. Okay. Well, how do I do that? Well, in the first few seconds of the call, you have to have a what's in it for them. Most people I go. W w what do you say when you call? Uh, well, at first I do a lot of research.
Speaker 2 00:26:32 No, no, no. Forget all that. Let's just say you call somebody, right. You're ready to call them. What do you say? And they would do their introduction. I go, and we provide blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it's like this whole radio pixel, like, dude, I already hung up on you don't even realize it. So, no, you have to think in the terms of Twitter, like really short truncated, real quick agitate that paint, scratch headaches within a few hundred and 40 characters. And once you, you take what you do, but then you have to think of what problems does it solve? What problems do they have to have in order for them to be somewhat interested. And when you start thinking of it in that way, like, let me give you an ex, here's a bad example. You're ready. Let's say you're a sales director.
Speaker 2 00:27:10 I already did research. You meet my ICP and I call, Hey, listen. The reason for my call is we provide online sales training. Like to ask you a few questions, that'd be okay. And you're like, well, you'd probably be like, uh, no, we already have something in house. And then I'm forced to the habits. Well, yeah, but we're different because now I'm doing a mini spray and pray. And if you're polite, you'll say, well, just send me some information. And now I think I got one on the line and I'm chasing you. And I got you in the pipeline. It's never going to come in and on chasing Deadwood. Right? Okay. Or I could realize that my target audience probably already had some, have an internal training program or they paid somebody for in the past, but they might still be having the problems I saw.
Speaker 2 00:27:46 So if I call it latest, Michael firstname.lastname@example.org reason for my call, I specialize in helping outbound sales teams overcome call reluctance. Now let me just stop right there. Even if you already have a training program in place, but if you have 10 or more reps, chances are, some of them are still struggling with, are we locked in? Even if your initial reactions to want to say, no, it's probably choking in your no, it's probably choking in your throat a little bit. You're like, okay, I got a second. Go ahead. And that's all I needed. I just bought myself that next five seconds.
Speaker 1 00:28:15 And now you're trying to say, okay, I got to second base now, what am I trying to accomplish?
Speaker 2 00:28:19 When they say, okay, a month first and to be, to be safe on second is part of the qualifying. Okay. So now they gave me permission to like, yeah, I got a second. Go ahead. Well, this is where I got to come with my, your engagement question. You have to be able to ask and engage your question. But yes, it's not about the exact question cause that's going to change based on your industry. But the purpose of the question is the same, no matter what industry and you ask and engage your question. Why? Because you want to ask a question that puts your prospect's attention in an area that you want them thinking about. So here's a real quick example. And if they go, yeah, I guess I can go ahead and I go, great. Well, listen, your sales team, are they handling inbound warm leads or are they doing outbound prospecting?
Speaker 2 00:28:58 Now, let me just stop right there. I don't give two shifts how they answer, right? It could be this. It could be that it could be a combination. It could be none of those it's yes, but we're talking. I mean, I do care about the answer in the sense of it's gonna, you know, help me, you know, find out some of their problems. But the whole point was is that it got them talking about an era. I want them think about their sales team. And now I can, I'm in the perfect position for my next question, which for me is an opportunity sized question. I'll go great. How many sales reps do you have? If they go one, I'm not going to be on the phone long with them, right? They go 10 or more, five or more. Okay. Then you see how I'm working to serve. It's all little steps in a conversational way.
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Speaker 1 00:30:16 So just to make sure I'm just kind of boiling this down again, right? So a what'd they say in today's day and age, you got about eight seconds to create interest or it's gone. I think you said five, which is right there. Right? So how do I get your interests? Right? How do I get that without you just automatically out of the gates and go pound sand from there, it's asking the engagement question or engaging question to kind of get my mind in the right frame of things. And then it's the opportunity like, right. That's kind of the, if I have one, not really worth my time to continue this conversation or third time necessarily, but have 10 or more. Okay. The conversation can move from there.
Speaker 2 00:30:53 Right. And then the third question I get to the pain point, problem question. Right? And so it's, it's a series of questions that I'm going through. I have, I have six questions for problem recognition. The first three are mandatory. The other three are optional, but the first three are definitely mandatory. And, and again, the reason why the program that I have that helps so many salespeople is because no matter what you sell, when you start taking the training and you start outlining this and you get your playbooks, you start creating, you start filling in the blank lines of your questions that you use. You yourself could go, okay, for my engaged question, I like this question. The guy in the cubicle next to you could go, you know what? I like this question instead that they create, but they're all on the same page of what the strategy is. No playbook and too many salespeople. They're captain Wingnuts. And you know, you get the one person that has intuition and can be really successful, but you can't teach intuition and everybody else is trying to follow them, but they're using those techniques in the wrong spot and it's just not working. And that's a problem it's because they don't have the foundation. And that's a problem
Speaker 1 00:31:54 Without a doubt. So let me ask you this. So as we're having this conversation, you know, we brought up a lot of different things. Know you've kind of brought up a, Hey, here's how I approach things. Here's how you're going to be successful. Like I think you've mentioned, Hey, you'll tend to X what you're making right now. If you follow these kind of rules of thumb, if you will. So what do you typically see are like the biggest, I don't want to say full Paul's. I have no fish. I don't even know what the language is, but what's kind of the biggest mistakes that you're seeing. Just how can I know you listened to a ton of them. You do, that's all you do training, or you do a ton of training, all these things. Like what are the biggest things like, Hey, if you're doing this, you're killing yourself before you have a chance to continue the dialogue. Is it the whole, Hey, I'm with blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This is what we do. Give us some insight. And maybe some of the things we be staying away from as well, like,
Speaker 2 00:32:41 Well, five or 10 years ago, I would say that now they're not even, they're not even picking up the phone. So they're not even making that mistakes. They're not picking the phone. They're sending a bunch of emails out. Right? And listen, I am all for, if the emails are going to get them to book on a call with you, right? Because I use, I use that to write there's some times I'll use that depends on situation, but once they book a call with you, you just got to first base now what? And they don't know what to do. So the first thing is maybe if I have to answer the way you're answering, what I see today is I think people are looking for the easy way out. And I'm sorry, I've been doing this for a long time and it's just not going to get easier.
Speaker 2 00:33:18 There's a reason why, if you want to make this six figures in sales, right, it's going to take, you have to be really good. And sure. If you're lucky enough where you're working at a very big organization that has the whole machine, the inbound leads and the process and everything, and you're killing it, you're making a quarter million dollars doing that stuff. That's great. You don't get too sure of yourself that because you might go to someplace else for some reason, and all of a sudden, you can't close the door behind you. You have to constantly make sure that your skills are level are where they need to be. Right. And it, listen, I've been through several recessions. When I started my first company back in 2002, it was right when the.com bomb hit. And I was still successful. During that, I ended up selling that in 2007, started sales bus 2008, 2009, 2010 ish area. Right. I was some twine around it. And what happened in the housing market happened yet in both scenarios, even though it was tough, I knew my sales pro I knew how to sell. And if you can survive and do well during downtimes downtimes, aren't going to last forever, right? You're going to do really well when times get hot. Same is true when things are high, they're not going to last forever. It's going to go down again. So you really want to make sure you're always improving yourself so that you can survive.
Speaker 1 00:34:37 Yup. You know, I don't disagree with you at all. I mean, I think that's a, a to the point of where I was going with that as like, Hey, where are the things that you're seeing the biggest gaps? And I think you're right. Hey, people are a lot more hesitant. If they even pick up the phone. I was actually talking to someone, Mike, I don't know, a couple of weeks ago. And they tied it back to, you know, the generations thrall a texting generation. Now they don't really pick up the phone anymore to talk to their friends. And is that having an impact on shareholders? I'm not a psychiatrist. I'm not behavioral analysts, wherever the hell they're called, but okay. Let's say let's chalk it up to that, but you're right. I mean, as we're having these conversations and we're getting deeper and wider, you're right. There's some organizations that you might be lucky enough to Salesforce is of the world. These well-oiled machines, they're just feeding. You leads that that's a pretty good gig. But to your point, that doesn't last forever. Or you try to venture out in a different path that does not a well-oiled machine. And you refined that skillset. You're going to die on the vine pretty damn quickly. If you're not holding in those skills,
Speaker 2 00:35:44 Here's the thing. I'm really starting to see a lot of people. Listen, I don't care if you texted, I don't care if you call, I don't care. You're standing, you know, dude, you could send smoke range or a pigeon carrier. I could care less. But when you get the conversation started, when you get somebody interested, well, what do you do from there? I mean, cause don't forget. And whether you're using social media to generate those inbound more leads, they go, okay, well you just got the first base. Well, how do you get the second, third home plate on a high consistency level, rather than just trying to get the easy, you know, the people we're going to buy eating no matter how bad of a salesperson you were. Right? Which means you're just an order taker. You know? So listen, if you're an order taker and you're making six figures then great, but that might not last forever. Right? That type of situation.
Speaker 1 00:36:26 You know my car, I'll never forget my, an old mentor of mine many moons ago. He used to say, listen, there's the low hanging fruit that everyone's going to get a portion of. There's the never going to get you keep chasing the white whales where the good successful people live is the one in the middle where they're getting the low hanging fruit. But they're also have the ability to go clip off all that metal hanging where the lower reps, just, they live on the low hanging. If it doesn't come to them, they're not even going to try to tackle the middle. That always resonated with me that that's where the good lives that's where the successful reps thrive is in those areas in between. I think it's actually even more applicable today. I don't know if you would agree with that or not
Speaker 2 00:37:09 1000%. It was a very smart sales manager. Whoever told you that. Absolutely.
Speaker 1 00:37:13 I am almost of the accord as we're talking through this because you were talking about the bad and the good and technology being the good it's been allowing us. I do remember the phone book, dial for dollars, call through the phone book, put it in my tickler file, you know, for next month and call them back those types of things. But someone mentioned to me the other day as well, I was actually on a podcast. They were like, you know, technologies either made good salespeople even better or it's made lazy salespeople even lazier.
Speaker 2 00:37:41 Yeah. That is a million percent for sure. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And you use the other thing too. There's a lot of negative situations that can happen with straight commission sales reps, you know, in, in a phone room type scenario. Okay. But the great thing is about it is that it really makes you rise to the level or you get out where, but there's a lot of pressure. They align care over the home life, things of that nature. There's a lot of stress in that, right? Cause you got to produce, right. These people are getting these nice salaries or whatever. A lot of times we're living at home and they can, they can live off the $40,000. So they don't need that extra. If they get a little bonus, it's fine. And that's part of the problem as well. Right? So, and with all of that being said, I really think there's something that we can learn from the younger generation about how the work life balance really is.
Speaker 2 00:38:25 They're really trying to take that into more important, which is really important really on one go around here. Right? So you, so I do respect that, that they can bring that to the table and they need to strive to have the Lamborghinis in the freezer or the, you know, the big mansions or whatever. Right. But they want, they want a little smart. They want to save, they want to enjoy it. I totally respect that. And I'm appreciative that with that being said, there's gotta be that fine tune balance where they could be. I mean, listen, if we're going to, if you're going to work eight hours a day, you might as well be the best at that. You can't. So you can close everything that you can so that you can go off and live your life and make the most out of. Right. Right.
Speaker 1 00:39:01 So if you're just kind of boiling it down, cause we talked about a lot of different things. We're talking about call reluctance, picking up the phone. Let's just start there. Right. A lot of people ain't even doing that. So separate yourself from the pack back to picking up the phone. Once you actually pick up the phone, you've given some tips and techniques, right? What's the engaging question. What's the opportunity, you know, w what's the conversation you're having to keep, like you said, it's getting to first to second to third, I can't skip the second. I still gotta pass the first base. If I'm just like, I'm like, Hey, my, I am struggling. I don't know what to do. I'm not very good at the phone. I have call reluctance. I've never picked up whatever the excuse or rationalization is outside and highly recommend your course because my couple of my members have actually taken it. So it's a phenomenal course. Like what are some of the things that you would recommend to start going down that path to start getting more? I'm going to say more better, but
Speaker 2 00:39:54 Yeah, I'm going to do I'm with you. First thing I said is books on the owner of the company. He needs a whip on his credit card and buy the course for everybody. That'd be the first thing. Cause there's, I mean, it's just, you're you're asking me to give 25 years of experience in like a five second answer where the course wouldn't fix that for you, but we're being set. So here's, here's the process. You're ready. One, make sure you're calling. See if you can help. That's going to take the pressure off too. You should know exactly what to say before you pick up the phone. If you get the prospect gatekeeper or a voicemail too many times, people call is stop me. If you've heard this before from one of your reps or a rep, you might've heard before they call and the prospect actually answers the phone and they go, oh, I didn't expect to get you.
Speaker 2 00:40:32 Like it threw them off their game. I'm like, what are you doing? So you shouldn't be for every time you pick up the phone, here's the beauty of this. I already know what's going to happen. I'm either going to be a gatekeeper prospect or the voicemail. And if I get the gatekeeper, I'm going to say this. If I get voicemail to say this, and if I get the prospect, I'm going to say this. You should know that before you pick up the phone so that the, the opening value statement has two jobs, right? So, so I break the sales process on the four quadrants, right before levels. If you will like a video game, like four levels, level one is your opener. Okay? There's a very specific job that the opener has to do. And it has to be done in this order. Ready? It's very simple. You first have to peak interest and then gain permission to continue the call peaking interest just makes sense. Right? You have to, if you want to get the mention, now the controversy thing is, is gaining permission because people like, oh, I don't want to ask them permission because they can say me no. And then the call is going to end. Well, if you did the first part, which was beat their interest, they wouldn't say no.
Speaker 1 00:41:29 Right? I
Speaker 2 00:41:32 Can tell you what it is. If you peak interest, right? They're not going to say no. Or if they do like right now, it's really not a good time. I have a rebuttal or listen, I understand you could probably get tons of calls like this, but I'm not calling you out of the blue light. There's a really good chance. It might be to help your team solve X, Y, Z. I just need to ask you some questions. Would that be okay? So then I try that second attempt. And usually what I'll hear is, you know what I do want to talk to you, but right now it's not really a good time. Or they could just do the third thing is I'm not as, and that's fine, but 90% of the time, if you have the right opener and you peak interest, they're going to say, okay, okay, okay. So that's level one. They said, okay, now what do I do? Well now you're in level two. There are three phases to level two. The first phase is you have to establish if there's a problem that exists. Because like I said, the reason why salespeople love inbound, warm leads, whether they realize it or not is the person
Speaker 1 00:42:20 Or the person that told that person to call a research, recognize a problem. And they want to find the solution. That's what makes it a warm lead, right? So for successful cold calling, you have to agitate that pain, scratch, edits, get their interests, and then ask a couple of questions to bubble up, to see if they can recognize a problem. That's the first phase of qualifying. And you have to know those series of questions and what word asking and why to ask. But when you do it makes it simpler. Now let's say you get, you asked your three to six questions that I, that I mentioned. And by the way, some people are going to go, oh my God, it's six questions. I can't ask for that. Listen, I've actually, role-played this. And I've had real life calls or share. You can do it within a minute and a half. You can get through this whole thing. If you, if you just sound a conversation, you're just peppering them in real fluid, but it's all strategy they might. But on that note, that's also coming from someone that's already coming from a call reluctance space of mine that has not picked up a phone is not have a, I don't want to say a script talking points is not having mapped out. Like you're going to rationalize, Hey, why I can't get six questions in if you're not doing the other stuff. So, but go ahead
Speaker 2 00:43:26 Using all the baggage that they've had and it doesn't work well when I show them how, and they're like, oh, and then they try and like, damn, right? Yeah. So then let's say you ask the right questions and the responses you get. There's a problem. They agreed. Yeah. That's a problem. They would like, you know, how would you solve that? This is where too many salespeople will go. Well, let me tell you. And then they, they skipped so many steps and they jumped right to the third phase, which is presentation. Like no. Before you jumped to that, you got to pepper in a few more questions. You got to go to the second phase of qualifying, which is you got to identify their role in the decision making process. And then once that's done, you want to qualify them on price. And that's, that's very controversial because a lot of people go well, wait, my manager told me I had to talk about price until after the presentation.
Speaker 2 00:44:08 And I'm like, listen, if you hold off on price after the presentation, while you're giving a presentation, half the time, they're wondering what this cost, or they're only half listening. You're way better off to give a price range. As the last step in the qualifying, before agreeing to do a demo. Like for me, once I qualify something, there's a problem they want solve. I find out who they are in the decision making process. If there's somebody that can make the decisions, a part of decision making team and the timeframe looks right and, and the problems are looking to solve, I can do I go, listen, okay. Before I show you how to do this, I can already tell you that you're going to be between this price and that price. So if you really like what I have to offer, and you decide you want to move forward with it.
Speaker 2 00:44:45 And is that price range fit for you guys? Right? It's either. Yes, no. Or maybe it fix it. Yes. I don't talk about anymore. We'll come back to we'll we'll negotiate yet, but guess what? They can't tell me when I go for close. It's not in the budget. They just told me it was right. Or if they say no, no, that's not. I go, well, you know, there's really two types of nos. There's no, I can't afford that if my life depended on it. And then there's the, no, I might be able to find something just as good or maybe even better elsewhere for less, which no. Are we talking about here? And if they go, I think I might be able to find something better for less and go, you know what? Maybe you can, maybe you can't. But my question was, if you decide that we're the one that you have to have after you learn about it and the price range is this, is that doable for you in that scenario?
Speaker 2 00:45:28 Go away. If I decide is okay, cool. And then I just move on to the phase three of prolong. Let me, let me explain how this works and then I'll answer any questions you have and we'll just take it from there. Fair enough. They go, okay. And then bam, I go to the presentation. I knew that all of these little things that are rolling off like butter for me right now is all mapped out. I've role, play this over and over again. And I know that this is the process, right? And once you have that, you know, you take it as far as you can, by the way, if you're listening to this, your job as a sales rep is not to close. Every, every lead you come across, that's not your job. Your job is to close as many qualified prospects, as fast as possible. And for them to be qualified, they have to have a problem. You can help solve. They have to be a decision maker or part of the decision making team, or at least influencing decision decision-making. And they have to be able to afford your solution should the company, or they decide they want it. So you have to learn how to get all of that stuff out before doing the presentation. And so this is a process. You're not that you're going to make money.
Speaker 1 00:46:28 You know, it's funny, you mentioned that because you know, somebody broke it down for me at one point in time that, and I don't know, I'm sure there's a lot better closing averages, but let's say on average, across sales in general, let's say it's a 30% close average. I'm just throwing it out there. That's fine. That's telling you the majority of the time, you know what? You're not closing something 60, 70% of the time, for whatever reason they're not budget and all of authority, they don't need, they don't, whatever methodology we're following and the criteria are. But I think walking into that, there's some safety or some security knowing, Hey, I'm not always, I'm not going to bat a thousand. That's unex, that's unachievable. That's an unrealistic expectation. And there's some value to that in my estimation.
Speaker 2 00:47:08 Yeah. And when you look at it from the point of rather than saying, well, I'm not going to about a thousand, but when you look at it like, well, my job is to close as many qualified prospects as fast as possible. And once you know the true definition, quality, the reason why I like that better is because you're going to blow a few sales. There's going to be some days you're going to look back and go down. That person was qualified. I lost that deal. And when that happens to me, right, it's like poison sitting in my stomach. But what I do is I back up and go, what step did I skip? Right. And that's what I did early on in my sales course. Like what did I, instead of blaming pricing or this or that or whatever. Right. I looked and tried to point the finger at myself and go, where did I go wrong?
Speaker 2 00:47:47 I should've, that was a qualified deal. I should have won that business. And then there's going to be some times that you couldn't have done anything, right? Like they had to go with their brother-in-law, who was in the same business, right. Or something stupid, but there's gonna be other times you go, you know what? I missed this step. And that is the sweetest best investment you could ever make in yourself. Because what you do is it didn't cause you to think other than the sale of that commission, but you analyze it go, oh, I miss this step. And when you recognize it and you swallow that pill, it's really unlikely unless you're very stupid that you're going to be making that mistake a lot in the future. Right. Listen, you know, sometimes that kind of education is the best
Speaker 1 00:48:25 Without a doubt. I mean, before all this, you know, conversation, intelligence, the gongs, the courses, the , I mean, what a valuable tool to be able to listen to yourself in real time and self-critique understand what you said to your point, where did it go off the tracks? Could I, what should I have said, could have said the whole nine yards it's invaluable. That goes back to the whole technology conversation we're having. That's the good about it. Hey, so Mike, I know we've been bumping up against that. Tell people how they get ahold of you, how they learn more about sales buzz, how they connect with you.
Speaker 2 00:48:56 Yeah. Sales, buzz.com. Listen, all my knowledge of the sales steps that you need to know that it's helped me go from, you know, washing dishes to selling a seven figure company and then starting another one. And just being on the phone, I have everything in this on-demand platform. I've been doing it for a long time. I know e-learning is like taking off now. I just got into it early. Like I started with 12 years ago. Believe it or not. Totally. It was really tough to sell online training because I was like, what do you mean? Aren't you going to fly out here and do a one day training session? And I'm like, well, why? So when I leave, I take all my knowledge with me and you just pay 10 grand for nothing. I'm like, no. So now it's way more affordable. It's all online. It's, there's a process there. So you go to salesforce.com. I have your company. I'm not big into selling to individual sales reps. I'm really not. I'd rather the company pick it up and then just let everybody have access to it. But if you're an individual, your company, won't then sure you can contact with your salesforce.com. We can work something out for you as well.
Speaker 1 00:49:47 We're going to include Michael's contact information all in the show notes. So for those that didn't have a pen and writing all that down, we'll we'll do that for you. I sincerely appreciate the time I thoroughly loved the conversation
Speaker 2 00:50:00 And I hope your listeners. I hope I wasn't too harsh.
Speaker 1 00:50:02 No, no worries. Hey, thanks again, Mike. Have a great night.
Speaker 2 00:50:05 Thanks. Take care, guys.
Speaker 0 00:50:08 Thank you for listening to the sales samurai podcast with your host, Sam Capra, be sure you subscribe to our podcast and visit sales samurai.io and join the conversation. Access show notes and discover bonus content.
Founder of SalesBuzz
Michael Pedone is the founder of SalesBuzz.com, an online sales training company that offers bite-sized eLearning modules that enable sales teams to improve their skills set and results quickly. Take a sales course now for free and learn how to get more prospects to call you back.