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Alex Winter

By Alex Winter

Mar 4, 2024

Topics:

Advanced They Ask, You Answer Sales Process Endless Customers Podcast
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Advanced They Ask, You Answer  |   Sales Process  |   Endless Customers Podcast

Stop Losing Money: Communication Failures Are Hurting Your Bottom Line [Endless Customers Podcast S.1 Ep.11]

Alex Winter

By Alex Winter

Mar 4, 2024

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Devon
So your sales numbers and KPIs are down because of a reason that you're probably not expecting. Your gut's gonna tell you that you have some process, something that's jacked up. I'll tell you flat out, your main reason for losing business and not winning deals is your communication.

Alex
No kidding, wow. I can't wait to talk about it, Devon, let's go.

Devon
Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.

Alex
Welcome back to the Endless Customers Podcast. My name is Alex Winter and today I'm joined by Devin McCarty, coach and trainer here at IMPACT. He's also a video expert. He's also just a really great guy.

Devon
Devon, welcome to the show. Thanks, Alex, man. How have you been?

Alex
I've been good. I've been really good. How about you? How are things? Really good. Been an interesting year so far. We're getting after it for sure. Yes, indeed.

Alex
It's been an interesting one. interesting. But there's a really important topic that we need to discuss that I think is going to help people and businesses stay on track. And it's really centered around communication failures and how important communication is, especially when it comes to your bottom line.

Alex
I don't think people realize communication directly affects your bottom line and your business. So can you first off talk to us about why salespeople need to have communication training, even if they think they're the best communicator in the world, why do they need to continually be training and learning and growing?

Devon
Yeah, so a lot of salespeople have had some kind of training where that training comes from, how up to date that training is, is a little bit of a conversation starter for a lot of us. So what we've noticed in the years that we've been trading sales teams all over the world, multiple industry sizes, is that a lot of them show up with some of those bad habits. They wanna talk about themselves.

Devon
They wanna focus on the pitches first. They kind of show up and close their ears and just get into the rhythm of what they wanted to talk about. And it's a bad conversation. The entire conversation is focused on them just pitching something or just trying to explain or convince or push.

Devon
And then they get really confused on why. They're not getting really good reactions on the other side of the fence. The people are pulling back, they're crossing their arms, they're kind of leaning back, they're kind of not engaging in the way that they were expecting for the quality of call that they should be having.

Devon

And if you analyze it, it's rooted in communication issues. Basics of not paying attention, listening, actually responding versus just showing up, throwing up information, and then hoping it all works out just because you're a talented salesperson. It's a very common problem, but it's also something that's incredibly fixable.

Alex
Yeah, as soon as you said it, you make a really good point. Because I've been on sales calls on both sides of the fence, and it almost sounds like you're talking about that shtick, or that one sheet, that like, here's the presentation, I've done this 100 times, I have it dialed in, and maybe it's really great,

Alex
the delivery and all the things, but you're not having a conversation. There's no back and forth, you're not learning and understanding the needs and wants and desires of whoever you're talking to, you're just kind of spewing or word vomiting, right?

Devon
Yeah, absolutely. I get, like, personally, I get so frustrated if I'm actually interested in the product or service, and then for some reason, I can't get a question out. I've got specific questions or things I need to understand for me to even take this conversation further, but then I'll show up to somebody and they just don't care. Hey, so how big is your business?

Devon
How many people do you have? Look, dude, we'll get there, but I've got questions that I brought to this meeting, and honestly, if I'm the customer, I have more power in that moment than the salesperson who's showing up, thinking that they want to control the conversation. It's a bad conversation.

Alex
Yeah, so for sales folks that are out there, because I know you coach and train a lot of people on this, you work with a lot of really amazing companies. How do you get them to start to understand that and like maybe break some of those habits that like you don't just get on a call and start asking all these questions and going through the list and how do you shift the mindset and start to get them to understand and see the value of why it's important to approach it differently?

Devon
Yeah, a big part of it is spending some time really digging into what do you as a customer expect to see? Now let's switch gears. What do you as a salesperson actually do to your customers? Because people are really, really strong about saying they want to know the stuff that their customers wanna know. I wanna know how much it costs. I wanna know what the problems are gonna be. I just need to understand some stuff.

Devon
But then in the sales role, they ignore all that stuff and they just start talking. So a big starting point is let's just talk about what we're like as customers first. Okay, so now to analyze, what are we like as salespeople second, and what's the gap in between? Why is it such a big gap? And then after you really align on the fact that,

Devon
okay, what I would want to see as a customer is not at all what I'm delivering as a salesperson, then it goes, cool, what are we gonna do about that? Let's actually start reviewing some of our real conversations. So start recording your sales calls. You know it's a gap, you know there's a difference. Let's go see how big this problem is.

Devon
Get a swath of recordings from your sales force and review a couple of them. Really dig in and see, is this problem a real problem? Is this a problem, a manufacturer problem that we think we have? Go with the data points. First start by getting real clear with your sales team on the difference between them as a customer

Devon
and them as a salesperson. And then go to the sales calls in your business, see what you're seeing, listen to what you're hearing, figure out what's actually being stated, and then talk to them. With what you know as a customer and what you now see yourself doing as a salesperson,

Devon
you tell me, is this the right path forward for our customers? Probably not. And then it's a much different organic, holistic conversation because you're just looking and thinking about yourself as a customer, not a salesperson with a KPI rev goal.

Alex
And that's a big piece. I really, I find that a lot of the conversations are, the bottom line is what's the price, or what's this gonna cost me? And it's really the art of the dance around how you navigate that conversation, and that's the elephant in the room, right? So for a lot of salespeople,

Alex
where do you draw the line on like, you need to get to price, maybe you wanna try to push the price up, or upsell, you don't want to leave money on the table. Like, how do you find that balance as a salesperson? I know you said reviewing calls is a big one, but how else can you, through conversations, find that sweet spot, so you're not like scaring people

Alex
away, but you're also not leaving money on the table?

Devon
No, I love that, that's such a good question. Because we get stuck a lot on, we just want to own our price, this is what we charge, this is how we charge it, and we just are so proud of it, this is what it is. We don't care who you are or what you do. And I just think that's lazy. I just think that really negates the point of the conversation.

Devon
There are a ton of things that agencies like ours can do for companies that work with us for IMPACT. We can do web stuff, paid ad stuff, and there's this other coaching and training arm that we're talking about right now. So we could really do everything for any company and charge you out the nose for web development, paid ad campaigns,

Devon
coaching and training, we could absolutely come in and give you a $75,000 a month retainer. There's no way that's gonna matter to anybody who doesn't really understand why would we be doing any of that stuff, how it would affect their bottom line. So to me, it's through the conversation. Know what you're offering, know basically what your packages are gonna be,

Devon
but then use your conversation to actually figure out what the prescription needs to be. Thing that drives me nuts is people show up with a prescription without understanding the problem. And I think that's so flawed in our directive. I would love for universal practice to take this specific idea that until

we can really paint the problem with the same accuracy

Devon
as the person who's telling us about their problem, we in a sales position don't have the rights to prescribe them anything. How could we? We don't know really what they need, so why on earth would they be a good fit for whatever we're offering? Because then they're only caring about the price tag anyway.

Devon
Instead, if you dive into that conversation, you get real clear what is going on with your business. What is that doing to you? What happens if we don't change it? How have you tried to solve this in the past? You get into this real good conversation and on the way you start thinking through, okay, so they've got this kind of problem,

Devon
they've got this kind of problem, this is what's going on with them, and then you should be good enough to put together a package that actually makes sense for them. That's the price that they should hear from you. Not that you showed up with your price tag ready to go because they're a big company

Devon
and you know how much money they can handle, you had a good organic conversation about what they actually needed to be doing. You've built trust with them because they're actually for the first time working with a person who's listening to them, responding to them, not just waiting for their turn to talk at them, and then at the end of that conversation you're having a real conversation about price. You're having a real conversation about where you're going, but it's now rooted in what problems we see, what solutions exist, and how we're gonna work together to solve them, not this weird Commoditized how much are you worth and can you prove the value of it?

Alex
That makes so much sense as soon as you as soon as you said it then the analogy that you used to it's it almost Sounds like the health care model where it's like most doctors just push pills It's like oh here just take this pill and it'll fix everything Not really understanding maybe your symptoms or what's really wrong with you or it's like literally preventative health care versus reactive health care same thing looks like preventative sales versus reactive sales, right? It's like really trying to understand the problems needs want of a CEO and owner a business and Then meeting them where they are and then do you find to if I'm saying this probably do you find to that for salespeople? They just want numbers they want it

Alex
They want to like close deals But it sounds like what you're saying is Maybe not all deals are the right deals to close and that you shouldn't always just be going in the mindset of like, I have to make my numbers, I have to close this, and it's more about being helpful and really trying to provide a service that's gonna help people grow that has value and listening to them instead of just selling them

Alex
whatever you can while you can.

Devon
Yeah, a lot of that has to do with your leadership and what they're recommending that you do. I know a ton of by the numbers leaders. They have their KPIs, you're gonna make 100 dials a day from that 100 dials a day, you're gonna close 10% of them. They've got it all baked out. And there's

nothing wrong with that to a certain point. I just legitimately feel like we're missing

Devon
so much opportunity to train our people to slow down to speed up. Not every person who would be willing to jump on a call with you is worth your time, and vice versa. So if we instead can really get good at explaining to the people that we work with who we're a good fit for,

Devon
who we're a terrible fit for, and making sure that our conversations are rooted in having the right conversations, speeding up, close, losting the bad conversations, we get a lot of that time back that we're wasting on hope. I hope this is a good call. It's out, they agree to the appointment. I hope it goes somewhere.

Devon
Instead of really thinking about who are they, what do they want, what are their motivations, are we even the right fit for them? I would rather us celebrate a KPI of, I closed a lot of these things because they were not worth our time, as opposed to I tried to win a whole bunch of business that is bad business, that we're gonna have to suffer through

Devon
because I was just really good at convincing people to do something they're not ready to do. I need to make sure, go ahead.

Alex
Yeah, no, that's well said. It's the right clientele, because you know if you're selling people just to hit your numbers, you might pick up some not good fit clients that's gonna end up causing way more problems and headaches for the company overall than maybe saying no, passing,

Alex
referring them somewhere else, and then picking up clients that are really the right fit, that you know you can help, that you know you're gonna crush it, and it's just gonna be a win-win for everybody that's involved.

Devon
Yeah, and think of your long game, right? Short term, I can totally tell how by the books, let's get these huge whales in here, sell them whatever you think you need to sell them, don't even worry about the details, we'll cross that bridge when we get there. So you have a big fish that burns out in two months. Or you figure out how to really meet them where they are,

Devon
you build a program that's centered around solving their problems, and then over time as you work together, you build trust, you can start growing those accounts and the other things that you know that they could be doing with you, you've got rapport built, you've got trust built, you've got proof now that you're not selling snake oil,

Devon
and it lets you organically work with a customer for a lot longer and find real ways to work with them in a different capacity. I think we have a bad habit of going, I just, I have this revenue goal, I have this revenue gap, let me just get this big thing in here just to solve it for a second, but I would rather us really go after these,

Devon
these smaller focus starting points to get them exactly what they need, establish that trust, and then

start building it up from there. Really making it whatever you want it to be for as long as it needs to be there, but you start with that great communication centered around who are you, who are we,

Devon
and how can we make this make sense if it does at all? And if not, confident in myself enough to say, hey, you can't work with us because it's a bad fit for you, but here's what I'd recommend that you do. Here's where I would recommend that you go.

Alex
I love that. So, are you saying that a failure to close is really a communication issue or a failure to communicate correctly? Is that fair to say that?

Devon
Absolutely, absolutely.

Alex
Do you have any examples that you could share with us? Because again, I know you work with a lot of clients and you help train and coach a lot of people on how to shift the culture and how to shift the mentality. Do you have maybe a story you can share of somebody that was struggling and then just open up a whole new book of business for them or a whole new way of approaching how they do sales?

Devon
Yeah, so there's a specific software provider that had a really bad habit of showing up and the first five to 10 minutes were their slide deck presentation. So you get in with them, regardless of what questions you have, regardless of what you were hoping to have happen, you have to shut your mouth for the first five to 10 minutes and watch somebody go through a slide deck presentation.

Alex
This happens a lot. This is a lot of SaaS companies and companies that have software as a service, like that's, it's all about the demo. It's like, look at the shiny object.

Devon
Right, that's the thing. So we're in competition with all of these other people, so we gotta make sure that we show them, look at how many logos we have in our company, look at how many times that we've done this. We're bigger, we're better, we're faster, we're stronger, we're a commercial. And I totally understand why we're trying to do that.

Devon
We're trying to position our business that's bigger and brighter than the other people that they're talking to. I understand that. But for this company specifically, we reviewed a call that they had made, and in the beginning we were only listening to what the salesperson was saying,

Devon
and it wasn't going well. It was very much show up and throw up style of communication but there was a point like two minutes into the call where I said, look at their body language. What are they doing right now? Every single person on the other end of that room, I think they were talking to like a veterinary clinic or something, they were trying to work their books for them

Devon
or help them with their processes. Every single person that was a customer on that call is like this.

Alex

Yeah, they're just closed off.

6
Yep, they're not.

Devon
Completely closed off. Their body language, they're not taking notes, they're not engaged, they're not, they're just waiting for this presentation to kind of be over. So we looked at it, we analyzed it, we went, this is what we do. This is how we've always done it,

Devon
and that's always the pushback. We've always done it this way, we don't know how else to do it. Devon, do you know how hard it's gonna be to make this change to the entire organization? I go, cool, but look what your current process is doing to your customers. Look at their faces, look at their body language.

Devon
We're here to fix this stuff. So we specifically changed the way that we started our meeting. Start with a really good agenda, hit the things that you're gonna cover in this agenda, make sure that they know they can ask questions that this is for them, and then save that slide deck presentation,

Devon
commercial thing for the end if you get there. I'm not saying that you shouldn't talk about yourself. You've got to at some point, but if you wanna actually show up differently to the people that you're talking to, show up and behave differently than all of your competitors. Ask them about their processes.

Devon
Ask them about what they're doing. When we did that with this company, they instantly started seeing better success in follow-up appointments, follow-up meetings, better close rates. That stuff happened because the way that they switched their starting point of their sales deck. They only did that because we had a good conversation

Devon
about what would you expect as a customer, what are you doing as a salesperson, and let's look at what you're actually doing with your customers. Through those three points, you can legitimately change your sales process for the better instantly, but you have to take the time to do that exercise,

Devon
or you're just gonna assume that everybody that's doing it is doing it the right way, and that's probably not true.

Alex
No, that's really great advice, and I don't think a lot of sales teams review, as Marcus calls it, the game tape, right, or review their sales calls, to your point exactly. So how do you create a culture or get people to start to feel okay with watching their recordings and looking at it critically

Alex
and going like, hey, I did these things good, but I also did these things bad and not being afraid of making mistakes and like learning from those or like approaching those as learning moments or ways to improve their skills.

Devon

Yeah, and again, this goes straight back to communication too. Communication is the biggest issue in your sales pipeline and in your change management. So say that we're gonna do this. We agree as an organization that we wanna start recording our sales calls. Awesome, no notes.

Devon
We gotta spend time to explain the why. Why are we gonna do this? What is the purpose of this? And what is it not for? So most of your sales people are gonna hear you say that we wanna record your sales calls and they're gonna think that you're just trying to big brother monitor all their behaviors.

Devon
There's an element of truth to that, but that's not the point. But you've got to take that objection away from them. You got to take that fear away from them. Go right at it. Hey gang, we're going to start doing this specifically because we want to optimize the way that we're talking to our people.

Devon
We know we could be better. We know our closing rates should be higher. So one technique that we're going to use is recording some of these calls. Now I know you're going to be worried about your customers. Well, our customers won't want us to record this. What happens, blah, blah, blah. You gotta spend the time thinking through all the reasons

Devon
your sales team is gonna push back. And all the reasons and excuses they're gonna say their customers aren't gonna allow it. Be prepared to talk through all that stuff. You can't skip it. It's an important part of this conversation. And then teach them what the purpose of all this training material stuff is.

Devon
We wanna use this so we can get better. We wanna use this so we can coach each other. We want to use this for twofold so we can get better internally and so we can let our customers know that we're so dialed in that when we're done talking to you, we'll send you a recording if you need it so you don't miss anything either.

Devon
And then we have to teach them how to explain it to their customers. I just did that on a sales call a little bit ago. We want to record these calls, but we got to make sure that we get great at explaining to the customers while we're recording these calls. And if you make it a benefit to the both of us,

Devon
we don't want to miss anything. We're going to talk about a lot, you don't want to miss anything. And so we're both not frantically taking notes, we're going to record this thing and make sure that you both have access to it. You set conditions for a great environment, culture of recording.

Devon
The sales team now understands this is a benefit to them to get better and sharper. They can use it to go back and review their notes, use it to go back and pick up on stuff. They can get good mentorship, feedback, and coaching. And then in their sales cycle, they legitimately make it better for the customer. I guarantee you most of your competitors

Devon
aren't willing to record their calls and then give you access to it after the fact. So then show up different, show up in a way that they're not expecting. Ask them questions they didn't expect. Offer them a resource like that that they haven't been offered before. All of y'all sales teams like to tell me

Devon
that you're different, but then you show up just like everybody else. If you take the time to build these communication techniques into your process, coach your culture on recording videos, you stand to completely change the way that your sales team goes to market. It's an incredible transition. It's a hard transition, but everybody's like, it's 2024.

Devon
We got to do something different. What we're talking about right now is one of the best, most effective ways for you to 10x your sales companies if you wanted to, sales teams if you wanted to, just by switching up the way that you communicate and record your sales calls.

Alex
Wow, you just dropped some serious knowledge right there and there's a lot to unpack for me because it's very true what you're saying, that if you're thinking about being the end user, the customer that's on this call, when you are that transparent and you explain and you vanguard exactly what you were just talking about, I feel like for me as the end user, I'd be impressed.

Alex
I'd be like, wow, this is like concierge level service. No one else talks to me like this. No one else has ever, you know, you call some companies and they're like, this call may be recorded or monitored, but that's all you get. You don't get an explanation or an understanding of why they're doing these things. So that's a game changer for me.

Alex
That's really cool what you just said there.

Devon
Yeah. Absolutely, and I love that you picked that up too. If you're in a conversation and you start to hear stuff like, man, I don't even know why I'm telling you this, I shouldn't be telling you this, I've never been asked that question before, that's how you can really quickly test yourself to see if you're doing a really good job of listening.

Devon
Because if you're scoping, you're not gonna hear any of that stuff. They're gonna be transactional, you're gonna be transactional, and the conversation's probably not gonna go the way you want it to go. It might, but it might not. But if you completely change the atmosphere of the conversation.

Devon
You make them feel like there's nobody else in the room but you and them. You legitimately show up and you drill down to their real core issues in a way that nobody else can or has time to do. You show up differently. You close more business because they can trust you more as a trusted guide, not just some random person

Devon
schlepping their gear, hawking their wares, which is typically what they're gonna see.

Alex
Yeah, totally. No, that's a really good point. So, I can't remember if it was at IMPACT Live and you were talking, because you do a lot of great presentations as well and you speak publicly. I forget if it was at IMPACT Live when I heard you say this, but you gave an analogy once, which I thought was awesome and I think we should share it here too, where you used dating and you were talking about body language like you were earlier and communication and that like these fundamental things, this

isn't just apply to sales.

Alex
It applies to almost every facet of communication in your life and how to become a better communicator overall, but you had used this dating example and I'd love for you to share that with us here. It really was fascinating for me. Do you remember?

Do you remember?

Devon
All right, okay. Yeah, so when you think of a good discovery call, it's very, very similar to a first date or a blind date. Your best dates that you've ever been on have been the ones where they showed up with good expectations, you showed up with good expectations, and you probably had a great interaction and conversation. You got deep, you talked about your families,

Devon
you talked about your friends, your motivations, and all that jazz. You listened when they spoke, they listened when you spoke, and it was a good, healthy, organic conversation. One of those conversations where you legitimately lose track of time. Now, depending on where you wanted that date to go, if you have good conversation, if you have a great date,

Devon
it's gonna go somewhere. Get you to a second date, get you to a nightcap, get you to wherever you're wanting to go. But regardless, great dates are the roots and outcome of great conversation, great listeners, great askers of questions. Now think about the worst dates you've ever been on. You showed up, they showed up,

Devon
y'all didn't look like you were supposed to look, y'all didn't sound like you were supposed to sound, you're cutting each other off, you're not really listening. Before I even finish talking, you're interrupting me to say what you're gonna say anyway. You're definitely not working on anything.

Devon
We're so misaligned and we're just so off. Everything about it feels uncomfortable. The end of that date is probably gonna be a close loss date, it's not gonna be something else that maybe we weren't wanting.

Alex
And again, it-

Alex
Sneaking out of the bathroom window at the restaurant, yeah.

Devon
I got a phone call, hold on, my friend's in an emergency, I gotta go pick him up or something. My kid's sick, whatever, right? That happens in the first five minutes of the date. That happens in the first five minutes of your discovery call. If you wanna get better at getting a second date

Devon
or getting a nightcap or doing something, you gotta slow down, especially in that discovery call. They're kind of expecting you to come in and just beat them to death with scoping calls. And if you know that, don't do the opposite of that. Show up and listen, show up and ask questions, show up

and generally be curious about them. And watch what happens with your conversations

Devon
when you're not just showing up and talking at them until they relent and give up and say, fine, here's my money.

Alex
Right, right, no, that's a great point. And I think this is a great segue too, because your first date most likely is not gonna be turning into a marriage situation. You have to go on a couple of dates you have to court somebody it takes time to eventually Develop the real the long-term relationship. That's mutually beneficial for everybody right so I hear a lot of Organizations and leaders say like oh, but my products sell themselves. You know they think like they're their stuff doesn't stink They're like we're the best it sells itself. I can I can totally close on the first date

Alex
You know what I mean like that mentality is real But it's not always true, or maybe if it is true, there are still ways to improve upon that to make it even better, where you can automate it. Or can you just speak a little bit to that piece of how to break out of that mentality or try to shift the perception there too, where just because it sells itself

Alex
doesn't mean it should sell itself, or that you couldn't enhance the experience overall for end users and customers and potential people.

Devon
Yeah, totally. So typically when we get that sense, it's like, hey, this thing pretty much sells itself, we don't really need you. And to me, that pretty much is a big old fat pretty much. I wanna see the closing rates. I wanna see what's actually happening. What I get all the time is people that don't have

Devon
good tracking of their closing rates, of their sales data, who show up and love to tell me that their closing rates are like 70, 80, 90%. I was like, how do you know? Do I just know? I can just tell, I can just see it.

Alex
I can feel it in my gut, I just know it.

Devon
Yeah, I just know it, I'm sure. Like I know who I am. I'm like, okay, we're not having a real conversation. I can't hitch my wagon on hopes and data that doesn't exist. So anytime I hear it pretty much sells itself, I wanna really dig into the data and see if that's actually true. It's probably not, it's probably not true,

Devon
it probably doesn't sell itself, unless you're an Amazon storefront. Because Amazon, you can search whatever you want, you can buy it yourself, it's gonna get right to your house in a day or two, right? Most companies do not have that advantage. I would even say that even if you do have that advantage, you have a digital storefront, they can buy from you today.

Devon
Think of all the areas of opportunity for you that exist during the sale, after the sale, that's still rooted in communication. Think of all the videos that you could be making to really make your website work

as a salesperson in your stead before they reach out to talk to anybody in the first place. So then you think of all those communication principles

Devon
that you have for your sales team and you think about wanting to put that stuff together on your website. Use those same techniques. Use those same principles and the videos that you're going to create should be creating and let that be your supporting system online.

Devon
Even if you have a digital storefront where you can go and buy whatever you want without talking to anybody, it still gives you the opportunity to use video to communicate all those techniques to them. Make it about them. Are they a good fit? Are you a good fit? What's the price tag? You can still teach them there with video and then follow up.

Devon
They make that purchase. You've got them as a customer. That's incredible. How do you reach out to them again to make sure they're happy with that purchase that they made? How do you reach out to them to make sure there's not other opportunity to get more support from your business?

Devon
So there's a lot of ways that you can use your digital storefront that sells themselves to still use these techniques of communication to make it better for you, make it better for your customers, and it's still all rooted in making sure that you're building trust with them, making sure that they're there,

Devon
they're taken care of, and you're always gonna be there when they need you, should they need you.

Alex
I love that you just said the word trust, because I think that's a fundamental thing here. Sales is all about building trust. People buy from people that they know, like, and trust. I feel like that's like the age-old saying. If you know, like, and trust somebody, you're that much more inclined and confident to buy from them, right?

Alex
So how does communication directly play into building trust and ultimately affecting your bottom line and your sales?

Devon
No, that's a great question because that is the fastest way to both create and erode trust instantly. First year I worked here, there was so much stuff that was happening in the sales process because we had multiple salespeople. A salesperson would work with somebody else and then I'd get them after the deal was closed. So sometimes there's a little bit of a disconnect

Devon
between what was sold versus what I was expecting to be doing. So a lot of that stuff gets fixed by having the right people in the sales process that are really clear on what should be happening. If I know what this program looks like and then I can explain to somebody else who's curious about it what this program looks like, we have good rapport. I've built trust because I've established here's what we're gonna be doing, here's how it's gonna go and then when we start doing it, I honor that trust. Same thing happens at every stage of the sales process. Hey, here's when we're gonna meet.

Devon
I better show up on time and make sure that we're talking about the stuff that we agreed to talk

about. As we talk about some of your pain and issues, if I make any promise to you, I'm gonna follow up next week, next Tuesday at two o'clock, I'm gonna send you these resources, I'm gonna do whatever I'm gonna do,

Devon
those are opportunities to elicit more or absolutely destroy trust in your process. You tell somebody you're gonna sell them something and then you don't send them anything, what happened to that guy that told me that he was gonna do it? Hey, let's jump on a call and then you cancel it without explaining why, trust goes away.

Devon
And our first dates is often our first impression. Our first discovery call is often our first impression. So if you show up like every other salesperson and you use none of the techniques that we talked about today, you're probably gonna lose a lot more than you should be losing. But, you flip that around a little bit,

Devon
you really treat it like some of your best states that you've ever been on, you go in, you focus, you're clear, all that stuff can really start motivating a better culture for a conversation to happen, a better environment for trust to exist and not get destroyed, and I'm pretty confident that if you can do it that way,

Devon
you're gonna move more deals to the close one category than you've ever seen before.

Alex
Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. I couldn't agree with you more. And trust isn't just in the sales call. There's all sorts of touch points to build that trust and it's rooted in communication. I love that you said like, hey, I'm gonna send you a follow-up at two o'clock on X date.

Alex
And if you don't do that, then you broke that chain of communication and that ultimately is gonna break the trust and start to have those thoughts creep in for the end user that's like, oh, they don't follow up. They don't do what they say. I'm not as confident as I was previously that they actually are going to be able to help me do what I need to do.

Alex
So for sales leaders, for business owners, for people that are out there, for our listeners and for our viewers, what's the best next step? So they're listening to this podcast, they're picking up what you're putting down. I'm picking up what you're putting down. What do I go, like, what do I go do now? How do I go fix this in my organization, Devon? What's the next best step for people?

Devon
Yeah, so some of you that are listening are probably driving your cars, driving your trucks, and you're nodding your head, and you're a little pissed off. And that's fine. That's good. I want you to take that energy. I want you to do something with it.

Devon
I want you to think through why you feel the way that you feel after hearing this conversation between me and Alex. And then I want you to think about who is the team that you work with that's the most willing and open to hearing some of your concerns about this. Like I said, it's gotta start with communication.

Devon
You need to have a conversation about what you want your company to be doing with your customers and then check yourself on what you're actually doing with your customers. If you all are really comfortable with by the numbers, just doing a million dials and hoping it all works out, there's really nothing for you to do, you're fine. But if you're listening to this conversation

Devon
and you're going, we gotta be better at building trust, we gotta be better at meeting our customers where they are, we show up with our ears closed all the time and we're just doing pitch decks in the first 10 minutes, you need to really check yourself on what you wanna be doing differently. Start with a conversation on your leadership level. Here's what I'm seeing, here's what I'm worried about,

Devon
here's our KPI goal for the year, here's how I think that we can solve this. If you can get buy-in from your leadership level that this is the right fit, then it becomes an actual action item for you to pursue. If everybody shoots it down, it's not worth your time. But if you're getting buy-in that this is the right thing for you,

Devon
then I would have you pursue it a little bit more fully. After you get good alignment from your leadership team, you've gotta bring it to your sales force. Typically, I recommend finding a little bit of a beta group or a pilot group just to test it on. Some of your early adopters, the people that you know are hungry, are open to change.

Devon
You already know who your resistors are. So I would have you work with that group of people that are hungry first, and have that conversation we talked about earlier. What are your expectations as a customer? What's the last most expensive thing that you bought? What were you expecting to see? What did you actually see?

Devon
When you got into the sales pipeline, what was your experience? What ticked you off? What got you fired up? Did you go, did you not go? Like what happened? Have them really analyze themselves as customers and then flip it over,

Devon
have them run that same exercise on them as salespeople. So what do we actually do in a sales pipeline? We do this, we do that, we don't do this, we don't do that.

4
All right, cool.

Devon
Now, going forward, if we're gonna change this, are we comfortable with recording some of our calls and reviewing some of this stuff? If not, I would just start with role-playing. Do that with no tech. If we know that we have these bad habits with the way that we start our presentations, start carving out a regular cadence in your cycle

Devon
to go over role-plays, to go over your conversations. There's nothing wrong with that. Eventually, I would have you invest in some tracking software or recording software to start reviewing some of your stuff itself because that'll be even better, but without any tech whatsoever, it's a conversation. Get together, analyze your life as a customer,

Devon
analyze your life as a salesperson, and then role play the differences that you wanna see. If you can do that and make it practical, not just random customers, real examples of real customers are always gonna get it done better than anything else. You legitimately have a shot to start correcting this stuff fast, probably in the next couple of months

Devon
if you can really get after this and start doing it right.

Alex
It is fast, and it'll ultimately affect your bottom line and everybody wants more money, right? That's what we're in the business of doing. So that's really great advice. Devon, these have been great insights. I love talking with you. I feel like I learn so much every time we chat. I hope that our listeners and people that are watching

Alex
have learned as much as I have just talking with you in this short time. But if they wanna learn more, if they have questions, how do they follow up with you? How can they get in touch with you?

Devon
What's the best way for them to do that? So the easiest way to reach out to me is via LinkedIn. If you just look Dev McCarty up, I'm sure I'll pop up, but you can also reach out to my team here at IMPACT if you have any questions about this stuff. What we typically like to do is start with a free coaching session, just an hour long with you and some of your leadership team to talk about what your goals and focuses

Devon
are, just to see if we're even the right fits. From there, typically a good starting point is some kind of intro workshop for the sales team, sales and marketing team, just to really get them spun up on what we're thinking about doing, really this new approach, and helping provide some more resources to them as they do these different techniques of sales.

Devon
Beyond that, there's different programs that we can use for your entire company, but I'm not even interested in that until we figure out from your individual teams what you're looking to accomplish and whether or not we're a right fit to work with you at all. It's gotta start with you. Figure out what your problems are,

Devon
what your goals are, and what type of support you're thinking about getting, and then have a good conversation with somebody that can help you fill that need.

Alex
Awesome, Devon. Thanks again for your time, and for everybody listening and watching out there, thank you for tuning in to the Endless Customers Podcast. thank you for tuning in to the Endless Customers Podcast. We'll see you on the next episode.

 

Transcribed with Cockatoo

About This Episode:

Your sales reps can have all the product knowledge in the world, but if they’re not expert communicators, you’re leaving money on the table.

To see a great salesperson in action is to witness deft emotional intelligence. They listen, they ask probing questions, they know when to push and when to step back.

These are the signs of an expert communicator. 

To improve your sales outcomes, you need to improve the communication skills of your sales team.

Underperforming sales reps are just the opposite: They pitch hard, talk over objections, and don’t seem to notice the person in front of them.

According to sales and marketing coach Devon McCarty, "A lot of salespeople show up and close their ears and just get into the rhythm of what they wanted to talk about."

To improve your sales outcomes, you need to improve the communication skills of your sales team. Communication is a skill that can be learned and mastered — or it can atrophy. 

Devon says it’s time for a shift in sales culture that prioritizes listening and asking great questions. 

As a first step, teams need to start recording their sales calls. This way, they can watch themselves in action and start to become aware of growth opportunities. From there, they must normalize feedback, practice role-playing, and reflect on the deals they failed to close so they can know what to do better.

If sales teams aren’t actively working to improve their communication, they will see sub-par results. And these will diminish further over time. 

Connect with Devon McCarty:

Devon McCarty is a sales and marketing coach at IMPACT, working with clients from a number of industries including manufacturing and IT. 

Learn more about Devon at his IMPACT bio page

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn 

Keep Learning:

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Endless Customers is a podcast produced and distributed by IMPACT, a sales and marketing training organization.

We coach businesses to implement our They Ask, You Answer framework to build trust and fill their pipeline. 

For inquiries about sponsorship opportunities or to be considered as a guest, email awinter@impactplus.com.

Want to tell us about a challenge you’re facing? Schedule a free coaching session with one of our experts.

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