Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a top business owner/top salesperson in your industry, the one who makes all the money, who gets the promotions and all the respect? My next guest Aaron Ross is the co-author of From Impossible To Inevitable (with Jason Lemkin) and of Predictable Revenue (called the “Sales Bible of Silicon Valley”) about sales systems that helped Salesforce.com, Twilio, Zuora and other companies create billions in sales. He is married with 9 children (half through adoption), and lives in Edinburgh, UK. He’s Co-CEO of PredictableRevenue.com and a global keynote speaker.

Resources

  • Join The Sales Revolution: If you’re ready to do sales differently, you’re in the right place. This community is for entrepreneurs and sales pros to connect, grow, + learn the new (and highly improved) connection-based way of selling. Get ready to toss out all that you’ve been taught about sales up to this point. It’s time for a revolution.

 

3 Value Bombs

  1. A sales job is an amazing way to get paid to learn.
  2. The biggest missed opportunities are missed on the frontend with lead generation because business owners are afraid to put themselves on the website, in the videos, in the newsletters, etc.
  3. Elite salespeople are the best at asking the right questions at the right time in the conversation, with the right tone. They help the prospect uncover questions about their process or their problems that they didn’t even know they had.

Sponsors

VIRTUAL SALES TRAINING PROGRAM & PLATFORM: Our virtual training has helped thousands of people and companies turn-around sluggish sales. The mobile-enabled, innovative, flexible training is rooted in human behavioral psychology and provides easy-to-consume, on-demand training for sustainable results.

SALES STRUCTURE PARTNERSHIP: Accelerate your growth with a customized partnership! This partnership includes onsite coaching and role playing for skill reinforcement, 1:1 work with Jeremy Miner on your specific product or vertical scripting (aligned to the new model of selling) and coaching support and alignment for your sales managers and/or sales coaches.

Show Notes

**Click the timestamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.

Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: From Impossible to Inevitable – with Aaron Ross

2:26 Aaron’s sales story really started when one of his companies failed after raising $5M in funding.

  • Every entrepreneur can sell with passion and enthusiasm, but that is different from having a system and knowing how to build and manage a sales team, and most importantly create “predictable revenue.”
  • He decided if he was ever going to build a successful company, he needed to really learn how to sell and how to build a sales team, and that led him to www.salesforce.com
  • He started out at the most junior sales rep job answering the 800 line at around age 30 or 31.
  • The best way to learn something is to do it.
  • A key to success in sales is being willing to “get into the trenches and get your hands dirty” and learn how selling works from the ground up.

6:14 How did you go from that junior sales position to helping Sales Force create hundreds of millions per year?

  • Sales Force to Aaron was like an MBA because he planned on starting another company someday
  • A sales job is an amazing way to get paid to learn
  • “When” not “If”
  • Aaron proactively networked inside Sales Force and met people all across the company
  • Aaron proved himself for several months and then found a big problem he could solve
  • He got executive support
  • The sales people were ineffective at prospecting and flailing around. There was no system.
  • He read a bunch of sales books. But the techniques were not working so he threw them all away.
  • He wrote several pain emails and mass sent them. It didn’t work, but it did start Aaron down the road of systematizing the process.

13:01 What do you feel is one of the biggest things that business owners and entrepreneurs get wrong about sales?

  • Many people do not put their own style and personality into the marketing messages they write.
  • They come across as boring and flat.
  • The biggest missed opportunities are missed on the frontend with lead generation because business owners are afraid to put themselves on the website, in the videos, in the newsletters, etc. 
  • Often less (words) is more in marketing.
  • Focus on how what you do solves problems.

19:43 You say in your book that salespeople should prospect. What do you mean by that?

  • Think about a sports team. There is no sports team in the world where every player plays every position. So why do we do that in sales?
  • The principle is focus.
  • 4 core roles:
    • Dedicated outbound prospectors (outbound SDR) – find and book quality meetings
    • Inbound SDR
    • Sales people, closers, account executives
    • Account management after the sale

23:01 What do you think leaders get right and wrong about outbound prospecting?

  • Expecting people to prospect part-time and do it well.
  • The lever for most companies growth is not found in the number of sales reps you have, but instead it is in having a predictable lead generating system.
  • Leaders underestimate how long it takes to build a quality system and team. It takes 6-12 months.

25:23 What do you feel are the biggest mistakes companies make when training their sales reps to sell?

  • Not having a training program
  • Not having an onboarding program
  • Is training something that you did, or is training something that you do?
  • The greatest athletes keep training. They don't just train their rookie season and stop.
  • The average salesperson spends less than $100 per year on their own sales training.
  • A lot of training programs are too focused on the product (features, benefits, etc.) 
  • 3 Eras of Selling
  • – Era 1 – Boiler Room selling (Wolf on Wall Street – manipulate them, posture them, push them)
  • – Era 2 – Consultative selling – ask logical-based questions. People think they buy on logic but it's all emotional.
  • – Era 3 – Dialogue – learn to ask the right questions (Neuro Emotional Persuasion Questions)
  • Buyers today don’t want to be talked to and sold; they want to be asked questions and listened to and understood.

30:58 Why is “nailing a niche” so important?

  • The attention span of the average person is squished. The amount of energy they are willing to spend to determine if something is relevant or not is more narrow.
  • Knowing what kind of customer needs you the most. How they think. How should you communicate with them?
  • Send out a clear signal so the right customers tune in and see that you are relevant to them.
  • Salespeople and business owners have to stop thinking like sellers and they have to start thinking like buyers. What problems do people have and how can my product best solve those problems.
  • You really have to understand what problems people have first.
  • What the best salespeople in the world do is they are the best at helping their prospects find problems they didn’t even think they had.
  • Average sales people ask a few surface level questions and then go right into their “pitch.”
  • Elite sales people are the best at asking the right questions at the right time in the conversation, with the right tone. They help the prospect uncover questions about their process or their problems that they didn’t even think they had.
  • Or maybe they knew about a problem, but they didn’t really know how bad it was, they didn’t know the root cause of it or the short or long-term consequences of what’s going to happen if they don’t do something about it.
  • Those kinds of salespeople are called “problem finders” and “problem solvers.”
  • One of the secrets to SalesForce.com is you have sales people selling to sales people 
  • The best sales people listen to what the prospect means, not just what they say.

37:05 You have 9 kids? How do you manage that?

38:14 Why did you move your family from L.A. to Edinburgh, Scotland?

39:07 Do you have any final thoughts or advice for our listeners?

  • Regarding the journey, it always takes years longer than you thought to get where you want to go.
  • Whether you are a person trying to build your family or you are an entrepreneur trying to build a company, focus on learning and getting better and realize it usually takes longer than you thought.
  • The faster you learn the right skills, the faster you are going to take off.

40:27 Where can our listeners learn more about you and your training and your vision ?

Killer Resources

  1. The New Model Of Selling: Learn from Jeremy Miner The Only Friction-Free, Persuasion Sales System Guaranteed To Increase Revenue.
  2. Join The Sales Revolution: If you’re ready to do sales differently, you’re in the right place. This community is for entrepreneurs and sales pros to connect, grow, + learn the new (and highly improved) connection-based way of selling. Get ready to toss out all that you’ve been taught about sales up to this point. It’s time for a revolution.

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