My guest today is founder & President of The Bridge Group and author of the best-selling book: The Sales Development Playbook. She is an authority on inside sales (if not “THE” AUTHORITY) and often remarks how lucky she is to work with an amazing team, helping sales and marketing leaders make the big decisions: on implementation strategy, performance improvement process, supporting technology, metrics and measurement. For more than two decades, she has promoted inside sales as a community, profession, and engine for revenue growth.

  • 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. Trish thinks sales is the best profession on the face of the planet and she is very passionate about it. She also thinks sales is a “craft”. As with any craft you have to practice it and hone it. You have to learn and stay current with it. Even though Trish has had The Bridge Group for 22 years, she continues to do outbound every day. “I hone my craft!” Her happiest times are at her stand-up desk doing outbound.
  2. There is a misnomer out there that buyers have done 70% of their research before they talk to a sales person. How are they going to do their research when they don’t even know they have a problem yet?
  3. To make selling fun, and it should be fun, you need to treat every interaction with a customer like it is an audition. When you hang up the call, you should ask yourself: “Did I get the role that I wanted?” Pretend like you are an actor and the role you are after is one of “Trusted Advisor.” Did I show empathy? Did I present valuable information with them that maybe they didn’t have before the conversation? Self analysis is a critical success factor in modern selling.

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

3:02 I want to dive right into your story and your background and give our listeners a feel for how you arrived at this point where you are one of the elite authorities on sales and leadership. Please tell us a little bit more about your background and how this all started for you. How did you learn all these skills?

  • Trish has been selling for 35 years.
  • Trish thinks sales is the best profession on the face of the planet and she is very passionate about it.
  • She also thinks sales is a “craft”. As with any craft you have to practice it and hone it. You have to learn and stay current with it.
  • Even though Trish has had The Bridge Group for 22 years, she continues to do outbound every day. I hone my craft!
  • Her happiest times are at her stand-up desk doing outbound. 
  • She loves figuring out how she is going to help people. What’s the story she is going to tell them to really help them. What are the channels in which she is going to tell those stories.
  • She uses all the latest technologies. She is a continuous student.
  • Is training something you did or is training something you do in order to become elite in selling.

5:55 The beginning of the sales process is equally as important as the end, can you tell us more about what you mean by that?

  • The hardest part of the modern sales process is getting to engagement. Getting that buyer to listen to you now is just exponentially harder. 
  • We as sales people have done a fantastic job at boring the ever-loving crap out of our buyers with bad messaging, email as a spam cannon, social outreaches that do nothing but promote ourselves.
  • We have lost our way in that our job and focus should be all about helping “them” – meaning our prospects be successful.
  • The beginning of the sales process can be the hardest, because if you sound like everybody else, you’ll get treated like everybody else.
  • The sale is really made at hello and throughout the beginning of the call as you are asking discovery questions to help the prospect discover what their problems are.
  • You have to become a problem finder and a problem solver and uncover the root causes of their problems and how it it impacting them

9:00 Let’s talk about the pandemic. This is on everybody’s mind. How has the pandemic of 2020 impacted and changed modern-day selling?

  • Trish’s business is inside sales and sales development and that world has been virtual selling for years. That’s what her company teaches people to do: how to use the phone, web and social media to generate pipelines and revenue.
  • Field sales has changed. Field sellers have had to pivot their skills.
  • How to develop relationships and have great conversations in a little black box.
  • We are developing a relationship right now on Zoom. It doesn’t matter if we are in the same room.
  • The world is changing and you have to embrace it.

10:45 You talk a lot about how companies are “taking the people out of the process” and how they are ‘shooting themselves in the foot’ by focusing so much of their attention on technology and automation. Can you talk a little bit about that?

  • Companies want to push the “easy button” and purchase a technology to help manage their sales people and achieve success as opposed to sitting down and completely evaluating. What’s our process?, What’s our message?, How are those discovery calls going? How do I coach my people? That investment is way more than $35 per head per month.
  • That effort takes time and it takes specific skills and it takes continuity. It takes measurement and it takes individualized strategy based on the unique skills of each of your reps.
  • Easy button: buy technology.

12:00 Where does that leave most companies that are going down that dangerous “buy technology” path?

  • Trish loves it because those are the companies that end up being a client down the road.
  • Some companies have tapped the brakes on technology over the past few months. And some who have not done the hard work, have actually hit the brakes.

12:27 One thing you say is that you can’t automate Excellence – what do you mean by that?

  • Everyone talks about personalization in sales and Trish completely agrees with that.
  • Personalization at scale though is a little bit harder.
  • It’s not the process that makes you excellent; it’s not the message that makes you excellent. It’s the delivery that makes you excellent.
  • Where we see “pipeline leakage” the most is in that introductory discovery call.

14:24 You said you hate BANT. Tell us your thoughts on why BANT may not be that effective anymore?

  • I hate BANT when it is used at the wrong place in the sales process and when it is all coupled together.
  • BANT comes from a faulty understanding of what the sales process actually is in human behavior. BANT assumes that every prospect you talk to already knows what their problems are and that they have a budget set aside to fix it.
  • The problem is that most of your prospects don’t know what their problem is. 90% of them don’t.
  • Maybe they feel like they have a problem, but they are not sure what the true source of that problem actually is or what the problem is doing to them or the root cause of the problem or the potential consequences are if you don’t do anything about your problem.
  • So your questioning ability and becoming what we call a problem finder and a problem solver, not a product pusher. The questions you ask help them discover what their true problems are. That they might not have thought the had. It challenges their status quo.
  • Analogy: Everyone today is selling “vitamins,” which are nice to have. But many people need “aspirin.”

17:17 Are SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) at risk of being replaced by automation or is this just a ploy to get attention in the media?  

  • It’s a ploy. It takes the whole “human factor” out of the equation. 
  • automation can never find problems for your prospects, they didn’t know they had.
  • There is a misnomer out there that buyers have done 70% of their research before they talk to a sales person. How are they going to do their research when they don’t even know they have a problem yet?
  • Or what if you are selling to innovators and early adopters. You are selling something they didn’t even know about.
  • Look what automation has gotten us. Before automation, 60% of sales organizations made quota. After the onset of automation, 60% of sales organizations make quota. 
  • Golf analogy: Golf technology has come so far in the last decade, but the average golf handicap has not gone down 1 stroke.

19:09 What are some flaws in the hiring, onboarding and training processes that companies need to fix now as it relates to inside sales? 

  • Hiring has kind of flipped because previously the demand for inside sales far outweighed supply.
  • Companies need to systematize their hiring process as much as they do their sales process to get the best candidates in this market.

21:04 Your “Warrior Cry” to Executives has been: Look at your budgets, are you spending an equal amount of money on making your sales people better as you are on technology? Are companies investing in skill set enhancement? 

  • It’s almost like they have an obligatory check box to get ii done for the year, and then beyond that there is not much support from the management team beyond that.
  • A lot of sales training today is like motivational speaking.
  • Motivational training is good but at the end of the day, when a sales rep picks up the phone they need skills…they need to know exactly what to say to get that prospect to engage in a conversation to see if you can help them.
  • In addition to “motivational training,” many companies are focused on product training next as opposed to skillset training, which is what is really needed today.
  • And then they wonder why there is huge attrition and they have to replace half their sales force every few months.

23:02 You say the pendulum has swung too far over on the automation side of the equation when in reality the sales process is still all about “people selling to people.” give us more insight into that?

  • To make selling fun, and it should be fun, you need to treat every interaction with a customer like it is an audition.
  • When you hang up the call, you should ask yourself: “Did I get the role that I wanted?” Pretend like you are an actor. And the role you are after is one of “Trusted Advisor.” Did I show empathy? Did I present valuable information with them that maybe they didn’t have before the conversation?
  • Self analysis is a critical success factor in modern selling.
  • The biggest problem in sales is if you don’t know what your problem is. Because if you don’t know what your problem is, how can you fix it? But when you do know what your problem is, whose responsibility is it to do something about it?

24:49 How and why managers aren’t correctly managing the inside sales process?

  • Trish places the blame on the executives that made them a manager. Often the best reps are promoted into management but they lack the leadership skills necessary to lift others.
  • They don’t know how to coach. They don’t know how to talk with someone about their career path. They don’t know how to handle problems. They don’t know when to step in or step out.
  • Trish’s company offers a service called “coach the coach” where they help turn individual contributors into good managers.
  • Mentoring has fallen by the wayside. 
  • The greatest athletes have mentors and coaches.
  • Nobody owns your success but you. Don’t wait for your company to invest in your training. You should take responsibility for your own success.

27:46 I love how you talk about this final idea. I see this so much with salespeople. What is the “rush to demo syndrome” and how can it be fixed?

  • What is the hardest part of the sales process? The beginning.
  • Let me go back to the easy button. 
  • When sales people try to present their solution too early.
  • Listening to your prospect is critical to fixing the “rush to demo syndrome.”
  • Push pull dynamic. 

30:10 Do you have any final thoughts or advice for our listeners?

  • Hone your craft. Think about it every day. Self analysis is critical.
  • The biggest problem that many sales people have is their ego and it prevents them from learning and reaching greater heights.
  • You have to let go of your ego to make more income as a company or as an individual.

31:16 Where can our listeners learn more about you and your company and how you can potentially solve some of their challenges?

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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