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#SalesChats Ep. 58: Sales Training Tips & Advice w/ Tim Haller

S. Excellent. My name is John golden from sales pop online sales magazine pipeliner CRM, I’m actually today, not as I’m York, normally I’m in San Diego, I’m actually in lovely Vienna in Austria and my colleague Marta is also somewhere in the city.

I don’t know quite know where, in the city you’re hiding today, Martha also in the end, is keeping you’re keeping your location top secret okay. Well, today, what we’re going to talk about is sales training tips and advice and Tim’s the founder and president of sales gage, which is a sales training company that offers a kind of unique blend of both live training and online or elearning training. You know focused on strategies that immediately drive pipeline and have near-term impact, because I mean, I guess Tim, that’s always one of the things when it comes to any kind of training, but particularly sales training.

Is you know how quickly is this impact? Are we going to see the impact so, from your point of view Tim? What are some of the most important components of a successful sales, training or sales performance improvement initiatives? You know what John there I guess it depends on how you actually measure success. It depends which VP you’re talking about if you’re looking at just, I need a common language for people to be able to work through and have a process.

That’s a methodology, training and there’s a lot of companies that offer that methodology in the and that’s interesting, because, typically working for Hewlett Packard for 20 years, we went through every training known to that you could possibly do, and it turns out that each one of these Trainings had some value to them, but one of the things that really lacked is how do you measure success in sales training, um, that if you want people to fill out paperwork and be able to come out and have a nice, you know I have a nice Blue sheet, or whatever that you’re using, then that’s what you need to be able to buy for sales training our customers are looking at success is how many deals do we get what happened in the training? As you mentioned, what we’re really discovering is finding that eLearning and blended in with a live practice session has been unbelievable for lowering cost and driving.

You know real success. You know. Last week we did a storytelling program for a customer. It was very customized to their products and at the end we did two hundred and ninety some odd calls 219 times. They’ve either left a message or talked to someone and they got 43 actual meetings out of that and at the end of the day, one of the women, this woman Erica sent me a note and said: not only did the class go really well, but she ended Up closing an opportunity, the following day on something that she made a phone call in that day.

So, if you’re looking for success, that’s what I look for is is: did you get something out of it? Um yeah! So that’s it! So let me just focus in for a moment on that so um you mentioned the blend of e-learning and then live training. Is that live training in person is a live training? Is it virtual live training? Can it be either/or, and what do you find is? Is appropriate for maybe self-paced e-learning and what’s appropriate for live, I mean: how do you, how do you get the best of best out of both of those media, so they can be virtual and they can be live? If we talk about the e-learning, what you really need to do is make it to be about an hour long, and these are the concepts that you want people to learn because it used to be that I would come in and do a live session and we’d Spend 2 to 3 hours on doing the lecture, and then we would do the live training.

Well, it turns out now that we can immediately deliver two modules, which is really a 50 % cost savings to the customer. We can do 2 modules in the time it takes us to do what used to take us to do one, because we’ve got that e-learning what’s what’s appropriate. Is that whatever you do has got to be? You know under 90 minutes, basically in order to get people to stick and the real value of the tactical training is that people are practicing it.

They do it right away, and then I guess is that the it’s, the ongoing reinforcement, because one of the things they you know – and I was in the sales training industry for a while – the the biggest obstacle always was. You could come in. Obviously – and you could do a sales performance improvement initiative with the company everybody’s super pumped and enthusiastic about it and then you leave and you know, you’ve trained the managers and you hope that they’re going to, but you have no, you have no way of really impacting It going forward and this the highly motivated ones, will take it and run with it and they probably train themselves anyway, but the rest of them.

It kind of atrophies over time sales isn’t for children. I mean it’s a hard job, John right and to your point, making them practice and showing that it works again. This isn’t about filling out paperwork. This is literally about making sure that they’re working on a live deal that they’re making phone calls that they’re in the middle of a negotiation. That’s the real value in being able to do tactical training it’s what they got to do every day and if they can’t be successful, that’s not anything that a sales training is going to make work.

What is it, what are some of the common issues that you see and that you’re you’re when you’re training that you can help address, such as you know, maybe one of the ones that I used to see a lot in the past? Was you know, sales people? Maybe holding on too long to an opportunity, maybe not qualifying it enough in the early stages and then running into problems later. What are some of the common issues that you come across that you can address? Well, if you break down the process where we start with prospecting, the very first thing I talk about is you know where your leads coming from number one and then number two: how do you line them up so that you can be very efficient with them? So it’s a time management piece that we need to teach people up front.

The second one is, I love the CRM, but not when you’re making calls make the calls and then go back and update your CRM. That really gets you to focus on what you need to do and move forward when you think about deals, what really struggles is that they don’t know how to qualify them. They really struggle with qualifying a deal, and you know everyone thinks that their baby’s really good-looking and cute, but at the end of the day your deals aren’t I mean you think there are great deals, but when someone else looks at them it becomes a problem and You know: we’ve got a couple of ways that we do it to attract.

You know some differentiate differentiation there, but upfront it’s about understanding what I call the critical business issue and that’s a really important one, because we break it down into what we call the critical business, the critical technical and the critical personal – and you know I can address Them if you’d like John on that side, but I’m not sure exactly what you’re looking for no I’m, but it’s it’s good.

Where we’re going with the conversation, I really like it. I think focusing another critical business issue because I do think like okay, so every sales person when they engage with the prospect they they may at least try to have a business conversation and try to get to the business issues. But some people are better at it than others. Why do use? What makes some people better at that, and it is part of it – is that some people don’t really know what how to define what a real business issue is.

Yeah turns out that’s a little of both one that they think they’re having a business issue conversation. The first thing that you describe is the technical issue when they hear the pain point that they’re actually going after, and they hear that issue that they can solve with their product or service. They jump on it both feet in and they’re one or two questions away from qualifying for the critical business issue.

You know when we talk about high value trade table, which is where we get into a from a book call from Chris Voss, never split the difference. Negotiate is if your life depends on it when we get into high value trade tables, it’s really about knowing. How do you capture that information, and one of the very early captures, is what I will refer to as the critical business issue? It’s the people, time and money, and if you stop from the pain point and go back and start engaging, how long does it take you to do this? How many people are involved? If you get two of the three people time and money, you can actually calculate an ROI, and if it’s equal or less than a year, you probably have a good opportunity to close a deal as an example.

We had a customer that swore he had a great deal just on upside-down and it turns out that when we did the critical business issue in calculating the ROI, it turns out that the customer that the client was spending fifteen thousand dollars a year in engineering time. But to solve that or to make them more efficient, they had to spend sixty thousand for the product or service. That’s a four year return on investment, but he swore he had a great deal mm-hmm.

So so what I, what I was finding I am, and I’d like to get your insight on this, as I said, is that it’s not always the fault exclusively of the salesperson right. It’s the the sales managers can get very distracted into late-stage opportunities. Trying to you know, get in there and be the super closer or let me help get this over the line when really, if they focused more on helping to qualify and be that sounding board earlier in the process and we’d have less we’d have better qualified issues.

Maybe are better qualified opportunities, maybe less of them, but with a more higher likelihood of closing well they’re, so focused on three to four times pipeline. They get so into that that they lose sight of the quality versus quantity. So you know one of the studies that we did is that last year there were a hundred deals that we went through with customers and of those hundred ninety six of them had critical technical issues, pain points that they could solve.

Only four of them had business issues that were actually calculated and agreed upon. So this idea that you know they know what they’re doing is one thing. The other piece that you look at is you have two thousand. I call it deal time. It’s two thousand hours a year to make quota roughly little less happy of two thousand half of that goes away to you’re, doing your internal job and everything you need to do for your sales manager and the internal, and you know, life in general gets in the Way – and that means you’ve got a thousand hours well, if you know that 80 percent of the deals that go into your pipeline literally, don’t close, they either lose to competition or no decision.

That means that eight hundred of your remaining thousand hours is gone to deals that you shouldn’t be working on and that’s 200 hours of deal time. That’s all you got to close if you can just get one or two of those deals that your you’re working on to really look at and say: hey, it’s not a good deal. I got ta kill it. Then you have a huge difference in what you can do for deal time, because I mean personally, I get kind of tired of that whole mathematical formula.

You know the we need 5x our pipeline and then life is good and you’re thinking. Well, wouldn’t one and a half of really highly qualified opportunities be better. You know than 5x a load of garbage that it’s funny. I had a guy who worked for me for years, and he kept telling me about this Hamilton standard opportunity was coming in. It was coming in. Finally, I looked at him and I said Larry I don’t get it.

I’ve been forecasting as for you for months, I said it’s not coming in. I said what’s the deal and he said to me: you know Tim when it’s the only deal in your pipeline by definition. It’s a great deal, there’s a well, you know all of a sudden. You know we’re getting to the point where we start teaching people you need these high-value trades and again I recommend this book by Chris Foss. You know never split the difference.

Chris was the FBI hostage negotiator and Chris talked about the fact that you need to know what you’re going to trade before you get into it, and we built this scorecard in this whole idea of high-value trades and its value. What’s the customer asking you for on the one side and on the other side it’s all about time, and so it’s really interesting because when I take guys give me an example of that, because this is fascinating.

Give me an example of some high value, some trades that you might make. Yes, so here’s the one you know one of the things in the software world a lot people want to get to the demo. They don’t know why. But they just know that if I show you something, maybe it’ll stick well, if you start thinking okay, well, I could do a custom demo or I could do a standard demo. Well, those two items right there are increasing in value.

The standard demo will cost you more money than a sales call or a recorded demo mmm. The custom demo takes a lot of time, more people etc. So, all of a sudden that whole idea that I actually am being asked to do a lot by my customer. I have the right them to invest personally, they need to do more for me. So what I teach these guys is hey in order for you to do that. You know, and I’m happy to do, what you’re asking for, if you want to custom demo, I’m happy to do it in order for me to get that done, I’m going to need to think about a high-value trade that I want, and that might be you need To put together a requirement stock that states, you know how you’re going to measure us what you’re doing etc.

The customer has to do that work that all of a sudden becomes this idea that you’re committing to work with them. Only if they’re willing to work on your side and when value looks at time on the right-hand side and that’s you know, value on the left and then time on the right. The critical business issue is like the third item on the list and a lot of the sales managers start saying to me. That seems like a really valuable thing.

It’s it shouldn’t be. It should be more than three points, mm-hmm and I said to him because you’re looking at it in terms of value in that time, I need to know what the return on investment is before the deal gets into the pipeline right. I need to know that we’ve got a good deal and you and the customer agree that we got a great return on investment, so you touch them something that’s really fascinating here and that I wanted to dig a little bit more into.

I think what you said at the beginning. There is in order to do this kind of trading right. The the salesperson has to have a good degree of confidence and respond respect for their own, their own time and the value that they bring right, because if I don’t feel that way, I’m going to say oh yeah I’ll, do a custom demo for ya I’ll paint. It whatever color you want it to be, and you know and I’ll send you chocolates too, but it requires you to have some confidence in yourself and the value you’re bringing for me to say yeah Tim I’ll.

Do that for you, but here’s what I’d like you to do in return? You just got it right on by the way. It’s it’s not a hard concept, but if you don’t plan it upfront right, it doesn’t happen. You need to know what you’re willing to trade and win you know and – and I find it fascinating that salespeople, don’t ask enough questions and, like I said, the critical business, they will actually check off as a that’s something they’ve gotten from the customer.

And yet, when I go back and say what’s the return on investment, how long they they have the technical issue, you can always sell with this issue. You can sell against the pain, but if you really go back to the business impact, because someone in your customer is doing this you’re, not an expert in the finance right, little piece makes a huge difference and they’ve got to be confident enough to do it.

Unfortunately, they don’t want to know the answer, so they don’t they don’t do it they’re. You know. If I get the answer you know it might be the one I know one and I don’t have a deal and then then I might have to find another deal, which means I got ta make a call and I’m going to make a call. I’m petrified of the phone, so there’s another interesting thing in your training nowadays, how much is it evolved over the years, because one thing I I see a lot of right now: is people don’t want a prospect anymore right or they? They would tell you.

Well, you how cold-calling is dead and inbound rules, and you know I sit here and kind of wait for leads to be fed for me, because actually it’s really marketing this job nowadays to fill my pipeline. So what is your what’s your answer with us? Well, there’s two answers one: when people get promoted the first thing they think of is oh, I don’t have to call anymore and great sales reps. Still. I don’t care what you call it cold, calling it doesn’t need to be cold, calling McCoy, but networking and understanding your accounts and seeing what’s going on, you know we just did one, which was something we called slam.

A sales lifecycle account management program and we took a customer through how their client goes to market and then how to interview executives at each step. So they could go back in and create an opportunity. I don’t care what you call it. That’s prospecting well, but right now it’s BTR’s. You hear sales development, reps and business development reps in they are usually people that are fairly inexperienced.

They haven’t quite figured out what they’re doing yet and they’re being asked to go out and call people and generate leads to that point. We actually created, what’s called a BTR kickstart program where we bring together BTR’s. Let them get a couple of different île earnings and then either virtually your live depending upon how they want to do it. Take them through how to get on that phone and tell a great story and handle an objection.

That’s the minimum that needs to happen, and it’s really powerful when you read these young folks get on and do it. We did one a couple of weeks ago where I had a small group, four or five people, and they were just amazing. They were energetic and ready to go and it was fun, and you know it all went on their oldest coldest status leads and I’m working wonders. Well. You did again there’s an interesting thing that you touched on there, that you also you also you know mentioned earlier me here and that storytelling right, because what you just said is you know you got, you teach them how to tell a story, and then you know Overcome the objections, but I mean oh I’m going to think of you know I got a lot of.

I get a lot of unsolicited emails and phone calls and stuff. You know, as we all do, I’m trying to think of the last time. Somebody captivated me with the story. So when you teach storytelling tell me a little bit more about what what do you? What do you teach them to do? The biggest thing that I like to be able to do is you know your marketing. People have done a lot of work for you, go back and read your case studies, because that’s where your story should come from right and it’s pretty simple by the way, as I did with a with a customer, we took their infographics on a couple of their Case studies in an e-book and we immediately were able to build five six seven different stories that you could reach out to their customers on.

They were very customized. You know we teach them to actually start with some level of a pain point you know understand. You know, based on your title, customers like yourself, have been telling us again. You’ve got the confidence you know one of our customers was able to you know. How do I get a few minutes just to talk with you about this or who should I speak to? It’s literally about being able to build a very short story: 20.

Second voicemail – and the biggest thing here is that you need to do the one-to-one executive prospecting, which takes a lot of research in time, but this BDR SDR world. You really got to get him into volume. How many things can I get you know and, like I said when we did it last week, you know in a 90-minute period it was 290 dials and that was 18 people, but that’s pretty powerful when you think about it in 90 minutes I’m going to each One of you we’re doing 30 to 40 calls and you need to do 50 to 100.

Today. It’s all a matter of time management, a little bit of technique in a cabin, a great story and another CAG, you were said everybody was enthusiastic and you know fun. I mean you got a let’s face it. If you’re going to be made in that amount of calls every day, you’ve kind of got to get yourself psyched, you know hyped up and because it’s it’s a tough thing to do so, you might as well may make it fun yeah and recognize that most people, Like yourself, John, are not going to respond, you you need to be there at the right time, doing the right thing and saying the right item that actually hits their pain point that they’re willing to work with you on yeah, and I think, that’s part of the Reason why you see a lot of people give up so easily? It’s you, they make.

You know a few hundred calls or whatever it is, and they say well. This is useless. This doesn’t work but, as you say yes, if you call me on an average day and – and you know put something at me, you know I’m if I even pick up um yeah and if I do I’m probably not going to listen to you. But there are occasions when you know an email is pumped into my email box or somebody’s called up about something that I’ve actually been thinking about and I’m like huh.

Maybe this is worth listening to. So it’s like it’s like one of those things is it’s out there. If you keep going right, it is, you know one of the things I tell people. John and people say all people don’t listen their voicemail. They don’t do this. Look at if people really like what you have to say, they will call you back yeah, I don’t care. If you catch them live they might be. You know, engage you and and have a meaningful conversation as you defined it, but at the end of the day, you really need to be able to get people to do work for you.

If you’re doing all the work and they’re not doing any, you don’t have a deal, you know it’s the funniest thing, as I say, to salespeople. Okay, tell me about the last meeting you were on whether it was on the phone or in person, and one of the things that they talked about is that they did all of these action items, and I said great, would your customer ya know so? Well, they they had nothing right there waiting for us, yes, okay, sales is a is a whole negotiation from the beginning to the end, and I think it was Ian Dunbar who made it.

He was a famous dog trainer and he says: look at whether you’re training, dogs or spouses, it’s exactly the same. It’s a negotiation and that’s what we’re doing trying to train our customers. Yeah absolutely – and I love that and that you brought up that issue about yeah, because that that’s one of the biggest one you see is like somebody comes back from a meeting or gets off the phone or a virtual meeting, and they say I had a fantastic Meeting the prospect really engaged – and you say, what’s the next steps.

Well, you know: we’ve set up a follow-up meeting for next week. That’s fantastic! What are they doing between now next week? No, what do you mean? What is this customer doing? Nothing yeah again the high-value trade table. You know as part of the sales gauge five module where you actually build this trade table, one of the things before you you get off that phone before you schedule. You’ve had to ask them for something it could be as simple as a LinkedIn, but I’ll tell you if you’re sending a quotation to a new prospect without actually scheduling a meeting to review it.

Even it’s only 10 minutes, you’re missing a chance to increase the qualification. Just simple things like that, John and that sticks with people and they love it, and if they can’t give me 10 minutes to actually review a quote, then how serious are they about buying yeah for sure, I’m one oak say as we’re bumping up against the end Of our time here, what I did want to ask you quickly, though, is about sales training becoming part of your daily work practice right, and I do think that this is – and this may be true of all disciplines – I don’t know, but I mean I think, particularly With wit, sales, you know, I don’t think sales people generally, we invest enough in themselves right or take enough response.

I think most people I mean I so people who probably practice their golf swing more than they ever practice their sales skills and, at the end of the day, they’re not on the Ryder Cup team, so golf isn’t putting food on their table. Your sales job is, and yet you’re missing any more time practicing your hobby yeah. You know one thing I talk about and it’s an interview question when I teach sales managers about interviewing and how to do behavioral interviewing one of the things I say is: I want to understand what book you’re reading right now today bring.

What did you do to invest in yourself? It’s a simple one, and if someone came to I, and by the way I don’t care, if it’s a novel or something that you’re reading for fun, I want to know that you’re doing something to invest in yourself. I’ve got a whole list of things that I love, but this and I’m really high on it right now, is book around this. This Chris Voss, the Frank Boettcher book on how I raise myself from failure to success and selling.

There were things and lessons in there that actually get you to understand how to be a better salesperson. You know I’ll talk about one guy, this Don Darren Becker, who was just an amazing customer of mine. He was a global sales manager at JD su many years ago in their Navi AVI, but Don had left. He wanted to go back to being an individual contributor and Don went off, and I talked to him recently and Don had this great thing that he told me he became such a better salesperson because he had empathy for his sales manager.

One thing people need to recognize is that make your manager look good they’ll make it do a lot for you and so Don had his CRM updated. He had his reports and he knew what was required in what the customer needed and or his manager needed, and that made him a better salesperson and he had much more time to sell because it wasn’t constantly answering questions from a sales manager was so profound and He’s an excellent excellent sales rep and he loves it, and you know he was a manager was a global guy and he said I want to be an individual contributor again, there’s a noble thing to that.

I love him. Ya know I think, that’s a great self-awareness. I think there and you know, focusing on what you wanted, what you’re good at as opposed to always feeling that the only way to prove that you’re, improving or or you know, moving on in your career, is to have the term manager, because it’s not the case. So, okay, so as we finish up on our time here Tim, this has been great. It love the conversation.

I always like to ask guess what do you personally Tim do every day to set yourself up for success? What’s something you do you know so I’ll tell you John the biggest thing that I tell everyone on this one. You know if you ever read a professional athlete before a game. They’re stretching they’re doing they’re getting warmed up right, they’re, not just going out cold into the field. So one of the things I tell everyone and myself is grab a couple of your really old cold leads, go back out.

People you haven’t talked to in a year. It’s all in your crm, just you know new a sort and then take and make your first three or four calls of the day. Those are your warmups just make those calls you’ll get a couple of dials in and you’ll get in the habit of doing things and like a professional athlete, you’ll have warmed up because once you get through three or four of them, good things happen, but you need To be able to understand, what are you going to say? Is there a? Is there a great story you can tell, can you you know refer them to some piece of content that you know you’ve done, whether it’s in manufacturing or service or financial services there’s good things and that’s what I like to start out with you know get yourself Pumped up by making a few phone calls in the morning to your old leads and then believe it or not things happen.

You even will resurrect a couple of leads out of there. Just by doing that, ya know this fantastic advice. I think everybody should. It should follow that advice, phenomenal and just before we go to him just tell everybody just a little bit more about you and your company and how they can find out more about you. The easiest thing to do is either send an email to us info at sales, Gage, GA uge dot-com or you can actually go to our website.

Wsas gage comm and in that you’ll see our e-learning platform. I got to tell you what we’ve been told is that the e-learning platform is a very under priced value. We give that away for customers to really get something out of it, and it’s really targeted at that that small company that really needs to do some training, but they can’t fly everyone everywhere. So highly recommend that people check out.

We do and there’s a resource page that has a lot of free stuff that were given away um. So thank you so much John for letting me come and talk with you today. I had a lot a lot of fun. Doing this yeah! Listen! Thank you Tom! That’s Tim say to Tom Tim Tim, hello, there in Boston, my colleague Martha here in Vienna today my name’s John golden says pop online says magazine pipeliner CRM also in Austria, but would be back in the San Diego studio next for the next one.

Next week, again Tim, this is great glad. You could join us glad you. The people could join us on Twitter, Martha anything any any fun stuff from Twitter today, funny stuff, not but very interesting ones Thanks. I look forward to reviewing the Twitter feeds later again. Thanks. Everybody and we’ll see y’all again for a sales chat really soon. Thanks.


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