This is the final segment of the conversation I had with Jamie.
In Part 4, Jamie and I talk about:
- When you are in sales, you should collect knowledge you can use as a “consultant” to your clients
- Overcoming your fears of not being “good enough” to call on C-Suite people
- Shifting from kill what you eat to customer success
- The leading indicator of success
- Sales is a mental game
Download The Power of Authentic Persuasion ebook
Enroll in the Authentic Persuasion Online Course
Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn
Jamie Shanks is the CEO of Sales for Life, the world’s largest Social Selling training program for mid-market and enterprise companies. Sales for Life has trained over 100,000 sales and marketing professionals, in dozens of industries. Jamie’s workshops have been delivered across 6 continents, for brands such as Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Oracle, American Airlines & Intel. He’s also the author of the best-selling book Social Selling Mastery & SPEAR Selling.
E130 – Transcript
Jason: Hi and welcome to another episode of the sales experience podcast. My name is Jason Cutter and this is part four of my conversation with Jamie Shanks. Please make sure to listen to parts one, two and three prior to this one where we wrap up, I actually have a chance to go through my questions with Jamie and uh, we answer those rapid fire modes. So much value. Again, if your sales manager, sales leader or even a sales rep, business to business, business to consumer. So many things, especially in this part where we talk about what makes her a good salesperson, what makes for an unsuccessful salesperson in his opinion and mine. And then also how he approaches hiring and selecting the right person. So at any level in the sales organization or if you’re thinking about getting into sales, this part is definitely for you. And at the end we will have all of Jamie’s information, his links where he can find it. As always, you can go to the website,
and find all the information there, the transcript of all of these episodes and his links also. And then you can also reach out to me if you want. You can use the contact page, you can email me at email@example.com and you can also find me on LinkedIn as well as Jamie. And without further adieu, here is part four.
Jamie: And this isn’t me, this is my team. My team was able to have really solid conversations with chief revenue officers. I had never been a chief revenue officer. I’d only ever had met a few of them before that time in my life. But it was taking every conversation with those people. What books are they reading, what are they doing? And just like learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn. And so that, you know, you fast forward over a couple of years and there was a great piece of advice I got from my very first sales job. I was selling commercial real estate and I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t know what I was doing six months on the job and the CEO could tell that I was struggling. And he turned to me and he said, you know what’s the challenge? I said, I can’t call cause you usually call the CFO when you do a commercial real estate deal.
Jamie: Can’t call chief financial officers and presidents of companies. I’m just a kid. I don’t know what to do. And he said, Jamie, how many real estate deals have you worked on in the last six months since you got here? I said, a lot of them were going on about 15 deals. He said, the average CFO does one major real estate transaction in their entire career. So, you already have 15 experiences. Use those experiences to your advantage. And so just learn, learn and learn. And it will be very quickly, you will have more knowledge than that person, way older than you and way tenured,
Jason: Which is such an interesting point because I had a client recently that I was working with their sales team and somebody on the sales team had been there for two years and she didn’t feel confident in telling their B to B clients. Usually a CEO decision-maker straight to the top. Small, medium companies, right? Not enterprise, but there’s like one or two stakeholders involved. Usually the CEO is one of them. She didn’t feel confident telling the CEO what was wrong with their business and the marketing and referrals and what needed to be done. And I pointed out that same fact to her, which I have to others, which is that you’ve been doing this for so long. How many people do you talk to a day? How many of you talk to a week for two years? If you collect that information, you know more about business and marketing and cost per acquisition and sales reps training and recruiting than that person does. I guarantee it because you’re seeing it from tons of verticals, tons of industries, all different sizes. One person, a hundred person, whatever it is like you are essentially a consultant with your service that you’re selling to. These people ask questions, figure out their business, and then tell them your perspective. Educate them on what they’re missing or how they can win. And you know, once sales reps start to realize that if you’ve done it for long enough and you have enough, you know, kind of stories in your mind and use cases and scenarios, then you’re now more of an expert than the other end.
Jamie: Yeah. And then your charlatan fears wash away.
Jason: Yeah, for sure. So I, and season 2, you know, you’re a part of the season two and the first few guests episodes I’ve had, I have a bunch Canadian gins. First Canadian, yes. And at this rate here, again, if anyone’s watching the video, you’re walking, you’re going to be here. I’m in a new year in California so you’ll be here at some point soon. But before I end this, I want to try to get some of my questions on. I’m kind of bad at this because I get on a roll, we have a great conversation and I don’t like a lot of structured, like I’ve got to ask you these formal questions that hit these bullet points. So let’s just go through it and I think it will be fun. So the first one is what does a great sales experience look like at your company? And we may have touched on it before, but what does that look like for you?
Jamie: So everything we do is about outcomes. So like our training courseware is not methodology focus. This is about creation of net new pipeline logged in your CRM. So a great experience is, we call it mission 100 a hundred percent of the sellers were certified. And the only way you become certified in our program is every seller must create a net new opportunity logged in their CRM, proven through a video case study. That’s a great outcome for the customer because they’ve just bought themselves dozens or hundreds or it depends on the size of the company, thousands of net new opportunities in a 90 day timeframe.
Jason: That’s awesome. So for you, when you got your hands really deep into sales for life, how did you build that sales experience and process?
Jamie: So there’s been a lot of failure and I actually, I’m going to talk to you about my failure rather than my success of it and through my failure. I am a prospector through and through from the very first sales role I’ve ever had. I have never seen, well the only thing I’ve ever done was prospect building, net new logos. Because of that, sales for life developed an incredible culture and speed of acquiring net new logos, specifically in the global enterprise. What that hindered us is we’d never developed for years. The customer success muscle and where we have flipped the switch over the last two years is taken our greatest weakness and really focused it as our greatest and insuring. And what that’s done is it actually doubled the number of existing customers, the doubled the conversion, the number of customers that either cross seller upsell, but best muscle prospecting muscle we needed to work on customer success.
Jason: And that’s classic. Great. So that’s a classically trained prospecting, hunting kill what you eat, sales model, set it up, close the deal, hand it off to somebody else, move. And if you’re leading that organization, which is good for owners to hear managers, even sales reps. So if you’re leading the organization, the culture’s coming from you, which is, you know, set it up. That’s great. Okay, cool. Now let’s go find another logo, right? Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. So that’s good to hear that. You know, obviously you guys recognize you hit that wall and then built that in and that’s, you know, part of what I focus on with the show here and then everything I look at is that right? Sales experience, which you know, in the customer realm they’ll call it customer experience. Sales experience is the marketing leading into the sale, leading into the customer experience and all of that because it’s one person all the way through and fulfilling on what the sales people are setting up. Right? Yeah. Okay, so we talked about it a bit already. I already know the answer, but just again, what do the top salespeople in your organizations do that make them successful?
Jamie: Top thing that a sales professional does in our organization is learn learning for us is because we’re proving this in our own customers, learning is the leading indicator. Behavioral change is the current indicator. And then sales results being the lagging indicator. So for us, the only thing that we can control in our customers thus we can control internally is the amount of information that we are learning about our market and our customer and about, you know, our job function roles and responsibilities and accountabilities. So it’s books, podcasts, recording conversations, sharing information. Every time we hear a tidbit from a customer sharing it around the ecosystem, we have created a culture of learning.
Jason: And I think that learning too is important and what you’re talking about sharing, because that also is an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset, which is instead of me learning what’s working, selling, and I don’t want to share it with anybody because I want to win. And I think that for me to win, everyone else has to lose. Instead it’s like, Hey, if I’m winning, everyone can win. There’s 7 billion people on the planet. There’s enough organizations, there’s enough people to sell to. Like there’s no reason everyone can’t win,
Jamie: And it depending on what you sell, I recognize that some people sell products and services to a very finite total addressable market. My total addressable market is infinite and so yeah,
Jason: There’s enough for everybody. So then on the flip side of that, what do the unsuccessful sales reps that you have seen come and probably go in your lifetime of sales? Like what makes them unsuccessful? What are they missing?
Jamie: Having a mental, a mindset barrier before they begin an initiative. I just played a squash game. I play squash three, four days a week and I knew I was playing a player better than myself and he was up two games to one. There’s, it’s the best of five. Yeah. I was so exhausted. I remember going game four I was drinking water out on the sidelines. Coming back in, I was like, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to survive physically through this game. I lost the match before we played. I got smoked. The same concept. So seller’s going in to learning initiatives or again, what can you control? You can control learning, absorption, and then applying that learning in the field. I can’t believe the excuses that I hear about in adult learning. And so because of that, you have lost before you began, you will get killed by a competitor who is a sponge. There’s going to be me versions of your competitors inside organizations that are going to learn and absorb and apply in the market faster, better than you will. You’re going to get smaller
Jason: And even beyond that, right? So if you already think you’re going to lose or you doubt it or you’re not sure because of the balance being shifted where it’s now an even playing field of you and the prospect like we talked about in the beginning, whether there’s a competitor or not, you’re just going to lose to the buyer, right? The buyer is going to feel it. They can feel like dogs sensing fear, right? Animal sensing, fear. They can tell when you’re not confident and not that you have to know everything, but that you’re just not confident or you don’t believe you’ve lost. Just literally grab your stuff and leave and go find something else to do. I know that sounds harsh, but like it’s the truth.
Jamie: And there have been those studies and I think it was, I can’t remember if it’s Gardner or serious decisions or Forrester was talking about the retraction of certain sales functions and roles in the 2020s and it will be because through artificial intelligence, machine learning, the people that just basically answer phones and the doers, that’s a commodity. And in fact, you know, I’m a huge believer in human capital arbitrage or labor arbitrage that can be offshored 100% talent is talent around the world. But those that have those that offer immense multi-hundred dollar an hour value is because you are doing something, the customers find uh really, really valuable
Jason: And a machine can’t replace you and offshore and can’t replace you. Yeah. Right. Okay. Last question. So when hiring people, and I feel like we already answer all these in advance, what attributes are you looking for in the recruiting? Interviewing process?
Jamie: Yeah. So we always have a feedback loop and so we just brought on a whole bunch of new teammates in the last 90 days. So actually it’s fresh in my mind. So basically this conversational interviewing, it’s great and it, you know, it gets an idea about that person. We give assignments, we give people tasks. One of the biggest leading indicators in our program that we’ve learned about sellers, and this is why we apply it in recruiting, is the timeliness or the velocity at which you give somebody a task in which they do it. And so I’m a believer in learning management systems. The old way of looking at learning was did they watch the video, did they consume the content? And we’ve dispelled that myth. It’s actually about the speed at which they’re showing interest in intent. So what we do in interviews, we people assignments, we see how fast they can do it, how fast they’re learning it, and then of course their ability to play it back.
Jamie: There’s this called the triangle of learning. Basically, most retention comes from feeding information back and playing it back, right? And we see if people can do that. If I asked you to learn about carburetors in a classic car, like we’ll give offsetting ideas. It doesn’t have to be about sales for life, right? Teach me about a Holly carburetor. Give them information. How fast can you teach that back? If you can’t do that, you’re not inquisitive. You just will not have the ability to be in a small business and learn on the fly. I mean, in a small business, you’re getting thrown 50 things at the same time. Right? So that’s what I’m looking for
Jason: And I think that really comes down to attitude as well and openness and their perspective. No matter what it is, no matter what the tests are, the challenge is someone like, well, this is dumb. What does this have to do with sales? Or are they like, okay, sounds good. Let me, I want to tackle that challenge about learning about carburetors. Like I would want to tackle the challenge of learning about prospects or learning a new role. So no.
Jamie: I think that’s a seller coming in. Yeah, sellers coming in. There are a lot of companies that will recruit from within their own industry and they’ll already have an acumen around your product or solution but that, well for a lot of companies will dry up quick and so you need to go into adjacent Wells where people don’t have that experience. So when you get there they have to go from zero to hero in your market and you have some complex solution, a service based business. This is my biased opinion. Learning a product I think is easier cause I’ve sold it’s a lot easier than selling vaporware cause as a service based business you sell ideas and processing deliverables all day long.
Jamie: So they’d be able to do that and have them play the mental gymnastics of selling consulting man, you have to be willing to learn fast.
Jason: I have said for a very long time cause I’ve only sold services my whole selling adult life. And I have joked about how easy it would be to sell a product, something tangible, something physical, something you can have somebody or like they could walk away with or drive away with and like, you know, obviously using persuasion skills but literally something tangible. Yes. Like you said, vaporware. I would be, I, I’ve thought about it every once in a while I was having a spasm and just go selling a product for a while and then coming back to this. So Jamie, where’s the best way that people can find you? I’m going to put all of the links in the show notes, but you know, for people listening, where’s the best place?
Jamie: So you can see our logo in the corner there, salesforlife.com. Great resource. Again, prospecting and modern digital selling. That’s the whole reason you’d come to visit us. And then you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Jamie Shanks. You’ll see a guy that looks like this on LinkedIn photo and it’ll be easy.
Jason: Yeah. And a couple of your books are listed on your LinkedIn profile. All of that. Yeah, those are great. And I’ll have the links in the show. Jamie, thank you for being on the show for walking this whole time again. I can feel lazy design sitting hundreds of calories on this show.
Jamie: I’m at five hours and five minutes, well over a thousand calories. Now I’m going to go eat dinner.
Jason: And now it’s dinner time at the time of recording is Jamie. Thanks again so much for being here. Alright, so everybody, I appreciate you listening to this. Thank you for joining me for another episode of the sales experience podcast, and as always, keep in mind that everything in life is sales and people will remember the experience you gave them.