This is part three of the conversation I had with Adam.
In Part 3, Adam and I talk about:
- Doing LinkedIn the right way
- The constant focus on winning by cold calling
- How do you want to start a relationship?
- Corporate culture trickling down to the sales team
- The future of funnels
Adam Connors is the Founder & CEO of NetWorkWise, a company that expedites outcomes for individuals and organizations by providing education in the science and art of networking. He’s a sought-after speaker who empowers people through online training and in-person workshops with the expertise to cultivate world-class relationships. He is the podcast host of Conversations with Connors and creator of the esteemed NetWorkWise Certification, a credential that validates the accomplishment of being a leader in fostering connectivity.
An entrepreneur at heart, for more than 20 years Adam has been influential in developing companies across various industries, including three executive search firms in multiple verticals and a boutique career consulting business. He has inspired countless management consultants, technology startup executives, and Fortune 500 leaders to unlock higher performance and build successful careers.
E144 – Transcript
Jason: Welcome back to the sales experience podcast. Welcome to part three of the conversation Adam and I had, my name is Jason cutter, so glad you’re here. If you haven’t made sure to check out the first two parts as this will make sense by itself, but it’s more fun if you hear the whole conversation where he and I are just on a roll all over the place. But it’s so valuable whether you’re in sales as a salesperson, networking, relationship building sales in general. We talk about LinkedIn and all kinds of strategies and then also if you’re a manager, a leader, an owner, you know on how to approach sales, how to focus on it, how to build a good culture from the top down. It’s all important. And again, my personal focus is on the sales experience. What that’s like for you as a salesperson and your organization and then also for your customer.
Jason: What that experience is like. And kind of in the vein of what Adam and I talk about a lot in this conversation. The long conversation we’ve had is that it’s about relationship, it’s about giving to other people, it’s about helping other people in what they’re looking for and get them to a better place and having those relationships, those conversations, and then ultimately knowing that at some point you will get yours. It’s what I’ve always done in my sales career is to help other people get what they need. Not at my benefit. Only like not as a lose win or a win-win. Sometimes it’s helping somebody else get what they need and eventually you will get yours. So here we are part three, enjoy.
Adam: But again, just to keep in mind that it’s a tool. It’s not necessarily across, you know, you’re building a house, your relationships are the house. You can’t build it just with a hammer. You know you need nails, you need screwdrivers, you know you need plywood and stone and electric and all these other things that you need in order to build a really nice house. And the same with some of these relationships. So you need to meet in person, you need to be able to make phone calls. You need to be able to send texts, you need to be able to send emails, all those things combined to really build that relationship house.
Jason: So if we’re talking about online, because we’re both on LinkedIn a lot and we both probably get this a lot where people are networking or trying to network through something like LinkedIn or online, especially for business purposes. What is your framework? What do you teach your clients, students or whatever you call them, like how do you teach them what to do? Because I think we might even talked about this initially where like I accept all LinkedIn requests, connection requests and as time’s been going on the last few months, I started to regret that philosophy a little bit because of the instance sales pitches that I’m getting. Just you know, long winded stuff.
Adam: It’s amazing. So I used to guard mine like crazy and I never accepted anybody and I, and I am actually wishing that I kept to this. Also. The reason I did not, it’s just because I needed to bring more people in to get my message out more. So I really wish I set up and maybe I still might do, I still might set up another account, kind of like my kids, they have like, it’s called a Finsta, which is like their retold offense. This stands for fake Instagram, but actually their fences, their real Instagram. But that’s a whole other topic of conversation. But to answer your question, yeah, I’m disgusted with LinkedIn to be honest with you. The abuse that’s going on, I’ve actually set my, although I love it, I used the tool every day, but I’m disgusted with the of professionalism or lack of sales that people have.
Adam: Have they just, they put no thought into anything. Just like what you said, they just send a blogging instinct or request. So it’s not even customized. That’s the first thing. So what I used to do as just an automatic delete in my box and what I also did, I set up, I made my name Adam R on LinkedIn because this way I can tell if someone just hit that instant invite button because then it’ll say Adam R as opposed to, you know, just Adam. And I don’t know if I’m articulating that well, so I can tell him immediately anything that comes up and I see Adam or I don’t even finish reading because I know that they’ve just hit collect. So anyways, so, so I feel like that’s just such, it’s so lazy, you know, not even to say, Hey Jason, your PO, you know, take a minute or two to do a little review on you. Jason saw your pie or heard your podcast. It’s great. Or Jason, you know, you’ve been in sales for all these years. I liked your profile and I’d be interested in connecting with you. You know, just something just so simple. And like you said, it’s like almost offensive. Then when you connect and then they immediately just try to sell you, like you said, this long winded email so that they, you know, that that’s just cut and paste. I just think that’s such poor form and that’s the antithesis of building a relationship.
Jason: Yeah. I mean, it feels like the online equivalent of just robo dialing, cold calling and you and reaching out and pitching people, which you know, here’s the thing, right? In defense of those strategies, obviously if they’re still around, they work, right? And so people keep buying billboards and paying for billboards because they think it works or you know, they feel it works. The same thing, robo dials, cold calls, all of that stuff works. There’s a lot of people in the business of sales which will stand by cold calls at scale as the best way to grow and build their business and make sales. And people do that on, let’s say LinkedIn as well. And of course it works some percentage of the time it’s going to work. Just depends. Is that your approach, which is the pray and spray or are you about relationships and building it that way and quality or quantity and then how do you really want to start a relationship off with a prospective client?
Adam: When you’re were saying, listen, I’ll take four quarters over a hundred pennies any day.
Jason: That’s awesome.
Adam: Yeah. But yeah, I mean, again, to your point that’s just, that just shows, no, I mean, I don’t know. Maybe that’s just my own ego and you know, you know what they say, your ego is not your amigo. But I would personally find it, you know, very shallow to just send some kind of canned LinkedIn message to somebody. I think that’s just, I feel like I’m better than that, you know? So that’s just my own, again, egotistical perspective.
Jason: Well and uh, you know, and what that tells me as well and cause I get these also is uh, you know, you or I are not their target client who, you know, fits with their kind of core values or their focus. Right. Cause I think a lot of this, and this conversation comes up a lot more these days, it feels like, but where in sale, you know, where people in sales are a direct reflection of the company they work for. You know, it’s their own personality and who they are. But the company is set by the culture, the vision, the mission , the core values and all of that comes from the top. And what does that organization stand for? Even if it’s an organization of one, what are your values? What is your mission, what is your focus? And then you know, that will translate into everything.
Jason: If your mission is just, you know, turn and burn and find as many, you know, the old, find them, fleece them and forget them. Like if you’re just in a transactional, like just go after a mode, then you know that’s going to be reflective in your conversations with process, with how people feel. It’s kind of why, like my focus is on the sales experience, which is how do your customers feel and how do you feel about them and the process and you know, it’s like when I get those kinds of messages or those kinds of phone calls or those kinds of emails is saying, okay, so this is enough of an indicator about your culture or your values or your focus as a business. Are you trying to help me? Are you trying to provide value or are you just trying to get something from me?
Adam: Yeah, well said. Completely. Great.
Jason: Which then segues into you with the networking model, which then going back to what we talked about, which is giving and helping other people and then ultimately playing the long game and knowing that it’ll all work out.
Adam: Yes. Yeah. And it’s totally different philosophies from praying spray.
Jason: Yeah. So spray and pray, pray and spray. I mean if I pray spray and pray again. Uh, I don’t know. Yeah, so you know, there’s a bunch of questions I’ve been trying to ask guests. I’m sure listeners are now probably tired of me talking about the questions I’m not asking even though I probably could, but you know, our conversation, I love that it’s just fluid. One question I have, because you’ve dealt with this a lot and you said one of your core strengths is hiring people, building teams, finding that you know, relationships and all of that part is, you know, if you were to hire good sales people, even if you say that you’re a horrible salesperson, you know, what is it that you look for, what you know, what does that hiring process, how do you find those people looking?
Adam: I mean, it would depend on what the job, the sales job, because everyone’s a little different. But you know, when I’ve historically hired, it’s a pretty big funnel. You know, just like a sales funnel. Yeah. You got to kind of start wide and open and bring people down the sales funnel. So you know, at first it’s, you know, if you’re not, let’s just say you’re not finding someone already through your network for some reason you’ve exhausted that. You’re identifying, you know, you’re putting together the core values of whatever it is that you’re looking for. So again, someone with the integrity, someone with a level of curiosity, someone with also who has grit, someone doesn’t take things personally. Let’s just say that those, you know, someone who’s got some energy and some likeability. So let’s say that’s what you’re looking for. You know, you create a job description that defines the success, not necessarily the day to day.
Adam: You know, what is it that you are doing? What is it that you are accomplishing? You know, what’s the mission that they’re going on? Because people, you know, they join jobs for what they’re going to do in the future. Not necessarily, or, or if you’re hiring, that’s how you should be hiring people, not for the job today, but what you can turn them into. So you’ve got to make it a very attractive job description. You bring people into this funnel. And what I’ve done is I’ve, which has helped me significantly, and I wish I learned this a long time ago because it would’ve saved myself a lot of times. I hope whoever’s listening really does listen is give them at the end of whatever the job description is, give them a duty or two to show that number one that they’ve read the entire job description. So at the end of that description, Hey, you know, uh, you know, provide a sentence or two, something even that simple as to what it is about, you know, network wise that attracted you to this position. And you’d be surprised. I will bet 80% of the people will not even take a minute to do that. So you’ve now wiped out 80% and it’s a shame some people are going to be good but you, but again getting back to the details like you were in the midst of that. I know you wouldn’t miss that.
Jason: No, not if it’s something that I wanted and it was you know, seriously something I was looking into and it was interesting. No and can I do the same thing? Like I always put something at the end of any job, post job description and again you know to your comment about well you’re going to miss out on some good people. In my experience everyone is who they are in all facets. Like you are who you are. You can’t change, you can’t run from it. Sometimes you can kind of push it aside. But how you are at work, how you are at home, like how you are in life, how you operate as how you operate. And so somebody who isn’t going to read through all of that, we’ll get into your sales role if you hire them or into your company and they will also not follow through. They will not get to the end of things. They will, you know, get excited and start things but they won’t make sure all the details are are completed and generally salespeople are bad at the details and it’s when you don’t have those hoops for them, then you let in anybody and then you know you end up with what you get.
Adam: Well I got more hoops. You want me to continue the process? So you do that. Let’s assume that you caught that detail and you followed through and you came in and we had a good meeting. You know I was impressed. You were articulate. You seem to share some of these core values. You’d done your homework, you had good energy, yada yada. Check the boxes. Okay Jason, it was awesome meeting you. Here’s something that I’d like to see you do before our next meeting and give something simple or really just like a very, just a show your follow through or that you paid attention and again you need a lot of people. Probably half at that point half we’re going to probably drop off and it’s disappointing. But let’s assume that you did do it. You know you did it, you followed through. You even sent a thank you, which by the way, most people don’t do these days.
Adam: So that’s the other, that’s another time where I’ll lose people where they don’t take a minute to do a thank you. Even just a basic psyche. And then once they’ve come in, then again, then it comes about, you do another round of interviews and then you do the references and I can’t begin to tell you how many reference checks that I’ve had that are just bogus references, you know, these are the people. Yeah. Again, I, you know the reference a lot of times people like, Oh, what’d you get to the reference that’s canned in that’s in the bag. No, you know, when someone’s doing, and this is maybe just advice for in general, you know, when I’ve asked someone to be my reference, I asked them, what would you say? What would you say? Because that’s important, you know, would be, you know, so when I’ve called on the references, you know, I don’t want to know about how great you are.
Adam: You’re a reference. I want to know, you know, tell me about, you know, tell me about Jason. What are the things that I should focus on to get the best out of him? And when you ask that question, you know you’re going to again open up Pandora’s box because now you’ve quietly asked her, I will quietly inquired about your weaknesses. And if someone’s going to just blow smoke and just say there are no weaknesses if it’s not a legitimate reference and I can’t get discounted. Right? So to kind of take this on a different tangent, but I think that that’s important as salespeople really, really hard to find good sales people. And also if maybe anyone that’s listening is a salesperson that’s looking for a job, these are the things that you need to be thinking about. Because if you’re also in sales, your buyer is going to be in the details. Your buyer is they’re going to be looking for all the reasons not to engage your services or they’re going to be comparing you to somebody else and the person that goes that extra step is going to get this going to get that job or they are going to get that sale because that’s where they, you know, that’s how competitive it is.
Jason: Alright. That’s it for part three. Make sure to check out tomorrow’s episodes can be the final part of our conversation. Adam and I obviously having some fun. You can check out his links. Go to cutterconsultinggroup.com you can go to the podcast page, find this episode, all of the past episodes, the transcription for this conversation, this part of it, as well as Adam’s links for his podcast, his website, his projects, his LinkedIn, all of that. And as always, keep in mind, everything in life is sales and people remember the experience you gave them.