This is the final segment of the conversation I had with Ian.
In Part 4, Ian and I talk about:
- The windy journey of life and sales effectiveness
- Sales should continue the conversation that Marketing started
- You’re not just selling – you’re educating your customers
- Succeeding in sales by being about relationships (not high-pressure tactics)
Download The Power of Authentic Persuasion ebook
Enroll in the Authentic Persuasion Online Course
Connect with Ian on LinkedIn
Ian is an amazing entrepreneur, business owner, and an amazing individual. Ian grew up surrounded by design, engineering, accounting, and entrepreneurial people. Ian always had the desire to work for himself. After working as an engineer and designer for over a decade within startups and companies like HP, Adidas, Robot, and Nike, Ian founded the Peterman Design Firm. The firm has been named one of the top design and branding firms of 2019 by DesignRush, Clutch, The Manifest and Visual Objects.
Ian has been in the branding world for 7 years now running two different design firms. Social media isn’t a have to, it’s a get to and it’s a huge opportunity for brands to engage with people at all stages of their relationship to offer education, build trust, and share value. When done right, it’s an avenue for being seen, well understood, and garnering powerful loyalty with your ideal clients and customers.
E199 – Transcript
Jason: Welcome back to another episode of the sales experience podcast. Welcome to part four of Ian Peterman and I’s conversation about sales engineering, branding mostly about sales and engineering. We talk about niching, what you do and the sales experience, title, wide range of things, whether you’re a sales rep, a manager, owner, super interesting conversation. When you step back and look at it from any position, if you have experience in the realm of sales, especially with anything technical, sales and engineering, even sales and marketing where there are different stakeholders involved with a sale, then this is an important conversation. So if you haven’t checked it out, make sure you listen to parts one, two and three. Subscribe to the episodes and here you go. Here’s part four enjoy.
Ian: And I can knock to owners and the managers in the company that are wanting the project completed. And so my is kind of uh, odd turn because I got too broad and then narrowed it by just by changing the position of what I did. So I had technically still, you know, through my company, I offer product design, branding, marketing, all of these components. But they aren’t my personal specialty, my specialty is bringing them together. So it’s a journey. It’s always a journey getting there.
Jason: Well, and I think that’s fascinating because I can totally visualize that and obviously it might be some salespeople listening to this and they’re like, what does this have to do with me? I mean you never know where your life is going to go and what you’re going to do and you know kind of what your focus is in your niches. But to hear your kind of journey, it’s very similar to mine and I can just imagine how you were doing everything and then narrowed it down, narrowed it down again and then, you know, cause I’ve done the same thing, which then broadens it because you realize you can do a lot of things and then bringing it back down together. But more from a higher level. And you know, for any owners out there listening to this and you’re thinking about what do you do with your sales team, what do you do with your product or service?
Jason: You know, really focus on what that niche is and the niche within that niche, you know, and how many customers do you really need? What does that number look like? What does that universe, as they say from a marketing perspective, how many people out there would be your total addressable market? And then, you know, how do you serve them within that niche? So let me ask you this question. Now that you know what you know and you’re doing what you’re doing, you’re bringing all these people together, talking about the sales side, what does the ideal sales experience look like within an organization? You know, as a salesperson, but then also, you know, for the customer who’s looking at buying, like what have you seen? What is in your mind, what is the ideal sales experience look like?
Ian: So in my mind, from the customer’s standpoint, the sales experience should be a very seamless and smooth process starting with, you know, the first time that they buy as a customer. You can hear about the company, you know, it’s making as a customer, I would want to see the same branding, the same messaging. You know, having a consistent feel through whatever the initial advertising, however you get me as a lead, right? Transitioning smoothly into actually talking to a rep, you know, talking to somebody in sales and then purchasing in continuing that journey down the road of actually using the product and things like that. Those when it’s not, when it’s disjointed and I’ll use you experienced, I just, Starbucks has a very, very good customer experience when you’re in their stores, right? It’s the exact same coffee. Every user experiences is great until you get to use their tech support for their app and as not as great.
Ian: And so when you have those disjointing, you know, and especially in the sales process and you’re about to go spend money, especially if we’re talking about larger enterprise purchases, you know, we’re talking about tens hundred thousands of dollars being spent. You know, when you go through a process and you hit a disjointed piece where it jolts you and you get sent over to somebody else that doesn’t know you, doesn’t actually look at your information and starts talking to you, you know, things like that. That is the opposite of what you wine was smooth. You know, like you talked about the, when you had two people on your Skype call, all of a sudden it was very smooth and transition, you know, tech information and that tech support seamlessly joins in. From a salesperson point of view, it’s, to me it’s having the technical backup to make sure that I can actually talk to the customer, answer the customer’s questions, you know, have them on a Skype call with me, have an engineer sitting next to me so that I don’t look like an idiot.
Ian: I can just say, Hey, this is, here’s a question and let them answer the technical side. It’s having them, whoever does the marketing and advertising and making sure that their sales copy is directing the correct people and giving them the right initial information. I’ve done a lot of work with companies that there, there’s a huge disjoint because marketing is off doing their own thing and they do. They run these lovely ads and they get leads and then they go to the sales team. The sales team started talking to them and they go, Oh, well this ad says this and we’re looking for this, and there’s some level, you know, it’s not a full like, Oh we don’t even sell that product. But there’s some level of disconnect between that initial contact that was through an ad or something like that. And then when sales takes over, they have a hurdle basically that they’re given to jump over before you can even actually have a sales conversation is you’re correcting misinformation that another department but out there, so it’s making sure that that whole process is smooth and you’re able to answer the questions, have the right information with you and actually close the sales smoothly.
Jason: Yeah, I think that one is huge with what marketing is saying. That conversation then should be the same as what sales is saying engineering development. And then once somebody becomes a customer, account management, customer success, you know, customer service, tech support, all of that. Let’s, that’s why I’m a huge proponent of the sales experience being more than just sales. Right. And they, you know, big term is customer experience, but thinking about it even well before that person is a customer and looking at that whole journey of somebody going all the way through and how smooth is, cause you’re right that my example of the call with the two people on it literally just felt like one person, one organization, you know, the email afterwards, just a continuation of that. It didn’t, you know, there was one message that everyone was a part of, you know, from their website forward. And so I think that’s great advice.
Ian: Yeah, it’s, so I was talking to somebody else about this and the way I consider a customer experience and journey, it starts from the second they first learn about your company till the second they are no longer your customer and that, you know, that whole process from entrance to exit, that’s their experience of your company. And that, you know, there’s on the backend, there’s some companies I’ve worked with that, that uh, the backend experience was bad enough so they could never recapture those customers. And so you know, not that sales is necessarily part of that, but account management, if your sales and account management, that’s definitely part of your job.
Jason: Well and but a lot of it comes from like what you’re saying is the marketing’s got to have the same message as sales and they all have to set the right expectation for what the product or service does. If you’re a salesperson listening to this, keep in mind that your goal is to set the right expectation for the customer to be successful with your product or service longterm. Not just say whatever it takes to get the deal, but set the right expectation. If it’s a good fit, it will be a good fit. And here’s what I’ll tell you because I know this to be true for every product or service out there is not perfect. There is no perfect product or service in the world. There’s always some downside or some trade off, right? It’s never perfect. Like this might be the perfect solution except it’s going to be really expensive.
Jason: So there’s going to be a trade off, right? It’s just not possible. You know, there’s always a, or a trade off or what somebody is going to see as kind of uh, negative, you know, it’s not always terrible. It could be minor salespeople like to gloss over those. They don’t want to mention those. And in fact, I think when it’s done right by a sales professional, they’re actually going to bring those things up relative to, you know, with the good and the bad relative to somebody’s situation. That’s going to be a customer pointing it out and setting the right expectation, right? Here’s what we do. But by the way, our program does it do this. So you’re going to want to make sure you keep this in mind when you’re using our software, right? For example, I’ve had many times where somebody has sold me some software saying it will do everything. I get into it and it doesn’t. And then it’s just terrible because the expectation was set for how amazingly perfect it was. But when in fact, you know nothing. Now everything’s got some kind of downside or other side to it.
Ian: Well, and I think that instead of looking at as a downside, that could be this crippling thing to make you not make the sale. It’s, it really is an opportunity to educate and help your customer. You know, if you’re, if you’re the person that’s selling the product says, Hey, ours doesn’t do these three things, but you know, using a software integrates with these three programs over here that we’ll as together be able to take care of those needs that you might in eating those features. We can’t do that part, but we are a software connects to this other thing over here and you’ll get the whole package. You just be upfront with that. Then you’re not just selling people, you’re teaching them, you’re informing them and you’re consulting them a little bit on, you know, this is how we would recommend setting up your thing with using our product and then they’re going to buy from you because you’re helping them. You’re providing a product that does exactly what you say it does. Nothing more, nothing less, and you’ve given them a way to use their product. Even if they wanted a feature that you don’t have, if you give them another way to augment your product, basically it means engineering doesn’t have to come up with a new product and you can still make the sale.
Jason: Right. Exactly. Well, and that’s 100% true because here’s what I know to be so true, which is every customer, every prospect out there who’s looking at buying something or is interacting with a salesperson is just waiting for the catch or waiting to uncover the, I always call it the gotcha, right? Like here’s all these good things, here’s this downside, right? So they’re always waiting or trying to figure that out. And the more transparent you can be as a salesperson to actually bring that out, when you’re in your sales process, you’ve talked about what it’s going to do for them, talk about what it’s not going to do. And then like you’re saying, provide a solution. Be a sales consultant, even in your role, no matter what your title is, and then help them understand, Hey, here’s what it won’t do and here’s my suggestion and here’s what we found customers are successful with, you know, integrating this with that or are using our tool or our physical product and here’s the ways to use it in these other aspects.
Jason: When you do that and when you’re transparent, customers will actually appreciate it cause I go, okay, I knew there was going to be something, now we know what it is, now we’ve talked about it, I’m okay with that now I want to be a customer anyway instead of that being a surprise, right. Instead of that being an account management onboarding surprise that they find out and now they’re pissed and now they want to cancel or they’re not going to send you referrals. Right. Like I think that transparency is so huge and that’s where a lot of sales reps fail because they’re so afraid of losing the deal. That shouldn’t be a deal anyway. If that’s really like a stopping point.
Ian: Right. Wellness, especially you say if you’re just pass, if you’re passing the pain to the next person in line, it’s still a pain.
Jason: Yeah, and it’s just going to get worse, right? At some point it’s going to be so terrible, it’s just going to explode instead of managing it. It’s like the example, right? Like if your check engine light is on your car, if you can go deal with it right away, it’s okay. And then if it starts making noise because you’re procrastinating and then the noise gets worse and then now there’s like smoke or fumes come in. Like at some point it’s going to be so terrible. Like the problem is giant. If you solve it early, you can like, you know, get way ahead of it. Same thing in sales. You can get way ahead of something that might be negative to your prospect and set it up in the right way and set the right expectation. It won’t ever be a problem.
Ian: Setting those expectations and you’re getting ahead of the Nos too because if you tell them all the reasons could say no to your product anyway, right up front, you just skipped the entire conversation of the masking you a whole bunch of questions to see if it’s a no. You’d say, well it’s going to be a no. If these, if you would need these things, we can’t help you.
Jason: Right. And usually that kind of conversation about the nos or the negatives are kind of a takeaway conversation we’ll usually get most people to then want to buy because they appreciate the honesty and it will also make them want it for the right reasons, especially if you’re telling them why they probably shouldn’t use it or you know the takeaway and not in a manipulative way. Just say, Hey, this might not be good for you and post you were like, wait, no, I want it. Let’s do it. You know, cause that’s opposite of what salespeople, there’s a lot of salespeople are just monologues pushing, coming up with these slick lines and closing people and trying to like force a man and Hey, if I can get you this, will you sign the contract today? Type of like high pressure stuff instead of just, you know, being a person, having a conversation, solving problems and moving people forward.
Ian: Which is relationship. So yeah, that’s the reality is know like, and trust. It’s a thing. Yeah. And I think a lot of us forget those, Oh no, I can sell anybody anything. It’s fine. And we forget that. They don’t know us. They’re not going to buy right now. So it’s, yeah.
Jason: Well I think that’s a great place to stop, especially on the relationship side because where we started this conversation was about relationships between sales, engineering, marketing, bringing everyone together, kind of come full circle with the relationship being about all those parties and the customer, you know, the prospect turning into a customer for life, raving fan. You know, somebody who’s sending referrals.
Jason: So that’s a great place to stop. Ian, what’s a, you know, where should people go online to find you? How do they get in touch with you? Like where’s a good place to, cause they want your help with like branding, engineering, sales or anything else you’re working on. Where should they go?
Ian: The best would be the main website, which is petermanfirm.com P E T E R M A N F I R M or you can always find me on LinkedIn and Twitter occasionally. Those are the best places to get me.
Jason: Perfect. And I will have all of that in the show notes for the episodes. Ian, thank you for being on the sales experience podcast and I appreciate you doing what you can for sales and engineering firms and bringing everyone together out there because I know what that feels like from both sides of the equation. And I appreciate anybody who’s trying to make that better for everybody.
Ian: Yeah, you as well. It’s good to meet other people trying to make that process better for everyone. That’s, you know, that’s my hope.
Jason: That’s my mission. You know, bring everybody we can. And it kind of shift the way sales is done and the way customers view sales. So yes, thank you. And for everyone listening, make sure to go to cutterconsultinggroup.com go to the website there. I’ll have the transcript from Ian and I’s conversation, all of Ian’s links as well. And as always, keep in mind that everything in life is sales and people remember the experience you gave them.