Continuing the conversation with Bob Sager, founder of SpearPoint Solutions, on creativity, profitability, and effectiveness in business and sales.
Some gems from Part 2:
“So the differentiation doesn’t necessarily have to be anything, but it has to be something that makes the customer go ‘Right…That’s unexpected!’”
“hinges are small – doors are enormous – but they swing on hinges” (referring to creating leverage with small acts)
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Connect with Bob on LinkedIn
The founder of SpearPoint Solutions, LLC, Bob’s professional background includes over three decades of experience in sales, leadership and training. He uses that experience and innovative thinking to develop business strategies that help organizations get unstuck. He also facilitates training on methods of thinking more creatively that can help any business or nonprofit thrive in the today’s economy. Among other accomplishments, Bob is the inventor of the innovative/creative thinking game, What’s the BIG Idea?™, author of the personal achievement book, Discovering Your Greatness and the book of innovative strategies and how to create them, 101 Freaking Brilliant Business Ideas: And Ten Ways YOU Can Create Your Own. He is also the host and chief innovator of the Out-THINK the Competition podcast.
Web site: www.SpearPointOnline.com
LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/bobsager
Twitter handle: @Bob Sager
The SpearPoint Solutions company page on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/spearpoint-solutions-llc
Company page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SpearPointSolutions
Links to Bob’s books:
Discovering Your Greatness: A Higher Level Thinking and Action Guide
101 Freaking Brilliant Business Ideas: And Ten Ways YOU Can Create Your Own
This book is published by our company. I curated the content and am one of 39 contributing authors.
Living a Wealthy Life: Stories of Gaining an Abundance in All Five Forms of Wealth
Author page (where people can access all my articles) at Valuewalk.com
E209 – Transcript
Jason: Alright. Thank you for joining today. This is going to be part two of my conversation with Bob Sager. We’re going to continue where we left off yesterday talking about creativity, how that applies to sales. As always, make sure to go to the website to get the transcript as well as Bob’s links. And here you go. Enjoy part two.
Bob: Those were two of them. Yeah, and there was a real doubt on the nuclear energy. Right? Right. So that was impossible. And look for the people who said that for them it probably wasn’t possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually impossible. It was just impossible for them because that was their belief. And if you believe something, for you, it’s true.
Jason: That’s it. That’s all that matters. Well, and it’s interesting regarding creativity where we’re talking about this, your fun shop and facilitating this and kind of coming up with ideas and being safe.
Jason: And then there’s the other end of the spectrum. My mind is thinking about with, let’s talk about salespeople or just people in general, which is your back is against the wall. You’re in a stressful situation and you’ve got to come up with a solution or else, and so then that’s when the juice’s can fly, right? Like there’s this interesting kind of middle realm. I know for myself where if I’m comfortable enough, it’s tough for me to come up with creative ideas when I’m pushed against the wall or I’m kind of in a panicky mode or I’ve got to get something done or I don’t know how to solve it. It just forces me to then come up with creative ideas because I know the other option is not okay because it’s going to be some kind of failure. So where do you see that kind of balance or how do you frame that for people or how do you facilitate that? What do you tell people in that kind of realm?
Bob: Well, you bring up a good point and I think how you resolve that speaks to your character, right? There is great power in what I call attitude. How’d you get it done? Failure’s not an option, right? There is power in that because it does force you to focus. Now the question is “Do you have integrity?”, because if you have integrity, then the solutions, you’re going to come up with are customer focused. If you don’t, and you need to make a sale for you. Then that’s kind of a problem. Well at least it can be if you think it’s okay to not act with integrity in this case.
Jason: Yeah, right. Well that really comes down to the intent, right? So what’s your intention? Because you can have both. You want to make the sale or you need to make the sale because you have a bill to pay or a quota to make and do it in the right way where you got to go through and find who needs it the most and it will still value them or be valuable to them.
Bob: And look, Jason, I think that, and I’m sure you breached this in the training that you do, that’s why prospecting is so important. That’s why you want to have more prospects and you can really get to, because I remember four or five years ago I did a training on creative or a group of insurance sales people and I was following up somebody and I said, you know, he makes a great point. And I said, piggyback back on that. This doesn’t have to do with creativity, but it’s important to understand, is that when you need to make a sale, you almost never will. And the reason is if you’ve gone through traditional sales training, you were told that there are three things that communicate people. It’s a body language, tone of voice and the words that you say, but I’m telling you, there’s a fourth thing that communicates to people, on a nonverbal level, the they can sense whether you have their best interest at heart and if you need to make a sale and you’re sitting there, I don’t care if your presentation is perfect.
Bob: If you need to make a sale, you almost never will because people just have a sense. I’m not really sure I trust this person that has my best interest at heart.
Jason: Yeah, I think you’re right. As far as a fourth category, cause it’s, I always talk about you know animals can sense fear, right? I mean prospects can tell that in many lines of businesses, especially like an auto sales, the term for that is called commission breath, which is where like that’s all of the focuses. Like you know, you can just feel that coming out of the sales person cause they need to make the sale and sometimes it can work. Sometimes you can still get the sale. In my experience long term, that customer won’t be happy so they’re going to wake up with buyer’s remorse the next day in five minutes. I’ve seen people literally get off the phone from signing up to then immediately call back customer service to cancel like on the spot because the pressure and the sales reps intention was not correct and they weren’t doing it for the right reasons. Like for the customer. It’s the same thing. I mean you know, sales and relationships are all the same thing. If you’re single and desperate, that will come across as well. And that will repel any future mates or relationships you want to have because you can just feel it like, and no one wants to interact with it.
Bob: Well it’s been a long time since my dating days. I think you’re probably correct on that.
Jason: So on the creative topic, because it’s interesting that you started with talking about not just the arts, cause we talked about that in advance. That’s always something I beat myself up. I thought I wasn’t creative because I am not a good painter, not a good musician, like I’ve never worked on it. I just don’t naturally have those skills. And so I didn’t think I was creative. And then for the longest time I figured out that my creative medium was actually Excel. It was actually spreadsheets or I can do some amazing stuff with spreadsheets. It’s kind of like where time loses all meaning and I can do that. And then I really realized that when it comes to sales and interactions and coming up with solutions for customers, but that’s just a creative form in itself. Like what’s simple things for somebody listening to this can they do to become more creative? What stuff could help anybody in the creative realm, especially salespeople or sales managers.
Bob: Now look, we do a whole half day bunched up on this topic, but you can really start applying this to yourself. There’s a creative thinking method called Go Ops. And when I recently doing a series of articles for a website called valuewalk.com and I published an article about this very thing. And the method is to write down everything that you know right, to be true about the situation. And then ask yourself, what is the exact opposite of that? Like the right approach through this scenario is this, write that down. Now what’s the exact opposite of that? And you’ll be amazed that when you start considering in what ways might we do that opposite, in what ways might the opposite be more effective or give us, um, you know, a little bit of a different feel to the customer. Then you’ll be surprised how you can find some real pearls in there. It does take some work, right? And you do have to turn your sort of creative thinking on. But that’ll cause you to do that.
Bob: I’m sure you’ve noticed the statements, close the mind and questions open the mind. Right? If I say that’s impossible that we don’t have anywhere to go, right, but if I asked that question that I asked up front, in what ways might we, then all of a sudden that opens up, that forces us to begin thinking about things and new ways. So that “go opposite” method. That’s something that really anybody can apply and it’s a really good way to look at things and begin considering new possibilities in difficult situations.
Jason: Yeah, and I could totally see where if you do that, go opposite methods so you have what you know. And then what could be the opposite of that? The answer could be at that extreme opposite. It could be somewhere in the middle. Right. And again, I’m thinking at this from the sales person perspective. Kind of going back to something you said earlier, which is doing the opposite, right? Of all the salespeople in the world or in your vertical, in your industry are doing it a certain way, then what could you do that’s the opposite and still effective. And still with the right intention and the right focus for the customers, right? So not in a harmful way, but what could you do that’s opposite and how do you go against what is the norm to still be effective and using that method like, okay, so if everyone is making phone calls like this, how do I do it? Everyone makes phone calls from nine to five during the day.
Jason: What would be the opposite? Right? Okay, so 7:00 AM calls, 6:00 PM calls. What do I have to do that would be the other end. The opposite of that actually, you know it’s funny cause this is 2020 right? So phone calls, emails, text messages, all of that is becoming the norm. But what could be an opposite and shocking result is actually face to face communication. Visiting somebody, going to a trade show, just doing something that no one expects because it’s not the norm. What would be the opposite?
Bob: It could be something as simple as salespeople are writing two paragraph emails and I write a one sentence email, right? It doesn’t have to be anything major. You know, one of the things that I like to talk about in the workshops or fun shops is hinges are small doors are enormous but doors swing on hinges, right? Yeah.
Bob: So the differentiation doesn’t necessarily have to be anything huge, but it has to be something that makes the customer go right. That’s unexpected. And it just sort of reframes their expectation from you. So I think salespeople are well-served to consider that particular method right there. And shorter emails are much better by the way.
Jason: Shorter email. I even found myself, cause I can write like crazy, I can bang out a lot of content really fast and you know, it’s descriptive and it’s helpful. But I could literally write a couple thousand words in one sitting and through some coaching and people I know who like look at my emails or look at messages or like just go short one sentence per line, paragraph space in between. Just make it easy to read, short and sweet. So it’s like, okay, so how do I do the opposite? Just a, you know, shorter messages.
Bob: But TLDR is a real thing.
Jason: That’s it, like lots of pages just break it up. And it’s funny because I didn’t realize it, but the emails I like to read or the blog posts are broken up like that. I mean, and this goes into the debate total sidebar, which is short form versus long form. There’s a debate that says, you know, no one wants to read long form anymore. Attention spans aren’t there. No one’s going to read 5,000 word blog post or email. People will, if it’s valuable and they want the information that’s in there and it’s engaging, the right people, the right audience, will read whatever that you send them that’s valuable.
Bob: Listen, that’s true. But you’ve got uh, you know, it’s kind of like the farmer and his mule. You’ve got to first get their attention. So there’s a reason that your YouTube ads are skippable after five seconds. At least a lot of em. So you know, it’s kind of a rare ad that catches my attention enough in that first five seconds. That’s what you’ve gotta do. If you’re going to have a long form or blog posts or whatever it is, you better catch their attention right away. And, um, do you mind if I make a couple of suggestions on how you do that?
Jason: Alright. That’s it for part 2. It’s going to be a four part series, so make sure to subscribe everywhere that podcasts are sold so that you can get all the episodes each and every day. You can also go to the cutterconsultinggroup.com website to get the transcript. All of Bob’s links, as always, keep in mind that everything in life is sales. People remember the experience you gave them.