secrets to scale

Secrets To Scale Podcast
006 - How Creating A Sales Process Can Help You Scale Your Business

006 – How Creating A Sales Process Can Help You Scale Your Business

Secrets To Scale is a marketing and entrepreneurship podcast that revolves around hearing the stories of successful entrepreneurs and uncovering their secrets to scaling their businesses. Music for every episode of this podcast was written and produced by Treycen Clausse.

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Tanner:

This week on the show, I have John Hill from Adapted Growth and John and I talk all about sales and why having a sales process in place is going to help your business scale so much faster. If you’re a business owner and you’re struggling with sales, this is going to be a great topic for you. Let’s just jump right in.

Welcome to the show, John, I’m super excited to have you. Go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience.

John:

Tanner. Thanks for having me, man. My name is John Hill. I am the founder of Adapted Growth. I am one of the hosts of Sales Throwdown podcast, and also a host on Morning Bil, which is a morning accountability show.

This is a marathon; it is not a sprint.

Tanner:

Very cool. How did you get started at Adapted Growth? And can you give us an idea of what your career was like when you first entered the workforce and where you are now?

John:

Absolutely. Adapted Growth, at the heart of it, is trying to help companies and salespeople think about sales differently. I got pretty lucky a couple of years ago when a friend invited me in to help him run a website design agency and we had developers and I’m not a developer. So for the next two and a half or three years, it was just kind of a laboratory to practice sales calls in. And I was really into that because I’ve been in sales for a while and it had some struggles. Thankfully my business partner, Jeff was able to kind of show me some of the errors in my thinking. And we started to do some coaching and some work on the sales thing and I just got really, really into it.

One of the things that I liked a lot about it was tracking CRMs and, you know, keeping all this information in front of you because we get scattered, we forget what we should be doing at times. And having a CRM really kind of started to make me sell differently. And most of what we do now is CRM build-outs and sales process creation for people who don’t really know that sales can be a process. But before that I’d had a whole bunch of various sales jobs. My first B2B sales job was a medical device sales rep. So selling spinal implants, hardware, Canterbury tissue, and standing in the OR while they’re doing these surgeries, it was pretty crazy. And then decided I didn’t really want to do that anymore and kind of fell into a very fortunate opportunity with the website company.

Tanner:

What are some obstacles that you faced while you were trying to grow adaptive growth? You said that you’ve been in business for about two years now.

John:

Yeah, we launched Adapted Growth at the end of August two years ago. And you know, the first version of adaptive growth was kind of all the things you read about not doing. It was a lot of things that only I was going to be able to do. So there would never really be a way to replace it. So I wasn’t really creating a company. I was just creating a job around myself. And if that’s your goal, I’m not knocking that at all. But I kind knew that that wasn’t what I was looking for and hoping for. And so I read this book called the E-Myth, which is one of my favorite books. And it talks about not doing these things, not building a job around yourself that only you can do, because that means you’re, you’re the only one who can do it. So that was a big thing for me.

You know, one of the other big things is just expecting things to go faster than they really are. It’s like entrepreneurs and everyone’s so digitally connected. You run in these circles and you see these people putting up like, like big numbers and big months, especially early on. And you’re like, man, I want that, I want that, I want that. There’s, there is no overnight success story, right? Like everyone you hear about has got 20 years of crash and burns and effort behind them in various ways. So having patience is the name of the game, because this is a marathon. It is not a sprint, no matter what anybody tells you.

Tanner:

I completely agree with you, John. I think a lot of people from the outside looking in, it looks like some of these companies just figured it out right at the beginning, which is never the never the case. What they’re not seeing is the years and years of grinding and learning and failing and learning from those mistakes. And then that’s the process that contributes to that success. I think that’s often overlooked for sure.

Before getting into networking for business, I was networking without really realizing it.

Tanner:

What would you attribute your success to in just your career in general? Not necessarily adaptive growth,

John:

You know, it’s almost cliché to say this, but honestly it’s my network. Before getting into networking for business, I was networking without really realizing it. I had been in been part of this martial arts community for 15 years or so. I was one of the assistant instructors that taught private lessons. I was only a couple levels away from master and that’s where the medical device sales position came from and getting to meet my business partner and forming that relationship. It came from this network that’s not business related at all, but I just was always curious, Hey, what do you do well, what do you do well, what do you do? And my friend Jeff said, well, I’m an entrepreneur. And I was like, Oh, so you’re just not hirable. And he was like, well, that is sometimes the case, but I actually have a company.

He had an IT company that focused on Mac support. So he worked with all these agencies and then everyone he knew from networking kept asking him for connections on website stuff. And he would make that connection. And then there would always be some sticker shock because agencies charge a lot for their websites. And in the small business realm, a lot of the people are just needing like a $3,000 to $5,000 website, not the $25,000 one. So he saw that gap in the market and was like, let’s build that. So that’s what we did was WordPress sites. You get Greeking in there and you can customize it. And we do it for $3,000 to $5,000 and try to be the hands that you’re not. So, we’re cheaper than the agency, but better than your nephew – was kind of the thing that we talked about doing. But it was kind of a fight because this was 2014. So WordPress was not the like the giant that it is now. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I got hung up on because like somebody would say, Oh, do you guys work in WordPress? I’d say, yeah. And they’d be like, okay, thanks, click. I don’t want a themed website click, you know, and now the idea has shifted so much on that. And I think it’s awesome now, but it was a struggle back then.

Tanner:

Yeah. I mean, I can imagine that, because that’s before the age of the page builder and the drag and drop builders, I could see how that is a struggle, but I’m honestly surprised that all those prospects even knew what WordPress was.

John:

Well, a lot of them didn’t right. But they, but they understood the concept of a theme. So they didn’t really understand like why there were benefits to WordPress, you know? And, and there wasn’t like the Tim Ferriss podcast where like every, I think third or fourth episode has got a commercial about WordPress and how great it is and how one third of the internet is on it. So it was just these people who didn’t want a themed website, right? I don’t want my website to look like anybody else’s.

Tanner:

Yeah. Yeah. It was almost like it created this sort of stigma that they weren’t getting something that was custom to them. So I definitely understand that.

John:

Exactly. And the custom guys were, you know, kind of crapping all over the idea of like theme. You go out and you start networking and you think you’ve got like a really smart idea. And then you go into that kind of group of, you know, fairly elite people because these people had some shops and well, okay, cool. I’m in web as well. Oh, okay, cool. What, you build on WordPress? WordPress, get outta here, man. It’s like he showed up with like the off-brand shoes and everybody else is wearing on a brand shoes is kind of how it felt like at the time it was pretty funny.

Tanner:

Yeah. You know, I feel that way. I have a friend that’s a developer and he just hates WordPress for some reason. He thinks everything should just be custom coded from him. And so I kind of feel that way when I talk to him too.

John:

The, the most important part of that sentence is that from him that you put on that, on the back end of that thing, it’s gotta be custom coded from him.

Tanner:

It’s those damn developers man, they just have very, very tight opinions about everything.

John:

But honestly, that’s what you want, right? Like if you’re going to go pour your heart and your soul as an entrepreneur, or a person with a vision or an idea, into like an app or a piece of software or something like that, go vet and find somebody who has like the same kind of like thinking and thought processes as you do. And there’s so many different personalities and ways that people think. It’s honestly awesome. Right? You want someone to be like, no, no, no, no, you’re going to have these struggles if you build it over here, but you’re going to be better off, based upon what we’re talking about ,if we do this over here, and that requires a bit of a different sales process than what a lot of people are talking about, but when you’re good at that and you’re good at understanding, and you’re not trying to get your needs met at the expense of your prospect’s needs, you can be as passionate as you want for your way of doing it because that’s what people are looking for. You just have to be okay with the fact that the way that you do it might not be the way that they want it done.

Being kind of good, isn’t good enough anymore.

Tanner:

Yeah. Totally agree with you, John, you mentioned sales process. Let’s talk about creating a sales process. Obviously having systems and processes in place is really important for business owners that want to scale, but it seems like having a sales process can really make or break a business in general. What’s your approach here? How do you create a sales process for your customers?

John:

This is my favorite conversation on the planet and nobody ever wants to have it. So whenever you’re done hearing about the nerdiness of this, just like wave your hands and surrender and I’ll shut up and we can change topics.

Tanner:

As long as you want, man.

John:

So, the sales process in the way that I think about it is the entire sales process from like start to end. Which is kind of weird for a sales guy to say that there’s value in marketing, but I believe there’s a lot of value in marketing. I’m not one of these guys. Who’s like man, forget marketing. So the, a lot of the work that you do in your marketing has got to come into play as sales as well. Right? Who is your target avatar, right? Who were you looking to be talking to? And I learned all this in the sales world before I started learning about in the marketing world. But the process is the same, but what’s really, really awesome is that the salespeople are going to get the feedback a lot quicker than the marketing people are.

The marketing people have to put together some sort of sweet giveaway deals that we will fill out the survey to tell them what they’re doing badly and what they’re doing well. But the salespeople are just going to hear that in the conversations all the time, as long as you build it the right way, right. When you build it. So that way no is actually part of the conversation. Right? As opposed to this thing that you’re kind of holding back from the prospect, because you can’t even stand to let them talk about no in front of you. Right. You know, salespeople do these things, but when we can go the opposite way and put that back into play, then every time you get a no – Tanner, thank you so much for telling me that. I appreciate it. I hope you find the right person that you’re looking for or I’m glad you found the right person you’re looking for. Could you let me know why we weren’t it? And we can have that conversation because I’m not going to be the person who’s like that full court press salesperson – Tanner, what about now? Well, if we could do that and then do this, would you sign this today that we can get this done? You know, and do all these kinds of like weird, like bad psychological sales tricks and things like this. If we can just have the regular conversation – Tanner, can we take some time kind of talking about this? And I’d like to learn about where you are, see if any of the concerns that you have line up with the concerns we hear most from our clients and if it does, we can talk about working together. But if not, could you just let me know? And that way we can call this thing over and I don’t have to chase you around, right?

Tanner:

Yeah. I think that’s a good approach. You know, I think ultimately sales, good sales, comes down to just having a good conversation like you said. I think it’s impossible to build that rapport unless you talk to them as if they’re your friend or colleague. I think these bad sales tricks, I see it all the time, you know, as, as business owner my inbox is getting pounded with emails from all around the world trying to sell me something and they just cut right to the chase. They don’t care about me. They just want to make money. And it drives me crazy. And LinkedIn, for example, man, if I get another direct message, just trying to push something on me, the second I accept a connection request. That is just such a pet peeve of mine. And I don’t consider myself a sales professional, but I know that they’re approaching it in the wrong way.

John:

Yeah. There’s this line that I heard a long time ago that said everything is great until marketers get ahold of it and then they just ruin everything. And I feel like in today’s world, every salesperson has got to have a little bit of marketing savvy in them because of the sheer amount of software and tools and technology that’s there. If you’re on LinkedIn for like two hours a day, every day, prospecting for leads and stuff, it is not going to be long before you start to wonder, Hey, I wonder if there’s software that allows me to do this a little bit easier, right? And you might not be a software guy. He might not be a marketing guy, but you just know that this part of your job is the part that you hate. And that’s what typically happens.

We find a part of a process that we hate. We start to wonder, can software do this for us? And there’s a lot in the sales world that can do that. But you, you have to make sure that it sounds personal to the people that you’re trying to talk to. Right. And that’s why boiling down to a target market is so important. If I am doing a campaign to go talk to logistics people, right? Because logistics industry can use a lot of what I talk about and the ways that I help. I need to write differently for it to make sense. And for someone to be like, you know what? This guy gets it. Then if I’m talking to realtors or if I’m to coaches or agency owners and things like that. And you know, a lot of people just want to zoom out so far enough that they don’t ever have to recreate a campaign. And that’s where you start to show up as one of these bad LinkedIn people. Because I get all those messages too. And the ones that offend me are the ones, well not offend, but the ones that bug me are the ones that are still reaching out about web development stuff. Hey John, would you like to give us your web development? We are $25 – It’s like, man, I’ve been in web development for two and a half years now at this point. Like, you’re not even looking at my profile.

Tanner:

Oh yeah. I mean, they’re just putting together something that would cater to anyone that they could message. And they’re just hitting send. In fact, as an agency that offers SEO, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone reach out to me and tell me that they can get me to the top of Google. Delete.

John:

Yeah, no. I mean, there’s so many DMS. There’s so many ads, there’s so much going on. There’s so much email. Like I love email. I love collecting good email, good onboardings and stuff like this. And my inboxes are always like just swamped because I collect a lot and you have gotta be really solid to bypass that, because everyone’s got some version of that. It might not be collecting, onboarding, you know, flows so that way I can improve later on. It might be shopping. It might be widgets. It could be e-com gadgets or something else like this, but it is so thick with marketing messaging. Yours has got to be really on point. Being kind of good, isn’t good enough anymore. I would say.

Tanner:

Yeah, I totally agree with you. I think that there’s just so much noise in our inboxes and just anywhere in general, right? All these marketing messages, everyone wants to sell something to us. We have to stand out and the standing out is not by saying, Hey, can I send you a proposal? Right off the bat. Like you have to really connect with that person. And you know, sometimes a better way to go about it is just to provide some value, just to help them out with something. I always make the analogy of adding value, like being a bank. You want to make more deposits than withdrawals and if you keep depositing value to your prospects, eventually they’re going to give something too.

John:

So I love this. I love the idea of giving back. But there’s a fine line with this because you can end up giving away your consulting, right? Your knowledge. And then what happens is if you’re talking to someone and you send over that proposal because you rushed to get it to him and stuff, and you said, Oh, this is going to be, you know, an easy home run because you’ve made all these mental assumptions about who the person is and what their business does and everything. And you send them that this thing has got all your magic in it. And then they can use that themselves. They can use it with somebody else, you know? And so there’s a line where you have to realize that at some point you’re giving away your – I call it conversational leverage, right? The minute that they can make a decision about who you are and what you do and whether or not they need it or not, they do it.

And sometimes that’s, Oh, Hey, I do SEO. And here’s my monthly rates. And here’s our process. And we have this process it’s called this and this and this. But in other industries, sometimes you just walk in the room, right? If you’re a financial advisor and you walk into that, into that networking group and you probably have the suit on and stuff like this, and you sit down at a table and you say, Hey, I’m Bill with Wells Fargo, financial or Ed Jones or anything else like this. Half the people have mentally turned out or tuned out to like, anything else you have to say after that, because they’ve already made a decision about who you are and what you do and how you deliver and whether or not they need you or not.  

We have to communicate in ways to kind of get past all of that static, right? Whether it’s emails, whether it’s a social feed, whether it’s the networking, you know, how do you really stand out? And it’s not about giving it away. In my opinion, it’s about making sure that the other person feels heard that they, that when they come and they talk to you, they know they’re going to get the best advice, not the best advice that gets you paid. There’s so much information, there’s so many competitors and your prospects are probably better informed than they ever have been. So they don’t need you to educate them on what the market is or what it does, or any of these things like this. They need you to educate them on, is this for me or not?

Stop trying to make your responses and your sales conversations rich with information.

Tanner:

Yeah. Because their only concern is how are you going to help me? They don’t care about you. So, you know one way to get past that noise is to be really personalized and, you know, focus on them. But can you give us some ideas of how you get through the noise without giving away too much of your strategy?

John:

The best thing, and this is one of the easiest things to talk about and one of the hardest things to do, is to stop trying to make your responses and your sales conversations rich with information.

Tanner:

Right so, keep it brief.

John:

Exactly. You know, we would get a phone call from somebody, Oh, Hey, do you guys work in WordPress? Well, I don’t really know if saying yes or no helps me yet. I can say yes and get hung up on, as we talked about a second ago. Or I could say no and still get hung up on, when I really have no idea which one’s going to help me. So instead of just being like yes or no, I’m going to try to figure out like, why are we asking that question? Because part of my process is the fact that we talk about the technology much, much later on in the conversation. So when you want to talk about it incredibly early, it’s kind of confusing for me, right? This is outside of the normal part of our process. And because I have a process, I can then be a little bit skeptical about why we’re talking about this thing right now.

If Tanner asks me this question, Hey, do you guys work in WordPress? I’m not just going to be like, yep and let me tell you why, because that’s selling. And if I say, Nope and let me tell you why that’s still selling. And they’re not there to be sold yet. Right? We don’t have an agreement that I can sell them. This is just a conversation to figure out what is going on. So I want to collect as much information as I can. Tanner, sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t, it kind of depends upon the project, but you bring that up pretty early for a reason. Can we talk about that?

Tanner:

Yeah. I think that’s really good. I think that really shows that you care about what they care about. Because obviously if they’re bringing that up right off the bat, it’s something they care about. Regardless if it’s something they want or something they want to avoid, that’s something they care about. So I think it’s really good to ask them right off the bat. And obviously that helps you get a better shot of getting a sale, but it makes them feel like they’re heard.

John:

Yeah. One of my one of my very good friends he’s in he’s in the financial industry still, but he’s got this line that I think about all the time. Well, two actually – they brought that up for a reason. And if you don’t understand why you need to figure out why, because it’s important to them right there in that moment. So it needs to be important to you, as the other person in the middle of that conversation. Which he said that once, and it was like a bomb dropped on my head and I was kind of like, Oh man, like that is so huge. And it’s really kind of had an impact on my conversations. Second thing he talks about, which I also love is pauses and silences are uncomfortable, but you have to let both of you work through it. Right? A silence is not a no. And I struggle with that because I’ve worked in call centers and call centers. You’re not supposed to have dead air and I would often ask for the business and then save them. Hey Tanner, you know, what are your thoughts on this? Because it’s okay if you don’t have one right now, you can think about it over the weekend. And I would just jump in there and try to save it.

Tanner:

Yeah. I’ve always heard that the, after you talk about pricing, the person that speaks next loses.

John:

I don’t really know that I believe that honestly. Because you know, and I’m sure there’s data that, that probably indicates this, but I also think it depends upon how you talk about your pricing. I talk about my pricing fairly early on in the process because no one gets out of bed in the morning and stretches and like, you know what? I need some CRM help, you know, let me go try to find like a CRM sales coach. Like no one gets out of bed doing these things. So I have to talk about money fairly early. Also it’s one of the, it’s one of the most common things that kills deals. Right?

I had to kind of go out and find the things that was missing for myself on my own. And most people need to do some version of that.

John:

A couple of years ago, I got really excited about this idea of like the big seven. You know, there was a guy on stage. He was talking about a study that indicated that most business deals don’t close only due to seven reasons, 90% of deals that don’t close. And I was kind of, I was noodling on this. I was thinking about it, thinking about it. And I was like, man, okay, this is crazy. Couldn’t ever find the actual study. But I started to think about all my calls and because I’ve got like mountains of CRM data for myself and all my clients, I went back and looked at it and realized that it’s true. Most businesses deals fall apart due to only seven reasons. So if you can solve for those seven reasons as early on in your process as possible, you’re kind of building equity in the deal as you move it through this process.

The big seven are, I’m not sure this fixes my problem. The next one is, I’m not sure that I can afford it. I like you, but now’s not the right time. Which happens quite frequently. I like you, but I need to go talk to my spouse, co-owner, you know, whoever else. I like you, but we like somebody else better. Right? Cause you’re in like in a competitive bid situation. I like you, but the others don’t. And the last big one is just the moment has passed. You get somebody on the phone, you get them really excited. You’re, you’re kind of scope build out, takes too long. You send it over and then it’s just kind of gone. But if you can solve for those seven things, you’re going to be way, way, way more consistent than the average salesperson is because most salespeople are just like, let’s just hop in here and wing it. When we look at the personality who has historically done very, very well in sales, they are those kinds of people who love being big open-ended conversations, things like this.

And so most sales training is built to help those people dial it back. It’s not built for people like me who are not wired that way. Like, I have to force myself over into salesperson mode to the process of like building those people up, to the point to where they can sell as a different process. Which is kind of why I do what I do, because I kind of got lucky in the fact that I got a lot of really, really great coaching and training and stuff. But the martial arts training kind of clued me into, there was other stuff going on that I wasn’t seeing, I wasn’t being taught. And then I had to kind of go figure it out on my own a little bit, for myself, if that makes sense. I’m not saying that any of my coaches are purposefully building a gap, but it’s that saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, kind of deal. You’re going to learn better from certain people than you will for others. So I had to kind of go out and find the things that was missing for myself on my own. And most people need to do some version of that.

Tanner:

Yeah, I think that’s great advice.

Life’s way too short to start a business, to be treated as a vendor.

Tanner:

So what do you think a lot of businesses are doing wrong when it comes to sales?

John:

Man yeah, absolutely. The first big one is focusing on wrong data points. You know, most salespeople are incentivized to win at all costs. So, let me back up a little bit when you’re a small business and you’re the owner, right? You can win in any number of ways on a sales conversation. You close the deal, which is obviously a win. If you avoid something that seems a little bit crazy. You know, you’re almost done with them and then they drop this bomb, Oh yeah, well, we need this here. Or, you know, and you realize, Oh, we can’t deliver on that. This is going to be a nightmare. We should back out of this thing gracefully. That’s also a win because you save yourself, all the heartache that comes along with that.

And also when you disqualify somebody early, right? Like extremely early on, you get a lead, you look at it and you have a conversation. You realize in the first five minutes this isn’t what you want. All those things are win wins when you’re the salesperson and the founder. But the minute you bring on a salesperson, all those other ones go away. And it’s just like, what have you done for me lately, buddy? Like, let’s go get something Chief, and it’s just about like slamming deals. And you lose the idea that, client alignment is in small business when there’s a service, right. Because there’s a relationship that comes as part of that service. Do you want to talk to this person each month and go over the reporting and catch up on what’s working and what isn’t? Because if not, you need to tell that person, no, cause there’s a relationship that comes along with the fact that you get to bill them each and every month or each and every quarter, you know, however you run your business.

But if you don’t like the relationship, when you’re on the sales call, you’re not going to like the relationship, especially in a month where you don’t perform very well. Because it’s going to happen sometimes, you know, Google changes their algorithm and one of your clients dips. It’s not really your fault, but like, you’re not wanting to go get on that phone. You’re really not going to want to go get on that phone with someone who you hated talking to every time you had to talk to them during the sales process. So don’t, there are so many people. Work with the people that you want to work with and force yourself into this kind of abundance mindset. There’s so many companies and so many opportunities. Don’t say yes to work you don’t want, because you’re going to end up hating it. And you’re going to forget that you said yes to this whole thing, which is the craziest thing. Like every person I know in coach, man, I hate this client. I can’t wait to fire them. Go fire them. Well, I want the money. Well, you got to, I mean, you’re making a statement that you want that money more than you want to hang out with people who you like hanging out with.

Tanner:

Yeah. You know, I think it’s super important to be able to say no to a deal because you know that the relationship is not going to be up to par. And I think it’s really important for anyone working in sales to be able to identify that. And for business to business, when you go into business with a client, it should be a partnership. It should not be like, you should be able to go get coffee with that person and have a blast with them. And if it’s not like that, then you need to keep looking.

John:

Agreed. Agreed. And I think, I think because it’s so easy to become an entrepreneur and the barriers to entry in some of these. I mean, I feel like everybody I know is a Facebook marketer, like right now. You know, they’re all building ads and doing everything. And the thing is, I agree with you, life’s way too short to start a business, to be treated as a vendor. You know, someone who just gets like caned and like, there’s no relationship. There’s no communication or conversation. But I think that starts with us as the, as the salespeople. If you’re doing a cold email and they say, yeah, send me over your pricing and you sent over your pricing and they say, yeah, okay, let’s do this thing. And you send over the contract and then they fire you a couple of months later with that same kind of process you asked for that. Like, if you know, we give out what we ask for in these in these business relationships. So if you’re not willing to hop on that call and be like, Hey Tanner, before we decide to move forward, can we have a conversation? I’d like to make sure that I understand exactly where you are, exactly where you’re trying to get and make sure that me and my team are going to be able to get you there because if not, I’d rather tell you no, and you can go find the help that you need.

Tanner:

Yeah. Completely agree. And if they’re not willing to jump on that call with you, that’s a huge red flag. And absolutely I’ve experienced that myself. It was a big mistake.

If you win it on price, you’re going to lose it on price.

John:

Yeah. There’s a lot of this race to the bottom in a lot of different industries because of how easy it is to just throw marketing at it, with all the paid opportunities now. You don’t have to go for the premium, high-end pricing. And that’s totally fine. I’m not knocking that, but there’s a lot of people who think that you’re going to have really good business relationships when you’re marketing around making it the cheapest option. Some people put their pricing very specifically low enough that you don’t have to have a conversation. Okay. So that’s not necessarily bad, but you’re going to run into some things later on if you want to make changes.

Tanner:

Yeah. And I think positioning yourself as the cheapest option is always going to bring you the worst kind of clients. And absolutely, you know, you may be able to appeal to the masses and get a ton of revenue coming through, but it’s probably not going to be a great experience.

John:

You know, the, the thing about that is, is that if you win a deal by being $1 cheaper than the person who you win it from the person who comes in, who’s $1 less than you are, is going to win that same business away from you. Right. If you win it on price, you’re going to lose it on price. So don’t make it about price. You need to talk about pricing early, early on. But what happens is whenever we make pricing, the very last thing that we talk about, because we’ve sent over the proposal and that’s really the first time that we’ve talked about pricing with them. Remember you have sent your proposal. They now understand how all this works. You don’t really have a whole lot of leverage or anything that keeps them in the conversation. So now they can just be like, Oh yeah, that’s too expensive. I’ll come back to that later. And in a puff of smoke. They’re gone. Right. And they’ve got the best intentions of the majority of the time. Oh yeah. You know, I can’t deal with this today. I will talk to them later and I will let them know. And then all of a sudden, they look up and a week has passed, right? Because it’s Groundhog day right now, and everyday feels the same. And we’ve got to make sure that we have controlled steps. This is probably the biggest thing with the clients that I work with is we love to put ourselves into these positions, to where we lose all control of the conversation. Let me just send over this proposal. No. Tanner, when can we hop on a call to go over the proposal together and see if it’s a fit for you, John, can’t you just send it over? No.

Everything that I talk about in my sales conversations, I do with my friends and my family.

Tanner:

What advice could you give to anyone listening? If they’re a business owner or maybe even if it’s a sales rep, that’s struggling with sales.

John:

The best advice I can give anybody is to take the time to become really self-aware. We tend to sell to people the way that we want to be sold to. And when you start to look at personality, breakdowns and how people are wired differently and why they need different things to feel comfortable in different situations. We can start to realize if we’re just talking to people like the way that we want to be talked to, then depending upon whatever version of, you know, personalities that you look at that could mean that you’re making it very hard to sell to the other areas. And by sell, I also just mean communicate, right? Because like at the heart of it, what I do is I help people communicate better. The ROI on sales is so quick and easy that I focus in that realm.

But everything that I talk about in my sales conversations, I do with my friends and my family. Because it’s just about becoming a better communicator. And largely that is about communicating in a way that the other person sees value in. If they don’t want details, don’t spend a bunch of time on details. If they just need to know that they can trust you, then you should be focusing on that side of the equation. And we’ve got a podcast called Sales Throwdown, and this is where we hang out. Right? We talk about kind of the four big quadrants that we deal with disc, which is the, the preferred version for like us, because it’s just blunt and really easy. But when you start to get really, really into, okay, this is how I view conflict. And this is how I view winning and goal setting and success and sales and everything else like this. You’re going to figure out where you need to work to get better at those things, as opposed to just blindly following somebody and trying to follow their path, because they might not be approaching the problem from the same angle that you are. So the same steps might not help you.

Tanner:

Totally agree. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you think might benefit the audience?

Go find accountability.

John:

Accountability gets things done. And we’re all going to have blind spots. And some of these are tied to our personalities. Some of it is tied to our, like our history, and things like this. But go find accountability. Whether it’s an accountability partner, whether it’s a group of people who hold you accountable and call you on your BS. Because sometimes, you know, even as a founder, I will plan my week and then I’ll show it to my accountability person. And they’ll say, well, you’re not doing this or this or this. Oh yeah, that’s right. I got a little ahead of myself, and I’ll go back and I’ll do these things. Fresh eyes from people that you can trust will help. Also the other big thing, false deadlines. Give yourself deadlines and make it really, really, really expensive to lose.

Every week. I have a $500 bet that requires a certain number of things. Right? One of them is personal. One of them is like out like health based and one of them is for my business. Right? So for this week, my goal is for today, which is a holiday. This is the only work I’m doing today. But the rest of it is going to be family time. So if I don’t do that, then I have to pay a cause that I really don’t want to pay $500. But I know that I can’t do this every Monday because I have other goals. So it’s just my goal for this week. Right. And I’ve got a work goal of doing some other stuff. And then I’ve got a health goal of walking at least like 10 miles this week. So when you have that and it’s in front of you, and this is clearly communicated with my accountability partner, he holds me to this thing because we get lost right. Once again, too much social, too much phones, too much tech, you know, we don’t ever get anything done unless it’s right there in front of us. And that’s what good accountability is.

Tanner:

Yeah. I think that’s awesome that you have accountability partners. And I think that’s something that I’d be super interested in trying out, because you know, when you’re working for yourself, it’s really hard to – I don’t want to say stay on task, but there are certain things that you tend to push off because you don’t really feel like doing it. You end up waiting till the last second and that can just be a bad snowball effect then you’re always behind. So staying on top of everything, super important, I think having an accountability partner would definitely help out anyone.

John:

Absolutely. I would say that having good accountability partners over the past, you know, since really getting into small business, in the website world, is the only reason that I’ve made it this far. Because of good accountability and having people that are going to call me on my stuff because they know my goals. And they also understand if I’m hiding from working towards those goals and will call me out on it. So then that helps me move towards them. That sounds really simple. It it’s one of those things where if I was listening to this, I’d be like, man, what, a bunch of nonsense, but there’s a level of this that is happening. And until you get an accountability partner, and they know you and they know your stuff and they call you on that. And you’re like, Oh man, I’ve been lying to myself this whole time. Like, let’s say it’s a piece of content and you’ve been even writing and agonizing over, just ship it, just send it. Done is better than perfect because perfect is so hard to get, like just get it out there. And it it’s a little bitty things like that. It doesn’t necessarily have to be, well, I didn’t have any sales conversations this week. Okay. Well, it could be just, if you perform better in a clean house, are you cleaning your house, right? Are you doing the dishes? Like, are you taking care of the mental bandwidth, things that get in the way, that way you can be focused and productive when you need to be.

Sorry, I get ramped up about this because it’s my, it’s my own biggest weakness. So, I of course am able to see it a little bit better and people around me. But it’s, you know, you also can’t go up to anybody else and be like, Hey, you know why you’re not as good as you’d like to be. Because you know, nobody wants to hear that either.

Tanner:

Yeah. Just go up to them, you know, you would be more productive if you cleaned your house.

John:

Be a lot cooler, if you did, man.

If you’ve been in business this year, you have been off track. How do you ride through that?

Tanner:

You know, I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t really pay attention to. You know, how our lives, our personal lives, you know, it’s not just about work and being productive at work. There’s a lot of external factors too, that contribute to that. And if we take care of cleaning our house, doing the dishes, keeping up on shores, I know some of us are better at it than others. Also mental health. Take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of your mental health, there’s no way you can be successful as a business owner.

John:

And I could not agree more with everything you just talked about because, if you’ve been in business this year, you have been off track, right? You had some plans, you had some assumptions. None of that went according to plan. So how do you ride through that? And you know, for me, it’s, it’s journaling and it’s meditating and it’s being very thoughtful, right? It’s getting out of my house at least a little bit everyday and doing something somewhat active, you know? Because if you’re an entrepreneur right now, it’s incredibly likely that you’re not even around other people. I forget how lucky that I have it, because I get to work from home all the time. I deliver from home. I do all these things.

Then like, we went to a HEB, which is like the Texas grocery store. And saw all the people that actually go work with the public right now – I’m like, man, I don’t have to deal that deal with that anymore. Which is awesome. But then there’s also a balance to that because it’s often quite lonely, right? I have a kid and a family and I’m lucky that’s here, but there’s a balance of that as well. So that’s the thing is like, what are you trying to optimize for? Like, are you just optimizing for the quickest growth? Okay, cool. Like there’s going to be tradeoffs. So you’re trying to optimize for being available to your family. Okay. That’s going to be some tradeoffs with your growth, you know, and things like that. But when you start with that plan, I was like, Hey, that’s what’s really important to me. That’s where things like kind of change.

And when we started the, the morning show, my partner and I on the show, Jake, we’re talking about like, what do we really want to be like going after? And we’re both family guys, right. He’s got two kids and I have one. And I’ve been with my partner, Melissa, for 17 years. And she’s also on my team with me. And so it’s that stuff. It’s the family stuff that we really want to be kind of thought of as well as being kind of well business guys and stuff like this.

Tanner:

This has all been really great, John. I really appreciate you taking the time. What’s a good way for anyone listening to get in contact with you.

John:

Well, Tanner, thanks so much for having me on, man. I really appreciate it. I love talking about this stuff and sales and agencies and starting businesses.

The easiest way to get ahold of me and this might be a little bit weird is the, send me a text. So if you have questions about, you know, CRMs or my podcast or the productivity stuff, or anything else I’ve got one number (817) 345-7449. If you have a sales question, personality question, business question, just text it to me. We’ll either talk about it on a podcast. We’ll talk about it in blogs, but I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can to give you some advice if you’re stuck on something, but that’s the easiest way.

Tanner:

Awesome. Well, thanks John. We’ll, we’ll link up your website and everything in the show notes. I really appreciate it. Thanks again.

John:

Awesome. Tanner. Thanks so much, man. I appreciate it.

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