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About The Guest
Andy has been in sales for over four decades. His first sales job was selling women’s shoes at JC Penney. In his professional career, he’s sold everything from computers to small businesses to complex communications systems that sold for tens of millions of dollars to some of the world’s largest enterprises. He’s closed hundreds of millions of dollars in products and services before starting my own company.
Andy’s hit “Accelerate Your Sales” podcast was acquired by ringDNA in 2020. Since re-named “Sales Enablement with Andy Paul”, the show continues to inspire thousands of sales professionals each week.
He is ranked #8 on LinkedIn’s Top 50 Global Sales Experts list. And he has consulted with some of the biggest businesses in the world including Square, Philips, Grubhub, and more, making him one of the leading voices in the sales industry today.
- 00:00 — Intro
- 03:13 — Andy Paul’s origin story
- 04:23 — What made Andy Paul go down the sales path
- 05:29 — What were sales at Andy Paul’s time vs what they are now?
- 07:04 — How was Andy Paul trained on how to close a deal?
- 09:00 — Why did Andy Paul go against the grain when cold calling was the trend in sales?
- 12:40 — Why does Andy Paul think the sales process is the issue in sales?
- 15:58 — Is buying experience the issue with the actual sales cycle?
- 19:51 — What is the strategy to accomplish the increase in sales percentage?
- 22:44 — What is the title of the book written by Andy Paul and what is it about?
- 28:23 — Why is it essential to use intelligence in cold calls?
- 32:45 — How does Andy Paul make sure that he maintains progress velocity and uniqueness at the same time?
- 38:54 — What does Andy Paul want anyone to learn from his book?
- 43:11 — How does somebody measure if the strategy isn’t working?
- 45:53 — Where do people connect with Andy Paul?
- 46:48 — What was Andy Paul’s biggest challenge in his personal or professional life?
- 48:00 — Who is the mentor of Andy Paul?
- 48:47 — A book or a podcast recommended by Andy Paul
- 49:41 — What would Andy Paul tell his 20-year-old self?
- 49:58 — What does success mean to Andy Paul?
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.
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Machine Generated Transcript
sales, sellers, buyer, people, book, selling, customers, salesy, job, podcast, interaction, understand, persuasion, deals, call, company, sell, sales cycle, sales manager, behaviors
Scott, Scott D Clary, Andy Paul
Scott D Clary 00:00
Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network and the blue wire Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible podcasts like my first million. My first million is hosted by Sam Parr and Shawn Peri, they feature famous guests. They discuss how companies made their first million and then some they brainstorm new business ideas based on the hottest trends and opportunities in the marketplace. Here are some of the topics he talked about. If you like any of these, you will love the show three profitable business ideas that you should start in 2020 to drunk business ideas that can make you millions, asking the founder of Grammarly how he built a $13 billion company or Sass companies that anybody can start. If these topics are up your alley, go check out my first million listen to it wherever you listen to your podcast. today. My guest is Andy Paul. He is a sales professional with more than 30 years experience as a VP sales sales executive in multiple companies ranging from Fortune 1000 to technology startups as a founder and principal of the sales Action Group. He’s consulted with numerous CEOs to help them optimize and modernize their sales process. He is also the host of accelerate your sales. It is the number one sales podcast with over 2 million downloads to date. He’s the author of zero time selling and amp up your sales. They are both Amazon Best Sellers. He’s the author of the upcoming novel sell without selling out. He is a top sales influencer. He has 200,000 followers. Number one sales podcast number eight on LinkedIn, his list of top 50 global sales experts to follow. Needless to say he has some opinions about sales. So what are we speak about? So we spoke about some of the concepts in his upcoming novel upcoming book sell without selling out, we spoke about how sales hasn’t really progressed that much in the past 30 years from the days of ABC always be closing, what has gone wrong, why are sales reps not more potentially ethical or not as productive as they should be in a modern sales environment. We spoke about what selling out means listen to the old sales dogma and why it won’t move the needle on sales. It won’t help you if you’re a sales manager, a traditional sales rep or an entrepreneur, we spoke about the issue with persuasion. It’s a blunt instrument. It’s a last resort instrument that sellers use when they don’t know how to influence properly. And then we spoke about what sellers should be doing in a modern sales environment. So how to sell in and not sell out how to focus on connection curiosity, understanding and generosity, how to be a top performer how to focus on being productive in a sales environment, how to make sure that you’re still meeting and exceeding all your numbers all your revenue without creating a really poor buyers experience. So this is a masterclass on the future. Future of sales, it should be what sales is, but the future of sales, where sales should go and what a sales organization sales process and sales experience should feel like. So this again, this is Andy Paul, he is the author of selling without selling out
Andy Paul 03:14
my first sales job was selling women’s shoes at JC Penney’s as a high schooler. So that was that was a stark introduction to sales. And I mean, it’s in Madison, Wisconsin, and I was a holiday fill in and sold my first day on the job. In late November, is the first major snowstorm in the season moved in moved in and this was the sign for every woman within 30 miles to come to JCPenney and buy their winter boots. So literally first day I was I forget how many people, dozens and dozens of customers I was serving. And I knew how to do the foot measuring device and so on. But yeah, as a 16 year old boy was thrown in the deep end of touching women’s legs and feet into the boots. It was an interesting day.
Scott D Clary 04:11
That was the first that was the first that was your first sales gig. That was your first that was your first job without your first job.
Andy Paul 04:16
First sales gig, no. lifeguard and swimming coach and so on during the summer. Alright, so
Scott D Clary 04:23
what what made you eventually go down this career path of sales?
Andy Paul 04:34
Just feel into it. Like many people graduate from college I did. I literally had no, no job plans at all. When I graduated graduate from college. I spent the summer working at the university one school and sort of got to a point where they offered me a full time job. I thought nah, I don’t want to work here. So I went over the career placement center and there were jobs from all these big at the time big tech companies. is IBM Xerox Burroughs, which is the second largest computer company, HP and so on. And so what the heck, you know, of course, they didn’t call them sales jobs. That was things interesting. They’re all marketing management training programs. So they’re very, very carefully didn’t mention anything about sales. And it wasn’t like really sort of got into the interview process. I thought, oh, yeah, this is really a sales job. Oh, well, let’s try it. Nothing else going on at the time?
Scott D Clary 05:30
What was when you walked into these marketing management training programs? What was sales, what was sales then because I’m going to showcase that dichotomy and the absolute difference in what sales is now?
Andy Paul 05:46
Well, so for us, the company I work for at the beginning, it was about cold calling. And so we did serve serve an apprenticeship where we sold at the time, the company borrows those big mainframe computer manufacturer, and, and so on, as everybody had to start off by selling bed, these legacy products or these desktop, adding machines about the size of small microwave ovens. And they were hugely overpriced for the time because they were selling for, let’s say, roughly $300 A unit and you could go to your local office supply store and buy a handheld calculator for, you know, 50 bucks, 60 bucks at the time. So we had to buy and sell a certain amount of that product like $5,000 Worth, before we could get approved to go get trained to sell computer systems. So we got a little bit of sales, two weeks of sales training in the throne streets and just prospected so as in the Bay Area is based in Oakland, I’d drive to the East Bay Area drive to Fremont Union City, Hayward somewhere I’d park in a business park, I’d get out. Lock the car and with the desktop machine under one arm and my flip chart portfolio under the other. I’d go cold call 2030 4050 cold calls a day.
Scott D Clary 07:03
And how were you trained originally on How to close a deal when you did this cold calling?
Andy Paul 07:11
Well, yeah, it’s something I deal with in my new book has been on the job about about a week or two we got sent to the our national training centers that this case is in Pasadena, California, and two weeks of sales training. And a lot of it consisted of watching the series of videos put on by this like almost like our con man sales trainer, kind of leader boy that maybe some people still hear of it sort of made my screen skin crawl watching him. And then we have endless our role plays and some products, product knowledge training, but a lot of role playing a lot of watching Lita boy, sir blusters, way through objections and so on, and yeah, I did not identify with that at all. And it made me think, Hmm, not sure this is for me, because everyone was trying so hard to be salesy, right. I mean, this is everybody that was like, you know, we had to put on a hat and a costume and be like a used car salesperson. And that just wasn’t me. And apparently, the instructors like class thought so as well, because they told my manager after the fact that they thought I should be fired, because I wasn’t salesy enough. I was too analytical. But it just sort of gave me the determination that well, there’s got to be a way to do this down to make sales work for me. And it was really almost from the beginning that I sort of determined that, yeah, I’d find a path that that worked for me that enabled me to succeed in this profession. Even it was just something I loaned.
Why would you want to? Because I feel like your current version of sales and when you do speak about in your book, and we’ll get into that later, but that version of sales is more modern way of looking at sales is a much more modern lens of what sales is. What what’s curious to me is why you went against the grain when sales, I don’t want to put a time stamp on it. And God forbid, I don’t want to date you at all, but like X years ago, was a very much of a cold calling ABC, used car salesman, all the negative stereotypes that you associate with sales. A lot of that came from a certain culture that’s evolved and progressed and become a lot better. Well, how did you use this?
Scott D Clary 09:43
Has it has it been? Has it been developed? It’s another
Andy Paul 09:45
I would argue it hasn’t. And so I would make the case really my case in my book, is that, that Yeah, I think that that actually it’s become worse. I think we won’t think that that Yeah, the sort of over reliance on, on process and technology and an effort by many in sales don’t once or take the human out of the equation has has sort of amplified these bad behaviors, you know, the pitch first listen to, to respond rather than listen to understand, you know, just the lack of of any sort of making connection with another human being. Understand that your job is to be there to help and make the buyer and just help the buyer understand what’s most important to them, as opposed to just pitching and flogging your product to meet the underlying behaviors are the same and effect, I think we’ve amplified the impact of it with technology. And I think that that, on top of that is, you know, we look at what’s considered to our modern sales processes is it’s, we, as long as we still have these, these linear stage based processes that we have, and that are embedded in CRM systems and people’s processes. They haven’t changed for decades. They’re the same fundamental sales process, initial initial call initial qualification demo, presentation proposal, whatever the order is, if you Google it, yeah, the modern sales process, same one I was taught decades ago. Now we’ve got ways to facilitate it. Excuse me that that didn’t exist before. But one things I find fascinating. And this is not something that a lot of research has been done, but I think needs to be looked at, as I’m firmly believe that this base unit base level productivity of an individual seller today, despite the technology is no greater than it was, you know, 20 3040 years ago. And by productivity, what I mean is, I defined in a specific way, which is the amount of revenue generated per hour of actual sales time. And there’s no data that exists to tell us that it’s gotten better. And so, if we, if we look at the proxies, like, you know, knowledge worker productivity increases, and so on, is what we see. And Paul Krugman has written about this several times, New York Times This is, yeah, we saw improvements or through the advent of email and high speed internet. But in the last 20 years, the level of productivity increase among knowledge workers, it’s basically been kind of flat. So we have to assume the same is true with sales.
Scott D Clary 12:41
But we are talking about so that’s an interesting, very interesting point. But productivity versus ethical or customer focused? Sales? Are those are two very different conversations. Oh, sure. So with the increase in technology, you could argue that you could be ruthless, and you could be persuasive. And you could be guiding somebody down the sales cycle, but just doing it more efficiently. Alternatively, the other conversation could be, well, okay, productivity is one thing, but how do we sell better? How do we be more ethical salespeople? Because your argument stands that we haven’t become that much better in the past 20 to 30 years. And that’s interesting to me, because I do, you cannot be denied that the sales cycle, you know, your your top of funnel, you do your discovery, and then you sort of get them through all the way through to negotiate, you know, proposal negotiation, close all the different steps and sales cycle. Yes, that it’s an easy way to teach over sales. What I want your opinion on is whether or not you feel as though there’s more of, there’s more of an intent focus, or almost like an empathetic approach to which customers should continue on to the next path in the sales cycle. Whereas if there is no empathetic, you know, cognizance of of is this customer, right? Then it’s just ruthless, move you on to the next sales, you know, next next step in the sales cycle can close you. So do you think the sales process is the issue? Or do you think it’s the fact that the people that are guiding customers through the sales process are not being empathetic to the actual needs of the customer? Does that make sense? Yeah,
Andy Paul 14:26
I mean, I think so. I think there are lots of lots of points in there. So So one is, is Yeah, I don’t think that sellers today are any better or worse in terms of their interactions with buyers than they were before? And I think that’s problematic, right? I think we’re very Yeah, yeah. And and surveys such that people have done which again, I don’t believe are hugely scientific, but from Gartner and Forrester and others saying, wow, you know, buyers don’t want to deal with sellers.
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Andy Paul 16:00
anymore. They still don’t. Yeah, I don’t think they ever did. Quite frankly, what they do is they want to deal with a seller who can help them achieve what they’re trying to get done right to help them define the problem and define what’s the best outcome for them and help them get that they sell a buyer wants to talk to a seller can do that. But what this data is coming back and saying about sub buyers not wanting to talk to sellers reflects the fact that they’re not getting any value from those interactions. So to me, that argues the fact that we’re not getting better. We’re not necessarily worse, but we’re not not getting any better in that dimension. And now, technology enables buyers to do more of it on their own. Thus, they’re saying in the absence of value from a seller, I’m going to proceed myself. And so I think that that is really sort of the crux of the matter is we’re not creating these buying experiences for the buyer that picks someone to invest their time and attention on us as sellers.
Scott D Clary 16:56
Okay, so that’s, I was gonna say, to follow up on that. So then is the buying experience, is the issue with the actual sales cycle? Or is there another component to the buying experience that we could do better?
Andy Paul 17:07
Yeah, I think it’s, it’s to your point about, you know, we don’t focus on making the connection at the human level that we need to do, we don’t focus on being intentional about how we build trust, because we’re so animated and driven by our process, right, and meeting our metrics or activity metrics and so on, that we put sellers in a nearly impossible position. I mean, think about is, it’s not uncommon to see in the SAS world for an A e to a requirement to have a 5x pipeline coverage in their pipeline for the number. Well, what most sellers and sales leaders don’t understand is, if that’s the case, then your win rate, meaning the percentage of opportunities, you close out of your most qualified opportunities, is going to be the reciprocal of your pipeline coverage ratio. So if you say we need 5x coverage, you’re dooming sellers to just superficially deal with all their customers. Right. And as a result, what we see is like close 20%, their win rates 20%, or, you know, 20, to 25 percents very, very, very typical in the SAS world. And it’s like, well, that’s a problem. I mean, if you’re in sales, which is a performance based profession, and if we serve except the adage that practice makes perfect. If you’re only winning one of every five of your opportunities, what are you practicing the most?
Scott D Clary 18:41
I guess, you’re practicing losing. You’re practicing building a pipeline, just so that so that you can close that 20% Yeah, to lips. Basic, right. You’re okay with that? Why don’t
Andy Paul 18:51
but everybody seems to be okay with that. It’s like why
Scott D Clary 18:53
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be okay with that. But yeah, that’s what people are, okay, conversations
Andy Paul 18:57
CROs. I’m gonna say, Well, what do you what are you going to do to? Here’s your winrate? What are you gonna do to grow sales this year? We’re gonna put more stuff in the top of the pipeline, because our process we know it works, and it’s gonna produce a 20% win rate. So what’s the value to you ever increasing your win rate? 1% 2%? What’s it mean to you? I’m gonna think about it. And it’s just insanity. So we want to give people the ability to feel confident about what they’re doing. Your confidence comes from success, give people the ability to succeed, let them succeed some more. So instead of engineering our processes to generate 20%, win rates, engineer your process to generate a 50% win rate. What will that look like? And I can tell you, your sellers be more and more motivated. They’re not going to be experiencing as much burnout. We have the ability to do this, if I want to talk about this in my new book is like, we need to rethink because we’re fundamentally doing things the same way. We were doing it for decades. And they’re not working.
Scott D Clary 20:04
I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode. HubSpot. Now, as a leader, you’re always on the lookout for more ways to arm yourself with knowledge, the books, the seminars, and most importantly, the podcast to help you make the best possible decision for you, your company, your customers, because when you know more, you can apply more. And you can grow with HubSpot CRM platform, you can store, track, manage and report on all the tasks and activities that make up your relationships with customers. With a bird’s eye view over all your customer interactions. HubSpot empowers your decision making like never before, so you can give your business and your customers all the good you’ve got learn how to make your business grow email@example.com Okay, so that’s a great point. So you’re speaking to a CRO a CRO understands the value of increasing that 20%, close rate to 50% of like you have that conversation? The numbers make sense. So how do you actually accomplish that? What’s, what’s the actual strategy?
Andy Paul 21:10
Well, we have to start with sort of rethinking how we enable sellers. Okay. So, you know, sort of the common way to that, let’s say a enablement person or a sales leader say, look, we’ve got some shortfalls in our performance and execution. How are we going to make decisions about what we train people on how we upskill our people, we educate our people. Excuse me. And generally, well, they didn’t Well, though, look at the numbers Sanibel. See what we’re doing. You could be win rates could be, you know, decision rates, it could be whatever, yeah, we could analyze some lost deals. But the thing that doesn’t ever happen is no one ever goes back and talks to the customer, and said, what’s been the experience your experience with our sellers? Where did we help? Or where did we hurt in terms of helping you understand what your problem is, and helping you define a path forward to achieve your most important outcome? desired outcome? Don’t start starts we’ll start with that perspective what the buyers need from us in order for us to help them better.
Scott D Clary 22:17
This is all about listening to your this is all it seems like it seems like such common sense, right? It’s all about just listening to the people that you’re selling to. Yeah, at the end of the day, that’s like, that’s the core of it, though.
Andy Paul 22:28
Sure. But take it to a further degree is is I have a conversation a couple weeks ago with the senior sales leader that was putting together a job description for a position they were trying to hire for. And so sort of the usual laundry list of things generally for a hunter are very aggressive. And then sort of the general sales description, but I said, Okay, well, these things that you’re saying are requirements. Have you asked one of your customers what they need your salespeople to be? How what do they need from your sellers in order to help them move through their process and make their decision to buy from you? What do they need? Never yet. Talk to a sales leader said yeah, we’ve consulted with our bar umpires about that.
Scott D Clary 23:18
And they want an aggressive Hunter style sale. Yeah, that’s gonna hunt whitespace
Andy Paul 23:22
buyer. You want our guys Yeah, Hunter, right? Oh, yeah. Yeah, we want your guys to be Yeah, that extroverts like push, push, push, push, push us
Scott D Clary 23:30
comfortable with rejection, you know, 4050 cold calls a day.
Andy Paul 23:35
What they want us Yeah, I summarize it. Your buyers want curious, open minded problem solvers.
Scott D Clary 23:43
Well, what is so the actual title of the book? We can definitely plug is Yeah, yeah, sell without selling out. Right. And I want to know what that means.
Andy Paul 23:53
Surprisingly, I have one here. Well, the sound that’s selling out to me is we we all recognize some of these conventional, say Why call salesy behaviors that make buyers cringe. And we’re starting to catalogue some of them and I’ve talked about it in the book. I have a chart that compares salesy versus non self salesy. Why call it a selling out is the salesy, right. It’s the it’s the behaviors that sort of persuasion driven behaviors that make buyers resist and cringe. And we know that our, our, we know they do this yet we continue to persist. Let me give an example. One example is, is we talk about persuasion all the time to get people to be better at persuasion, and the somehow critical sales skill. There was a book published in 2020 by Jonah Berger, a professor at Wharton School, called the catalyst is about persuasion. And you want the interesting things he cites in the book is research This shows that as human beings, we to a person universally resist being persuaded. It’s innate behavior, we resist persuasion. So it stands to reason that, of course, that we’d say, well, let’s make persuasion sir, this hallmark of sales skills we want to train people in, you know, let’s put them out in front of buyers, exercise and some behavior that buyers universally resist. So, what I argue in the book is that there’s, you know, the opposite of the salesy behaviors, what I call the selling out behaviors, with like all selling in which, when you think about it, as is, all these behaviors that buyers resist, that we know sort of stereotypical bad sales behaviors, those are all learned behaviors. And the argument I make in the book is that if you lean into innate human behaviors, connecting with a human being, being curious, being empathetic, and understanding, being generous, giving a value, these are innate human behaviors that we’re all wired to do. And if we lean into these and lead with these with our buyers, then we stand a better chance of establishing a trust based relationship that enables us to influence the choices, trade offs and decisions they make. And they’re open to that influence. I mean, that’s one of the key points is is that there’s a decision of buyer makes when you start dealing with them. Where they make the decision, I call it the why you question Why should I invest my time in you? Why should I trust you? Why should I give you my confidence? Why should I listen to you? Is it happens in every, every interaction every situation you earn with the buyer? And when they answer that question, what they’re answering is, am I going to basically give Scott the ability to influence me, that’s what they’re doing, they’re opening the door to your influence. So in order to do that, you have to make that connection, you got to be interested in the other person, it can’t just be about pitching your product is about, I want to understand what your role is most important to you. I’m driven by that. It’s life’s our frame. The the contrast on stark terms in the book, and you know, this is I think, is a disservice we do to sellers This is they’re basically trained to think sellers, that their job is to go out and persuade somebody to buy their product. Whereas I believe sellers job is to listen to understand what’s the most important thing to the buyer, and then help them get that. And so if you think your job is to go out and persuade somebody, well, it’s our stands to reason that you’re gonna, you’re gonna be pyramid pitch oriented, right? I gotta get my product out there, I got to persuade you that regardless of what your product, your problem is, this is the answer. Whereas if you think your job is to go out and to listen first, to understand what’s most important to that buyer, and then put together a plan to help them get that, then you’re gonna go down a different path, you’re gonna lean into your curiosity, you’re gonna lean into make sure you ask the sufficient number of questions that you really understand what the most important thing is. And that you understand at a level that that makes the customer feel like you’ve heard them and understood them. And that you give generously of the value that you need to be able to provide, whether it’s through insights, or content, or whatever form that helps the buyer make progress toward making their decision.
Scott D Clary 28:38
Now, I want to understand one thing when it comes to these conversations that you’re having with the buyer. Of course, you still only have so many hours in a day. So it’s important that if you spend the time, there’s still has to be some some sort of performance objectives. But I’m curious, does this conversation now extend to qualifying properly targeting properly, and the importance of measuring intent that a buyer could have so that the conversations are a little bit warmer when you get into them when I’m getting on the phone for the first part of the Zoom call or whatever? Sure. How important is that?
Andy Paul 29:15
You want to take advantage of every bit of intelligence you can have about the buyer, before you have these conversations. I mean, I don’t want people to get the wrong impression from earlier as the problem is not. It’s not the technology, it’s how we use it. Right. And so yeah, you want to take advantage of if you have intent data, you want to factor that in, you want to make sure you’ve done your homework sufficiently before you have those, those first calls. Because I believe that you can’t predict in advance which of the interactions of the buyer can have the most impact on them. So Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winning economist psychologist did some research and came up with this rule he called the peak end rule. And what that said was the best when people go through an experience when they conduct to make a judgment or a decision or a decision about the experiences, they basically take into account two primary factors. One is the peak experience or peak event during that experience. And the last event in that experience. And think about that, from the perspective of sales, and go through the Think about the buying experience, is you can’t predict in advance which interaction you have with a buyer is one that they’ll consider the peak event. It could be I had one client that years ago, where he he sort of really transformed how they responded to their inbound leads, and really beefed up their inside team brought some real product experts to help with it. We’re just by getting back to their prospects more quickly with people who really understood the buyer and their needs, and can really help them move through their process more quickly. And they doubled the revenue in almost no time. And when you surveyed the buyers, it was all about that, right, their experience is that first interaction was the peak event. For the buyer wasn’t anything substantive that effect we got back to you get back to it quickly with somebody who really knew what they’re talking about. I felt that was a great use of my time as a buyer to talk with them. Boom. So as as a seller, you want to take advantage of everything available to you to say, Yeah, I want to maximize the impact of each of my interactions. So I need to be very thoughtful about I need to be intentional about it. I just can’t be robotic. And so roll through my process, I gotta treat every customer uniquely and prepare for them uniquely. And when I do that, yeah, there’s way more value for the buyer in each of those interactions. And value, as I talked about in the book, for me, the baseline measure of value in the buyers eyes, is that as a result of interaction with us, Scott, they’re closer to making a decision after that interaction than they were before that interaction. But they’ve made progress. That’s what buyers want, they will make progress. If they don’t see a return on the investment of their time and attention in you, then they’ll stop giving you time. And so it follows once it just sort of becomes sort of the basic way that sellers have to look at every every interaction that with a buyer is what is the value I’m going to provide what’s the value the buyer needs from me, in order to make progress during this interaction, and of getting this value, what are they going to commit to doing as the next step?
Scott D Clary 33:00
The reason I wanted to go into this is because I think it’s interesting, because we spoke we touched on productivity before. And when you look at the concepts of productivity and efficiency, and then you contrast that with uniqueness and individual illness, usually those run contrary, usually the more unique something is, the less efficient it is. And that’s that’s what I that’s what I was curious about. Because if you want to be a top performer, there has to be some velocity to what you’re doing. You have to be closing bigger deals or larger deals or more deals than the next person. So how do you how do you make sure that you maintain velocity, you maintain productivity, but you still maintain uniqueness? And you kind of mentioned it there, you did touch on it, it was every single interaction, you give it deliver the most possible value, and that, in theory would move things along faster than even if you systematize it.
Andy Paul 33:55
Right. That’s your baseline? Is does this interaction help the buyer move closer to making a decision? And if it doesn’t, if you don’t know that in advance, if you don’t know how that’s going to happen in advance, then why are you doing it? Why are you doing it? Why are you taking the buyers time? Are you taking your time? And this is something this is the the mindset that sellers need to have when they go through every opportunity their pipeline, or if you’re a sales manager, you’re going through a pipeline review. This is the question you ask your sellers. What value does buyer need from us now in order to move forward in their process? If a seller doesn’t know, then they need to go back. Keep asking questions, dig deeper. Make sure they really understand this this this understanding. I’d say there are four main pillars my book there are four main pillars of selling in connection, curiosity, understanding and generosity. And if you’ve built the connection, if you’ve built this level of trust, which is Basic customer giving you permission to stick your nose into their business. You know, ask the questions, make sure you understand, don’t just default to your usual set of 10 or 12 questions that you ask but keep digging till you till you really feel like you understand, confirm it with the buyer is people are trained to do but then you have to go a step further. This is where many sellers just stop, they might say, Okay, well we’ve asked these 10 questions, I’m going to reflect those back to the buyer and but the thing is when the buyers don’t always understand completely, what the opportunities are, or even the scope of the problem is, so when you get chance to reflect back to the buyer, sellers need to get in the habit of saying, Okay, now what are we missing? Just when you think we understand everything, what are we missing. And that opens up the door again, to dig deeper until you really feel like you’ve Okay, I understand what’s most important to buyer, I understand what’s driving the decision. Because in my experience in selling very complex, large scale deals, as well as small deals early in my career. I learned early on, there’s always one thing that’s driving the decision, more than everything else. That one thing is usually important to one or more people. So as a seller, as part of your discovery, which is not a one time event, it’s something you do every time you interact with the buyers, you keep asking questions and learning. You’re trying to uncover what that one thing is, what’s the thing that’s most important to the buyer? And who is it most important to? And so many sellers just don’t have a handle on that. And so it’s shooting, shooting craps that point, so we’re playing the odds.
Scott D Clary 36:53
And just want to take a second to thank the sponsor of today’s episode swag.com. Now, you know if you’ve ever received a corporate gift or swag in the past, how many of those gifts did you actually keep? Probably not many, which is probably because the stuff that you got was not so great. I’ve gotten like a lot of stuff on trade shows, and from companies in the past that I’ve just thrown out the second I get it. So this is why you need checkouts. why.com, I’ve been on the receiving end of getting garbage gifts. I’ve also worked in companies, where I only had access to a really, really small inventory of stuff that I wanted to give my customers and my employees. And I knew that it wasn’t going to resonate, I knew that was going to suck. So what is swag.com? Well, it’s like swag upgrade, it’s the best place to buy custom gifts and swag that people will actually want to keep. So they sent me a box because obviously they’re sponsoring the show and I wanted to see what it’s all about, you know, I’ve worked in businesses, I want to make sure that the quality of their stuff actually was up to my standards, because I can tell you right now that when I get garbage, it goes right into the trash it like really goes right into the trash is that gonna get back from the tradeshow or the conference or whatever. So I received one of the customs white boxes from swag.com. I loved the unique packaging. So it was a beautiful unboxing experience. I love the actual products they sent me and there’s a whole bunch more that obviously they didn’t send me. But the stuff that they did send was absolutely beautiful. It was very high quality. And I can only imagine that if I actually got this when I was working for companies, I probably would have actually use it. And to be honest, I’m going to start using them for people that work on my show. And in my company as well. Because I know it this isn’t just a novelty gift that somebody’s gonna throw, it’s stuff that they can actually use. They have so many unique and customizable gifts that I’ve never seen anywhere else. They have custom yoga mats, they have custom Apple air pods, they even have branded kayaks, which I did not know was a thing. So they carry all these premium brands like Northface, Yeti, Nike, and more. And it’s all customizable with your company’s logo or artwork with swag.com. They take care of all of your swag at their warehouse, and they ship it to individual addresses. Or if you prefer, you can just send it to a bulk location in one single shipment. It’s easy to manage from their online portal which you obviously get access to. So if this is something that you think would benefit you if you have clients or customers or a team, and you want to go the extra mile and you actually want to give gifts that people appreciate, which is the whole point of giving these gifts in the first place. Go to swag.com for the perfect swag and custom gifts. Right now they’re giving everybody who’s a success story podcast listener special offer. It’s 10% off your entire order, but only when you go to swag.com/success and enter promo code success 10 Remember, for 10% off, go to swag.com/success and use promo code success 10 If if you were going to hope that a seller or a sales manager or an entrepreneur, whoever reads this book takes one thing away from the book, what is what is the main thing that you want that person to take away? Do you want them to, for example, a seller go to a new organization? Or is it like this is the environment that you should aim to create in your organization in your company, I guess I want to look at it from different perspectives as somebody reading this book, and they already have a job or they already manage a team,
Andy Paul 40:28
right? I think from a from an individual contributor standpoint, this could be an entrepreneur to who’s driving sales in the organization is to understand what your job is, this is the big takeaway, your job is not to persuade somebody to buy your product, your job is to listen to them to understand what’s the most important thing to them, and then help them get that. That’s your job. And the way to do that is not through these overly prescriptive persuasion based tactics, but through leaning into the, your innate human side, to connect with someone at the human level to use your curiosity to navigate through, you know, there’s problem their situation, make sure you understand what’s most important to them, how you can help them get that and then provide them the value they need, in order to help them make that decision. And it’s, it’s much more collaborative. You think about selling, not as something to do to something to someone, but something to do with someone. And so for individual distributors, that mindset, to me is, is life altering for them? Because they’re gonna have a choice. Every time they have an opportunity to take a specific action to say, yeah, don’t be salesy. Don’t sell out, or don’t lean into human science selling. If a manager, it’s it’s a cultural thing, is because as more and more sellers embrace this way of selling, you’re getting a little bit of pushback. They’re gonna say, yeah, yeah, this this overly prescriptive robotic process you want me to follow, that just doesn’t work for me. And I think I can do better. If I’m doing the opportunity to experiment to come up with a way of selling that’s aligned with who I am, my character, my values, my strengths. And as a leader, you should want to encourage that you should want people not to be cookie cutters, clones of each other. But you want people that are motivated to become the best version of themselves. And to do that, you need to give them some autonomy. And, and this is this is silly. I cite this research in the book but professor at Harvard Business School, Francesca, Gino has written about this is the power of giving people agency over the choices they make about how they sell, then they own it, right, it’s not imposing a process on somebody is they they own have ownership in this there will be more motivated to want to be on top and stay on top. And so it’s gonna require a little bit of a shift of mindset, a manager as well. A little bit. I’m gonna say it’s, you know, it’s not old school, but it’s understand that your sellers are sort of like your buyers. As a manager, you want to understand what’s most important to your individual sellers? And then say, How can I help you get that? That’s my job. What do you aspire to? Scott, how can I help you get that? It’s not? How can I make you make 50 calls? Maybe, maybe scatto Emmys make 20 calls? And that’s okay. If Scott’s delivering, that’s fine. But there’s this real sense of fear among many sales managers, that if people deviate from the processes, like, I can’t have that, that’s unpredictable. And it’s like, well, that’s fine, you’re gonna get better performance, deal with it deal with people’s individuals.
Scott D Clary 44:00
And then that’s an interesting point. I want to I want to ask some, some rapid fire questions at the end. But before, before we go into that, there’s one point that I thought would be very interesting for somebody who is a sales manager who’s listening to that who said, Okay, I’ll try and deviate from process that I’ve done for the past 20 years. But what if somebody isn’t performing? What if it’s not working? How do I measure what’s not working if I don’t understand the process anymore?
Andy Paul 44:28
So what are you judging people on? Right, I mean, yeah, is, is every see everybody has their own number. Yeah, right. Everyone has their own set of metrics has always been the case. Frustrated, you know when to talk to sellers will say, Oh, what’s your win rate? What are your conversion rates, it sets your stages. Now know what’s like. You don’t be driven by the numbers, but we all have numbers. So when I talk about experimentation and improving Can the best version yourself, it’s within the scope of what your numbers are. Yeah, that’s that I sold. Mine was really large deals, you know, seven, figure eight figure even nine figure deals. I know what my, my numbers were, I know what my win rate was. And, and I, I want to maintain those, mine was different than the guy next to me. And he was good too. But he was he did it differently. And that’s fine. You can accommodate that this is this, I don’t understand why managers think that they don’t have time to accommodate, you know, it’s like, you’ve got nothing but time for your frontline manager, your only job is to help your people succeed, and not succeed by doing it necessarily your way. But helping them learn how to become the best version of themselves. And if that’s slightly at odds. So as long as people are willing to be held accountable for results, there’s a bargain I always made with bosses throughout my career is like, yeah, I may do things a little bit differently. But I’m willing to be held accountable for my results. And I delivered because I felt I had ownership and how I was selling. And I felt like it was my business, right? When I got started sales is very common. You’re taught by your manager, you’re the CEO of your patch, right? Or there’s geography or you don’t hear that as much anymore. And we need to enable sellers more and more to think about that as you are the CEO of that small, little business. What are you gonna do to make it happen? Because failure is not an option.
Scott D Clary 46:31
And the last thing that I noticed, it was very interesting, the four pillars that you mentioned connection, curiosity, understanding generosity, none of those are focused on on business objectives. None of those are focused on internal business metrics that will drive success. These are all focused on the customer. Yeah,
Andy Paul 46:47
Scott D Clary 46:52
Not very good. Okay. Most importantly, if people want to connect with you get the book, where should they go? All the socials and the dates and all that?
Andy Paul 47:03
Sure. So you can pre order the book? Well, depending when this airs will say you can order the book, your favorite online bookseller. And the book is launching February 22. We’ll have a little bit of a launch event if people want to participate in that. book is called sell without selling out a guide to success on your own terms. And if you want to follow me, yeah, I dabble on LinkedIn a bit. Scott’s laughing Yeah, he’s sort of like me. We’re there all the time. Got a podcast sales enablement with Andy Paul. Gosh, we’re up to 1000 plus episodes and encourage people check that out. Amazing. Okay, here’s my website, Andy paul.com.
Scott D Clary 47:44
That’s where you get everything else if you want to, if you want to find anything, go there. Okay. Let’s do a couple rapid fire. The biggest challenge that you’ve overcome in your personal or professional life, what was that? How did you overcome it?
Andy Paul 47:57
Hmm. Gosh which one? Pick one, pick
Scott D Clary 48:06
one. Pick one one. That one that comes from the first one that comes to my
Andy Paul 48:12
Well yeah, I think the hardest thing in personal life was just you know, a divorce. I mean, that that impacts everything impacts everything you do. And you know, at first marriage was you know, these things don’t happen overnight. They evolved and yeah, just look back and think yeah, there was a period of time there I was I thought I was operating at peak performance I really wasn’t in retrospect and also people could see so yeah, so resolving all that and coming out the other end divorce great co parenting between the two of us great relationship Yeah, I think that’s that’s non business but it’s it’s something I was proud of.
Scott D Clary 49:00
Good if you had to choose one person who’s obviously been many people but one person who has had a huge impact on your life. Who was that and what did they teach you?
Andy Paul 49:11
Well, I think it’s my wife second wife. We have known each other forever reconnected after 30 years one of those stories but she’s supported me down this journey that I’ve taken the last eight nine years of Yeah, exploring writing books and the podcast and and everything else I’ve done with the business that was just sort of a a right turn and yeah, would not have been possible without her support.
Scott D Clary 49:47
A book podcast something you’d recommend people go check out other than my own, other than other than your own Yes.
Andy Paul 49:59
What your I think there’s A couple of books I’d recommend one is a moment to think I believe it’s titled by Juliet font talks about the importance of building whitespace or thinking time into your day. And for busy people, I think, hugely important. I love atomic habits by James clear, I think it’s something referred to in my book. Yeah, I think that’s a guy that people should pick up and take very seriously because he writes very well about about habit formation. And what’s the other part of the question?
Scott D Clary 50:34
Oh, no, just you have it already. You’re good. You’re good. You can list off more if you want. But no, no, you’re good. You’re good. If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing what would it be?
Andy Paul 50:49
Getting a degree in engineering.
Scott D Clary 50:52
It’s not a bad it’s not a bad very good. And then last last question, what does success mean to you?
Andy Paul 51:04
control over my life. My time. That’s for me is is I’ve been extremely fortunate in my career, I have worked hard and, and but yeah, for me, it was always about having control over my life. And, and I started my own company, I started my company because I, I want to take a step back actually, I’ve been traveling extensively for 15 years internationally. And was missing a lot of things in my kid’s life and lives and and so yeah, I made the choice to sort of step back a bit. And I was fortunate I had the ability to be able to do that. I mean, I still was working on building my business but at a much different pace. So free that’s yeah, that’s what success have been about as control
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