610: Avoid These 2 Prospecting Mistakes w/ Dave Brock

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Dave Brock, CEO at Partners in Excellence and Author of Sales Manager Survival Guide.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davebrock/

A relationship with the right referral partner could be a game changer for any BEDB company. So what if you could reverse engineer these relationships at a moment's notice, start a podcast, invite potential referral partners to be guests on your show and grow your referral network faster than ever? Learn more at sweetish MEDIACOM. You're listening to the B tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are here today with Dave Brock. He is the CEO at partners in excellence. He's also the author of sales managers survival guide. Dave, how are you doing to day? Man, great, James, thanks for inviting me. Happy New Year. Happy New Year. This is the first interview I've done in two thousand and eighteen and I am really excited that that you are the guy that I'm talking to this morning. Day. We had a great conversation a week or two ago and and I'm really pumped to share some of the wisdom that you shared with me on the call, you know, in a recorded format like this. So I appreciate your time well. Thank you. Hopefully this foreshadows great things for too. Tals and made to yes, yes, I hope so too. So it's a Dave. You're the CEO Partners of excellence. You also wrote a book called Sales Manager Survival Guide. Tell our listeners, just to give them a little bit of context before we dive into what we're going to be talking about today, which is around prospecting. But you explain to our listeners which what you and your team are doing at partners and excellence? Yeah, we're a boutique consulting company. We consult primarily in business strategy and the customer facing sides of organization. So we tend to spend a lot of time looking at issues around selling,...

...how we reach our customers most effectively inefficiently. So selling, marketing and customer experience. And our client base is primarily global. I'd say seven hundred and fifty corporations highly concentrated in technology, industrial products and professional services. About it and then for it. Just kind of a brief synopsis of the Book that You wrote, Sales Managor survival guide. Why did you want to write that book? Yeah, that's the first of several books I'm writing, but that was published about a year and a half ago and I really focused on the role of the front line sales manager. Is, as we do our consulting and aside, look at people that that reach out to meet through Linkedin and other venues, is I realized that sales managers, front line sales managers, are really of struggling. They don't have any great resource to learn about how to do their jobs as best possible. Often Times their managers aren't coaching them very well. Often Times they've been put in the role because they've been a hot sales person, but they really don't understand their job and how to be great at that job. So it really is almost a pragmatic desk guide to help sales managers, you know, help their teams achieve the highest levels of performance. I love it. I love it so day. For the rest of our conversation today we are going to be talking about prospecting. You were telling me on our call a couple weeks ago about the prospecting process that you use in your own business, that your team uses in your business, and I loved it. I too often, you know, you just get this spray and pray these very generic message as. I feel like the last couple weeks I've been talking about it a lot, but your approach to prospecting have flies directly in the face of that approach, and so it is very...

...refreshing for me to hear you talk about it. Can we start by just talking again at a high level day of how do you think about prospecting, and then how has that shaped what you and your team are actually doing? Well, prospecting is a critical part of everybody's business and every every salesperson's business, regardless of how experienced you are, how big a reputation you have and all that kind of thing. I mean everybody in our company has been at least a VP of sales in fairly large companies, you know. So we have, you know, fairly big reputations and fairly strong networks. However, in spite of that, I mean to really build the business at the volume we expect expect it to be, is prospecting has to become a part of our daily and weekly activity and so often, like with so many sales people, we find excuses not to do that. That, I mean most of us don't like prospecting. And you know, in our role, I mean we have, you know, we both as consultants. We deliver services. So I spend most of my time in work sessions and meetings with our clients helping them, you know, identify the issues that they're trying to attack, identify strategies for doing that and so on. So we're spending time doing delivery work, you know, and a lot of our time is spent doing sales work in terms of developing opportunities and moving them through the pipeline. But that all starts with prospecting and so we have to just as every other salesperson has to do, we have to be rigorous about our prospecting. So we do a couple of different things. In fact, the one key metric I measure myself and our team of fifteen people on every week is every Friday I get...

...a prospecting report and they send me one number. We've clearly defined our prospecting metric and that is highly impactful conversation with somebody in our target personas and somebody that we've and it's somebody that we've never spoken to before, or at least have not spoken to for a number of years, you know. So there's some real rigger on what counts as High Quality Prospect and conversation and we don't play the games with that. How do you? But it really is. But that high quality conversation is it really is, is we're trying to engage people with certain kinds of conversations around business issues impacting them that we can help them with. Know. So it's not random calls, it's not how are you a calls, it's not catching up calls. Their very focused calls on customers who we believe have issues that we can address and it's either they've they may have reached out to us in some way or, frankly, we have. You know, I call it kind of a stocker mentality. Each one of us as two to three, say, pigments that we are developing. Both our personal knowledge of and our reputations are visibility. So, for instance, I tend to be one of the guys in our company that focuses on software, whether it's Sass enterprise or things like that. I tend to focus also on semiconductor and electronic components, in on telecommunications. So I spend a lot of time at conferences and studying and looking at the issues there. And so my prospecting is I tend to reach out to folks in that or in those organizations. I see something happening with a company in that that in say...

...the semiconductor segment, and reach out in kind of a cold way and say, you know, there's some issues that are in fact that we believe are impacting your performance that you might be able to improve. So those prospecting calls come from those kinds of things. So each one of the people on the team has a few industries that they stock, that they're very knowledgeable and that they have some level of reputation. So they can point to people of, you know, Ge we work with these people in those people and so on, partly to establish our credibility, but that we can have more than a surface conversation. We can drill down, you know, two or three levels deep in our first call. So so having that Riggor, having that ability to have a highly impactful conversation and being very focused on calling the right people and having the right discipline, regardless of where we are in the world. You know, I may add at any one time be in Europe, Africa, Asia or North America or South America, but I still have to get my personal number is I have to have six net new conversations every week. How much outreach do you typically have to do, Dave, to be able to have six quality conversations? Well, we're very focused at it's so I mean our process generally is some initial emails, maybe some initial phone calls with an executive assistant or something. But I mean, for instance, one hundred percent of my calls are scheduled, you know. So I've had enough outreach with, say, an executive assistant or enough outreach through email or something like that that that you know my calls. Well, I'm lying. Maybe ninety percent are scheduled and so I have a set time where where an executive is expecting a call for me. We have, you know, a good conversation.

You know, it's not looking at you know, what problems are you having and do you want to buy our services? It's looking at having a good substantive conversation. These guys may not have an immediate need, but I want to start establishing that relationship. I know if I don't make my six calls this week that I won't make my number in the first quarter of two thousand and nineteen. And so if I don't make those six calls, you know, while my business looks really good for two thousand and eighteen and so on, you know in two thousand and nineteen it starts looking a little bit sketchy. So I have to have that prospect and discipline. I love it. I thought it. And what are what are some of the I guess, when you're consulting other companies around around her the art of prospecting, what are some of the mistakes that you see them making most often and how do you advise them in that? That's that's a good question. And I think one of the biggest mistakes I see them making is going wider rather than the OOR. Okay, you know, it seems that people are so focused on volume and velocity that they cast a wider and wider and wider net, you know, to reach prospects. It's interesting. I talked to a client. was doing some interviews of salespeople with a client actually last week, and they have a very outstanding system that's producing really great results. You know, they viciously narrow where they prospect. They know what their sweet spot is and they focus very intensely on that sweet spot. When they're tempted to to cast a wider net, they do exactly the opposite. They narrow it down and narrow their focus because they know that, you know, they're they're enough customers in...

...that sweet spot for them to achieve their business plan. Their challenge is just to reach those people. So they double down on trying to say, you know, what's that sweet spot and how do we kind of narrow the focus? The second thing I see people do is they don't pay attention to triggers, you know, triggers that happen in the environment, whether it may be, in our case, it's an organizational change, or it maybe a bad quarterly report, or it maybe something disruptive happening in the industry that we know ripples through and will impact our customers, or something disruptive happening with one of their competitors that will impact them. So, you know, I don't see sales people. I see sales people just randomly saying do you want to talk to me, rather than saying we noticed something happened in the industry, with your company, with your customers, or something that's likely to impact you. How are you dealing with that? Are there any particular triggers day of going back to that, that people should stay away from? I know that a lot of people, you know a you saw that you just raised around a funding now want to sell you my thing. Maybe that is a good trigger. But are there certain triggers that you see that, I don't know, almost make you think? I think you can it a little more creative with it. No, I think I think you have to be sensitive to how you approach somebody. I mean so, for instance, we approach a lot of people who are producing bad results. You know, and and you know clearly, I don't want to call a CEO or an evp of sales up and say, Jeez, your last quarter sucked. Yeah, what are you doing about it? You know, it's so you know there's sensitivity to how you deal with the trigger and how you deal with the news. But you know, I think I think you ought to. You know so and that really comes from, I think, our depth of understanding of what's happening in the particular market segment. Does that make sense? It totally does, and hearing you talk about this a couple weeks ago day and then hearing you lay...

...out these two specific mistakes that you see, you know, not naring your focus enough, not paying attention to triggers. This has been incredibly helpful. Is there anything else around prospecting day that you think our listeners should understand before we transition into the last part of this interview? I think you know, it's just like kind of Nike says, you just do it. You know, I'd say focus your prospecting effort to, you know, go narrower, wider rather than wider. Know what you're talking about, look for those triggers, jump on the phone or do it in person. You know, don't rely, you know, the solely on social media and those kinds of things. Those, those are great tools, but a lot of the old school stuff of you know, sometimes when I'm traveling, I'll call and make an appointment and show up on somebody's doorstep. Or I may not even make an appointment, but I'll show up on some somebody's doorstep and it's hard for them to turn me down if I'm showing showing up on their doorstep. Make Sense. But fundamentally you got to do the work. Yep, one of my one of my goals this year is to meet with one hundred potential customers in person, and so yesterday I started going through and kind of mapping out the different cities that I'm going to target and the trips that I'm going to be making there too, because I think that point of there's just something powerful that can happen when you're when you're in front of someone in person, the trust that you could build in the rapport that you can build. So I am absolutely bored with with that idea, Dave, that I want to I want to close it down with one last question. I'd love to ask, Dave, what would you say is the legacy that you want to leave? Well, that's that's a really important question, I think for all of us. If you look at my blog, my blogs and titled Making a difference, and you know, one of the things that I've personally felt, and I think that that I think everybody in our company feels, is we want to...

...have an impact on the lives of the people we work with and on the companies and the organizations, and so we want to make sure that what we're doing is having an impact and making a difference. And you know, it kind of is a virtuous cycle. Is as long as we're having an impact on these people, we create customers and clients for life. I love it, Dave. If somebody wants to check out your book, are they want to learn more about partners and excellence or stay connected with you? What's the best way for them to go about doing all those things? Would love for them to order the book and reach out to me. It's on Amazon. Sales Manager Survival guycom. My blog I tend to blog about the four point two business days a week is partners and excellence BLOGCOM. I'm on Linkedin. Just look up Dave Brock. I'm southern California or partners and excellence. Our twitter is David a brock. I thank you so much for your time today. This has been fantastic, so I really appreciate it. It's been a pleasure. Thanks so much, James. If you're a BEDB marketer, we want to feature you on sites like Huffington posts, social media examiner and chief marketer. Every week we send out a question related to be to be marketing. We use the responses to those questions to fuel the content we write for really popular websites. So head over to sweetfish MEDIACOM backslast questions and sign up today. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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