755: Before You Spend a Minute in Sales Training, Do This w/ Mark Smith

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Mark A. Smith, Vice President of Sales at Womply.

Check out Mark's LinkedIn post that prompted this conversation here.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

Are you struggling to come up with original content weekend and week out? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients, let them talk about what they care about most and never run out of content ideas again. Learn more at sweetfish MEDIACOM. You're listening to be tob growth, a daily podcast for B TOB leaders. We've interviewed names you've probably heard before, like Gary vanner truck and Simon Senek, but you've probably never heard from the majority of our guests. That's because the bulk of our interviews aren't with professional speakers and authors. Most of our guests are in the trenches leading sales and marketing teams. They're implementing strategy, they're experimenting with tactics, they're building the fastest growing BB companies in the world. My name is James Carberry. I'm the founder of sweet fish media, a podcast agency for BB brands, and I'm also one of the CO hosts of this show. When we're not interviewing sales and marketing leaders, you'll hear stories from behind the scenes of our own business. Will share the ups and downs of our journey as we attempt to take over the world. Just getting well, maybe let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob grows show. We're here today with Mark Smith, VP of sales at Wampley. Mark, how you doing today, man? Well, how are you, Logan? I'm doing really well, Mark. Thank you so much for making time to come on to the show today. I've been a big fan of the content you've been putting out on Linkedin, so I'm super excited to chat with you today. For folks that maybe haven't been following you for as long as I have and seeing some of the great content you've been putting out, I'd love for you to share with our audience what you and the team at Wampley are up to today to give them a little context for this conversation we're going to be having. Sure. So wantley. We are one hundred percent focused on small business. So we provide front office software systems at an incredibly affordable and valuable rate. We have about a hundred fiftyzero American small businesses right now on our platform. We grow that by another five to ten thousand a month. Inside a great job, a lot of people want to help enterprise and that's that's awesome. I like being part of a big business, but when I come to work every day, you know, we help somebody starting a floral shop or a pizza shop or a shoe repair shop, you know, get a little bit closer to their dreams, and it's pretty gratified. HMM. Yeah, that's awesome stuff. Man, you personally have about almost twenty years of experience in your sales career, you know, ranging from security, mortgage, tech and a various different ventures. I know from from looking at your background, and so that's why I'm really excited to jump into this topic. You know, if you're changing roles or you're jumping into a new industry in sales, you know what are some things that you can do to set yourself up to win? And there are a couple of posts on linkedin that that prompt did me to reach out to you, mark, and the first one I wanted to touch on was, you know,...

...you had someone reach out to you, maybe offline, and some former fashion. They were presidents club and and huge company and trying to break into tech sales and frustrated with their sponse. So let's kick off the conversation there and tell me a little bit about that interaction and kind of what what your gut reaction was to that. Sure, I get a lot of messages. I'd probably get a couple hundred a week and I feel bad that I can't respond to all of them, but I happen to be online and and someone to reach out and said I really need some advice. How do I get into text sales? I just want presidents club, where a four billion dollar company, everything we do is outbound prospecting. I mean, I'm really, really good, but everybody I talked to you says that I need tech experience to get into tech or software, and I just thought that was absolutely insane. I mean, if if a president's club member at a four billion dollar company shows up my office, I'm going to find a place for him to work. And so that was it was really interesting. But but we are seeing that as a major problem. We're companies are are getting entrenched in a certain type of sales persona and it's honestly, I think it holds them back quite a bit and keeps them from expanding their type of talent that they get, which is really, really important when you're whether you're selling enterprise small business, you're going to be selling to a hundred different types of personalities. You probably need to have a relatively diverse type of sales group. HMM. Yeah, and the thing that I noticed from that post and looking at at your sales background was that, you know, the thing I noticed on your linkedin profiles not only do you have a huge number of followers, but you've been in sales for almost a couple decades in several different roles, and so I have to believe that you know a big part of building your team is believing that key and and fundamental sales skills are transferable from from industry to industry. Right, they can be. I do think that there are a few caveats to that, and especially for young people all, the main thing that I would say that you've got to start out with is number one. If you're going to go into an industry, can you instinctively share that industry's value proposition or that company's value proposition without knowing that much about it? I do think that you have to internally be able to really get what it is that you'd be selling, and you'll know whether you do or not. There are things that I've been asked to be involved in and I they don't resonate with me for even a millisecond. So I just politely say, listen, that sounds awesome, but I just don't get it and I don't think that I'll be able to be creative and entrepreneurial and incredibly driven about that. But if you if you you know are going to sell a piece of software and you quickly understand the value prop that I think that you know you're on the right path. The next thing is, can you communicate that value prop simply? If you...

...can, again, it's probably a good thing for you to pursue if you're really interested in something, but it's incredibly complicated for you explain. You might struggle in that role and so it'd be understandable if they would have a difficult time giving you that opportunity. I was just going to say reminds me of some sales advice I got from from a sales later a few years back, in that you know, if you can't explain it to a five year old, you're not explaining it well enough. And that's not to say that your audience is is the mental capacity of a five year old, but I know, having kids myself, both under tin that. You know, it really is a test to see how well you know something, to see how well you can communicate it to someone who has no frame of reference for what you're talking about. Right, yeah, and keep mine. I'm not saying that just because you can't do that, you're you're not a good salesperson or you're not worthy of that position. What I'm saying is when, when you are going to craft your career, you want to make sure that you are grooving a pitch you'r you want to make sure that when you step in, you have the best possible opportunity and products or services that resonate with you and that you can explain simply the value proposition, you're on the right path and your sales skills are very likely transferable. The next one, and to me this is absolutely critical, is that you have to match what I what I call the wind frequency. Some called the sale cycle, but I think it's a little bit different. When I was a young salesperson, I called my brother and I told them how proud I was that I had just gotten an offer to sell major million dollar corporate packages to the Masters Golf Tournament into the Indie five hundred and I talked all about how excited I was and he said that's amazing, Mark. How many sales per year do you have to make? And I said, oh my gosh, if I make two sales a year, I'm I'm just rolling in money. And he said, Mark, do you think could hear yes two times a year? And my gut just sunk because he knew me. He knew that there was no way that I would be okay with a six month sales cycle, or what I would call the wind frequency. So he encouraged me to get into what we, you know, referred to as more transactual sales, and it was exactly what I needed. It's what I love to sell, it's what I love to lead, and so I don't buy into the concept of sales as sales leads or leads. They're definitely is going to be a difficult time transitioning from, I don't know, selling ten million dollar deals to the federal government one time a year to selling real estate. But if you have the same wind frequency, you understand the product and you can really internalize it, then my guesses you could be very successful anywhere you go. Hm, I love looking at those key features of you know, the the background in the fit, rather than do you have technic sales experience or not. I think that's thos are much better...

...indicators to go off of. Awesome. Well, Mark. The next thing I wanted to jump into was, you know, you had another post in really giving some solid advice to people that are changing industries and they're stepping into a new sort of sales role and the methodology that you've used before to and you've seen work. So what's the first thing they should do if they're starting a new sales role, as you mentioned before, before they pick up a book, before they go through an ounce of training, was the first thing they should do? Go Talk to a customer. I mean it, just go find somebody who was very representative of who you will be selling to. So if you're, for instance, going to work with me at one play, before you get to your first day of training, you probably have an uncle, a cousin, sister in law, whatever it may be, who runs a small business. Go speak with him, go to their place of business, ask them things about their life. Why did they start their business? What matters to them? You'd be surprised. Everyone thinks people want to make more money. A lot of times they don't. They want to save more time. Ask them what time they wake up in the morning, how quickly they reach for their phone and get stressed about work. Ask them what time they get there. Asked them about what what they enjoy it there at their business and what they don't enjoy. As that how many sales people call them every day, as some how they accept sales people calls. And what you're going to find is whether it's a physician or a homeowner or a small business owner or chief technology officer or a fortune five hundred company, my guess is you don't have the foggiest clue what a day in their life is like. And so what's going to happen is you're going to go work for a company and they're going to put you into an academy, they're gonna give you this amazing training on product and process and you're going to think you know how to communicate with that prospect, but you're probably not going to have any clue. You're going to see them as a lead on the other end of the phone. What you need to be able to see them as is a human being, because once you can converse with somebody as a human being, it's not that difficult to figure out whether your product or service meets their needs and whether or not they can afford it. If it does and they can sales. Isn't that hard? But when you make these expect or these assumptions based on three or four days of classroom training or reading a Brian Tracy book which you know May or may not be great, it gets you nowhere compared to going and just experiencing what your prospect actually goes through in a daily basis. Can you tell us, mark, about maybe the first time that you did that recently, where you've seen a rep really the take this idea and go and do it and the reaction and the difference that it made for them? I can tell you. But the most recent we just did it at Wantley last week. Okay, so we shut down the office a few hours earlier.

We brought in the owner of a chain of crowd therapy clinics, okay, and this is a somebody with thirty years of experience running small businesses, incredibly successful, and we all sat down and we had, you know, many questions for him. They were, you know, moderated by our head of training. And then there was we just got to listen to a day in his life, and you should have seen the look on some of ourselves, reps faces when he shared the things that they never would have guessed that completely alter their idea of who he would be on the other end of the phone. Let me let me give you an example. This is probably going to be my next linkedin post, by the way, but you here constantly that buyers are more sophisticated than they've ever been. Right, it's not true. Now it is true to say that, when they are actively involved in the buying process, there has never been more research or data, more information at their fingertips. Right. However, almost none of your prospects are sitting around thinking about buying your product or service. They aren't. They aren't actively in the market. Now, you may have an opportunity to sell to them and they may take that opportunity and go research it heavily. That's just the nature of sales. But what he shared with our group was guys are run a chain of chromotherapy clinics. I also own a software company, but I only know what I know and I don't know what I don't know. If you show genuine interest, you do a little bit of research on my business before you call me and you show me some value. There's a really good chance your product or service does something for me that I never knew that I needed. So as sophisticate is as I may be, as experience as I may be as a businessperson, it doesn't mean that I don't need to be fully educated on that phone call about your product or service. But you're not going to learn that if you just believe that every vp of sales understands every sales and element technology or understands every marketing technology. The fact is, I work eighty hour weeks and I have a wife and I have a son and I have a golf game and I don't have time to keep up on every single thing. But so frequently people will contact me and they'll make wild assumptions about what I already know. They'll talk to me like a prospect rather than as a human being. But those who take a little bit of time to research have spent some time working with people like me and understanding what what my day is like. They they can impact very quickly. But I can tell you if you get me on the phone discussing your product, there's a really good chance you're going to sell it to me if I can afford it and if it's something that will provide me with value. But I get educated constantly...

...on new products and services by smart sales people who have taken the time to understand what you know. The head of cells in a software company does and doesn't, and it's the same thing with any prospect yeah, like you said, it's making that human connection and figuring out where you can provide the value and educate them. All right, today's growth stories about search engine marketing. Clear Company is an HR tech company that was doing a lot of things right. Their messaging was clear, their product produced incredible results. They were struggling to drive qualified traffic to their website. Then they found directive consulting, a BB search marketing agency. But then, the first twelve months of working with directive, clear company was able to increase their qualified LE volume by a hundred and fifty seven percent. I have a hunch that directive can get these kind of results for Youtube. So head over to directive consultingcom and request a totally free custom proposal. That's directive consultingcom. All right, let's get back to this interview. The last part of your post, I thought was very interesting. I notice some people, you know, reacting to this part of it and I'll that you talk about it. You know, you suggest compensating people for their time, whether there are small business owner or vp of sales or whoever your buyer persona is this person that you seek out that's a customer or represents your your target audience, compensating them for their time. Tell us a little bit about why you think you should do that and some of the reactions you've seen when you guys have done that mark so well. I think anytime that you make a personal investment, it shows that you're willing to follow through, whether it's, you know, if they they asked Michael Jordan how much he bets on a golf course and he says, I don't have a set amount, it's just the amount of money that makes my opponent uncomfortable, and sometimes it's five dollars and sometimes it's Fiftyzero. I think that when you put your money on the line, it shows that you are invested in following through, and so that's the first thing is you can go and ask for a mentor all day long, but if you're not putting much into it, there's not a good chance, you're going to take a tremendsment of value. Now, most mentors are not going to accept the money. I don't personally. I've never been paid by a young person that I'm helping out, but it is nice to be asked or nice to be offered, and I think what it shows is that they see tremendous value and what they are receiving. None of us expect what expect to go, you know, to a conference with Fivezero people and just have a free ticket to listen to I don't know, Tony robins speak, and yet we frequently want, you know, busy professionals to give us their time for free. I personally have just been raised that that's a little bit inappropriate. Again, almost nobody's going to accept money, but at the very least offer send them a bottle of wine, send them tickets to a basketball game or just send them a card that says thank you...

...so much. This time was absolutely invaluable to me. It means the world to me and if I can ever be of help to you, please don't hesitate to reach out. I just think that's a good way to live a life, where you see people's value and you make an attempt to compensate them for that value, whether monetarily or just buy simple gestures. Yeah, I personally completely agree with you and I think that, like you said, putting your money where your mouth is shows your commitment to that to that relationship and to your success that you're investing there. You know, to and what is you know? If you know, if you think in your linkedin post mentioned you know, a two hundred and fifty gift card. You know one, they might send it back to you. Probably will, or to you know, what is that off of your next commission check. If you start crushing it in a new role, you know in the new sales world that you're jumping in. It's true there are times, you know, I'm just speaking as a salesperson, but if there's product people listening, there are so many times that we develop a new sales process or a new product or a new knew anything, and we do it with our own consumer persona. We think I would want this, everyone else must want this. You can spend a few months developing something to find out that they have no interest in it whatsoever. HMM. And so just speak to your customers, reach out to them, visit their place of business, ask them questions. They they will be willing to help you. I think the phrase is something like, you know, fifteen minutes with a customer is worth fifteen hours in a white board, and I think that's that's dead on correct. Yeah, yeah, that is has very good advice. Mark A, I really appreciate you coming on the show today. I've arned with this conversation for anybody who isn't already following you or staying in touch, sounds like we already have fought her for another linkedin post for you from this conversation. So if people want to follow you, what's the best waay for them to reach out connect, follow what you're putting out there? Honestly, only social media I use is is Linkedin, and be honored if people followed. I post maybe once or twice a week and I typically post on things that means something to me and which I think I actually have something to say. And Yeah, hopefully I can be of help to people. And so, yeah, would welcome or followers and I love to interact with people, so never feel afraid to make a comment or to reach out personally. Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing that, mark and thanks for sharing your your opinions on sales, and I would definitely echo that. For anyone who's not currently following mark on Linkedin, we're going to have a link to his linkedin profile right in the show notes. Do not go to your next podcast episode of beb growth or another podcast that you listen to without clicking his profile. So many people these days are posting consistently to try and be top of mine, but I do see mark as one that is putting out content that he cares about and is thoughtful and is valuable,...

...which is why we want to have them on the show. So go give him a follow and mark thanks again for this conversation. It's been great. Man, you got it. Thanks, Logan. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the BEDB growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a BOB growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be tob growth dinnerscom. That's be toob growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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