B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 2093 · 10 months ago

Increase Sales by Leveraging Transparency

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Traditional sales teaching is quickly becoming stale and obsolete. Customers these days are inundated with reviews and armed with cognitive bias — and they’re becoming immune to old-fashioned sales patter.

What if the way forward is to sell with transparency? As counterintuitive as it may seem, leading with honesty and embracing your flaws fosters an emotional response from your buyers, develops trust, and increases sales organically.

Energetic host John Grispon discusses these revolutionary ideas and more with today’s guest, Todd Caponi, author of the absolutely fascinating emotional sales manual, The Transparency Sale: How Unexpected Honesty and Understanding the Buying Brain Can Transform Your Results.

Here's a sneak peek:

  • “The second the buyer's brain senses insincerity, ineptitude, or inconsistency, their brain's 'uh-oh' alarm will sound off subconsciously."
  • Leading with your product’s minor issues empowers buyers to make a more informed purchase, which leads to a genuine emotional connection.
  • Caponi uses new research in neuroscience to develop sales techniques more aligned with the human brain.

Welcome to the BdB Growth show on the Revenue series. I'm your host, Jon crispin, founder and sales coach at Early Revenue Today, I am so pleased to be here with Todd Caponi, Welcome Todd. It is so good to talk to you again, it's so good to be on and I think I was on the show like before the book came out like 2.5 years ago and I was nervous and it was like who knew what we were getting into and it's just, it's so great to be back. This is awesome. Yeah, so just amazing list of accomplishments that really validate the work you've been doing, my goodness, chief Revenue Officer at Power Reviews, you've been sales leader at Salesforce and exact target a sales leader, S A. P, so a great foundation and and of course you are now the author of the very successful transparency sale book, which is a best seller. Uh it's one of my favorite books, it's one of those that I recommend to others. And you know, I tend, when I talk about todd funny, I tend to refer to you as the mad scientist of sales. Yeah. If there's no one better that bring, there's no one else out there that is not only combining science with selling but has the research and the data to back it up. That's what I really like about your approach. So anyway, Welcome. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. And there's the other nursery that I don't know if we've ever talked about but I on the weekends my hobby is sales history. So I have a collection of books from the early 20th century on all things sales. This one's a 1916 book, the art and science of selling. I wish you could smell it like it smells like Grandma's basement but it's awesome. So very cool. So let's, so let's level set here. So our guests are typically Ceos revenue leaders and venture firms. And our goal is to share with early stage tech founders, our audience and their sales leaders Insights and best practices on two topics that are top of mind for most leaders the how twos of growing early stage sales, right and fundraising. So again, thanks for being here. Let's just start off just for a second maybe. Imagine who we're talking to 1000 hungry, eager first time founders. They've got a good product, they've got a dozen or so winds, they found product market fit if they're really close to it and they are founder led selling now. So maybe this is their first foray into selling or maybe they're considering hiring of sales leader and they've got a couple million in a. R. R. So we're just looking for sort of the best of the best from todd component, what advice can you give them? And let's just let's start off with maybe how you came up with the idea for transparency sale. And then let's touch on certain topics that I'll bring up for you. Let's let's I'm gonna let you take it away on how you came to transparency sale. Well, yeah, so that's such a good setup too because you know, I work with a bunch of early stage founders, at least I did pre pandemic through my work with a company in Chicago called Venture scale. And one of the things that happens with these early stage founders, especially when their products experts is they get to this point where they're like, all right now I have to go sell this thing, do I need to go buy a plaid jacket and get some gold chains and like unbutton the first couple of buttons, like is that sales And like let's take it easy and let's talk a little bit about this idea of being a human being and being transparent. And so but the story that the short story is you mentioned that I was the chief revenue officer of a company called Power Reviews here in Chicago. And you can probably guess that the company was in the review space, right? It helps retailers and brands collect and display ratings and reviews on their website. Well what happened was we did a research study that was just looking at consumer behavior when a website is acting as a salesperson like a typical e commerce site. What do human beings do? Like how do they decide? How do they engage, Where are they drawn? And there was three data points that came out of it, two of which literally changed my whole life. Like I know that's crazy, but that's what happened. The first one didn't change my whole life because it was no surprise We all read reviews today, 96% of us will read a review before we buy something we haven't bought before. That's a medium to high consideration, meaning not a pack of gum but something that matters. But the two that blew my mind. Number one, 82-85% of us. Somewhere in that range Go to the Negative Reviews 1st. So again, when a websites acting as a salesperson were drawn to the negatives first, which I thought was, that's interesting. Like we skipped the fives...

...and go right to the forest threes, twos and ones. I'm like, okay, that's interesting. But then the third one was the one that really set me off and it was this idea that A product on a five star scale when it has an average review score between a 42 and a 45 that is optimal for purchase conversion, meaning a product that has negative reviews. A 42 will sell at a higher conversion rate than a product that's got nothing but five star reviews. And I looked at that thought, all right, that's when a human being is left to their own devices and a websites acting as the salesperson. Does this equate down to be to be or human to human selling like does leading with negatives, Does that imperfection actually help us sell? And you mentioned me being a behavioral and decision science nerd. Everything I saw was supporting this argument that if we just come in and we embrace the things that maybe we're falling short on, we're not good at something. A competitor is better, a situation that had happened that's easily accessible to anybody who's doing research on us with that sell better. And the first time I tried it, It was freaking magic. Like literally the guy showed me his budget. I've never never even seen a buyer's budget before. He did it the first time the sale cycle, that was normally six months, they made a decision in 10 days and then of course, we spent four weeks on contracts, which sucks. But like the first couple of times I tried it. Sale cycle shrink win rates went up partially because we were working on deals that we should win. We're doing a better job of qualifying him, but partly because we're qualifying out faster. Bye exposing the reasons why somebody wouldn't buy and we could then spend our time and the opportunities we should win. And then the fun part is we made it really hard on our competitors because they couldn't really position against us anymore. So to circle that all back around, you know, for you leaders, you're starting up, you're getting the company going, you're building up. I think there's a really big opportunity for you to not only build trust, but it feels better to be an honest human being is to lead with where you are as a company and what the flaws are. But you don't need a plaid jacket, you don't need gold chains. You know, joanie salesperson, you don't need to be, you don't know what to wear. A leisure suit. You don't need it exactly, although leisure suits to look pretty good. So, uh, if you want to wear one, you're welcome to it. But don't wear one to be a good salesperson. Where the powder blue with the colorado. To here with the bell bottom and the white shoes. Right. Yeah, exactly. Either unbuttoned halfway down or the floss. So what whatever flurry that that looks fantastic. That works for some people. Yeah, not so much for me. I'm italian, nobody needs to see that. So am I. I don't I don't need any any more of that kind of connotation. Alright, yeah, I have family members that have the rings and the chains and uh yeah, well let's so let's talk about messaging since you've got early stage founders that are thinking about this. One of the things that people care about early on, right, when you're trying to generate awareness and you're trying to educate is messaging, right? You are a big fan of talking about the limbic brain and how we need to get involved, get emotions evolved in sales, I'll let you take it. Yeah, I mean there's a neuroscientist that threaten some amazing books. It seems Antonio Damasio and he's got a quote that really stuck with me and it's we are not thinking machines that feel we are feeling machines that think. And what that means is that decisions are really kicked off in the feeling center of our brain, which you mentioned is the limbic right which we make these feeling decisions and it's not love and hate like feeling are things like your ability to get feedback and validation and recognition for buying something, your ability to predict and forecast what your experience is going to be like with the solution, the freedom and autonomy and control that you get as a result of buying whatever you're going to buy the what I call family. But it's really fitting in our other people like me doing this, their relatedness. There's also the function or mission or purpose and I'm I'll buy something because it feels makes me feel good that I'm helping somebody out. And the thing I didn't mention was the money, right? Fairness is a feeling. Is the juice going to be worth the squeeze is the output of my resource, my dollars, my time, my energy going to be worth the reward that I get from it. Those those are the things that trigger a decision in the human brain. It's the feelings and then we use logic to back it up. All right. So when we talk about the limbic, I mentioned this thing called...

...the limbic filter and I think I actually stole that from somebody else. But anyway, it's when we come across a salesperson, we know that perfection isn't reality. Like subconsciously we know it. It's not like I was born to believe that, you know, like subconsciously we know that there's pros and cons to everything and when a salesperson comes to us And is presenting our solutions as though they're a perfect 50 A Our brain wants the negative first. Remember the 82 to 85% and be our brain doesn't decide unless we can see the negatives which are that 42 to 45 right? That ability to understand what am I giving up to get the goodness? And so that leading with transparency and embracing your imperfections, it disarms that limbic filter. It builds trust right under the get go. And it allows the brain to predict which allows the brain to come to a decision much faster. Either with you or against you, right? And that's that's our job, help the customer through this process of making the best decision for them, whether it's for you or against you as quickly as possible. So all of this, since you're talking about the, the emotions presentations are used a ton in selling. And I think you have a perspective on how to present effectively one to create an emotional attachment, but also to make a little bit easier for the brains out there that are listening and watching your presentation. Yeah. So you think I have an opinion on that, huh? Like this has been, I've been, I've become so passionate about my opinion on this. I don't know what happened, but the traditional like somebody at some point decided, hey, when we go into a room, we should just throw up all over people. We slide one on every presentation should be a mission statement. We believe in a world of whatever we're selling slide to should always be our awards or recognition from analysts like Forrester as it's up in the top right quadrant. We won this award three years ago. Cool slide three should always be a map of our locations, Like we've got one in Singapore. I know you don't, but we think it's cool. Slide four should always be your products and then you should always circle it and right solution above it because they're not just products, it's a solution. And then slide five should always be your logo, slider, your nascar's life, like whoever decided that every marketer has decided, Yeah, that's what we're gonna do two. And the funny thing is the behavioral science tells us Every one of those elements runs 180° from how our brains engage and how an audience decides. Like those slides are literally taking consensus buyers who already have it tough and now it's tougher because they're all remote so they don't get to just run into people and informally talk in the hallway, you're literally pushing them to your corners and let me tell you why. Well, first of all, we've known this for 401 years. Sir, Francis Bacon 1620 theorized this idea of cognitive bias. Right? And it was to say that when we've established an opinion, we will take all inputs to support that opinion. Whether or not that input is supporting your opinion or not. Like we see that politically every day. An example, um, your nascar slider, your logo slide. I used to joke at power reviews and anybody who's listening to this that knows me knows I was joking, but you probably were like, I don't want to test this. And it was if I see a Nascar slide in the first five slides of a deck, whoever put it in there is fired. That was a joke. But like my ceo walked in, he was like, I'm going to present this. And I was like, you're fired. But here's why Imagine you are presenting to 10 people. So consensus fires, you got 10 of them, five of them are leaning towards you. So five of them are like, I like these people, I think this is the solution for us fiber against you meaning they're leaning towards either competitor or doing nothing. How are they going to look at your nascar side? The five there for you again, think Francis bacon, cognitive eyes. They're going to take that data and they're gonna look at those logos and go, wow, that's impressive. If they're good enough for them, they're good enough for us. Like, and there's some great companies on there, right? So you've accomplished your goal as a salesperson to build credibility through the logo slide gay for you. But what about the five people that are against you? They're looking at this singing, wow. Those are some big companies, Hey, we're going to get lost. Uh, you know what? We're going to be a small fish in a big pond here. I'm gonna use that to support my belief that we shouldn't go with these people. And then there's a couple other ones that are looking at it saying, wow, I see banking and aerospace and manufacturing. Well, are...

...they generalists? Do they really know? Like our industry is different? Like every buyer thinks that right? Our industry is different and they're generalists. Do they really even know us? The point being that the traditional choreography that leads with data, data data or facts, facts, facts or we we we or this is why we're so great is literally taking people's prevailing opinions and pushing them into their corners further. And so we always have heard I've got books up here that talk about story sell right? We can have they absolutely do sell. And that's why because when we lead with facts and data, we polarized audiences. Stories bring us together a motion brings us together. But a key point there. If your story has you as the hero, you've got to make the customer is the hero lead to your solution instead of leading with it. But the traditional choreography, we just need to flip start with the customer lied to you instead of starting with you and lead to the customer. Because by the time you get there they're thinking about their next meeting. This is another form of an epidemic. It's an epidemic in startup worlds, right? I call it the me me me sales deck. Right? We're grocer where I say, we, the first five minutes they show up, they're paying attention because they're hoping that you're there to help them with a problem that they're facing. And instead we, we, we we all over them, which is gross. So that's my, that's my gross joke. There you go. Well, let's keep going. So let's, let's assume that we've made some advances. We've assisted them along the way. And we finally get to a point where we're proposing, how do you be transparent as you're proposing? Yeah. It's still a couple of things. One thing about transparency, especially early stage, um, just for everybody. And this is aside from your question when I work with early stage companies, the first thing I tell them is you better be leading with the fact that you're a startup, especially if you're selling to larger organizations and the way you do that is not, hey, we suck. It's thinking about that 42 to 4 or five and going into, there's a client that I advised here in Chicago and they were just getting started a couple years ago, a couple of guys in an office, like just a little shed of an office and they get an inbound lead from Nordstrom and they're like, Oh gosh, this is great. Um, but like should we, should we tell them that it's just a couple of us. So we're getting like, yes, you better because you're going to put all of your energy towards this opportunity. And let's say four months from now they're getting ready to buy. And they're like, so like we need your financial statements and like your financial statements are like three figures and you're like, so if you're gonna lose lose fast. And so the way you embrace that is to say, hey, listen, before we get too deep into this, we just want to share with you where we are as a company. We've got this idea, we've built out minimum viable product. We feel really good about it. We've got a couple of customers here they are, but we're still small if that's going to be a problem, like let's bet that out now before we get too deep into this. Because if it's a problem, you want to know that. But if it's a problem and you faced it head on and you've embraced it, you've built trust, you've endeared them to you. And if it does become a problem later on, you've given yourself a lot more rope that they can't really come back to you six months from now and go, you're only four people. So we're gonna know. We've already talked about that and they've already gained a comfort. And that's part of that limit filter that's been removed. That allows them to build that trust. So, for everybody, before I go into the proposal, talk, embrace who you are as a company and where you are, lead with it, build trust, it will endear customers to you and it will help you lose faster. So, if that company wouldn't have said anything and six months from now, Nordstrom would have said you're too small, they just wasted six months of their funding and they probably be out of business. So brace it. So that aside, let's talk proposals for a second. So, first of all, I've always been confused by something and guys don't take this wrong. I love never split the difference by chris voss that book. It's fascinating. It's brainy. It's nerdy. I love it. However, I've never understood why in sales with building relationships with customers and then when they say yes, we decide to take on a different personality and it's a personality taught by us by former hostage negotiators, like what we're not negotiating the release of hostages from a bank heist for negotiating a software contract. And I never understood why we lose transparency. We erode trust at the goal line or if we decide we don't want to road trust at the goal line, we just spew out discounts in the form of charity to a company's bottom line. So I, you know, 15 years ago stumbled on this idea of leading with not only price but are...

...levers and are levers, meaning what our pricing is based on. And I'll explain what that means. It's when a customer asks you about your pricing, you tell them, hey, our pricing is based on volume, right? Like it's in our case at the time it was user base. So the more users you commit to better it is for us, the more will reward you in a per user discount, Right? But our pricing is also based on three other things, turns out we like cash. We like money, who knew. The faster you pay us, the better it is for us, the more that's reflected in your pricing, Number three is the commitment length. The longer you commit to our products, technology services. Better it is for us, the more that's reflected in your pricing And # four is the timing of the transaction. As it turns out, we've got investors that we need to do forecast for. So there is a forecasting element that's valuable to us, but we also have to resource this opportunity to, and our ability to predict that is highly valuable. And as such, it will be if we mutually aligned around timing, it will be reflected in um in the pricing. And so now the customer has not only skin in the game, but you've transparently thrown your cards face up on the table, allowing them to negotiate their own discounts so that in the end when you get down in the negotiation, your customers are then uh john meeting 20% off. Like Instead of going, I can give you 10 And like you start playing ping Pong game instead embraced this idea of you need 20. Okay. Like tell me about what's going on, why why are we 20% off? All right, cool. I think we've got a way to get there uh first would be commit to more volume. That's not going to help the total dollar amount, but it will help your discount percentage because we'll pay you in the form of a discount to accelerate some of these other licenses pay us faster, accelerate your cash payments. Good for us. We'll pay you in the form of a discount to do that, commit to another year. Valuable to us will pay you in the form of a discount to do that or when do you think you'll get this done? Oh, end of May. All right, cool. Why don't I'll do this? Our quarter ends the end of june. I'll give you till the end of june then if you think you get this done in May, let's align around june. Can you do joon? Oh yeah, we better be able to do joon Alright, cool. I'm gonna pay you to hold to that because there's value to us in our organization to be able to predict our business and all of a sudden now you've gotten value for every dollar you've given away in the form of a discount you've built trust to the goal line and if you do that last element, your forecast become immediately more predictable and accurate too. So like why wouldn't you? And so that's, that's the idea of yeah, that stuff awesome. But there's an opportunity to sell and negotiate in the same way and it's cards face up and your customers love it. And I'm telling you, your discount percentages will go down, your confidence in the way that you propose and provide pricing to customers will go up and as it turns out, confidence is contagious and your customers will have faith and confidence in you. And I'm telling I do this when I price out my speaking or workshops and nobody negotiates my pricing which is amazing. But maybe I'm not charging enough. But besides the point, it's like, hey, here's my pricing, here's what it's based on. If we need to jiggle it, here's the levers you can use and uh, choose your own adventure. Yeah. And I like the way you said they will pay you in the form of a discount that looks like you've then got skin in the game, which is relevant to them. So you mentioned something in the book about results formula. Right? Um, there's, there's some beauty in that in that formula. It sounds like it's very close in concept to sales velocity formula, right? Where you're, you're calculating, you're in essence looking at your number of deals? Well, there's a formula. Why don't you explain it As I, if I recall correctly right, It's deals times win rate, times average price and then you divide that by the sale cycle. The number of days in the sale cycle. Is that correct? Yes, exactly. So that was the thing as a C. R. O. I felt like I could measure everything. And unfortunately for my director of sales up, I did like at the beginning of every month hide under his desk. But at its core there's really just four things that are they key performance indicators. Like all those other ones are just P. S. These are KPs and it's like you said, the number of qualified opportunities, how big they are, how often you close so that the win rate and then how fast. So the cycling. Now the reason that this is important is not like if you do that math, it's going to spit out exactly your results. But there's two reasons why this is really important. Number one, Let's say that you need to grow 20%,, 20%. Seems like a big number. But as it turns out,...

...if you just do simple math And you raise your number of opportunities by 5%. So let's say you have 20 opportunities 5% 1. You increase your deal sizes by 155%. So you gotta, you know $40,000 average selling prices now. 42,000. Can you get 2000 more? Maybe your win rate by 5%. You increase that and then you shrink your cycle length by 5% which is typically a couple of days depending on what you're selling grow 22%. The math always works. Put in any numbers you will grow 22%. So it's small little things and sew. Look at each one of those four and go what can we do better about attracting or qualifying more opportunities? What can we do better about just increasing the value of our deals? What can we do about qualifying in and out deals better and faster ie transparency so that we increase our win rate. What can we do with cycle lengths I. E. Transparency to speed decision making and speed the cycle, right? That's the first way to think about it. That's super important. And it would be great as you start hiring a bunch of sales reps and you raise quotas and they're like, Man, I just killed myself this last year and now you're asking me for 20% more? Well, it's small little increments if we're not getting better. We're getting worse. The second way to think about this though. Yes. To stop looking at each one in a silo, look at them as a combination of formula and here's what I mean. Remember going into a board meeting and we had started to get really good at qualifying like we were getting and we're using transparency and like we were working the deals we should win. So I go into the board meeting, what does the board do? Looks at my number of qualified opportunities and it's just like, what's going on Todd? You're qualified opportunities way down. Like, wait, what is there a problem with marketing? Is your team not prospecting? Like they're getting mad at me and I'm like, this is good news, everybody like this is good news because look at the other data points, the deal sizes for each one are going way up, our win rates are going through the roof because we're working the opportunities we should work in, our cycle lengths are going down and oh, by the way, we just proved 40% last quarter. So shut the hell up. I didn't say something, but the point being we need to stop, we get ourselves out of these silos and think about these things as a ratio and you start to do that at the rep level to like there was reps at power reviews. One was an incredible deal Qualifier, but the deal sucked and rarely closed the there was another one who is incredible at qualification speed. Working on the deals we should win and he consistently crushed that other guy. But if you're just looking at number of qualified opportunities, you might be yelling at the second guy instead of the first one. Right? And so we got to get out of these silos. So that results formula really powerful for thinking about growth. It actually became really powerful for presenting to my board our progress and how we're making priorities. But it's also really incredibly helpful for coaching and managing these reps that you bring on to get them focused and to see where they could be making improvements. And it's not always more, more more, it's smarter, Smarter, Smarter. It's a very simple, clear way to manage, especially if you're early into learning sales or if you have the beginnings of a sales organization, very clean, simple ways to deliver and measure, which I think is wonderful. So let's, let's keep going. Um, you, you know, a lot of people that say, you want to under promise and over deliver, you posted about this not too long ago. And it just, it made me laugh because I knew even before I finished reading that, that you were going to take the opposite for some reason. That's john, you know me too well, my brother. That's so funny. So yeah, it's uh, listen, there's this idea that it was funny. I was reading a linked in an article about creating great customer experience, right? That Gosh, the 2020s are all going to be about creating not just great experiences but legendary like that's the next mountains of climate. If you don't do that, you're screwed. And I was like, all right. And then I kept looking and there was a ton of articles that are basically saying the same thing. But it was right before I was going to Costco right, retailer, you probably are all well aware of. And so let this all fresh in my mind. But I had to go buy some stuff for a party that my daughter was having for 16th birthday. She wanted, she wanted like a vegetable tray and fruit tray and then ranch dressing. And so like I walk into Costco and this is no surprise, but like I walk over to the ranch dressing and they only sell it in 80 fluid ounce containers, which is like two thirds of...

...the way to a gallon. I'm like, wow, that's about a legendary experience. Like what do I need with a freaking almost a gallon of ranch, Like, wow, like I'm gonna take a bath in it and then you look around and like the toothbrushes, you can't buy one, You got to buy seven. It's like, you know, by one for every three teeth it's, and then like as you check out there, just tossing the stuff on the conveyor, they don't give you a bag, they just throw it back in your cart and then there's a woman at the door that's checking your receipt to see if you stole anything. Now. That's not a legendary experience. Right? And I'm thinking, All right, well Costco is the number four retailer in the country, but this is interesting. And then like I'm driving home and I'm thinking about like a like a as a freaking nightmare. You've got to pull the boxes onto a cart in the warehouse yourself, jam it into your car, assemble it with 150 parts that don't have any words on the work instructions. F bomb your way through that you get done and you've got a souvenir injury or two and you just lost a year of your life. Yet they're the number one furniture retailer in the world for 13 straight years. Why does all of this happens? It's because of expectation setting that when I dug into the behavioral science on this, the key to having customers that stay buy more and advocate on your behalf is about setting accurate expectations and consistently meeting them. Now you probably say of course we don't want to over commit and over promise and under deliver. That's obvious, right. That's your 50 speak though by the way, get out of that set accurate expectations by embracing transparency, stop over promise and under deliver. But the thing that you were just joking about your like I knew he's going to go in opposite way on this is you know, under promise and over deliver. It's great for one time transactions and short term satisfaction spikes. So I'm having one experience with you and you do more than I expected. That's endearing. I'm satisfied while this is great. However, if you are consistently under promise and over deliver, you can't keep up. It's literally a form of lying and your customers will start to learn that hey, this person consistently under promises and as a result I'm doing something called expectation inflation. It's like, you know, you get a treat when you get the bill at a restaurant and you just come to expect it. There's actually a restaurant here in the strawberry. They give cookies for the kids at the end of like with the check and the kids like we go there because they're like excited about the cookies, right? So that's a, that's an under promise over deliver at the beginning, which is like, hey, that's more than we expected. That's really cool. But eventually it became an expectation to the point where all of a sudden we get there, we get the check and there's mints. My kids are like mints the heck like they're mad, right? They're mad. They're just getting the bill like every other restaurant. So you just got to be careful that the goal here is set accurate expectations, embrace transparency. But help a customer, a buyer, a prospect, predict the future and the more accurately you hit that the more endearing people come to you and think about the cost coast. I always know I gotta buy in bulk. I always know if somebody is going to check my Received at the door and I'm never upset by it and I keep going back. I went to Costco two nights ago. So that's something we all do is expectations set meet it and win. And I just had an experience like this the other day, my family and I went on vacation and like always I picked Southwest Airlines, right? Talk about, you know, setting expectations. It's sort of like Costco in that. Here's what you're gonna get right. You're not, there's no first class, every seats the same. They stuff you in there. They taught you some peanuts and patch on the back and that's about it and off you go. Uh But another example, I think that fits in there. You know, you to also talk about this whole idea of I think you did a blog article um on virtual selling. That was about silence in the conversation. You want to touch on that. There's so much one of the things that kicked this off was I listen to podcasts and I read and there's so much talk of zoom fatigue, right? And um there's two articles. One was on the silence peace. But it started through this revelation that Everybody's talking about zoom for two, but nobody talks about what it really is can be. Everybody's got a different explanation for why it's created. And so I I ended up in one article I curated nine different excuses I heard in fatigue. I researched each one and then explained it. I think the bottom line here is that zoom fatigue is real. We can't use that as an excuse especially anymore. But there's certain...

...things that happen in zoom that don't um equate exactly to human to human interaction. As a result, our brain, it takes a little bit more to process it. Like right now, when I'm looking at the lights, you feel like I'm looking at you. But I'm not looking at you. I'm looking at a light, right? And so I'm not able to assess your real interactions. I'm not able to see your eye movements and things like that that happened. The other thing that is exhausting to the brain is I can see myself, right? And it's called the Mirror Effect. But if you look at in the mirror 100 times a day, you're constantly judging yourself. I'm constantly even subconsciously looking at my background, make sure everything's distracting too good. But like I don't have a shiny forehead, like all that stuff that there's there's but nine, there's nine of these. One of them though, is this idea of silence. And here's the advice for everybody. If you're doing a call with a group of people, let's say you're presenting to a number of people even more than three or four. First of all, know that it will be impossible for you to assess who's actually watching, right? So your brain is going to have a little bit of a hard time with that. It's impossible for you to assess who's going to speak next because in a conference room where you can see people, you can see them lean forward, you can see them make direct eye contact. You can sometimes see them push the laptop away or close the notebook or get ready. Like the kind of burst, you can't, it's impossible. So turn taking becomes very very difficult to assess and it creates a little bit of tiredness in the brain. The other thing though is, let's say you say, hey um anybody have any questions. Is this uh is this going like are we on track so far? No. All right cool. We'll keep going. Okay. You've got to remember that these individuals, they think of their questions. They then got to go find the mute button like where I got to a mute myself and then they've got to assess the room to see if anybody else is about to talk and then they then speak up. I know it's uncomfortable. The human brain has a comfort level with silence in a conversation of anywhere from about three seconds, it's 3 to 4 seconds in the U. S. It's closer to eight seconds in Japan. Once we hit that 3 to 4 second mark, we get uncomfortable. A conversation is like a dance, it's like a choreography, it needs to flow and when it doesn't, it hurts us inside its tyrant, it feels like our self esteem goes down. And so when I say any questions, wait, wait a couple of seconds, make sure that you're giving everybody an opportunity to chime in. The other piece of that though is again around expectation setting is set. That expectation at the beginning, educate people on this idea before the meeting starts saying, hey we're going to go through this, we're going to stop every so often For questions and it's probably gonna get uncomfortable so I'm probably gonna wait three or 4 or five seconds before we move on because I want everybody to have a chance to a mute and figure out when they're going to take terms. But that might feel kind of weird. So we're gonna laugh about it. But let's go. So you set that expectation and now people can shine in, they feel more comfortable. I've been doing that in my workshops the last week or so since I kind of discovered that and it feels so freaking weird, but everybody's laughing because they're like, that's five seconds, like, yeah, yeah. But I've got a question. So, Oh man, awesome. All right. So so we talked about messaging. We talked about presentations. We talked about negotiation. One of the things that I think where a lot of early sellers or these founders that are, that are not used to selling stumble is an early outreach. Right? And I think at some point, um, in the book and through blogs, I think you've talked about how to how you like the idea. Yeah. What are the ideals for sending emails? Yeah. And so I think this is one of those cases where um, really embracing clinical levels of empathy with your target is so important, right? And one of the things just kind of a side note is if you're selling the marketing, go find some marketing buddies of yours to go sit down with and ask them to show you their inbox to tell teach you about how they get bonus and like how they're measured, what conferences they go to, What kinds of things do they pay attention to? And in their inbox, what stands out to them? Like empathy. If you're selling the product, find some product people and ask them the same question selling the finance do the same thing you've got to be able to relate to these people because for the most part in boxes are just filled with white noise, that couple of things. First of all, We've all been taught to optimize the subject line in our emails, but keep in mind like my phone, my gmail, my outlook, they all have a preview of 10 words to make sure you're...

...optimizing those. And in the book, I have an example of my inbox. Like I literally took a screenshot box because I was so frustrated and like almost every message started with Todd, I wanted to or Todd, I was just checking or Todd, I I wanted to make sure that you got my last email or you know, it was all, they all started the exact same way and they all started by making it about them. Now, I love salespeople right like this is my life. I was getting a 100 to 150 emails per day and I was in 30-35 meetings per week. I had to prioritize my inbox and I had to prioritize it based on three fundamental things. I would look at the subject line plus the preview and ask myself The three things that I cared most about is is this about my team? Is this about my customers? Is this about my prospects? But those are the three winners. And then with the filter of is this email here to help me or to sell me and everything that started with, I just wanted to or I wanted to are expecting in or a guilt trip. I'm sorry. You could have been saying I just wanted to figure out how to give you $1 million. I would never see it because I wanted to earn the delete right? So for everybody gain that level of empathy for the inbox. But the two things that I would suggest is stop trying to sell hard and inbox and in email and instead look for ways to add value and a personalized with right? Like that's number one and number two is get the eyes and we's out of those 1st 10 words like that. Simple and personalized and valuable is, I'll give you one quick example. Um I in Chicago, I just posted rolls on our website for sales development rests. two days later, somebody sends me an email that says Todd here is an SDR salary study of what sdrs are making in the Chicago market. It was like, oh, that's interesting to see our roles in the Chicago market. I open that one and that's all it was. And then the second sentence said, hey, we saw you just posted small thought this might help you out. I was like, that's cool. They did something similar two weeks later, right after my quarter in, where they sent me a C. R. O. Board deck template saying, hey, quarter ended, you probably prepping for your board. Hopefully this saves you some time. And I'm like, I burst into tears and who are these people? This is awesome. I want to talk to them. And then when they called that was the one cold call I answered and personalized value. Look for ways that you can make your customers or prospects more uh efficient, better smarter in their own business. You build that trust, you build that relationship. And then when it comes time to ask, they're much more likely to engage versus the white noise that fills their inbox. I mean anything like that that stood out like a large bright light in a black forest, right? It's just like, what's that one and that's your opportunity, yep. So adding value is tremendously important. I always like to say uh that one of the things you're trying to do on top of adding value is you're really trying to start a conversation and what better way to do that than have their interests at heart. Not something that you want to do is kind of like your sales presentation that we talked about earlier. Similar concept. That's right, that's right. And it all comes down to like I joke about it being really aligned to reality makeover tv show, which I know sounds so crazy, but like watch Queer Eye Watch Restaurant Impossible, Watch the biggest loser that they're all selling right? It's the same thing. They've got somebody who's got a problem that would potentially love their health. They show up, they align about, hey, what do you believe your problems to be? Why are we spending this time together? They disarm especially queer eye. These guys act like themselves. They're dancing around there trying stuff on there being themselves. It's hilarious, but it's purposeful. They're showing the buyer this individual, who they are and what they're getting. And then they go into diagnosis where they're saying, hey, have you thought about this? Did you notice this? There's an opportunity over here that maybe you're not thinking about that? We see others with the same thing. They back it up with the logic. So they created the feeling they've delivered the diagnosis. They then back it up with the logic and the potential reward for doing something about it. And they lied to their solution. They don't talk about what they're going to do at the beginning. They talk about what they're going to do after they really allow this individual to see that their perception of their status quo is not quite right. And there's more opportunities they could achieve more than they thought they tried. And then, hey, here's the way that we're going to handle. It's endearing. It tells a great story. That's the magic right there. Yeah. All right. So one of the last ones here, um, you mentioned it earlier, but yeah, you sort of glossed over. You use the terms lose fast, explain what you mean by that.

Yeah. So a couple of things. I mean, the only thing that we is sales people really have in our inventory is our time, right? And so this idea of investing time and opportunities that we're going to lose later and that we know it. And the low odds type opportunities is just a, it just kills you long term. And so there's a couple. There's so much here. Like this is another big one. But I'll start with just a little bit of embracing my own transparency as a sales leader. One of the things that used to that I used to look at was pipeline loves right where I would look at my reps and say, hey, at any time you need to have four X your quota in pipe because we're only going to close a certain percentage that you're going to hit it. So I would look at the reps and you look at them and go, hey, you're not at four X. You need to get four X. And so what did they do? They got to four X. Still the crap. All right. We're basically creating these cultures where first of all for incentivizing over qualification or really under qualification for the sake of pipeline mode we need to stop doing that because that forex is a bad like we should be looking at. Why is it four X and not to ex why are we spending 3/4 of our time on opportunities that we're not going to close if we get a better at qualification and we create a culture where qualifying out is embraced and learning lessons from our losses is embraced and celebrating the losses versus just celebrating the winds, celebrate the losses for the lessons learned and the effort that was put in to that opportunity. So we lose less embracing transparency. All of those elements tell us that, hey, like we talked about that results formula. It's not about more opportunities, it's about working opportunities that are bigger that we're going to close a higher percentage of and that we're going to close more quickly. And that is all about qualifying in and out fast. If you're going to lose, we want to lose fast so that we can spend our time more efficiently on the opportunities that we should win. And that's, you know, again, like that story of the Nordstrom conversation where they found her, didn't want to necessarily reveal that they were a start up. It was like you really want to invest four months in this, have them find later no matter how great you are, if that's a policy of their better learn now. So that's that's the court of if you're going to lose lose fast. And for the leaders that are listening create a culture where you're celebrating women because the reps already getting punched in their pocket, They're already getting punched in their quota attainment trade and environment where you're celebrating the lessons learned that can be shared amongst everybody else so that we are able to recognize those earlier and qualify out of those types of opportunities earlier. If you start to see a trend in a certain area. Yeah, sharing that is just so important. I mean, 11 person experiences. It's, it's almost for certain that somebody else is going to experience that. So why not share that? It's how you grow. It's how you get better as an athlete, as a, as a musical instrument player, all of those different things. As a, as a physician, as a surgeon, you have to keep practicing and you're gonna get, you're gonna get skinned knees, you're gonna fall down, You gotta get back up and keep moving. If you can lose early, do it and keep moving. And I'll tell you, I've worked in environments where leaders treat every loss like a rep got out sold and when we do that, we create those types of cultures start to hide losses, opportunities too long. They start to bury things in their pipeline. They you as a leader of last instead of first when something starts going off the rails. And so we need to just and then first morale goes down too. So we need to replace losing as a culture, especially in a remote environment where reps are still, they're missing that feeling like people have their back because they're all alone. Yeah, it's a it's a hard thing. I mean, think about it, right? If you're hitting three out of 10 in baseball, you're in the hall of fame. If you're making three out of 10 in selling, you are a rock star, right? You're you're gonna experience a lot of rejection. It's gonna happen, right? And especially an enterprise, it's one out of four or one out of five is the typical ratio and so you're going, there's going to be losses. You just have to sort of, I guess get build immunity up and and accept the fact, you know, leaders have to accept it and sales people have to accept the fact that loss is going to be part of selling almost on day to day basis. Exactly. And learn to walk and get hit by pitches more often to get your on base percentage those way off. Right. Well, this has been a great conversation Todd, thank you so much for for being part of the podcast. And...

...if there is a fair folks out there, they want to learn more, what is the best way to reach out and talk to you. Yeah, I mean my website transparency, sale dot com or todd Caponi dot com is probably the easiest. I've got a bunch of stuff. Their blog posts and videos. When I wrote the book, I really didn't have an intention of it turning into the business that it has. And I was just about like I want to get these ideas out there so they're all there, go consume it, enjoy it. And then if you want to follow me or connect with me on linkedin, share a bunch of stuff there, but let me know where you heard me, that's super helpful to and I would love to be a resource for you. Any upcoming speaking engagements where we can go listen to you. You know what, I don't think I've got anything that's on the docket soon. That's a public facing thing. I've been doing a lot more customer specific stuff. I did two workshops yesterday and then two keynotes the day before. So if you want me for your organizations and I would love to speak as your sales kickoff or certainly there's some workshops or teach. That's, that's my passion and I love just spreading the word on this stuff. It's a great opportunity and thanks again and again, everyone should, should look into the transparency sale if you haven't already a great tool and resource for you. So everyone, thank you for listening to this episode of the revenue series on the B two B growth show. I'm your host, Jon crispin, founder and sales coach at early revenue. Until next time I am out. Are you an early stage tech founder that's frustrated by limited sales? Do you lack the time to dedicate to a traditional sales training program, John Grisham's Early revenue sales program helps early stage founders accelerate sales in large accounts. He's built a playbook that transfers what he's learned as a founder and sales later into a condensed, easy to implement program. If you're ready to increase your startup sales capacity, visit early revenue dot com to get started today, one of the things we've learned about podcast audience growth is that word of mouth works. It works really, really well actually. So if you love this show, it would be awesome if you texted a friend to tell them about it. And if you send me a text with a screenshot of the text you sent to your friend meta, I know I'll send you a copy of my book, content based networking, how to instantly connect with anyone you want to know. My cell phone number is 40749033 to 8 Happy texting.

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