May 23, 2022

#43 - Why is it so hard to find good salespeople?

It's a fact... Finding a good salesperson is hard. Seemingly impossible sometimes. And it is one of the reasons that founders need to develop some sales horsepower of their own.

In this quick <9 minute chat, Brendan and Bob talk about why it's hard to find good sales talent, and what you can do about it. And then we just generally ramble on about a few things you can do to make your sales efforts even more effective.

It's a fact... Finding a good salesperson is hard. Seemingly impossible sometimes. And it is one of the reasons that founders need to develop some sales horsepower of their own.

In this quick <9 minute chat, Brendan and Bob talk about why it's hard to find good sales talent, and what you can do about it. And then we just generally ramble on about a few things you can do to make your sales efforts even more effective. 

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  Okay, Bob, guess what it is. Yeah. You know, it's another episode of Let's Chat Sales.

Let's Chat Sales!

And let's, we're going to experiment today. So, one of the things I like to talk about is doing experiments. And this experiment is this is going to be unstructured chat about various random topics... sales topics.

We'll stick to sales because of the title and everything. Um, like the one thing I've heard the other day, I've heard more than a couple of times recently is... it's there aren't very many good salespeople out there. It's really hard to find a good salesperson. 

They're hard to come by  so why is that?

I think that, fewer and fewer people like to work on their people skills. I think we rely on technology a lot more than we ever have. So it's not interaction face to face.  I think of myself as someone who's fairly good at sales, not nearly as good as you because you know, you're an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, I'm just a mere mortal.

Phew. My career started in journalism. So I did a lot of interviewing of people. And I think that really gave me the repetition of just getting to know what people, how people are reacting, 

what people, what they do and what they don't do, what they say. And they don't say, and I'm much more comfortable in that setting 

of meeting someone new and talking about things that I think the average person, because I've trained a lot of people on sales.

The biggest stumbling block is frankly, at something in their head. They're worried about saying the right thing or giving the right words or having the right answer right away or making sure they get the whole list of features. 

Oh, our software does this, this, this, this, this, whereas  it's not about that at all.

It's more about a discussion. What might happen if we work together. And I think that's hard for people to accept conceptually without a lot of, a lot of effort. 

I think effort and I wonder if it's shortcuts. People don't want to do all the steps.

I think sales ...sales is a skill. It's a skill. It's a craft. It's something that requires a lot of... there are a lot of little things about it. And if you skip a few  of them, 

then you end up being in a different place. You end up not getting the results that you need because the buyer on the other side is probably not skipping the steps, right.

They want to know that they can trust you. And they want to spend the time because they see this sale as risky. if I make the wrong choice, 

this could cost me a lot of money. It could be a setback for the company. Those sorts of things. And so they can't afford to make those shortcuts.... most of the time.

Now you know, it's a small sale, you're buying a new webcam, for example. All right, I'm out 150 bucks, if it doesn't work. Or I can maybe return it. It's not that big a deal, whatever. 

But if you're making a big, big decision that requires a lot of other people to weigh in,  or takes a lot of time.... You can't afford to shortcut those things.

This is why I make that argument that when you're starting out a company and you're an early stage founder, You're probably better off, you're almost invariably better off doing the selling yourself. 

Because you, in the same way, can't afford to make those shortcuts because you're still trying to figure out what all the steps are. 

And hopefully, maybe your customer will help you do that.

And if you go about it the right way, with a certain amount of rigor and discipline, you can figure out what all those steps are. 

And in the process, build trust and, and make people comfortable and reduce the risk, that sort of thing.

So, what else might... 

Well, I also think it's the willingness to try different. When you say people want the easy way or something like that, my first thought is there isn't an easy way. Yeah. 

And it changes from person to person. So if you do a beautiful sales presentation to one company and then do the exact same thing to the next company, it may not land the same way.

And that's part of that people skill of just reading the audience and going... oh, this is what they care about. Or this is what they don't care about.

Because if you're talking about pricing, I have a friend who doesn't care about pricing. He just wants problem solved. And we were on a sales call the other day, and the person trying to sell to him just kept saying, we've got the lowest price. The best price. 

He's like... I don't care about the price. I want to know when you can solve this problem for me. Like the date and the time.  If you tell me next week, I'm in, I don't care if it costs $80,000 versus $50,000, I just needed solved. 

And the sales person, wasn't willing to shift his discussion to what this person was crying out that he needed. And I've come to realize that most people cry out what they want. 

They're very clear in the first couple of minutes. Okay. This is what we need. And most salespeople don't listen. 

Then how do you go about answering that question? If someone says, oh, I need this, I need this specific thing. Oh, we can do that. Is that the right answer?

Is that the right way to answer the question? Or is that just trying to, to get this. 

I think it's trying to get the sale, which is the age old salesman thing. You know, the used car salesman. You know, you gotta buy this car today before five o'clock cause it's going to go.

It's the greatest car in the world and we're running a super discount. Versus if someone said to me.... what was your question? I forgot what you said.  

I just said, you know, whatever it was that they outlined that they knew you had a particular need and you said, oh yeah, we could do that.

 I would say in response, tell me more about why that's important to you. 

Exactly. That's what I was getting to is... before I answer the question in the positive, I want to make sure that I'm answering the right question. 

Partly because I don't want it to come back and bite me later on by, by being wrong about it. And it's very easy to misunderstand things when someone makes a general statement about... I need this. 

Well, what does that mean exactly? And also because, because the customer wants an answer that's satisfying.  

If you can clarify and verify and validate that you understand  the, the problem and the solution in a way that's not pressuring them. 

That, uh, conveys trust or, or, or understanding. That's how you get to the point where the customer thinks... oh,  this is the thing I want.

 This isn't risky. This is something I can, I can do. 

I also think that there's a component here that when I'm doing sales, I feel like I know more about the current world that I'm dealing with than my customer. 

They've plugged into what I'm trying to do in there. You know, it's, it's on their to-do list for a week or two weeks or three months or six months, but it's not their day and night..

right, right. You're constantly thinking about sales. You're constantly reading about sales. You're constantly listening to podcasts. You're constantly gathering new information about sales. 

 And partly because you you're learning a lot about the industry because you're talking to a lot of other companies. So you're seeing a lot of different things. 

You're able to  pattern match. And you're also able to see where they might be an outlier.

Oh, they're doing something that's not best practice, you know. They've got an odd procedure or process that you could streamline. Or that other companies that... chances are you're gonna be able to come to them in a sales situation where you say.

Yeah, this has everything to do with what we're talking about. But, uh, you know, I, haven't noticed that you guys are doing this thing this way. 

And have you thought about doing it like this? Others do it this way and here's what happens. Here's the outcome. This is why it might be beneficial. And that's oftentimes a great way to, to develop that level of trust.

You're being a trusted advisor. You're helping them with their general business, 

And I think that's invaluable. I know there've been people who've done that with me and my businesses. It's really made the huge difference just to have them come in and go, you know, I saw that you guys were using this technology.

A lot of people have gone to this. 

That's another shortcut that I think a lot of salespeople make. They don't do that extra investment. They don't make that extra effort. They want to take the conversation back to... how do I make this sale?

Whereas if you focus on just helping the customer. Being there, being an advisor. Not being committed to... oh I've got to close this deal. ironically, it increases the likelihood that you're going to close the deal. You know, she said 

I've done, I've done much better sales when I'm not doing sales.

I've done yells over the bar. I've done sales waiting in the car dealership. I've done sales even at  a funeral after funeral for a relative... I mean... just because it was just talking. It wasn't selling. 

And the person was like, oh, you got to call me Monday. And tell me more about that.

Versus, Hey, I'm Bob and I do this amazing thing and they go, yep. Yeah. Not interested. Well, Brendan, I think we've, we've kicked this from pretty hard. 

All right. All right. Well, let's wrap this up and we'll... maybe do another one. What do you say? 

Well, let's do one more. Maybe, maybe two. I will see you Bob.  Thanks! All right.

Okay. And that was another episode of Let's Chat Sales with Bob Graham and myself, and hope you liked it. And if you did, please. Like, and subscribe and share with your friends, and chances are we'll do another one here in the next few a day. So.... look for that. Thanks for listening.