The Habits Of Successful Salespeople

Victor Antiono is a world-renowned selling expert and joins me on today’s episode of the Salesman Podcast to share the success habits of the world's top sales people.

We cover sales presentations, why you should perhaps ignore your sales leadership and much more.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Victor Antonio
Sales Training Legend

Resources:

Transcript

Victor Antonio:

When you look at credibility, that's what customers are looking for today because a lot of customers are confused as to what product to buy. A lot of products in the market, you well know, almost reach product parody. That means you can't really tell the difference between one or the other. And even if there is a slight difference, over time that other company will make up that difference.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation. I'm Will Barron, host of the Salesman Podcast, and welcome to today's show.

 

Will Barron:

On today's show, we have Victor Antonio. He is a sales expert, has an excellent YouTube channel full of sales content, and he's just a good guy and an interesting person to interview as well. On today's show, we're looking at the traits of highly successful sales professionals so that we can pull some of these habits, some of these traits, into our game as well. You can find out more about Victor over at VictorAntonio.com. Everything that we talk about is available in the show notes over at SalesmanPodcast.com. And with all that said, let's jump into today's episode.

 

Will Barron:

Hey, Victor, and welcome to the Salesman Podcast.

 

Victor Antonio:

Thank you for having me, Will. Appreciate it.

 

Will Barron:

You're more than welcome, sir. We're going to dive into, well, we're going to dive into essentially success habits today hopefully. There's many, many of them, many people have different opinions and thoughts on them, but I'm sure that there's some truisms that kind of tie the main core of all this together.

 

The #1 Habit of Highly Successful Salespeople · [01:25] 

 

Will Barron:

So I'm going to purposefully ask you a very open ended question here, Victor. And that is, from all your experience in B2B sales and the training and the speaking effort that you do now, what is perhaps the biggest and best bang for buck success habit that we can talk about on today's show that is going to have the biggest impact immediately for the sales people in the audience that they can take away from the end of this conversation and hopefully implement in the next hours and days after the show?

 

Victor Antonio:

Yeah. I think for me, Will, it's always been about, when you look at credibility, that's what customers are looking for today because a lot of customers are confused as to what product to buy. A lot of products in the market, you well know, almost reach product parody. That means you can't really tell the difference between one or the other. And even if there is a slight difference, over time that other company will make up that difference.

 

Victor Antonio:

And so the credibility piece comes in where you really have to know your product, especially if you're dealing with, my space, my world, is the technology industry. You have to really know your product. You have to develop an expertise in that domain. But I also think that goes hand in hand with understanding, I mean really understanding the customer's business, not just wanting to sell them a product, really being empathetic in terms of taking their point of view in terms of what they really need.

 

Victor Antonio:

Now, I hear a lot of people say that, but I think they treat it at a surface level. When I say empathetic, it's that, remember that joke about the difference between sympathy and empathy? The joke was that if you're standing on a deck of a boat, you see a guy throwing up over the bannister and you say, “Damn, that must hurt,” that's sympathy. But if you went over there and threw up with him, that's empathy, right? And so I think we need to throw up with our customers. We need to feel their pain. And if you can combine your expertise with understanding their real pain, I mean their real business pains, then I think you have the one-two punch.

 

The Problem with Modern Sales Training · [02:31] 

 

Will Barron:

So I'm going to ask you why, and then hopefully you can explain how we can implement this. But first off, every salesperson goes into a new company, they get all the product training, they get almost overwhelmed with the product training. In that, I know in my days in medical devices, I didn't need to know as much about the product as I did need to know more about the surgery and the procedures, to be able to add value to the surgeons that I was dealing with and the nursing staff. And the companies were always more focused on their products rather than the value in knowing around the subject kind of thing, to put it that way.

 

Will Barron:

So first off, why is that? Because that seems to be a common trend within sales organisations, that they'll train you on the product versus the bigger business acronyms like conversation. And then we'll come onto how can we learn the industry knowledge, because I think that's something practical that we can talk about and there'll be steps towards that.

 

Victor Antonio:

Yeah, I think we missed a step. When I started out, the training was always, “Let's get the product managers in the room. They're going to train us on the product, do a data dump for a couple of days and expect us to be experts the very next day and have those conversations with the customers.” And you know it doesn't work out that way.

 

Victor Antonio:

The best training I've seen is where people actually let you go into a lab, for example, and screw things up for you and you have to fix it and really get into it. When I started out in engineering, I started doing a lot of application engineering, which means I had to design it, build it and really test it. And that really helped me when I transitioned into sales because I can actually walk into, let's say a central office or a telecom hub, and actually say, “No, do it like this,” and instant credibility, again, getting back to that point.

 

Victor Antonio:

But I was never, even throughout my career, I can scarcely remember a time where we were taught the process and the methodology of presenting, the pitch, the conversations we have with our customers. And it amazes me, Will. If you really think about it, this is really fascinating, corporations spend, I don't know, millions of dollars, right? Just to get the product up and running or just to develop the product. They spend millions of dollars acquiring a facility, putting it in place, getting the right people, having the management, the operations, everybody in place. You spend millions of dollars. And then, where it really matters, which is, to me, the conversation, the presentation with the customer, they hardly spend any money in that area. The insanity is beyond belief because the customer sees the salesperson. They don't see your factory. They don't see your operations. They don't see all your patents or your trademarks. They see the salesperson. And sometimes I think, well, I don't think, I know they underinvest in the salespeople when it comes to actual training them.

Why Under-Investing is the Biggest Sales Training Problem Today · [05:50]

 

Will Barron:

Why is that? Is that because they're under the assumption that salespeople are going to be there 18 months then move on so they don't want to invest in them? Clearly there's a paradox there. If you don't invest, they're not going to stay. Is it based around that? Is it that simple?

 

Victor Antonio:

It's a tough question, because we all heard that joke, right? What if I train them and they leave? Well, what if you don't and they stay, right? That's the old gag. And when I look at companies and I ask that question, I say, “How much training have you done?” I always get this glazed look, which amazes me, which makes me look glazed also because they're like, “What a novel concept.” To them, it's an event. We've all heard this, right? They think training is an event. Throw them in the training one time a year, that's it.

 

Victor Antonio:

There's two schools of philosophy. “I hired you. You should know how to sell, dammit.” Right? “You should know how to sell. That's why I hired you.” And so the assumption is that the person coming in was successful, therefore they've sold well in the past. Therefore, why invest any more time and money? “If I need to train them, look, you're a grown adult. You can actually train yourself, figure this out. That's your responsibility.” It's almost like there's this abdication of responsibility on their part. But then they turn around and wonder at the end of the year, why the salespeople aren't closing enough deals.

 

Victor Antonio:

And I can say this because this is my personal experience. I think 90% of all sales presentations I witness just stink to high heaven. There are horrible presentations. And it's amazing how even executives don't see it. But if I can be so bold, if I could push the boundary on this one, I do a lot of events, and sometimes I see the CEO or whoever the head of the company is doing their presentation, doing the corporate overview, the roadmap for next year, reviewing last year's numbers, moving forward, here's what we're going to do, presenting the vision, and their presentations are horrible. So they're not setting the example either.

 

Victor Antonio:

So I think, for me, I always look at the presentation and the conversation. And in many cases, nine out of 10, I think they're bad. I personally think they're bad.

 

How to Know If You’re Great at Presenting · [07:55] 

 

Will Barron:

I've had this experience twice. I'll just quickly run through them. The first one was at university. I did a degree in chemistry, regular listeners will know this, and I was not the best student because I wanted to go out and party. I knew I could pretty much do pretty well in it by not putting in that much effort. I had no intentions of going into the lab. I just wanted a degree that showed that I had some kind of nous, a bit of brains, because I knew I was going to go into sales or business.

 

Will Barron:

So I went to half my lectures and it was frustrating for the lecturers because they knew that I was bright, to blow my own trumpet a little bit, but they knew I was bright, they knew I could do really well if I put the effort in. But at the same time, I was running a small company which paid for my university, came out of university with no debts. So my kind of attention was split. I went back to that university a few years later when my little brother was looking around there, because he was thinking about doing chemistry there, and it was such a stark comparison between these lecturers who I was a little bit nervous of because they constantly complained and shouted at me for not turning up to stuff.

 

Victor Antonio:

Right.

 

Will Barron:

At the time, I thought they were great presenters. It was really interesting. And the lectures I did go to, I would be avidly engaged, but then after a few years in the world of business and sales and entrepreneurship, when I went back with my little brother looked around there, they were terrible at presenting and they were nervous and they weren't great on stage. And not all of them, but a couple of them that stand out in my mind. And there was a real stark comparison between the two there.

 

Will Barron:

And then this happened again in the last, I shouldn't say that, I'll leave that bit out perhaps, but one of the last companies I worked for, one of the senior management gave a sales presentation that I was involved with after I'd left. And again, he obviously had the power to kind of hire me, to promote me at the time, so I looked up to him and I was a bit nervous of him because he had a real fiery personality. And when I was in the company selling for him, I thought he was a really good presenter. Again, a bit more experience.

 

Victor Antonio:

Right.

 

Will Barron:

I saw him a few years later and he's a terrible presenter. He was on stage, hands in pockets, nervous, kind of a sweaty forehead. Didn't know what he was doing, hadn't prepared. And again, it was a stark comparison as to what I thought was a good presentation at the time and what I was aspiring to present like when I worked for this company versus now with more experience and my foot in the world of entrepreneurship, that you see other presenters who are doing it full time and keynote speakers and all that kind of thing that I could see that he was terrible.

 

Will Barron:

The point to that long tale was that at the time I was looking up to people who I thought were doing well, who were terrible. So it's almost kind of embedded in businesses, if your sales leaders are not great at presenting, if they've not got their head screwed on as to the importance of credibility, expertise, of knowing the business versus knowing the product, if they're telling you to sell the product and to sell features and benefits and the low level sales side of things, you're just going to do it and you're not even going to question it, are you? There's people listening to this show now who think they're doing well and perhaps don't have the outside perspective to see that they could be doing better, perhaps.

 

Victor Antonio:

True. No, I see it all the time. One of the things I did early on as a sales manager, VP of sales and others, is that when my sales people would present, I don't know if you've ever done this, where you're in a position where they have to present to you. I'm reviewing different regional presentations and they're going over their numbers. And I remember stopping many of my sales people and just the regional managers, and I go, “I have no idea what you just said to me.” I said, “You've just gone through three or four slides. I have no clue.” And I remember they would get so mad at me, Will. They would get mad at me. Actually, I've had people sit down or just go to the last slides. “Dude, just go to the last slide. Show me the numbers, show me where you're at. Let's work this backwards.” Because they'll sit there with a presentation PowerPoint that has 20 bullet points on one slide and then they read every one to me. But after a year, they really learned how to be better presenters.

 

“Managers have to teach their salespeople how to be better presenters. And what a better place to practise than in front of you, because how they're pitching to you and telling you about their territory, how it's growing, what they're going to do, how they're going to build it, is exactly the way they're presenting to their customers. And if they stink in your room, they're going to stink out there as well.” – Victor Antonio · [11:56] 

 

Victor Antonio:

So for managers listening out there, one of the things they have to teach their salespeople is how to be better presenters. And what a better place to practise than in front of you, because how they're pitching to you and telling you about their territory, how it's growing, what they're going to do, how they're going to build it, is exactly the way they're presenting to their customers. And if they stink in your room, they're going to stink out there as well. And I think a lot of deals are lost because there just isn't that connection sometimes. And again, we don't invest enough time and money in that.

 

The Difference Between a Good and a Bad Presentation · [12:20]

 

Will Barron:

So what's the difference then, Victor, between a presentation, how you just described, of going slide by slide, it's non-dynamic it's probably been reused 50 times with different customers. What's the difference between that and a presentation where the salesperson shows that they clearly understand the business that they're pitching to?

 

Victor Antonio:

Right. The most powerful approach, and I've seen this many times, is when you can get somebody to come to the board with you or the flip chart, whatever you have in the room, I think those are the most powerful ones. For example, I knew a guy who would just use like two or three slides, that's it. “Here's my intro slides. Here's some general stuff.” He didn't do the, because you've seen the typical slides presentation, right? The first page is the logos.

 

Will Barron:

I've done it. I've been there.

 

Victor Antonio:

Yeah, yeah. You've got the big slide with who I am and why I'm here, then there's the next slide that talks about our vision, mission statement. Then the next slide talks about how big our facility is with 500 million square footage, right? Then the next one shows us all the logos of all the companies we work with. They spend 10 to 15 minutes on that and the customer's thinking, “So what?” The last five companies did the same thing, right?

 

Victor Antonio:

And so the best presenters actually know how to get in real quick, do enough to frame the conversation, but initially just get into some, I'll say designing. Some of the best, especially the technology side, some of the best presentations are where you get up in the whiteboard, you start drawing things out. And I think there's something organic and analogue that's powerful about using, whether it's a whiteboard or a flip chart, and then engaging people in a presentation that really demonstrates that you know. Because once you go off the slides, that's it. There's no crutch anymore, right? There's no more training wheels, because sometimes I think the slides are like training wheels that people use to kind of stay balanced.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Victor Antonio:

Once you go off that, “Okay, it's us now. It's you and I now, Will. Let's go for it. Let's start writing things out.” I can't hide behind a slide. And I think those are the most powerful presentations.

 

How to Use Exceptional Presenting Skills to Differentiate Yourself · [14:20] 

 

Will Barron:

And is that increasing your level of credibility as well in the fact that you can stand there comfortably and talk openly about the subject, the prospect's business, versus just having to, again, rely, as you described then, on a crutch of a set of slides that's probably been passed around from a sales manager to the team top down anyway?

 

Victor Antonio:

I think so. Well, not I think so, I know so, because when you're drawing something out, you're actually working with the customer. Also, there's a subtlety other great presenters do, is that they'll draw something out, pause, literally just pause to what seems like an indefinite period of time, until the other person jumps in, adds their two cents. And then I've seen the best salespeople just step back and just think about it and then go back in again. And this demonstrates to the customers, not only do you know what you're talking about, you're willing to give thought to what they've just put on the board. And you develop this presentation collaboration.

 

Victor Antonio:

And if you can get to that point, because what you're doing indirectly is obviously building credibility, you're also building rapport. You're also building trust, because again, what is the customer's biggest fear? That part of the brain, right? The amygdala, that fear centre, is saying, “I don't know enough, but I think I trust this guy because he seems to be able to answer all my questions, doesn't dodge any of them. And when he doesn't know, he says he doesn't know, ‘I'll get back to you,' but he seems to be able to keep up with me.”

 

Victor Antonio:

And especially if you're talking to CTOs, right? Technology officers. They don't want the big words. They don't want the BS. They don't want the fluffery or the puffery. They want you to say, “This is how it's going to work. This is how it's going to impact your system. This is how it's going to impact your schedule. And in terms of switching over, here's what it's going to take, here's the blueprint, draw it out for me, Victor.” I'm like, “Okay, here we go.” And I think that's what people want today.

 

Will Barron:

So let me ask you something here, Victor, and I think I know the answer to this, but I'm open to being wrong.

 

Victor Antonio:

I'm sure you know the answer to this.

 

How a Simple Pause Can Save Your Sales Presentation · [16:10] 

 

Will Barron:

Well, it's a super loaded question so I think I'm going to be right or I'm going to be pushing you down the direction of me being right. Is that pause, as you just described, and there's a whole bunch of other things that people do in presentations as well, is that a tactic or is that the salesperson actually taking a step back and having to think about it and being in real time and having a back and forth conversation during the presentation?

 

Victor Antonio:

I think it serves both. Let's approach them two ways. Let's answer the first question. Is it natural? I think for some people, it is very natural to them, to pause and just do it. For those who choose to use it as a tactic, it's okay, because sometimes you have to stop your brain. So it isn't so much that I want to give them the impression that I'm pausing and reflecting, but it's also, it helps you as a presenter say, “He just said something, I really need to slow down to make sure I got everything.” So it could be used as a purposeful tactic to help you slow down to really understand. So I think it's both, really.

 

Will Barron:

But it's not something that you're putting on just for show, it's something that actually has a purpose. What I'm saying with this, you're not being unauthentic by using weird body language and pausing and using forceful manipulative kind of language or process to get them to do what you want, you are being there with them and trying to solve a problem.

 

Victor Antonio:

There's no way to continue your fakeness throughout a presentation. Even if you use that as a fake sales tactic, you just can't continue. If you're having an hour and a half conversation, you're not that smart enough.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Victor Antonio:

Because you're going to be dedicating brain time to trying to manipulate when you should be dedicating brain time to really listening and understanding. So yeah, you can use it as a BS sales tactic, but it's not very durable. It's not going to help you in the long run. I think it's better if you just use it as a way to say, “I need to slow down. I really need to slow down to understand. I might miss something.”

 

The Most Effective Way to Build Sales Credibility · [18:14] 

 

Will Barron:

So going back to this idea of credibility, because I think this is super important for me, even in just the industry that I'm in, in the world of sales podcasts, and for everyone listening as well, whether you are in sales marketing, have a load of entrepreneurs and CEOs listen to us as well. What is the best way to build this credibility?

 

Will Barron:

It seems like there's two schools of thought on this in the world of sales at the moment. One is you should build your personal brand. You should at least curate, if not create, a little bit of content so that your voice and your opinion is out there. And then the other side of things says, “No, that's a waste of time. Sales people should be selling.” So if that is the case, how do you build your credibility from that perspective? Are you just leveraging the company's branding and credibility? Or is there another way to go about building your own credibility so that when you email, ring, call someone, it's not so much a battle. They trust you that little bit just to get the balls rolling or the wheels rolling.

 

Victor Antonio:

It's a tough question to answer, because if we're still prospecting, then the branding matters more, right? Because you're trying to get your foot in the door. I'll frame that that way. But let's say that once you're there, I don't know if I'm answering the question, and I'll give you a quick story. A couple of years ago, a company said to me, said, “Victor, we need you to follow one of our sales guys.” Guy's about 60 years old. Name is Larry. Just backwoods, here from Georgia, gruff as hell. Gruff. I mean just, “Rah, rah, rah.” Just gruff, blunt, no diplomacy, just blunt. Right? Well, it turns out, Larry's out selling everybody 10 to one. Okay? And they're trying to understand this.

 

Victor Antonio:

So they would ask Larry, said, “Larry, why are you so good?” True story. And Larry's like, “Oh, Victor, I just go in there. I just sell. That's what I do, Victor. That's all I sell.” I said, “Well, you have to have a process.” “No, I don't have a process. It's just about understanding customers, Victor. Just go in there and do it.” That was it. And so the company was frustrated because, okay, that can't be a sales training programme, those two lines.

 

Victor Antonio:

And so I followed him around for two weeks and my job was to document what he did and then turn it into a playbook slash sales process. Two weeks go by. I remember it took me about a month to finish the actual manual for the company. And then I showed it to Larry first because I wanted him to see it. And as we went through it, he started seeing that he did have a sales process. And it was really fascinating to see his eyes light up because he didn't think he had a sales process.

 

Victor Antonio:

And so there's several lessons in there. One is that some people are good at selling, but they can't transfer the knowledge. That's what Larry's problem was. And too often we take the best sales people out of the field, you've heard this, right? We put them in management and they can't do it. The other thing is when I studied him, to your point about credibility was, he would walk in to let's say their data centre, right? Or central office. And he would be able to just talk to the person and say, “Oh yeah, I see you have that.” And then, “I see you have that.” The funniest parts were when he would challenge us. He would say something like, “Now, why the hell did you buy this piece of equipment?” And the person was taken aback and then they would have a conversation.

 

“If you want to build credibility, you have to question your customer's sanity sometimes in a nice, polite way, but still be questioning.” – Victor Antonio · [21:36]

 

Victor Antonio:

One of my favourite books in the last few years is The Challenger Sale. And I like The Challenger Sale because it brought to the forefront one of the things I've always believed is that you have to challenge your customers. I didn't use the word challenge, that's theirs, but you have to question your customer's sanity sometimes in a nice, polite way, but still be very questioning. And I think that's what Larry had. He was that challenger salesperson where he would push and say, “Why did you buy that?” But then he also knew how to have the conversation on the whiteboard. And he would do a lot of whiteboard stuff that was really fascinating.

 

Victor Antonio:

So to the answer of credibility, the ability to challenge your customer was very key. And he knew how to do it because he had the expertise and he wasn't afraid to share that with them.

 

Will Barron:

So you've totally, and I've never heard this before, so thank you for this, you've totally reframed the question that I asked. And I've asked that question to a bunch of people who come on the show, and tell me if I've got this right, because I might've got this wrong myself, but you've reframed it as if you've got a blog or you're doing whatever online and you've got that kind of little voice, you've got perhaps perceived credibility versus what Larry had was real credibility as an actual expert in the field.

 

Victor Antonio:

Correct.

 

How to Close the Credibility Gap in Your Personal Brand · [22:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Is that something the world getting wrong at the moment? Because it seems to be a big push for, again, it's 50/50 when people come on the show, the guests on the show. Half say create, create content, half say, “Don't do that. Just get your head down and close more deals and get on the phone and speak to more people.” But are we missing the point with this conversation? Is the point or should the point be that we should be looking for business specific kind of credibility and expertise and that just solves all the rest of the problems?

 

Victor Antonio:

Well, again, remember the quote I said earlier, “The mind's greatest disease is to be for or against.” There's nothing wrong with the branding side and trying to position yourself in the market as a trusted advisor or expert. But at the end of the day, the longevity, the recurring business comes from when you actually go in there and they say, “My God, this guy really knows what he's talking about.” Because I know a lot of people who on paper, blogs, look good, look great until you challenge their knowledge base and their experience. And then all of a sudden it falls apart. It's a paper tiger.

 

“If you want to make your life easier, you want recurring business. Well, how do you get recurring business? You demonstrate that you can actually help the client.” – Victor Antonio · [24:06] 

 

Victor Antonio:

And so to some point, I think that the branding online, the curating of information online to position yourself as an expert is kind of a, “Hey, I'm here.” But now if they call you in, you've got to be in a position where you're not going to have that, if I can be so blunt, that, “Oh shit,” moment. “Now I really have to kind of execute on this.” If you don't have that domain experience, you're just shooting yourself in the foot. Because again, most people know, especially trainers and consultants, that a big part of the business is recurring business. If you want to make your life easier, you want recurring business. Well, how do you get recurring business? You demonstrate that you can actually help the client.

 

Victor Antonio:

So I think the branding is important, but I think that's almost like having a nice business card. It gets you some attention, gets you a foot in the door, but now that you're here, show me how you can help me.

 

True Ways to Become a Credible Expert in Your Field · [24:28] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay, well, let's talk about this then, we'll wrap up the show with this, Victor. How do we get this domain experience? Is it as simple as sticking within your sales role rather than 18 months for four or five years, mastering it, speaking to everyone that you possibly can in the industry, making connections within your company and speaking to not just the sales team, but what marketing suggests is the best messaging and all this kind of stuff. And then getting in with the product team and learning more about the in and outs of the product. Because that's the obvious solution to this, but it's not the glamorous or sexy one. And it's the one that 90% of the people listening will go, “Sounds good but I'm not going to do that.”

 

Victor Antonio:

Correct. Everybody wants a shortcut, right? “I just want to get to expert level right away.” And I speak from experience. I started out in engineering, went through engineering, then moved into sales eventually and did very well there. And so when I did that, it allowed me to speak to both sides of the houses. You know what I mean? The technical people or the operations people and then on the sales side.

 

Victor Antonio:

And how do you get that information? You've got to talk to a lot of people and try to, because it isn't until you do a presentation, Will, you know this, that they ask those tough questions. You go, “Ooh, I didn't think about that one.” And then you screwed that one up. We've all, I don't know about you, but I've walked out of deals going, “Oh, I screwed that one.” That one didn't go well because either we said the wrong thing or we didn't have the right answer. We didn't know how to frame the conversation.

 

Victor Antonio:

I think when you look at techniques today, I think you should study techniques because there's a lot of good stuff out there on techniques, but there's no shortcut for the experience that's in those that you're going to put with those techniques together to make them work.

 

The First Step to Becoming Known as an Authority and Increasing Your Domain Knowledge · [26:05]

 

Will Barron:

So real practical, first one is listening to this now, they're on the way to the office or they're on the way to the next sales meeting. What's the first step if someone goes, “Right, I accept. I've got the charisma. I've got the sales skills.”

 

Victor Antonio:

Right.

 

Will Barron:

“I've got the kind of personal brand. I'm well liked within my kind of tiny niche of the industry or my region or my location. But I want to improve my domain knowledge.” What is the first step? Really practical, as in what can they physically do when they stop listening to us in five minutes or so?

 

Victor Antonio:

Simple. Real simple. Real simple. Role playing. Find yourself somebody who knows stuff. I can't tell you how many times we were in a car after doing a presentation or something and I would talk us, we would like to do a four-legged visit we always called it, right? Two people, one person presents, the other person observes what's going on. And then we would have these conversations in the car. “Okay, Victor, you remember when you said that? That wasn't the best way of saying this. Here's what you should have said.” “All right, ask me the question again.” And then I would answer it and we'd go back and forth there. For some reason, we've gotten away from role playing with other people to really measure how good we are when we're having those conversations. That, to me, is the most practical way to practise.

 

Will Barron:

And why is that? Is it just because they're a bit awkward?

“If you want a shortcut experience, role play with a domain expert.” – Victor Antonio · [27:52]

 

Victor Antonio:

Yeah, it's awkward. It feels weird. And by the way, it felt weird for me. If you're listening to this, it's going to feel weird. It's going to feel weird, but once you get past that weirdness, there's something about sitting with somebody who is a domain expert, especially product managers, and let them ask you questions and you respond and they go, “No. Eh, wrong.” You're going to hate them for a while. Ask them to ask you questions customers are going to ask and that's the best preparation. So if you want a shortcut experience, role play with a domain expert.

 

Will Barron:

Love that. That is something that's not come up on the show before from this perspective so I appreciate that. It's even worth writing up in a blog post or doing a bit more work on that and getting some of the thoughts from the audience as well. So I appreciate that, Victor.

 

Closing Questions · [28:09] 

 

Will Barron:

And with that, mate, I've got a couple of questions that I ask everyone that comes on the show, so I'm going to throw a couple of these at you. First one, what is one book or resource that you'd recommend to the Salesman Podcast audience?

 

Victor Antonio:

In the B2B sales realm, my favourite book of all time is Mac Hanan's Consultative Selling. SPIN Selling, Rackham, would be number two. And probably The Challenger Sale would be number three. I know you asked for one. Mac Hanan's Consultative Selling. Mac Hanan's Consultative Selling would be number one for me, because believe it or not, if you go back and read Mac Hanan's book, Consultative Selling, he's saying a lot of the stuff people are now saying today. In fact, if you read The Challenger Sale, you read some of the stuff that Miller Heiman puts out there, it goes back to Consultative Selling by Mac Hanan. So I think that is still one of the best books out there.

 

Will Barron:

Good. We'll link to those in the show notes over at Salesman.red for anyone who wants checks them out.

 

Will Barron:

Next one, what is one thing that you believe about sales other people don't?

 

Victor Antonio:

Presentations matter. That's the most important thing to me. Presentations really, really, really matter.

 

Will Barron:

Why out of clearly sales being a huge subject, do you think that presentations, or why does presentations come to the top of your mind so immediately then?

 

“Presentations matter. If you can't present, you're just shooting yourself in the foot. Think of how much money, time and effort you spend just to get that meeting, and then you screw it up because you didn't prepare correctly or you don't know how to do it.” – Victor Antonio · [29:29] 

 

Victor Antonio:

Because that's where the rubber meets the road. That's what the customer sees. And it's like I mentioned earlier, we miss that. I feel like a disciple sometimes, going out there trying to convert people. Saying, “Look, if you can't present, you're just shooting yourself in the foot.” Think of how much money, time and effort you spend just to get that meeting. and then you screw it up because you didn't prepare correctly or you don't know how to do it. That's why I'm so, “Ugh,” about it.

 

Will Barron:

And I guess at that point, as an individual, it's your time to shine, isn't it? It's your opportunity to give value, all the cliches, to show that you've got credibility, that you're an expert, but that's the moment, isn't it? It's very difficult to do any of that stuff kind of over email, over the phone beforehand.

 

“My philosophy is that businesses only care about three things, and this is my holy trinity: Increase revenue, reduce costs or expand market share. If you can help take your product or service, tie it to one of those three, if not all three, then you'll win in a presentation.”  – Victor Antonio · [30:18] 

 

Victor Antonio:

Yeah. And yes, all that's difficult. I think that's the moment, but it's also the moment to show that you know, but also that you care. Now, put this aside the cliche about, “I care about you. I love you. I want to hug you, customer,” put that aside. If you have the mindset, “I really want to help you.” My philosophy is businesses only care about three things, right? This is my holy trinity, right? Increase revenue, reduce costs or expand market share.

 

Victor Antonio:

You can help a company, take your product or service, tie it to one of those three, if not all three, then you'll win in a presentation because I'm going to show you how to increase revenue. I'm going to show you how to reduce costs. And here's how this is going to help you expand market share. When you can show somebody that, and you can quantify that, not qualify, quantify, then why shouldn't they buy from you? You almost want to reach across the table and just slap them, say, “Look, I'm showing you how to make money. Cut costs, expand market share. This is a no brainer. You've got to buy.”

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. That's the phrase that I use, when something becomes a no brainer for me, it takes any decision out the process. It takes any thinking out the process. It just happens. Awesome.

 

Will Barron:

And next one, who is the world's greatest salesperson?

 

Victor Antonio:

I don't know. I'm so biassed. To me, Zig Ziglar was my mentor, my virtual mentor. I got a chance to meet Zig Ziglar and actually speak on stage with him before he passed away, but he was the first guy I saw, if I can give you the short story.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Victor Antonio:

1995, we were in Minneapolis, Minnesota, went to this, I think it was Peak Performance, where they had speakers come on. I saw Zig Ziglar for the first time. And the first time I saw him, I'm like, “My God, look at this guy.” It was intelligence, grace, the ability to tell stories.

 

Victor Antonio:

And second to him, I would probably say, and I know you only asked for one, would probably be Jim Morone. And I know he's not considered a salesperson per se, but listening to Jim Morone talk and speak from the stage, powerful. He knows how to shift your paradigm and just keep you unbalanced. You feel like vertigo every time you listen to the guy. He's good. He's good.

 

Will Barron:

Good. We'll link to both those dudes and a couple of resources in the show notes again.

 

Victor’s Advice to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [32:07]

 

Will Barron:

And final one, Victor, it's something I ask everyone that comes on the show, and that is if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be, I know you've given me three or four for each of these, but one piece of advice, what is the one piece of advice you'd give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Victor Antonio:

Don't worry so much. That's it. Don't worry so much. When you screw things up, you start thinking about it or you start worrying about a presentation, don't worry so much. Prepare, do your best, don't worry so much. There'll always be another deal.

 

Will Barron:

When did you make that realisation? Because this is something that I have to constant, it's not a habit for me, I have to constantly remind myself that in two weeks time, if you've screwed up, as long as you've made it right, everyone's forgotten about it. It doesn't matter.

 

Victor Antonio:

By the way, recent. It's almost like you've got to pet yourself and say, “It's okay.” Literally. “It's okay.” I think with age and experience, I'm able to look back and say, “It didn't kill me when I screwed up before and I've screwed up so many times and it hasn't killed me so let's just stop worrying about that now.” So I think that comes with age and a lot of experience, but it's hard to get there. And by the way, some people can say it, but others internalise it. And I think you have to internalise that it's okay. You're going to screw up a presentation. It's okay. Move on. There'll be another one. You're going to say the wrong things. It's okay.

 

Parting Thoughts · [33:40]

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. Well with that, and for everyone who's super excited to learn more about you, Victor, where can we find out more about you? And then tell us a little bit about the YouTube as well because obviously that's important. There's a tonne of content on there for us.

 

Victor Antonio:

All right. So my main site is VictorAntonio.com. VictorAntonio.com. My YouTube channel is called Sales Influence, but if you just Google or YouTube Victor Antonio sales training, you'll find all my videos. I think I have about maybe six or 700 videos on there. Started a new podcast called Sales Influence as well, not as popular as the Salesman Red podcast yet, but I'm working my way up there. By the way, I shifted from video because I wanted to start doing some audio so that was kind of fun. And so I appreciate what you're doing, Will. Great work.

 

Will Barron:

Cheers, man. I appreciate that. That's nice to hear on the show. With that, Victor, and we'll link to all that in the show notes, with that, mate, I want to thank you for your time, your insights. I want to thank you for, a couple of times in the show, you've kind of shifted my paradigm on a couple of these things to a new perspective, so I appreciate that. It's something for me to have a think about, a couple of these angles that you've reframed it in. And with that, mate, I want to thank you for joining us on the Salesman Podcast.

 

Victor Antonio:

Thank you very much, Will.

 

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