Coach YOURSELF To HUGE Sales Success

Rob Jeppsen is an experienced sales coaching expert. In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Rob breaks down coachability and goes on to explain why process is everything in sales, how to find a sales mentor, and  how to set more intelligent goals than “I’m going to smash my target.” 

He blew my mind with both the simplicity and depth of this coaching methodology in this episode.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:
Free SalesCode assessment
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Taken by over 10,000+ of your competitors. Don't get left behind.

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Rob Jeppsen
Experienced Sales Coaching Expert

Resources:

Transcript 

Rob Jeppsen:

And that’s why organisations are realising what used to be done isn’t good enough anymore. And there’s tonnes of data that we’ll share today as we talk about why coaching is the thing that people are turning to.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation, on today’s show we have Rob Jeppsen, he is a sales coaching expert, and of course that is exactly what we’re talking about on today’s episode. We’re talking about whether you need a coach, how to find one, whether your sales manager is a coach. And then Rob shares some really interesting insights, which I’ve never come across before and there’s a structure to this, of how to track whether you are improving in sales, and a couple of metrics on that front of how to know whether you’re improving and how to know what you should work on next. You can find out more about Rob over at Xvoyant.com, everything we talk about is available in the show notes of this episode over at SalemanPodcast.com. With all that said, let’s jump into today’s show.

 

Will Barron:

Hey Rob, and welcome back to the Salesmen Podcast.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Hey Will, thanks for having me. It’s so great to be back.

 

Salespeople Lack Coaching and It’s Showing · [01:35]

 

Will Barron:

I am excited to have you on, mate. I’m excited to converse with you and go through this idea of coaching in sales, because before we record I kind of mentioned this, I’ve had five or six sales managers now and out of all of them only one of them I’ve seen as a coach. And we’ll go on to define that second and we’ll go into, hopefully you can help us if salespeople are listening who don’t have a coach, maybe there’s some way to kind of bring one in. That’s what I want to end the show with, some real practical advice on that. But where I want to start with is, is my experience of having lots of sales managers but very few people who did anything other than tell me to do paperwork and shout at me. I don’t feel like I said, five out of six of them were not a coach, did not help me progress through sales, did not help me with my process. Is that a common occurrence or am I in the minority here?

 

“Most sales people that get promoted to becoming a sales manager take a managerial approach because most of the time they just do what was done to them.” – Rob Jeppsen · [02:01] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

It’s absolutely the norm, Will, it’s the problem. In fact, it’s a huge problem. Most sales people that get promoted to becoming a sales leader or sales manager, I shouldn’t say sales leader, sales manager. They take a managerial approach because most of the time they just do what was done to them, does that make sense?

 

Will Barron:

Makes total sense.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And so you said you have six people that did this and you’re like yeah, I got shouted at, I got managed, I got told to do things, suddenly they’re in this role and they just do what happened to them. And so what we’re finding is most organisations are really starting to turn to coaching right now, and I’ll tell you why, most organisations I work with are having double digit growth goals but they’re having flat or single digit headcount increase. So if you’re going to have double digit growth but with the same level of head count, that means you have to get more with the same, or in some cases more with less. And that’s why organisations are realising what used to be done isn’t good enough anymore. And there’s tonnes of data that we’ll share today as we talk about why coaching is the thing that people are turning to.

 

The Difference Between a Manager and a Coach From a Sales Perspective · [02:55] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay, well let me ask you this then, we’ll set some definitions and then we can kind of rally back to the practical side of it. But what is the difference between a manager and a coach? Because I roughly defined it then of I feel as I said, and this is only my feelings, so I’m appreciative of that. But I feel that the managers I’ve had that I don’t believe are coaches are there to keep me in line as opposed to help me grow, which is what you just described what needs to happen if you’ve got stagnant headcount but kind of huge, ridiculous growth figures. Is that the main difference or is it more complex than that?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

I think it’s a start but it’s more than that. Let’s talk about what it isn’t, maybe that’s a good place to start. Coaching is not a pipeline review, it’s not and that’s where people often start is it’s a pipeline review. It’s not a deal dialogue of how am I going to win this deal, that’s not coaching. Those are really two of the most common pitfalls is let’s see what your pipeline is, and what do we have to do to win this deal? That is not coaching, that’s the management side of what you’re talking about. It’s also not just a regular check-in. It’s not just a check-in hey, we haven’t talked, what are you doing, et cetera, it’s none of those things.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Coaching is really different, I actually look at coaching as four things. We look at it as the process of creating intentional improvement through four things. And before I tell you the four things, Will, it goes to are we intentionally improving? And that’s what, when I worked with sales people, I keynote a lot of sales events as you know, and I’ve had a lot of reps come to me, B2B reps come to me and say, man, I’ve never thought about intentional improvement like that before. Some people talk about get 1% better or whatever, but intentionally improving your game as a salesperson is a very interesting concept. And a coach helps you intentionally improve, they do it through these four things. I’ll spit them out fast and then I’ll turn it back to you.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Number one, it’s about cadence and consistency. And the number one mistake that sales managers make is they’re not consistent about it. They just, if we’re down I get crazy, and if I have a big deal I try to win, and when the end of quarter comes I get really serious about it. So they’re inconsistent. Number two, it’s about process instead of outcomes. The second most common mistake that sales coaches make is they try to coach deals. That’s called a crutch not a coach, because it doesn’t scale. You have to help them get better at closing their own deals.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Number three, it’s about levelling up. One of the things I used to talk about, Will, and I was wrong, it was about finding and fixing skill gaps. I don’t know about you, when I was a rep I hated having my boss tell me what I suck at. I don’t think there’s any reps that look forward to having a regular meeting where, I’m going to go in there and they’re going to tell me where I suck. It’s not about where you suck, it’s about what’s the next level for you. And if I can have someone that’s really invested in me and finding proactively and intentionally improving to get to the next level, that’s exciting all of a sudden. And then the last one is collaboration. So it’s not just do it or else it’s, hey, we’re in this together. We’re going to mutually go down this road and make it better. Those are the four things to help people intentionally improve, and it’s a huge difference than pipeline reviews, deal coaching and the like.

 

Will Barron:

So I want to come back to cadence in a second, but one really vivid image was brought to the front of my mind then, Rob, when you mentioned process, and crutches, and the sales manager jumping in right at the end of the deal and trying, like from my perspective steal the thunder of all the hard work that I’d done. And from their perspective they’re like, well I’ve got the experience, I did this. In one occasion this guy hadn’t sold anything in 20 years and he was like, I’ve sold, and medical devices is more of a stagnant industry so he could kind of, I’m not saying he couldn’t sell 20 years later, that’s not the point I was making. But he hadn’t done it, he hadn’t-

 

Rob Jeppsen:

He hadn’t, yeah.

 

When Your Sales Manager Intrudes and Costs You Crucial Deals · [06:37]

 

Will Barron:

How to describe it, he hadn’t greased the, there’s a saying that weightlifters use and power lifters use of greasing the groove. He hadn’t greased the groove, so even if he had the skills and he had the talent and knew the art and science of sales, he hadn’t done it so it was going to be weird. And he lost me a deal, and he apologised for it and he realised what he’d done. But it’s just that really vivid image of this crutch of the sales manager jumping in at last minute. And sometimes it can be useful because they’ve got a bit of clout, they show the prospect that you care about them enough to bring your manager into a meeting, that has a real place. But as I said, the there’s been so many times where I’ve been either burnt or nearly burnt by the sales manager jumping in and trying to be the superhero. Is that relatively common?

 

“There are some times when a senior leader is important to help take a deal to a different place, but it’s not because they can do something a sales rep can’t. It might be because it’s creating a connection of a different level of people, but certainly not for getting a deal done. One very common mistake sales leaders  make is taking over sales cadence midway through” – Rob Jeppsen · [07:37] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Happens all the time, Will. I mean that’s how a lot of sales managers feel like they’re valuable, well I’ll go in and try and win the day. And, I mean besides emasculating the sales person and totally taking, I mean it’s a mistake on so many levels. There are some times when a senior leader is important to help take a larger deal or a deal to a different place, but it’s not because they can do something a sales rep can’t, it might be because it’s creating a connection of a different level of people, and certainly not for getting a deal done. And it’s a very, very common mistake and sales leaders go on calls, they take over calls, it’s maybe the biggest mistake you can make.

 

Is Self-Coaching a Sustainable Approach to Self-Improvement? · [08:20] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure. Okay, so we’ll go through these in order because I think there’s real value in all these, and then again I want you to, if possible we’ll go down the route of question answer, question answer, leading to the point of how we can get a coach mentor, maybe even a different sales manager. That’s the end of the show, that’s the conclusion. So cadence, is this something that we can do ourselves maybe of, and this kind ties into process as well, can we coach ourselves to a certain extent of understanding the importance of cadence and process versus doing what I did for five years, which is scrambling at the end of the month or the end of the year to kind of smash my targets and pulling everything together at the last minute. Is it something that we should be, as individual contributors, as individual salespeople, is cadence and process something that we should be top of our mind regardless of the coaching conversation?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

The answer is yes. Now you’ve asked about two things at once, so I’m going to deconstruct it here for a second.

 

Will Barron:

I asked about 15 things at once, I apologise about that.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Don’t you apologise, this is my very favourite topic so I can go with it. So let’s talk about the self coaching. So one of the things I try to help organisations understand is you want to create a world where you can self correct before you self destruct. And the easiest way to do that is with process, which is the second part of the question, we’ll get there in a second. But let me tell you why cadence is so important to have someone else to help you out. And a lot of times I take the coaching word and it might be the easiest way, Will, to do it on your show with your audience, take the C word out, coaching. It has times a negative stigma, doesn’t it? Coaching is for those who are the under performers, they’re for the people who kind of suck a little more than the rest, or maybe it’s a professional service that I’ll turn on and off when I want.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Let’s let’s go to sports, I’m a huge basketball fan and my least favourite team has the number one coach of all time, Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils. I hate him, I love him when they lose. However, he gets the greatest athletes, these blue chip athletes, what happens when he calls timeout in a game? Do these athletes look at him and give him the middle finger and say, shut up, coach, we got this? No, they come to the sideline and they have a timeout. And so I think this cadence thing is really important that we look at it maybe not in coaching, is we’re going to call a break in the action and we’re going to have a once a month at the latest, every 30 days I’m going to have a strategic planning session with someone that can help me.

 

“CEB found that people who get between two and three hours of coaching per rep per month, perform 17% higher than those that don’t.” – Rob Jeppsen · [10:54] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

I want to make sure that I got the blinders off and that I’m seeing it for what it is so I’m making sure that in the next 30 days I’m not just stumbling along, but I’m driving towards an intentional goal. And that’s a huge, huge thing for a rep to see, is am I calling time out and do I have a coach that I trust like Mike Krzyzewski, but the business version of that. And if I don’t have that manager then I need to find either a job where I can have that manager, or I need to find a mentor who can help me do it. Because it’s a critical, critical component, CEB found that people who get between two and three hours of coaching per rep per month, perform 17% higher than those that don’t. We’re talking about 45 minutes a week, 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure you take that time and find someone that will help you do it.

 

Why Coachability is the Difference Between the Top and Average Salespeople · [11:27] 

 

Will Barron:

So this is something that you’ve answered there, but I think has worked [inaudible 00:11:13], and it’s one of the questions I’d physically written down before the interview started. And that was this concept of what the tangible differences are of having a coach, but to go one level deeper is this like. To use your sports analogy, Tiger Woods still has a golfing coach and golfing lessons even though he is 50 times better than the coach or the trainer who’s training him. Is this something that top sales people do, the average or below average sales people don’t do? Or is this something that, kind of like if you did a cross section of everyone who has sales coaching it’d be all over the place?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

I think that you’ll find that the top ones do it more than the ones that don’t. You’ll also find, like a cross section, you’ll find some stars that are not interested in anything for help. We actually measure, as you know, coachability, and we’ll have people that are hitting their goal but are also not very coachable.

 

Will Barron:

How do you measure coachability? That just sounds fascinating. How do you know, because I’m not coachable, so it’d be interesting to see if I’m not coachable on how you would measure it as well.

 

How Rob and His Team Measure Coachability · [12:20]

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Our technology helps do it, we do three things. First is we set coaching goals, and a coaching goal can’t be close this deal, it’s got to be change this behaviour. So maybe instead of doing this many prospect calls it’s going to go to this many. Or instead of doing it by myself I’m going to work with this teammate. You got to set activity or behaviour goals to try and change and level up who you are. Then the first thing is do you do them? That’s the first thing is when you set a goal do you do them, it’s real easy. It’s the easiest way to find out is someone interested in my help is a leader or not, do they respond to the goals that we make? It’s a one or a zero, either you do it or you don’t.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

The second thing that happens is when you do that you have to say, did it make a difference? Now our technology manages that and checks that but you don’t need my technology to do it, did your deal size get bigger? Did your sales cycle get smaller? Did your number of opportunities in the pipeline change, things like that. So when I make this change does it make an impact? So if I make a change and it doesn’t make an impact, what the hell are we doing it for? And so it needs to be tied to an impact, that’s why we’ll talk about how we set goals in a second.

 

“You can get a really good measure of how coachable someone is by just looking at three things: do they do it, did it make an impact, and did it stick.” – Rob Jeppsen · [13:40] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And the third one is after you’ve done it and then did it have an impact, the third ones did it stick? And that’s why technology’s interesting because then when you move on to another coaching goal that you set I want to find out okay, Will says he’s not coachable, well when he moved onto the goal did the other behaviour go back to the way it used to be or was it a new norm? When you look at those three things do they do it, did it make an impact, and did it stick, you can get a real good measure of how coachable someone is.

 

Will Barron:

So you just turned my thoughts on this on its head. So I assumed coachability would be along the lines of, and I use me as an example, I am in one hand totally humble, I’ve got no ego in the fact that if someone tells me something to do with the podcast should be this way, or you can improve it, or at the very kind of like easiest to digest that you should experiment with this, or this social media channel to grow it, whatever it is, I will listen. There’s no ego to break through for me to get a comment from anyone and for me to say, yes, that sounds interesting, it’s worth experimented with.

 

Will Barron:

But on the other hand, which is what you did touch on, for me to actually implement something new and then stick with it for the long term, I find that so hard. And I know all the hacks of building habits and all the science behind it because I’m interested, because I know that for me to achieve anything along, for me to put out show regularly I have to put so much habits, hacks, and processes in place just to make it happen because I kind of, I’ve got the grasses greener syndrome with everything I do. I’m constantly, like I get bored very easily.

 

How Sales Leaders Can Coach Uncoachable Salespeople · [15:19] 

 

Will Barron:

I’m not OCD clinically by any means, but I’m very much like, oh that’s a new bit of technology, I’ll try that, I’ll try that, I’ll try that. And it’s the process for me in business and sales that I find really difficult, which kind of is what you’re describing then is of being told something, put it into play, and then doing it over the long term. So let’s use this as an example so I can take away from this as well as everyone listening who is going, that’s me, that’s me. How would you coach someone like myself then who is open to ideas but finds it difficult to stick to them perhaps?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

So that’s a really complex question, you always ask the greatest questions, Will, and it’s a really important one. So we found, I just told you that we look at coachability yes or no, and we overlay that to outcomes yes or no. So we look at it as outcomes are good or bad and coachability can be good or bad. So if I have negative outcomes and negative coaching we call that a toxic teammate. They aren’t hitting their number and they’re not willing to change, that’s a bad influence on the sales team. Bad outcomes but good coachability, we call them a future star. Now someone like you, good outcomes, not that responsive to change, we would call you an independent.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And then we have good outcomes but also still willing to change, those are the future leaders and stars of the organisation. Because they’re going to be the ones that are going to be resilient as the company needs to change. Not only will they do it, but they’ll help take the others with them. Now as an independent there’s a few things that you have to do to connect with an independent that’s different than a star, or a future, or a toxic, does that make sense?

 

Will Barron:

Yep, makes total sense.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And with you what I would comment, we would encourage that sales leader to say, we need to first make sure that Will knows that we recognise his contribution, that he’s crushing his goal right now. We see it, we recognise it, we appreciate it, and do it in a way that he knows you’re sincere and genuine. Number two, we want to find out what are the roadblocks that are in his way that are stopping him from getting even farther? A star like you, there’s no limit to where you go. You don’t need me to tell you what to do and how to do it, but what I want to do is find out how far do you think you can go, and then how can I take roadblock walks away or give you resources so you can get there? That’s the best coaching you’re probably going to be able to give that person.

 

“Measuring coachability relative to performance is one of the most important things for a leader to understand.” – Rob Jeppsen · [17:15] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And then last you want to start having some best practise conversation. What is it that makes you great, Will? And then when you have that conversation you’ll probably be open to geez, Rob, what are the other best practises you’re seeing from other high performers? Well, Will, it’s funny that you ask and one of the things that I’m seeing with your others are this, this, and this. That’s how we work with independents and that’s why measuring coachability relative to performance is such an important thing for a leader to understand.

 

Rob’s Advise to Sales Leaders Dealing with Toxic/ Uncoachable Salespeople · [17:30]

 

Will Barron:

And on the back end of all this, that perhaps the salesperson would never see if you go into a company and you’re dealing with management and leadership, what advice do you give to someone who has that toxic salesperson, that toxic employee? Are they changeable, are they moldable at all? Or is it a case of we need to manage them out of here and kind of get them off this team?

 

“If someone’s not coachable then they better be hitting their number.” – Rob Jeppsen · [17:44] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Well if someone’s not coachable then they better be hitting their number, let’s just be honest. If they’re not willing to change, I mean let’s look at sales, this is what this podcast, this is for sales people. You tell me, is sales the same today as it was five years ago?

 

Will Barron:

So I can give a real personal insight on this and I’ll say no. And even in the past 18 months that I’ve been doing the podcast I think it’s changed. And you tell me if I’m wrong because-

 

Rob Jeppsen:

No, you’re right.

 

Will Barron:

No, let me tell you why and then you can tell me, and we might go down and rabbit hole there, but you can tell me why. I feel that sales is going, obviously hitting your numbers is important clearly, but I think it’s going more, so say that’s 90% still. But I think there’s continually this shift between moving over to more retainment of customers and account management and going deeper in those accounts, and clearly there’s market shifts and there’s business kind of transactional trends that are going on that are forcing that. But would you agree with that, Rob? Is that something that you kind of see?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Totally agree with it. One of the problems is time and territory is one of the biggest predictors of success for a salesperson. Because of what you said, relationships, ability to go deep, et cetera. And so yeah, but other things have changed, how you connect with people, that has totally, totally changed. And I could go through the history of sales because I’m a sales junkie, I could talk about how it’s gone from spin selling, to solutions selling, to value selling, to now all the way through a couple of other iterations, to inside selling. And the reason that your sales manager when you were a rep blew it for you because he hadn’t sold for a long time, is he was connected to the product but not to the customer. And so it’s not your dad’s sales environment anymore, it’s not even your big brother’s sales environment, it’s changed that fast.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And so that’s why this is so important that you’re working. So to your question originally, what do you do with them? Well if people can’t change and grow with how the market, it really comes down to how do people want to buy? Our job is to align with how people want to buy. We can’t put a gun to someone’s head and force them to buy from us, we have to align with them. And as that world changes in each market, so every one of your listeners sells something different and they buy it different. You have to make it easy to buy, you have to be aligned with them. And as the world changes it’s best to be first to be there, not last.

 

How To Set Goals That Aren’t Primarily Based on Sales Outcomes · [20:35] 

 

Will Barron:

I think you just came up with a fantastic book title along the lines of this is not your dad’s sales environment. I think if you’re not going to have it I’m probably hoping to have that one, Rob. I want to pull back to self-coaching for just a split second and then we’ll wrap up the show with how to find a coach mentor, whether we need to move companies, how do we know whether our manager is a coach or just a manager, we’ll come on to that at the end. But just to bit more value out of the self-coaching angle here, how do we set goals that aren’t, I’m going to hit my target, and a pre-question to that is why isn’t that a good goal?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Another great question. And so here’s what I believe, Will, and I’m pretty sure I’m right. Wouldn’t be the first time I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure this one’s right. Outcomes, your goals, outcomes are driven by the sales stages or the experiences that you create for a customer. Fair?

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Sales stages or experiences are driven by activities that you engage in, also fair?

 

Will Barron:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

“You need to be setting goals around skills that you possess, want to possess, or activities that you need to engage in. Setting goals is a lagging indicator, especially when you’re just focused on closing a deal. And that’s why you see so many struggling reps discount aggressively because then they hit the goal, close the deal and accept bad terms because at least they closed the freaking deal.” – Rob Jeppsen · [21:15] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Activities are fueled and either are successful or not successful based on the skills that you possess, and so as a result you need to be setting goals around skills that you possess or want to possess, or activities that you need to engage in. Because if you just set goals, the goal is a lagging indicator. Just closing a deal, I mean what does that really mean? Well that’s probably to be honest with you, that’s why you see so many struggling reps discount aggressively because then I hit the goal, I close the deal. Or accept bag terms because at least I closed the freaking deal.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And so you want to set activity based goals and skill development type goals, and that’s different, that’s why you want to have the strategic planning session with someone who’s trying to help you level up. I want to start changing my capacity, I want to start changing and get better at who I am and what markets I’m in. I don’t want to just get in a rut and say, yep, hit my goal last year, hit it again next year. You know what, the year after that I’ll probably hit it again too. I want to get bigger, I want to get better. Let’s take things around average deal size. Let’s look at things like sales cycle time, let’s look at number of customers I’m able to work with. Let’s look at products that I’m able to sell, there’s a whole bunch of things.

 

“Star performers are 60% more likely to stay at an organisation if they get good coaching, and they’re 30% more likely to leave if they get bad coaching. So companies should be excited about this because they can control that by creating a culture of intentional improvement.” – Rob Jeppsen · [22:34] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And when you start, we call it the skill to success model, what skills leads to success? And if you can understand how those are put together it makes it, coaching takes on a whole nother dimension, and it’s way different than this two dimensional did you hit you going on? And that’s just not that effective. It’s why, I’ve mentioned some data, this should be interesting for you and your team. Star performers are 60% more likely to stay at an organisation if they get good coaching, and they’re 30% more likely to leave if they get bad coaching. So companies should be excited about this because they can control that, they can say we’re going to create a culture of intentional improvement. And so I don’t know if I answered your question, I’m rambling. I know I’m on a soapbox so I’ll stop and make sure that [crosstalk 00:22:55].

 

Will Barron:

No, no, it’s interesting. What you just described is something that I’ve experienced. I moved from the kind of second biggest player in the world of endoscopy medical device sales to the biggest and the most prestigious for that reason, that the manager was an asshole at the time. And I’m sure people are going to be looking at my LinkedIn profile now to be working out who I’m kind of shouting out, but it’s been that long now since I worked for that company that he’s probably not even there anymore. But he was an idiot, he really, how to describe it? He was doing the opposite of what you just described. And you’ll smile at this I’m sure, because I’m sure you’ve met these characters, and I’m sure everything that we’re talking about, there was a layer up of the VP of sales has to have the same conversation that we are having about the sales managers. So I’m sure he would be in this kind of toxic category.

 

Will Barron:

But I would meet with him once every month, he would do say one day in the field every kind of like quarter where he would just annoy everyone, because he is just a really uninteresting, boring individual. So after the fact all my customers would be like, who was dude who was out with you? Because I’d had that good relationship with them so they could have a laugh about it over these things. So there’d be one review and then at the end of the year, which is we were targeted year on year for our kind of like our target. I think it was like 1 million, 500,000 was, that company at that time was my target. He would only be interested in me and kind of what was going on that last month before things closed.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Now what can you do for me, Will?

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, it was the other way around of what can I do for you at this point now that you’ve got to kind of push for discounts, because he had the authority to sign discounts. Because we were trying to push deals at the end of the year as opposed to spread them out. So I’m convinced he would be in that toxic category and no one liked him, and he as a person wasn’t a very nice person. Out of the office he might have been a very nice person, but in the office he didn’t cut it from my perspective. And I got on my soapbox then and I forgot why I was going with that. But going back to goals for a second here, Rob, it feels nice occasionally to rant on the show though because there’s a good probably 80% of the people selling who are listening to the show who have had three or four managers, probably I’ve just grabbed one of them.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

So stay away from the boring assholes, that’s the moral of your story.

 

Practical Self-Coaching Goals for All Types of Salespeople · [25:27] 

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I moved company to get away from him, so that put it into perspective. But coming back to goals for a second, what are some practical examples of goals then? And perhaps work back from we’re all set this target that we’re going to hit on the end of the year, what’s a useful kind of process or cadence or levelling up goal that we can put in place that the audience listening to this now can have a think about and see if it’s worth them implementing after listening to this show?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Okay, so this is another really important question for everyone on your team. Because if they don’t have someone that’s helping them level up, these are some things we’re going to give them kind of a blueprint on how to do it themselves. Number one, make sure that when you look at your sales stages, because if you’re selling B2B you better understand your stages. And make sure that for each stage, just take a good look at it and say what are the activities that make that happen? That’s our first thing that we do is we want to make sure that we understand clearly the activities. And then what are the skills? Because-

 

Will Barron:

And let’s stop here, don’t go too fast with this. What would be an example of an activity that would help you move from one stage to the other?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Going on a sales call, doing a demo, those are activities that you engage in. But where it gets interesting, let’s say it’s Rob and Will and we both have the boring asshole that’s our boss, we’re both working at the same company. You’re the top performer, I’m the guy at the bottom trying to become you. And my boss might say okay, well geez, Rob, Will’s going on 20 calls and you’re only going on 10. So a really good starting point might be, let’s get you to 20 and let’s see if that makes a difference. So that’d be a good goal for me to start with 20. Well after a month or two of doing that if I get there and you’re still crushing and I’m not, it means it’s not an activity problem, it’s a skill problem for me.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

So then we would say inside this activity of going on calls, well what are the skills that leads to that? Well it could be how we connect with people, it could be how we create value for people, it could be how we do discoveries, it could be how we follow up. We should know what those skills associated with that activity are, so once I model what the activity looks like then I can very quickly as a leader say, and this is why you need a leader instead of doing yourself, you want someone that you know is best to you saying, well that didn’t work, let’s try this. Instead of, you know what, you better fix it or else. You see what I’m saying?

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

So that’s a high level example but does that make sense?

 

Rob Reveals the First Steps Towards Self-Coaching · [27:42]

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. So is the first place we just start of all of this, whether we’ve got a sales manager, coach leader or not, we should go to the top performers in our company and start to suss out some of these metrics that we could work towards?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

It’s a good place, and that’s why if you have those relationships with those people that’s a good thing to do. Sometimes if you’re on your own without a coach it can feel like a daunting thing to do. And so if you don’t have a coach my advice is find mentors inside the company that you can work with. Here’s the problem, here’s why it has to be done by a leader, Will. Many times top performers look at the things that they do as their own little secrets, does that make sense?

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

They do and they don’t like to share it. I’ve seen it happen all the time, they don’t like to share it. That’s one of the reasons why a leader is so important, their job should be to kind of have a good understanding and export best practises from here to there and all over. And it’s the only way that you’ll have consistency in this intentional improvement is if it’s your direct leader that’s helping you. If you do it yourself you’ll have some success, but if you have your leader inside your organisation, you’ll find so much more success. And if you have a leader that can’t and won’t do that, make it a shorter stay there, that would be my advice, make it a shorter stay.

 

How to Ask Your Manager for Coaching · [29:18] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. We’ll assume now that we’ve got someone who is a leader of some sort whether, obviously there’s a huge scale in this, but our manager is coaching us to a certain extent, if not perhaps we need to move, there’s opportunity to move teams within a company, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump to ship to another company or industry altogether. But so let’s assume that our sales manager, their coach goes, how do we get the most out of the coaching from us as a sales professional, how do we turn this on its head and go to our manager? What should we be asking for? And what can we ask them to help implement? Or what should we be asking for to make their job in coaching go easier?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Take the four things that I talked about, cadence, process, level up, and collaboration, and don’t wait for the coach to call time out, you call time out with the coach. Here’s what I’ve learned, when a rep goes and says, hey boss, manager, whatever the hell your name is, I’ve got some things that I’m looking at, how can you help me? I see that this is what my cadence looks like, I’m going on these many calls, here’s what my pipeline looks like, here’s how fast it’s going. There’s really only four metrics, when I work with people on metrics there’s four areas of start. If you get these four things down and if you only measure these four things, you don’t need to measure anything else. The number of deals that you’re chasing at a time, so your pipeline can have more or less deals in it, fair to say?

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Second, the average deal size. And so start measuring like either how many products or how big the dollar value is. Third is what your win rate ism and you should know what your win rate is. And the last one is how long does it take? Start tracking those yourself, don’t do it because someone told you to. If you do those ones, the top part is number of deals multiplied by average deal size, multiplied by win rate, divided by length of sales process equals lift.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

So if I get 10% better at each of those 1.1 times, 1.1 times 1.1, so instead of 10 deals make it 11. Instead of $100,000 make it $110,000. Instead of a 30% win make it 33%. Instead of say it’s a 90 day sales cycle, take out 10% make it 81. You’ll grow by 48%, Will. Do that math 1.1 times 1.1, times 1.1, divided by 0.9 you will grow by half. That is a fight worth fighting for. So if your boss isn’t helping you do it, my first advice take those metrics to he or she and say help me. My experience is most leaders find that flattering and they appreciate it. You’re making it easier for them to do their job and I think you’ll find that they’ll respond to that.

 

Actionable Strategies For Shortening the Deal Cycle · [31:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Love it, I love it. Something, and I’ll link to Andy Paul’s show where we dove into this concept of shortening deal cycles, because that’s something that before Andy Paul’s show and you’re the second person to mention this, so it clearly isn’t being talked about enough, and I should talk about it more on the show as well. But shortening your deal cycle, it like transforms all the other kind of numbers that you put into that calculation by, obviously depends how you kind of want to put together a formula and how real that formula is if you want to go into the actual maths and statistics. I appreciate that, because every time I mention anything like this someone emails me saying no, I’m sorry you’re wrong, the math says this. But in the kind of context of the conversation I find that this conversation of shortening the deal cycle potentially has the biggest impact of all because it impacts all the other metrics just on that one point.

 

“The most accurate predictor of your sales outcomes is the sales velocity. As soon as something starts to get out of what the normal range is, that’s the best way to know if it’s a deal that’s in trouble.” – Rob Jeppsen · [32:29] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

You could not be more right, and I had heard that episode, it was a great episode with Andy. Andy’s a really smart guy. Here’s what I’ve learned as a sales coach, and this is all we do, we help companies build the world’s best, greatest sales coaching systems. The number one way, the most accurate predictor of your outcomes is the sales velocity, it’s the sales cycle. As soon as something starts to get out of what the normal range is, that’s the best way to know if it’s a deal that’s in trouble. We actually help people, we give them win rates based on time, that’s one of our levers that we look at and most people don’t do that. And so if people start looking at sales cycle they’re going to find it is the easiest way to find out if the deal’s in trouble. It’s also the easiest way to find out if the coaching goals that you’re setting for yourself are making a difference.

 

Where and How to Find Sales Mentors · [33:05]

 

Will Barron:

Amazing. Rob, I want to wrap up with one kind of tangent to our conversation here, and that is how do we, and I’m assuming the answer is we should, but assuming that how do we find other mentors within the organisation apart from just our sales manager who clearly wants us to just smash target and be happy to doing it? How do we find mentors within the organisation that can have higher level conversations, that can give us more insights, data, and just experience to widen our business acronym and things of that nature? How do we go about finding that internal mentor that’s not there to help us at target, but there to help us just succeed within the organisation?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

So mentors are really important for personal growth, super important. My success I can point back to two mentors, and I was really fortunate to get them early in my career. The problem is that’s a really loaded question, Will. It’s a tough one because it depends on a lot of things, it depends on the size of your organisation. If you’re a small company there may not be a mentor there for you, there may not be anybody you want to model, if that makes sense. And if you’re in a little bit larger one the first thing I would say is don’t limit it to people in your specific line of business. Look inside, like for instance I’m thinking of someone that I work very closely with in somewhat of a mentor type relationship, and we met while we work together but now they’re often other things and we’ve stayed close. But inside the organisation this person’s in right now, there are people in other lines of business that I’ve suggested get to know that person.

 

“The ABCs of sales used to always be closing and now it’s always be connecting. It’s not just connecting with prospects, it’s also connecting with people in your organisation and within your space.” – Rob Jeppsen · [34:32] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Just because they’re not selling what you’re selling, they’re selling inside your company. And I would say the ABCs of sales used to be always be closing and now it’s always be connecting. It’s not just connecting with prospects. I would be connecting with people in your organisation but also in your space. It’s easier than ever to find people in your space, and you can find thought leaders, people that are maybe selling something that’s similar to yours but they’re maybe either later in their career or something like that. I would say be very proactive about finding people you want to connect to. It’s amazing, I have people through LinkedIn and things like that hitting me up for that very question with some frequency, and I find it interesting and flattering, and I always at least evaluate it before I say yes or no. I think what you’ll find is with the tools today don’t limit it to just your company or your line of business, that’s what I would start with.

 

How to Ask Someone to Mentor You · [35:20] 

 

Will Barron:

Let’s just get through practical on this again for a second, and I feel like I’m saying that a lot in this episode, which is good because there’s going to be so much to take away from it at the end of it. But when I say mentor I think it scares a good percentage of people, and it scared me at first as well before, even starting the podcast I reached out to a bunch of people for a bit of coaching. Because I knew that I was going to have success in it, I knew there was a massive space in the world of sales podcasting, for the sales and podcasts, for conversations as opposed to weird corporate Q&A sessions, which most other sales podcasts are. So I knew there was a space, I knew that I was potentially the right person for the job, it was just getting a bit of kind of motivation and coaching from people.

 

Will Barron:

And what popped me off was I thought I had to go to these people I looked up to, these industry thought leaders, I thought I had to go to them and say, would you like to mentor me? And I said that in a monotone voice then because that’s kind of, when people ask me similar questions that’s how I read their email of, they’ve not put much effort into it, there’s no excitement, there’s very little in it for me when I read an email, like can you help me through coaching? People ask me to help them set up podcasts and marketing and sales, so I get asked this quite regularly. And as time goes on probably more and more. But when I get an email saying, which is what I thought I had to do, when I got an email saying will you mentor me, that was really off putting.

 

Will Barron:

So I can weigh in on this as well because I’ve got a whole group of mentors that help me out with the show and with business and entrepreneurship, but how should we be reaching out to these people? And clearly I’ve loaded this question hugely, but should we be reached out to people and saying, will you mentor me?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

I don’t like starting with the mentor word, what I would suggest is pick something that you’re working on right now and say, hey, I’m working on this deal size thing, or I’m working on this part of my career. I see that you’re having a lot of successful with it. I wouldn’t say, hey, can you saddle up and let me ride? I’m not saying that, my advice would be find people that you have reason to believe is good at it, start with something and see where it takes you. Because that actual mentor relationship is deeply personal and it’s not something that you just sign up for, if that makes sense. It’s something that evolves like any relationship, if that makes sense. And so my advice would be start with different parts of what you’re working on, find people either in your organisation or in your space that look like they might be good at it. Start with something, but then don’t just try and be this virus that attaches itself to a host and sucks the life out of it.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

You want to try and be reciprocal, however you can. And all strong relationships are based on people doing things for each other and don’t just attach yourself and hope that they make you better. I wouldn’t just say mentor me, please. I would say, I’m working on this, I’m pretty good at a bunch of these things. This is what’s next for me. You know what it’s like, Will, what you just said? It’s like everybody talks about getting referrals from your current customers. And what I’ve learned is if you go to a customer and say, I don’t have anyone to sell to, do you have someone that you might introduce me to? They’re going to say oh course not, get out of here. But if you say, hey, this is someone that I have reason to believe is in your space. I’ve identified them as someone that I ought to know but I don’t know them, do you think you can make an introduction for me? I think that what happens is those customers become very interested in doing that, and same thing with personal improvement.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Will you are doing fabulous things, I’m doing a lot of things over here and I’ve had a lot of success. I’m looking at adding this podcast thing in a non-competitive way to you. Before I just go down the road I got a couple questions, could I ask them to you? And if I’ve done it right you may or may not, depending on how it got introduced to you, you may or may not say yes. And it takes me to one of the last stories, it’s a good one for me to finish with. And this helps with every part of sales, it’s not just picking a mentor, but it’s also how you find customers to sell to. There’s a person when I was starting my first company Allegiance that I wanted to invest in my company. And I went to an investor conference because I saw he was speaking and I said, if I can be in the room with him I’ll meet him. And this was back in the year 2000, so this is how long ago it was.

 

“I always say, if I don’t have enough network, ingenuity, or work ethic to engineer an introduction to a person I either want to sell to or work with, I don’t deserve to work with them. Find a way to connect and then things can go from there.” – Rob Jeppsen · [39:56] 

 

Rob Jeppsen:

And he said, we’ve had over 3,000 business plans sent to us through the internet and we have seen zero of them. So we’ve invested in none of them. And we’ve only met with one of them because they had a member of their team that we liked. And then he made the statement that I think is really good for how you pick a mentor. He said, if you don’t have enough network, ingenuity, or work ethic to engineer an introduction to me, then you don’t have enough network, ingenuity, or work ethic to run a business that I want to nickel of my money in. And I’ve always believed that since then. And I say if I don’t have enough network, ingenuity, or work ethic to engineer an introduction to anyone I either want to sell to or work with, I don’t deserve to work with them. Find a way to connect and then things can go from there.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing. I think you’ve just summed up what a lot of people kind of know at the back of their mind, that they don’t do this networking, they don’t take that next step forward, they don’t find a mentor because it takes a bit of work. There’s no easy way around it unfortunately. And if a mentor probably drops in your lap and it’s all kind of like honky dory, they’re probably not the best mentor or coach out there. Because clearly the best have, a better way of describing it, probably have a waiting list of people trying to engage with them. So you’ve got to be kind of like the star, the sparkling person in just in even your interaction to get in front of them to kind of make that connection. So I appreciate that, Rob.

 

Rob’s Advise to His Younger Self on How to Get Better at Selling · [40:50]

 

Will Barron:

And with that mate, I’ve got one final question to ask everyone that comes on the show. I think I asked you this last time, I can’t remember if I asked it to yourself or Jack because you came on as the duo show, so I’m going to ask you this time around, Rob. That is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self what would be the one piece of advice you’d give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Last time when you asked me this I told you to bet on myself and I still would say that, but I’m going to add one more thing. I would say this, learn how to make a point without making an enemy. Early on in my career I just was so concerned about being right that I didn’t worry about collateral damage associated with it. The thing that’s helped me more than anything else, and one of my mentors taught me this, was can you create a point without creating an enemy and live a life more successfully with fewer regrets? And that has helped me more than anything else.

 

Will Barron:

Is there a process to doing this? Because someone that we have in common in our circle is very fond of making stringent points and getting people’s backs up I feel. So is there a process to doing that?

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Next episode, Will, next episode.

 

Parting Thoughts · [41:11]

 

Will Barron:

All right, we’ll wrap over that because I’m conscious of time. Rob, me and you are going to be doing a live interview at the Revenue Summit, it’s about a week or so away so I’m excited for that. The audience, Sales Nation you can find out more about that over at SalesmanPodcast.com/revenue. But alongside that, Rob, you [inaudible 00:42:11] Xvoyant, tell us a bit about what you’re doing there, where we can find out more about what you’re doing there, and then where we can find out more about you as well.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Xvoyant is the first platform for sales teams to be able to have coaching become very automated and very predictable. Xvoyant is a play on words, a clairvoyant is a magical person that can predict the future, we say a salesperson or a sales leadership can predict the future but there’s no magic required. If you understand execution you can create Xvoyant culture. Go to Xvoyant.com and you’ll see lots of tools embedded in your Salesforce system that will help you predict what skills should I improve on, but better than that, Will, it’ll tell you what’s your future value if you improve, what’s the value of each of these improvements. It’s something that will help people self-correct so they don’t self-destruct.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. And just tell us what we can find that.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Xvoyant, X-V-O-Y-A-N-T.com. And I’ll look forward to seeing you and anybody else at Revenue Summit. It’s going to be epic, can’t wait. You’re going to be there, that means all the big guys are going to be there. And it’s going to be an awesome list of speakers, I’m going to be talking about selling to enterprise over there.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. Well we’ll link to all that in the show notes of this episode over at SalesmanPodcast.com. With that, Rob, I want to thank you again for your time and your insights. We’ll have you back on again in the near future to dive into, there’s a whole bunch of topics here that we could kind of segment off, because I think this coaching conversation is one that we need to have and we need to kind of keep driving into because it’s so important to the success of my audience. And with that mate, I want to thank you for joining us on the Salesman Podcast.

 

Rob Jeppsen:

Thanks Will, good luck buddy.

Table of contents
100% Free sales skill quiz:
Do you have the 15 traits of high performing sellers?
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Don't get left behind.
illustration-web-4 1
Do you have the 15 traits of high performing sales people?
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Taken by over 10,000+ of your competitors. Don't get left behind.
22_LINKEDIN SUCCESS FRAMEWORK (3) 1