The Secret To Making B2B Sales Easy… Know Their “WHY”!

Richard Harris is a world leading inside sales expert and public speaker.

On today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast, Richard explains the process of uncovering a potential customers “why” and how that makes it far easier to do business with them.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Richard Harris
Inside Sales Expert

Resources:

Transcript:

Will Barron:

In this episode, we're diving into how knowing someone's why makes it far easier to do a business deal with them.

 

Will Barron:

Hello Sales Nation, and welcome to today's episode of The Salesman Podcast. On today's show, we have Richard Harris. He's a complete legend, a true sales consultant and a true sales expert, and you can find out more about him over at theharrisconsultinggroup.com. On today's show we're diving into why. How to uncover other people's why, the business why's, the personal why's, and how to leverage that, positively to close a deal with them.

 

Will Barron:

Everything we talk about is available in the show notes to this episode, over at salesmanpodcast.com. With all that said, let's jump in to today's episode.

 

Will Barron:

Richard, welcome to The Salesman Podcast. Welcome back to The Salesman Podcast.

 

Richard Harris:

Thank you so much. I'm thrilled to be here again. I love your stuff and it's always fun to come and talk with you and just participate, so it's a lot of fun for me too. Thank you.

 

The Benefits of Understanding Your Customer’s ‘Why’ · [01:00] 

 

Will Barron:

Awesome. You're more than welcome. I appreciate that. Okay, so today we're going to talk about why. I'm going to tee this up and we'll see where we go with it, and there's going to be a lot of whys in this question, I imagine. Why is it important that we understand why our customers are seemingly bothered, care about, want to know more about, our products?

 

“The ‘why’ someone wants to speak to you, or the ‘why’ they want to solve this problem is often way more interesting than what the problem is they're trying to define.” – Richard Harris · [02:00] 

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah, So I don't know that it's why they care about… Well, I guess it is why they care about our product, but what's really more important is, why do they want to solve this problem, right? If I have a call today, and I actually have a couple of them, one of my first questions will be, after I do a standard introduction, my respect contract kind of thing, why are we having this conversation, here at the end of, what is it, the end of September, middle of September, versus May of this year? What's changed, right? There's a couple of subtle things, you do have to be careful how you ask the why question and I'm wrestling with this one myself, but the why someone wants to speak to you, or the why they want to solve this problem is often way more interesting than what the problem is they're trying to define, right?

 

Richard Harris:

I've often said that what is a noun and why is a reason. So we want to understand the reason for solving the problem, so that's, that's really what I focus on. The place where I'm wrestling is, I'm a big fan of what's the problem? Can you tell me more about that problem? Why is it important to solve it, and how is that going to solve you? That's been what I've learned and what I've taught and what I teach, and I use it every day. Of course I went along and read Chris Voss's great book, Never Split the Difference, and he said something that has really stuck with me, “Don't ever ask the why question, because why is always defensive, no matter what language it is.” He's done a lot of negotiations in multitudes of languages around the world, and certainly far more interesting negotiations than our selling conversations, but that one's really been wrestling with me. I've been wrestling with that one of well, am I really putting people on the defensive when I do it?

 

Richard Harris:

Now that I've heard that, I think sometimes I do, so I'm very conscious of that and I know Chris's point of view is to start to ask them a little bit more about what and how, rather than why. I don't know if I'm ever going to shift or change, but being a student of sales, we always have to question what we do, right? If we're going to get better, even if we're super successful, I still got to question, “Well, gosh, I've been doing this why thing for such a long time, should I still be doing it?”

 

The First Step to Making Sales Easy is to Build Rapport · [03:45] 

 

Will Barron:

Sorry to interrupt Richard, but is this down to perhaps the level of rapport that we have with someone? So Chris is ex FBI Hostage Negotiator. He's a trained… Trains negotiators over there in different places as well, so in his negotiations, clearly the mission critical, clearly there's huge downsides, and this is an interesting dynamic to discuss in the world of sales, because perhaps we think our negotiations are live or die when they're not really most of the time. Most of the time, if you screw up, you can probably recover and no one's going to come and shoot you if you miss the deal, versus-

 

Richard Harris:

Nobody's going to die.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. Yeah, but we take it to heart and we get stressed about it. We take things personally when perhaps we shouldn't, so maybe this is a good way to separate some of the anxiety that perhaps people have around negotiations. Is the difference here that we can build rapport, we can ask more difficult questions because we've got the opportunity to come back from it versus, Chris and the way he teaches things, perhaps he doesn't have a plan B. Perhaps plan B is the military smashing through a window and jumping in because he said something that screwed the whole situation up.

 

Richard Harris:

And I don't think that Chris would screw something up. Let's be nice to Chris because he's pretty good at that stuff.

 

Will Barron:

Well, it's almost the-

 

Richard Harris:

But your point is well made.

 

Will Barron:

… the risk of it changes your approach to it, right?

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah. I haven't thought about it and so I'm happy to… Again, you're now becoming part of my research. This conversation's as much about my research as it is anyone else, because I think that's true. I think that maybe that's why I'm struggling with, well, I'm comfortable with asking why, even though, as we know, this negotiation expert is saying, “We should never ask that question.” It could be the rapport that I build, and I can only assume that's what's happening and that it is my report because nobody's ever coming back to me going, “We're not going to work with you,” right? If they ever choose someone else over me, from what I can tell, it's not because I asked a why question or made them defensive because the answers they give me are the answers they're looking for anyway.

 

How to Remove Stress and Anxiety From Your Sales Process · [05:50] 

 

Will Barron:

I'm sorry, I'm interrupting you because I'm processing this as we go through, but could this be perspective then of, if I'm part of the FBI and I'm going, seemingly, up against someone to negotiate transfer of funds, hostages being released, whatever it is, we're adversaries in this conversation, versus you're a great guy, and so I imagine you go into these conversations on the same side as the potential customer. So if you're on the same side, perhaps that changes the dynamic of the conversation as well.

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah, I do. I do and I know me. Yes, I think you nailed it. I just know me is that when I find a book like Chris's, and there's several of them out there, that I really want to try and absorb everything they're saying and really try and implement what they're saying, but I'm conflicted because it goes completely against everything I've done. So again, it's my own internal struggle. That's also the fun too, is to figure it out. I think much like you, I'm in a world where if I lose a deal, I'm not going to lose my job. I know with sales reps who work for organisations, that's different.

 

Richard Harris:

I still have a level of anxiety, but I also have a comfort zone, I think, that maybe some other salespeople don't have, so I respect that it's not always as easy and it's easier for me to try things. Yeah, it's just fascinating, this understanding the why and when to ask it, and then you put on top of it… You can't talk about the word why without talking about Simon Sinek, and Start With Why, which is completely, again, somewhat contradictory to what Chris is saying in some way. Again, you take in all this data as a salesperson about what's your best process and that's just what I'm going through right now. That's my experience on the why piece.

 

How and When to Ask the Customer About Their “Why” · [07:38] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So let's put that aside for one second and perhaps turn the clock back before you read Chris's book and it conflated things. How do we ask the why, and when do we ask it? Because, seemingly, we can get into a sales conversation. We can go back and forth. We get all this surface layer information that, perhaps, the prospect is telling everyone, because they want the problem solved. How do we ask the why, which differentiates us immediately against most of the competition, and when do we ask it? Because I think this ties into, perhaps what you're just saying of, if you ask it too early, they're not going to give you a real answer anyway.

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah. I think there's a couple of ways to ask it. I've been working on this thing where I do a disrespect contract of how I introduce a call and, “Here's what we're going to talk about and here's your time and let's agree if we're not going to like each other, we'll just walk away friends.” That whole respect contract thing and then you need a good transition statement and you need to transition from the, “Okay, we've done the housekeeping stuff, let's talk about the business.”

 

“By the time people are talking to you, guess what? They want to talk to you. I think that's one of the biggest things that sales reps fear is that they don't want to ask too deep because they're afraid they're going to offend somebody. Well, I would say, look at it this way, ask deeper, faster. They're on the phone with you. If they didn't want to talk to you, they wouldn't even be on the phone at all, so get to the point.” – Richard Harris · [08:58] 

 

Richard Harris:

So I will ask a question. This is usually my transition question. It's either, “So what made you want to take this call today?” Or I will say, “Why are we chatting today? From your perspective, I know why I'm chatting, why did you want to chat with Richard?” and for me, that's how I've always done it, and I don't think that I'm putting people on the defensive, because by the time people are talking to me, guess what? They want to talk to you, right? I think that's one of the biggest things that sales reps fear is that they don't want to ask too deep because they're afraid they're going to offend somebody. Well, I would say, look at it this way, ask deeper faster. They're on the phone with you. If they didn't want to talk to you, they wouldn't even be on the phone at all, so get to the point.

 

Richard Harris:

Now, how you ask that question, your pace, your tone of voice, all those things absolutely matter. So I'm always preaching the being naturally curious when you ask, sound like you're asking for directions like, “Hey, just out of curiosity, I think I know why, but would you mind telling me why you wanted to chat today?” You acknowledge that, hey, I think I know, but I don't want to assume I know, which also helps people relax a little bit and they feel like they're going to be heard. The sooner you can get to it, the sooner you can have a meaningful conversation. If you start doing the dance of, “Well, what four things would you like to solve? What's keeping you up late at night? What can I show you in this demo? What, what, what, what,” which is what most people do. I think people cringe when they go through that part of a sales call, right? But that's still what we do, because that's what we hear the guy next to us or the woman next to us doing.

 

How to Uncover the Real Customer “Why” and Get Them to a Solution Quicker · [10:17] 

 

Will Barron:

It's the difference between having an adult conversation, it's a question a CEO would ask another CEO, versus a amateur salesperson would do this dance as you described them, because they're reading off a script or they've learned it from someone else or they believe that this is the magic bullet way of doing things. I really like the way that you went into the tonality things here, because I've got it. I could hear it in my head of the physical words, why are we chatting today? If you say it abruptly of, “Why are we chatting today?” It sounds like, “Why are you wasting my time? What can I do to help you? I want to get to the bottom of this quickly as possible,” versus, if you say it softer, if you say it with curiosity, as you described, it's a question that you want to develop and you go deeper in, because a question like that has the potential to uncover, in the prospect's mind, reasons they didn't realise that they wanted to get their deal done or choose a product or change things up in their company.

 

Will Barron:

It could be, “We've got to make this change because of X, Y, Z,” versus, I guess what we're going for here is the real why, which is, “We need to change up because of X, Y, Z, because I'm stressed, because I'm running around like a headless chicken, because I can't manage all this on my own, so we need help.” Is that the kind of why that we're looking for of all of this?

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah, and I think that the thing that you said that really resonated with me was this adult to adult conversation, right? This CEO to CEO thing, and this is actually, whenever I teach, it's the thing I teach the most, which are the three ego states. There are three ego states in the deal. There's the child ego state. Your child says, “I want it,” just like my nine year old says he wants an Xbox and his little seven year old brother says same thing. Well, just because they want it doesn't mean they're going to get it. But that starts the buying process.

 

Richard Harris:

You then have the parent ego state. The parent ego state passes judgement . It does things like right or wrong, inappropriate versus appropriate, right? Then you have the adult ego state. Well, the adult ego state is your pluses and minuses, your pros and cons. If you're the person who's doing that pros and cons thing or plus and minus on a sheet of paper, that's you rationalising. That's your rational you. The adult ego state gives you permission to move forward. So if you're an SDR, you're trying to figure out why, so that you can then see if you can get permission to move forward to set the appointment. An AE wanted permission to move forward to get introduced to the other people or go through the POC or whatever it is.

 

Richard Harris:

That ego stuff is really important, and what often happens is, the CEO comes in as a parent and they know that this SDR or AE is early in their career, and the parent ego takes over. “I'm going to pass judgement and scare the hell out of them.” It happens all the time, so you've got to get to this adult to adult conversation, and you can, regardless of your age or your tenure or your skill set.

 

How to Interact with a Buyer with an Over-Inflated Ego · [13:10]

 

Will Barron:

I've been there with surgeons and medical devices, selling to them, especially male surgeons of a certain age where, perhaps 20 years ago, surgery was a bit more of a man's club, boys' club, and you can envisage what they would do after they've just done surgery. They go and have a cigar outside, they're go and chat up some of the nurses, all these stereotypes, unfortunately, are true. True a lot of the times. So I would go in, as a 23, 24 year old sales rep, and I thought, at first, I was the bees knees. I'd be driving up in this brand new BMW company car. I have all this cool equipment in there, be in a flash suit, and immediately, they'd try and shoot you down. They'd try and test me.

 

Will Barron:

At first, perhaps I took some of it personal, because I remember reading a whole bunch of books about, it would be called state, so being in a non-reactive state or being in a state where you can take the banter, as we call it in the UK, or the piss-taking, give it back to them and break reform, and that psychology was really interesting to me anyway. But I learned a lot about it from them and those books, essentially the message was, if a CEO is giving you a hard time was just to be non reactive to it and not give them a rise because that's what another CEO would be. They wouldn't be rude back. They wouldn't be sharp.

 

Will Barron:

Whoever's the most important person in the conversation, typically, is the least reactive to it because they've got, rightly wrongly, whether it's actually true or not, they've got the least to lose from the scenario. So just a heads up for the audience here that if they are finding themselves in scenarios with people that they see, or put on a pedestal, or see as having perceived authority over them, whether it is actually true and whether you're faking it or you're making it, I found that just being non reactive to the scenario got me through most of those occasions.

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah. I think that's the easiest way to do it is you have to stop and be quiet. I can't remember where I read this, it actually may have been in Chris's book that when you negotiate with either, I think, the Japanese or the Chinese, they often use a translator, even though they know English, because it allows them a moment to just process what was said before they answer the question. I thought that is genius, that is fascinating, right? Because that's what we all need to do as reps is, we need to slow down and shut up, for lack of a better word.

 

Why You Need to Get Comfortable Asking the “Why” Question · [15:40] 

 

Will Barron:

So how do we know when we're at the real why? How do we know when we've… Because there's probably multiple shells to this, the prospect might not even know what the real why is until we dig it out of them and that's a useful conversation for them. That's an insightful conversation for them. It's a value added conversation for them, but how do we know when we're there?

 

Richard Harris:

So the first thing I'll say is that my biggest goal for the audience today is just ask why one more time. Just ask it one time on a conversation, because what I'm about to explain is, we'll go deeper and deeper and deeper, but I just want to get people comfortable asking that why question, because it does make people nervous. So for the audience, just ask why one more time.

 

Richard Harris:

But I also teach this thing called, the three whys men, which is asking why, why, why? So if I say, “Well, why are we having this conversation today?” “Oh, because my sales team is struggling and I've been tasked with hitting this goal.”

 

Richard Harris:

“Okay. Well, why is it important to hit this goal?” Now again, you got to ask it a little bit more nicely than how I just said it, and they're going to say, “Well, because if I don't hit the goal, then we're going to miss the numbers and we're not going to be able to hire enough people or we're not going to be able to invest in the mobile app,” or whatever it is.

 

Richard Harris:

“Okay, and just out of curiosity, you're in sales, why do you want to invest in a mobile app? Why does the company want to do that?” “Oh, we see that such and such is the key to our growth, and it's all about mobile and being…” “Okay, so the goal of our sales training discussion isn't just to improve the sales reps, it's to really help the company grow and get to this much bigger level.”

 

Richard Harris:

And people go, “Oh yeah, that's right.” It allows you to understand what they're really trying to accomplish, I think. It also allows you to help them understand what they're trying to accomplish.

 

Richard Harris:

Now, do I have to go through three whys to get to that? No, not always. You can also do the approach of, “Well, why do you want to solve these problems?” “Oh, our team's not hitting the goal.” “Oh, well, how's it going to affect you if you guys start to hit the goal versus not hit the goal?”

 

Richard Harris:

That's another way to ask why, right? So you can use what, why, how, can to always go deeper. Three whys men is just, it's easy to remember, it's funny, it's creative, and it just reminds you that you can always keep asking why. When do you get to the right one? I don't know. My biggest goal is to just get you to ask it one more time, because I promise you'll have a better conversation.

 

Will Barron:

Is it the moment where the person that we're speaking with or perhaps even us go, “Oh”? Is that what we're aiming for with this?

 

“When you can truly assess that you're on the same page about why you're having a conversation and you know that they're on your page and you're on their page 100%, that's when you've uncovered something very important. I don't know that it's the only important thing, but it's something very important.” – Richard Harris · [18:27] 

 

Richard Harris:

It could be, yeah. You might be waiting for that light bulb to go off above their head, or as Chris says in his book, “You're waiting for them to go, ‘That's right.'” I think the best indication is when you can truly assess that you're on the same page about why you're having a conversation, right? If you know that they're on your page and you're on their page 100%, that's when I think you've uncovered something very important. I don't know that it's the only important thing, but it's something very important. But the key, again, because a lot of people don't do it is, just start asking why one time. That's my big ask of the group today.

 

The Buyer’s ‘Why’ Versus the Company’s ‘Why’: Which is More Important? · [19:01] 

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. So a couple more questions and we'll wrap up here Richard. Importantly, I think, do we spend time on covering the business whys? Do we spend time on covering the personal whys? Do we do both? If we get one, do we not need the other? What should be our focus? If we were to have a tick box of the conversation, what areas should we be trying to tick the why off?

 

Richard Harris:

You need both, but this is the part where you go fishing, where you have to let the prospect take the line and run it out because they're not sure what they need. Because I will say, “Why?” And you will get one of two answers. Well, why, the answer you could get is, “Well, because it's my job, and if I don't, I'm going to lose my job.” That's a very personal thing. Or why, it could be, “Hey, if I solve this problem, there's a promotion in 2018, and I want to make sure that I've solved this to really add to my personal and professional brand.” That's a personal why. You will also get the business why. Well, why does the business need it versus the you need it.

 

Richard Harris:

It's very important that you uncover both, but let the prospect decide where they want to go with that answer, because it's their mind you're working with, and they've got to merge both the personal piece and the business piece, and once you've done that, that's probably when you've really hit a super solid foundation for continuing your discussion, because it happens all the time and that is a question that comes up every time we talk about it in training.

 

How to Dissect the Buyer’s Responses and Uncover Their Real ‘Why’ · [20:33] 

 

Will Barron:

So if they give us, immediately, a great personal why, but perhaps don't give us a super strong business why, that's just information that the personal motivation is more important than the business motivation. It doesn't necessarily mean that we have to spend over 45 minutes diving into business why to uncover that further down the line.

 

Richard Harris:

No, and the interesting thing is that it's been my experience that, just because they answer it from a personal perspective, doesn't mean that's the right perspective. Sometimes they don't even know. Again, I sell to sales people and VPs of sales, so you can imagine the egos that are involved, even when I do build great rapport. And I even think just as human beings, we can often think of things from our own perspective first. My wife is the complete opposite. Every time something happens, it's all about, “Well, how does that affect Richard?” My wife is, “Well, how does that affect the family, and everybody else?” And I think that's why we're a good balance together because she reminds me to go, “Hey, it's not about you,” and I remind her that, “Hey, on occasion, it's okay to be selfish, right? There's nothing wrong with that sometimes.”

 

Richard Harris:

My biggest goal is when they answer one way is to go, “Hey, great. I love that perspective, but if I were going to ask your boss why this is important, what do you think their answer would be?” Because sometimes you want to remove them from the situation and get the boss's perspective to get the company perspective. Again, that doesn't often put someone on the defensive either. So if I say, “Well, why does your boss want you to explore sales training right now? I know why you do, what does he or she think? Or what do you think that they think?” That allows you to get different perspectives and figure out should we go down this personal road or should we go down the business road? Ultimately it should come back to the business.

 

Deep Questions to Ask If You Want to Have Insightful Conversations with Prospects · [22:30] 

 

Will Barron:

That's an amazing question that I've never heard anyone share on the show before, because that then immediately tells you how seriously they're considering the whole operation as well. If their response is, “Well, my boss might, probably not that fussed,” and they can't sign it off, and you are speaking to someone further down the line, you know you're speaking to the wrong person or it's the wrong time. That's really insightful that question.

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah. I have one right now where this woman said, “Hey, I'd love to know about your training.” She's a year into her sales deal and she emailed me on LinkedIn and we just traded some emails and I said, “Well, great. Well should we include your VP along within this conversation?” And she goes, “Well, how much is it?” I didn't send an email, I'm like, “Look, I'd be a really bad sales trainer if I gave you my pricing in an email, right? So why don't we try and get your VP on?” And she came back to me and said, “Well, he said I should just handle it for now.”

 

Richard Harris:

I'm like, “Oh, okay. I don't know that I'm going to give up pricing in this conversation. They're not serious about it yet.” I don't think I'm the bees knees, as you said, but I do think that my time is valuable and certainly giving pricing to someone who's doing the curiosity investigation doesn't behove me anything. I already know it's going to make me feel bad if I do that, right? It's already going to make me feel like, “Ugh, why did I do that?” And then I know I'm not going to get the deal, so why would I make myself feel bad, right?

 

How to Talk About Pricing Without Scaring People Off · [24:00] 

 

Will Barron:

I think there's another 40 minute conversation there about when to give out pricing, when to leverage that tool, not to just become a number on a spreadsheet and a whole lot more, so I'll pause away from that because I'll have you back on in the future to dive into the pricing.

 

Richard Harris:

Can I give people one quick tip on that one?

 

Will Barron:

Sure. Of course.

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah, yeah. So if someone asks you about budget, “Well, how much does it cost?” You want to be able to answer the question and then turn around and ask them a question, and one of the questions, and this is my favourite one, which is, so how does that make you feel? Because how you feel about when you see or hear pricing is something everybody relates to. So, “Oh, pricing, it's X for this. By the way, how does that feel to you?” And you got to do it quick, so they don't have time to stop and think. Because oftentimes, we'll go, “Well, it's a ballpark of $25,000 a year,” and then we're quiet and we were told to be really quiet and wait for their response, right?

 

Richard Harris:

I don't agree with that theory. I say, “Oh, it's $25,000 a year. How does that feel to you?” And now they're on the defensive and they're in the, “Ooh, I don't know how to respond.” And I want them to go under that pressure because I know their reaction to that is going to tell me where their head is around budget, right? You can also turn around and just say, “Oh…”

 

Richard Harris:

Here's my theory, as soon as someone asks me price, I'm allowed to ask anything about budget. You went first, I go second. I'm okay with that. So, “Oh it's $25,000 a year. How does that fit with your budget?” Or, “How does that compare to the other things you're looking at in the marketplace?” Which is really a question, not about budget, but are they looking at my competitor? Anyway, we could go on, on this one, but those are my tips for the crowd, pause, rewind, listen to it again. Write it down. Whatever.

 

Will Barron:

You just said exactly what I say, and it was interesting to see that it was like the fourth or fifth thing down your list though.

 

Richard Harris:

You're a genius. I tell you, you're a genius.

 

Will Barron:

Definitely not a genius. Definitely, you've just screwed up too many sales calls to have, inadvertently, learned from my mistakes, but when I'm selling the ad space on the podcast, I'll always say, “Right now where we are, for about 12 episodes, it's about $6000.” Its something along those lines. It's a CPM, cost per thousand downloads, rate, so it's all over the website.

 

Richard Harris:

That's reasonable.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. I think you get about 240,000 downloads worth of adverts for that number. Anyway, so we don't need to sell it on the show. There's plenty of people who listen who've bought from us in the past, but I always give them that number, and I just say, “Hey, how does fit in with your budget?” Again, immediately say after the fact, and I either get either get a hesitation and then you can see them or hear them mentally processing, “Well it could fit in. I'm not sure.” Or you get a confident, “Oh, that's fine.”

 

Will Barron:

So when I'm dealing with Salesforce, for example, clearly they have crazy budgets. We've done a lot of work with them now over the past 12 months. Budget, isn't really part of the equation. As long as I can give enough value, they can pay for that amount of value, versus when I work with some of the Silicon Valley startups in the sales enablement space, they are a bit more stringent. And so I gauge that hesitation, the coming back of it, on how likely they are to move with that number and that tells me how they feel about that number without me asking them how they feel, if that makes sense.

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah. It makes total sense. With the startups I go, “Yeah, so how great is it leaving all that money in the bank doing nothing for you?” I love to do that with those early stage folks. You've got to spend a little folks. Ain't nothing free anymore.

 

Will Barron:

Well, I pride myself and again, I'm not pitching the show here, but there's only been one company we've worked with that haven't made a, pretty reasonable, return on investment on spending with us. And for most of the sales enable companies, they only have to bring on two customers, one big customer and they've won from a month of me hammering the audience at Sales Nation! with their advert, so it makes total sense. When I speak to these… I'll wrap it up here with this, because we'll have you back on to dive into pricing perhaps, but even as I'm saying this, knowing that most of the people that I work with, bar one, out of 30 companies or so, so far in the past two and a half years, one company out of them hasn't had… They had a positive ROI eventually, but they didn't have it in the first couple of weeks or so. Everyone else has, so that makes me really confident to be able to ask these questions and to be strong in the way I ask them, because I know that I can offer real value to people.

 

Richard’s Advice to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [28:39] 

 

Will Barron:

If people are hesitant on asking the why questions, perhaps you need to take a second and look internally and see how confident you are about the product, the service that you're representing and the deal and the transaction that you're going to make. With that, Richard, I've got one final question, mate. I'll ask you this and we'll wrap up with this, and that is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what be the one piece of advice you'd give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Richard Harris:

Use Rogaine sooner might have been my first piece of advice.

 

Will Barron:

Do you feel that would've changed your quota attainment over the years?

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah, exactly. I think there are some studies out there on that, which is really fun. Well, I think it's about good looking people, but another podcast. The one thing, I would've taught myself to learn more. I would've taught myself to drop my own ego. My ego got in my own way. Actually, I was working on an article, I'm not sure if it's going to come out, so I won't say it yet, but where I went back and did a 360 analysis with a sales coach I had. And I only did that about five or six years ago, and 50% of the people thought I did things the right way, but 50% thought I didn't. And if you're managing a hundred people, okay, that's great. 50% of the people love you, but it's like, “Well, shoot, how am I not getting through to half my people? That's how I think, right?”

 

Richard Harris:

Sales people, if you're not the most paranoid person in the office, you better be one of them. That's how you get better. So that was a very humbling experience for me, and I encourage people to do it, but you got to be able to stomach it. You're going to have to get punched in the face and the gut, so it really taught me to check my ego better. It taught me to start learning more. I used to be that old school Gen X sales rep who thought that I knew everything. I don't need a sales trainer. I was grumpy Gus in the back of the room. You brought a guy like me in I'd be like, “Ugh, what does this guy know about newspaper advertising or selling to schools?” Or whatever it was I was doing at that point. I was that egotistical jerk, so I really learned to humble myself, I think is the best advice I would give and be more open to learning.

 

Richard Harris:

I think that's the best part about the millennial generation is that they have that innately built into them because they came from the internet age where you want to do something, just look it up on the internet. It's not that big a deal. My son, the other day, asked me, he goes… What did he ask me? He said, “Oh, do penguins make sounds?” And I said, “I don't know, let's go look.” And we found some stuff on penguins. He's obsessed with penguins, but it's just growing up that way. Our generation didn't have that. You know what we used? A thing called an encyclopaedia. It was a hardbound book and we had to buy a new one every year. It's just different. It's just different, so that's my advice. I'll stop rambling there.

 

Parting Thoughts · [31:17] 

 

Will Barron:

Amazing. Well, and I'll wrap up with this Richard of, the first computer we got, we got the encyclopaedia Britannica on disc. I spent the first four hours of having a personal computer, no internet at this point, printing off… I remember this really vividly. Printing off pictures of jet fighters and cars, that was the computer to me. That was the world. Just printing off pictures and sticking them on my wall until Dad obviously then started complaining about the amount ink it was using, it's kind of £25 quid a pop for the ink cartridges.

 

Richard Harris:

I had the old Dot matrix. I had the Tandy computer from RadioShack.

 

Will Barron:

Wow.

 

Richard Harris:

The Dot matrix that you would then buy a whole other piece of furniture to put the printer in, because it made too much noise.

 

Will Barron:

Love it, love it. I was Windows 95, that was my starting point. Richard, with that mate-

 

Richard Harris:

I was Commodore 64.

 

Will Barron:

With that, tell us where we can find it more about you because there's a lot more in the depth of the conversation and there's definitely sales leaders listening to this that I think you all resonated with, will want to be in touch.

 

Richard Harris:

Yeah, no. You can reach me at theharrisconsultinggroup.com, theharrisconsultinggroup.com. I apologise in advance for such a long name, but if you want to hear it one day, I'll tell you. That's the easiest way to get ahold of me. You can also tweet at me @rharris415, rharris415. Or find me on LinkedIn, I'm happy to chat with anybody. I take conversations all the time. It doesn't always have to be about trying to do a deal. I believe in karma, if people need help with something, I'll try to find the time to give you just a little bit of advice and the business will take care of itself from there.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, I'll link to all that in the show notes to this episode of thesalesmanpodcast.com. And with that Richard, want to thank you for your time. You're very humble in these conversations and I appreciate that. You're very open and honest about it, so that goes a long way to build credibility and rapport with me, so that means a lot mate. And with that one, a thank you for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Richard Harris:

Thank you. It was awesome.

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