Uncovering Buyer Needs (How To Close Sales Easier!)

Misha has over 20 years of experience in tech sales and has built sales enablement programs for companies like Mixpanel, Yammer (acquired by Microsoft), Yahoo!, Monster, and more.

On this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Misha explains the step-by-step process to uncover your buyer's needs so that you can close bigger deals, faster.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Misha McPherson
Tech Sales Expert

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Do you struggle to get your buyers to buy in to what you're selling? Well, this episode will show you how to uncover their real business needs so it becomes a no brainer. Keep watching to find out how.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation, I'm Will Barron host of The Salesman podcast, the world's biggest B2B sales show were we help you not just hit your sales target, we help you thrive in sales. On today's show, we have Misha McPherson. She is CEO of HumbleGrit Sales. She is a SaaS and Enterprise B2B sales expert. On today's show we're diving into how to uncover the real buying needs of your customers and potential customers. And so, with that all said, let's jump right in. Misha, welcome to The Salesman podcast.

 

Misha McPherson:

Thank you. I'm so happy to be here today.

 

Is Uncovering Business Needs the First Step to Be Successful in Sales? · [00:50] 

 

Will Barron:

I'm happy to have you on. So we're going to dive into uncovering the business needs and just the general needs as well. Because I guess we'll get down to a personal level as we go through this conversation. But first off, are there any high level overarching business needs that everyone we speak to when we're selling a product or service that they have, even if, I guess, they don't realise that they have?

 

“One of the things that we often forget as salespeople is that every single person has been brought into a company to do a specific job. And so, with those specific jobs, there are specific needs that need to be met. So whether you're talking to a CEO or down to a VP or down to a Director or down to an end user, everybody is there in order to produce results. So it's really about uncovering what results they need to produce.” – Misha McPherson · [01:11] 

 

Misha McPherson:

So I think that one of the things that we always have that we often forget as sales people is that every single person has been brought into a company to do a specific job. Right? And so, with those specific jobs, there are specific needs that need to be met. So whether you're talking to a CEO or down to a VP or down to a Director or down to an end user, everybody is there in order to produce results. It's really, it's about uncovering what results they need to produce.

 

How to Uncover Your Buyer’s Main Job and Use Your Solution to Make Their Job Easier · [01:37] 

 

Will Barron:

That, so blow mind already, because that is a question that I feel, maybe there's a way we can word it and we can work through this. But if we can ask a potential customer that we know who can benefit from our product, essentially, what they're there for, it tells us the one direct metric that we can perhaps help them with, if that makes sense. How would we go about asking someone that question without being as blunt as why are you here?

 

Misha McPherson:

One of my favourite things that I like to look at when I'm talking to somebody is how long they've been at the company. Because that is something that gives me some very specific direction. My favourite people to sell to are people who've been at the company for six months or less. Because especially if they're a Director or above and they've been there for six months or below, they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. They have something, they need to show why specifically they were hired.

 

Misha McPherson:

So when going into those types of discovery questions, I think, first of all, it's really important to understand what each one of these roles do. You need to know your buyer so that you know typically what that type of buyer typically what they're being judged upon. Then you can ask a very specific question that relates to one of those criteria. I think it's important not to be generic here because we don't want them to think that we're just a random person off the street who doesn't know their business. We want them to know as soon as possible that we actually know their business as well as they do.

 

Using Sales Tools to Uncover the Right Time and the Right Person to Sell To · [03:10] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay, so we're going to come back onto knowing the buyer, if there's any processes, especially if there's new sales people listening in a new vertical, or even seasoned people in a new regional area or new vertical, we'll come to that in a second. But something you said, and we're going to sidetrack away from the gist of the conversation here for a second, but I think it's really important and it could be really valuable for the audience, and that is, do you have a process or some way of monitoring when someone gets into a new role; when they're in that six month period where they've got a chip on the shoulder, because that kind of trigger event is clearly super valuable data that makes a lot of this, make a lot more sense when we're having these conversations?

 

Misha McPherson:

We're in a really fascinating time because there's more and more technology that is there to help us with things exactly like that. So every company's going to have a different sales tech stack that they have. But one of the ones that I really like is Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator's been around for a while now. It's a fairly easy one. I think it's one of those questions to ask if you're at a larger company, especially make sure that you're going back to your sales ops team or your sales enablement team, and specifically ask which tools they have are putting in place for that. If you don't have access to a sales ops team, or you don't have access to the tools, the easiest thing to do is actually just use LinkedIn, even on the free level. Just to have a quick little glance at how long this person has been at that company.

 

Will Barron:

Does this translate then for someone perhaps who has been at a company for 10 years, should we, is a smarter question to ask perhaps rather than what are your goals, would it be a smart question to ask: what are your goals this quarter? Or, what's come up in the past six months that is more important than all the rest of the stuff that you just do day-to-day?

 

Misha McPherson:

Absolutely. I think one of the things that makes us stand out as sales people is when we make sure that we're changing the question based on the person we're talking to. It's not even just this quarter. It's the beginning of their fiscal year or their end of their fiscal year. Bringing that up, I think, is really important. If they're end of the quarter, bringing up that. Different types of orgs are going to have different types of deadlines. So if you're selling, if you are a salesperson selling into sales, obviously, they are going to be very much tied, most likely to a quarterly number or a monthly number and an annual number. If it's going to be marketing, it's probably a little bit more drawn out. So, making sure that you really understand, if you're selling to engineering, when are those big changes? How long are they working on these projects? So that your question can be not generic and very specific to that buyer.

 

How to Use Assumptive Questions to Uncover the Buyer’s Real Needs · [05:48] 

 

Will Barron:

Do we need to go into a discovery conversation with some assumptions? Because it seems like a balance here between having some assumptions that shows that you are knowledgeable within your space. It makes you stand out versus someone who comes in with load of horrible questions that puts everyone's backs up and shows you that you've not made any effort whatsoever. But it seems to be a balance, say, between assumptions and then having a bespoke solution or a bespoke plan. Or you said something here, that I've jotted down, but I can't read my own handwriting on, of specific, being specific to their job. Nothing to do with your product, getting it nailed down to them. How do we get that balance and how much assumption do we need to ask better questions?

 

Misha McPherson:

First of all, the best sales people that I know, the ones that just, they hit their number every single quarter, the ones that are just, who are this is a craft for them, it's not just a job, they typically are fairly paranoid. I think that's a really good thing to be paranoid. You should know as much as you can possibly know about the verticals that you're selling into, the industries that you're selling into, the types of buyers. Nerd out on it like it's your job because it is.

 

“Your job is not to impress your buyer with how much you know. They don't care. They really don't. The point of knowing so much about the buyer and the industry and the companies and all of this stuff is so that when you come to the table and you can start having that conversation, the tone of the conversation is very much an expert talking to an expert. Not some annoying salesperson who is calling to ask a bunch of questions because somebody told them to ask those questions.” – Misha McPherson · [07:12] 

 

Misha McPherson:

But then I think the hard part, the trick to it is your job is not to impress your buyer with how much you know. They don't care. They really, really don't. The point of knowing so much about the buyer and the industry is and the companies and all of this stuff, the point to it is so that when you come to the table and you can start having that conversation, the tone of the conversation is very different. The tone of the conversation is very much an expert talking to an expert, not some annoying salesperson who is calling to ask a bunch of questions because somebody told them to ask those questions. So I think that there is very much a balance, and I think where especially people who are just getting started using this type of technique where you have to be really careful is not showing off all of that knowledge that you have built up, but using it much more specifically to ask questions that the buyer cares about.

 

Keys to Coming Off as the Expert in Whatever You Sell · [08:08] 

 

Will Barron:

I'm going to ask this and I hope I know where you'd go with it, but I'm going to ask it just for clarity for the audience and to make this clear for them, is this tone of being an expert, not necessarily a thought leader, but maybe a thought leader with an entire little kind of vertical, so for me, medical devices. I probably knew more about urology endoscopy products, more than anyone else in New Yorkshire because I'd worked for both of the leading competitors. So the surgeons knew that they could call me with their problems and I'd doubt them, whatever the product was, if I could get them on the phone and if I could kind of send them a plan solution or talk them through something. So when I say thought leader, I mean super micro mega niche thought leader. So, we're trying to build that tone. Is it a perceived tone of being an expert or is it a genuine tone of you are a damn expert in this field because you've worked damn hard to build all that knowledge over the time.

 

“It's really important to like what you sell. If you're selling something and you realise at the end of the day you really don't care about it, it's time to start looking for the next job. Because it's going to be so much harder for you to become an expert in something if you don't care about it.” – Misha McPherson · [09:19] 

 

Misha McPherson:

First of all, and I think it's hard too, right, because how do you get to that level of expertise? You yourself probably worked, it took you a long time to get that knowledge and to get that expertise. So a couple of points and one of the points is going to sound like it's going off on a tangent and it's not. I think this is one of the reasons why it's really important to like what you sell. If you're selling something and you realise at the end of the day you really don't care about it, it's time to start looking for the next job because it's going to be so much harder for you to become an expert in something if you don't care about it.

 

Misha McPherson:

Then as far as perception versus real, I think is the more real you can make it, the better. Initially when you're first getting into a role, and I think this is an area where it's important to ask questions that you genuinely are curious about because you're not just selling them, you're also learning. You're learning about their business. You're learning about those types of buyers. I think it's absolutely valid and okay to ask good questions that will help you learn those things. Then over time as you become an expert, I think it's okay to also show that you actually really do know your stuff and share that stuff with them. You might indeed know it better than they do. And what a valuable conversation it is to have with somebody who really knows their business.

 

The Most Common Mistake Salespeople Make During the Discovery Process · [10:25] 

 

Will Barron:

So as we go through these discovery questions and the discovery process, where in the context of the sales process as a whole does this come? Is it right at the beginning? Is this what we do to open any potential objections and then we never come back to it? Is it an ongoing process? How do we manage these questions that we're asking?

 

“The best sales reps don't look at discovery as a stage in the sales process. The best ones do it throughout the entire process.” – Misha McPherson · [11:28] 

 

Misha McPherson:

I love that question. Because I feel like this is an area where a lot of people make a mistake. Once again, the truly paranoid sales reps don't make this mistake. Discovery is something that happens from the very begin beginning to the very end. When you're getting ready to get that contract signed, you're probably, the best ones they're still doing, they're still asking a lot of questions. They're still uncovering potential roadblocks to the deal. They're still understanding before if there's a CSM involved or a post sales team. They're still identifying what things that post sales team is going to work on. The best sales reps don't look at discovery as a stage in the sales process. The best ones do it throughout the entire process.

 

Will Barron:

There may not be an answer to this, but is there any data on that shows that or is that anecdotal?

 

Misha McPherson:

Oh, I'm sure that there is. I can't tell you off the top of my head what that data looks like, but I have zero doubt that it has been researched quite a bit.

 

How to Know If You’ve Uncovered the Most Pressing Buyer Need · [12:27] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay, awesome. Right. So if we are going into a meeting and we know that we can solve a problem, we know that from our external research that there's perhaps some kind of trigger event, someone's moved organisations so that they're hot to make their mark. We know that they've got the budget. They've just spent this or they've had funding or something to come in. All the band kind of questions have all been answered. And we sit down opposite someone … and we can use this from two contexts from perhaps someone in the C suite and end user as well. We'll see what the difference is between what their needs are. How do we know when we've actually hit the right need and not the fact that they've just told us what we want to hear? Then two, how do we know when to shut the hell up? Because we've done it. We've got to that point and we don't need to ask any more questions. Because after a certain point in time, you're just sucking their meeting time and their day away from them, right?

 

Misha McPherson:

I loved this so much. One of my reps used to put himself on mute. If it was a phone call, he would put himself on mute after he would ask a question to make sure that he didn't keep going. I love that. So as far as how do we uncover that we really truly have the right need? This is an interesting ride because it's going to depend a little bit on what you're selling and who you're selling it to and all of that stuff. But as a general rule of thumb, what we're looking for is the greatest need that they have that we can solve for. So, more junior reps will make this mistake. They're just looking looking for anything. Like, I just want them to be interested.

 

“We need to make sure that this is a problem that is worth them solving. If it's not worth them solving it, they're not going to put any money into it. If they're not going to put any money into it, there's no reason for them to have this conversation with us.” – Misha McPherson · [14:06] 

 

Misha McPherson:

Them being interested is not enough. We need a problem that we can solve, that we're really good at. That when we look at case studies and we look at our own use cases and we understand that we actually truly solve this problem for them without leading the witness to it. So what are all of the different triggers that lead to that problem that we can really identify? What is the cost of problem that we can solve for? I think that sounds very general, but it's a very basic thing that people often miss. We need to make sure that this is a problem that is worth them solving. If it's not worth them solving it, they're not going to put any money into it. If they're not going to put any money into it, there's no reason for them to have this conversation with us.

 

Is the Problem You’re Trying to Solve Something Your Buyer Actually Cares About? · [14:14] 

 

Will Barron:

Again, it seems like a simple question, but I imagine it's quite profound, the answer to it, how do we know whether it's a problem that is worth them solving? Because from the context of as a salesperson, we think the problem that we solve, because we are indoctrinated by the company that we work for, that we're the greatest freaking thing of all time. How do we know whether that is actually a problem that they care about, we can help them care about and shine a light on it, and they do actually care about it? If that makes sense.

 

Misha McPherson:

There are so many different techniques and tactics to use on this one. What has worked for me, and everybody's going to have a slightly different way of doing this, but what has worked for me is to simply ask. So if you don't solve this problem, what are the consequences? You can play around with it in tone. You can make it either more aggressive or less aggressive. For me, typically when I'm getting to that question, I don't want them to be defensive. I want us to be both on the same side of the table. I want us to understand that we are solving a problem that they have. I don't want to waste time if it's not a problem they actually are interested in solving right now.

 

Misha McPherson:

My tone on that tends to be fairly conversational. I might even say upfront, I'm trying to understand your priorities, because if this is a lower priority, this is something that maybe we can talk about later. If this is a higher priority, we need to take care of this today. But yeah, it's very conversational. It's very matter of fact and blunt. What is the consequence of not solving this? What's going to stand in your way of solving it? Because every question should be followed by another question. What are the other organisations within your company that need to be involved in solving it? Do they have different priorities that are going to prevent us from solving it?

 

Misha McPherson:

So making sure that it's not just one question, but it's multiple questions, one rolling into the other that are going to uncover how big of a priority it is. Is this something that's already been identified as something that needs to be solved for? Who else is going to be in the decision-making process? Really, what are those walls that we're going into?

 

How to Deal With Difficult Prospects and Uncover Their Needs · [16:30] 

 

Will Barron:

I'm going to paint a picture here that won't happen every time, but I've definitely faced it. I'm using my language carefully here, and maybe I shouldn't. What do we do if we're opposite someone who is a bit of a job's worth, a bit of an idiot. The company could massively benefit from using our product to service, but we, and we take responsibility for this, we can't influence them, we can't help them see that the problem is there. We can't help … again, they're an idiot, but it's our fault. Well, let's frame it like that. We can't help them get over that. What are the options then? Is it worth trying to go around them? Is it worth going over them? Is it just a lost cause? Does it just mean that we've not done our job well enough, we need to spend more time, have another meeting? How do we deal with that scenario?

 

Misha McPherson:

So the first thing that I would do is, the first thing I'm going to say, and I love the language that you're using because they probably are being an idiot. But the first thing for us actually to do is to check ourselves. Are they actually being an idiot or are they just not telling us what we want to hear? That's number one. Are we actually understanding why they are pushing back on this? Have we actually uncovered, maybe there's another priority that's on fire right now. And yes, while we could help them, it's not going to see the light of day until that priority is solved. That's one. So let's check ourself and make sure that we are actually really listening to our buyer and understand their need. But we go through that. We figure out that there's no other priorities that are on fire. They're just being an idiot on it. Then yes, go around. That is the time to start looking at who are the other people who would actually be involved in it.

 

Misha McPherson:

Once again. And I know I keep harping on knowing your buyer, but it's such an important thing. It could be that the reason why they don't understand it is because you're not talking about the things that actually impact them. So for example, if you are selling a product that helps you, that involves data reports, there are going to be two different types of problems. There's going to be the person who's reading the reports and who might not understand that the data that they have is often incorrect. Then there's the user, the person who actually runs those reports, who actually understands why it's so difficult to get the data correct. So you're going to have two very different conversations with those people based on how they're using that issue. They have different problems and the person who's just reading their report might think that they don't need it because they don't understand that 80% of their data's wrong. Right?

 

Will Barron:

Sorry to interrupt. This just came to mind. We've done quite a few shows recently on artificial intelligence, things like this, sales stacks technology. I've done quite a few shows on the fact, and we kind of touched on it before we clicked record, that I very firmly believe that transactional sales will just dissipate. It'll be a Facebook bot. Within a very short period of time, that'll take those roles away from actual people.

 

Will Barron:

But as we're talking about this, and I thought it was just worth highlighting then, what you're describing, and maybe this is what you'd call like a multi-threaded approach to going into an account or an account-based selling approach, this would be very difficult for any bot AI to replicate because maybe the need on paper is obvious and, how to describe it, t can be quantified. But a need for an actual person that you're corresponding with, you're going back and forth with is very different. Then you add not just one layer of complexity in over 50,000 layers of complexity. When Bob wants this and Gillum wants something else, and they're the end user. They're not even the end buyer that we've got to get in front of and build trust and rapport with and show that we can see the project all the way through.

 

Want to Have a Longer Sales Career? Focus on Skills That AI and Bots Simply Cannot Do · [20:24] 

 

Will Barron:

Just to go on a tangent for a second, Misha, is this something that we should be encouraging or is this something that we should be seeking out as salespeople? Roles that are complex, that do require lots of moving parts, because they're the roles that will literally be around in 10 years from now.

 

Misha McPherson:

Absolutely. And for multiple reasons, I mean, one, I think you're onto a very, very good point. These will be the roles that you can never have a bot to do. This is not something that a computer's going to take over. So I agree with that completely. I also just think it's a lot more fun. Just picking up the phone and giving them a price and closing it up, it's good work. But it's not fun. It will excite you for a year, but that after a while you realise that you are doing the job that a computer can do. I think it's so much more interesting to really think about how you help an entire organisation work together. I think one of the biggest problems that we're facing today is that it's much harder for buyers to buy and we actually have the opportunity to coach them through that. So it's not about using these slimy techniques and being that kind of that cheesy used car sales person. It's about being very much a business partner who's coaching them through their buying process.

 

It’s Much Harder For Buyers to Buy in the Internet Age. Why is That? · [21:45] 

 

Will Barron:

Why is it harder to buy now? I think I know we're going to go with this, but I'll tee it up even further. The fact that there's so much content out there, there's comparisons, pricing is a lot more public, gate people, salespeople aren't the gatekeepers to all this information anymore. We don't have that kind of ace in the hand of, we'll give you this huge discount, we'll do this. Why is it harder to buy now, considering all that is kind of open on the internet?

 

Misha McPherson:

I think there's several things. I mean, so first of all, we, obviously we know that it's so much easier for buyers to get information and they are just, it's an overwhelming amount of information that they have to go through. So, there's that? I think there's other things as well, though. I think that work cultures have become much more collaborative and there is a much greater importance on, do we have buy in from all of the different groups who are going to be impacted by this product or solution coming in?

 

Misha McPherson:

I think having that more collaborative nature by its very nature makes it much more difficult for buyers to buy. I think the amount of competitive companies that are coming into this space is outstanding. It's so much cheaper to build a company today and get it off the ground. You don't need millions of dollars to get a product started, which means that we have a tonne of competitors that are walking into the space and they're not very good at differentiating themselves. It's hard for us to differentiate ourselves without using buzzwords, and that makes it really hard for our buyers to understand what makes one product different from the other.

 

Will Barron:

I mean, and I'll leave it with this on that point, if you look at The Salesman podcast and what we're building here, we get over 600,000 audio downloads a month. I think we're out 100,000 views on YouTube a month and probably over 100,000 on Facebook. This set that we're in now, I've been working with a guy, without boring the heads off everyone listening, working on a guy to get the colours right and all, and he's a TV engineer and he's actually used these monitors on different production sets in the real world rather than the spare bedroom of this flat that I'm in. He's kind of talked me through them in getting the light set up and the cameras and it's all balanced, and now the video's going to look 10 times better than it ever has. Done.

 

Will Barron:

If you tried to do all this 10 years ago to have a set that is in this with these kind of cameras and 4K footage as well, you'd be into the millions. Whereas, I've done it from … I'm not trying to humble brag here at all, but I've done it from nothing. With living in my mates' flat two and a half years ago to moving out to then to bigger place, to the bigger place, and now we're looking at having an actual studio space of all this and more. Just to kind of quantify the fact that almost any industry, you can have unlimited competition because almost anyone with the right skill set can instantly build a company, instantly get attention, which has never been possible before with the internet. So the competition element of this is only going to get more and more crazier over the years to come.

 

Discovery Resistance in Complex B2B Deals · [24:47] 

 

Will Barron:

With that Misha, I want to ask you something specifically here and I think this is going to be really valuable for the audience. How does the discovery process change as it gets more complex? What I mean by that is you speak to Sally, the end user, and she wants more time. If you use the data example you used before, she's sick of getting really crappy data that she struggles to do her job with. So we can solve that data problem because we're selling a CRM, for example. Then, that's one level complexity. Then we speak to Jane, the CEO of the company. She obviously has different needs and less on the, how accurate the data is and more on the big picture, how she can expand market share and things like that. So, she has that.

 

Will Barron:

Then this is, I've never really thought about this, but you added this layer of complexity to it as well. Perhaps a buying group as a whole has different needs, right? Because the swapping and changing the group to proceed needs to know that across the whole board, everyone is happy. Everyone's happy the cost of change is going to be appropriate. So that's another layer of complexity. How does the discovery questions and maybe how we document this, how we project it back to the customer, how does all that change as we go from just pleasing one person and doing a deal to having to please 6.7 people to do a big corporate deal?

 

Misha McPherson:

First of all, making sure that you're asking the appropriate discovery questions, which by the way gets really hard when you have a bunch of them in the same room together. As soon as you have a bunch of them, you still at the same time have to make sure that you're asking that user level those types of user level discovery questions, and that person who owns a budget, the types of question that she actually cares about. So making sure that you are asking questions that first of all, you know why you're asking them. That sounds so simple, but how many sales reps actually look at their questions before they jump on the call and make sure that they actually understand why they're asking those questions in the first place?

 

Will Barron:

Sorry to interrupt. Just on that. Is there a rule that we should only ask questions that do X or Y? If that makes sense. Is there a, we should only ask a question if it, for example, we should only ask a question if it moves the sales forward? That's not a good example, but is there a rule that we adjudicate and judge some of our questions with?

 

Misha McPherson:

I do like to have a general journey. We have a journey of questions that are leading us to make sure that we understand everything that we need to know. That we understand all the hurdles. We understand all the players. We understand that we are essentially moving the deal forward. So that I do believe in that as a whole. Do all questions have to lead to that? Absolutely not. Because as soon as you do that, you become a used car sales person. You become somebody who's not genuinely curious about that person, and you're going to miss something. So, journey. I like the journey. So that from the beginning of the call to the end of the call, we are going on a very specific path. But then little deviations here and there to answer the things that we might not have even thought about.

 

Will Barron:

That makes all sense. I guess that is, perhaps your rapport building questions, or like we're going back and forth and I try and do this with the audience. I'll not keep it totally on track. I'll try and throw as one way or the other, because that then re-gets the attention. I know when I listen to podcasts, if it's do X, Y, Z, 1, 2, 3, I'd rather read it in a blog post. Perhaps it's less engaging.

 

Misha McPherson:

Just bullet points.

 

The Structure of a Well Documented Discovery Process · [28:31] 

 

Will Barron:

And bullet points are useful. Then you need a another four podcast to go into each of the bullet points and now it gets difficult to follow at that point. With that then Misha, how do we document some of this? Because if we know that Sally wants to expand market share, our CRM is going to give her sales team the data to go after the customers to do that. If we can write that in some kind of document, whether it's an email or if it's, “Hey, Sally, you said this,” you said, I asked you the question of what's the biggest problem that we could solve and we agreed that we could solve it, and you said that we could do this. It's going to make you money. It's going to reduce sales, turnover of staff, whatever it is. That's clearly in a written document, “You said this, you agreed,” is crazy powerful.

 

Will Barron:

So how do we document this as we go through? Is there an end product that for a big corporate sale that we should be putting together? Some kind of documentation of we've ticked all these boxes, there's no reason not to move forward, I guess, is the kind of paperwork that I'm looking for.

 

Misha McPherson:

There's two things. First of all, I do love the email. By the way, even if you get it wrong, I feel like sometimes reps don't want to do the email because they might have misheard something. I once spent … there was somebody who was trying to sell me. He sent me an email and he got it completely wrong. Do you know? I ended up spending a half an hour on that email. Half an hour. I was late to a meeting. My undivided time was spent on correcting the information that he sent me. So, not that you should send people wrong information, but even if you send it wrong, they're more likely to actually engage with you. So I love the emails that have the follow up very short bullet points.

 

Misha McPherson:

I've seen multiple ways to have a working document that goes down the entire process. I love those. I've seen them as simple as on a Google doc. The reason why I love them, the best ones are not just the sales rep writing it down. The best ones are, it's a mutual experience between the salesperson and the buyer where both people are responsible for certain things. One of the things, one of the ways to figure out if you're telling to the right person is can they actually get things done?

 

Misha McPherson:

If they can't get things done, if they don't want to get things done, that says something about the actual buyer. So this is a very early way to begin that process of, we are going to have a collaborative effort and whatever technology you're using for it, that is going to share with them where we are in the process. And this was the date that we agreed upon. Once we've decided that this is this a problem that they have to solve for, this is the date that we need to have it solved by. Once we start getting closer to that date, it helps us increase the urgency of actually closing the deal, because it was the date that they gave us. It's a much better process when we are engaged together.

 

How to Get Your Buyer to Be Invested in Your Selling Process · [31:17] 

 

Will Barron:

Should we always have, and we'll wrap up with this, should we always have a action that we give to the person that we're dealing with? In the meeting we ask a question that we know they're going to have to do some research for, they're going to have to make an introduction. We purposefully engineer that in, so that, I guess it gives us two things. It gives us an opportunity to follow up of, “Hey Sally, have you introduced me to Barb? Or can you get this data, which I need to plug into my calculations?” Is that something that we should consciously put into our communications so that we've got both a follow up, and then I guess we're getting them invested into the process as we ask for information, data, instructions, whatever it is, after the meeting itself.

 

Misha McPherson:

Yes, with one caveat. The one caveat, as long as it's a true thing that we need them to do. It's not making them busy just for busy sake is not going to help us move. The reason why I say that, it seems very obvious. But for anybody who is newer into sales, I see them do things like this. They're not thinking about how busy that buyer is. Right? And so, we do have to take that. By the way, if the buyer's not busy, I wonder if we're selling to the right person. We want to sell to somebody who's probably pretty, who is packed. But yes, yes, 100%, as long as there is a purpose for it and as long as we have a strategy for why we're asking them to do that thing,

 

Misha’s Advice to Her Younger Self on How to Become Better at Sales · [32:41] 

 

Will Barron:

Amazing. The way said that then Misha was that there was a clear example that popped up into your mind. I won't grill you as to what it was, but you're like, “with one caveat. This is it. I've seen this before. I've either given or had this recommendation.” So you could tell me off the air perhaps what that mistake was from this new rep. But with that, I've got one final question for you. We've wrapped up all the shows we've ever done. That is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be one piece of advice you'd give her to help her become better at selling?

 

Misha McPherson:

Oh, that's a great question. I think that the one piece of advice that I would give myself is network one new salesperson a week and ask what their best practises are. When I was early in my sales career, I very much, I focused on figuring it out myself. I read books. I listened to things. I studied. But there is so much to learn from the people around you. So that's what I would've done differently. One person a week for coffee.

 

Will Barron:

If anyone listening to this now who's driving on the way to perhaps an office environment where they could literally be around the salespeople, would you suggest going to the top salesperson who's asking them for a coffee and go asking them. What would you ask them? Is it, what is your sales process? What would you say on the phone? Where'd you go with this? Is there any specifics in a 15-minute meeting that you'd want to pull out of that high performing individual?

 

Misha McPherson:

As small of a topic as humanly possible so that we can go deep in the weeds on it, and something that I was currently struggling with. So for example, I just want to go through your favourite discovery questions. I just want to go through. You sell to marketing all the time, I'm about to start selling to marketing, teach me about selling to marketing. So it's one question. Just one thing that you can go super in the weeds to. I wish I had done that. [inaudible 00:34:31]

 

Parting Thoughts · [34:45] 

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, with that Misha, you've got a bootcamp coming up in London over here in the beautiful and rainy U.K. As I look out the window, weather's terrible. So tell us a little bit about the bootcamp, where we can find more about it and what's going on there.

 

Misha McPherson:

I'm very excited to come to the U.K. with my partner as well. Sassy Sales Management, we have different programmes that help different groups. Matt Cameron will be there with his group that's supporting frontline sales managers. Managers who are managers for the first time and are trying to grow out their organisation, it's the best sales manager training that programme I've ever sat through. Then I'm joining him as well, and I'm doing a programme purely on sales enablement. So, for companies that are trying to figure out their own sales enablement strategy, how do you build onboarding and ongoing programmes, things like that. It's April 23rd and 24th and would love to see some good people there.

 

Will Barron:

I will link to both of them in the show notes to this episode over at salesman.org. But are there any specific links you want to share as well for anyone who wants to go directly to them?

 

Misha McPherson:

Yes, I will shoot those links over to you.

 

Will Barron:

Perfect.

 

Misha McPherson:

[crosstalk 00:35:38].

 

Will Barron:

Sorry, go on.

 

Misha McPherson:

But if you go to sassysalesmanagement.com, you can also see the invite's on there.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. I said I'll link to all that and everything we talked about and some notes as well in this episode. Show notes over at salesman.org. All right, Misha, I want to thank you for your time. I want to thank you for covering a lot of ground in this one. I appreciate the back and forth and the tangents. It's awesome. With that, I want to thank you for joining us on The Salesman podcast.

 

Misha McPherson:

Thank you.

 

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