Why EPIC Customer Service Is a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE!

Adrian Swinscoe is a customer experience consultant and advisor and has been growing and developing customer-focused large and small businesses for 20 years.

On this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Adrian shares why “customer service” can be a unique and powerful competitive advantage for B2B sales professionals.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Adrian Swinscoe
Customer Experience Consultant

Resources:

Transcript

Adrian Swinscoe:

About 60% of your customers will have already made up their mind who they want to buy from before they've even either picked up the phone, arranged a meeting, or sent you an email. Ignoring that, not paying attention to that, not thinking about how they can get involved with that in some sort of way is a mistake.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation. I'm Will Barron, host of The Salesman Podcast, world's biggest B2B sales show, where we help you not just hit your sales targets, but really thrive in sales. Let's meet today's guest.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

My name is Adrian Swinscoe. I am an advisor, consultant, speaker, writer, researcher, call me what you will really, sort of a rummager arounderer, if you like, in all things to do with service and experience.

 

The Place For Services and Experience in the B2B Sales Cycle · [00:58] 

 

Will Barron:

In this episode with Adrian, we uncover why giving some attention to the experience, to customer service as a B2B sales professional allows you to separate yourself from the competition and importantly, in the internet age, build trust at a distance. Let's jump right in. Where along the sales cycle for a B2B sales professional, where does service and experience come into it? Does this happen at the end when we close the deal or does it come in somewhere else?

 

“60% of your customers will have already made up their mind on who they want to buy from before they've even either picked up the phone, arranged a meeting, or sent you an email.” Adrian Swinscoe · [01:28]

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

It's the whole thing, right? I don't know, I can't remember the exact source, but there's a piece of research that was done. And I think it still holds today and it's particularly true of B2B sort of markets. It says that about 60% of your customers will have already made up their mind who they want to buy from before they've even either picked up the phone, arranged a meeting, or sent you an email. So that tells you where this kind of weight is.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

And yet, I struggle with the idea that, you think about the sales profession, a lot of the time sales people don't necessarily acknowledge that or actually spend their time thinking about that or where the customer is, or their customer is, prior to that initial point of contact, whether that's precipitated by them or by their customer. And so ignoring that, not paying attention to that, not thinking about how they can get involved with that in some sort of way is a mistake, but also a huge, huge opportunity.

 

Creating The Perfect Buyer Experience For The Informed Buyer · [02:26] 

 

Will Barron:

How does this change things when buyers are making decisions before they picked up the phone or getting far along the buying cycle and doing their own research before they pick up the phone, how does that change things from an experience standpoint?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Well, you think about the traditional sales kind of cycle, particularly in B2B, and the people will have their meeting. And then they'll go in and they'll go, “Here's what we're going to do. This is our product or service. Here's all the features and the benefits,” and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I'm pretty sure it's probably a common piece of experience that many salespeople have had in their lives where they'll be faced with this new prospect, and then they'll start going into all the detail around their products. And then they'll see the customer's eyes roll into the back of the heads. And they're going, “Oh my God, I'm doing something wrong.”

 

“When you try to educate the customer on stuff they already know because they've done the research, what you're actually doing is you haven't understood where the customer is at, you're making yourself look foolish, making them look foolish, and you're wasting time, both yours and theirs. I mean, that's almost the worst thing that we can do.” – Adrian Swinscoe · [03:15]

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

It's because actually, what they're doing is they're almost trying to educate the customer on stuff they already know because they've done the research, right? And so actually what you're doing is you end up, you haven't understood where the customer is at. You're making yourself look foolish, make them to look foolish because you haven't understood the context on where they're at on the cycle. And you're wasting time, both yours and theirs. I mean, that's almost the worst thing that we can do.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Think about it this way. Think about how we feel when we've made an appointment to see somebody. You're going to meet somebody on a street corner or something to go to the public, or you're on a date or whatever and somebody's late. Now, whether it's 10 minutes or a 50 minutes or even just five minutes, that waiting around for somebody who's late and just a waste of time, that's the sort of feeling that you're generating in your customer, your new prospect. They sit there kind of twiddling their thumbs, just going, “Can we just get to the proper bit?”

 

“You have to understand where your customer is at in their buying journey when you start to engage with them. And just to assume that you can start from zero is a complete mistake.” Adrian Swinscoe · [04:17] 

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I think that something to keep in mind is that you have to understand where your customer is at when you start to engage with them. And just to assume that you can start from zero is a complete mistake.

 

Salespeople Must Understand That Great Customer Experience is a Strategic Play · [04:30] 

 

Will Barron:

This might seem like a real dumb question to ask, but I'm going to ask it anyway because I think there's perhaps, potentially, some misconceptions here. Is great customer service, great customer experience, is this a strategic play as you just outlined then, Adrian, of we need to rather think of where we need to be, what we need to say and put ourselves in the customer's position?

 

Will Barron:

Is it a strategic play on that front or, and I'm going to flippantly do this to exaggerate the point, is it picking up the phone with a big smile on our face or giving a great handshake and welcoming people when we meet them, is it a strategic play, and especially in the B2B space, or is it something more lighthearted, like being happy when you're on the phone with people?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I think it's both. It has to be both. I mean, I think the thing is that I think, so as sales people, yes, sales people, whether they're… There was a typical sort of way of characterising people were hunters or farmers or both. You have to think about that if you want to nurture and develop this ecosystem, an environment that's going to attract leads into you, not just all be about yourself, then that's more a strategic sort of thing. But actually, it's the same thing as when a customer that is doing some research lands at your website, that the first impressions really count. And it's the same when you're meeting somebody either face to face or you're sending them an email or you're speaking to them on the phone. All of these little things matter.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Here's the thing I think about service and experience is that it is not made up of one massive thing. It's made up of a thousand little things. And that's the point is like, that's where everybody can take the opportunity and the responsibility to look for areas where they can improve and where also, the company can improve. And it doesn't need to be a big bang thing. It could be actually, here's a whole bunch of little things that I can develop or I can help the company develop. And that's just going to raise the bar for everybody.

 

The First Step to Creating Great Customer Experience in B2B Sales · [06:41]

 

Will Barron:

For the B2B salesperson who's listening to this and for context, they're probably doing a lot of email outreach, then getting on the phone. Then for me, I'd be seeing my customers in medical device sales. I'd be driving over to whatever hospital and sitting down with them and going into things with them. So there's multiple layers here of potential to add to the experience of things. So in that context, Adrian, where should we start? What is the starting point of all of this?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

If I think about myself personally, so I guess I'm a B2B salesman because I'm selling myself, right? And I primarily work with businesses and therefore, it's business to business, my business to their business. And the thing that I always like start with is if I get an inquiry or get an introduction or something, that the thing that's furthest from my mind is actually the sale and the number and the timeframe right at the very, very beginning.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

For example, say you sent me an email that says, “Hey, Adrian, I've spoken to, say, Susan and Susan told me that you did these kind of workshops for her. And they were great. And we're thinking about some similar sort of stuff in our organisation, but we're not sure kind of thing. It would be great to have a chat.” And I'd be like, “Fantastic. I'd love to have a chat and learn a bit more about what you're trying to do.” You do that by the phone and then just see if there's a bit of chemistry sort of thing. And then if that works, then you maybe send them a bit more information, still not selling, just giving them more information. But I'm also happy to come over and see you.

 

“You can have a crappy relationship and a great product, but I'm pretty sure that's never going to work. But you can also have a great relationship and a poor product, and it's probably going to be a much better result. Even better if you've got a great relationship and a great product, that’s where it all explodes.” Adrian Swinscoe · [08:27] 

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Then you end up the whites of the eyes, and you're still focused on the relationship because that's the thing, I think, powers everything. Because you can have a crappy relationship and a great product, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to work. But you can also have a great relationship and a meh kind of product, and it's probably going to be a much, much better result. Even better if you've got great relationship and a great product, and then you go, boom. Right?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

But actually, the point is in all of this is it's not about you, it's about them. And it's about your bond with them, and that is the thing that you're building this foundation of trust and understanding that then allows you to build on in future. And that's something that's going to build on delivery of a deal, but also future deals as well, because they're more likely to refer you on to other people.

 

Will Barron:

I've got a similar approach when I'm reaching out to get brands to sponsor the podcast. So I only have to reach out once or twice a year. Then that typically fills the inventory that we have because we've got people who come on regularly that Salesforce, HubSpot, LeadiQ, brands like this come with us multiple times a year.

 

Building Great Relationships With Clients is Never About You · [09:35]

 

Will Barron:

The best email that I've ever sent, and it's almost the only email that I send at the moment, is along the lines of what you just described where it's me outreaching to them of, “Hey, I've seen on your website, this sucks, this is great. This is this. I've built this kind of podcast audience with very little fund… well, no funding, but very little kind of ad spend. I'd love to see if any of the things I've learned over the past three or four years, I can help you with.” That will lead to probably almost a hundred percent reply rate. And the only people who don't reply typically reply to that second or third email because in the first one, they assume that I'm after something. Because most people are after something even when they send an email to us, even though I'm not.

 

Will Barron:

I'll then send that second, third email, almost a hundred percent reply rate at this point. I'll then get on the phone and do what you just described of I'll just give them as much knowledge, as much effort, as much investigation. I'll go back off, I'll make introductions. A bunch of them, they'll end up coming on the podcast or someone from the organisation will. They see then that, oh, our blog got a thousand views on that particular day that the podcast went live, and then it's them trying to push money on me because they want to secure the one or two ad spaces that I've got left.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Absolutely. I mean, I had a message on LinkedIn this very morning from somebody who's supposedly a sales professional. Oh my word, oh my word. And it started off, “Hey, dah, dah, dah. As a valued LinkedIn connection of mine, blah blah blah,” and then proceeded with about three different paragraphs of links of this proven sales system, fireworks going off in the background sort of thing, people playing trombones and all sorts of nonsense. I was a bit like… The thing I replied, I replied back and basically said, “Please… ” Well, something to the effect of, “Please don't try… When you say valued LinkedIn connection, the first thing you're doing, you're trying to sell me something. It shows me that you just don't get it.”

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

You're like, “I have no idea who you are.” I've got nearly 5,000 connections on LinkedIn. I do it randomly. I have a system of doing a sort of vetting people. It's not a particularly tight system, but it's a system. But then every now and again, there are people that show up that just go, “I am going to do this mass emailer,” which is, excuse my language, going to try and flog the shit out of your trash that you've just got a lot of. And I look at that and just going, “I'm sorry, I'm now going to remember your name.”

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

And then anybody asks me, I'm not going to bad mouth you or anything, but anybody asks me about you, then I'll just tell them, you know what? I wouldn't trust this person as far as I could throw them because of the way that they've approached it to start with this kind of thing around that they you've got this valued LinkedIn connection and then how they proceeded to try and sell me something or sell me involvement in something. And I just thought, “I'm pretty sure you've got a problematic definition of what valued means.” And I was like, “You're toast, man. I'm sorry, but you're toast.”

 

Will Barron:

So this is going to be an interesting one of where we go from here, Adrian, because 50% of the audience is they're the converted, they're on board. We've touched on similar topics on the podcast before. They're going, “Yes, I get it. I've perhaps not mastered this yet, but I know where I want to go with it.” The other half are going, “Oh, this sounds fantastic. I'll just get on the phone with these people, but I've got a sales target to hit. I've not got time for just adding value. What the hell does that even mean, anyway?”

 

Is There a Way to Measure Great Customer Experience? · [13:27]

 

Will Barron:

So I feel like we've got a split here. So is there a way to systematise some of this? We can get onto the, this is going to be a touchy subject of perhaps measuring it, but before we get onto that, is there a way to systematise it? Is there a way to, I don't know… I guess, is there a way to measure customer experience so that we know whether we're going in the right direction or the wrong?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Well, I think that before you even get into the big sort of thing around customer experience, I think you probably need to step back and think about the idea of systematising it. I think you have to systematise your own approach. So I have an approach where I understand that sometimes people get introduced to me and I follow up with them. Or I've been introduced to somebody, then I follow up with them and then I don't hear anything sort of thing. Now, I know for the efficiency of my own effort that I have a certain set of rules in terms of things that I'm going to do, how many times I'm going to contact them. And it's a three strikes and you're out sort of rule.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

The thing I do is I use psychology in some of this sort of stuff. So the first email, I'll send it and then I might not get anything in return. And then the second email, I'll send it. I'll actually forward on the email I originally sent to the person. I go, “Just making sure that you got this email? Look forward to hearing from you.” The idea being that I know that people are busy. I know that people forget, but you're also saying, I also know that technology lets us down, even though we make an assumption that emails have a hundred percent deliverability kind of rate. They don't. It's about 99.9%. If you assume that it could have fallen through the cracks, what you're doing is you're giving somebody the opportunity to say, “Oh no, it's fine. I got that, dah, dah, dah.” You just give them a chance to give you a very quick reply without any consideration.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I did that again this morning. It happened to actually a medical devices client that I've been introduced to. And I sent exactly that because I hadn't heard back, and it came back like, “Yeah, that's fantastic. I'll tell you more Wednesday.” I'm like, “Brilliant. Not a problem.” The idea being, so you're basically thinking about it from a mindset perspective. Now, if you get nothing from there, then I might be inclined to either leave it a week and then follow up and say, “Just want to make sure.” Or then I might call them, just leave… If I don't get them, maybe leave a voice message.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

But the third thing I'll do, and this is the third strike and you're out sort of thing, is I won't say that, but I'll imply that. Because what I'll say is like, “Look, I know I was trying to arrange a time to have a chat and have a conversation. I don't want to stalk you or hassle you or annoy you. And therefore, what I'm going to do is I'm going to leave it in your court until I hear back from you, because I acknowledge that you're busy and so on and so forth.”

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

The thing that does, and it's a bit like child psychology. So taking something, you give a baby a rattle or something and then you take the rattle away from them. What do they want? They want the rattle, right? And so by taking something away from somebody, more often than not people go, “Oh no, no, I'm just busy.” Then you get this acknowledgement that they are listening. And I think for me, it's that sort of thing is that we need to be smarter about how we communicate with people and how it works. I know that's a system I've developed because I'm fascinated by psychology, and I think about some of this sort of stuff. I've learned from all sorts of different sort of people.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I think we need to find a system that works for us that manages our efforts, but maintains the relationship, but then tries to leverage psychology in a way so we do the right things at the right sort of time. Because ultimately, what we want is we just want to elicit a response that allows us to get to the next sort of step. Now, that's all part of the experience, but it's about, I think we all need to figure out our own approach. And then we diligently follow that approach.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

So you can be of value to somebody, but you can't keep doing it and you can't keep chasing a rabbit around a field going, “It's a big deal. It's a big deal.” Who cares if it's a big deal? You're wasting your time. And they know that you're wasting your time, and they're making you do a merry dance. So key point I guess, is you've got to have respect for them and also yourself. And you've got to figure out how that marries together. Long answer, but I hope that made sense.

 

Why You Need to Protect Your Reputation at All Costs · [18:06] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. And again, for context here, perhaps, because it's almost counterintuitive and it seems like if you've got a really healthy pipeline for someone like yourself, if you're oversubscribed and you don't need the business, but you want to build relationships, you'd like it to eventually perhaps, that free email structure makes total sense. For the salesperson who's listening to this who isn't oversubscribed, who doesn't have a healthy pipeline, they're probably thinking the exact opposite, right?

 

Will Barron:

They're probably thinking, well, I'll just send out 50 emails rather than four really good ones. I'll spam out 15 posts on LinkedIn or in messages rather than just one or two, which is like the one you alluded to earlier on, but that doesn't help. Right? That's short term just digging you deeper in the hole in my experience, anyway.

 

“We have to be conscious that we are developing trust at a distance. And that's the thing that many people and many brands forget. They forget that trust doesn't start when you're in touch with somebody, the trust that you're developing starts at a distance. You have to think about developing trust regardless of whether you've spoken or been in touch with that person or not, which is a crazy thought.” – Adrian Swinscoe · [19:24]

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I think so. I mean, I think the thing is that, again, it's all about your reputation. If you go back to that original point about people do the research before they get in touch with you, then if you're somebody that is a bit of a spammer and a thresher abouter, as it were, then that's going to get around. People do their research and come up with their questions and think about things. They look at activity and they gauge who you are and what you're like. The idea is that we have to be conscious that we are developing trust at a distance.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

That's the thing that I guess many, many people, many brands, they forget. They forget that it's actually trust doesn't start when you're in touch with somebody. Even at a personal level and at a professional level, your trust that you're developing starts at a distance. You have to think about, how do I develop trust regardless of actually whether I've spoken to that person or been in touch with that person or not, which is a crazy thought. But it is that sort of thing. It's a bit like, well, people have got to go, even if you are getting pummelling by short-term targets, and I know it happens and I have sympathy for people that have to deal with that type of sort of structure.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

There's two things. One is that if you are having to always scrabble around for the short-term targets, then you probably have to ask yourself, do I have a long-term plan? Otherwise, you just kind of go up and down, up and down. And the second thing is, if you're always struggling around for short-term kind of targets, then you've got to be wary of the sort of tactics that you'll resort to to hit those kind of targets and then the longer term damage it's going to have on their brand and also your own professional reputation.

 

How to Protect Your Brand Reputation as a B2B Salesperson · [20:57] 

 

Will Barron:

How little emphasis do people put on the professional reputation considering we are not just moving into an age of, but we're right smack in the middle of an age where people remember names, people can look up your profile. There's a history online. If you were to archive.org, you can look at someone's LinkedIn profile from four years ago. It's still up there, even the deleted stuff. How little time, effort, energy are we spending on our brand when, as I say this, it seems crazy important, right?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Yeah, completely. I mean, it's like, you got to ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? How do you want people to describe you? Are you not just a fun person to be around, but are you a useful person? Are you a valuable person? Are you a helpful person? Are you an approachable kind of person? And does that work across all sorts of shapes and sizes of people, right, and from all sorts of different sort of backgrounds. How do you approach these kind of things? Are you humble? Are you curious? Are you this kind of natural curator that you're always showing people stuff? Are you a natural connector? I mean, that's the thing you got to figure out, I guess, but the point with all that, you can't be all things to all people.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

What you got to do is you got to find your groove. Find your groove, and that's the thing. Marcus Buckingham is a big fan of this, the guy from Gallup that wrote the book called StrengthsFinder. And if any sales people haven't read that book, then you should read it, StrengthsFinder 2.0 or something. There's an insert. Don't get the electronic version, get the hardback because there's an insert in the back that should allow you to go online and take their StrengthsFinder test. And what their basic premise is, is that people talk about, you should always be working on your weaknesses sort of thing. And he's gone now, “That's crap. You work on your strengths, figure out who you are and that's it.” You play to your strengths.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I mean, you're a Yorkshireman, right? So Yorkshire, they're big cricket fans, right? And same with cricket, you're either an opening batsman, you're a middle order batsman, or you're an opening bowler, or you're a spinner, or whatever. People have a thing. They're not just cricketers. They have things that they do and that they're specialists in. And I think that's the thing with sales people. You're not just this homogenous group. It should be, you have your own strengths and you should be able to play to those strengths. And your teammates should acknowledge your strengths, so you understand how you can complement each other. But the first thing you should do is figure out what they are. Don't be like anybody else, but be the best version of yourself and then figure out how you can turn that up to 11.

 

Will Barron:

So I'm just going to say this, and it is not anything on your behalf here. I'm from Liverpool, but I live in Yorkshire. But the reason I called you out on it is the last time someone mentioned that, I just didn't say anything. Clearly, I'm from Yorkshire. Everyone knows this who comes on the show as a guest. And I've got quite a kind of a… I definitely don't have a scouse accent unless I get really angry, then it goes a little bit scouse.

 

Will Barron:

But then I had a bunch of people locally going, “Hey, I'm a Yorkshireman as well.” And then it was a series of email conversations of going, “Nope, sorry, sorry to disappoint everyone. I'm actually a scouser.” But the cricket metaphor goes to Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club, precisely there.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Yeah, well, absolutely. Maybe I should have got the subliminal message, it's a red background or something.

 

What Do People Say About You as a Salesperson? · [24:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Maybe. And on this, Adrian, I don't want to gloss over this. Something you said I think is really valuable, and this might be one of the key takeaways of this episode. Should we sit down for five minutes and write down the answer to the question, how do you want people to describe you? Is that a real exercise that we should be doing? Because I've never really done that before, but at least it gives you a point to reverse engineer the experience from.

 

Will Barron:

If you want to be the non-showoffy, the reliable, which is me, medical device sales, the non-showy off dude, the guy who's just reliable, he'll come in and help you out. He lives local so we can drop off equipment. That's how I want to be described. And it's not flashy and it's not particularly exciting, but that's what won me business, being like that.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Sure.

 

Will Barron:

Is that an exercise we should be doing of answering that question?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I think that's, yeah, absolutely right. Because not everybody is going to be sort of the big, flashy, exciting sort of salesperson. Not everybody's going to be that person who's going to have the confidence to walk up to somebody and go, “Hi, my name's such and such,” and just brass neck their way into an opportunity. That's not everybody's groove. That'll work sometimes, but those opportunities don't come about all the time. So yes, I think you're absolutely right. It's a really useful exercise to think about, how would I like people to describe me? What sort of reputation do I want to have?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Then you ask yourself, I guess the second question is going, am I fulfilling that? Am I living up to that? And if I'm not, then what do I need to do to sort of amplify that and to live up to what I want to be, as it were? Because that's ultimately your trust at a distance sort of thing. That's the thing that you've got to work on. Because even in this big technology, digital and technology kind of infused and digital age sort of thing, the challenge is that people, particularly in the B2B space, people still buy from people. That's it, period, and lest we forget that.

 

Simple Ways to Build Trust at a Distance · [26:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Two things before we wrap up, Adrian. One, other than what we've covered, are there any counterintuitive or unusual ways that we can perhaps either build trust at a distance, because I love that phrase, or just improve the B2B experience for our customers?

 

“If you want to add value to conversations with prospects, just  keep your eyes and ears open for stuff that people might find interesting.” Adrian Swinscoe · [27:45]

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

One thing I would say is that people talk about people should be writing more, particularly salespeople, get known more. I think actually, we need to become better almost librarians in many ways, curators of stuff that we think is going to be interesting. And it doesn't necessarily need to be your own stuff or your company stuff or whatever. It can just be something that you connect the dots. You go, here's me, here's my client. Here's maybe an industry that they're in. Here's a challenge or an interesting kind of perspective that you can go, “I thought that you might find this interesting based on, say, a conversation that we had.” And that could be the value add is you don't have to spend time just writing stuff down. It just could be just keep your eyes and your ears open for stuff that people might find interesting.

 

“If you want to improve your service or experience, you should focus on the a hundred or a thousand small things that you can improve. Because in service and experience, we remember the tiny little things, the little annoyances; that's the stuff that hangs around, but those are opportunities for us to improve.” Adrian Swinscoe · [28:23] 

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I guess the counterintuitive thing is you don't need to be creating new stuff all of the time. You just need to be willing to find things and then willing to share things because you think it's of value to somebody else. Because again, it's about the relationship. And I go back and repeat the thing that I think that I said before, is that what builds on this is the idea that if you want to improve your service or experience, you should focus on the a hundred or a thousand small things that you can improve. Because actually, I mean, I talk about it, the grit in our service or experience is, particularly when we notice we've got a piece of grit or pebble in our shoes, and that's sort of the only thing that we remember as we're walking along, right?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

It's the same thing about service and experience. We remember the tiny little things, the little annoyances. That's the stuff that hangs around, but those are opportunities for us to improve. And that could be speed of response to an email, could be, do you pick up the phone. Could be the handover between sales and implementation. Could be all these different sort of things. Could be the handover between sales and account management or into success or all these different sort of things.

 

“If you want to be known for great customer service, don't focus just on the deal. Focus on the person and how they're going to get on even after you've done the deal.” Adrian Swinscoe · [28:38]

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Sometimes it's the smallest things and almost that can start with you just showing that rather than you just sign a deal, that you care about the person and how they get on with it. Rather than just about fine, I'm done, contract's in, invoice is in, poof, next sort of thing, is actually don't focus just on the deal. Focus on the person and how they're going to get on even after you've done the deal.

 

Will Barron:

Two things here. One, you said super subtly and I think is incredibly important, if you're going to be emailing people proactively with content, there's nothing worse with getting an email that you know has gone to 40 other people that is still spam that is a sentence of, “Hey, I saw this and thought of you.” I don't want emails like that. I get them all the time. People send me podcasting data or analytics or articles. I don't care. I, literally, do not care. Don't send me them.

 

Show Your Buyers That You Care About Them · [30:10] 

 

Will Barron:

But what you said, which I thought was, again, really subtle, was based on a conversation that we had, even better, based on a conversation we had last Wednesday, I thought this might be useful. That shows that you listened to the conversation. You pondered on it after the fact. And even if you just sent me some bullshit article that I'm never going to read, at least it looks like, and it doesn't look like it, you do care, right? It puts across the fact that you've made an effort and you've been bothered about it. And I just thought that was really subtle. I thought it was worth pointing out because I don't want the audience spamming a templated email straight after listening to this.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

It's about intent. Right in the very, very heart of it, it's about intent. Now, intent can lead us to spam as well, but actually, it's about that one-to-one intent and paying attention. That's our challenge is our challenge is that we are still trying to do that one-to-many sort of experience, but actually, we need to think about how do we use the tools that we have to create that one-to-one experience? So it's almost like, how do we create the relationships and the styles of old using modern technology?

 

Understand That It’s The Little Things That Make a Difference in Sales · [31:35] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. The other thing I just wanted to wrap on here and just to give the audience a quick tease, something you said which got me smiling is you said, Adrian, was, “It's lots of little things that compound, I guess, to make the big difference.” And we are launching our new kind of sales development platform for the audience here. It's a redo of a platform we worked on years and years ago, but it never really took off, and that was, we called it the Sales School. We've hired an illustrator. We've got a series of different characters. We've got the salesperson that we can all relate to. We've got this asshole sales manager. We've got a terrible customer, all these different people, and it's adult kind of comic humour that goes within it.

 

Will Barron:

But I've worked so hard on getting so many inside jokes and just little teases and little things that go in between it all that the people who I've had come in and go through the video content and the workbook content so far, they've just been so excited about these sodding damn characters, which were almost an afterthought to the great content that's in there anyway, that they're going through the courses because they want to see that next inside joke. Or they want to see where this thing that someone mentions in one video goes on a completely different course in another video where that all pulls together.

 

Will Barron:

It's changed my whole perception of building entertaining content in the fact that it is the little things, right? You need good information, but then almost the entertainment value of it takes over after that point.

 

“The stuff of life and the stuff of business is serious stuff, but we shouldn't have to do it with a sour tone. So the more interesting and the more fun we can make it while still retaining its seriousness, then the better. ” Adrian Swinscoe · [32:55] 

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Sure. I mean, I think that's absolutely right. I mean, I think the thing is this is the stuff of life, business of life and things, it's serious stuff, but we shouldn't have to do it with a dour tone sort of thing.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

And if anything, the more interesting and the more kind of fun we can make it while still retaining the seriousness of it, then the better. And so you're absolutely right that, for example, I don't know if you've ever come across… Have you ever heard of a book called Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team?

 

Will Barron:

No.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

It's a book, and it's great around, so thinking about team dynamics and dysfunctions and things. But the best version of that book is that I think Patrick himself had it reproduced or somebody had it reproduced in a manga-style comic. Genius, genius. Because it was done as almost a story, but then somebody went and illustrated it. And when you look at it as a book, as a comic book, perfect, absolutely perfect. You get all this hard hitting sort of stuff, but in this format that is so engaging, so interesting. It's, yeah, genius.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And there's no genius on our side from what we're doing. Our illustrator, Kos, is amazing. And what I'll give him, “I want this scene doing… ” And he comes back and it's the expressions on the faces and the fact that there's sweat going off this. And there's something going on in the background, which I have not told him to do. That's what really adds to it. So as I said, there's no genius coming from me of any of this, but when you're pulling in people who are great at what they're doing, it just adds another dimension to it and changes things up.

 

Adrian’s Advice to His Younger Self on How To Become Better at Selling · [34:44] 

 

Will Barron:

With that, Adrian, I've got one final question for you, mate, something I ask everyone that comes on the show. If you could go back in time, speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you'd give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Don't be so quick to fix. And what I mean by that is my character is I'm a natural fixer. I'm naturally, somebody tells me something, I'm like, “Ooh, you could try this.” And what I've learned is that when you do that, you stop listening. And actually, here's a test for people, particularly sales people, and everyone listening or watching this is ask yourself this. Over the course of the rest of today or tomorrow or the rest of this week, when you're having conversations with people, see how many times you notice when you're having a conversation with somebody and they're speaking, how often are you just waiting for them to finish talking before you can tell them what you think? Because as soon as that happens, you stop listening.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

So by just being more aware of the conversation isn't necessarily a ping pong game. It's actually, it should be a conversation and we should focus on the person who's communicating to completely understand before we think about fixing something or providing a response. And that's something I find really hard, really hard, but I'm getting better at it. That's something I would've loved to have told myself.

 

“Listening and really paying attention to people is probably the biggest sign of respect that you could ever give any individual.” – Adrian Swinscoe · [36:53] 

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

My dad gave me a little Bluebell matchbox when I was a kid. I don't know if you remember those. And they had little sayings on the back of them. Because I used to come down and just blurt things out, and it said, “Put your brain into gear before you open your mouth.” And I think it's just sort of analogous to that or linked to that. It's just that I've learned over the last number of years that actually listening and really paying attention to people is probably the biggest show and sign of respect that you could ever give any individual, make them the centre of your universe for that point in time.

 

Will Barron:

You're speaking to the right audience here because I've done it many times. I probably still do it now. You get on the phone call. You've been rejected so many times that afternoon, especially if you're doing any cold calling or anything like that. That someone says, “Oh, that is a problem I do have. Perhaps you can solve it for me.” And you go straight into this weird pitch, and you're shoving it down, pushing it down their throat, when perhaps the smarter move, perhaps what the customer wants from an experience standpoint is to tell you a little bit more, is to give you context so you can make a better decision.

 

Parting Thoughts · [37:49] 

 

Will Barron:

So you're speaking to the converted. Well, maybe not the converted, but you're speaking to people who will have experienced that for sure. And with that, Adrian, tell us a bit about the book and then tell us where we can find out more about you as well.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

So the book is, as I say, called How to Wow. Here we go. Really easy title. You can find it on most Amazon sites on the UK and, well, the .co.uk and the .com sites. It's both available there. If people want to find out more about me, then my website is adrianswinscoe.com. So that's A-D-R-I-A-N-S-W-I-N-S-C-O-E. And that's where most of my content goes out.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

I also have my own podcast series, which I speak to all sorts of different people doing cool things in service and experience. And also if you're that way inclined, I also write a column on Forbes. Just put my name and Forbes in any search engine and you should find it. But anybody wants to talk, then I'm always happy to talk and always interested in meeting new people doing cool stuff.

 

Will Barron:

I will link to all that in the show notes in this episode over at salesman.org. And now, Adrian, want to thank you for your time. I think we covered a lot of ground in this one, so I appreciate that, mate, and for coming on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Adrian Swinscoe:

Thank you.

 

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