In this episode, David interviews Jim Brown. He’s a sales trainer and sales coach for Sandler Training.

David and Jim talk about the path to becoming an effective salesperson and how to uncover and address the problems potential buyers face. Jim opens up about his humble beginnings as a salesperson and how candid feedback from a Sandler rep became his ah-ha moment to turning his career around. Jim now focuses on sharing his sales knowledge and inspirations on his podcast, Sales Tuners.

3 Key Points:
1. An SDR and Salesperson should always keep prospecting, work to understand their potential client, and focus on the things within their control.
2. By having a system, you create a scalable and repeatable process with predictable outcomes.
3. Quotas only limit a salesperson’s ability to do more—always reach for a higher goal.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:34 – Most of David’s listeners are trying to get into sales
  • 00:56 – Jim has been in sales his entire life and started as a bookie in middle school
  • 01:29 – Jim started his professional sales career when he got out of the marines
    • 01:36 – It was a graphic design business and Jim really wanted to be a designer
    • 01:40 – Jim realized that he’s better at talking to clients and understanding their needs
    • 01:50 – Jim found a designer who did the job better than he did so and he took the sales side
  • 02:17 – Jim has the entrepreneurial spirit—seeing the need and filling it
  • 02:44 – Jim was 22 when he started his own business and wasn’t interested in going out anymore
    • 03:02 – Jim first didn’t understand what he was doing
    • 03:17 – Jim started to lose deals and couldn’t figure out why
  • 03:27 – In just 2 weeks, Jim’s career changed
    • 03:30 – Jim was introduced to Andy Elsberry as a lead or referral
    • 04:00 – Andy asked Jim where he learned to sell and answered that he’s self-taught
    • 04:07 – Andy told Jim that he sucks
    • 04:23 – Jim was awakened by Andy’s comment
    • 04:30 – After a week, Jim was pitching to someone who also told him that he’s bad at sales
    • 05:09 – That person was a Sandler sales trainer and Jim signed up to learn from him
  • 06:03 – “No way on earth are salespeople born”
    • 06:12 – There are people who are just naturally able to connect with people
  • 06:21 – Salespeople are made and need to follow a process
    • 07:01 – If you don’t have a system or process, you have to adapt the buyer’s system
    • 07:08 – Buyers don’t know how to buy and they’re looking for someone to guide them
    • 07:33 – Buyers don’t know the real questions to ask
  • 07:46 – Salespeople should try to solve the buyers’ problems
  • 08:11 – David has been on the buyer’s side
    • 08:26 – David observed that some of the sales people’s processes are not enticing at all
    • 08:58 – Looking at presentation slides does not solve David’s problem
  • 09:23 – David has a scenario where he has a sales development team with a terrible CRM process
    • 09:34 – David needs an attack and has put out 3 inquiries to the big data providers
    • 09:46 – How should they run that call?
      • 09:49 – What Jim does first is an upfront contract
      • 10:23 – Jim rolls out a verbatim conversation that he would have
      • 10:50 – Jim will give the buyer options
  • 11:26 – Think about sales or the pain as an iceberg—what percentage is visible?
    • 11:40 – Buyers only give you the tip of the iceberg when they discuss a problem
    • 11:48 – It may not be the actual pain indicator
    • 12:32 – A salesperson needs to push back more, playing the role of a dummy in order to find the actual problem their consumer is having
  • 13:41 – “The greatest presentation that you will ever give is the one your prospect never sees”
  • 13:51 – You have to know the question that other salespeople don’t ask
    • 14:14 – Other sales people are just showing presentations without understanding the “why” behind the question
    • 14:29 – Asking questions will show a buyer that you have answered the same question before
  • 14:38 – You should be able to tell a salesperson that he’s wrong
    • 14:53 – However, if the salesperson already tells you that he has solved similar problems in the past, you can’t tell him he’s wrong
  • 15:17 – In David’s experience, there have been instances where the final decision maker is NOT the one who has actually talked to the salesperson
    • 16:16 – A salesperson may not know there’s another decision maker
    • 17:15 – A salesperson has to understand the buyer’s timeline
  • 17:55 – Is there a way a salesperson can influence the decision?
    • 18:03 – A salesperson has a choice if he wants to participate in the process
    • 18:12 – It is important for Jim to create equal business stature
    • 18:18 – Jim now has the same right to say “no”
    • 18:53 – It usually draws customers back when they know that a salesperson can say “no”
    • 19:00 – By establishing that, Jim can now set the ground rules for the process
    • 19:18 – Jim will now ask questions that a buyer can’t answer
    • 19:52 – Jim can now ask if the other person can be in the process, too
  • 20:44 – “Don’t clutter up your pipeline with something that’s never going to happen”
  • 21:23 – Being a salesperson is a difficult job
  • 21:36 – 2-3 things that a sales development rep can do right now to step up to the next level of their career:
    • 21:52 – First is to realize that the SDR role is the hardest job in sales
      • 22:23 – Keep prospecting
    • 22:36 – Second is to create a relationship with an account executive and understand what a good or bad meeting is for them; ask questions and understand the patterns
      • 23:04 – This shows you’re really trying to understand the roles
    • 23:32 – Third is you can’t control a close
    • 24:04 – As soon as you introduce a discount, that becomes your new price
    • 24:18 – Focus on the things that you can control
    • 24:32 – If you have a big pipeline, focus on the percentage that you know you can close
  • 25:22 – Jim would suggest to look at the pipeline of an SDR who became an AE
  • 25:35 – Jim hates quotas
  • 25:41 – The best salespeople look at their quotas, hit it and do more
  • 26:54 – David read the book The Machine and it says to get rid of commission
  • 27:11 – Jim believes quotas limit behaviors
    • 27:18 – The largest quota Jim had was $4M and he hit it, but he could’ve done $6M
  • 28:13 – Make your own quota and go out of your comfort zone
  • 28:53 – Jim has a quota as a sales coach and sales trainer
    • 29:05 – Jim is on the prospecting business
    • 29:19 – Jim’s goal is to call 10 CEOs a day
    • 29:51 – Jim’s frustration is the difficulty of getting his prospects on the phone
  • 30:14 – Sandler’s training summary includes prospecting
  • 30:40 – There are 150 Sandler offices around the US
  • 30:53 – “Content is one thing, context is another”
    • 31:16 – Jim’s prospect already talked to someone and Jim knows that someone’s background
    • 31:29 – If you compliment your competitor, it does 2 amazing things for you
    • 32:00 – Jim’s prospect had issues with his competitor about not fully understanding procurement and enterprise
  • 33:35 – 2 jobs in the future
  • 33:48 – The sales people are valuable now because of their context
  • 35:00 – Why Sandler is known, especially in the Bay area?
    • 36:00 – Sandler focuses on the actual pains people have
    • 36:17 – “We’re tired of the motivational BS and we just want something that actually works”
  • 37:18 – Find Jim on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • 37:36 – Jim’s podcast is

Resources Mentioned:

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