SALES with ASLAN Ep. 147 – A Conversation with Sales’ #1 Authority, Jeb Blount

Welcome to SALES with ASLAN, a weekly podcast hosted by ASLAN Co-founders Tom Stanfill and Tab Norris, geared at helping sales professionals and sales leaders eliminate the hard sell. At the end of the day, we believe that selling is serving. ASLAN helps sellers make the shift from a ‘typical’ sales approach, to one that makes us more influential because we embrace the truth that the customer’s receptivity is more important than your value prop or message.

The goal of these interviews is to spotlight various experts in the world of sales and sales leadership – sharing informational stories, techniques, and expert interviews on the sales topics you care about.

 

The following are notes from Ep. 147 – A Conversation with Sales’ #1 Authority, Jeb Blount

In this episode, Tom and Tab are joined by Jeb Blount, Founder & CEO of Sales Gravy. With over 29 million downloads on his podcast and a host of best-selling books under his belt, Jeb Blount is making a name for himself as one of the most notable thought leaders of our time.

In this packed conversation, they discuss Jeb’s journey to becoming one of the most well-known and well-respected authorities in the world of sales, the keys to leadership and coaching in sales, and his latest book, Selling The Price Increase.

 

Listen to the conversation here:

Or check out the summary and full transcript below.

 

Summary:

Tom and Tab interview Jeb Blount, Founder & CEO of Sales Gravy. He is a best-selling author, a keynote speaker, and one of the most notable and well-known authorities in the world of sales. Jeb Blount is the author of fourteen books including Fanatical Prospecting, Sales EQ, Objections, Inked, People Follow You, Virtual Selling, and his latest book, Selling The Price Increase.

As Sales Gravy founder and CEO, Jeb advises a who’s who of the world’s leading organizations and their executives on the impact of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills on customer-facing activities.

He is among the world’s most respected thought leaders on prospecting, sales, leadership, and customer experience. 

 

Resources:

You can find Jeb Blount:

Or reach him:

  • By phone: 1-(844)-447-3737 
  • By email: jeb@salesgravy.com 

 

Transcript:

00:00

Tom Stanfill

Welcome to one more episode of SALES with ASLAN. I’m your host, Tom Stanfill. I’m here with my, I’m going to go with super-duper, cohost.

 

00:12

Tab Norris

I always get a superlative, always, if you notice that you don’t ever go… “My co-host, Tab Norris,” you’ve never said that.

 

00:18

Tom Stanfill

Super duper doctor Dr. Tab is back.

 

00:24

Tab Norris

We’re back to the doctor. 

 

00:24

Tom Stanfill

Well super-duper is just like an affectionate term for how amazing you are…  doctors, something you’ve earned.

 

00:34

Tab Norris

Definitely earned that. There’s no doubt about it. I’m just glad I can share with my patients, things that I’ve learned.

 

00:41

Tom Stanfill

Oh the catch all for the show today…. we have a legitimate show today. A lot of times our shows are illegitimate.

 

00:54

Tab Norris

That was good. That’s one of your best lines to date. 

 

00:57

Tom Stanfill

Our show is legitimate. We have probably one of the most notable authorities on sales. It’s not me, Tab.

 

01:05

Tab Norris

I know he’s in the top three.

 

01:08

Tom Stanfill

No, he probably, I mean, he really might be the most well-known thought leader in sales. He’s definitely the most prolific writer. He’s written 14 books. He’s a best-selling author four times over. He has 29 million downloads of his podcast sales gravy. Today we’re excited to have Jeb blunt in the house and on the show. Well, welcome Jeff blunt. I can’t believe we actually have them on the show Tab.

 

We tried for years… He’s been on Carson. He was on Letterman. He’s been on Fallon and now we have him on SALES with ASLAN. I can’t believe it. Jeb. Welcome. Thanks for being with us, My friend.

 

01:49

Jeb Blount

Thank you for having me on your podcast. This is fantastic. You get a chance to meet you.

 

01:54

Tom Stanfill

Oh no, seriously. We, we, I think of the word sales and I can’t think of the word sales without thinking of Jeb Blount. We were just talking about before went live about how you’ve written 14 books on sales. Super excited about what you’re going to share with us tab. I mean, have we had a, have we’ve had a better guest? That’s a tough question.

 

02:15

Tab Norris

No, it’s not a really tough question I’m going with no, I haven’t really ever really talked to him yet too much. I’m going to go stand up.

 

02:23

Tom Stanfill

Well, yeah, it could be tied for all of our other guests. It could be a tie.

 

02:28

Jeb Blount

To walk out the door.

 

02:33

Tom Stanfill

It could be a tie. Well, Jeb, love it. Your Georgia boy.

 

02:37

Tab Norris

Yeah.

 

02:39

Tom Stanfill

Were you born in Georgia?

 

02:41

Jeb Blount

Yeah, born and raised. I grew up in a little town called Harlem, Georgia, and I went to Augusta university and the rest of my family with the university of Georgia. I went there because I was too stupid to get into university of Georgia.

 

02:54

Tom Stanfill

And, and,

 

02:56

Jeb Blount

I’ve traveled and I’ve traveled all over the place. I lived all over country when I, my corporate job. If I want to get promoted, I would move. But, but Georgia is my home at my wife and high school in Georgia and still live in Georgia, live in Jackson, Georgia.

 

03:10

Tab Norris

We’re both Georgia boys. I grew up in Savannah and I live in Athens, Georgia now. So been here for about 16 years. So.

 

03:18

Jeb Blount

Athens, Athens is a wonderful place. Yeah, my, my dad’s side of the family’s all from Savannah. Oh,

 

03:25

Tab Norris

Okay. Yeah. That’s awesome.

 

03:28

Tom Stanfill

Oh, wow. Well, and I was actually born in Georgia. I was born in Atlanta. I mean, I mean, this isn’t very unusual. I mean, most people that are, that live in Georgia or especially Atlanta are not from Atlanta. So a lot of natives here. Well, great. Well, I’m excited. I wanted to, before we dive into your new book, which I’m very pumped to talk about because it’s a topic all of our clients are talking about is how do you deal with the price increase? I would love to first know where your passion came. Where did that develop to be a thought leader in a sales expert and to spend all of the energy and time invested in helping sales reps get better. Because obviously, like you said earlier, before went live, you Sprite two books a year. Obviously you’re running a global company that trains sales sellers, how to better at their job and make more money, earn more commission, win more deals.

 

04:21

Tom Stanfill

Tell us, where did that passion come from?

 

04:24

Jeb Blount

All right, I’m going to try I’m from Georgia. So, so it, for me, it started in high school. I was, I was, it was my junior year in high school. I wanted to find something easy to do. I joined the yearbook staff and it turned out that you had to sell ads. So I got my ad sheets. I went out and most people sold, a couple hundred dollars for the ads to their parents. I went out and sold them was $4,000 worth of ads. And, just, I just knocked on doors and call them people and asked for the business and came back in. They made me the boss. I got to be the, the editor of the yearbook that really made everybody else mad because they’d all been waiting around. I made it rain that made me money. I jumped into a couple of jobs may at one point I was running in Nutrisystem weight loss centers all over Georgia in Atlanta, went up there when I was 23 years old.

 

05:18

Jeb Blount

I, I was the area manager from, I had everything from north Druid Hills and Savannah, and that was a sales job. I got that job because I went in really young and I, I talked them into giving me a shot and I said, give me, you give me a prospect. If I close it, you got to get me the job. They gave me the prospect and I went in the, took the lady on the tour, did everything I’d learned in training. And, and I’m like, I’m in the middle of my pitch and she’s got her checkbook out and she starts writing. I’m trying to slow her down just because they’re all watching me to see what’s going to happen. Know just, I just ended up doing sales jobs because I don’t know if it was drawn to it or what have you, but it was good at it.

 

06:03

Jeb Blount

And, and I, and that’s how much, I got a lot, a lot and I was willing to work harder than most people. I’m, I’m not generally the best salesperson in the world, but I’ll outwork you any day. Every time I made it rain, I got promoted. So, I started working with a company when I was 24 years old, fortune 200 company. When I was 32 years old, I was the head of sales. I mean, it was one of those things where if you could make it rain, you could go. Along the way, when I kept getting drawn into was like a Nutrisystem, I was area manager where I had the most fun with teaching the people that were around me, how to do the job. When I became a vice-president of sales, my most fun was to get on airplanes, go spend time my salespeople get in the field, getting cars, go hang out with them coaching.

 

06:49

Jeb Blount

In fact, when I ended up leaving that job, it was because I was spending more time in meetings and I was with my field sales team. So, so I, I, I was in a place where I was looking for something else. Fortunately for me, the great recession came along and it found me something else to do that job went away. It was a job that I love more than anything in the world, so that job went away. In 2006, 2007, I had to go figure out what I was going to do. I wrote a book and, I’m sitting at the kitchen table with my wife, trying to figure out, am I going to go back into corporate America, which I could have easily done. In fact, it was interviewing for a CEO job at a really big company at the time. I just realized my heart was not in getting back on that hamster wheel.

 

07:32

Jeb Blount

The only thing that I know how to do and do well is sell well, horses and sales, so I can do horses and I can do sales and that’s about it. I can’t make any money at horses. That’s a losing battle. I, you know, I just love it. I just followed that, that thing that I just had figured out along the way, and probably more than anything, over the last, say 14, 15 years. You earlier in the pre-show, were talking about salesy queue, but it’s, it was figuring out how to put in an articulate into words, the things that I knew how to do from a sales professional standpoint and from a sales leadership standpoint, in a way that was accessible to everybody that just wasn’t the same old, like the same tropes that you typically get in sales books, and a lot of the same cliches.

 

08:25

Jeb Blount

How do you actually break down the science and the art of this profession and elevate the profession. That’s really been the, I guess the joy of the last 15 years has been doing that, but also it’s been, it’s been tough. I mean, sometimes when you’re trying to think about how do you say something in a way or teach something in a way that people can really grasp that doesn’t cause them to say, just, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before that I think has been the fun part of the last 15 years, but that’s, I mean, that’s in a nutshell the story of how I got here essentially bottom line is I can’t do anything else.

 

09:07

Tab Norris

Well, Jim, I love one of my, one of your books. You shared the story of your first big deal. I think you were 20 something when you talked about, I was able to go took me a couple years and I was able to buy a 5,000 square foot house and put some money in the bank. I just, and I was like, I’m sure that’s just triggered a lot of this passion and all this, your desire to kind of go down this road.

 

09:33

Jeb Blount

Yeah. Well, I think, one of the things I learned early in sales was that you could be babe Ruth, sitting at the plate, pointing to the stands where I’m going to hit the ball. I, and I recognize that through your own hustle, your own grind, your own desire, you could accomplish those things. So, I mean, early on in my career, I had a goal book and I wrote down, I want to be on the water now. I didn’t know what that was, but I just know that I wanted a house on the water and that translated into, five years later, I bought a house on the intercoastal waterway in south Florida in the Naples area where I parked my 42 foot sea Ray behind my house, much to my wife’s chagrin because you didn’t like that boat. I was able to go buy that house with cash because of commission checks.

 

10:22

Jeb Blount

I mean, these were, this was because of variable income on bonuses and spiffs that I earned along the way by making it rain. And, and that was a, a huge accomplishment. And, and I think that the, that’s what I love the most about selling. I sell every day, just like, I’m sure you do in your own business, but every day I’m waking up, I’m doing deals. I’m having conversations with customers. I do it at a different level. Cause there’s usually people who are bringing them along before I give it to them. But, but knowing that you can make your own luck is the thing that I liked the most about professional selling and, and a lot of people do it very poorly. I mean, there’s, that’s the reason we all exist. Right? A lot of people, a lot of people do it very well, but they have a very hard time translating what they do very well and to something that other people can understand and learn, which is another reason why we exist, because essentially like we’re translating that language and we’re giving it back to people in their organization in a way that they can understand it.

 

11:25

Tom Stanfill

That’s beautiful. I love what I would kind of summarize a lot of what you said by saying this about sales. Sales is probably the only maybe profession where you can make a lot of money. If you choose to make a lot of money. In other words, it’s a choice. Success in sales is really a choice. If you’re, if you’re willing to work the process and do the work and learn it, you will be successful in sales. You may not like it. You might enjoy it, but success is a choice.

 

11:52

Jeb Blount

And that’s kind of.

 

11:53

Tom Stanfill

What you’re saying.

 

11:54

Jeb Blount

Yeah. For me, it was, honestly it was never about the money. Like I don’t know that I ever did a deal because there was a paycheck at the end. Yeah. Now, when I started my business, I did a few deals because I needed the money. But, but that was, when I was selling, I didn’t, I just, I did it because I liked fixing things. Like I liked solving the problems. I enjoyed the game. Like sometimes it was just looking at a deal where competitively, I, I had a poor hand and then being able to bend the probability back into my favor, by changing the shape of the deal or changing the shape of the sales process or putting my competitor in a bad spot, from on the chess board so that I could eat their lunch someplace else. It was, it was helping people. That’s, I think one of the, especially with sales, one of the things that I hear often, and I understand the sentiment, which is, you need to be passionate about what you’re selling.

 

12:49

Jeb Blount

For me, most of my life, I didn’t sell things that I was particularly passionate about. I mean, in my business today, I do, I love what I sell, but most of my life, I sold things that, it was a thing that I sold. What I was passionate about was being able to get inside of my customer’s businesses and really get to understand them like walking through their businesses, having conversations with them, solving problems for them, sometimes problems that didn’t pay me. Right. Just but fixing a problem for them and creating that level of loyalty. That’s what I really enjoyed. I enjoyed the process and the system and the art and putting the puzzle together. I’ve I, and I think that it’s, to some extent, that’s one of the things that made me successful is that it wasn’t about the money. It was about winning. Like I wanted to win.

 

13:37

Tom Stanfill

It. Wasn’t just about, Hey, I love this product. I want to sell this product, which is really about you. It wasn’t that I want a commission, which is really about you. It’s really about leading customers to the optimum solution. It’s solving their problem. That’s kind of the way we define sales is all you’re really doing is you need to own the problem and lead them to the ultimate optimum solution. Whether that’s one product, 10 products, it’s a solution, but it’s all about solving their problem. And that’s fun. There’s the other side of obviously the winning of beating the competition and that’s got to, that’s got to motivate you, but ultimately it’s because you have a better solution, right? Because if you’re pursuing something where the competitor has a much better solution, you need to go serve people where you can really help them, not just try to beat the competition.

 

14:22

Tom Stanfill

I want to ask you one quick question. This is, this is a question that I’ve asked myself or other people many times is I look at people that are very successful in sales, right? They have a tough time transitioning from doing to teaching. I know that you built a career out of helping people teach sellers, or you teach sellers how to sell. When you made that transition from, I know how to do this to now, I’m going to lead others and help them. A lot of people was like, watch me. Well, that doesn’t work. There any tips that you can share to the seller who wants to move into leadership or the leader who’s listening, who wants to do a better job of translating what worked for them to their team?

 

15:03

Jeb Blount

Fortunately, for me, I had really good mentors along the way. One of my early mentors was Mary Gardner from, she lives up in Marietta. She was from my early bosses when I was with Nutrisystem. She really focused on teaching me how to put the needs of the people that worked for me ahead of my own. The problem for a lot of salespeople is, and especially, if you’re a driven competitive salesperson, is that you and this is part of a good, cell specific emotional intelligence is that when, for the sake of winning, like you wake up every day and competition drives you. Like when it’s one of those things where, the balls on the one yard line and there’s one second left on the clock and you’re the person looking at the coach go and give me the ball. Right? That’s a great thing for a salesperson to have that level of competitiveness, a need for achievement, optimism, all those things matter for sales people.

 

15:59

Jeb Blount

The problem is that when you move from that particular role, which isn’t, in some ways, a self-centric even almost a narcissistic way of looking at the.

 

16:07

Tom Stanfill

World, I want to win.

 

16:09

Jeb Blount

Yeah. Into a leadership role. Now I need everyone else to win. I got to take the back seat. So I’m holding a team up. Right, right. Rather than them holding me up. What Mary taught me was how to do that. I, and I mean, when I say taught me, I’m talking about a baseball bat to the head most days, because I was failing at it. I had leaders along the way, Roger, Mickey, Chris Dawes, Steve Donnelly, I can just, I can list leaders along the way they gave me, gave me coaching and gave me help. I can also take you back to, w w at a time when I was vice-president of sales and were struggling because were promoting great sales people from inside of our organization, and were doing it because they were holding us hostage. I mean, these are our best salespeople. They’re saying, look, if you don’t promote me, I’m leaving.

 

16:55

Jeb Blount

By the way, I did the same thing. I mean, I got to go to the sales manager, cause I told my boss, if you don’t promote me, I’m out of here.

 

17:01

Tom Stanfill

So I decided the same thing. I’ve got to leave. I got a job.

 

17:04

Jeb Blount

Yeah, exactly. They would blow the sales team up. Right. What we learned early on as a leadership group was that if we didn’t promote people from inside, if were brought people from the outside, it created cultural problems because we didn’t show ourselves people a career path. Right. What we had to do was switched the way were looking at the world. We can’t just promote a person into that job. We got to prepare them for the job way ahead of time. We started 12 months in advance, picking people who looked like they had the opportunity and our top salespeople. We re put them through a very systematic process of teaching them how to run a business, teach them about coaching, giving them other people to mentor so that they had to be in a situation where they had put their own needs away. And, and we would train them how to become a leader and a teacher.

 

17:55

Jeb Blount

To answer your question is there’s not something that you’re going to switch on in your mind. That’s going to go, oh, I’m suddenly, I’m really good at this because you’re not going to be, if you’re a really good top level sales person, there’s a couple of things that you need to take into account. One is you’re probably going to make less money as a sales manager. Because of that, you’ve got to really want to be passionate and be passionate about helping other people, being a servant to other people and taking care of them. You got to do that. You got to understand that. That’s exactly what you said. Principle. Number one is that you need them more than they need you and your paycheck look at it. It is because of them not you. You’ve got to manage that team that way. The third thing is that you’ve got to prepare yourself.

 

18:36

Jeb Blount

That means go read a book. I mean, I’ve got a wonderful book and this is a book plug, but I run with books that people follow. You go read people, follow you. There are, Ken Blanchard’s written tons of amazing books on leadership everywhere. Pat Lencioni. I mean, just go read leadership books, go meet other leaders, go find someone to mentor you, go ask your boss. Hey, can I help the new sales person and go like, go work with the new salesperson and get involved in their world. If you’re already a leader and you want to get better at this, but first thing I would do is go look in the mirror and ask yourself, do you really, truly in your heart, believe that you need yourself people more than they need you, because until you get that, nothing’s going to change in your world. These are like, I mean, these are kind of big umbrella philosophical goals, but that’s just the truth.

 

19:26

Jeb Blount

The thing about sales, leadership like selling and you work with a bunch of different industries, but selling can shift from industry to industry. It can shift from short cycle, the long cycle. There are, there are different ways to run sales processes. There. Project based selling is different than software selling. I mean, there’s just different ways of doing things. Sometimes they take different skill sets, leadership sales, leadership, as a rule does not change in terms of the discipline of sales leadership from role from company to company, industry, to industry sales role, to sales role, the core principles of of training, observing, coaching, and following up and giving feedback to your people, which is all really a sales leader does, right? That doesn’t change. The system and mechanism for doing those things, doesn’t change. As a leader, you can easily hone those skills and it’s not industry specific.

 

20:18

Jeb Blount

Trust me on this as a sales professional, if you want to make that move, you have to be prepared to give up your own ego for the ego of other people. You have to be prepared to serve other people. You have to be prepared to coach and training, develop and make less money. In many cases in your salespeople are making and not take the glory. Like that’s what you have to do. If you have that in your heart, it’s wonderful. Like I love being a sales leader. I mean, it was like having my own tribe, but it was the greatest job I ever had was just being my first line, frontline sales manager. I loved that job. I would go back to it any day. It’s fantastic. But, but it begins with that place. Fortunately for me, I had a lot of training along the way and mentors along the way before they gave me the keys to a sales team and I took over and that all that training and all that investment that other people made in me kept it from going the sales team up.

 

21:14

Jeb Blount

Yeah.

 

21:14

Tom Stanfill

You love some of the things you just said. They’re all. Look, I actually love it all. I agree with everything that you said. I, I, my main thing I wanted to underscore is you said people basically, you’re saying people will follow you if you’re for them. There’s really a self-centered reason to be what we call other centers. Like if you help people get what they want, they’re going to ultimately hit. You’re going to hit your number. If you help them hit their number. If you all, it’s about you and your whiteboard and what you care about, and you’re trying to get them to hit your number. Nobody cares about your number as a sales leader, but that’s also true for a rep, right? The customer is going to follow you. If you’re for them. If you’re trying to help them solve a problem, you’re trying to help them come up with the best solution.

 

21:54

Tom Stanfill

The customer’s gonna follow you. If you’re about your commission, you’re going to have commission breath. Your motive is ultimately transparent and no one’s going to listen to you.

 

22:01

Jeb Blount

Yeah. Basically, if you think about it, when, as a leader, the people that work for you are asking two basic questions, question number one is, do you have my best interest at heart? They’re just asking that question. The second question is, can you get me in a position to win? And so one is about relationship. One is about trust. That is 70 to 80% of the job itself is, is helping people understand that. You probably worked for people where you knew they didn’t have your best interest at heart, that they were just trying to advance their career. Yeah, I’ve been there too. It’s a very, probably the best way of saying it. It’s just a yucky, ugly feeling when you know that person really doesn’t care about you, but I’ve worked for those sales managers, those sales leaders who, everything that they were doing was about you.

 

22:46

Jeb Blount

The cool thing about those leaders is there were some times when they were, they liked their foot up, your rear end, they were having really hard, like conversations. No, Novacane right. Just, and you were leaning into them and you would run through a wall for them because you knew that they were doing it because they loved you. Like they wanted you to better. That’s the difference.

 

23:08

Tom Stanfill

That’s yeah. It all goes back to, why are you telling me this? What is your motive? If it’s sport, if it’s about helping me, why wouldn’t I embrace it? Some people struggle with it because they’ve got issues. But, but yeah, that’s great. I love it. Do you have beautiful? I know that wasn’t our topic but it was brilliant. All right. We got to talk about the new book because I I’m personally very excited about this book. I think it’s a topic that everybody’s facing right now. How to raise prices without losing customers, which also, I think the book, I didn’t read the whole book, but I looked at the table of it. Also, you get into basic price objections, and just dealing with price objections. What I love about one of the things I love about the way you write is as you go deeper, you don’t just give, just offer cliche, do this techniques, tips, and tricks.

 

24:00

Tom Stanfill

You go deeper. Like one of the first things you talk about is fear, right? Like we’re dealing with, what’s keeping what’s inside of me. That’s keeping me from sick being successful. What I’m dealing with, price increases. You talk about the five fear. So talk about that a little bit. Let’s start there. Let’s talk about what we need to do internally before we’re ready to face for a price objection, or to have that tough conversation about raising price.

 

24:23

Jeb Blount

Yeah. Well, if you think about a price increase, now, let’s be clear. What we’re talking about is price increases to existing customers. So these are customer price increases. So I’ve got a relationship with you. Hopefully, I’ve been serving you or work with you. You work in my company. If you’re a business owner, this could be a big client of yours. That if you don’t raise the prices, you’re going to go broke. I mean, it could be any of those things. So you’ve got a relationship. What do you fear the most in that you fear that there’s going to be conflict and rejection because nobody likes a price increase. You don’t want to sell it. They don’t want to buy it really simple stuff. You go to any customer, an existing customer and you bring them a price increase, they’re not going to welcome me with open arms.

 

25:04

Jeb Blount

No, no, no. They’re not going to be happy. This, and the point of upselling a price increase is not to make your customer happy is to get them to accept it without leaving you. Because those are the, that’s the point. We have to get price increases because it’s good for the. Everything goes up. Sometimes we can because we need to make more profit. So we feared that. We feared that. In some cases that maybe we failed them in the past and are we, there was a service issue or quality issue. We figured they’re going to bring that back up and throw that in her face. We fear that we’re going to lose the customer. I mean, yeah, that could happen. Like I go to a customer and I bring them a price increase. I might lose them. Now deepen the book. I make the case for why you probably won’t lose your customer because customers don’t want to leave you.

 

25:47

Jeb Blount

This is status quo bias on the account management sock, right? It’s, it’s a tough thing when you’re selling new logos. When you have the customer, it’s in your favor and how it costs time, money, and emotion for them to leave you. So unless you’re doing really stupid stuff,

 

26:02

Tom Stanfill

It’s.

 

26:03

Jeb Blount

Unlikely that your customer’s going to leave you, but we fear that. And, and and we fear they’re not gonna like us anymore, man. It’s a big thing, especially when you’ve got customers. I don’t know. I’m sure you probably have customers like that. I got customers with my friends. I mean, they weren’t my friends before they were customers. They became my friends over the years of working with the mega customers. I’ve been working with a 12 years and and I know everything about them and their business. I know about their families. You go to them and say, look, I got to give you a price increase. It doesn’t feel very good about that. You’re afraid that it’s going to fracture the relationship. If it’s a new relationship, it could fracture the relationship. Those are the things that salespeople fear. And, and if we, if you’re a sales leader, were just talking about leader.

 

26:45

Jeb Blount

This is important for you to understand because you can’t just go tell your salespeople. We’ll just let it roll off your bat. Go have the conversations, right? Because it doesn’t work that way people could sell. Look, here’s what we’re good at. We’re good at making people happy.

 

26:59

Tom Stanfill

We’re.

 

26:59

Jeb Blount

Good at convincing them to do business with us by making them happy. And we’re really good at discounting. We’re not.

 

27:12

Tom Stanfill

Prices low.

 

27:14

Jeb Blount

So those are the five coming.

 

27:16

Tom Stanfill

From natural. Yes.

 

27:17

Jeb Blount

Yeah. I think on the flip side of that, those five fears are often unfounded. Those are things that we make up in our head, especially if the customer’s going to leave us on the flip side of that, those fears can be really real. Like if you do the wrong things, if you avoid talking to your customer to the very last minute and you drop a big price, increase in their lap and they can’t deal with it, or it impacts their bonuses and they can’t pass on their customers or disrupts their business, you could create a lot of resentment in doing that. If you don’t have a relationship with your customer, like you haven’t talked to them forever. The first time they see you in six months, as you walk through the door and go, Hey, we got to do a price increase. That could be a problem.

 

27:52

Jeb Blount

Create resentment. If, if you send the price, increase via email versus having a conversation with them, or, if you, if you get assigned a new customer and this is really bad, and it’s something that leaders and organizations and marketers, everybody needs to understand this. If you’ve reassigned a bunch of accounts, and now you’re running a price increase initiative, and you want the account managers to go talk to customers they’ve never met before. Like the dumbest stupidest thing that you can possibly do is the very first conversation that you ever have with a customer is I gotta give you.

 

28:25

Tom Stanfill

Price,

 

28:28

Jeb Blount

Right? So, so there are some stairs or some tactics for setting that up and setting the stage. And, in some cases, if you need to, re-engage the relationship go to a quarterly business review, like sit down with them and solve a few problems, get way ahead of it. Same thing for sales leaders. Don’t just dump a price, increase onto your sales team and say, you got one week, get it, get ahead of.

 

28:49

Tom Stanfill

The process and that yeah. Find out what’s important to them. How can you better serve them? Do some deuce, serve them well, and then build a case for build the relationship to where you can then make your, basically you don’t want to start off with making a withdrawal from emotional bank account that has zero.

 

29:09

Jeb Blount

Going into the negative.

 

29:10

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. You’re going into the negative.

 

29:11

Jeb Blount

’cause w in, in the book, we talked about resentment and contempt, which are the gangrene of customer relationships. The price increase because they don’t want it delivered. The wrong way can create resentment and contempt. Now, resentment alone may not cause you to lose your customer, especially if the customer doesn’t really have any other choice, but to do business with you. However, resentment w in a heightened state can create a situation where they want to get back at you if they want to, they want retribution. That retribution may come down the road at a contract renewal. It may come down the road. When your competitor walks into their door a year from now working, come, down the road of them taking little pieces out of you or making you work harder. If you push resentment into contempt, you’re done. Cause once you hit contempt, they’re going to go find another competitor.

 

30:01

Jeb Blount

Even by the way, if it’s not in their best interest, they will move their business because of the way.

 

30:06

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. They’ll make an emotional decision, not a financial decision. If contempt, if it moves to contempt, their will, they will do whatever they can. Even if it even a costume, it’s crazy. People don’t understand how emotions drive. Talk about when there has been a previous issue. Like, and I’ve talked to a lot of sellers and I’ll say, why don’t you talk about this product, right? Or why don’t you have that conversation? That they’ll say, well, because there was an issue about it, or because this thing happened three years ago or whatever, how should they enter into a conversation where there has been a problem, like, and they’re maybe feel embarrassed about it, or it’s legitimate. How do they address that?

 

30:47

Jeb Blount

If the problem was yesterday, you might want to sit down with your leadership team and have a conversation about whether or not you want to pass on the price increase. Right now, we’re talking about price increases, where that are negotiable price increases that you’re taking to your customers and presenting to them. We’re not talking about price increases that you’re defending. Just to make sure we’re clear on this, defending a price increase, and you need to be good at doing this. It’s typically driven by marketing. It’s typically small relative to what people are buying from you. It’s typically something that you’re willing to take some attrition on your customer base, typically smaller customers, but overall, you’re going to be okay. Your only job is the customer calls you and says, I’m not paying that. You’ve got to calm down, deal with it, deal with the objections, explain the price, increase and move on.

 

31:32

Jeb Blount

Right? In larger accounts where you’re going and especially business and business accounts, and you’re explaining a price increase, and let’s say you’ve had some major service issues, delivery issues. Maybe it was a quality or a product issue that shut down your customer’s line. I mean, it could be any of those things. If you’ve had one of those recently, you may want to consider deferring the price increase just because you’re probably not going to be able to explain, I’m giving you a price increase.

 

31:57

Tom Stanfill

And I.

 

31:58

Jeb Blount

Blew up your business. So that’s probably.

 

32:01

Tom Stanfill

Too soon, too soon.

 

32:04

Speaker 4

I would just be a bad time. Yeah.

 

32:08

Jeb Blount

Great.

 

32:08

Tom Stanfill

Sorry about that.

 

32:09

Jeb Blount

In the book, what would I give you is a, a risk profile tool or matrix. As you go in and look at your accounts, you can look at, the status of quality and service. You can look status of your relationships inside the organization, and then you can look at status of alternative. What are the businesses alternatives to doing business with you? Right? If you had a, let’s say you had some service and delivery issues, but they had no alternatives to doing business with you. It’s in pretty good shape. Or you could probably go in, have a conversation, build the business case for the price increase, and you’re going to be okay if you had to quality and service issues, you’ve got a great relationship. You’ve been able to be transparent and open about it. By the way, you jumped in and fixed the problem. And a lot of businesses do that.

 

32:54

Jeb Blount

Like I have a conversation with one of my vendors this morning and the vendor was contrite and apologized and said, yep, we misread this. We re we’re di give us all Tuesday and we’ll get it fixed. They fix it. I’m going to be more loyal than I was before. Sometimes we bring in like, those, those, those demons and say, oh, they’re going to hate us because of this. But we fixed it. And we did a better job. We’ve got high level relationships, not a lot of alternatives. If you have had, major service and product issues and the, the, in the marketplace, there’s a hundred different alternatives to do business with you. Then, you do a price increase. You’re just taking your chances. They’re probably gonna leap. Understanding what the risk profile looks like is important. The other is, I think important for us is that we have a tendency to remember the failure because we’re the account executive or account manager and the customer yelled at us.

 

33:46

Jeb Blount

You’ve got this thing all wrong and we fixed it. Were say, we said earlier, customers, we’re good at making customers happy. You’re remembering something that was a blip on their radar. Right? You’re not thinking about all the other things that you do. So, especially with larger accounts that you feel like are at higher risk, you need to be prepared to build a business case. You don’t walk in and say, I got a price increase for you. You walk in and say, let’s sit down and talk about the business. Here’s what we’re doing for you right now. Here’s the value that we’re adding. It would be no different than if you were trying to close a big piece of business. You’re not going to walk in and go, Hey, you should do business with me. Here’s my marketing brochures. Right? You’re going to go in and you’re going to build a business case.

 

34:28

Jeb Blount

Like you’re going to say, here are all the reasons why, you should do business with me. The same thing with a price increase here are all the reasons why you should do business with me. You may have to explain to them the value that you delivered, because, and I know this is crazy, but as soon as you say price, increase, your customers have a tendency to get amnesia. You may have to help them remember, right. All the things that you’ve done for them along the way, so that when they’re sitting down and looking at it and thinking about it, and they’ll think about it, they didn’t even tell you I’m not paying this, but they’ll think about it. And they’ll look at their alternatives. They say, the alternative to doing business with you is I got a lot of work to do. And I got to start all over.

 

35:06

Jeb Blount

I got to go through another vendor, how to understand my business and what we do here. We have the refit, our, our, our machines are, we have to do this, or we have to try different, process and system, or I’ve got to retrain someone to do something. My vendor today, my emotional inclination was fire the bastards. Right. Because I was not happy with them. Right, right. My business side said, it took me three months to teach them to get to this point. I don’t want to start all over again. Right. So I was much more calm. I was with my wife the night before going, I’m going to fire him. The rational MES stepped in and said, all right, there’s a better way of handling this. I can, I can make this work. I just got to get them to see my point of view.

 

35:50

Jeb Blount

So, so what we have.

 

35:51

Tom Stanfill

To remind them of that. Yes,

 

35:53

Jeb Blount

Exactly. We have to build that business case and some cases, we just have to give them a good reason. We talk about price increase because statements in the book, but you’ve got to give them a reason. There’s eight different narratives in the book around those reasons. The point is that when you think about service and quality issues, make sure that you’re not making a mountain out of a molehill. Secondly, look at that in the context of all of the different points and data points that would define the risk that you would lose the customer in that situation orders, if you brought them the price increase, and that helps you put in perspective where you are, in some cases, you probably shouldn’t have that conversation in other cases, go give them the price increase.

 

36:37

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. It sounds like, I mean, a lot of what you’re saying is we need to really figure out the value that we’re bringing, identify the value gap. What does it mean to stay with us? And what value are we bringing? A lot of us, we haven’t defined the value gap. What is it? I mean, cause if they’re saying, Hey, I don’t like the prosecutors. Why? Well, I just don’t like it. Well, what are the other options? Well, there really isn’t well, it’s like, we become less worried about responding. If we really know what the gap is, the real gap, and then we can address the gap. It sounds like you’ve got some tools for doing that.

 

37:12

Jeb Blount

Nope. Just cause you said something before we go forward, but it is a level of delusion that salespeople have. And a great example of that. I was just a couple of weeks ago was with a group of young salespeople. They’re all in their mid twenties and they’re they go have, they have to go sell new logos. They got to manage an existing base of customers that they work with. Their company said, you got to go get a price increase. The, and one of the reasons is that they can get a price increase because there’s a scarcity in the marketplace. I mean, this is just economics 1 0 1 supply. The salespeople are saying, I asked them like, what are your, what’s your biggest challenge? Because these price increases, we can’t get them on, what are you? I said, what are you worried about? You’re afraid of what our customers going to leave us.

 

37:54

Jeb Blount

I said, well, if they left you, what would they do? One of the salespeople said, well, I don’t want to go to the competitor. I go, does your competitor have any of the things that you’re selling? No. That any of your competitors have it? No. Can anybody find any of this equipment on the marketplace? No, I said so what’s their option and the person, they, the kid went, I guess they don’t have any other options. I go, so what are you afraid of when he went? I don’t know. He had like until he got that perspective and definitely.

 

38:25

Tom Stanfill

Stopped.

 

38:25

Jeb Blount

Me and made up in their head that the customer had a whole lot of other places to go. That’s what I think we have to do. This leaders in salespeople is understand what we’re looking at. And not every account’s the same. If you’re, if you’re is this one of your biggest accounts, which you need to get price increases on those because that’s where the money is, but there’s going to be a different row risk profile for, a huge multinational company that’s doing business with you. Then, then, say a small mom and pop. If, and you’ve got to look at your entire business and say, how am I going to shift my approach based on the accounts in my portfolio and the risk profiles of those accounts, and this isn’t a difficult exercise to go through. It would be a longer exercise on your larger accounts, but you could take the bulk of your accounts and probably run them all through, through, a risk profile tool or just even a thought process and understand that.

 

39:22

Jeb Blount

You have to, you got to get perspective so that you can get past those original fears and the things that you’re making up in your head about what’s going to happen. That’s not actually true.

 

39:34

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. Great point. Yeah. If you’ll just stop and do that, I wanted to talk about tab. You have something.

 

39:40

Tab Norris

Well, I know I just wanted to add a comment. I just love, I like how you address, not only the logical answer, which is what you said, let’s think about this logically, but if that’s not the problem, maybe it’s an emotional problem and you care about them liking you and you need to deal with that. It’s great because you don’t, I think the logical gets talked about all the time, but if you don’t cover the emotional, you’re missing a whole lot of people and they need to know that. So I love that.

 

40:08

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. I wanted, I that’s exactly where I was going to have. I want it because we talk a lot about, the customer is really in two zones or they’re emotionally open or they’re emotionally closed. When they’re emotionally open logic works, they’re like, they’re sitting there, you can make your core, traditional sales works. I can to give you the facts. I can tell you the logic and I’m going. Yeah. When they’re emotionally closed, because it’s contempt or maybe because of the relationship with the competitor, or maybe because they just you’ve done something like maybe because it’s a pass and they’re emotionally closed, so logic’s not going to work. What are your, what do you teach or what’s in the book that helps a rep address those emotionally unreceptive customers?

 

40:47

Jeb Blount

Well, especially with the price increase.

 

40:50

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. Right.

 

40:51

Jeb Blount

They’re going to be emotionally closed the moment you say price increase emote using your term. They’re emotionally closed. We have to understand, is that exactly what you described as it, people feel first and then they think, yeah. We say emotionally enclosed, they’re there emotionally close to listening to you, but they are emotional. I mean, the initial response to a price increase is this role. Like we’re not, we don’t logically think, oh, I can’t handle a price increase because if the customer was thinking logically, they would go, this isn’t that big of a deal. In fact, I just raised the prices on my customers. Right. What they really think is they think this is you’re taking something away from me. You’re, you’re pulling something that, out or you’re reducing my options and human beings do not like things to be taken away from them. And they do not like reduced options.

 

41:40

Jeb Blount

That’s how it feels to the customer. The first thing is, if you want to, if you’ve got a customer as emotionally closed, and most of them will be in a price increase situation, different in, new selling because the entire process of selling is about creating an emotional environment where people are receptive to your business case, which is logic, right? We’re taking people through a system to, to create that emotional openness to, to our business case, but in a price increase, this is your existing customer. They’re just not going to be in that place. First is just empathy, like just step into their shoes and thinking about if I were the customer, how would I feel if someone walked in and gave me a price increase, you would say, I don’t want the price increase. Yes. Sales person. Exactly. As their sales person, the reason that you’re going to get the price increases, because this is what you’re good at.

 

42:28

Jeb Blount

You’re good at getting people to be open to your business case. So, and the price increase is central to the health of your business. Your job is to generate not sales, but profits. Okay. Price increases, deliver massive profits to the bottom line. You’ve got to go get the price increase. Number one is, first of all, don’t do stupid stuff. Like, I mean, if you want to be emotionally open to have a relationship with them, do something for them. Like if I came to you and I did you a favor, and then I asked you for a favor, you’re much more likely to be open to doing me a favor. Right. If I, if I haven’t done anything for you, why would you have a conversation? Why would you help me out? That mean, if you think about it, the first thing the customer is asking is what have you done for me lately?

 

43:07

Jeb Blount

If you haven’t done anything for them lately, you got a problem. Yeah. The easiest, fastest way to get your customer to be emotionally open to a price increase is this. You might want to write this down, manage your accounts, just manage your accounts, do your job. If you do your job every single day, you have earned the price increase. Number two is empathy. Just understanding that your customer’s initial response is visceral, not logical. And that’s okay. Don’t allow that to stop. You just understand it. Don’t do stupid stuff that creates a visceral response that creates resentment and concern. Because as you said earlier, like once you get to the Kenneth step stage, you’re done. Once you get that, next is you have to explain it in a way that they can understand. So, so if you think about the visceral reaction is I’m not paying that.

 

43:59

Jeb Blount

I’m going to find a competitor. The logical reaction is that they have of space. They’re probably going to go think about it and go like I did with my vendor this morning, our last night, when I went to bed, I was like, I don’t want to, this is not a smart thing for me to do the farthest vendor. They’re going to think about it and go, this doesn’t make sense for us to go find another vendor. They will bring themselves to that logic. You can’t, you can’t explain that to them. They’re going to get there. Got it. You’ve got to have messaging that works for them. For example, we know that human beings have an innate sense of fairness. In an environment like we’re in right now, where we’re in a hyperinflationary period and price increases in a lot of cases are because all of your costs are going up.

 

44:41

Jeb Blount

You may need to explain why your costs are going up and why it’s fair for you to get the price increase. If you can articulate that in a way that the other person can, can understand emotionally, they will say, what? I get you. They have empathy too. They’ll say, you know, this is fair. I.

 

44:58

Tom Stanfill

Give them a reason.

 

45:00

Jeb Blount

You gotta have,

 

45:01

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. Give them a reason. Why, why are you doing this? And if you can’t explain why,

 

45:06

Jeb Blount

If you’re, if you’re, if you are, for example, there’s values, value statements can be past, present or future. If you’re working with a customer and you’ve done a lot of things for most of that, you were vendor of the year, last year. Let’s just say that I’ve jumped through a lot of hoops for this customer. They’ve asked me to do things they’re off contract, but I just get them done. They had, they called me the day go. They had an emergency, I stopped everything I was doing and helping them. You can explain, like, I’ve done all these things for you. This is why I deserve the price increase. What you’re doing is tapping into reciprocity, again, an emotional response, if it’s present value, right? In a lot of cases, this isn’t necessarily driven by economics, but it can be driven by the customer changing the scope of the project.

 

45:48

Jeb Blount

Especially in project based businesses, you’re working on something. The customer says, well, I want this, this, and this. I need it by then. You got to go back in and have a conversation with them and say, I can’t do these things unless I get a price increase. Okay.

 

46:02

Tom Stanfill

Builder’s had to have with people building a house. I mean, all of a sudden anyway, in the middle of the project.

 

46:07

Jeb Blount

A, and a lot of new home sales people are in this situation right now. They’re like, they’re shaking in their boots because they don’t have the phone call. If you’re able to explain, listen, this is what you wanted. This is going to be great for you. I’m going to give you these resources to get this done. They’re more likely to step into that. Future value is the easiest thing. I’m giving you this price increase, but I’m giving you these other things for the price increase. We’re going to be doing this for these reasons, but you have to explain those reasons and context of why it’s relevant to your customer. Not just the reason, because if you explain the reason the customer goes, well, I’m not buying that. I don’t want that anyway, then you lose. Just like in a new sale where you have to make sure that your message is connecting the dots to value bridge from what’s important to the customer, to how you help the customer, the same thing with a future value statement.

 

46:55

Jeb Blount

What that does is it allows you to leverage logic and emotion essentially at the same time, because we cannot discount the fact that a price increase is an emotional cauldron for both the salesperson and the customer and this by the way is where leaders I think go really wrong is that they just think this is just purely a logical conversation and it’s not for either party.

 

47:20

Tom Stanfill

I love it. Really good stuff, Jeff, really good stuff. I’m taking copious notes, learning from you. That’s I love the idea of the present and future value too. I think that’s a good way to frame up, I love the empathy and I think it’s important about what you’re saying about the empathy too, is that people need to understand being empathetic to someone’s point of view doesn’t mean you agree with them, right? It’s more about validating. If you can validate validating someone’s point of view is probably the most important thing you can do to get them to be receptive to your point of view. If you try to say, I don’t really care about your point of view, I don’t care about what’s happened to you, but let me just tell you what my side of the street is. That’s not a good way to influence well,

 

48:02

Tab Norris

That work with my wife.

 

48:05

Tom Stanfill

That’s hard to do. It’s funny.

 

48:07

Tab Norris

You need a book on that.

 

48:10

Tom Stanfill

Well, it’s funny that you’re talking about that. Did you mention that? I actually do think it’s harder with sometimes your existing customers talking to your existing customers because their friends it’s like your closest, this is more, cause we’re more comfortable. How could you do that to me? I expected this or we have a relationship or B it makes it difficult, probably on both sides. And, but it’s really important to dig this out and get what they, you can’t be empathetic unless what they believe or they feel. We’ve got to create environment where people will share, Hey, make it okay for them to share how they feel. Yeah, we did that two years ago, or this is how do you feel about what’s happening right now and get the venom out? Like if there, if there’s the emotions they feel we gotta get it out so that we can then address it and they’re gonna feel much better after they give they’re given the opportunity to share the truth.

 

49:02

Tom Stanfill

We can validate their point of view. That creates an opportunity to then share, Hey, let’s talk about the actual value.

 

49:09

Jeb Blount

Well, that’s, that’s one of the ways that you can deal with the conflict of a price increase and sometimes price increases. When you say price increases to existing customers. If you, if you sell a product where people come back and they buy from you again and again, so they come in, especially inside sales team, they come in, your prices have gone up on something that they bought a year ago. And they’re screaming at you. I mean, I bought this a year ago. I’ve been buying for you for 10 years. I mean, how can you do this? I’m a loyal customer. I mean, I can’t afford to pay this. Like that happens to people. One of the, one of the ways that you can pull that out is just a simple question and it just works brilliantly. You can go like, how much do about what’s happening in this market right now?

 

49:47

Jeb Blount

You just shut up and the buyer will go, well, I know it’s really hard right now. I’ve called several of your competitors. No one has this, prices are going up everywhere. It’s really tough. And you go, that’s exactly right. It’s really tough out there. That’s exactly why we’re in the situation we are in because it’s hard for us to get anything, but we’ve got it in a lot of our competitors. Don’t because we made these investments and you’d be amazed that they just calmed down and they buy from you or they say, I really don’t know what’s going out there. You can go, let me explain. You can tell them all about the marketplace, what’s happening in supply chain, what might be happening with, the cost of goods, all those things. You can walk them through that. But, but suddenly when they say, I don’t know, you’ve enrolled them or another way of saying that is you’ve created a situation where instantly they’re emotionally open to learning more, but they said they were open, not you them.

 

50:39

Tom Stanfill

You’re not pushing them into that context. I love that question, but it requires that you actually know. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges is a lot of times people go into sales because they think it’s easy. It’s not easy, right? You have to know the top sellers know what they’re talking about. They studied the competition, they studied the cut. They need to know the customer’s options, not just what their option is, but all the customers options and understand what’s happening in the market. You look at the top sellers in every industry that we’ve worked in there, they know what they’re talking about. They’re educated, right? And they’re, they’re effective. Leave us with maybe the top two or three things, regardless of whether we’re talking price increase, but just in the role of a seller, we’ll put you on the spot. I’d love to know from your perspective, when you think about either, hiring sellers and what you tell them or your training or speaking, if you had to distill it down besides work ethic, right?

 

51:39

Tom Stanfill

Cause we know that’s a given, that’s a, you have to have work with it. What are the two or three things that a seller needs to do to be successful? What really determines success in sales? Could you nail it down?

 

51:49

Jeb Blount

That’s a difficult question to ask with two or three things, but let me, let’s talk about a couple of things that I’m working on right now because we’re moving into a recessionary period. As we start moving into a recessionary period, it’s like moving from summer where everything is abundant and to winter where everything is scarce. We’re, it’s gonna, I don’t know exactly when this shifts going to happen, but it’s going to happen. When it happens, suddenly what we’re doing right now, which is pretty easy. Like, I mean, it’s right now. It’s not that hard to be a salesperson. If you can show up and smile, you’re probably doing business. I mean, you’re probably selling things. Not a lot of sales. People are losing their jobs right now for not selling very much. Companies are holding onto you because having a human being that can breathe in and fog a mirror is better than not having a human being at all because it’s really hard to find good salespeople.

 

52:37

Jeb Blount

So, so the turnover is lower right now. Self people are more successful right now. In this time of abundance, life is good. That’s going to change. If we were to look at from that, that lens and say, what are great salespeople doing right now? What are rain makers doing right now versus say rain barrels like people who were sitting around waiting for.

 

53:02

Tom Stanfill

Rain, barrels.

 

53:03

Jeb Blount

Yellow right now, it’s easy to be a rain barrel. Just wait for leads to come in. When it gets scarce, the only way you’re going to survive is that you’re going to have to learn how to go out and make your own luck. Prospecting is going to be at a premium. It is going to be having the time to go out, spend the time, picking up the phone, go out and knock on doors, go send emails, get on social media, send direct messages, smoke signals, and carry pigeons. I don’t care what you gotta do. You’re going to have to be fanatical about prospecting to still one of our terms, but you’re going to have to be crazy about prospecting. That becomes a big issue for a lot of salespeople, because a lot of salespeople right now are so freaking distracted with all kinds of things that have nothing to do with selling right.

 

53:45

Jeb Blount

That they’re not getting a lot done and they’re not paying a price for it because there’s so many leads coming in the door. It’s so easy that they’re able to hide the fact that they’re spending most of their day doing something other than selling and this, just, I, I was with a group of salespeople up in New York city, about four weeks ago. Were running like just live call blocks and they’re selling advertising. So, I mean, we’re talking about, this is a difficult sell high activity sells. We stop and we run into a call block. Can we do 10 minutes? Right. They’re supposed to make 10 dials. I got people coming back and they made one outbound dial during the entire time in I’m mask. And I’m like, what did you do? They go on, my boss sent me an email and this happened over here.

 

54:27

Jeb Blount

I got this and there was a cat video. And like, there’s all of these. So, so in, I’m having this conversation with them and this is what I said to them. This is what I’ll say to your audience. Your job is to sell stuff. And, and I was able to say this cause their leaders asked me to say this, but your job is to sell stuff. I don’t know, you don’t like me very much right now, but here’s the deal. If you don’t fix this problem, like I’m having a conversation and your phone buzzes, and you’re looking at your phone instead of me, you’re going to be carrying your box out of this building to your next sales job. I guarantee it because you have to get this under control like this, all of these distractions are a problem for you. What I would say to the audience now is understanding that you get paid to sell.

 

55:14

Jeb Blount

If you’re an account manager, you get paid to expand your accounts, which means grow them and retain them land, expand, retain that’s the motion, that’s everything. Anything else that you’re doing is academic. It’s how you use your time that it’s going to determine whether you’re successful or a failure, by the way, in today’s market. In the future in today’s market, it’s just easier to hide those slips and discipline. In the future market, you won’t be able to hide that. When the company starts looking at the list of people who are productive, if you’re being distracted by all these little beeps and buzzes and dings and bells in your world, and you’re chasing down emails and you’re doing administrative work and you’re whatever, and you’re on the HRS latest webinar that they’re holding during the middle of the sales day. If you’re doing those things, then you’re going to have a big problem.

 

56:00

Jeb Blount

The number one thing that you can do right now and in the future to make sure that you stay at the top of the ranking reports is to remove all the distractions from your world, block your day out and like high intensity time blocks do them in 15 minute blocks. If you got to do that, put stuff away, get rid of the distractions and focus all your time and attention on selling. There’ll be people who are better at doing it than you are, but I guarantee you this. If you were spending more of your day on selling activities, you’ll get more hits. If you get more hits, you’re going to get more runs, very simple, very basic. And then you can hone those skills. Attention control will be at a premium as we move into the next economic downturn.

 

56:41

Tom Stanfill

I love that attention control eat the frog tab.

 

56:49

Jeb Blount

You gotta.

 

56:49

Tom Stanfill

Start off. If you block the time, it’s crazy. Covey was right with that three rock illustration where he put the three big rocks in first and all the little pebbles fill around it. The one of the big rocks and sales is prospecting. If you don’t fill the funnel and you don’t protect time, but it is so easy to miss that because of all the other distractions. I guarantee you, if you say to your boss or somebody else in the company, that’s wanting your time, I don’t have time for that because I’ve got to sell that. They probably won’t say, oh, well, don’t sell, do this.

 

57:20

Tab Norris

Yeah, quit that craziness. We don’t need any new revenue.

 

57:24

Tom Stanfill

How many times have, if somebody tells me that I’m like, I love you.

 

57:28

Jeb Blount

I love dance card is full of appointments. They’re not going to go, oh, cancel your appointments is going to do that.

 

57:33

Tom Stanfill

No, no, Jeb, this has been amazing. I mean, it was hard to get you to talk. And that was a little,

 

57:41

Tab Norris

We did have to try to.

 

57:42

Jeb Blount

Pull.

 

57:42

Tom Stanfill

It out of you. Some guests, you got to.

 

57:44

Jeb Blount

Ask a lot of questions.

 

57:46

Tom Stanfill

They don’t really open up, but you, you did a pretty good job with that you were amazing guests. I loved it. I love your passion. I love your message. It’s such good stuff. Thank you for serving our audience.

 

58:00

Tab Norris

I wanted to say one more thing, Jeff, I love your sales gravy podcast. I need to just give it a little plug. It’s fantastic. I use it with my eye. I’m always trying to work with my training staff, with my team of consultants. I’ve used some of those podcasts to inspire my team. And thank you. I appreciate what you do.

 

58:20

Jeb Blount

You’re very kind of, you inspired me to get another, I’ve got episodes in the bank that I got to put up.

 

58:31

Tom Stanfill

All right. Best of luck. Thank you for serving the sales community. Well, and hope to talk to you again soon, my friend.

 

ASLAN teaches sellers an easier, better way to gain access & influence unreceptive customers, by eliminating the hard sell.

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About ASLAN

The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.