EP173: What Do a Fitbit and Surfboard Have in Common with Cold Calling?
As our Market Dominance Guys continue this road trip book signing tour with Helen Fanucci, Chris emphasizes the significance of practicing sales conversations in order to become a high-performance salesperson, with the script being the key to unleashing creativity in sales. Helen tells the story of her experience cold-calling using ConnectAndSell, a script, and how it affected her Fitbit. Additionally, Chris talks about the energy transfer that takes place in a sales conversation, and how BDRs need to provide energy but also listen carefully to the emotional response of the prospect. Helen shares her experience of working with a coach and learning from the best in the world to improve her sales skills, and the importance of being objective about oneself to become a great salesperson. This episode provides valuable insights on how to engage customers effectively to build lasting relationships. As Chris says, "You are a performance athlete with your voice. That's what you are. That's what you have to work with." Join us for this episode, “What Do a Fitbit and Surfboard Have in Common with Cold Calling?”
So from a sales cycle, Chris, what I'm looking for is like the forecast. Did you keep that? You're married now and you're most of the time in the same household when you're not traveling. But it took until last week to close the deal for her to actually use ConnectAndSell.
Well, I've prioritized which deal I was trying to close. Oh see. And I did a pretty good job on the first deal. I believe I was two days into the sales cycle and did okay on what she calls the proposition and I call it proposal. I see. So that one I prioritized. It brings up a good point though, and b2b. So this isn't a B2B sale, although it kind of is. I mean in a way because she was calling us as Microsoft, right? And Microsoft's not the easiest company in the world to get to do business with you. I went to Fargo, North Dakota and a December day a few years ago thinking we were going to get a test drive, a free test, drive up Microsoft. After seven hours there we walked out and had a nice dinner after the weirdest, coldest, slipperiest, Uber ride I've ever been on.
And a truck that we had to climb up into and no test drive. So here we are. You want to see a long sales cycle. That was quite a while ago. Yeah, that's the Microsoft sales cycle. But when b2b, the replacement cycle for pretty much everything is three years. That's kind of like if you bought one, whatever it is, you're not going to buy another one of those for three years. Think about it. You're in a company, you're the one who wants X, Y, or Z to help the company do its thing better. Are you going to come back the next quarter to your board, to the committee and say, oh, just kidding, that thing that we just bought X that out. Let's get a different one. Right? Doesn't go like that. You might do that as a consumer on occasion, but think of it more like buying a car as a consumer.
You're probably going to keep the car for three years, four years, or in my case 24 years with my big red Ford excursion, which Helen thinks is a bit of an eyesore and dangerous. Other than that, it's all right. So think of it as a three year cycle. Now, the consideration cycle for a product, a category of product is about a quarter. So the products that give you intent, like Bombora 6 cents, and I guess LinkedIn's doing it now and ZoomInfo is doing it, they actually have their intent window generally set at seven days. That is if you learn that a company is spiking in looking at a particular category, you got seven days to get in there according to experts who sell that stuff. So think about that, how tough that would be. So you start calling on day one, how long is it going to take before you actually have a conversation with somebody and at some point they're out of cycle.
So when you look at how much of your market, your ideal customer profile, your total addressable market, how much of it in the perfect case is in market this quarter? It's math, one quarter out of three years, which is 12 quarters. So one 12 of your market, say you have the perfect list, awesome list. Every single person on that list is working for a company that needs your product eventually. A hundred percent. So what percentage of them need it this quarter and are going to even engage? Well, one 12. Can anybody do that math? So we got mathematicians in the group. They go far. So they are, yeah, exactly. Yeah, they came from somewhere. So that's your actual addressable convertible engageable market. And you've got to engage early. So there's this whole intent thing, by the way. Sounds great. But what you're basically saying is, I want to be late.
I want to be late with no relationship instead of early with a relationship. That's what you're actually saying. And yeah, if you can close deals in two days like I did, then you can maybe afford to be late. But this is what really modern B2B is all about, is forming trust relationships over time that can turn into stuff. So Helen had a conversation with somebody, a pretty big company, and this somebody is a modestly big somebody and it's conversation she had on Monday using connect and sell. And that conversation may or may not lead anywhere for Microsoft in the next quarter, but that relationship is durable and the trust within that relationship's durable and the digital channel she opened to be able to send that email that they'll actually answer is durable. And the opportunity to reach out LinkedIn and actually have it not treated as modern spam, which LinkedIn as invites have just become another form of mechanized spam as the bots take over. I mean Corey and I use bots to write books because books frankly are ethically harmless, but LinkedIn invites maybe not so much. So that's fascinating to me. And when you think about somebody of first stature pushing that butt and having that conversation, she might have been, were you a little nervous?
Microsoft, you're an executive at Microsoft Macon Cole call. All you had to say is this is Helen Fucci with Microsoft. And they've probably said, well how much time can I have with you? Wonderful. Right? I imagine because that's, it's what how you cold call as an executive with Microsoft is probably completely different than what we experience us mere mordo cool
College. Correct. Okay. Okay. I was listening cause I do that and like a little mouse going around the house. Listen, Helen's having a conversation and I can tell you everything is to what you guys are experiencing when you ambush another human being. They are not prepared to process information about who you are. They're not. They're only capable of processing this information. Am I going to learn something in the next half, second to two seconds that will allow me to get off this phone call with my self image intact? That is what they're processing who you are. That's why you can't take it personally because you're not a person, you're just an ambusher at that point. Doesn't matter. You could be Satya Naela, say you got a phone call, Hey, this is Satya Nadela from Microsoft. Oh yeah, right. Saja, how's hanging, right? I don't think so. That's not what's going to happen. So it's a very interesting world that you guys live in. It's the most human part of sales where you're right at the edge of somebody being just an animal, a scared animal and an actual human being that you can speak with. And so
I have a two part question. So on your last podcast, obviously you have a very unique voice and so to you, Helen question for you as well, but it said there was a transfer of energy taking place on the call. Yeah. Right. So how would you suggest for people not to be like a second grade, Chris Beal or via third grade, Corey, Frank or Helen on the call. And then the second question was to Helen, what need to corporate at Microsoft? So just important for people to be,
Wow, I was going to sell the actual package being a second break. Chris, be discount. You wouldn't believe because I think that's a hot product Anybody wants to buy that you just shoot me a note, sec sec. Second rate. I can even do second, right? I can do second rate Chris be.com. That's my new business. It is interesting, the energy transfer thing. I don't know who here has ever worked with animals. I used to work with horses and yeah, dogs, goats, cattle, whatever. And working with small children is the same kind of thing. B. Yeah, BDRs, it's like fishing for big fish on very, very light line that can break real easy. So you have to provide the tension, but you can't overwhelm the fish because you'll break the blunt and they'll swim away. So you need to provide energy, but you need to listen really, really carefully for the emotional response.
You have to feel it. Do I go up a little bit or do I mean up in energy or down a little bit? And you'll have your natural energy state that you are in which you flow energy to others. And you know what it is by the time you become an adult. Exactly. When I interact with somebody for the first time, do I feel like I'm actually providing the energy in the conversation or do I tend to be riding their way? So when you're in sales conversations and especially cold calls, but discovery and everything else, you've got to primarily number one, pay attention to your responsibility to keep that energy tension there, but not break the line. And that is the essence of sales. If you can do that, it's actually impossible to fail. You cannot fail in sales if you can do that, but you have to pay attention.
And that requires being a little bit objective about yourself, which is the essence of becoming a great salesperson is becoming objective types like Helen was having these conversations. Well, we're a couple of kind of business nerds. We sit around and talk about 'em in the hot tub. It's like we were sitting in the hot tub last night and we're talking about the dynamics of these sales conversations and she's learning learning. What about this? What about that? What about that? She's taking an objective view of herself even though in the performance we can't in the moment. We have to be subjective. We have to just be human, we be very reactive. But in the post thinking about it and discussing it, we have to try to raise our objectivity. When you're doing that, always think of this, when I look at it from an energy transfer perspective, where is the energy going? And was I doing my job of keeping that little bit of tension on the line so that it's going somewhere but not forcing it and break? And I think that's actually part of every culture is like, are you participating or are you trying to force things to happen? If you're trying to force things to happen, they'll break.
Well, the other thing I would say about the cold call too is that I am, I know I don't know anything. So I happen to be married to Chris who knows a lot. I have Cheryl Turner, one of the best in the world, who is listening in and coaching me. And so even on my follow up email to the guy I talked to on Monday, I sent him an email and then I sent it to Cheryl and I said, do you have any feedback for me? Because I don't assume, even though I've written zillions of emails in my life, that I'm doing it in a way that's most impactful. And I know that she and Chris know the science of engagement, particularly with a stranger that I just talked to on the phone. So I'm always asking questions and I don't assume I know much of anything. Although I would do also give my observations like, well, why about this Chris? I can see why people don't want to do it. Why don't you just have the SDRs it because it's such a long time to wait in between calls. And she goes, well, everyone does their own thing in between calls. I go, well, I'm not an emotional skate that I can do that. Maybe other people can work in between calls while their machine's going, but I can't. Not yet. Anyway,
So well this is a great example. Helen gave you all what I think is the best piece of advice ever, ever, which is, and what you're doing here, it's always learned, learn broadly and don't assume that because something is something you're supposed to already know how to talk to somebody in a certain circumstance that you actually know of. There's always somebody to go to. There's always something to learn from. And having somebody observe, like Cheryl was observing and listening, Helen didn't know I was listening because I'm just like, if it come right around the edge of the kitchen, I can actually hear through the door there. But having somebody coach you and listen to you helps you become objective and high performance requires objectivity, and then it requires eria and then it requires objectivity and then it requires immersion. Anybody here play any sports? Anybody been coached?
This is the nature of the coaching relationship. You go out and you perform. And there's two kinds of coaching was coaching in practice, and then there's coaching that has to do with being under pressure in the game. And some people can get to a certain level in practice, but nobody can become great unless they can become objective about how they perform in the game under pressure in our game, it's our voice that breaks down, voice breaks down first, it gets tight, get a little higher. Our dynamic range goes down and we might get a little bit more forceful than we need to be. Some people also get timid out under pressure in our game. Our voice breaks down under pressure. In golf, your putting stroke breaks down. It gets weird and tight. That's what happens. We get weird and tight under pressure. So having your coach listen to that and then go back over a recording and then this is the real key.
And then repeat that exact thing you are trying to say until the muscles get used to it. In sales, we have to wrap the musculature of our tongues, of our throats, of our breathing around this art that we are engaging in. So if I have an example, I probably used it on a podcast once, I'll use it again here. Years and years ago, 1973 in February, I decided with a friend after long consideration that involved some beer that we would get on the train in niga and we would go down on Feil del Pacifico and take, you know, go over to Mexico City and get somehow up onto this mountain and climb this mountain. So there's two mountains that we were going to climb. They're in a national park. I could say one of them, I could actually say it after the third time. But the other one I kept reading it.
P O P O C A T P T E P, tl. I couldn't say it. So I finally said to myself, I will be damped if I am going to climb a 17,882 foot mountain or whatever the Darden thing is with volcanic stuff coming out of it if I can't say its name. So stood in front of a mirror and then decided I didn't like how I looked. So I went outside and it stood all alone outside in nature and I repeated the name over and over and over until I could say, P, you have to get there with every single word. This is why we're scripted. This is why we do screenplays. This is why you practice these. It's not enough to read 'em. You have to practice them to the point where it's like, okay, I'm a tennis player, I'm at the net, the ball's going over here.
I don't think, right? I've got to be able to go over it and hit that backhand ball. I have to be able to do it because I've done it hundreds of times in practice. I think a lot of people in sales don't get that. You are a performance athlete with your voice. That's what you are. That's what you have to work with. And you need to practice not at the big level. You need to practice at the little level and be okay with learning how to say something you say over and over in a way that keeps that energy flow and that allows you to relax frankly. Because otherwise you're going to be tight and it comes out in your voice. So that's what scripts are for. We have an entire episode on it, but that's what they're for. And that's why scripting is the key to unleashing creativity in sales because the creativity is around the energy flow.
The energy flow lives within the boundaries of script. Without a script, we don't even know what we're doing. Some people think I'm a very natural speaker, I can stand up in front of any group and talk about any topic. Trust me, every single thing I say has been practiced a lot. People wonder why a micro pr so I can trot around in the morning for two hours. Good things going on in my, yeah, everybody by the way, anybody in the audience, you want to learn something special, learn micro printing. Just send me a note. Two,
Was? Well, the script is the surfboard. Imagine you're going to learn to surf, right? Oh, Corey did this once, right? He left Wisconsin and went to California and became a world-class surfer. That's right. And you can tell he is got the body of a world-class surfer inside the body that he has now. It's hiding in there. It's all
So think about it. You're going to go surf, right? You're going to make your own surfboard. You're out of your mind. That's a hundred years of trial and error have gone into shaping surfboards. It is a non-trivial matter. Almost nothing works as a surfboard except an actual surfboard. And they have to be made correctly. So there are people who are called shapers and they shape surfboards. You as the salesperson and you're going to make your own script. Are you out of your mind? There's a hundred years of learning that has gone into what the next word might be and how you might say it in a way that works in this situation. You're trying to help another human being. You're trying to help them get to the point where they can start to listen at some point to the possibility of value. And you've got to kind of go through this path.
And the path is like, well, you got to pop up on the surfboard. That's your opener. You've got to get your balance and actually get the right part of it to be cutting into the wave. That's the whatever that part is. We call it the 27 seconds. You got to kind of get into it. You've got to get the curiosity going. That's when you're actually moving on the wave and you're feeling like, yeah, I kind of got this. I'm getting what's going on in this particular ride. And then you've got to get off alive because I mean, what if it's a big wave? It doesn't want you to live. It kind of wants to pound you into the bottom and sort of see if you can still breathe. So you got to get off alive and ask for the meeting. So it's very much like that.
And the two features are, well, one is I got to have the surfboard. So who's the surfer? It's your voice. It's your voice. That's all you got. This is why cold calling is so much better as a thing to learn in sales than anything else because you put your voice under pressure. You put yourself under time pressure. You've normalized the beginning of the opening situation, which they're afraid of you. So you are always starting from the same place. You know what to do. I call it compressing the diving board. It's like you're diving, you're now, you've jumped, you're the bottom of that compression. All that energy's there from their fear. What are you going to do with their fear? It's a gift to you. And you're trying to give a gift to them, which is the gift of learning about something that might change their life.
That's your job is to hope, try do things that might let somebody overcome the situation you've put them in, which is ambushing them so that they could learn about something that could change their life. That's the entirety of sales. There is nothing more to sales than trying to do that in the innovation economy. That's why it's everything's almost, nobody wants to embrace innovations, but they don't. So that's your job is to help them go the state of reluctance, fear about something new to the possibility of learning. Not even the learning yet, just the possibility of learning. And the instrument that you do that with is the voice. The script is the thing you're going to stand on that will reliably, it won't ride the wave for you, but if you learn to ride it, you can make beautiful things happen. I think that analogy holds, we came up with it when we were in Australia and on January, February, 2020, I remember, cause I was rotting around Sydney, we were talking about this dark thing. And I still think it's the best of the market. Dominant skies, analogies, script is the surfboard. Your voice is the surfer, and you're not just going to stand up on the board. You're going to have to learn to use your voice and stay in balance.
So with that, when you were cold calling then Helen, how were Ed? Chris, we're listening in one ear tied, but how was the latter calls versus the first calls? What did you notice is the difference from that? The muscle tension and the breathing and the quality of the calls. Fuck takes on a little bit of your journey?
Yeah, so well, for one thing, I switched lists. So the first list were the more senior executives. I started there and I was more nervous that, and here I'm doing something new, but I also knew they were more senior and a lot of them, I got voicemail. I didn't get voicemail, the system got voicemail that, so it was actually fewer conversations than I wanted to have. One of the guys I talked to was confused a little bit because I think he was afraid of hanging up on me because I sounded coherent and okay, but then it's a cold call, so I gave him an out. But anyway, so I kind of navigated that in a okay way where I said, Hey, let me send something to you. I'll follow up, blah, blah, blah. I think my voice was better on the second list, the second day, the second hour. Because one, I knew they were lower level people, even though they're vice presidents and senior directors. They're not chief HR person. So also I know that I need to practice the opener. I know I'm an interruption.
And the other thing though that I will tell you I have great confidence in myself is navigating a call kind of on the spot because I have deep background, like a woman I talked to at one of our large accounts. She's like, well, I'm not really the right person for this. You do this. I go, well, are you finding this? I was in a meeting with your c I o and I understand this to be true. Are you seeing that? And blah, blah, blah. And then she ended up by the end of the call offering to refer me to the right people that I should be speaking to. So then I said to Chris, I go, maybe it's actually better to call lower level people and then have them help you get higher. Which is a strategy I learned as a sales rep early in my career for large account selling, was to do research at lower levels, find out the business issues and use that to navigate higher up. So that's what one of the hot tub conversations was. What did you think about that idea, Chris? Oh yeah, that's an effective strategy. So it was a different list and just that a little bit more confidence. But it does make me think it might be smarter call lower level people that you could actually speak to and navigate up.
It gave me a new idea, which is funny. I've been at this now at Connect itself for a little while, right? Almost 12 years. And it hadn't really occurred to me before that probably the best people to do follow ups are actually the account executives rather than the SDRs. And the reason is you have these three advantages that you'd be bringing in. One, you're a new person, but you're a new person with context, which is interesting. Secondly, you get to actually thank them for something, which is a great way to open a conversation, but it's for something about someone else. So you're exhibiting generosity by thanking them for speaking with your colleague who you esteem highly. So that is the next piece. And thirdly, they're more likely to show up at the meeting because when they do agree to the meeting, they're more likely to take it, but more likely to show up because they've agreed to the meeting with a peer.
And it's always a little bit tricky to know that you have an agreement with somebody that you haven't established status alignment with. Oren talks about status alignment as one of the important things that you've got to get in a sales relationship, sales conversation. So we're from Helen's conversation and our post conversation, we're actually going to try something at connect and sell. And all we have to do is just take one of the follow up lists and instead of having it called by the person who originally had the conversation, just have it called by one of our AEs. And it's, it's pretty simple, right? See what happens now we measure everything at connect and sell. I mean, it's frightening when you, it's, I'm an old physicist myself, so it's even worse than mechanical engineers when it comes to measuring everything. And so we will just do that and then measure the results, get statistical significance, and see whether this hot tub idea turns into a new practice that then we can help our customers.
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean App.