If you’re like most business owners, you probably hate cold calling. I can relate. I hate it too. Selling isn’t easy, not even for the raging extrovert who loves the limelight and chatting with random strangers. From a young age, we’re taught to be humble and self-effacing. So it’s no surprise that most of us find hyping up ourselves, our company and its products a little uncomfortable. Yet, sales is as necessary as the air we breathe. Without sales, a business can’t exist. Even if you didn’t have to interact with prospects and could leave it all to the sales team, it’s still part of your job to get out there and evangelize your company.
Today, I’m joined for this episode number 198 by sales expert three-time author and HubSpot partner Wes Schaeffer, also known as the Sales Whisperer for a crash course in sales. Wes will be revealing the biggest mistakes business owners make in sales. We’ll be talking about the difference between sales and marketing and the method great products sell themselves. I hope you’re ready for this no-nonsense lesson in sales funnels, pipeline, CRMs, and lead nurturing, so let’s get this show on the road.
Wes, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Thanks for having me on.
Let’s talk about sales. You’re known as the sales whisperer. There’s a horse whisperer, I didn’t know until I met you that there is a sales whisperer, but I’d love to hear the backstory of how you got that nickname.
I gave it to myself, and then, I paid the government about $800 and I trademarked it.
That’s nice. It’s part of sales, isn’t it? Positioning and having a unique place in the market. What do you consider to be some of the biggest mistakes that business owners are making these days when it comes to sales?
Most business owners despised sales and marketing. They don’t realize that marketing themselves is their number one job as a business owner. Nobody is going to care about your business as much as you do. People may not be experts like you and I are talking about SEO. I’m never going to be good at SEO as you are. The local carpenter and the local chiropractor, they’re not going to be great at SEO, CRMs, and PPC.
All those things are important though. They need to be conversant in it but hire a great team to help them. Nobody is going to love their business like they love their business. You got to get the word out. It’s hard in this country, probably in all countries. We’re raised to not shoot our own horn, or not brag about ourselves, and all these different things. But now you’re doing business, you need to brag about yourself. You have to tell everybody why you’re so wonderful. It just doesn’t come naturally to business owners or any of us.
I, for example, don’t love cold calling. I love speaking, going up on stage and being kind of a celebrity on that regard. I even go on TV. That’s a little outside my comfort zone, but I’ve done like 13 or 14 different TV appearances. I can totally do that, but to cold call somebody and trying to position myself as somebody other than a smarmy salesperson who is wasting their time. They shouldn’t have picked up the phone, probably just another one of those robocalls. That just makes me feel super uncomfortable. I know all growth happens outside your comfort zone, but still, if we avoid these stuff that we’re uncomfortable with, it’s really hard to get that sales machine really humming, right?
Yeah. I don’t really know too many people that do love cold calling. There are some that do, it’s the challenge. Maybe they’re not on their meds properly. In business, cold calling is still alive and well. It’s like I asked you on our interview, “Hey, is SEO dead?” So, it’s like, “No, it’s not dead.” “Cold calling is not dead.” I wouldn’t put that under the umbrella of marketing, I’ll put that under sales.
Marketing can help with the message, but cold calling is different. Getting back to the original, business owners don’t understand the importance of sales and marketing because they don’t like sales and marketing. They think if they just provide a great product or service, everyone will just talk about them. They literally build a house on the woods and build that better mousetrap and that’ll just be a path to your door. It’s not true.
The funny thing is a salesman by the name of Hubbard actually wrote that better mousetrap that we know. What he did was he improved the story. He took what had already been written. It’s so funny, I love this story so much. How do we know the good guy? Who wrote the mousetrap? We all credit it to one of the old famous guys, but anyway, Elbert Hubbard was the salesman that just told it better and he attributed this story to the original guy to give it credibility. It’s funny that we remember this better mousetrap myth because it was written better by a better salesman and marketer.People don't do business with you for two reasons. Either they haven't heard of you or they have. Click To Tweet
I’ll have to include a link in the show notes to that story. So, Hubbard, I didn’t even know the history of that.
Speaking of the show notes, listeners, if you go to marketingspeaks.com/198 whatever the episode number is, whatever episode you’re listening to, that is going to take you to the show notes as a quick shortcut. The show notes for this episode will include links to everything that we talked about in this episode and we’ll also include books that we talked about in other episodes. For example, I was just on Wes’ podcast and that’s what he was alluding to. We’ll include that in the show notes for this show, too.
Let’s differentiate the differences between marketing and sales and how they fit together. There’s a lot of confusion about that. Is marketing a component of sales or sales a component of marketing? Are they equal partners? Is sales the stepchild to marketing? How does this work?
It works dysfunctionally for most companies. They are two sides of the same coin. I believe marketing is just selling in print. Marketing helps you tell the story one-to-many. I always say, people don’t do business with you for one or two reasons. Either they haven’t heard of you or they have. They’re avoiding you because of your bad reputation or you’ve got a problem. Most of the time, businesses are good. They’re not just shouting it from the rooftops.
Marketing and sales must be congruent. You can’t put a message out like, “Friendly service. We treat you like family. Come on down and see us at Stephan Spencer SEO guru workshop and we’re going to love on you just like you’re our kinfolk.” Then, you’re calling and they don’t answer the phone or you’re like, “Yeah, what do you want?” “Sing me a river. Cry me a river, whatever. Just get in line.” They’ll be like, “Woah. They are nothing like their ads.”
It doesn’t matter how great your salespeople are, if there’s no congruency, a confused mind says no. If I get excited about a message—I read an ad, I see your video, what have you—I come into your store, I’ll call you and there’s a breakdown there, it’s inconsistency and incongruency. I won’t just come out and say no. That’s when those, “Thank you very much. If you can send me some info, if you can send me a quote, we’ll take this under advice and we’ll be back in touch. Thank you so much.” There’s an incongruency there that they can’t reconcile. The devil that we know is better than the devil that we don’t know. The prospect just says, “I’m going to think it over.”
You got to make sure that the people answering the phone, the people face-to-face with your customers are saying the same things that your marketing is saying to the world. Otherwise, if you’re spending money to make the phone ring and your salespeople are acting the fool, you’re literally just spending money to tell the world how bad you are. People won’t come back. They have a bad experience, they won’t come back.
That’s why I always tell people, “You don’t have a traffic problem. Traffic is easy to get. Traffic is very predictable. Four to 12 months if they follow your SEO guidelines, they’re going to have organic traffic for life. Traffic is easy. What’s hard is conversions. I’ve never met a business owner that really truly wanted more traffic. They want more sales. Once you get your conversions dialed in, now you can spend money on traffic.”
Most people have gaps, they have holes in the conversion process. We really got to break this down into its components. Sales is just this technical as SEO. People are just as predictable because what is SEO? We’re analyzing what human beings type into their computer and we’re trying to create information that they’re looking for. SEO is just digital sales. For salespeople, if we know what they’re looking for, we can break down each process.
There’s a different mindset when somebody comes in and they walk into your showroom. “Hey, can I help you? Welcome to Wes’ wonderful world of office furniture. How can I help?” “Well, I’m just browsing.” That’s different than, “Well, I’m looking at an office desk.” That’s different than, “I’m looking for a glass top, L-shaped, office desk with tongue in groove, blah-blah-blah.” You’re taking somebody that is going to buy today if you treat them right versus somebody that may buy in the next month to somebody that may just be getting it out the heat while their kids are at karate practice.
You’ve got to be congruent, you’ve got to meet them where they are. If you understand each of those phases of the buyer’s journey, you can meet the prospects where they are, guide them by the hand very comfortably, and it’s a pleasant experience for everyone.
That’s a nice parallel in SEO to what you’re just describing of somebody who is just getting out to the heat versus ready to buy right now. Those are informational, transactional, and navigational searches. Somebody is putting in model numbers and so forth into their search, they’re probably ready to buy the product because they’ve done all their due diligence. Or if they are more general and informational searches, potentially just doing research, may not even be looking to buy the product. Good stuff.
Is there a framework or a process? Is there something that you teach your clients or students, if you have courses and so forth about sales that go from here to here to here, and here’s how you interject value at each stage in the journey?It doesn't matter how great your salespeople are, if there's no congruency, a confused mind says no. Click To Tweet
I take a couple of things. One, I meet them where they are. I help them with their funnel and their pipelines. The problem with those is that they’re one-directional. The funnel is just top-down, your pipeline is left to right, shove a bunch of stuff in, hope something comes out the end. Those are fine, they’re even needed. You want to cast this wide net as possible and to bring in qualified prospects.
You need to have stages so you understand where you are, just like in a factory. Where’s the bottleneck? Where’s the quality control? Where’s the issue happening? If you have the stages, you can identify that and improve it.
I created a circular model, ABCDE. You take the same stages, put them around like a clock from 12, all the way back around to 12. Put an arrow so that they’re connected and interconnected and recognize on this ABCDE process. You are attracting people to your website, to your place of business. Krispy Kreme has “Hot Now.” You drive by, you pull over. You drive over the median to pull in there to get the hot fresh donuts, that’s the attraction.
They’re not healthy for you, by the way.
Whatever. As long as you eat less 12 per sitting, you’re okay, I confirmed this. What are you doing to attract them to your place of business to your website? What are you giving them in fair trade, in return for them giving you their information? Because now, you have your free reports, you have your no BS SEO guy, and you have various resources.
I will give you my name and email, maybe my phone number and my address to get that information. Now, you have to bond with me, multimedia, multistep. Too many people rely on one mode of communication, typically it’s email. But I can opt-out of the email, I can ignore email, I have a junk email that I use, I have Unroll.Me and other filters. I’ll never see it again if I don’t want to hear from you.
What if you get my cell phone number? What if you give me a bonus on the thank you page? Now, you have multimedia, multistep to stay in touch. The C is the conversion, but this is the close, the cash, the client, the customer, not just a conversion from a visitor to a lead. This is actually where the money is made.
In this five-step process, rookies think that’s the end goal to get the sale. It’s like people thinking the wedding is the whole reason to get engaged. If you’ve been married—I’m going on 24 years—I barely remember the wedding. It’s so dang long ago, almost a quarter of a century ago. That’s when the real work of the relationship begins. You’re not just, “Okay, well I said ‘I do’ and I showed up for pictures, so I’m out of here, honey. I may come back or I may not. When I do, you better have some food for me and the house better be nice, but don’t ask me when I’m coming back.” That’s how typical salespeople are. They get the money and they run.
Experts know you continue through the sale. Just like in baseball, you swing through contact. You sell through the cash. Now, you deliver a wow experience, you delight to the upside. When you over-deliver like that, then you endear yourself to them. Now, they’re singing your praises. They’re taking pictures of you, sharing it on Instagram and Facebook and they’re telling all their friends. They’re giving you a five-star review on Yelp, or giving you an Amazon review you didn’t even ask for. Now, you’ve endeared yourself to them and what happens? We’re back to the attraction phase.
I have bought things just because my friends have bought them. It’s like I know that guy, he’s a quality dude. I’m considering this battery backup for my iPhone with this brand or that brand. He liked it, I’ll just get it, no problem. It’s not just small things. People buy cars than homes. We got our front yard done years ago, we have a sidewalk built up, a pathway from the sidewalk. Otherwise, you have to walk through the driveway, our car is in the driveway, you got to walk through the grass. Our neighbors hired a guy to do some stonework and masonry work. Okay, we’ll hire him, thousands of dollars, no sweat. We didn’t even get a quote from anybody else. We’re like, “We liked the work you’ve done for our neighbors.” They had worked for a couple on our streets, it was reputable, so we used him.
He endeared himself and the attraction was immediate. He went to attract, bond, all the way to conversion because he had taken care of others. It’s very formulaic. I think that’s where salespeople and business owners mess up. They think it’s some esoteric thing they can’t put their finger on, like this magical unicorn salesperson. No, it’s very predictable if you break it down.
Do you have a breakdown in blog post or some sort of infographic or something like that, that we can send people to?
I can get you a link. I’ve broken down that ABCDE, I’ve got a video and a PDF they can download. I really take them through a detailed analysis. I’ll get you that link.
Perfect. We’ll include that on the show notes, too. Awesome. I know you do some work consulting with clients on their CRMs and how important a good CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool is to the business. I’ve been using Infusionsoft for a number of years, I also even use another CRM called Capsule for my consulting leads versus my Infusionsoft.
CRM is more for my entire list and that includes people who sign up for my courses, my membership sites, lead magnet downloaders, et cetera. I have campaigns, lead nurturing sequences, and all that built out in Infusionsoft now called Keap. Strange name, but whatever.
If you could share some of your wisdom about CRMs, the things they should know and the selection process. Maybe they should even switch from their current CRM because it doesn’t meet certain criteria. What do you tell people about CRMs?
CRM stands for Contact or Customer Relationship Management. The biggest mistake I see people make is they look around and unlike me getting a sidewalk built—my neighbor did it so I’ll just use the same guy—when it comes to your business, just because your neighbor or, “Well, Tony Robbins uses this platform so I’m going to go use that, too.” That’s a bad reason to pick a tool like that. My sidewalk, I just walk up and down it, no big deal. If it didn’t do a great job, I’m out a little bit of money, I’m a little bit irritated, but I can’t rip that stuff out and put another one back in. Even if it does crack, okay fine, I’ll walk around it.
When you have the wrong technology for your business, it cost you money and frustration, but the opportunity costs are huge. If you have a $1000 sale or you’re average sale is $1000, and you make 100 of those in a month or it’s $100,000, now you got a $1.2 million business. If you mess around with technology, it isn’t right.
Like what I was talking about, you don’t have a traffic problem, you have a conversion problem. If you have the wrong tool and you’re missing just 5% of the deals, that’s $5000 a month, it’s $60,000 a year because you made the decision not to spend an extra $200 a month on some tool because somebody else had something. It’s a myopic point of view that’s going to hurt you.
Pennywise and pound foolish.
I’ve got a free quiz bestcrmforme.com. It’ll walk you through a bunch of questions and it’ll rank orders six or seven different platforms. Infusionsoft is one of them, Ontraport, HubSpot, and a bunch of different ones. There are plenty of tools out there. The reality is, if you use any of them to their fullest, you’re going to be fine, but usually people don’t use them to their fullest.
They get a tool just simply based on price, “Well, this one’s free with an upgrade,” or, “This one’s just $79 a month, so I’m just going to start there and ease into it.” It’s like moving homes. Nobody ever said, “Well, I’m just literally moving right next door. It’ll be an easy move.”A marketer's goals should always be meeting the prospects where they are, guiding them by the hand very comfortably, and making it a pleasant experience for everyone. Click To Tweet
No, it’s a pain in the butt move. You got to disconnect your internet, change your billing address, you got to lift the couches and move the bed from downstairs. What a pain. It doesn’t matter if you’re just moving next door or across the country. It’s hard to switch. Make sure you’re asking the right questions ahead of time to understand both where you are and where you’re going.
In 2008, when I got Infusionsoft, their only option was $5000 down and $300 a month for 5 licenses. I was a solopreneur, I haven’t even incorporated yet. I was like, “What?” It was just me and I’m like, “$5000.” There were free tools back then. There was Zoho and I was already using Zoho. But I saw the potential and power, and I knew I was stubborn enough to stick with it and figure it out. This is before Facebook groups, this was before they had 24×7 chat support. I’m calling all day trying to get questions answered and figure this stuff out, and I made it work. I don’t recommend that path for most business owners. It’s hard.
You got to write and map things out. I always tell everyone, put down on paper or whiteboard what is your current plus ideal process for each step of your business. Maybe right now you just have call-ins, some trade shows and chamber of commerce networking, but maybe your ideal is having speaking engagements, affiliates, and a weekly webinar.
Fill all those in. These are all the ways I want people to find me. Write down what’s the step. If somebody fills out a web form, what are we going to give away? How often are we going to stay in touch? Will we ask for their phone number? Do we assign it to a salesperson immediately? Or do we wait for them to revisit the site, request a second or third piece of content, so then they’re worthy of assigned to a salesperson to just spend some time trying to connect?
You got to document all this stuff to then know what tool you need. That’s why I call it to process before login. Map out your processes before you go shopping. Just like it’s terrible to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. It’s terrible to go CRM shopping when you’re desperate.
Very wise. If somebody is interested in taking that quiz on your website, what is that website again?
They’re on bestcrmforme.com. Go through the quiz and it tells them Infusionsoft is probably the best bet for you to—Keap is the new name. Then what? They just call the Infusionsoft people, go to the website and sign up online? Do they get some special deal?
When I got my pricing from Infusionsoft, it was very high, but I knew that I had a friend in the industry who was getting it for $200 a month which is unheard of pricing. So, I’m like, “I want you to match my friend’s pricing.” After some back and forth, they actually did. If you know somebody who’s getting a special deal, you can leverage that person’s name.
Sometimes you can get that same deal, that’s what I’m able to achieve with Infusionsoft. Often times, event-only deals, like somebody from Infusionsoft will speak at an event or they’ll exhibit, and then, during the show, here’s the pricing, here’s the coupon code. Do you have any special deals that you offer people at the other end once they’ve been recommended a certain CRM?
Yes. They don’t rank order, I’ve got affiliate links on there for everything but HubSpot. HubSpot, we have to talk and then I can register you as a lead if that’s the right tool. Most of these companies will deal a little bit. With Infusionsoft coming out with Keap, they went from that $299 a month down the $79 a month. Sometimes, they’ll have promos. Whatever promotion they’re running, I can get the same deals for you as a certified partner. You never pay more by working with me.
As a partner, I have access to the old catalog, if you will. I have access to different configurations than you can get online. But as you go through that, you’ll have an option to get a link to my calendar. You can just schedule time with me right there to talk through the results and I can help you make sense out of it. Even if you go through that, it’s still going to spit out the answers. There’s no digital tool that’s going to be 100%.
It’s like you go to WebMD and you type in all your symptoms, just like “Well, I have the flu, tennis elbow, or ebola, I’m not sure which one.” It’s like, “We’ll go see a doctor.” The doctor can go, “Oh, yeah. It’s just the flu, you’re alright.” That, at least shorten the conversation. Some are going to ask those question anyway. How big is your list? Do you sell online? Do you sell a subscription? How many users will be on it? Do you need to interact with the old coding software, text software, on and on?
So go through that and just going through the questions is going to make you think differently about your business. That’ll let you know what you don’t know, so you can start mapping out the things because it’s those unknowns that get you. You prepare just like in sports. They always run to the right. You are in a situation blah-blah-blah and then they do a flea flicker—play action pass—something you’ve never seen before and you’re like, “Ugh. We weren’t ready for that,” and that’s what gets you. After you take the quiz, there’s a link to my calendar and it’s free, we’ll talk in.
Usually, I talk people down. They’ll come to me like, “No, I want HubSpot, couple thousand dollars a month or whatever.” I’m like, “No. Start with Infusionsoft. $99 a month, $199 a month, add these features, that’s what you need.” I’ve learned and after 13 years of doing this, I don’t want unhappy people. If I trick someone just to get a higher commission, they’re going to beat me up online. I’ll lose 100 sales for the one that I make. I help people find what’s really the best tool for their needs, abilities, motivation, and aptitude. Some people don’t want to touch it, others like getting their hands dirty. I make recommendations based on that.
Have you heard much about Kartra?
A little bit. They’re making a lot of noise. They’re a viable option. I’m not a big fan of the founders so I just stay away based on that. I’ve seen a lot of people jumped in, I’ve seen a few people upset, but it’s like anything. People are upset with Infusionsoft and HubSpot.
I was talking to somebody in the group that we’re both in, JVMM group—Joint Venture Mastermind—and her name is Laura. She said that she switched from Infusionsoft to Kartra not long ago, like in the last year or two—I don’t remember exactly when. But she is super happy with her choice and she’s never going to go back to Infusionsoft. Kartra’s got lower cost of ownership and everything just seems hard in Infusionsoft. That running joke is called Confusionsoft. I was just curious if you had any thoughts on it.
Just like I’m saying in the beginning. Don’t go run the Kartra just because Laura likes it. You got to dig in. It’s been called Confusionsoft from the very beginning, but the reality, even with that is somewhere around 2011–2012, they came out with their Campaign Builder, which was a drag-and-drop builder, to build out your workflows. I think it’s the easiest drag-and-drop builder out there.
I’ve used ActiveCampaign and Ontraport 5.0, they made it a drag-and-drop builder. They were really hard to use before that. HubSpot is a drag-and-drop. ActiveCampaign, Ontraport and HubSpot, they’re all very similar. They are vertical tools where you can add components. I think they’re harder to use than Infusionsoft’s Campaign Builder. But names and concepts stick around for a long time.
The reality is when Infusionsoft was getting started 14 or 15 years ago, they were the leader in the industry. Nobody was automating everything like they were for $299 a month. It was an enterprise play for thousands of dollars. I’ve always said Infusionsoft was not best of class in anything except affordable automation. Their CRM is not the best, their shopping cart is not the best, their affiliate module is not the best, but they tied it all together affordably.
The other option was MailChimp for your email or Constant Contact when you got Shopify or PayPal button on your website. People would order, but the whole reason Infusionsoft started was a guy did not scrub his list. He was making sales of this multi-thousand-dollar real estate investing program and he had some promotion like 30% off.
He re-emailed to his whole list. He’s current customers were saying, “I want that price.” He had to refund thousands of dollars to people that already bought. He’s like, “You got to fix this. I need custom code to segment my list.” That was the beginning of it. So, always dig in. Make sure you’re buying for the right reason.
Good advice. Let’s talk about when you’re building followup sequences and doing the lead nurturing thing. What are some of the best practices for lead nurturing? Maybe even just start with what is your definition of lead nurturing?
You’ll realize, this whole digital world, just like SEO, we’re anticipating the needs of our prospects, and hopefully, customers. Robert Collier always said, “Enter the conversation going on in the mind of the prospect.” That was SEO is. What is this human being? What’s their struggle? What are they typing into the computer? “How to stop itchy feet?” “How to not have smelly feet?” “How to treat athlete’s foot?” “How to treat athlete’s foot on a kid?” All of those are different conversations. Am I looking for this for myself? For my children?
“I practice Jujitsu. Am I dealing with that from the man? Am I getting it from someone else? Do I need to treat my entire dojo for this antiseptic?” You’ve got to start digging in. Who’s this person? Where are they in their buying journey? Let me meet them where they are. As a smart human being, face-to-face, you can gather that info very quickly.
If you walk into my office furniture store and you’ve got a Manila folder with 18 different catalogs and printed out spreadsheets comparing price, free shipping, free assembly, etc., I know within two seconds what type of buyer you are. Doing it online, I have to create content and conversations from my salespeople to help them quickly ascertain you on the phone or even over chat, how far along are you in this buying process.Nobody is going to love your business like you love your business. Click To Tweet
We’ve got to understand and quickly determine where they are, but we have to do it with some tact. I just can’t say, “So Steph, are you going to buy today or what? Are you just a tire kicker here wasting my time or you’ve got money in your pocket? Are you ready to buy something? Can we make a deal today? What’s it going to take to get you to buy this today?” It just makes your skin crawl.
That reminds me of what it can be like going to buy a car from a dealership. If it’s this swarmy salesperson, the high pressure, their posturing, their being pushy, rude, and disingenuous.
You have to find out too, who is the decision-maker? But you can’t just say that. “Well, Stephan, thanks for coming in. Are you making a decision on this? Or are you just some weakling and you got to defer to your wife or some other person? Can you make the decision? Do you wear the pants or not?” Good luck with that.
In business, though, I can ask, “So, Stephan, thank you for contacting me.” I’ll say, “You’re looking for a new CRM. When you’re considering new technology for your company like this, who on your team do you assign this too? Do you have a technology expert in the house? So you have a consultant or an advisor you bring in or is this your world? This is your expertise?” It’s a nicer way of saying, “Do you know what the hell you’re talking about?” You go, “Oh yeah, they have new CRMs for 15 years. I’m an SEO expert. Yeah, this is mine.”
You might say, “Oh, hell no. I hate this stuff. Mary, over the office, she’s my operations manager. She’s been harping on me for a year. We just lost a sale because we’re not tracking things. It’s all in an Excel spreadsheet. One of my salesmen, he was on vacation. We couldn’t reach him. We couldn’t access the files. We couldn’t update the customer. He got pissed off so we lost the sale.” “Oh, wow. Where’s Mary in this? Can we get her on the phone? How much is that sale?” “It was a $10,000 sale.” “Oh, wow.”
Now, I’ve got some contacts. Now I know I got to keep you happy and not confuse you. I got to quickly get to Mary. Mary is the brains when it comes to CRMs.
And you’ve got some leverage too because you know it cost them $10,000 that messed up.
Right. Now, even if I have a $10,000 sale whereas normally that might be expensive in the salesperson’s mind, but if I can prevent you from losing just one sale, it pays for itself. That’s a nicer way. That’s the art part of the science of sales. The science is, I’ve got to know who the decision-maker is. The artistic thing though is how do I find that out.
Yeah. How do you find out their budget without seeming rude and say, “Hey, what’s your budget?”
Not everybody can afford to work with me. They’re for SEO and if their budget is $500 a month or something, then, I’m not able to help them in the consulting capacity.
What’s your way of staying front and center in people’s minds? Kind of lead nurturing for your list. Is it like a weekly webinar? Is it your podcast? Is it a weekly blog post? Is it social media? All of the above?
It’s all of the above. There’s been an ebb and flow over the years. In the very beginning, I was unknown. I was literally cold calling when I started my business. When I got into Infusionsoft, I understood the power of drip sequences and nurturing. I created free reports. Things that my typical, ideal prospects were looking for. 40 Ways to Profit with Your Email Marketing System. The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling. Things like that. Then, I would sequential content in there to continue staying in front of them. Got a weekly email called The Weekly Whisper. I was doing live events called Fix Your Follow Up Failure. I’m starting those now back again as a webinar. I’ve written a couple of books. I’ve had the sales podcast now for over six years. Early on, I made a lot of videos. Demo videos for Infusionsoft. I’m starting to do more of those now for HubSpot. I speak. I traveled the world speaking. It’s a little bit of everything.
Wow. I love that. You have multiple great titles. There are Fix Your Follow Up Failure, that’s a great title, Seven Deadly Sins of Selling, and The Weekly Whisperer, it’s all good. You’re very good at those. Now, with the webinar, is that live? Or is it recorded on-demand webinar? Or is it a combination? What are you doing with that?
It’s the same Fix Your Follow Up Failure. I used to do it in person. Right now, I’m starting them live because I haven’t given it in a while so I’m making some changes to the presentation. Yeah, they’re going to get me live. We’ll start to put a little money behind this from a PPC standpoint and test it out.
You’re doing Google ads and Facebook ads, how are you driving the traffic?
We will be. We’re going to be doing all of that. I am working with a team right now on putting together all the creatives. Right now, I’ve got some referral and affiliate partners promoting it, but I’m literally starting it right now. The first one will be on the 25th. Brand new, we’ll be putting that up online.
Very nice. You could share some golden nuggets from that webinar for our listeners, what would it be?
Well, it’s a lot of what we’ve already talked about. Having processes, really understanding the nuances of each step of the sales cycle, putting a dollar figure on it. Understanding the opportunity-cost of your deals. It’s a lot of what we’ve been talking about.
Okay, cool. I’ll include a link in the show notes to signup for that webinar. Awesome. Then, Seven Deadly Sins of Selling, I got to hear at least one of the deadly sins that we haven’t talked about in this episode.
The first one is Annie Oakleyitis. I realized I’m getting older. There’s a lot of people who don’t know who Annie Oakley was. She was that trick shot artist. She traveled the country in these rodeos and she can shoot from her hip. She would literally hold a mirror up, hold the rifle in her shoulder, shoot backward, and hit the target. Shooting from the hip is fine if you’re Annie Oakley. The reality is she practiced a bunch to be able to shoot from the hip and hit her target.
Unless you put in your 10,000 hours, you better have a plan. You can’t be leaving things up to chance, just winging it, and hit the quotas, the numbers that you want, the growth goals in today’s competitive world. Have a process.
You didn’t just make up that number of 10,000 hours. That comes from Malcolm Gladwell from the book, Outliers, that by studies and analysis, they found that building yourself up to being an expert requires 10,000 hours.
Let’s talk about these referral and affiliate partners. How do you get these guys and gals to be your partners? Where do you find them? What do you entice them with? How do you reciprocate? Do you partner on the flipside to drive traffic and leads to them as well? How does that work?
Yeah. A little bit of everything. I’m working with a guy. We’ve done some reciprocal type thing. Rather than tracking affiliate commissions and whatnot just a couple of times a year, he’ll mail for me and I’ll mail for him. That’s a very viable way to do things.
Good old affiliate marketing, Infusionsoft has an affiliate module. You can set your own commissions. It can be a percentage. It can be a dollar amount. There are other tools, too, like commission junctions and things like that where you can put a product or a service online. People can just go and promote you.
In the very beginning of selling Infusionsoft, I was really just a glorified affiliate. Back then, we couldn’t process the order. The certification process was really in its infancy. I just talked about Infusionsoft a bunch and drove traffic. People bought and I’ve got a commission. It’s a very viable model to grow your own income, recommending things that you’ve tried, that you liked, and see value in. Just like how I promote myself, it’s a little bit of everything. Tweet about it. Share it in your newsletter. Talk about it in your podcast. Just get butts in the seat.
Being an affiliate, there are so many people out there that are driving leads to the merchants through affiliate links. But there’s something a level up from that is pretty special when you become a certified partner. You’ve got some special training. You add additional value and helping guide people to the right solution. Even if it’s not necessarily the solution that makes you the most money as an affiliate, you have more of a preeminent status as what Jay Abraham would refer to as his principle of preeminence. What are some of the differentiating factors for a certified partner versus an affiliate?
It’s a big difference. Affiliate is just easy. It’s free to sign up. You’re just slapping a link somewhere and saying, “I hope they click it so I get paid.” A certified partner is somebody that is paying to learn the product, they’re authorized to sell it and also service it. My clients come to me to get on board, to learn the nuances, and to get ongoing help because I know the platform. But I’m an affiliate of probably a hundred different things out there. I’m only a certified partner of a couple. Just be sure you know who it is you’re dealing with to make sure you’re picking the right tool and you’re getting the best set-up and support to leverage it.
What’s the investment to become an Infusionsoft-certified partner? Are we talking about thousands of dollars? Hundreds of dollars?
It’s been a moving target. I don’t even know anymore. It’s somewhere around $1000-$2000, then you’ve got to renew every year. You have to own the software. You’re going to be paying for that. You have to renew for $500-$1000 each year. It’s not some change.
That’s a commitment.
What’s the expression? “When you pay, you pay attention,” right?
We’re close to time here. We could end with some pearls of wisdom around getting referrals. Many businesses, they tell me that clients, prospects, whatever, they will tell me that it’s a huge part of their businesses is getting referrals especially if we’re dealing with the smaller company. It’s kind of putting all your eggs in one basket to rely heavily on referrals, but on the flip side, if you got all these cold traffic coming in and it’s very costly to convert them, referrals can be some of your lowest-cost opportunities. You just need to shake the trees. Nobody has a process for doing that, seems like. They just hope that somebody randomly refers them. They’re not systematically going out and building that stream of referrals. Do you have any wisdom to share on that?
Yeah. Like anything, have a plan for it. It’s Annie Oakleyitis, right? You’re just shooting from the hip. If you’re just hoping, hope is not a strategy. If you think, “Oh, we’ll just give great service. We’ll just get great referrals,” that’s not true. Have a plan for it. Set a goal for it. Measure it.When you have the wrong technology for your business, it will cost you money and frustration, and the opportunity costs are huge. Click To Tweet
If you’ve got salespeople, incentivize them monetarily to get referrals. It’s a great sign that shows you’re on the right track and you’re doing the right things. They’ll always be some that are just so happy that they’re going to talk about you. If you think that, ABCDE, if you think through delivering after the sale, and endearing yourself to them, you can start to get referrals because just through social media shares and things like that. Be intentional in that regard, but measure it. Have a process, have a goal, and get after it.
What would be a good measurement system and a goal for your sales team as far as generating referrals?
Everybody’s different. It just depends on really the size of the product. You got to realize, too, in the beginning, people may be leary to give a referral because it can reflect badly on them if they give a bad referral.
Yeah. Their reputation is on the line.
Their reputations on the line. How are you going to treat them? Are you going to be too pushy? They think you’re meddling in their business. You’ve got to have a process for it. There’s no reason in any business you couldn’t get. Your whole business could be referrals if you make that a priority and a goal. You’ve got to be intentional with it.
Part of being intentional is to know when to ask. Strike while the iron is hot. Hit them on a high note when things are going really well. That’s when you ask for referrals and testimonials. You ask for them to be your reference when there’s so much momentum generating a lot of value for them. They’re really happy. Not, “Oh, it’s time to redesign my site. I need to get some testimonials,” or “I’m about to implement my referral system. It’s time for me to hit all these people up,” because they might have forgotten about you by then.
Yeah, for sure. Just like when I was asking, “Are you the boss? Do you have money?” There’s an art to it. If I find that you’re weak in that area, I do that in my consulting and help. It’s a little bit dependent on what you sell, how do you sell it. Is it a complex sale? Is it one time close? Is it more transactional? Is it more relationship? Is it a recurring thing? There are nuances in there I could help you figure it out.
For sure. On that note, where do people go to connect with you and talk to you further?
Just hit me up at thesaleswhisperer.com.
All right, Wes, thank you so much. This is a lot of fun and a lot of value delivered at the same time. Thank you for that.
Nice. Thanks for having me.
And listeners, take some action. I’m sure you’ve learned something from this episode. Put it into action and we’ll catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak. In the meantime, have a fantastic week. This is your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
- Wes Schaeffer
- The ABCDE Sales & Marketing Automation System
- 40 Ways to Profit with Your Email Marketing System
- The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling
- The Weekly Whisper
- Fix Your Follow Up Failure
- Captain Kangaroo
- Dr. Seuss
- Elbert Hubbard
- Tony Robbins
- Robert Collier
- Annie Oakley
- Jay Abraham
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Position myself in a unique place in the market. Find my niche and leverage that by finding great clients who can support my business.
Prioritize marketing for my business. It should be my number one job as a business owner.
Ensure there is congruency across my entire marketing plan. My sales team should understand what they’re marketing and that all efforts work harmoniously towards one end goal.
Nurture leads more effectively by creating distinct phases in the customer journey. Educate my team about each phase so that they can accommodate leads more efficiently.
Follow Wes Schaeffer’s ABCDE model: Attract, Bond, Convert, Deliver, Endear. For a detailed explanation, read Wes’ article about it.
Establish my business processes and document everything so that new hires (and existing employees) can be easily trained.
Invest in tools and apps that can help me automate and run my business processes more efficiently.
Decide which CRM tool works best for my business. Take Wes Schaeffer’s quiz at www.bestcrmforme.com.
Incentivize my sales process and grant commissions to my salespeople and affiliate partners so that they’re more motivated to sell my brand.
Check out thesaleswhisperer.com for more content, courses, and information on how to uplevel my sales strategies.
About Wes Schaeffer
Wes Schaeffer is The Sales Whisperer, a pigheaded, detail-oriented Air Force veteran, father of seven who cuts to the chase. If you need inbound marketing, the best CRM, with proven sales help – and you are not a controlling narcissist – visit his website, www.thesaleswhisperer.com.