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How Sales Will Change Over The Next 1, 5 and 10 years

Jeff Koser is the founder & CEO of Selling to Zebras, the world’s first self-driving, AI enabled CRM.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Jeff explains the changes that are incoming for all B2B salespeople over both the short term and medium term of our careers.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Jeff Koser
Founder & CEO at Zebrafi

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast.

 

Jeff Koser:

I think what sellers should expect, selling as we know it, everybody’s been saying I think for 10 years is that it’s not going to stay the same. It’s going to be different. I think it’s going to be different. Professional sellers are not going to go away and what they can expect AI to do for them is actually deliver real live good leads to them, right out of the box.

 

Will Barron:

Hello sales nation, I’m Will Barron, host of The Salesman Podcast, the world’s most listened to B2B sales show where we help you not just hit your sales target, but really thrive in sales. If you haven’t already, make sure to click subscribe. And with that, let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Jeff Koser:

This is Jeff Koser here. I’m the founder and the CEO of a company called Selling To Zebras. We actually have the software platform that guides sellers, as they make an actual live call with prospects and guide them through the entire sales process.

 

Will Barron:

In this episode with Jeff, we’re looking at how sales is going to change over the next one, five and 10 years, whether I need to change the name of this podcast to something completely different because sales people won’t exist in a decade’s time and a whole lot more.

 

Will Barron:

This conversation kind of intertwined between a whole load of different subjects. It’s well worth sticking to the end though, because we get real practical of what you can do now to ensure your success as a B2B sales professional in 10 years’ time.

 

How the World of B2B Sales is Going to Change in the Next 12 Months or so · [01:25]

 

Will Barron:

And with that, let’s jump right in. So Jeff, with that said, how do you feel B2B sales is going to change over the next 12 months or so?

 

Jeff Koser:

Over the next 12 months, as you and I spoke about earlier, AI and machine learning is such a hot buzzword and topic, but over the next 12 months, I don’t think it’s going to change that much. I think we’re going to see a proliferation of products. That’s a big word. Try to say that. But I don’t know if they’re actually going to work real well just yet.

 

Jeff Koser:

And I say that coming from experience, because AI, it’s this topic that everyone wants to… It’s one of the buzzword phrases that you have to have associated with your product today, but there isn’t a lot of real solid results for sellers just yet.

 

AI is Slowly Taking Over Sales · [02:10] 

 

Will Barron:

Is this going to be a gradual process? I’m intrigued on this, as we kind of touched on, I’ve got thoughts of software and other things in my mind as the company grows and our revenue kind of goes from random deals every now and again to keep the lights on, to this kind of monthly payments that were the monthly deals that we’re doing at the moment.

 

Will Barron:

I’m prerequisiting this for the audience, because I’m asking some selfish questions here myself. Is AI going to be just a gradual thing that will come across as like the smartphone did,= perhaps it was a big deal at first, then we all had one and then gradually things change and you look back at an iPhone four years ago and you go what the heck is that? Or is AI going to come in and just, just obliterate half the sales market?

 

Will Barron:

I’m going to struggle, because all my listeners are going to be out of jobs they’re not going to be listening anymore. Is it going to be a gradual increase into our lives from the B2B sales space or is it just going to come in like a whirlwind and just smash everything apart and disrupt everything?

 

Jeff Koser:

It’s going to be gradual and the reason it’s going to be gradual… I’ll share with you an analogy of where things are. So Netflix, when you watch a movie, you watch a series, they serve up new ones to you. They make suggestions on what other types of shows or movies you might like. My iPhone is talking to me here, Will, even though I’ve got it on off, that’s amazing. Speaking of AI…

 

Will Barron:

I was going to say that’s the next stop. I won’t say it, because I said it once and it annoyed… I got literally 30, 40 emails of saying… I can’t even describe it. The Amazon bot home hubs, I accidentally said the name and do something. And then people was listening to the show in the car, or I guess not in the car, at home.

 

Will Barron:

They’ve got all the kind of automation like going out and going crazy when they were listening to the show. So I appreciate that because I have to turn all my stuff off as well, because Google assistant likes to cheer pop every time someone mentions Google, which obviously comes up not to unregularly.

 

Jeff Koser:

True, true. So what I was saying about Netflix is, they’ll serve up the next suggestion on what you might want to watch and the interesting thing is many of those suggestions, you wonder where they came from. They’re really off target. And very few companies have as much data as somebody like Netflix.

 

Jeff Koser:

I mean, they’ve got millions and millions, maybe billions, of examples and yet their AI and their machine learning is not serving up consistently accurate suggestions or maybe even close. I mean, maybe they’re 20% right now. That’s going to get better over time. It’s going to take time.

 

Will Barron:

And we touched on this before we could record, but this blew my mind. Everyone has AI, every sales product, every business product. I’m looking at ways to just use that terminology in our future products as well just because, you used the word earlier on, Jeff, of a buzzword.

 

Will Barron:

It’s important to the marketing, it puts you at the forefront. Whether it works or not is a discussion we can touch on later on, but how many platforms or how many players are there in the AI space and I guess how many people are backpacking on top of all these?

 

Jeff Koser:

Everybody’s backpacking. It’s kind of like, do you remember when supply chain was first talked about 15 years ago and nobody even knew what it was and it became this hot thing. And then suddenly every website says we’re in the supply chain space, because those companies were just getting terrific valuations and it meant different things in different industries and in different ends of wherever you were on that supply chain. So AI and machine learning are kind of like that.

 

The Definition of AI From a B2B Sales Perspective · [06:10]

 

Will Barron:

I’m going to ask you one final thing on AI and then we can move past that and perhaps get onto how the markets are changing. We can talk about globalisation of commoditization of products and things like this. But is there a definition of what AI actually is?

 

Will Barron:

Because clearly there is no true artificial intelligence because we’re all still here and we haven’t been wiped out the place of the planet yet. And clearly that’d be like headline news for months and perhaps even years to come as we keep it in a room that doesn’t have the connection to the internet and there’s a gap around it so it can’t jump from one place to another.

 

Will Barron:

Clearly true AI doesn’t exist. So what are we talking about when we use the word AI? If a salesperson, the sales manager is pitching them on a new product, that includes it, what does it actually mean?

 

Jeff Koser:

Well, I can tell you what it ought to include or ought to mean, but I’ll just make a reference to a recent book that you might want to check out and your listeners might want to check out. The new Dan Brown book called Origin is really all about talking about the melding of AI with us and how the combination of the two is actually going to create a new species, which is us tightly interwoven with technology beyond anything that we imagine today, so check that out.

 

“Everybody’s been saying, I think for 10 years, that sales is not going to stay the same. It’s going to be different. I think it’s going to be different but professional sellers are not going to go away and what they can expect AI to do for them is actually deliver real, live, good leads to them.” – Jeff Koser · [07:27] 

 

Jeff Koser:

But to answer your question, I think what sellers should expect, selling as we know it, everybody’s been saying I think for 10 years is that it’s not going to stay the same. It’s going to be different. I think it’s going to be different. Professional sellers are not going to go away and what they can expect AI to do for them is actually deliver real live good leads to them, right out of the box for the first time, that are based on where they and the company have had success, including maybe even the business case, certainly the value proposition, the value drivers associated with the given solution set that they sell.

 

Jeff Koser:

And give them a better place to start a deal and even guide them through a deal. And that’s where we’re putting our efforts, are to address those business issues for sellers so that technology can make them more efficient and leverage the skillset that they already come to the party with.

 

The Exceptional Thing About AI is That it Eliminates Guesswork from the Sales Process · [08:22]

 

Will Barron:

So the goal of AI is to enable sales. And I’m not the biggest fan of that word, because that’s seems like the buzzword from the past three or four years, is enablement. But in a literal term it enables salespeople to be on the pulse of the accounts, to be able to give more value, to be able to drive that movement forward without I guess, less guesswork. Is that what we’re getting down to?

 

Jeff Koser:

I would say, yes. It is less guesswork. It’s about identifying where you belong, who you belong calling on, where you bring unique value that you can prove, and then AI, the software, will help you do that. But the skillset that is required for a seller to be effective today, I think is still going to be important in five years and potentially beyond that as well.

 

The Future of AI and Sales in the Next 5 Years · [09:15] 

 

Will Barron:

Well with that incredible transition, let’s move on to the five year angle of this. Clearly software’s going to be more important. We can then now I guess start to talk about, I’m sure you’ve seen the Google assistant. I don’t think it’s actually out in the wild and actually doing what it’s supposed to do, but clearly that is perhaps cold calling dead or cold calling needs to be re-regulated when you can have bots.

 

Will Barron:

Just a thousand calls, a million calls going out a second, as opposed to an individual, having to pick up the phone at a human’s pace and then we can talk about chat bots and there’s all kinds of different levels to this. And even just vendors, websites, being far better than what they are now with content. 

 

Will Barron:

So sales people don’t have to be teaching as much perhaps, or they need to be given insights to a specific account, as opposed to just saying, products, features and benefits. I know I’ve thrown a lot at you there, Jeff, but how does the landscape change over the next five years for the B2B salesperson doing deal sizes from 20 to 20 grand to a hundred grand to a million grand, a million pound?

 

Jeff Koser:

One thing won’t change. I think it’ll still be annoying for buyers to be called on by sellers, whether it’s a live person or it is a bot. And I think it’s even more annoying when we get really good marketing automation content that barrages us, whether it’s in our or email box or wherever it is. It’s annoying. And it’s troublesome because even really good messaging gets ignored today because there’s just so much of it.

 

Jeff Koser:

I think the way it is going to change is that when a seller calls on a buyer, they’re going to say, why are you here? Prove to me that you’ve had success selling to company… They already ask who like me have you sold? But they’re going to expect you to know everything there is about them at a deeper level to prove that they should give you the time that it takes to actually meet with you.

 

Will Barron:

Is that not what we should be doing right now?

 

Jeff Koser:

It is.

 

Will Barron:

Is it going to become less and less appropriate to have calls without having that? There’s going to be a social pressure, with all the data that’s out there, to know exactly what you’re talking about.

 

Jeff Koser:

It already is expected, you’re right. But I think it’ll be easier for a seller to prepare and to actually come armed with the type of information that a buyer expects them to show up with.

 

Inbound Versus Outbound: The Changes You Should Expect in the Content Creation Space · [11:50]

 

Will Barron:

And on that front as well, because we’re kind of touching on this. Is there going to be a shift, do you feel, between… I don’t know what the shift is right now, I guess it’s market dependent, but between outside or inbound versus outbound sales? Do you think there’s going to be a shift one way or a pull one direction?

 

Will Barron:

Because as you said, there’s essentially unlimited content out there now. I’m in the content game. We’re doing great from it, but I can see people copying, not copying, but people trying to tread in our footsteps to catch up with our download numbers and things like this.

 

Will Barron:

Big brands, huge budgets, it’s difficult for them to do it because it’s a big brand and a big budget that you know deep down that they’re trying to flog you something at the end of it, whereas this is obviously totally independent and we can have whoever we like on and talk about basically whatever we like. So it’s very difficult for a big brand to come across that chasm. But at some point it’s probably going to happen.

 

Jeff Koser:

Yeah. Authenticity, right?

 

Will Barron:

Sure. This all ties into it. Because of that very reason, it’s very difficult to go supersonic from inbound only. There’s always going to be a reason for outbound. With all that said, Jeff, how is that balance? If that balance is going to change, how is it going to change?

 

Jeff Koser:

I think the way it’s going to change, smaller companies are going to have access to people like us, where we can help them determine where they bring unique value and why. And when you do that, you can find more customers like that and then you can prepare messaging, whether it is inbound as you receive them, or even as they come in, they expect you to be crisp with why they should continue to talk to them.

 

Jeff Koser:

The messaging isn’t all that different when it’s inbound versus outbound. It’s just that their propensity to listen the first couple of minutes might be just a little bit better. But if you gain a reputation for only spending time with companies where you fit particularly well, where you do a great job with those that you do engage with, you are going to actually enhance both your ability to draw in the inbound as well as intelligently speak with the outbound and penetrate those accounts at the right level so that you can efficiently run a sales cycle, which means you come to a conclusion with the decision maker that you both belong doing what you’re asking them to do or you don’t.

 

The Link Between Having a Strong Personal Brand and Future Sales Success · [14:15] 

 

Will Barron:

I think I can conclude from some of this that… Oh no, I won’t say, I’ll ask you. How important or non-important is personal brand then going to become, if we are dealing with accounts that we can help and we’ve got proof that we have helped accounts prior? Clearly all this should be important now, but is personal brand of an individual as a sole contributor, is that going to become more important over the next five years?

 

Jeff Koser:

Oh, that’s a good question. I think people who are really good personal sellers will always have a place and I think their personal brand within an industry will still continue to build. So for example, you’ve got experience, I remember from talking with you, in the med device world and reputation in the med device world mattered then and I think it matters now, because healthcare life sciences is such a tight knit group.

 

Jeff Koser:

As large as pharma and med device are, those people move around and when you gain a reputation, a quality reputation or the opposite, that follows with them as well, and they’ll pull you into their next situation. I think personal brand will always continue to matter for the reasons we talk about just a second ago. I think the company’s personal brand can be enhanced by being able to prove that you go where you bring unique value. And that’s what I think AI can help you do better than ever before in a faster and more efficient way.  

 

Will Barron:

So in each market, would there be… And we’re perhaps teetering on the 10 year period right now, but we’ll push that back, keeping the five year period and we can revisit this perhaps. But in a five year period, five years from now, 2023/2024, is there going to be… I can give you an anecdote to this from my perspective as well to frame this up better.

 

Will Barron:

But if you’ve got a vertical, perhaps you’ve got a geographic region, is it not an unreasonable thing to say then that there’s probably going to be one person dominating that region if they have the personal brand? And now we have all the tools to be able to brand yourself personally for free online with LinkedIn reviews from people’s colleagues and peers and things like this.

 

The Benefits of Building a Strong Personal Brand · [16:38]

 

Will Barron:

Is it a reasonable assumption that there’s very likely going to be one person dominating a space, much like a business does? Your number one takes up most of the market, if you look at Coke, Pepsi, or countless other examples, is that a reasonable assumption to make? And is that something that we should be striving towards or am I completely off track with this, Jeff?

 

“I think that most companies’ solutions, if they really hone in on where they bring unique value, are narrow enough that there’s an opportunity for lots of different companies.” – Jeff Koser · [17:01] 

 

Jeff Koser:

I think that’s a good question. I think that most companies’ solutions, if they really hone in on where they bring unique value, are narrow enough that there’s an opportunity for lots of different companies. Take one business issue that every pharma company, just to continue with the line of thinking, the one issue they grapple with today is they have to have a full pipeline and they have to move products from preclinical to phase 1, 2, 3 to filing, and then global acceptable filing around from each of the major markets. Right?

 

Jeff Koser:

The world is sort of stratified into three major global markets, North America, Europe, and then Asia. And to do that, there’s just a plethora of products that helps with that. I mean, it could be on the content creation end. It could be on the content consistency end, where you make sure that… One of our clients, for example, makes sure that the dosing table in every place that you might find a dosing table is the same.

 

Jeff Koser:

It sounds like it ought to be a simple problem, but when they applied software to that problem, they once found that there were 22 different instances. One company, I won’t tell you which one, found 22 different instances of a dosing table in their documentation. Now, can you imagine that? I mean, that sounds almost unconscionable, but there’s a product that helps with that specific problem. Think of the number of problems that are available to be solved over bringing a product to market that takes 10 years, for example. So there’s a place for a lot of different companies.

 

Should People Focus on Building Their Personal Brand or Should They Just Try and Be Part of the Biggest Names in the Industry? · [18:58] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. We turned that on its head slightly there, Jeff. Is the marketplace in five years’ time… Obviously this is super dependent on emerging markets and more established ones. So I know the answer is it depends, but follow with me if you can. Especially in the states, there’s a huge element of startup culture. It’s cool, everyone wants to be a founder, everyone’s starting SA software products.

 

Will Barron:

And it may come to a head in the next economic cusp when there’s no funding for all this, but within the next five years or so, is it more likely that there’s just going to be lots of small companies serving bigger companies? Or is it likely that at some point over the next five, and we’ll touch on the 10 years here, there’s going to be lots of huge companies just amalgamating all these small companies?

 

Will Barron:

And so then you go back to my previous question of, there could be perhaps one sales representative who has the whole market in their area because they work for a huge company that sells all those specific products, like me, medical devices. I literally sold pretty much everything in the operating theatre that wasn’t a single use item. And there was no competition to that pretty much for the high end products, the high endoscopy products I was selling. So I’m asking you five questions here at once as I’m trying to work this out myself [crosstalk [00:20:14].

 

Jeff Koser:

You always do that. I’m keeping them straight in my mind.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. I’m trying to process this, because this is an interesting conversation for myself because this determines our content going forward. So this is an active discussion I’m having. What I’m getting at is, should people invest into their personal brand or if they rather spend the time doing that, should they just go and get into the biggest, most established, longest running company that they possibly can and just try and dominate the market through the brand of the organisation, as opposed to setting themself out as a specialist within that organisation, within that marketplace and having them stand on their own two feet as an expert? If that makes sense.

 

Jeff Koser:

Wouldn’t the world be boring if the latter were the case? If we just joined a great big company. First of all, I think the mix of entrepreneurs to large companies is going to stay exactly the way it is, believe it or not. I do. Is there value in scale? There is. Look at AI, let’s just peel the onion on AI a little bit. There’s only 11 algorithms in the world and there have always been only 11 algorithms in the world to make up AI. 

 

Jeff Koser:

We talked a little bit about supply chain before and supply chain was sort of the beginnings of all this, right? It was theory of constraints, mathematical formulas that allowed you to determine where’s the problem, what’s the most important one to solve, how do you lower the water line to find out where the first highest rocks are? You solve that one, then you lower the water line again, type of thing. That’s the analogy.

 

Jeff Koser:

Well, with these 11 algorithms companies like Amazon web services, AWS, that’s the platform that we use, they actually have made AI available to a small company like us. So those 11 algorithms are available on that platform and we can take those and we can tailor them with the unique data that we capture on our customers. As you know from talking with us in the past, we know what perfect prospects look like for a customer. That’s what a zebra is.

 

Jeff Koser:

We know why they bought. We know what the value proposition was, what the value drivers were. We know how much value was actually in the business case. That’s the volume of data we have. I’m making a point here, this isn’t like a sales thing here, I’m trying to convince anybody. We have this much data compared to Salesforce who has this much data, right? 

 

Jeff Koser:

But we have in some respects, better data that will allow us leveraging the artificial intelligence and the machine learning in AWS to deliver better results to help a seller find that next zebra, to put together a value proposition that really fits versus other big companies. And those tools are available to all of us little entrepreneurs to create innovative ideas and that’s the engine that fuels the economy today and I think it will be tomorrow too.

 

Will Barron:

I know from my perspective, I’ll just touch on this just four seconds, because I know I talked about it a few months ago and I know I’m getting emails about it still. We had a brand try and buy the podcast and all our content and move it over to their platform and we would essentially have been doing in-house content for them. And I turned the offer down.

 

Will Barron:

It was a really good offer. It was not set up for life money, but it was getting to that kind of point, which is really incredible. Turned it down because, and I don’t know if you have thoughts on this, clearly we just compared selling zebras to Salesforce. The behemoth that they are, I’m actually quite happy being a small business. I don’t really see the need for me right now to take onto debt.

 

Will Barron:

We’re looking for office space because we want to do more in-person events and podcast [inaudible [00:24:08] of things. So that’s a larger scale project that’s going on on the side of things, but we don’t need investment. We don’t need nothing. I’m quite happy to stay small and I feel like that is something that will happen over time perhaps. It’s difficult to have investors on board, I imagine. I have no idea.

 

Jeff Explains the Meaning of ‘Selling to Zebras’ · [24:35] 

 

Will Barron:

Perhaps you’re right on that, in that the level and the number of entrepreneurs will keep revolving and keep changing but the balance between them and enterprise-level companies will stay stagnant. But on that, Jeff, I want you to just tell us, because if anyone hasn’t listened to the previous show, they might be going, what the hell is a zebra in the context of sales? So just to wrap up that, your analogy there, tell us what selling to a zebra actually means.

 

Jeff Koser:

A zebra is the perfect prospect and it’s the perfect prospect based on the type of company, the organisation, the business problem that they have that you solve. It’s the decision maker involved in the measurement of what makes up a zebra and then the classic things that you think of when you think of every deal, funding, value, technology and service.

 

Jeff Koser:

And technology comes into play in all deals, even those that aren’t technology companies. A manufacturer brings unique technology to the game, for example, certainly life sciences. There’s a lot of that, right? But that’s a zebra. You can identify what it looks like, you can measure it, you can determine where the gaps are and that’s part of what we teach. It’s a small part of what we teach, but it’s a powerful part of what we teach.

 

Will Salespeople Still Exist in the Next 10 Years? · [25:49] 

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Okay. So let’s move into the 10 year into the future period. If year one, we’re going to see smarter data being thrown at us from our CRMs or software on the sales side of things. If in the five year period this is going to extrapolate slowly, we’re going to see the importance of being an individual that can actually add value to your customers upfront, as opposed to getting on a cold call and doing some weird back and forth jousting to get any information out of them.

 

Will Barron:

Hopefully that goes away over time. We can prove our ability to add value. And that’s our five year goal, along with our personal brand and other things we touched on. 10 years, are there going to be any sales people left Jeff? Because I need to change the name of this sodding podcast if that’s not going to be the case as soon as possible.

 

“Today, 60% of the buying decision that a buyer makes is actually made before they ever contact the seller.” – Jeff Koser · [26:40] 

 

Jeff Koser:

They say today that 60% of the buying decision that buyers make is actually made before they ever contact the seller because of the, like you said before, just the plethora of information and we all make it available, via our websites, via podcasts like this. We get our name out there. We get our brand out there via presentations that we make at conferences that we make available.

 

Jeff Koser:

So a lot of the information that a buyer wants is already available and I think that’s going to continue. Maybe it gets to the place where 80% of what they need to know, they already have. Or maybe it can be self-guided, maybe where there are bots that take you through a process that a buyer allows to elect in to continue or opt out of.

 

Jeff Koser:

But I still think that in the end, before they buy anything for a complex solution, it’ll take that human-to-human interaction. So I don’t think you have to change the name of your show.

 

Develop and Master these Crucial Skills if You Want to Succeed in Sales 10 Years from Now · [27:58] 

 

Will Barron:

Thank goodness for that, Jeff because this domain cost me thousands, salesman.org. I don’t want to buy another one right this second. On that front, then let’s get practical. We’ll wrap up the show with this. If someone is planning on staying in sales now for a 10 year career. Perhaps like me, obviously I’ve changed tracks here, but if I hadn’t have felt the need in this space for content, for sales people… I love B2B sales. I love the endoscopy devices I was selling.

 

Will Barron:

It’s just a huge nerd out session with a bunch of really interesting men and women who have got their hands inside people all day, day in, day out. I loved selling the camera systems and all that stuff. Fantastic. As said, enjoyed the conversations and the NHSA in the UK, I’m proud to save their money and help them out because I’m passionate about the NHS.

 

Will Barron:

With all that said, for someone who’s listening to the show now, let’s assume one to five years moving forward, they find the vertical they want to spend time in. They know the geographic location, if there is one, that they’re going to be working from.

 

Will Barron:

We’re projecting now 10 years into the future. What skill sets do they need to develop now so that in 10 years they’re absolutely smashing it, they’re dominating the competition? They can be lined up for promotions and anything else that’s going on as well. What can sales people listening to this show right now learn so that in 10 years, they’re making their lives easier?

 

Jeff Koser:

Well, I think it’s going to be even more global. I don’t think your geography is going to matter. Right now, you’re on one continent, I’m on another. Geography doesn’t matter. We speak the same language, even though we have different accents. I think that if anything, you’ll be able to sell almost anything from where you are, so the more you can understand another culture, another language… There are differences. There’s differences in people. There’s differences in what they expect.

 

“I think the world is going more towards the way Europe buys, which has always been more of, show me and prove it to me as opposed to making claims about it.” – Jeff Koser · [29:50] 

 

Jeff Koser:

If anything, I think the world is going more towards the way Europe buys, which has always been more show me and prove it to me as opposed to make claims about it. I think that you have to be able to prove it. And I think that, that the interpersonal skills of being able to prove something and convince someone even with all of the technology, is still going to be there, so developing that. To me, that’s what will continue to differentiate a person. Those will differentiate you today, but I think they’ll help you in years to come as well. 

 

Will Barron:

Well let’s just touch on these. First one, being able to prove it and influence people. I guess, similar skills, but we can learn how to influence from there’s plenty of boxing courses. There’s the Robert Cialdini book, which I found really useful for not influencing people, but understanding perhaps steps to set someone up for a conversation. That sounds manipulative, not set someone up.

 

Jeff Koser:

It does, a little bit.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And obviously being manipulative is down to intent. If I know I can really help someone, if I can put a really good title on this podcast episode and on the video and on the audio, get people to listen to it and get people to listen all the way through to this point. I’m somewhat manipulating them to get them to download it over some other content that’s out there, hopefully our content, they’re fighting over in the mind share. I don’t know where I’m really going with that. I’ll leave it with this, Robert Cialdini, Influence is a great book.

“If your intent is pure then what you do is going to be pure.” – Jefff Koser [31:22] 

Jeff Koser:

Well, your point about intent was good. Your point about intent was right. If your intent is pure than what you do is going to be pure.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. Okay. Robert Cialdini book, link it in the show notes, great book on all this, on influence. It’s called Influence. But then the prove elements of this, I thought this is just worth touched on for a little bit longer. And then the language element, we’ll wrap up on this, Jeff. Should we be starting to collect?

 

Why You Need to Start Building a Catalog of Customer Testimonials · [31:40] 

 

Will Barron:

Not on the company’s behalf, on our own, on our LinkedIn page, on our website, even just in our email so that we can print them off and do something with them in the future, customer testimonials. Should we be starting to ask people. If I’ve had a surgeon, they’ve done really well with our product, if they’ve saved theatre time, if it’s helped them reduce patient safety issues, should I be asking them to get on camera for 30 seconds and just tell us the story of how they solved the problem via our product or service so they’re the hero in it?

 

Will Barron:

And should we be starting to collect these little bits of content, because this is then eventually a database, a website, willbaron.com, 50 videos of all the people you’ve helped over the past five years. You just put it in your email signature, you don’t push people to it. You let them find it. That becomes a real powerful selling tool at that point. Is this something that we should be starting to consider?

 

“If you’re not a good person, it’s going to be harder to hide. If you are, I think there will be more technology that will help you to put that message forward that will help you be successful.” – Jeff Koser · [32:49] 

 

Jeff Koser:

I think that’s an excellent idea. I think that that would be effective today, if you could have people do that. I think it’ll be even more powerful in the future because there’ll be more ways to find it. Maybe that is the point. If you’re not a good person, it’s going to be harder to hide. If you are, I think there will be more technology that will help you to put that message forward that will help you be successful. 

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. We touched on this before on other episodes, but LinkedIn should probably do it first. I’m just convinced there’s going to be a… It’s like G2 Crowd, which allows people to give verified ratings of software products. And you’ll probably be aware of these for the SAS market and the sales [inaudible [00:33:18] market. I’m sure that’s going to happen for salespeople. There’s one in the UK for builders, you can suss out whether someone’s a com man or a cowboy, I’m sure that’s going to happen for enterprise level B2B salespeople.

 

There Will Come a Time When Buyers Will Be Able to Rate and Review Salespeople · [33:20] 

 

Will Barron:

You’ll Google someone’s name, that organisation, that content will have far higher rankings in the search engines than what you will on your own personal website and so people are going to be able to rate you. You’re going to proactively ask people to say, well Will did this, this, this, and it was fantastic. And then obviously people you piss off, if you’re a bad person, to use your words, Jeff, it’s going to show up. And it’s going to [inaudible [00:33:49] you. I think the days of ripping people off hopefully are slowly getting more and more difficult to hide from and run away from.

 

Jeff Koser:

And it’ll be video. Because if you put a testimonial on your website, that’s written, anybody can write that or adjust it to fit the messaging that you wanted portrayed, but a video you can’t. And if you had a bunch of videos, people just believe video because somebody actually said it, and you can feel their enthusiasm or lack of. You can feel the nature of what they’re describing and their passion for how the whatever it was that they’re talking about affected them.

 

Jeff Koser:

I think that’s where it’ll go. And then the technology, I think we’ll be able to figure out, do searches on video. Well, one company called Tubular Labs already, for example, analyses the 6 billion videos that are out there in the marketplace already. So that technology that you’re talking about to find a good seller already exists even on a level that maybe most of us didn’t realise.

 

Will Barron:

Even better. You go on there and you search for a solution to be solved and it searches through verified testimonials of people who have solved solutions. Maybe this would be for consultants and people like that first, and then could trickle down to other people within the business world like Ron, but, well, there’s a product right there. If it doesn’t already exist, Jeff, we’ve just founded our next company together, mate.

 

Will Barron:

And final thing on this, and I’m only half joking when I say this, Jeff. In that I want to ask you what… If we’re going to pick up a second language, we’ll perhaps keep it to, if you’re in North America, what language should you learn? If you’re in Europe, what language should you learn? And I’ll say, if you’re in Europe, you should learn German because no World War II jokes, but genuinely they’re so far ahead within the European market of pretty much everything, including the automobile industry and all these important worldwide industries.

 

Will Barron:

I’m genuinely going to start learning German in 2019. It’s one of my 2019 goals to not be able to speak fluent, but to be able to converse. Because I’m genuinely convinced that perhaps not speaking German, but be able to get over there, understand the language and network over there will be important for me in 10 years. Glad you brought this up with the language front and the culture front.

 

The Reasons Why Salespeople Should Learn Multiple Languages · [36:13]

 

Will Barron:

But for everyone else or perhaps people in North America, what should we be learning? What do you think is then perhaps the new big emerging global marketplace, that if we learned it now, 10 years from now, we could set ourselves up for a bespoke sales position and we’d have no competition internally to get that job?

 

Jeff Koser:

Well, I’m using Duolingo, Will, to learn Spanish. But I don’t think there’s any wrong language. I mean, like you said, German. Germans want to speak German. So if you go there, they understand English, but they won’t speak it to you. That’s an important one. French is a big one. But most of the largest portion of any language I think in the world is Spanish, but certainly Mandarin would serve you.

 

Jeff Koser:

And if you learn one, or if you learn a second one, you have a better ability to start understanding words from all languages, right? So there is a double benefit, literally.

 

Jeff’s Advise to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [37:22]

 

Will Barron:

And for everyone listening, who would’ve thought it, we start the show by asking about AI in sales. We end it by talking what language you should learn to have success 15, 25 years from now. With that, Jeff, I’ve got one final question, mate. I’ve asked you this before, and I’m going to ask you it again. And that is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Jeff Koser:

Well, maybe it’s just the power of suggestion, but I would learn a second language and I would start to learn it like at the age of 10, because they say that that’s when you can really learn something much more easily. I’ll give you an example, my sister-in-law came from Poland and she only spoke Polish to her children. She forced them to go to German school, which you can appreciate. So they know three languages and by knowing those three languages, there’s a lot that they can figure out, like we talked about before. So they definitely have an advantage. That’s what I would tell my younger self.

 

Parting Thoughts · [38:10]

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. Well, with that, we’ve touched on it, but tell us about where we can find Selling For Zebras and yeah, where we can find more about you as well, Jeff.

 

Jeff Koser:

Sellingtozebras.com. You can find us, we’re easy to find, everything about us. You can connect to me on LinkedIn very easily as well.

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. We’ll add a link to your LinkedIn profile, Selling To Zebras, everything else that we talked about, including the books in this episode of the show, or this show notes of this episode over at salesman.org. And with that, Jeff, thank you for your time, mate. I appreciate the fact that this was not the most seamless podcast you’ve ever been on. And we went back and forth on a lot of weird random topics, but I think there was a lot of value in this one for the audience. So that mate, I want to thank you for joining us again on the show.

 

Speaker 3:

Good job, Will.

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