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Do You Need RELATIONSHIPS To Win Deals (Or Is ROI All That Matters)?

Aaron Schmookler works with business leaders who believe that their people are their greatest asset. He supports them to build structures, habits, and mindsets so their people find fulfillment and reasons to stay.

In today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast, Aaron explains whether we actually need relationships to win B2B business or if value is the only thing that matters.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:
Win More Deals Or Your Money Back.
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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Aaron Schmookler
Culture Engineer and CEO of The Yes Works

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

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

 

Aaron Schmookler:

The distinction that you can make between yourself and the other guy, between your product and the competitors is the relationship that you have with the person that you’re selling to. Are you selling in order to sell? Or are you selling in order to serve?

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation. I’m Will Barron, host of the Salesman Podcast, the worlds most listened to B2B sales show. If you haven’t already, make sure to click, subscribe, and with that, let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Well, Aaron Schmookler, co founder and trainer at The Yes Works, where we provide training and support to teams to grow world class collaboration and world class communication so that they can maximise their profits, attain, and so that they can find fulfilment together in work.

 

Will Barron:

On this episode of the show, the legend that is Aaron, we’re diving into whether we really need relationships to win B2B deals, contracts and to drive revenue. Whether we really need to have know, like and trust, which is so cliché and we talk about all the time. Whether that’s really needed in the world of B2B sales, and a whole lot more. So, let’s jump right in.

 

Do Salespeople Need Relationships to Drive Revenue and Win Deals? · [01:15] 

 

Will Barron:

Today, I think there’s going to be multiple questions that will be answered. There’ll definitely be lots of questions asked, but the question I’d like to start to answer at the top of the show is, whether we should throw out our sales relationships, our business relationships, what that means. But I guess to tee all this up, Aaron, do we need to, right now in the economic climate that we live in, do we need to have a relationship in place, a “relationship” to be able to drive revenue and to do a deal with someone?

 

“As soon as you and I start to converse, as soon as I have a response to something that you’ve said, or vice versa, we’ve got a relationship. So, the question is, are you going to have a default relationship or are you going to have a deliberate, purposeful, meaningful relationship that’s worth the term?” – Aaron Schmookler · [02:05] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Well, if you put it like that, in that binary function, no. You don’t need a relationship in the sense that you may be imagining. We don’t need to go out and have a wine and beer and tee off at the golf course, and I’ll posit that in this day and age when so much can be bought online through a bot or through an online ordering form, you are going to have a relationship. As soon as you and I start to converse, as soon as I have a response to something that you’ve said, or vice versa, we’ve got a relationship. So, the question is, are you going to have a default relationship or are you going to have a deliberate, purposeful, meaningful relationship that’s worth the term?

 

Should We Build Meaningful Relationships Or Is Having Default Relationships Good Enough in B2B Sales? · [02:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Let me ask this in a different way. I never really thought about it this way before, but should we have a relationship that we are trying to influence and make better? Or is a default relationship good enough and then … especially if we’re starting to pile on the value business wise as opposed to the value relationship wise?

 

“I think increasingly, the distinction that you can make between yourself and the other guy, between your product and the competitor’s really is the relationship that you have with the person that you’re selling to. Are you selling in order to sell, or are you selling in order to serve?” – Aaron Schmookler · [03:01]

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Right. Well, more and more it’s harder to distinguish ourselves. It’s harder to say this product is different from … or even this, especially this product is better than, or this service is better than that other one. So, I think increasingly, the distinction that you can make between yourself and the other guy, between your product and the competitor’s really is the relationship that you have with the person that you’re selling to. Are you selling in order to sell? Or are you selling in order to serve?

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And when you really have that service mentality, you get deeper and deeper into the personal interests, into the life, into the business goals, both longterm and short term. And so, you become a more valuable person because forget having a differentiated product. Those days are largely gone.

 

Will Barron:

I’ve got a reasonably good example of this, and it was a chap called Pat Flynn I had on the podcast years ago now. And I’ve followed Pat since he was a fledgling entrepreneur, and he’s doing 100 grand, 200 grand monthly revenue right now, he’s killing it. And I was asking him about training and workshops and courses, and this is before I launched the first version of The Sales School. And he gave me some really important advice, and I was hesitating on … because obviously pulling focus away from the podcast and growing that and growing a product, you can only do so many things at once, and so one would suffer to build the other.

 

Will Barron:

So, this what I was throwing at him, and off the record he said … Well, my issue was that there’s many sales training products out there. I’m clearly on the path of helping other people be a sales trainer by interviewing legends like yourself, Aaron, as opposed to doing it myself, so I had all these things battering around my head. And he said, “People want to learn from you, even if it’s the same information. Even if it is the same product, the same video, the same background, the proofing, quality, whatever it is, people what you in front of it because there’s an entertainment factor or whatever it is.”

 

How Salespeople Can Differentiate Themselves From Competitors with Similar Products and Pricing · [04:45] 

 

Will Barron:

And that really instilled, I guess, what we’re talking about here in my mind of, you can have the same product, same pricing and the differentiator can literally be the person listening to the show, right?

 

“When I ring up one of my prospects or one of my clients, I want them to look at their caller ID and say, “Oh, it’s Aaron. I better take this call. Because my life, my business, my objectives are going to be advanced by talking to him,”  – Aaron Schmookler · [04:53] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Absolutely. When I ring up one of my prospects or one of my clients, I want them to look at their caller ID and say, “Oh, it’s Aaron. I better take this call. Because my life, my business, my objectives are going to be advanced by talking to him,” because that’s the experience they’ve had.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

I can tell you a story also to give you an example. So, there’s a local bank that I want to work with and I’ve reached out to all sorts of people at all levels of this bank in various ways, including on LinkedIn. And one of the people I reached out to named April, is a senior vice president in this bank and I reached out to her on LinkedIn with kind of a regular touch. “Here’s a little something I thought you might find valuable. Here’s another little something that I thought you might find valuable that I created. And here’s another little something that I thought I might find valuable for this, that and the other reason. Let me know what you think.”

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And then, eventually, I said, “Hey, we’ve been LinkedIn connections for a while, how about we turn this into a realtime phone conversation?” And the first thing she said when I got on the phone was, “I never do this. I never accept these invitations, but there’s something about your approach that made me interested.” So, I’ve created already a relationship in which she’s seeing value, so she’s willing to go against her usual pattern to have this conversation with me.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

I learned a little bit about her, she learned a little bit about what we do. She said, “I’m interested and I’m not a buyer for this. In our organisation I’m just not somebody who would buy this.” And I said, “That’s completely fine. And the way I do business, like to make peoples work lives better. If there’s any way, given what I do, that you can imagine I might be able to help you improve your work life, what would that be?”

 

Aaron Schmookler:

She’s already told me, she’s disqualified herself as a buyer for me. And she started to get into some story about something that she was facing at work, an interpersonal difficulty, which is one of the things that we work on with our clients. I spent 45 minutes with her, learning more about that difficulty that she was facing and kind of coaching her through to some of her own realisations, and then also giving her a little bit of guidance about how I thought she might best overcome this challenge that she was facing.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And at the end of that 45 minutes, she said, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much. Why would you do this?” I said, “Well, you told me about a challenge and there it was in my space. I also know that what I do is almost impossible to describe in a way that people can really experience how valuable it could be. And so, it’s an opportunity for me to plant in your brain some semblance of an understanding of the value of what we do.”

 

Aaron Schmookler:

She said, “You’ve got to meet my friend, Scott.” And so, I met her friend Scott. She treated me and Scott to lunch to introduce us and her understanding of her business was profound. I’ve never seen a banker know somebody else’s business so well. She’s been his banker since 1994, and really knew the ins and outs of his business, made the introduction. She watched me build a value-based relationship over lunch with him, not talking about sales at all, and now, she is an advocate for the services that we provide.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

This person who disqualified herself in the first few minutes of our conversation is now making me money. So, you tell me?

 

Aaron Talks About The Number of Trials it Typically Takes Him to Turn Random Strangers Into Referral Partners · [08:55]

 

Will Barron:

So, there’s multiple things to go at here, and I want to … we’ll move off the philosophy of sales in a second and into the practical element of all of this, how we can build these, to quote you there, Aaron, of value-based relationships. But for context, how many swings did you need to take at random people to find someone who is essentially now a referral partner? Someone who can network and link you to new potential customers is this … does this happen once a year? Is this a one off story that has never been replicated? What I’m trying to get at is, how much effort do we need to put in to see any results by focusing on this?

 

Aaron Schmookler:

I don’t know.

 

Will Barron:

We need more than that.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

On some level, I don’t care because I can tell you, my phone rang the other day also. Somebody that I met, probably treated similarly, three years ago. And she said, “I’ve been keeping your card in my back pocket for three years until I was in a position to hire you. And I just knew as soon as those three years had elapsed, I would hire you.” Whatever exchange it was that we had the first time did not even register for me. I did not remember this person. She remembered me, she kept my card in her pocket for three years. Not on the off chance that some day she could hire me, because she knew some day she would be ready, willing and able to.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And so, I can’t put a quantity on it. But here’s a couple of the reasons that I know this works. One is, I’m making a lot more money now than I was when I started this, and with relationships like April and relationships like this one that I’ve just named with the business card, I can track it backwards and say, “Yes, this is now not just making me a sale, but making me a whole ecosystem that just keeps priming the pump.”

 

Aaron Schmookler:

So, they talk about trading time for dollars, there’s a way in which, because I’m a service-based business, I’m still doing that. On a prospecting respect, that’s not how I operate anymore. I’ve got this machine that runs for me because of all the time that I’ve spent this way.

 

“An action portal is, in the fog of war, in the heat of battle, what is the basis by which I’m going to make decisions? Is it to drive dollars? Is it to give my customers a great experience? For me, the action portal is, I try to make people’s work lives better.” – Aaron Schmookler · [11:27] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Now, do I often spend 45 minutes coaching somebody through a difficult interpersonal situation at work? That’s something that happens rarely. But they talk about mission, vision and values. I’ve got something else that I add on to that suite that I call an action portal. And this is, in the fog of war, in the heat of the battle, what is the basis by which I’m going to make decisions? Is it to drive dollars? Is it to give my customers a great experience? For me, the action portal is, I try to make peoples work lives better.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

So, in that conversation with April, I was able to say, “Oh, here’s a way I can make her work life better.” In another situation I might sit at coffee and give away the farm, basically lay out a whole bunch of value on the table because I think it’s going to make the work life better of the person sitting across from me. What I’ve found is, that that creates a, as I said, an ecosystem or a machine that keeps feeding me.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And then the other side of that, the other reason that I know this works, is that I used to be a realtor, and when I was a realtor, over a decade ago now, I loved working with people. Once I had a client, it was fantastic. And I hated going to find and try to get my clients. I felt like I would walk into a room and I would look out at the room, and I would see a bunch of meat and I could not get that out of my head. I could not figure out how to stop looking at the room that way, and I was miserable. I was miserable prospecting in that fashion.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

The other way that this way works for me, this value-based relationships model works for me, is that I love every day. Whether I close a deal today or not, here I am, talking with you in ways that I hope are going to make your work life better, in ways that I’m certain are going to make some of your listeners work lives better. And that makes me jazzed.

 

“The only reason to get revenue for me is to have the life that I want. And so, if I’m getting revenue to have the life that I want, but meanwhile, I’m having a day where I feel like a miserable S-O-B, then what’s the point of the revenue?” – Aaron Schmookler · [13:24] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

The only reason to get revenue for me is to have the life that I want. And so, if I’m getting revenue to have the life that I want, but meanwhile, I’m having a day where I feel like a miserable S-O-B, then what’s the point of the revenue? Because I’m making myself miserable now for some future joy in spending that money. Screw it, Will. I’m not up for that.

 

Will Barron:

So, there’s clearly a snowball effect here, and I know it with the podcast and I can’t remember the chap’s name. Hopefully he appreciates the shout out, but there’s a commercial drone operator and trainer here in Leeds, and he emailed me on LinkedIn, messaged me on LinkedIn. He was asking, “We all enjoy the show. Is there anything you can do for my team?” And clearly I mentioned the Sales School, a new version that’s coming out, and I’m getting inbound leads but I just point out content, so I guess it’s content marketing as well as a snowball effect of brand and trying to do the right thing, and doing free consulting essentially. I didn’t even realise I’d been doing it, but I’ve been doing that for the past three or four years as well. Whether it’s good advice or bad advice is up to other people.

 

The Benefits of Being Known for Adding Value and Teaching Instead of Being the Typical salesperson Dialing for Dollars · [14:31]

 

Will Barron:

But how much of this then is a snowball effect of being known in the marketplace as someone who gives value, who is doing the right thing, and all the cliché things that we talk about, how much of it is a snowball effect of that versus the tactical, practical things that we do every day that you could sit down in a webinar and teach rather than missions and values and things along those lines?

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Right. This is the third time I’ve been on your show, Will, and I’m not going to answer your question directly. I’m going to turn it back on you. This is the third time I’ve been on your show, there’s a reason you’ve called me in a third time and there’s a reason that I’ve said yes a third time. And I’ve been a listener to your show since before the first time I was on because I get a lot of value from it. So, I think I already know the answer to this question and that is, where would you be, Will, if you had gone about building your podcast from a strictly technical, tactical standpoint? In other words, you’ve gone out dialling for dollars and churning through as many leads as you could, as quickly as you could, to get the revenue in. Where would you be if you’d taken that approach?

 

Will Barron:

That’s a massively leading question, and there’s two elements to it. There’s one of, holy shit panic mode where there’s not enough money in the bank to sustain things where I do pick up the pace and make more phone calls and I’ll proactively reach out and I’ll drive the revenue. Take my own, don’t starve in your flat in Leeds kind of numbers.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Don’t get me wrong, I do it too.

 

Will Barron:

Yep, yep. And everyone does. There’s a baseline there and especially if there’s entrepreneurs listening or founders listening and people of that nature, or just hit enough of your target so you don’t get sacked. Then there’s the layer on top.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Absolutely, and by the way, I recommend Jeb Blount’s book, Fanatical Prospecting all the time, which really is about pick up the phone and dial, dial, dial, dial, dial, dial one more call. So, it’s not that I think that’s crap or that nobody should do that or that anybody shouldn’t do that. And please, I interrupted you.

 

Will Barron:

Yep. And clearly we agree on this. But then there is a level beyond that where I can either spend time on the phone with people, spend time … I spend so much time doing emails. And at one point I engineered it totally out of the podcast and the listeners and the downloads didn’t suffer, but I got a lot fewer positive reviews and thank yous and things like this. I measure a lot of our success on thank you emails, as ridiculous and as soft for a B2B sales podcast to be talking about, versus other people in the space, maybe like Jeb or Grant Cardone, people like that who are saying, “Well, revenue’s all that matters.”

 

Will Barron:

Once I get past that barrier of revenue of everything’s going fine, we can fund future projects like the Sales School where we’re got a bunch of developers and it’s genuinely costing way more than I thought it ever would to put it together, once I’m past that barrier, I do focus on the impact that we’re having. Because I want to do this over the next 10 years as opposed to most people in sales jobs are looking at one, two years ahead.

 

Will Barron:

So, this might be a potential thing to touch on in a second, but to answer your question and to wrap that up, Aaron, once I’m past the base line, I am looking for impact and depth with people rather than a massive audience. Right now, as we record this, we don’t do anything in LinkedIn. There’s no videos going up there. The guests that come on the show, I send them a bunch of videos so they can promote the show if they like, because all my focus right now is on creating content for the Sales School and getting the podcast out in a timely fashion.

 

Will Barron:

Because the Sales School, right now, we’ve got over a million words of scripted content that I’m just about to start recording. And that’ll have more-

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Amazing. Congratulations.

 

Will Barron:

Don’t thank me until you see it. It might be complete rubbish. Because I’m so-

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Getting it down is amazing and congratulations. The quality, I’ll leave that to you.

 

Will Barron:

I’m so in depth just with my head in a laptop now writing all this stuff out and dictating it that … Anyway, long story short, that that is where the next lot of impact’s going to happen, and there’s going to be a substantial fee for people getting into the Sales School but … and I’ll say it here, and this is the first time I’ve mentioned it on the show, I’m pretty confident that the branding and the whole premise of the Sales School is going to be, if you sign up, 12 months later, we’ll give you your money back and some if you do not hit your sales target.

 

Will Barron:

The plan is to be the only sales training company on the planet that for individuals, every single person in the Sales School, whether it’s a big corporate account, whether it’s an individual who listens to the show, we’re going to be guaranteeing your success. That is literally the whole premise of it because we’re so proud of the work that we’ve done and the depth that we’ve gone into it.

 

Will Barron:

And so, long story short, yeah, once I’m past calling for numbers and I’m not going to starve to death, and obviously I’m never going to starve to death but I don’t literally mean that. Once I’m past that, I’m on about depth. If I was in medical device sales, I’d be hitting my target and I’d be finding three or four surgeons that I want to be with, and I used to do this inadvertently. Every Friday, I’d come to Bradford hospital and I’d sit with some of the best colorectal surgeons in the world, I’d just hang out with them. I don’t think it was particularly valuable. I was just around. I was a piece of the furniture, and they would knock off 20, 30% of my target every single year.

 

Will Barron:

So, yeah. In answer to your question, once I get past that baseline, I am going on depth. And I think you would agree with that, right?

 

Key Metrics to Track When Measuring Content Engagement · [20:02]

 

Aaron Schmookler:

100%. I actually love your thank you email metric because if you think about a billboard, I pass 10, 15 billboards on my way into the office every day. I don’t have any clue what most of them are for and I certainly have never become a customer of something because of a billboard.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

There are even podcasts where I’m one of the downloads every week because sometimes in the middle of the day, I need a nap. And very truly and literally, I have to put on … In order to have an effective nap in the middle of the day, I have to put on something that’s just interesting enough that I don’t want to turn it off, but not interesting enough that it keeps me awake. And so, there are podcasts that I will turn on in order to get my quick nap in. Yours is not one of them.

 

Will Barron:

I do the same. I listen to a particular Game of Thrones podcast where they recap stuff from the books.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

There you go.

 

Will Barron:

So, that’s what I do to fall asleep as well.

 

“Who cares how many people hear the words if they’re not paying attention?” – Aaron Schmookler · [21:34] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Somewhere between, I use your podcast to take a nap and I use your podcast and sit and transcribe every single word because it’s that valuable to me, there’s a spectrum of engagement. And so, your thank you notes are a measure of that engagement. And your advertisers would be wise to listen to you about the number of thank you notes that you get, at least as much, if not more than how many ears is your podcast reaching. Because who cares how many people hear the words if they’re not paying attention?

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And so, when you ask about how much of it is about driving revenue? How much of it is about getting these value-based relationships? And how much of it really is about just building the brand over time till you reach a tipping point and things start to roll on their own?

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Well, I’ll refer you back to my story about April. Because she has now introduced me to one of her valuable … very valuable to her, decades-long business contacts, one of her clients, she’s invested something precious in me. Would she have done that otherwise? Does that contribute to what you called the snowball or what I’m calling a tipping point? Way more. Way more than if I’d gotten her on the phone, heard that she was disqualifying herself as a buyer for me probably ever, and then gone, “Okay, well thank you for your time. Let me move on to somebody else,” in that fanatical prospecting sense of it. “Oh, you’ve disqualified yourself, I’m moving on.”

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Instead, I said, “Okay, you’ve disqualified yourself. How else can I be of value to you?” And I know from my own experience in my business, I know from my clients, I know from the people that I am a customer for, that having been valuable to her, she is now a bigger part of that snowball. She is a much bigger part of that tipping point for me.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And because this is how I operate, even if I were to build a snowball the other way, it wouldn’t be a flash in the pan, right? Or it would be a flash in the pan. This way, it’s not going to be a flash in the pan. And this way also, I’m not a realtor anymore, not because I couldn’t make it or because I couldn’t hack it, but because I burnt out on it. I burned out on viewing everybody in my life as meat. I do not burn out ever, not even for a day, on providing value to people.

 

How to Create Value to a Prospect Without Expecting Anything in Return · [23:50] 

 

Will Barron:

What does this look like from a practical standpoint then? Because I guess there’s two layers to this. One element might be just asking, “How else might I be of value to you?” whether someone has qualified or not so that might be one step.

 

Will Barron:

But I feel like there’s another element here which you touched on, which is getting people to give back to us. So, clearly relationships are built a lot faster when there’s back and forth. We know that trust is built faster when there’s back and forth. There’s all kinds of data and metrics on all of this from different studies. So, I guess, a two-part question, what should we be doing practically to get people to go, “Oh, this person isn’t just a salesperson, they want to just give me free value with no ulterior motive, which may or may not lead to something useful in the future.” And then how do we get something back off them? Whether it’s information, their time, their attention, whatever it is so that we can serve them?

 

“I’ll go through some advice you’ve heard a million times. One, listen to understand, not to respond. And I fall into this trap, I’ll ask a prospect, “What are your business goals for the year? What are your business goals for the quarter? What do you see getting in the way?” And then I will listen for, how would my service fit into that? That’s crap because it’s transparent. People will hear it. People will see it. People will be turned off by it.” – Aaron Schmookler · [24:40] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Okay. I’ll go through some advice you’ve heard a million times. One, listen to understand, not to respond. And I fall into this trap, I’ll ask a prospect, “What are your business goals for the year? What are your business goals for the quarter? What do you see getting in the way?” And then I will listen for, how would my service fit into that? That’s crap because it’s transparent. People will hear it. People will see it. People will be turned off by it.

 

“When I’m really on my game, I listen for understanding and how can I contribute to this, which very often might be, “Hey, you should listen to the Salesman Podcast episode number 25, because that’s really going to help your sales team overcome this problem that you’re talking about.” Or, “Oh, well maybe you’d be interested in learning about how we’ve helped client XYZ address that same issue with the training we provide?” It’s organic, because it really is a true and natural response to the goals and obstacles that they’ve named.” – Aaron Schmookler · [25:15] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

When I’m on, when I’m really on my game, instead I listen for understanding and how can I contribute to this? Which very often might be, “Hey, you should listen to the Salesman Podcast episode number 25, because that’s really going to help your sales team overcome this problem that you’re talking about.” Or, “Here’s another podcast you should listen to. Here’s another tool. Here’s another resource.” Or maybe, “Oh, well maybe you’d be interested in learning about how we’ve helped client XYZ address that same issue with the that training we provide?” Because it’s organic, because it really is a true and natural response to the goals and obstacles that they’ve named. So, active honest to God listening is a big part of that.

 

“I think the trap a lot of sales folks fall into is, the right outcome is a sale to this person today. How do I put you, Will, in a used car today? What that does not include is the possibility that it’s not a good idea for you to get into this used car today. And so, anytime somebody asks me some form of that question, I’m very likely to say goodbye.” – Aaron Schmookler · [26:05] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And then the other thing that I would say is what I call being outcome agnostic. In other words, that you are open to who knows what the best outcome is here. I think the trap a lot of sales folks fall into is, the right outcome is a sale to this person today, right? How do I put you, Will, in a used car today? What that does not include is the possibility that it’s not a good idea for you to get into this used car today. And so, anytime somebody asks me some form of that question, I’m very likely to say goodbye.

 

Will Barron:

And why is that? What happens that makes you put your guard up?

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Exactly what I just said, that it presupposes that the best thing for me is a used car that you have. Maybe you don’t have the right car for me? Maybe I should not get a new car at all, but that there’s something I should be doing to my current car that will make it exactly the right one that is actually the better decision for me.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

So, to give you an example, Steve at Lexus of Tacoma, shout out Steve. When I bought my car from Steve, I showed up and the car was running and the heat was on, it was cold and rainy, so I was really grateful, he had the seat warmers on. And he sold me a used Volkswagen. He was not usually in the used lot, it was just kind of the luck or unluck of the draw that that day he was faced with a used car buyer. And for a Volkswagen that I wanted instead of for a Lexus.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

But he had already done a bunch of research into how to sync my phone up with the stereo. And then, at the end of the test drive, instead of saying … when he said, “What do you think?” I said, “Well, there’s another car 15 miles from here that I want to go drive before I buy this one.” And I was all ready for him to say, “Well, what do I need to do so that you don’t go drive that car?” Which is what I’ve heard a million times.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Instead, he said, “Okay.” And it blew my mind that he said okay, because he knows, as you and I do, that to make a decision of that kind, of a few tens of thousands of dollars. And I’m going to be spending hours of my life in this vehicle, that it’s a good idea to go and kick a few tyres, not just one set. So, he said, “Okay.” And here I am, five, six years later, telling you about Steve at Lexus of Tacoma.

 

“When you say, “What do I need to do to convince you to go my way?” That is a clear and present signal that your interests are first in your mind, not mine. And I will always give my business to somebody whose interests are mine, even if it means spending a little bit more money or a little bit more time.” – Aaron Schmookler · [28:54] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And I don’t mind the fact that I’m giving him a major plug because I want him to thrive, because he was human with me. He put my interest ahead of his. And when you say, “What do I need to do to convince you to go my way?” That is a clear and present signal that your interests are first in your mind, not mine. And I will always give my business to somebody whose interests are mine, even if it means spending a little bit more money or a little bit more time because at the end of the day, I just appreciate that person.

 

The Problem with Most Salespeople is That They Focus More on The Outcome Instead of Providing Value To The Prospect · [29:26] 

 

Will Barron:

I’d call this outcome independence. You defined it as outcome agnostic. Same meaning, different words. Where does this issue lie? And I’ll totally lead you down the garden path here because I believe that there’s perhaps two areas where it could be that … and tell me if you feel like I’m on the right tracks with this, that it’s either, you’ve not got enough stuff in your pipeline so that you have to be bothered otherwise you’re not going to hit your targets. You’d go below that baseline that we were talking about earlier on where you do have to close a percentage of people otherwise you’re going to get sacked.

 

Will Barron:

One element of this I feel is, you don’t have enough in your pipeline, and the other is perhaps that you’re told to do this and this is the way that it’s been done and this is the way that you’ve been trained. Out of those two options, Aaron, which has the biggest leverage point in making people behave this way when clearly we wouldn’t want anyone to behave like this to us.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s fear, right? It’s fear that has us behave in ways towards other people that we would never want them to behave toward us. We’re afraid of getting sacked, we’re afraid of not hitting our target, we’re afraid of ridicule or rejection, right? Those are all those things that are deeply programmed into our psyches and into our biology, frankly. That’s what has it happen.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

I remember, again, if I go back to being a realtor and walking into these rooms and seeing a bunch of meat, that was fear, right? It was fear that even by being there I would not be able to make my living. And so I would walk in and I would … my fear translated all these people for me into meat.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

I remember my mentors at the time would say things like, “Go and offer value. Be of value. Bring value.” And I would ask them what the heck that meant, and they could not give me an cogent answer.

 

Will Barron:

That’s been about 50 episodes of this podcast and I’ve asked that same question to people when we’ve been discussing it.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

I remember going to another networking event many years later. And I walked in with a man who seemed shy. He was only giving people furtive cursory glances, essentially no eye contact, hunched body language. He just looked very uncomfortable. And I started a conversation with him and I learned that he had just moved to Seattle from Georgia, and so I talked about what a change in climate that must be, not just the weather but also the social cultural climate, and learned that he was here with a credit union. He was their first bilingual … first Spanish speaking loan officer, because they wanted to break into the Spanish speaking market and they hadn’t got any traction there in the past, so they needed a Spanish speaking loan officer.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

That was the story that he told me. And I said a few words to him. I said, “Wow, you must be really valuable to them.” Just was what occurred to me watching this fellow, getting to like him and learning what the position was that he was in in this bank and how that fit into that bank’s goals.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

By saying that, by naming to him how much value he must have with that company, I watched him stand up little bit straighter, and then I watched him go around the room speaking to people in ways that he had not been speaking to people before speaking with me.

 

“My effectiveness as a salesperson has completely gone through the roof because now there’s so much different value that I can offer. I’m no longer trying to find coupons for people. I’m no longer trying to figure out exactly how to shoehorn my service offerings into the gap that they have named. I’m simply looking for, where is there opportunity that exists in this person’s life that I value and that I can be a reflection of that value for them.” – Aaron Schmookler · [33:15] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

My whole sense of how to provide value to people, my whole sense of what that expression means or what it can mean changed. And also, my effectiveness as a salesperson has completely gone through the roof because now there’s so much different value that I can offer. I’m no longer trying to find coupons for people. I’m no longer trying to figure out exactly how to shoehorn my service offerings into the gap that they have named.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

I’m simply looking for, where is there opportunity that exists in this person’s life of any kind and/or what can I … What am I seeing that I value and that I can be a reflection of that value for them? It has changed my life and I love sales now.

 

Will Barron:

So, one last thing to wrap up on this before the final question I ask you every time you come on the show that I’ll have to put some kind of spin on in the moment as we go through it. But answering the question, what is value or how to we add value, there seems like there’s a framework here of the fundamental level is being outcome independent or outcome agnostic so that you can give literal advice and you’re not colouring it or tainting it.

 

Will Barron:

I think other people would argue with you that a certain extent, Aaron, but I’m more on your side of it of, yes, I’d rather build, not necessarily relationship, I’d rather give good advice that eventually does snowball into me becoming known as a trusted advisor or industry expert, all these things where a lot of the hard work is then done for you. You don’t need to build trust because it’s already there. People can Google you, all this kind of stuff. So, the fundamental level seems to be that.

 

How Salespeople Can Train Themselves to Focus on The Process of Giving Value and Not The Outcome · [34:10]  

 

Will Barron:

The next level on top of it seems to be active listening so that we are very literally … because it’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to do it. Even in these podcasts I have to not be looking at my notes, not be thinking of the next question and try and be proactive as well as manage the conversation as what I can. But being proactive with our listening and really intently trying to help the other person, and paying attention to the nuances of what they’re saying and issues that they may have. Are there any other layers to this that we can add to it? Or is that the best foundation for this that the audience can … Sales Nation can use straight after this podcast and they can put into practise today.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Sure. I mean, one of the things about being outcome agnostic is that, well, where do you define outcome? So, again, if I go back to the story I was telling about the woman who held my card in her pocket for three years, and I assume she was being metaphorical about the pocket, right? But I never knew when the outcome was going to be.

 

“I never stop reaching back to the people that I’ve made contact with and I never stop reaching back to the people I’ve failed to make contact with. One of the things that happens as a result of being outcome agnostic is that I simply don’t know when or if the outcome has arrived.” – Aaron Schmookler · [36:21] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

So, part of being outcome agnostic is to know that the outcome, wherever you are, even if you’ve made the same or if you’ve been told to piss off, the outcome has not happened yet. The outcome, you never get there. So, I keep following up, and I keep following up, and I keep following up. And it may be that I slow my outreach down to once a quarter or once every half a year, but I never stop reaching back to the people that I’ve made contact with and I never stop reaching back to the people I’ve failed to make contact with. One of the things that happens as a result of being outcome agnostic is that I simply don’t know when or if the outcome has arrived.

 

Will Barron:

Interesting. I never really thought it about like that before. I’m going to butcher who said this now, but someone came on the show and said along the lines of, “A no is just a yes but not right now,” or something along those lines. That kind of fills in of … apart from we’re talking more Schrodinger’s cat here as opposed to yes or nos of it just doesn’t exist. If the tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, who knows? Things may change, things may turn.

 

Will Barron:

This is one of the problems I have with spamming out really crappy cold email. You can very quickly burn a marketplace, especially when this is all tied back to your LinkedIn profile, because your half-arsed cold emailing and your half-arsed social selling, you’re getting the worst bits of both ends of those strategies and people remember you and know you as that idiot who’s just spamming the crap out of them, and this is especially true-

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Especially with a name like Schmookler.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. An amazing name like Schmookler. Well, I mean, this is especially true for anyone who’s brand new to sales, who perhaps doesn’t realise what they’re doing right now in this moment. So, that’s a word of warning for anyone who’s being pushed into the world of just mindless cold emailing and you plan on staying within a specific marketplace for a long period of time.

 

Aaron Reveals Timeless Advise He Would Put in a Sales Book That Would Still Be Valuable 20, 30 Years from Now · [37:55] 

 

Will Barron:

Well, with that, Aaron, let’s wrap up mate with the one question that I ask everyone that comes on the show, and I feel like we’ve covered a lot of ground here. I’ll put this kind of framework, I’ll build it out a little bit into a blog post and we’ll put it in the show notes for this episode over at Salesman.org. But, Aaron, to wrap up mate, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self … No, if you could go back in time … No, here we go. If you were, at this moment in time, you just got a book deal and you were writing a sales book and your grandchildren or great-grandchildren were going to read it, so it’s got to be timeless advice, what is the one thing that you’d put in that book that your grandchildren or great-grandchildren, that you’d want to tell them to help them become better at sales?

 

“Put money in the bank. Keep offering value in whatever ways you can find to do so that you are building up a savings account in every relationship in your life.” – Aaron Schmookler · [38:40] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Be a part of the gratitude economy I think is what I would say, and I’ll elaborate a little bit, right? Is that put money in the bank. Keep offering value in whatever ways you can find to do that so that you are building up a savings account in every relationship in your life. Build into that gratitude economy, and I was listening to your podcast on my drive this morning and you asked, “What’s your favourite book?” I think, to somebody. Or maybe it was … I think I may mixing you up with Pete Mockaitis today, but other great podcast.

 

Will Barron:

Well, I take massive offence to that as well.

 

“Don’t just put into the gratitude economy like a miser puts money into his savings account. Also, be on the look out for when and where people are trying to offer you value and be gracious in taking and experiencing that gratitude yourself so that you really are an active giver and taker in that gratitude economy.” – Aaron Schmookler · [39:27] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

You should not because Pete’s podcast is superb. But somebody had said that their favourite book was The Go Giver. And one of the rules in The Go Giver, and I’m going to butcher this, is essentially also take. So, don’t just put into the gratitude economy like a miser puts money into his savings account. Also, be on the look out for when and where people are trying to offer you value and be gracious in taking and experiencing that gratitude yourself so that you really are an active giver and taker in that gratitude economy.

 

Will Barron:

It may well have been this show, because that book has come up a bunch of time, and I’ve interviewed Bob Berger a bunch of times as well. And that is something that’s really important, and I’m glad you wrapped up the show with this, because I don’t want that message to get lost. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about jab, jab, jab, right hook. And the audience will see this probably two or three months after this episode comes out when the new Sales School launches, I’ll be ramming it down everyone’s throat as hard and as much as what I possibly can because I’ve given now, I think … no, it’ll be just over two years since I’ve launched, advertised or promoted a product on the platform. And every episode will have an advert for the Sales School.

 

Will Barron:

There’ll be competitions or launches or marketing and everyone’ll be re targeted, probably about two or three months or so, and then it’ll all go away and we’ll go back to just giving that value.

 

Building Relationships By Offering Value · [40:36] 

 

Will Barron:

It’s different from a market standpoint with somewhat passive messaging as opposed to, I’m not clearly cold calling everyone who listens to the show because I would need … Well, I would have to hire a team of people to do it. There’s no way I’d be able to do it on my own. But I think that’s a really important thing.

 

Will Barron:

And I think, and I touched on this earlier on, it does deepen relationships when you give, give, give and someone gives you an industry piece of information or something specific to the account or something that can help you with somewhere else. It doesn’t have to be the deal, but that back and forth, it’s everything, right?

 

“And people ask me, “How can I help you today?” If I don’t have an answer to that question, I have failed. I’ve failed the relationship, I’ve failed myself, I’ve failed my business. So, always know how somebody can help you.” – Aaron Schmokler · [41:07] 

 

Aaron Schmookler:

And people ask me, “How can I help you today?” If I don’t have an answer to that question, I have failed. I’ve failed the relationship, I’ve failed myself, I’ve failed my business. So, always know how somebody can help you. Be also engaged in that end of the question. It really is an economy. It really is an ecosystem of symbiotic relationships when it’s really working well, when you are an organic part of it.

 

Parting Thoughts · [41:36] 

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, with that, Aaron, for everyone who wants to learn more about you and everything you’re up to over at The Yes Works, tell us where we can find out more about you, sir, and then the business side of things as well.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Sure. Well, I’ve appeared now three times on an absolutely fantastic podcast called the Salesman Podcast with Will Barron, so you can find me and some of my thoughts around sales there. You can also find me at TheYesWorks.com and I’m the only Aaron Schmookler on LinkedIn, that I know of. So, I’m also very active there on LinkedIn. And heck, look me up if you’re ever in Tacoma, Washington or Seattle. I’d be happy to have coffee with anybody who reaches out and see if we might be able to add value to one another’s lives.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, I’ll link to that, the previous episodes in the show notes of this episode over at salesman.org, and with that, Aaron, I really want to thank you for the time, your … I think I said this last time, your unique insights on this. It’s refreshing me, I appreciate them and inadvertently maybe … maybe not inadvertently, maybe I have you on the show often because it does reflect some of my thoughts, subconsciously I guess. With that mate, I want to thank you again for joining us on the show.

 

Aaron Schmookler:

Well, thanks for having me on, Will. I almost said you’ve built something that you can be proud of. I’ll correct myself to say, you are building something that really deserves your having a lot of pride. It’s valuable and it’s very impressive what you’ve done and so, I look forward to seeing where you go from here.

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