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Use “Spider-webbing” To Drastically Improve Your Sales Prospecting

Lance Tyson is the President and CEO of Tyson Group. He facilitates, trains, and conducts over one hundred workshops annually in areas such as performance management, leadership, sales, sales management, customer service, and team building.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Lance explains what “spider-webbing” is and how you can leverage it to drastically improve your sales prospecting.

You'll learn:

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Lance Tyson
Complex Sales Advisor and C-Suite Specialist

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

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

 

Lance Tyson:

And I think salespeople are so caught up with the word relationship that they’re trying to build all this rapport with somebody over the phone, form the quick engagement, they don’t realise they’re destroying credibility or wasting somebodies time. And I think sometimes salespeople misconstrue really good people skills or good manners for somebody being interested in you.

 

Will Barron:

Hello sales nation, I’m Will Barron, host of The Salesman Podcast, the world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. If you haven’t already, make sure to click subscribe. And on this episode of the show, we have Lance Tyson of Tyson Group. What we’ll get into is prospecting and spider webbing. This concept that Lance has come up with is amazing, it’s the quickest way that I know to build credibility within a large account. It’s the quickest way to get in front of people that are difficult to get in front of. And with all that said, let’s jump right into the conversation.

 

What is Spider-webbing and How Does it Relate to B2B Prospecting? · [01:01] 

 

Will Barron:

So fascinating topic today, we’re going to dive into spider webbing with prospecting. So let’s start at the very beginning, there’s probably a spider’s web or a spider pun I could have used there, but we’ll start at the very beginning of all this. Lance, what the heck is spider webbing and how’s it relate to B2B prospecting?

 

Lance Tyson:

Well, we get that question a lot, especially in the training that we do. From about 2010 to early 2018, we owned a company called PRSPX, P R S P X. And what had happened, it organically grew out of a… We had owned a training company and we did a lot of training for Dale Carnegie training, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, and used several of their franchises.

 

Lance Tyson:

And when we divested out of Dale Carnegie training, we actually kept our inside sales team, and then training companies and business consulting companies, insurance companies, tech companies, started to hire our inside sales team to set appointments. So we became this boutiquey call centre that worked with more complex sales. And so our job was, and it was a tough job, where we had to go clearly understand a company’s value proposition, their offering, their marketplace, what their customers were about. And then we were sanctioned with going to find the data, take their data that they had that they would prospect with, and then part of our contract was to buy data. And everybody we did business with said they had a good database.

 

Lance Tyson:

And what we found is what we thought was a good database and what they thought was a good database were two different things. And then our job, what we got paid to do as part of our consulting, was to win appointments for them.

 

Lance Tyson:

And so as we went from business to business, everybody had an ideal client or an ideal appointment who they wanted, and then as we would dig deeper and pull back the layers, we’d found out that they had the B appointment. That would be okay, somebody who could influence the deal. Then a C appointment. And so part of our compensation was appointments one. So we had a very young staff and we hired young, we taught them how to sell because part of our business was a training business.

 

Lance Tyson:

So we would really say, “All right, most of the organisations we’re doing business with and probably a lot of people who listen to your podcast know that they have an ideal target, but they probably have influencers too, in that org chart, that would be really important.”

 

Lance Tyson:

So what we started to do is look for level one, level two, level three decision-makers. Like if it were a manufacturer, maybe it could have been a maintenance manager, somebody who would affect or use the system or process. Maybe there was a plant manager, maybe there was a VP of ops. So we would spider web our approach, so we would literally send out correspondence and then we would call each decision-maker. As we started to learn, and we would validate, it usually took about six to eight touches to win contact.

 

Lance Tyson:

So like any good salesperson knows, your ability to seem credible, your ability to build rapport, connect with people, is important. So then we started to determine and really think about this hard that it wasn’t just how we were describing the business our customers were in, but it was also acting like we knew something about the organisation we’re calling on.

 

Lance Tyson:

So we mentioned the other people were calling, and so we’d create this web of credibility where we would send a piece of information out, we would follow up with phone call. As we got deeper into messages, we’ve mentioned the other people we were calling. And over time we established some credibility because it sounded like we knew what we were talking about.

 

Lance Tyson:

And the key to all this learning and this investment we were making, the buyer thought we were part of the organisation we were representing. So we never felt like a call centre, it felt more like we were an SDR for that company. We had the same email addresses, we would require that stuff. So the spider webbing was really built to increase odds of contact, because we knew winning six to eight contacts will ultimately yield one appointment.

 

Will Barron:

That is… I’ve never heard anyone put it quite like that Lance, but that’s essentially what I would do in medical device sales. So the surgeon would be the one that are A or level one contact that everyone wants to be in front of. But if I can get in front of the surgeon, I’d spend time with the theatre manager, I’d spend time with the finance team, the procurement team. And by the time it got to an RFP or a tender process as we’d have here in the UK, I was so intertwined. And I was helping the finance team write the tender process, to write the RFP.

 

Does Spider-webbing Work in Specific Industries or is This Something That Most B2B Salespeople Should be Doing? · [05:54] 

 

Will Barron:

So I’ve never heard it called spider webbing before though, I’ve never heard my mess of a process outlined in a succinct way. Is this something that works in specific industries or after a certain deal size, or is this something that all B2B salespeople should be doing?

 

Lance Tyson:

Well, I would think most B2B sellers probably deal with influencers, champions and buyers. And I would say as you get more complex B2B, you could probably factor in, you have a financial buyer, you have an executive buyer. Sometimes they’re both the same person. You probably have a user buyer, somebody has to implement it. And then probably somebody who’s more of a technical buyer.

 

Lance Tyson:

So for instance, in the US, you hear a lot of complaining about the healthcare system. And healthcare insurance is provided by all kinds of different insurance carriers. So for instance, in the US we get our healthcare through our insurance through Anthem, and it’s a Blue Cross Blue Shield. But a broker represents Anthem, but they sell… The broker sells to a company like me. So I’m a small to midsize company, Tyson Group, where we have a VP of finance who also handles our HR. So that broker who are calling on us, they would go after… I would be a target, but the VP of finance who handles HR is probably target.

 

Lance Tyson:

As you get a bigger company you have other influencers. Now, if you think about the concept of a spider web, a spider web is built with [these arounds [00:07:40] of, or layers of stickiness that get to the centre, and the spider sits at the centre [inaudible [00:07:47].

 

Lance Tyson:

Now, obviously the spider wants one as close to the middle of the spider web as possible, but you might get other stickiness outside that… I don’t mean to use my hands, I’m a talker with my hands. But as you can imagine, the C level or A prospects are worth more. So what you’re always trying to do is trying to get closer to the centre of the spiderweb. However, you may have to go through several doors. Why? Because in a complex sale it could be timing, they say timing is everything.

 

Lance Tyson:

To, like you said, you may need influencers to get to an RFP and RFQ, and it might take some credibility this way. A lot of times, if you are going to… We do a lot of sales training, and we’re nationally recognised in the US by Selling Power as being a top 20 sales training firm.

 

“We firmly believe that you’ll make a sale, or as you would in the UK, you’ll influence an RFP in some cases by having a certain level or rapport. And rapport yields influence. I don’t use the word relationship a lot, because I think in sales we don’t do relationships but we can build rapport with people. Rapport is actionable.” – Lance Tyson · [08:46] 

 

Lance Tyson:

And when we go into complex areas like B2B settings, we believe firmly that you’ll make a sale, or like you would in the UK, you’ll influence an RFP in some cases by having a certain level or rapport, so you may have to… And rapport yields influence. I don’t use the word relationship a lot, because I think in sales we don’t do relationship but we can build rapport with people.

 

Lance Tyson:

Rapport is actionable. We believe that credibility is really important. What does credibility yield? It yields trust. And then we’ve got to demonstrate a level of understanding of our clients. So by attacking the org chart or the spider web, it allows for all three of those things to happen. 

 

We Already Know That Salespeople Should Be Targeting Certain Deal Influencers Within an Organisation. Are There People They Shouldn’t Be Speaking To? · [09:35] 

 

Will Barron:

So I want to get into where to start, and we’ll get practical about this. Hopefully give the audience, Sales Nation, a checklist of where to go. But just to flip this on its head slightly Lance, is there anyone that we should not be speaking to within an organisation? Is there any part, whether it’s a persona, whether it’s someone who is on the competitors payroll somehow? How do we define the peoples that we just should never be speaking to, if they exist?

 

Lance Tyson:

Well, sometimes that’s hard to know. So we can make a hell of a lot of assumptions by studying data, but sometimes you’re not going to know that until you actually… Because marketing these days allows for a level one assessment. We can understand the industry, we can understand the business itself by what we see, but sometimes you wouldn’t even pick that stuff up. So you’ve got to take a certain amount of assumptions.

 

Lance Tyson:

So yeah, there could be, like, for instance, if you took a… Say you took a tech firm for instance, and it’s a little bigger than a startup. And you have some folks that were very much involved with… Say it was a SAS company, and you start calling on the chief technical officer. There’s a very good chance that… And you’re trying to sell software to a chief technical officer, you might get scrutinised a little bit.

 

“Sometimes it’s hard to get people to change. But that doesn’t mean on the other side of that they couldn’t be able to influence that. We wouldn’t know that until we start to call the organisation.” – Lance Tyson · [10:55] 

 

Lance Tyson:

If you are calling on human resources who have to apply insurance or actually facilitate the insurance, that might be the kiss of death a little bit, because sometimes it’s hard to get people to change. But that doesn’t mean on the other side of that they couldn’t be able to influence that, we wouldn’t know that until we start to call on the organisation.

 

“I think a lot of times salespeople get so driven and become so alpha that they go, “Oh, I’m only going to call on the C level, the level one person.” Well, I think sometimes if you only do that and then go after the other people, I think that could hurt you also. So we actually advise that you go after everybody at once.” – Lance Tyson · [11:20] 

 

Lance Tyson:

Let’s flip it over on its head again though. I think a lot of times salespeople get so driven and become so alpha that they, “Oh, I’m only going to call on the C level, the level one person.”

 

Lance Tyson:

Well, I think sometimes if you only do that and then go after the other people, I think that could hurt you also. So we actually advise that you go after everybody at once. There was a book that was called the power to get in, it was written in the 90s I think. I think the author was Parnello or something. And this was before there was a lot of emailing going on. So he used to… And by the way, this is… I’m going to quote the book, he used to have a concept called the letter bomb. Now that’s bad-

 

Will Barron:

This episode’s immediately been flagged on YouTube now as inappropriate content.

 

Lance Tyson:

I’m not talking about any [inaudible [00:12:20], but what he used to call this concept is when you would send letters out at the bottom of a formal letter, and I think this is in the UK, you would CC everybody. There is a thought with this concept that you would literally CC everybody also, that you would maybe on a first [inaudible [00:12:43] you would literally let everybody, the level one, level two, level three, let them know that you are copying them on too.

 

Lance Tyson:

There is some thought to that, and there is an odds play to that a little bit. So that’s very… It’s a way you could go about it. But what I would recommend is a sales person not just go after one person at a time, the theory of a spider web is you go after everybody at once.

 

“You’re not going to get anybody on a first call. The odds of that happening are really low. So you want better odds. The odds are if I can drop your name as a decision-maker I’m calling on somebody else, that allows me for some talking points.” – Lance Tyson · [13:13] 

 

Lance Tyson:

Because you want to use that ability to drop somebody’s name later and your… Because look, you’re not going to get anybody on a first call. The odds of that happening are really low. So you want better odds. The odds are if I can drop your name as a decision-maker I’m calling on in somebody else, that allows me for some talking points.

 

Tools For Mapping and Scaling Accounts · [13:30] 

 

Will Barron:

So if we were to map this out, and there’d be some kind of software product that would do it, it’d be every level one or A person adds 10% probability. Every level C or [3% [00:13:40] adds 4% probability. And we can map it out and scale it up. And I don’t know, are there any software tools? I know Boxxstep is a tool that allows you to map accounts. Is there any way to… Or maybe not software, but visually align all this together. I’m a visual thinker so it helps me to see diagrams in that side of things.

 

Lance Tyson:

I agree. I’m a visual thinker. I always tell our social media person when we’re promoting a webinar or something, build a picture of it first for me so I can see what we’re doing. And then I can build all the content behind because I’m very visual. I’m very outcome-based first.

 

Lance Tyson:

So I think on some software, some of your marketing softwares you can build hierarchies out and attack the hierarchies that way. What we do when we’re doing consulting though, we’ll actually… We do exactly what you said. We’ll weight each one, each one’s worth more weight, but there’s also weight that like for instance, you go after a level one person and they knock you out early. The recovery from there is vast also. So in some cases, as we’re breaking down industries, we’ll go into an organisation and say, “The last 100 appointments you got, how many were with the C level?”

 

Lance Tyson:

And they’ll say, “Well, less than 10%.” Now is that more because you don’t go after them, or because they’re harder to get? So we actually peel back the onion again and say, “Are they harder to get?” Or, “Do you not go after them?”

 

“Most of the time in a complex B2B sale, you’re selling to three to four decision-makers anyway. And depending on what the environment is business-wise, you may be adding more people.” – Lance Tyson · [15:28] 

 

Lance Tyson:

Or a lot of times we’ll find out, well, they went after them, they might’ve had the wrong messaging and things like that. So going through a middle door sometimes doesn’t hurt you. Because if you flip it over again on its side, and just using your words, most of the time in a complex B2B sale, you’re selling to three to four decision-makers anyway. And depending on what the environment is business-wise, you may be adding more people. So you’re actually selling to a committee anyway, especially if it’s a capital sale. So you might as well go after the committee also.

 

What Data Do We Need to Have as Individual Salespeople To Target the Right People Within an Organisation? · [15:55] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. Okay, so Lance, without getting too far into the weeds here, because this is a whole series of podcasts in itself. You mentioned buying data, you mentioned good databases. What data do we need to have as individual salespeople, as individual contributors, to be able to make some of these assumptions? Because it seems like we’re using the scientific method here of making a hypothesis, then refine it as we go along through the selling process.

 

Will Barron:

And we’re uncovering, “Well, they’re important, but they’re not on an org chart. And they’re a consultant so we need to pull them in, and finance.” What data do we need to have to be able to start this process? Or is it just a phone call to someone who picks up and we ask them some questions?

 

Lance Tyson:

Well, I think you got a couple of ways to look at this. I don’t look at it as more scientific data as I look at it as odds. So I think about a casino. And I look at my odds when I go to a casino of when you play slot machines, your odds are really low or the odds are in the house favour. So I look though what my next best odds are, and that’s probably poker and blackjack. Then it’s roulette and then it’s craps. I think if you’re spider webbing, the odds are going after at least three people, you’re playing a more of a roulette craps game than anything else.

 

Why Salespeople Should Start Implementing an Actual Sales Process Instead of Spamming the Market Place · [17:14] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes sense. And does this then… Everyone knows, who listen to the show regularly, I have an issue with the current sales marketplace. Depends on deal size, depends on the industry, but there’s a lot of push just to send more spam emails with a tiny bit of customization, or do more cold calling as opposed to have a more refined approach and go for bigger deal sizes. This clearly fits in the realm of bigger deal sizes, more sophisticated selling… Maybe not the most sophisticated selling process, but a actual selling process rather than your spam.

 

Will Barron:

Is that the way that, moving forward as we go through this pullback in the economy, is that what we need to be doing to get deals done, versus just using software, tools, random nonsense hacks to try and get more small deals done?

 

“If your job was hired to sell, most people that you do any kind of written correspondence outreach to, odds are that less than 5% are really going to read what you wrote. They’re going to just recognise whether you sent them something or not. So these organisations and these salespeople that have spent all kinds of time trying to craft the perfect message, chances are, it’s not going to be read.” – Lance Tyson · [18:18] 

 

Lance Tyson:

I think looking at your podcast and looking at who watches this, you got to make a decision, were you hired to market or were you hired to sell? I think that’s number one. And if your job was hired to sell, most people that you do any kind of written correspondence outreach to, odds have it that less than 5% are really going to read what you wrote.

 

Lance Tyson:

They’re going to just recognise whether you sent them something or not. So these organisations and these salespeople that we coach at least, that’ve spent all kinds of time trying to craft the perfect message, chances are, it’s not going to be read. Chances are they’re going to recognise that you called.

 

Lance Tyson:

So I think that’s number one. I think too in this change in economy though, and this is you’re going to get information that you can read online. Now, I’m going to share some data stats with you that have come from many different places.

 

“The US Post Office says that 1% of all data changes every week. Marc Benioff at Dreamforce last year said 30% of all data goes bad after a year. So as a salesperson, I would not overtrust data.” – Lance Tyson · [19:10] 

 

Lance Tyson:

The US Post Office says that 1% of all data changes every week, that’s the US Post Office. Marc Benioff at Dreamforce last year said 30% of all data goes bad after a year. When we sold data, we would look at what a data source had and what we had, and if any of those two ranges [are right [00:19:46], it’s mixing bad gas.

 

Lance Tyson:

So as a sales person, I would not overtrust data. Just to use an analogy with you, about a year ago…. It was about a year and a half ago, we were having a big happy hour with our insight team. And my manager at the time came up to me, her name’s Hannah, she showed me her phone and she showed me LinkedIn, a LinkedIn post. And she goes, “Do you recognise this name?”

 

Lance Tyson:

And I go, “Yeah, I do.” I go, “Is that Pete? Pete, the guy who used to work for us?” And she said, “Yeah.”

 

Lance Tyson:

I said, “Pittsburgh Pete. I remember Pittsburgh Pete.” And she goes, “Keep reading.” And the name of our company at that time, or the call centre we owned was called PRSPX. And it said in his profile in LinkedIn that he was named employee of the year for PRSPX. And I said to Hannah, I go, “Do we give employee of the year? Do we have that?” And she goes, “No.” I go, “Oh.”

 

Lance Tyson:

And I said, “Don’t we have like a hustle award or something?” She goes, “Yeah, we give a hardhat out.”

 

Lance Tyson:

I said, “Did he win the hardhat?” She goes, “He never won the hardhat.” I said, “Didn’t we let him go?” And she said, “Yeah.”

 

Lance Tyson:

I said, “Oh.” So then I sent him a LinkedIn message, I said, “Pete, I hope all’s well. I noticed that you won our employee of the year last year. I’m sorry I missed the ceremony.” And then I said, “P.S. You may want to represent yourself better.”

 

“I would just say, as a sales person, I wouldn’t trust data as much as I wouldn’t trust news, certain news sources, as much as I wouldn’t trust everything that’s written. I think your job is to vet the data, to confirm or deny the data. And that’s going to require you in many cases to make an outbound effort.” – Lance Tyson · [21:15] 

 

Lance Tyson:

I would just say as a sales person, I wouldn’t trust data as much as I wouldn’t trust news, certain news sources, as much as I wouldn’t trust everything that’s written on the [outernet’s [00:21:27] true. I think your job is to vet the data, to confirm or deny the data. And that’s going to require you in many cases to make an outbound effort. I think the salespeople that overtrust it… I’ll give you one other example.

 

Lance Tyson:

You guys have ice hockey in the UK, you have a good minor league over there. So maybe some people listen that watch ice hockey. So a friend of mine was the president… A customer of ours, the president of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. He was named over two years ago, President of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, which is a US national hockey league team.

 

Lance Tyson:

For over nine months he did not change his LinkedIn profile from President of the Cavaliers to President of the NHL Las Vegas Knights. Now, if you are prospecting a pro sports business at that time, you would be going after two separate presidents of business operations. Now, am I calling him out? No, I’m just saying I don’t necessarily trust all data that’s out there. I think you’ve got to be careful, in many industries, many. So that’s important.

 

How to Analyse Data, Consume the Right Information and Make Better Judgements · [22:47] 

 

Will Barron:

This might be again, a completely different podcast, but is there any way that we can learn to… Or books or tools or things that we should be doing to be able to disdain news sources, to be able to think more rationally about this kind of thing into… I don’t want to get into politics, but you mentioned different news sources. And it’s much more prevalent in the US than it is in the UK, with the politicisation of… I don’t even think that’s a real word, but politics getting wrapped up into everything [crosstalk [00:23:15].

 

Will Barron:

Is there a way or any way to… Or anything you could recommend to be a clearer thinker, to be able to meet your own judgement on things?

 

Lance Tyson:

No, I think that’s such a great question, and I don’t like getting in political conversations. I just think when you’re talking information that you must have as a sales person, there’s so much information out there it actually almost slows you down.

 

Lance Tyson:

So what we teach and what we consult to, and even when we enter a call centre, we would look for the minimum absolute criteria we needed. Because we find a lot of times when we consult, these organisations pile on all the data. So the methodology that I recommend is what’s the absolute information you will need to make a sale, and then how much pre-approach will that include?

 

Lance Tyson:

And what are the considerations that you’ll need that are nice to have information but not necessarily need to have? So that absolutes could be competitors, that absolutes could be how they bought in the past, those absolutes could be decision-makers. It could be in some cases financial positioning of a company.

 

Lance Tyson:

So they’re all things, but I would make sure that I’m calling down the absolutes, not piling on. And disdaining from absolute criteria to desirables or considerations. I think that’s the specific methodology that I would adhere to. And I would say most of the clients that we have, or any time we get in a situation like that, they most of the time don’t know the difference. They pile on everything as an absolute and it’s not.

 

Lance Explains Why You Can’t Perceive the Accuracy of Data From an Organisation Until you Speak to Someone · [25:10] 

 

Will Barron:

And I guess there’s another layer here Lance as well, of you’ve got data on the account, and then you’ve got people’s opinions on the data within the account as well. Of the company might be heading one direction corporately, and you’re using that as your part of your presentation pitch or a conversation starter, but then you deal with someone who’s on the inner side, someone who’s on the C-suite and there’s politics going on, there’s other things. So you don’t really know any of this stuff for sure until you speak to someone.

 

Lance Tyson:

Right, and that’s the issue of you. I’ll give you a real basic example, a lot of our clients use CRMs, and a lot of the information that’s embedded in the CRM is opinions of people maybe that have called on the account before and things like that. And we’re always on sales performers to maybe not trust everything that’s there, don’t trust everything you read. Your job is to vet, and the best way to vet is… It’s almost like running little tests where have you even made an outbound call to find out how difficult it is to talk to anybody there? Have you called up the organisation and just like… Say you were going after a C level decision-maker, typically is the gatekeeper technology or do you get somebody that answers the phone?

 

Lance Tyson:

And then do you have a double layer gatekeeper? And I know this happens in the UK all the time. You might have somebody that answers a phone but then you might have their personal assistant. Do you know how many layers deep you are there? A lot of salespeople haven’t even considered the barriers to actually talk to somebody. There are so many scenarios where I watch sales people that have to deal with human gatekeepers that don’t even ask questions like, “Hey, what’s the best time to get ahold of Will? Do you work on Will’s schedule? Do you schedule for him? Could you help me out?”

 

Lance Tyson:

They’re so worried about talking to Will, they haven’t even thought of the hurdles or the gauntlet they’ll have to run to get to Will. And we know this to be true in most cases worldwide, that the amount of work it creates to get to the conversation is some of the most daunting work. That’s why… And I wrote a book, and I’m not here to sell my book, but if you do, it’s called selling’s an away game. And in my book I actually use an example where a marketing automation company was trying to win an appointment with me, and really good.

 

Lance Tyson:

So it was actually a person that worked for Marqeto, and they went and looked at one of my blogs and they quoted my blog, referenced my blog in a LinkedIn inbox. And I looked at it and I go, “Well, flattery will get you everywhere.” So then the person followed up with a phone call and email, and of course I rewarded the appointment. So the sales person opened up like they should have, and used a sales starter and attention getter, where they had said, “Cold calling’s dead.”

 

Lance Tyson:

And I listened to her out and she was pretty good, she was articulate. And I said, “I think you were paid to tell me that cold calling’s dead, it’s in your best interest.” And she goes, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Well, you cited a lot of things, I don’t agree with you.” And she cited a couple more sources. And I said, “Okay, just out of curiosity, if cold calling is dead, why didn’t you just use your software to get in touch with me?”

 

Lance Tyson:

She goes, “Well, what do you mean?” I said, “Well, you didn’t use your software, your software didn’t quote my blog. Your software didn’t call me twice. Your first email may have had… That was your first outreach, that might’ve been generated from your software. So I’ll concur with your premise, that your premise is off. I think you’re paid to say that.”

 

“I think what’s happened a lot of times with salespeople and sales leaders, they’re looking for the fastest, easiest way to win an appointment. And unfortunately, as the world changes, it might be partly automated, but a lot of it is still the legwork that a salesperson does.” – Lance Tyson · [29:19] 

 

Lance Tyson:

It doesn’t mean I’m not interested, but I think what’s happened a lot of times with sales people and sales leaders, they’re looking for the fastest, easiest way to win an appointment. And unfortunately, as the world changes, it might be partly automated, but a lot of it’s still the legwork that a salesperson does.

 

Lance Tyson:

I’ve yet to see a pharmaceutical rep win appointments via technology, they usually have to show up in the doctor’s office to either bribe Joel [who takes the folks in the office to get to see the doc [00:29:48]. I think that’s true at some level.

 

Lance Tyson:

And I’m not saying in all cases either if you’re listening, I just seem to run into more cases than not that it is true, that the sales person or an SDR, a sales development rep is required to get after.

 

Lance Reveals the Reasons Why Some Salespeople Struggle Having Higher Level Business Discussions · [30:08]  

 

Will Barron:

So is this because… I wanted to ask this question, you’ve led me there perfectly Lance. Is this because salespeople are, as everyone is, inherently lazy? Or is it because perhaps sales people just don’t have, and myself included, I’m wrapping myself in with the audience here, the business acumen to have these higher level business discussions, as opposed to here’s my pitch and product and I’m going to throw it at you?

 

“It’s interesting, I always find sales people, and this seems to be common no matter where, if you just put them in front of more of the right buyers, they can get the job done.” – Lance Tyson · [30:30] 

 

Lance Tyson:

It’s interesting, we do a lot of assessments and we do skill-based assessments, and we also assess… And when we go in, we assess how they do business. I always find sales people… This seems to be common, no matter where. If you just put me in front of more of the right buyers, I can get the job done.

 

Lance Tyson:

And then when I go back and I say, “Well, one of your KPIs, your key performance indicators, says that you have to get the appointment.” I understand that most of us could sell more easily if we’re just put in front of a buyer. Unfortunately though, one of your KPIs is you have to get that appointment. I think it’s a combination of a couple of things, I really do. I think as you get more mature as a sales person, like you or I, we want to do less of the hard work and more of the sexy things.

 

“I would say 90% of the business issues that we deal with have to do with winning appointments.” – Lance Tyson · [31:51] 

 

Lance Tyson:

So you got when salespeople get mature, they’ve been there, done that, I don’t necessarily want to work that hard. Two, I think we’ve looked in Medusa’s eyes where we’ve heard that cold calling’s dead, that old school prospect thing’s dead, and we actually have bought it. But I have not really seen that it is. As much as I hear it sold to me, I would say 90% of the business issues that we deal with have to do with winning appointments.

 

Lance Tyson:

I was on the phone today with the New York Yankees, they’re a customer, with the Detroit Tigers and the Red Wings, who are part of one sports group. And I would say at least 20% of our conversation with their sales leaders was about winning appointments. And you would think a large pro sports business to business salespeople would have some kind of technology to want to [inaudible [00:32:21] B2B, and you know what?

 

Lance Tyson:

They struggle as much as anybody else. My people struggle with that. So I think it’s lazy, it’s a misconception. It’s maybe some of the KPIs that we’re holding our salespeople to, that they don’t understand that… And I think that last thing is, and I think this is the most important, because I think the question is very loaded but it’s a great question. I don’t think salespeople understand the numbers of what it takes. It’s not impossible. Look, the phone’s not dead, it’s harder.

 

Lance Tyson:

Email is still a way to communicate to the people. Then you have all kinds of social media that some people get caught up, should I be messaging that way? Our advice is always if it’s not illegal, immoral or unethical, everything’s on the table.

 

Lance Tyson:

So your approach would be in most organisations to win an appointment with an executive, it probably takes six to eight touches or more just to have a conversation. Then you got to count how many conversations win an appointment? And that probably takes another six to eight of those contacts to an appointment, I think a lot of people don’t understand the ratios. And the ratios haven’t gone up and it’s gotten harder. So not impossible, harder. So we feel most organisations don’t understand how many touches it takes to be successful.

 

How to Effectively Use Selling Touches to Boost Your Credibility · [33:54] 

 

Will Barron:

Final question on this Lance, do we need to reframe this as rather than we need to make eight touches and then we hit the jackpot, we get the phone call, and then we’re in our element and we can get a deal done. Would a more healthy way be to look at it from our conversations today, what I’m pulling from you here, would it be that that is eight opportunities to increase our credibility, so that when we actually get the person on the phone, everything runs smoother and we’ve actually made our lives easier? Would that be a better mindset to have with some of this?

 

“Because the hit ratios are so many, you have to go through so many things just to have a conversation with people, when somebody picks up the phone or engages you, I’m just so blown away that most sales people don’t know what to say or how to say it.” – Lance Tyson · [34:31] 

 

Lance Tyson:

Yeah, you’d be so surprised, that’s so well said. When we do analysis or we watch or observe, I think most salespeople… Because the ratios, the hit ratios are so many, you have to go through so many things just to have a conversation with people, when somebody picks up the phone or engages you I’m just so blown away about most sales people don’t know what to say or how to say it.

 

“I think salespeople are so caught up with the word relationship that they’re trying to build all this rapport with somebody over the phone or in their quick engagement, they don’t realise they’re destroying credibility because they’re wasting somebody’s time. And I think sometimes sales people misconstrue really good people skills or good manners for somebody being interested in you.” – Lance Tyson · [35:06] 

 

Lance Tyson:

So they open up with the… Or they misconstrue what they’re trying to do. I know one thing to be true, rings and watches are very expensive pieces of jewellery, and probably some of the most expensive pieces of jewellery are most valued. And I think salespeople are so caught up with the word relationship that they’re trying to build all this rapport with somebody over the phone or in their quick engagement, they don’t realise they’re destroying credibility because they’re wasting somebody’s time. And I think sometimes sales people misconstrue really good people skills or good manners for somebody being interested in you.

 

Lance Tyson:

So they don’t know what to say, they appear, they’re wasting somebody’s time. They’re not catching people’s attention. That first seven seconds is critical, I don’t care where you are in the world. That seven seconds to 21 seconds, what you’re going to say next is critical. 21 seconds to a minute, and you got to know what you’re trying to accomplish when you engage somebody. And it’s not selling the whole thing, it’s trying to win time and awareness from them. And that’s important, not everybody’s good at that.

 

In Sales, Credibility is More Important Than Relationships. Don’t Try to Form Relationships. Build Credibility · [35:50] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure. And the best analogy I have of this is… Because I think I’m reading you right in that you don’t think relationships are as important as credibility, and relationship selling and all this kind of stuff is a way to market books. So you can tell me if I’m on the right track to that, but the way I use this analogy to understand this is that if Warren Buffett rung me and said he’s got a deal for me, I’m going to answer the phone and probably take whatever deal he’s offering me, because he’s got that massive amount of credibility.

 

Will Barron:

I’ve never spoke to Warren Buffett before. He didn’t know who I am, didn’t know I exist. Clearly most sales people are not going to get to that level of investment advice and credibility in the marketplace, but you want to head towards that, and that eliminates this pressure for relationships and faffing around on the phone, trying to get someone to like you.

 

“Relationships are outcomes to something. You don’t start with a relationship, you establish credibility, you build rapport, you show a level of understanding.” – Lance Tyson · [36:43] 

 

Lance Tyson:

No doubt, and I think what people misconstrue, relationships are outcomes to something. You don’t start with relationship, you establish credibility, you build rapport, you show a level of understanding, and you’re going to take the call from Warren buffet based on his credibility, not the rapport you have with him.

 

Lance Tyson:

So it’s that triangle that does it, one’s not more important than the other, it’s [equilateral [00:37:02]. And you’ve got to know what you’re doing at the time. So especially making cold calls, especially if you go back to that spider webbing concept we started off with. Spider webbing’s about credibility because you’re demonstrating to the buyers that you understand their organisation, that’s really what the spider webbing’s about.

 

Lance’s Advise to His Younger Self on Better Selling · [37:25] 

 

Will Barron:

What a pro, bringing it back to and wrapping it up in a nice little bow like that Lance, I appreciate it mate. I’ve got one final question to ask everyone that comes on the show, so we’ll wrap up with this. 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?

 

Lance Tyson:

That if you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves. My dad said what you lose in the bananas you make up in the grapes. I think that means the same thing. And then too many times as my younger self, I wasn’t focused on little things. Just even probably the biggest mistake I ever made in sales is I was selling to a guy and his name was Billy, had a great meeting with them. And I met with him and his boss, on my formal proposal I put William.

 

Lance Tyson:

He opened up the next meeting and said, “Hey, just wanted you to know first, before we start, my name is Billy and it’s a family name. And that’s really important to me.” I can tell you that that would have been the biggest sale I ever had at that point, but it went sideways from there because I didn’t take care of little things.

 

Parting Thoughts · [38:20] 

 

Will Barron:

That’s profound advice. I appreciate that, Lance. Well, with that mate, tell us where we can find out more about you, mention the book as well. And anything else you want to share to Sales Nation?

 

Lance Tyson:

Well, I appreciate that. The title of the book is selling is an away game. You can find it on Amazon, @Lancetyson on Twitter. You can connect with me at LinkedIn, Lance Tyson. Or www.tysongroup.com. I appreciate it.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff, you’re welcome mate. I will link to all that in the show notes on this episode over at salesman.org.

 

Will Barron:

Other than that Lance, I appreciate your insights on this. I really enjoyed the conversation. And I want to thank you for joining us on the Salesman podcast.

 

Lance Tyson:

Appreciate it, thank you.

 

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