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Create And Scale A Cold Email Prospecting Strategy

On today’s episode of Sales Leadership Show, we have Josh Braun, the author of the Badass B2B Growth Guide. Josh shares how sales leaders can scale, monitor, and refine cold emails and cold calls, across a team, regardless of size.

You'll learn:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Josh Braun
Author: Badass B2B Growth Guide

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of the Sales Leadership Show.

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah. So the biggest mistake I think sales leaders make is letting people start sending emails when they first start at a company, right? So if you have Sally’s emails and you are getting 15, 20% positive response rate or 15% positive response rate, and you’re cold calling people, and you’re connecting 6% of the time and 18% of those connects are turning into booked meetings, absolutely, turn this podcast off and call Will and tell him what you’re doing. So with regards to calls we have to set benchmarks as to what good is with everything that we do otherwise we don’t know so, what is good with regards to benchmarks? And then of course, what is good with regards to a cold call?

 

Will Barron:

Hello Sales Leadership, my name is Will Barron and I’m the host of the Sales Leadership Show. On today’s episode we have Josh Braun, he is the author of the Badass B2B Growth Guide, which you can find over at joshbraun.com. On today’s episode, Josh is sharing how we can scale, monitor and refine cold email and cold call outreach, not just for individual contributors, individual salespeople, but across a team no matter how big or small it is. Everything we talk about in this episode is available in the show notes over at salesleadership.org. And with that said, let’s jump right into it. Josh welcome to the sales leadership show.

 

Josh Braun:

Thanks for having me on Will.

 

Should Sales Leaders Have a Common Cold Outreach Strategy Across The Entire Sales Team? · [01:50] 

 

Will Barron:

I’m glad to have you on set. Okay. So today’s episode, we’re not just going to get into cold outreach, cold email specifically, I think, with your expertise on here Josh, I want to get into how we manage cold email outreach and cold prospect outreach in general via an entire sales team as opposed to being an individual contributor. So with that, I’m going to ask you a massively leading and loaded question here that set the scene for the rest of the conversation. Is this conversation just mute or should there be a succinct strategy across an entire sales team from the sales leadership perspective we’ve got into cold outreach and getting our team on the same page with it?

 

Josh Braun:

Now Will, if I can’t answer the question, can I phone a friend or do a 50-50 or I just take my best shot at it?

 

Will Barron:

It depends who the friend is, that will determine the success of the rest of this episode.

 

Josh Braun:

Okay. All right, good.

 

Will Barron:

So Josh, should there be a succinct strategy for sales leadership with cold emails, or should we just let individual contributors just send what they like when they like?

 

“So the biggest mistake I think sales leaders make is letting people start sending emails when they first start at a company.” – Josh Braun  · [02:24] 

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah. So the biggest mistake I think sales leaders make is letting people start sending emails when they first start at a company. And so what I recommend as step one of the strategy, and I do believe there should be a strategy, is to have salespeople interview customers. And the reason I’m saying that is that most salespeople have never done the job of the person that they’re reaching out to and because they’ve never done the job of the person that they’re reaching out to, they may be relying on marketing messages or their own gut to be able to say things that quite frankly are misaligned with how buyers actually think and talk. And so if you’re not able to join the conversation specifically in their mind, there’s this disconnect and the cause of that is that the salespeople, SDRs, are not close to the people that they’re actually prospecting. It also makes them very nervous because they’re barking at print, I call it, and when I was a kindergarten teacher we’d have kids that would be able to read fluently but then you’d ask them comprehension questions and then they have no idea.

 

“So step one, interviewing five customers using an approach called jobs-to-be-done. It’s a framework that allows you to understand all of the dominoes that tipped over that actually caused someone to fire their existing thing and hire the new thing, that’s going to form the basis of your messaging.” – Josh Braun · [03:43] 

 

Josh Braun:

So they’re using words like optimise, 360 degree view, end-to-end solution, these really generic words that don’t stand out. So step one, interviewing five customers using an approach called jobs-to-be-done, it’s a framework that allows you to understand all of the dominoes that tipped over that actually caused someone to fire their existing thing and hire the new thing, that’s going to form the basis of your messaging. And what I recommend sales leaders do is they create a little spreadsheet, couple of columns. A spreadsheet, column number one is, what’s the job that this person is trying to get done? What sucks before they give you money specifically? What’s the impact of that? Why does that suck so bad? What changes for the better after they give you the money? In the customer’s words. And if every rep just interviewed five or seven customers they’d just get a better handle on that, so that to me is step one of the approach and a step that’s often missed because it’s easy to start sending out emails.

 

Why New Salespeople Need to Understand Customer Pain Points Before Sending Out Cold Emails · [04:39] 

 

Will Barron:

So, that sounds like a lot of effort Josh. Can we not just get Barry’s emails, decide what works, give it to Sally, and then just get a spam in the market instead?

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah, we could do that if those emails were working really well. [inaudible [00:04:50] 15, 20% positive response rate or 15% positive response rate and you’re cold calling people and you’re connecting 6% of the time and 18% of those connects are turning into booked meetings, absolutely, turn this podcast off and call Will and tell him what you’re doing. But if you’re not, if that’s not working or you don’t have a way to measure it, and you’re sending lots and lots of emails and you’re not getting the responses that you want, or you’re picking up the phone and you’re hearing I’m not interested far too many times or reps fear to call is like the phone is a cactus and are afraid to pick it up, then you want to actually back up a little bit and move away from templates, move away from searching for stuff and sending out a lot of things because what ends up happening is you burn out your addressable market.

 

“You may get two or three or one and a half percent response rates but what you don’t realise is you’re actually pissing off 98% of your people.” – Josh Braun · [05:36] 

 

Josh Braun:

You may get two or three or one and a half percent response rates but what you don’t realise is you’re actually pissing off 98% of your people. Which is why a lot of these outsourced SDR firms don’t last that long, they’ll achieve a lot of success at the first, they’ll blast thousands of people but then after a couple of months that’s over with and that sort of stops, so that’s the reason you might not want to just rely on what’s already in place if it’s not performing well.

 

Josh Describes First-Hand Experience Where an Organisation Burnt Out an Addressable Market · [06:17] 

 

Will Barron:

I want to get on to what is success in a second because it needs to be measurable for us to win at this game. But have you, you don’t need to name clients or organisations or anything like that, but have you experienced, or have you seen firsthand an addressable market being burnt out? Because I talk about this all the time on multiple of the podcasts that we do and nobody believes me that it’s possible to do so, but just common sense suggests that if you do something for long enough that it pisses off enough people. Not just you’re going to ruin the brand of the organisation that you represent but they just don’t want to get back to you as an individual contributor and they’re not going to then respond to you as a sales leader either.

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah. So yeah. So John Jensen is the VP of North American sales for Alteryx which is a publicly traded company. And when we first started talking through no fault of his own or through the reps, everyone was trying to do the best that they can, they have these acceleration tools that allows you to step on the gas like Salesforce or SalesLoft, and Outreach, and they were sending tonnes of generic messages, the best way they knew how, using templates and just going for a quantity based approach. And what they realised was that their response rates were not where they needed to be and when they did get responses, they were a little off-putting, not positive. So what John did is he actually created something called the value capture spreadsheet. It was kind of genius what he did because Alteryx is complicated, they have lots of different people that they sell to with lots of different problems. But he created an Excel spreadsheet and the Excel spreadsheet was, this is what sucked before and this is what changed for the better and he actually interviewed customers.

 

“Nothing against marketing but marketing language tends to have a spin on it. They say things like ROI and streamline and optimise, just not how people talk.” – Josh Braun · [07:57] 

 

Josh Braun:

So what you heard was the actual customer language by theme and so reps could actually see this specific language, now this is not marketing language, it’s a little bit different. Nothing against marketing but marketing language tends to have a spin on it, they say things like ROI and streamline and optimise, just not how people talk and so this language was crispy or specific. And we used that to be able to message and we were able to increase the amount of meetings that they booked by three X just by doing that primarily over email and through the call, just that simple idea. How you use that stuff, we could certainly talk about if it’s helpful, but people skip that step and when they skip that step what ends up happening is the messaging is generic. We help you increase this by 55%, we’re the best, of course you’re going to say that, you have commission breath, it’s just not how people talk, so it’s the crispy and specific nature. Your customers are better at writing emails than you are, you just have to be able to get that language out of them and leverage it.

 

Key Defining Metrics of a Succesful Cold Outreach · [09:03]

 

Will Barron:

Cool. We’ll come back to messaging in a second because clearly you feel that’s important. But let’s just shut on this before we gloss over it because this might be the starting point. Are the rules for success here in that, should we be looking at, you’ve disqualified this already, open rates and reply rates, because if we’re getting lots of negative replies, people telling us to bugger off, then clearly we’re not having success even though the numbers might look fantastic or is success perhaps calls booked in or with modern tools can we go all the way to deals closed? What should we be doing to judge whoever our cold outreach has been successful or is just a waste of time?

 

“Oftentimes when sales leaders come to me and they say, our people suck at writing emails, they suck on the phone. I say, well, do they know what good is, and do you know what good is? And oftentimes the answer is no.” – Josh Braun · [09:50]

Josh Braun:
 
Yeah. Let’s talk about calls first and then we’ll talk about email. So with regards to calls, we have to set benchmarks as to what good is with everything that we do, otherwise we don’t know. So what is good with regards to benchmarks? And then of course, what is good with regards to a cold call? What is good with regards to a discovery call? What is good with regards to an email? Oftentimes when sales leaders come to me and they say, our people suck at writing emails, they suck on the phone, I say, well, do they know what good is? And do you know what good is? And oftentimes the answer is no. When we were in high school, well, you probably remember, when we had to write a paper our English teacher said, “Here’s the rubric,” this is what your paper has to look like in order for you to score fives in each of these categories and yet in sales we don’t do that.

 

“So with regards to cold calls, one of the first things we want to take a look at is connect rate, meaning the percentage of time I actually connect with the intended target, and that has to be around five and a half to 6% at the lowest side. If you’re below that perhaps your target market can’t be reached over the phone, perhaps your database needs to be updated, perhaps you need to look at other providers.” – Josh Braun · [10:11]

 

Josh Braun:

So with regards to cold calls, one of the first things we want to take a look at is connect rate, meaning the percentage of time I actually connect with the intended target, and that has to be around five and a half to 6% at the lowest side. If you’re below that perhaps your target market can’t be reached over the phone, perhaps your database needs to be updated, perhaps you need to look at other providers, et cetera, so I like to see a 5% connect rate. And then when we’re actually on the call, if we take a look at the cold call, you can think of the cold call as having four parts, most cold calls do, they have a four-part thing. You can actually start to measure the drop off if you use dispositions between the opening, part two, part three, and part four. So someone picks up the phone and they say, hello, and you say, hey, well, you’re probably going to hate me because this is a cold call, do you want to hang up or roll the dice?

 

Josh Braun:

And what we want to see there, and there’s 15,000 openers, please don’t write, Will, that opener sucked, and we realised there’s 20 openers, whatever your opener is you want to measure it and 85% of the time we want a neutral or positive reaction to that opening like a funnel, so we’re going to measure that at 85. If that thing dips below 85, is it your tonality? Do we want to change the script? Do we want to say something like, hey Will, this is Josh, we’ve never met but I was hoping you could help me out for a moment, we want to test that and we want to get that 85%. Then we’re going to go to part two and we want that at 70%, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So we want to take a look at how that is converting down and you could just set up dispositions to be able to track that in Salesforce and you can have a little funnel.

 

“People always measure meeting book rate, of course connecting meeting book rate is important and I like to see that at about 15 to 18% as a benchmark as a team. But also I like positive talk time, what I mean by positive talk time is there’s rapport and back and forth on the call even though the meeting wasn’t booked. What that tells me is that, although it didn’t book now, it might book one day and the rep shouldn’t be penalised for that because they didn’t book the meeting, they planted a really great seed.” – Josh Braun · [11:43]

 

Josh Braun:

People always measure meeting book rate, of course connecting meeting book rate is important and I like to see that at about 15 to 18% as a benchmark as a team. But also I like positive talk time, what I mean by positive talk time is there’s rapport and back and forth on the call even though the meeting wasn’t booked. What that tells me is that, although it didn’t book now, it might book one day and the rep shouldn’t be penalised for that because they didn’t book the meeting, they planted a really great seed. So I also measure positive sentiment, positive rapport, on the calls evidenced by talk time. If the call went on for five or six minutes, it was positive, the rep was asking really great illumination questions and the prospect was sharing a lot of information, they were telling a lot of truth, they just weren’t ready to commit for whatever reason, I think the rep should get credit for that. So positive sentiment is another one I like to measure.

 

Josh Reveals The Realistic Benchmark For Salespeople Connecting With The Intended Target · [12:36] 

 

Will Barron:

Cool. So there’s three things to get here. Some of this is objective but it will be subjective for the audience depending on how big their organisation is, how many reps they have, who they’re trying to reach. So when you say, we’re looking for 8% of X, Y, Z, just as a rough guide here because there’ll be massive to make things statistically significant which we don’t need to go into, is this 8% if we’re experimenting on a 100 calls, a 1,000 calls, seven calls? How many calls do we need to do to make a number at least somewhat valid?

 

Josh Braun:

A 100 connections, so a 100 connections with the intended target. So the intended target is not an executive assistant, the intended target is not a, I hate this term but everyone uses it, gatekeeper. A 100 conversations with the people that you intended to call and there’s obviously technology out there that can accelerate that, technology like ConnectAndSell and there’s a bunch of them out there that can help you have more conversations per minute. But yeah, obviously not three calls, a 100 is a really good benchmark to be able to start to get statistically significant data where you can actually start to test scripts and tonality.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. And this-

 

“Sometimes a low connect to conversion rate is great script, great messaging, wrong company, wrong person.” – Josh Braun · [13:55] 

 

Josh Braun:

Something else that I see a lot that might seem blatantly obvious is sometimes people are not strategic about the accounts that they select and the four or five people within those accounts that they select and so they’re not calling the best fit. There’s always a subset of accounts that are the best fit and they’re not calling the people that have this specific job. And so sometimes a low connect to conversion rate is great script, great messaging, wrong company, wrong person.

 

Will Barron:

Let’s make the assumption Josh, just because if we go for every step, well, I’m happy to talk to you for five hours but we will literally be here for five hours. Let’s make the assumption that we’ve got good data and we’re calling the right people at the right time, not necessarily the right time in the sales cycle but within a reasonable moment so we’re not executing the data with perfect answers and dials and terrible ones. So a 100 perfect nice round number we can work on, now, this leads me onto the second thing I was going to query with you, is that a 100 calls across the team or is that a 100 calls per individual?

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah. So I want to be very clear, not a 100 calls-

 

Will Barron:

A 100 connects. Sorry.

 

Josh Braun:

… a 100 connects. Yeah, so connects. So I actually had the conversation, that would be for the team.

 

Assessing The Effectiveness of a Sales Script Across The Whole Team BaseD on 100 Connects · [15:03] 

 

Will Barron:

Sure. So how important then is it to spread this across the team versus just pull data from, well, we know Barry, Mary and Sally are our best reps, if we can get them working we can trickle this down to perhaps the slightly lower performing reps, is that a strategy or should we do this across the team so that the data is more accurate from an organisational standpoint?

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah. So it’s very easy once you have these dispositions set up to create dashboards in Salesforce and if everyone is using the same script and if everyone has been trained on tonality and everyone has been trained on diffusing objections, then what you can do is actually start to coach to good. And so you spread this out across the whole team and you can see individual connect to conversion rates statistics and you can also see it for the team. And if Mary is converting at 19% or 22% and everybody else is converting at nine, well, we can now delve into that, is it her tonality? Is she actually dialling more? Does she have better leads? Is she deviating off the script? If so, what is she doing differently? So we can actually update it for the rest of the team, but you have to have those benchmarks and those scripts in place and absolutely distribute it throughout the whole team so you can actually coach people that are maybe not hitting the mark and give praise to people that are.

 

Josh Reveals How Much Belief He Puts on Self-Reported Data Versus Using AI Tools Such as Gong or Chorus To Calculate Sales Call Performance · [16:25] 

 

Will Barron:

Sure. And final point on this. I’ll let you lose it, I feel there’s things you want to continue with Josh. Clearly this depends on the size of the organisation, budgets and other things, but how much belief do you put in self-reported data from someone to say, for example, this was a positive conversation even though it was six minutes long, which is objective, how much change do you put on that versus using a tool like Gong or Chorus to use AI to calculate some of this performance?

 

Josh Braun:

I love tools like Gong or Chorus, if you have them use them, they’re excellent tools for exactly what we’re talking about, if you don’t have them you can either have people self-report it using dispositions and then you can monitor the calls. Something else that I’ve done is I’ve created something called a call of fame where you can actually put great calls that are examples of what good is, positive conversation so people can listen to them. I have found that once people know what good is and they’ve heard it in the call of fame, people are good, they’re honest. I very rarely see anybody submitting a call that’s good into the call of fame that’s not, they kind of know what it is especially if they know it’s going to be in there and so I’ve never had a problem with people being not true.

 

What Is the “Call of Fame” and How Can Sales Leaders Leverage it To Improve The Quality of Call Engagements · [17:36]

 

Will Barron:

Sure. If you’re consulting, you enter an organisation, you’re helping them with their cold outreach, how is this documented? So you mentioned the call of fame, which I love, because maybe tools do some of this, I’m not sure, but how would you document this? Is it a spreadsheet, is it saving a load of MP3 files and putting it on a shared intranet folder for the team? How do you go about collating what is good so that even new hires can be onboarded of it as well faster later on?

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah. So the dashboards can be built out by someone that has some sales ops experience. There’s a guy called Taft Love who does this really well, he builds up really great dashboards that track the call call-flow. And then with regards to the call of fame, you can simply set something up on your intranet where people can click and they can actually listen to the call a fame calls and once a week listen to a call that went really well and break down why it went well. I don’t like doing that with calls that didn’t go well, it makes people feel bad, I’m much more a fan of positive reinforcement.

 

Josh Braun:

And just a quick side note, 30 second side note, as you know, well, I used to teach kindergarten and first grade and third grade, and one of the things I learned pretty quickly when kids wouldn’t put away their crayons was saying, “Johnny, put your crayons away, why didn’t you put your crayons away? Put them away, they’re a mess,” that just didn’t work, what did work was saying things like, “Hey Suzy, love how you put your crayons away, you even put the lid on tight and your colours are all in the same spot where they should be.” And it’s the same thing when you’re coaching salespeople with this call of fame stuff, don’t focus on the negative stuff, people will rise to the occasion. I’ve been in these situations where people are ripping in the reps and it’s not productive. Sorry, that was a little sidebar.

 

The Power of Positive Reinforcement · [19:27]

 

Will Barron:

Sure. And to double down on this, I’ll put this book in the show notes, it’s called, Don’t Shoot the Dog, or Don’t Shoot the Trainer, I’ll put it in the show notes. It’s a dog training book but then it applies and uses behavioural psychology to apply all of that to humans, the laws of influence and how that relates to dogs and how it can be translated to humans and how it can be translated to business and elsewhere as well. It’s an amazing read. And it’s all about as you described-

 

Josh Braun:

Is it positive reinforcement? It’s based on positive reinforcement?

 

Will Barron:

It’s all positive reinforcement, yeah. And so, as you described that if a dog is chewing your shoelaces, put a toy in front of it and make the toy more interesting than the shoelaces so it plays with the toy as opposed to telling off for chewing the shoelaces, because it doesn’t really know what is being told off for because it doesn’t understand English, but it knows that it wants to play with the toy so you redirect his attention towards that. And eventually it will know to play with the toy because that makes you happy as opposed to chewing your shoelaces, that’s just one example. But then it translates that into how you can do that with humans, it uses anecdotes of getting people to wash the dishes and all kinds of stuff. It’s definitely a recommended read for me.

 

Josh Braun:

This is why Will has a toy car on his desk, if you guys are watching this, just to reinforce that in.

 

Will Barron:

Well, with that Josh I feel like I’m interrupting you slightly and holding you back because I want to clarify things, I think more senior sales leaders would have been able to rattle through this quicker, but I’m trying to suck as much from you as possible for my own experience. So with that said, we are doing customer interviews up front, we’re getting even a little bit of a database kind of customer language, the messages that they want to be communicated via, we can talk in a way that they are going to absorb it and appreciate it without having an extra layer of translation of marketing bullshit, I think you put it more politely than that earlier on.

 

You’ve Got the Data, You Know What’s Working, What Do You Do From There? · [21:15]

 

Will Barron:

We’re then going to do multiple tests with different parts of messaging with different elements of messaging and then we’re going to use a 100 pickups at least so that we’ve got statistically significant data. What do we do from there? Let’s assume that we’ve got onto something, something is working, what do we do then? Do we double down on this and just smash the marketplace or do we need to roll this out gradually in case, I guess, it’s an anomaly?

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah. So I always like to have a seal team in every organisation, and it’s a small group, three or four people. Google does this, well, they have these little labs where they’re doing these experiments and their purpose is always to start trying new stuff rapidly, so two week experiments. We want to try some things that are different phraseology on calls, we want to maybe try using visual images in cold emails. One of the things we’re experimenting right now with a lot of the people that I coach are these emails that have pictures under a 100K so you give the best chance of getting delivered, before and after. I learned this from a guy named Jack Butcher, he does this great Twitter feed called Visualising Value. I took his course, immediately I connected the dots thinking, hey, what would this look like if we actually had to communicate our value in a before and after picture? And so can we experiment with that and see.

 

“A lot of times people will find something that works but they won’t do it consistently and it’s the consistency that’s going to actually deliver the outcome, the sporadic stopping and starting, you just don’t get into a flow state.” – Josh Braun · [23:14] 

 

Josh Braun:

So the seal team, or you can call them whatever you want, is always going to be a small team of experimenters and people love this stuff. Some of this stuff works, some of it doesn’t, there are two or three weeks cycles to experiment with, so that’s going to be always continuously going on. And then the people that are actually on the core team, once it’s dialled in, are going to always have suggestions on things that they could do to improve it. But yeah, but for the most it’s a grind at that point, it’s being able to just do the work consistently, running five to seven miles every day. A lot of times people will find something that works but they won’t do it consistently and it’s the consistency that’s going to actually deliver the outcome, the sporadic stopping and starting, you just don’t get into a flow state.

 

Will Talks About “The 20 Mile March” · [23:31] 

 

Will Barron:

So we were talking about, before we could record, goals, 2021 goals. I come across this the end of last year and I found it has been really valuable for me and our organisation so far in just the kind of six weeks that we’ve been implementing it, I think it’s from the book Good to Great, I think it’s Jim Collins, he talks about the 20 Mile March. You go to work, you do your 20 miles, and this is what I find in great companies they do, they’re not necessarily sprinting all the time, they just do 20 miles they go home, next day, 20 miles, go home, 20 miles, go home. Is that how we should be framing this up in our mind if that’s what success is over not just six months, but 10 years, 20 years?

 

Josh Braun:

You said it much better than I could have. I’m thinking of a quick story, a few years ago I took a masters swim class, masters is a nice way of saying swim class for old people like myself, and the class started at six o’clock in the morning which is pretty early. And day one there was like 30 people in the class, it was a 30 day programme, and by the end there were 12 of us. And this is the same thing that you probably experienced when you were in college first year sort of first semester, the lecture hall is packed and by the end it sort of dwindles down. So this idea of being consistent every day, being good everyday, a little bit good every day makes you great over the long-term. But the consistency is really hard for people because of shiny object syndrome, it’s how you finish an Ironman race, it’s how you accomplish anything great, I 100% subscribe to that. Same thing with the stock market, people want to trade Bitcoin and do all these things, fine, but listen to Warren Buffett, it’s a slow, methodical, consistent approach.

 

Will Barron:

So I know Warren Buffett, I’ll put it in the show notes, he’s got a quote and it’s something like, at 50 or 60 he was only worth 5% of what he’s worth now. He wasn’t that wealthy, it’s only that compounding interest over 60 years that’s, well, financially made him who he is I guess.

 

Josh Braun:

And it’s the same thing with what you do Will, you’re a great example of this, right? The consistency and the quality of your content and your podcast and your curriculum. It’s not like you’re doing one podcast or one lesson, it’s a consistent approach that you just do like you brush your teeth, and this kind of gets back to building tiny habits where the habits that you build is just what you do and ultimately those are the things that allow you to achieve your goal. And the journey is the fun part, I often find that when I cross the finish line of an Ironman race or I’ve hit some revenue goal, it feels good for a little bit but then that’s over. But the journey when you have the habits, that’s a lifetime, and I’m sure you get a tremendous amount of fulfilment out of this habit you’ve created for yourself of these podcasts.

 

Will Barron:

If I’m being honest, I don’t know about fulfilment, but I know and I was talking about this with a VP over at HubSpot the other day, this idea of, I don’t know who came up with this, it might’ve have been Jim Collins again, the marketing flywheel of you add enough inertia to something and eventually you can take your foot off the gas a little bit and it spins down so slowly that then you can put your foot back on and no one’s even skipped a beat. So I’m happy to get my head down with the podcast, fulfilment levels, high load, it’s irrelevant because I know for example, I’m getting a dog next week that I can then take my foot off the podcast just slightly and I’ve got so many kind of wrapped up in the bag that everything keeps taking over and the world doesn’t end.

 

Will Barron:

And I find when people do have, and I’ve been there Josh, this is literally me kind of six, seven years ago, shiny object syndrome is very real, especially when you could be doing this or you could be doing that. People talk about video messages on LinkedIn are hot right now and then there’s audio messages on LinkedIn, social selling, cold email, cold calling, warm calling, whatever it is. Once we find something that works and we get that flywheel going, it gives us the opportunity to try over things because as we try the flywheel is still spinning and the greatest companies build multiple flywheels so that when one eventually does fail, you’ve got another to sustain revenue and keep it going over the longer term, right?

 

Josh Braun:

Could not agree more. I mean, I get people all the time that tell me, how did you get so much reach on LinkedIn and so much engagement, I wrote a post and nothing happened. I’m like, yeah, you got to write more than a post and you got to do it for many months and sometimes many years and it also has to be good and unique and you have to have a perspective. But I think in this era of shiny object syndrome and this era of speed and distraction, I mean, I have this when I’m trying to learn my guitar, I mean, I know the beginning of like nine songs, the first like eight seconds, I can’t focus, but focus is super important and doing things that are boring and that are just part of your routine is what’s going to get you there.

 

Managing Distractions and The Shiny Object Syndrome · [28:18] 

 

Will Barron:

So let me ask you this and we can wrap up the show with this perhaps then Josh, let’s say everything that we’ve described or you’ve taught us in this episode of the Sales Leadership Show, has gone perfectly, and we’ve got this momentum and our cold emails or cold calls, we’ve got the structure, it’s all working perfectly, we’ve got SEAL Team Six working in the background, reinventing the wheel so that we can, what’s the saying? We can pour ourselves our business with new inventions and new this and new that. Realistically, you’ve got a much longer sales career and a successful sales career than I have, especially in the leadership side of things, how often does something come along that does stop that flywheel dead? Is shiny object syndrome, what I’m asking here, is it actually a real phenomenon or is it something that we make up because we are unable to do that 20 Miles March each day just from a lack of discipline?

 

Josh Braun:

Yeah. We talked a little bit about this before we rolled the podcast, we were talking about goals and I think I was making a point that as I’m getting older especially, I don’t focus on them as much. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work on learning how to build habits and there’s a great book called Atomic Habits, there’s a bunch of stuff BJ Fogg over at Stanford is doing on this, but you can actually programme your brain to build habits. We won’t get into it on this show, it’s another source of a whole other thing but you can read up on it.

 

“If you could start to build habits for yourself through these methods, and it’s something that you can do, you won’t get as distracted because it’s like brushing teeth, I don’t ever get distracted when I brush my teeth, I don’t get distracted when I run, it’s just a habit that I’ve built for myself.” – Josh Braun · [29:29] 

 

Josh Braun:

But if you could start to build habits for yourself through these methods, and it’s something that you can do, you won’t get as distracted because it’s like brushing teeth, I don’t ever get distracted when I brush my teeth, I don’t get distracted when I run, it’s just a habit that I’ve built for myself. I don’t get distracted when I ride a bike or when I swim or when I do prospecting or when I write LinkedIn posts because I’ve read deeply on how to build habits and more importantly, how to get away from negative habits that are not as productive. And so like anything else, this can be learned and it’s not inherently something that you’re going to do by default. We take this stuff for granted but it’s not, the human brain doesn’t want to do certain things but you can train the brain to get into this routine.

 

Josh’s Advise to New Sales Leaders · [30:30]

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Well, we’ll wrap up the show with that. Well, I’ve got one final question, Josh, I’ll throw this at you. It’s something that I’ve asked everyone that’s come on the Sales Leadership Show so far. If you could speak to someone, a new sales leader right now, they are 30, 60, 90 days into their job, they’ve never done any leadership or management in the past, what would be one piece of advice that you’d give them?

 

“Level up your listening, people have a hunger and a desire to feel heard and understood, give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t think the worst of them.” – Josh Braun · [30:49] 

 

Josh Braun:

Level up your listening, people have a hunger and a desire to feel heard and understood, give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t think the worst of them. So a great resource for that, Will, and I have talked about this as well, Carl Rogers is a psychologist that did a tremendous amount of work on how to make people feel heard and understood and Chris Voss, who’s a former FBI negotiator wrote a great book called Never Split the Difference that has a lot of tactical strategies on how to make people feel heard and understood. And everyone has a hunger to feel heard and understood, it’s a superpower for getting through to anyone in your personal and professional life.

 

Parting Thoughts: Josh’s Books, Podcast, and The Badass Guide · [31:29]

 

Will Barron:

I love it. Well, with that Josh, tell us where we can find out more about you, tell us about the Badass B2B Growth Guide, I know you’ve got a podcast, tell us about the podcast as well.

 

Josh Braun:

I have a podcast that’s not as good as Will’s so if you have to choose between the two, please by all means. So my podcast is called Inside Selling, not as good as Will’s, and my book, joshbraun.com/badass. If you are sending lots of cold emails and not getting a lot of responses or you’re getting hung up on the phone, the Badass Guide helps you be a red X in a sea a white circle so you can start more conversations with sceptical prospects. It’s joshbraun.com/badass.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. Well, I’ll link to all that in the show notes for this episode over at the salesleadership.org. And with that, Josh, you’ve come on the Salesman Podcast a couple of times, this is your first appearance on the Sales Leadership Show. I want to thank you for the time you’ve shared with sales nation over the past few years and I want to thank you again for joining us on the Sales Leadership Show.

 

Josh Braun:

Honoured to be on Will, thanks for having me.

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