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How To Identify “Do Nothing Deals” And Win More Of Them

Tom Pisello is the current Chief Evangelist for sales enablement at Mediafly. On this episode of the Salesman Podcast, Tom uses data-backed evidence to explain “Do Nothing Deals” and how salespeople can break the status quo to close more of these deals.

You'll learn:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Tom Pisello
Chief Evangelist, Mediafly

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

This episode of the show is brought to you from the salesmen.org HubSpot studio. Coming up on today’s episode of the Salesman Podcast.

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah, buyers are looking to make a choice or an improvement in their environment, and a do nothing deal happens when they decide to stick with their status quo. Maybe the investment that’s required is so high compared to the change and the benefits they can get, the outcomes they can get, that it’s not worthwhile. But one of the important things is that people move away from pain emotionally much more than being attracted to gain.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation. My name Will Barron, I’m the host of the Salesman Podcast, the world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. On today’s episode, we have an absolute legend, really enjoyed this conversation, we have Tom Pisello. He is the author of the book Evolved Selling, which you can find on Amazon and everywhere else as well. On today’s episode, we’re getting into what to do with “do-nothing deals.” So what do nothing deals are, how to break through the status quo and get some more of these closed. And Tom comes at this with tonnes of research and data. And so there’s tonnes to go out with this episode, so let’s jump right into it. Tom, welcome to the Salesman Podcast.

 

Tom Pisello:

Pleasure to be here, Will. Thank you so much for inviting me.

 

What are “Do Nothing Deals”? · [01:38]

 

Will Barron:

You’re more than welcome. I’m glad to have you on. On today’s episode, we’re going to get into what to do when we have do nothing deals. Now, to set things up, Tom, before I throw my thoughts into the picture here, what is a do nothing deal? Let’s clarify this before we suss out how to deal with the situation.

 

“Buyers are looking to make a choice or an improvement in their environment. And a do nothing deal happens when they decide to stick with their status quo.” – Tom Pisello · [01:41]

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah, buyers are looking to make a choice or an improvement in their environment. And a do nothing deal happens when they decide to stick with their status quo, or their business as usual, and really the whole buying decision process that they’ve been through, all those meetings, all the committees, all the getting it together. All that time and effort from the buyer perspective is all thrown away, obviously your sales time with them is thrown away too, and they decide not to go with you, not to go with a competitor, but just stick with business as usual. Maybe relying on that legacy solution or the broke business processes that they’re using today. And so, unfortunately we see too many pipeline opportunities ending with do nothing or as Gartner calls it, no decision.

 

How to Handle ‘No Deal’ Sales Scenarios · [02:42]

 

Will Barron:

We are clearly biassed here on this podcast. Yourself and I, many companies, many roles within the sales space, and myself, all I do is help sales professionals close more deals, earn more commissions, and crush it in their sales jobs. Are there times when a no deal or a no decision is the appropriate decision for the buyer?

 

“I think there are times as sellers that we need to be ready to sometimes say, “You know what, no decision or do nothing might be the most appropriate.” – Tom Pisello  · [03:38]

 

Tom Pisello:

You know, there could be times where maybe their problem is not that big of a problem. Maybe the legacy solutions and business processes maybe aren’t that broke. Maybe the investment that’s required is so high compared to the change and the benefits they can get, the outcomes they can get, that it’s not worthwhile, or sometimes the organisation just isn’t ready for change. And so those are three just quick ones, where it is appropriate. That may be your advice to the customers is, “Look you might not be ready for this.” And I’ve given that advice to certain customers or, “What you’re doing now, you could get some benefit from what I’m providing, but maybe not all of the benefits to overcome all the work and effort and risk of change.” So I think there are times as sellers that we need to be ready to sometimes say, “You know what, no decision or do nothing might be the most appropriate.”

 

Examining External Market Forces and a Salesperson’s Ability to Influence “No Deal Scenarios · [04:38]

 

Will Barron:

For sure, because where I want to go with this, is it a sales person’s responsibility to never have a no deal? Is it in our control or are there other kind of market forces that dictate some of this?

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah, there definitely are these external market forces. And you know what, identifying a company that is going to end up at no decision or do nothing, as quickly as possible, should be one of the missions we have, right? Which is understand that the outcomes are going to be significant, that the company has the investment that they’re ready to make, that they’re ready to implement a change and be successful. Many of us now are selling subscription services. So our selling doesn’t end with that. Firstly, we have to make sure they’re going to be successful and going to achieve those outcomes. So if you’re able to identify that a company maybe has one of these three issues, perhaps that’s better, you don’t waste as much time on them, and maybe you can advise them not to waste their time as well on a decision cycle that might end badly.

 

Logical and Emotional Responses to Proposed Change · [05:13] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure. It’s somewhat common sense, we want to qualify some of this out, but why I find it difficult to do this practically when I’m selling our training to the enterprise, as opposed to individuals, I get into a lot of conversations where the buyer is stuck in the status quo. They’ve always done things one way, and now with COVID, they’d been given a big kick in the arse to do all the cliche stuff of digital transformation, remote selling, all these kinds of things. So now there’s a bit less status quo in the marketplace from my perspective. But where I find it difficult to qualify is when logically they should move forward, but emotionally they get stuck. Do you have any thoughts on how to suss out when we are in the qualification process whether we want to invest our time into this buyer, whether we can suss out whether logically we know that they want to work with us, but whether emotionally they are ever going to come round.

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah, there are a lot of organisations that are stuck, stuck in the mud kind of organisations. And I don’t think there’s a precise science for understanding whether those companies will move or not. If the company is willing to recognise that they are broken and that it is costing them a lot of money to stick the status quo, I think that that’s one way where you can get them to maybe know that they’re going to move. I think the other is that you have to think about the outcomes and the value, not just from an organisational or a company standpoint, but from a personal standpoint. So personally, does your stakeholder have the motivation to change? Are they feeling enough pain every day from what’s going on, and are they willing to put their job on the line, or perhaps their reputation on the line, by being the champion behind your solution? And what is the business value benefits that they’re going to ultimately get is important, but sometimes the personal benefits that they may be able to achieve by doing this is something that you want to amplify to understand whether emotionally they’re connected with the solution or not.

 

Why Change Only Happens When the Pain of Staying the Same is Greater Than the Pain of Change · [06:52] 

 

Will Barron:

I know it’s difficult because we’re talking very in broad terms here, but are there any qualifying questions we could ask? One that comes to mind could be as I’m jotting down notes from our conversation here Tom, could we ask a question along the lines of, “Do you believe that there could be a better solution?”, just to see if there’s a willingness to have someone put the solution in front of them and to move forward with it. Is there anything else we can ask question-wise?

 

“People move away from pain emotionally, much more than being attracted to gain.” – Tom Pisello · [07:58]

 

Tom Pisello:

You can, Will. One of the big things with emotion though, is that you can ask questions about the benefits that they may be able to get out of it on a personal basis, an organisational basis, or a business basis. Personal are the things that impact them every day: recognition, raises, respect from the organisation. Business is the cost savings, the productivity improvements, process improvements, risk avoidance, and then revenue growth. And then on an organisational basis, how does this impact the ultimate end user and the customer and improving the experience of all those that are involved. So those are the three dimensions that we measure on, but one of the important things is that people move away from pain emotionally, much more than being attracted to gain. So the only change I would make, Will, in your question is focus on, “Does the person you’re talking to, do they have a good perspective on the personal pain they’re experiencing today and is that extreme enough for them to move?”

 

Tom Pisello:

And then on the organisation side and the business side, similarly. Rather than say, “Oh, do you believe you’re going to be able to get these benefits out?” Say, “How bad is it? How bad do you think it is today? And what is that costing you perhaps by sticking where you’re at?” And so if you’re able to get them to clearly understand, and to be able to articulate back to you in a more amplified way, the pains that they’re experiencing, that’s when I find that you’ve made that emotional connection and that they’re ready and they’re primed. And you have to do that, not just for your champion, but all the other dozen or so other flippant stakeholders that we have in every deal now to make sure that everyone understands the pain that’s involved. And too quickly as sellers, I think we understand our solution and we understand maybe the benefits that it can deliver. And I think too often, we jump to that rather than really spending time to make sure that the customer and all of the stakeholders really understand how much the affliction is costing them and how painful it is and making sure everyone is aligned on that before we jump to the solution and the ultimate benefits that get delivered.

 

Why Most Customers Want Their Pains Fixed Rather Than Their Pleasures Enhanced · [09:33]

 

Will Barron:

It’s interesting you talk about pain versus pleasure. We’re actually going through, and this is marketing. The audience will appreciate this though. We’re going through a massive change of our marketing over at salesman.org and our training product and the things that we offer at the moment. Cause we did a poll, and I think it’s about three-and-a-half-thousand people replied to the poll, and now, polls are not ideal way to measure intent and different things, but the data is what it is. And we asked people essentially what they wanted from sales training. “What do you want to achieve by doing this?” I thought the answer would be, earn more money, more prestige, easier life. But the response was all negative. People were suffering, they talk about a lack of motivation, even the way that they framed up the answers.

 

Will Barron:

It wasn’t, “We want more motivation.” It was, “I don’t want to have this lack of motivation anymore. I want that pain to be removed.” What was another one? But that was the top one by a mile. Salespeople in our audience, for whatever reason, are massively unmotivated at the moment. Another one was complexity. People wanted things to be simpler, which is why we’re pushing everything towards this selling made simple branding that we’re doing now. And I’m really focusing on adding fundamentals and frameworks as opposed to more higher level conversations and topics like that. And it was really interesting to me that it was all, “How can I remove these negatives?”, as opposed to, “How can I earn bigger commissions?”, which was my assumption going into this. Does that surprise you?

 

“Connecting to a pain is so much easier than trying to convince someone of a gain.” – Tom Pisello · [11:06]

 

Tom Pisello:

It doesn’t surprise me. And I’ll talk psychologically about where we’re at with a couple of those things. But the good news for you, Will, is that you’re connecting to a pain, which is much easier than trying to convince someone of a ain. So you should be leveraging that if you’re able to solve that pain problem, because they’re recognising they do have this pain and they want the motivation. They’re suffering from a lack of motivation. You’re in a great spot. So anytime we can get our buyers or customers to really connect with them on the pain side, we know that we’re solving something that’s worth solving and worth it for the client to invest in. And that’s a good thing. Let’s talk a little bit about simplification and why that is coming up. And I think this goes a lot to the no decision drivers, the do nothing drivers, that Gartner found.

 

“40% of buying journeys right now are ending in no decision.” – Tom Pisello · [11:51]

 

Tom Pisello:

So first of all, when we look at the problem, 94% of buyers have participated in a cancelled buying cycle over these past two years. And with COVID, although you indicate that things like transformation and some of these projects, you can’t stick with status quo, we’re actually seeing more of an issue of change rather than less. And you wouldn’t think that because the motivation is there to change, but there’s a couple of factors, and 40% of buying journeys right now are ending in no decision. So what’s changed and what’s driving that? Well, there were three issues that Gartner came up with. One was, why are decisions ending with do nothing? Changes in priorities. So 49% indicated that that’s the number one issue. So what’s happening in organisation is, and what’s happening as a seller, you’re going in, and underneath the buyer, all of these things are changing, and things are in a lot of flux right now.

 

Tom Pisello:

So you start off selling towards one challenge that the buyer’s having. And before, you know it, two weeks in, a month in, their priorities have been shaken up because their management and executives are having to move so quickly. And so we’re facing this quicksand of changing priorities, and what you have to do with that, well, you really have to make sure you align with priorities and that you revisit those priorities. Like in subsequent calls, “Here’s my understanding of the challenges we’re addressing. Have any of these changed?” As new people come on, making sure you’re gathering and making sure that everyone involved is aligned, and then making sure you’re asking that question to the buyer that says, “Hey, I know these are your priorities.” As we go up the chain to the other decision makers, like, what is the top level strategic priority we’re tying to? Because if you’re not aligned to that top strategic priority, even if it’s a good business case for the solution and there’s good justification behind it, it can sometimes be, “Well, that’s not a priority for us now. We’re only focusing on the top three priorities.”

 

Tom Pisello:

The second priority was perceived business and or technical risks, 45% indicated that. Here’s where simplification and things like transparency and facilitation all come into play. Three absolutely critical factors right now. So what has happened to us during this crisis, Will, is that we’re under a lot of stress and strain. Personal life, working from home. If you’re a seller, one of the pieces of feedback I think you’re getting on lack of motivation is, I can’t be shaking hands with people. I can’t be having dinner with them. We’ve got a lot of extroverts in this marketplace, and they are being forced to be introverts and selling through a 13-inch monitor, which isn’t good for anyone. But there’s a lot of change and tumult, whether that be health related, environmental related, personal related, working from home related, job related.

 

“When you go in and you start presenting a solution, if it isn’t really simple, and if you are not incredibly trustworthy from the word go, and you’re not making it easy to understand, easy to buy, and completely transparent and trustworthy, you’re not going to get that sale.” Tom Pisello · [15:00]

 

Tom Pisello:

They are a tonne of stresses strains on all of our buyers, personal lives, and business lives. Amygdala overload, is what it’s called. And so when you go in and you start presenting a solution, if it isn’t really simple, and if you are not incredibly trustworthy from the word go, and you’re not making it easy to understand, easy to buy, and completely transparent and trustworthy, you’re not going to get that sale because the fight, flight, or freeze mechanism within the amygdala complex in the primitive brain is already on overload. It’s already overstimulated from everything that’s going on around each one of our buyers. And when we present a solution, if it is a stack of all of these different options, and it’s really hard, there’s a lot of options to assemble these things in a multiple, they’re going to go and shut down on you and basically go into possum mode.

 

Tom Pisello:

They might not run. They might not fight, but they’ll go into freeze, which is just as common a response as fight or flight, even though everyone calls it, fight or flight. So you have to keep it simple. As they’re going through the buying process, if you make it too complex and you don’t streamline the steps, and if you don’t proactively anticipate what they might run into, they can freeze through that process as well. And so you have to facilitate that and trust. There used to be a time where you would have to emotionally stoke buyers to change from status quo. Well, think about going in with the challenger-like approach today, which is a very popular approach. And I love the challenger guys. I’ve had a chance to interview many of the original creators and stakeholders, whether it be for my book or my podcast.

 

“Before, 50% of decision making might’ve been emotional, 25% was logic was, and 25% was trust. We’ve now shifted to where most of the buying decisions now, 50% is based on trust.” – Tony Pisello · [17:01]

 

Tom Pisello:

And the amazing thing with all of the challenger is, it works. When you go in and you want to shake up the status quo, you use these techniques of delivering insights and education. But when everyone is on Amygdala overload, you have to temper that. Whereas before 50% of decision making might’ve been emotional, and 25% of logic was, and 25% was trust, we’ve now shifted to where most of the buying decisions now, 50%, is based on trust. Why? Because there’s not a lot we can hang onto out there. When the world is changing underneath us, we want people we can trust, we want companies we can trust, and the key there is to be transparent. You can’t do everything. You can’t be everything for everybody. Embrace your flaws. Do what you say you’re going to do. Make sure you got plenty of proof points at every step to back up what it is that you’re saying, whether those be real-world examples, using their solution or your solution to solve their particular problem. So use case demos, pilot programmes, plenty of success stories, good references, all things like that to build up that trust because that’s now 50% of the buying decision. And if you’re not able to gain that trust, you could have shaken up the status quo and logically convinced them, but you’re not going to get them to make that decision.

 

Tom Pisello:

And then, Will, there’s one more, I know I’m going on for a while here.

 

Will Barron:

I’m sat here in silence, just writing notes to come at you with a thousand questions in a second because I don’t want to inter- I’ve done it now, but I didn’t want to interrupt your flow.

 

“The buyer doesn’t know how to justify your solution” – Tom Pisello · [19:01]

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah, no, no, no. So there is one third issue that I think is also important in this overcoming and addressing the no decision, and that’s budget issues and constraints, 44%. Shoot, that shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone, right? Even companies that are investing a lot in digital transformation and are spending money because their business models may have been disrupted, they’re still being spendthrift. Frugal-nomics is what I call it. And it is really in full effect right now. So how are you going to get that project approved by the COVID committee? How are you going to get through the CF no? Well, you’ve got to have financial justification, and you can’t leave that to chance. The buyer doesn’t know how to justify your solution in. You have to give them and work with them to co-create that business case to then take up to the executive. So align, simplify, facilitate, transparency, and trust, and justification are five ways to kind of address this no decision.

 

How the Best Salespeople Tackle “No Decision” Scenarios and Adress the Gap in Buyer Expectation · [19:25]

 

Will Barron:

Tom, have good salespeople been doing everything that you just described regardless for maybe not decades, but for years now? Is this nothing new? Are some listeners now going to listen to this and go, “I’m doing all that and everything’s going fine.”?

 

There’s over a 40% gap between what buyers expect you as a seller to deliver.” – Tom Pisello · [20:17]

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah. Well, if everything’s going fine, that’s good. Have they been doing it? I think to varying degrees. If you ask the buyers how well they’ve been doing it, I think you’ll see a decided gap. What we call the engagement gap. Sellers are doing some of these elements, but they haven’t evolved as quickly or elevated as quickly as buyers want them to. And there’s a lot of great research from the Rain Group, Dave Shaby and the team over there, that point to this, and that there’s over a 40% gap between what buyers expect you as a seller to deliver. Much of that research was across these exact dimensions. And where the sellers are perceived to be. So if we’re doing it, the majority of sellers are not being rewarded for it, one way or another. So what are some of the things that came up in that research?

 

Why Buyers Believe Salespeople are Not Listening to Them in The Virtual Selling Space · [20:41]

 

Tom Pisello:

Well, one of the big ones was listening, right? Buyers don’t think that we’re listening to them. Well, why is that? Well in a virtual meeting, what’s happening is, Will, as you’re talking to me or as I’m talking to you, your head is down, you’re taking notes, right? And so all of a sudden the buyer’s perceiving, because now we’re in a new medium, that you’re not listening to them. That’s about one of several of these factors that to me again are these fundamental selling principles like, of course you’ve got to align, of course you’ve got to simplify your solution, of course you’ve got to facilitate. Of course you have to listen, but because it’s a new medium, with virtual meetings and Zooms, because it is an environment where buyers have been spoiled by consumerization and they expect things to be ultra simple and ultra facilitated.

“If we just did the things we did two or three years ago in the exact same way we did them, we’re falling down on the declining value side and seller’s expectations are elevating that much more.” – Tom Pisello · [21:40]

Tom Pisello:

And because they’re under more pressure and there’s more stakeholders about, so there’s all of these factors that are adding up to be where if we just did the things we did two or three years ago in the exact same way we did them, we’re falling down on the declining value side and sellers’ expectations are elevating that much more. So I think we have to just work on having this growth mindset and across each of these dimensions really look and say, “Am I aligning the way that buyers expect me to align?” “Is my solution really as simple as I think it is?” Or, “Am I over-complicating it?”

 

Tom Pisello:

We implemented jumpstart services to make it be where there’s like, “Here, it’s all bundled. You get 50 users, it’s a quick pilot. You can bail out at any time, so there’s a money-back guarantee, and in completeness, you’ve got 30, 60, 90 days to try it out, and we do all the work for you. So there’s no risk.” It’s those kinds of things that make it a simple decision so that they don’t maybe have to go through that long process, or worry about which pieces they’re going to put together and then how much each piece is going to cost and all the risk involved in that.

 

Tom Pisello:

So you have to rethink each one of these really important elements to say, “Am I delivering it in a way where I’ve elevated it to buyers expectations?” For example, justification. If you’re just going to do a back of the napkin calculation with no proof points, no research, is that going to be enough? Or you’re going to do a deep dive in a spreadsheet that no one can understand. Is that the way to deliver it in this professional new-century selling model that we’re in?

 

“With this new consumerized buyer, there’s a whole set of new capabilities that are going to elevate those sellers that are looking to up their game and looking to grow and evolve.” – Tom Pisello · [26:36]

 

Tom Pisello:

And I think the answer to a lot of these, if you’re really introspective, is no. These are all blocking and tackling elements, but you’ve got to do them in a different, better way now that we’re Zooming in our sailing, now that we’re all-virtual, all-digital. With this new consumerized buyer, there’s a whole set of new capabilities that are going to elevate those sellers that hopefully are the ones that listened to you and I, that are looking to up their game and looking to grow and evolve.

 

“I think salespeople too often will take what marketing gives to them or take what the sales managers give to them and just regurgitate it and assume it works.” – Will Barron · [24:03]

 

Will Barron:

I’m going to ask you a question in a second of, do you have any books, resources, other than your own, that you’d recommend for salespeople who want to learn to simplify and to create the value propositions and things of this nature, because that’s a skill in its own right, and I think salespeople too often will take what marketing give to them, take what the sales managers give to them, and just regurgitate it and assume it works. But before we get to that, I’ve got one anecdote on this. So we did a new webinar the other day. I’m pretty open with the webinar statistics. Typically about 10% of people on a webinar, when there’s hundreds of people on, that will sign up to our training product at the end of it. It’s how I can sit there, answer questions, and essentially sell at scale.

 

Will Barron:

Now we changed our offer within the webinar, and it’s interesting, and this is why I bring it up, because we added trust to it. And I’ll explain what the offer is in a second, dead simple, the value proposition. We added trust to it. I’m just going through some of our notes here from this episode. Made it simpler, covered some budget issues. And we changed essentially the premise of the training that we offer to individuals to use the value proposition of, “Close more deals in the next 28 days, or we’ll give you your money back.” Just dead simple. No complexity. If you sign up, if you do the training and you run through it, and you’re not closing more deals, then money back, just instant. And the number of people who signed up in that webinar, it was insane. You could see in the chat, and I’m answering questions. We have our assistant in the studio with me, as we’re doing these webinars, throwing questions in my direction.

 

Will Barron:

People were genuinely more excited than our previous offer, which is the same product, a very similar offer, but we just word this slightly differently. The guarantee has always been there, we just put it front and centre. And there’s enterprise. We closed a couple of larger clients from that as well, multiple seat deals, as opposed to just individuals. And it was just from doing, as you’ve outlined here, Tom, of understanding that people’s priorities are back and forth and all over the place at the moment. So obviously our offer just hit the right priority at the right time. Understanding that there’s the business or technology risks, the whole premise of our product. I don’t want to talk about it too much. I don’t want to plug it on the show. But the whole premise of the product is dead simple. It just works. Everything’s a framework. Everything’s outlined for you. You can’t really go wrong with it. And the trust elements and the budget element of it as well.

 

Tom Lists Down Books that Simplify The Value Creation Process and Influence Consumer Psychology · [26:13] 

 

Will Barron:

So it just seemed to work perfectly. Now, this is a skill, simplifying things I’ve worked really, really hard on in the past 12 months. I’ve read tonnes of really crap books on it. I’m reading loads of content on learning design and how to teach at the moment to kind of separate myself from other trainers and content creators. I really want stuff to stick, as opposed to you’re just sharing five ways to cold call someone and crappy content like that. But I’ve not found a solution for myself, so I’m intrigued get it from yourself. Tom, are there any books, resources; is it just experience? How do we learn to simplify in business and create value propositions where we do a lot of what we’re describing here upfront so that the buyer can tell us whether we’re on the right tracks or not?

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah. I think there’s a couple of books that you can use as a reference. First of all, Evolve Selling, which is my book. I will send you a link that I’m happy for you to share with your listeners, a free ebook, a copy of the full book, but just e-access only. And would love for you to share that with folks. And that goes through the way to use neuroscience and Aristotle and storytelling to really connect with buyers on emotion, logic, and trust. What Aristotle used to call pathos, logos, and ethos, goes through some of the Socratic questioning we mentioned. So it’s a really good primer to kind of go the next step if you like the content we talked about on that. But two other really important books from other authors that I’d like to recommend. One deals completely with trust and the importance with trust nowaday, and a great interview as well.

 

Tom Pisello:

Todd Caponi with a book called The Transparency Sale. Absolutely love this book, took many elements away from it, even though I’m schooled at trust, and Aristotle, and the neuroscience behind it. He had some really great practical advice and techniques to apply to negotiating and other elements. “Embrace your flawsomeness,” is something that he talks about, and I definitely borrowed it for this. And then another one where I mentioned the research is a book that you wouldn’t think is that good, called Virtual Selling. And why I say you wouldn’t think it’s good is like, “Man, it’s opportunistic that these guys have a book called Virtual Selling, when virtual selling is all we’re doing, right?” However, the book is fantastic, and it’s by the Rain Group.

 

Tom Pisello:

Dave Shaby, a couple of other folks from the Rain Group came together and created the book called Virtual Selling. And it goes well beyond a simple guide of what you would think. But you really have to rethink some of these key capabilities that you’ve learned to implement, like listening skills. You have to really reimagine them in this world of virtual selling, and they go through the science behind it, as well as so many practical tips that I think would help, whether it be in the value of communication piece or the listening piece discovery, whatever it may be. I think that is another book that I highly recommend. Virtual Selling from Shaby and the rest of the group over at the Rain Group.

 

Tom Explains Why Salespeople Should Present Solutions Quickly and Guarantee Value During Virtual Selling · [29:15]

 

Will Barron:

Awesome stuff. We’ve had Todd on the show, and we’ve had the Rain Group on the show, so I’ll link to those episodes in the show notes of this episode. And I will link to the books in the show notes of this episode over at salesman.org as well. With that, Tom, so we were covering a lot of, it’s not common- It’s common sense, but it’s not commonly done, which is an issue, right? Let’s flip this on its head slightly. We’ll wrap up the show with this, Tom. What’s the one most counter-intuitive thing that salespeople should doing right now that their perhaps not doing? Is there anything that, clearly you’re up to date with all the research on this, is there anything that you think, “Oh, I’d have never thought of that,” but in hindsight makes total sense that salespeople should be doing that the perhaps not doing right now?

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah. Here’s the one thing that I think trip up a lot of folks nowadays. When customers get on these virtual calls, they’re wanting to see solutions very quickly because they’ve done a lot of research on their own. And so they’re calling up and they’re scheduling demos. They’re asking for demos. They don’t want long presentations. They don’t want a lot of questions. And so I think what’s tripping up a lot of salespeople is, they hear that and they go into a hundred percent demo mode. Now, if a customer is asking for something, you kind of have to deliver it. But you have to pivot your demos from a big show and tell of everything that you can do. And why does it have to be everything you do because you don’t know what they want, right? You haven’t done a lot of discovery cause they’re wanting a demo right away, and they’re not giving you that time.

 

Tom Pisello:

You almost have to change it to be interactive, a very interactive discovery. So you’re doing your discovery, and you’re doing a lot of your challenge analysis, and probing, and dyscratic questions you need to ask as part of show and tell. So it’s a little bit of give and take that you have to do nowadays that I think trip up a lot of sellers.

 

Tom Pisello:

The other thing I find is that buyers are coming in saying, “Here’s the drug that I want you to prescribe to me,” as if they went to a doctor and said that same thing. And a good doctor will say, “Okay, I can definitely write that script. And here’s what it does.” So if they spend a little bit of time acknowledging that what the buyer said and listening to them, that that’s what they want. But then they take a few steps back somewhere in that process, and they say, “Well, I really want to make sure this is right for you. Can we spend a little bit of time talking about your ailments? Do you think maybe we could run this health check on you?” So you have to get out of this mode of just delivering exactly what they want to know that there’s probably a misdiagnosis, a mis-framing, a better solution that might be in play, and certainly positioning that you need to do to be different, other than this show up and throw up kind of demo environment that I see a lot of sellers unfortunately fall into.

 

How Zoom Whiteboards Make Virtual Demos So Much Better · [32:10]

 

Will Barron:

Most demos, they suck, they’re terrible. I’m consulting with a SAAS organisation now. I won’t say who they are because they might not like me showing what’s going on behind the scenes, but the audience will know exactly who it is cause it’s one of our big partners. And one thing that I’m getting a couple of the sales teams to do right now and experiment with is on the Zoom demos, Zoom has a whiteboard built into it, at the beginning of the demo, ask the buyer or the potential customer, what they want to be shown. And frame it up as, “Hey, this is customised for you. I don’t want to waste your time. I want this to be totally seamless.” Then writing out on the whiteboard, whether they’re the using a pen or they’re just typing it on there, the two or three main things that the buyer wants to see from the demo itself.

 

Will Barron:

And then asking why a few times, “Why is this important to you? What’s this going to change?” Go through the ,usual sales questions and then framing it up and doing almost a micro close at that point of, “Hey, if I can show you these three or four things, do you think this is something that you would like to move forward with? Would it make sense to move forward with this?” And the demos went from, I don’t have real data on this, so I don’t want to- We’ve got real data, I don’t have the numbers in front of me. But the demo time has shrunk massively from 40-odd minute demos to some just four, five minute demos because buyers are coming in, as you’d said, that buyers are so much further down the buying cycle, they’ve done all this research.

 

Will Barron:

They probably watch tonnes of videos, especially on this product that I’m consulting on now, they’ve watched loads of YouTube content on it already, cause they’re killing it on YouTube. They know the jist, they’ve just got a few things. And when you start to point out those few small things to them and get them to assert themselves, “Hey, if you show me these things, does it make sense to move forward with this?”, they’re having incredible results just on the back of that, just from using a bit of strategy and a whiteboard, which we might have used 30 years ago in the conference room when we walked in and did these in person.

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah. We wouldn’t think of not using that whiteboard or using a some of the, “Here’s what we understand about you,” kind of agreement. But a lot of times I just see that being thrown away or for the demos you do that. And it’s just almost like perfunctory, and you go and still do the same old demos that you do before. But I found the better alignment you can have to what they’re trying to solve and the better kind of diagnostics that you can do while you’re doing that. Show them certainly what they want, but then make sure you’re thinking about companies like you, here’s the two other things that they like to see that we’ve got that you might not have been thinking about. So make sure you’re still differentiating yourself with that. I think that’s where it really wins because not only are you listening, doing exactly what the buyer wants, but then also adding value to it. And then ultimately, how do you tie all of that back to outcomes, so you can do the justification, another really important element, I think maybe to consider adding to that SAAS customer.

 

Tom Talks About his Book, Podcast, and the Best Way to Reach Him · [35:04]

 

Will Barron:

For sure. Perfect. Well with that, Tom, we’ll wrap up there, mate. With that, tell us about the book, where we can find it. And I’ll share the link that you’re going to share with us in the show notes. Tells us about the podcast and anything else you want to plug on the show mate.

 

Tom Pisello:

Yeah, it’s real easy. Evolved Selling, as in Darwin evolved. Evolvedselling.com is where you can find all of the writing and research. You can find tools, interactive tools, so you can assess where you’re at in your journey. You can also listen to the podcast and see some great blog and research articles and get a copy of the book Evolved Selling, which is also available on Amazon. And I will definitely share that link so that folks can download a free version for themselves.

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. I’ll just redirect it. We’ll do salesman.org/evolve, and then that’ll go to your link. That’ll make it easy. Cool. All right. With that, Tom, I want to thank you for your insights today. I really enjoyed the conversation. It’s good to have- and I’ll throw this at you because this is important for the audience as well. It’s good to have someone on who knows all this numbers, data, is up-to-date with the research without being prompted by me. It’s a real pleasure mate. So just to kind of give yourself a pat on the back for that, I really do appreciate it. The audience do, as well. And with that, Tom, I want to thank you again for joining us on the Salesman Podcast.

 

Tom Pisello:

Thank you, Will.

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