With the development of technology and an increased need for an online presence over the last few years – buyers have shifted their priorities in more ways than one.
But, what are those shifts exactly and what can sales leaders do to respond effectively?
On this episode of Evolved Sales Live, host Jonathan Fischer sits down with keynote speaker, sales trainer, TV/podcast host, and author, Victor Antonio, to discuss the laundry list of steps sales leaders can take right now to keep pace with their prospects in 2023.
Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more engaging sales insights and discussions! Happy watching!
Growing up in one of the roughest areas of Chicago didn't stop Victor from earning a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, an MBA, building a 20-year career as a top sales executive, and becoming President of Global Sales and Marketing for a $420M company.
As Vice President of International Sales in a Fortune 500, he was selected from over 500 sales managers to join the President's Advisory Council for excellence in sales and management.
He has shared the stage with top business speakers: Daymond John (Shark Tank), Rudy Giuliani, Paul Otellini (CEO of Intel), and John May (CEO of FedEx Kinkos). Plus, he's the author of 13 books on sales and motivation and recently launched the Sales Mastery Academy learning platform with 350+ videos. He recently published his new book, Sales Ex Machina: How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the World of Selling.
Check out the transcription of this webinar episode below!
Jonathan Fischer 0:04
Welcome back to the evolved sales leader recorded live right here on LinkedIn every Friday. I'm Jonathan Fisher.
Most marketing and sales professionals today will agree buyers have radically shifted in the way they make their purchases in just the last year or so. But what are those shifts? Exactly? And what can the Evolve sales leader do to respond effectively? We're here to talk with us about that timely issue today is Victor Antonio. Victor as a TV host, author of 14 books and a highly sought after trainer, consultant, and keynote speaker, he's shared the stage with top voices from Zig Ziglar to shark tanks. Daymond John. And before our conversation is done today, Victor will have shared with us the precise laundry list of steps you can take right now to keep pace with your prospects and crush it in 2023. Victor Antonio, welcome to the Evolve sales leader.
Victor Antonio 0:59
Thank you for having me on looking forward to this conversation. I am as well you're one of my favorites.
Jonathan Fischer 1:04
Before we get into the topic, would you share with us something really exciting? You said, everybody I bet. I don't I don't go back and through listen to library some I do. And some I don't. So that I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't have favorites, but I do so. But you're working on something really exciting. Would you share briefly with the listener what you got in the works at the moment?
Victor Antonio 1:25
Well, I just launched a project. Yeah, I'm a little scared of this project is I don't know where it's going to be accepted. But if you're an early adopter, you're gonna love this one. It's called sales world. So if you go to Sales world.nb Metaverse and the it's basically a sales conference in the metaverse so you're able to log on for free by the way, you get your own avatar and you cruise to this virtual space. And you can stop by and visit company booths. You can stop by and visit a speaker and watch them speak on a given topic. I got an entertainment room and Lounge Music Lounge, a beach retreat. I've really tried to create this, almost like mimicking a, again, a conference. But in the metaverse and so it's the first of its kind, super excited sales world dot env. Check it out free. extremely cool. I've actually been in the environment, you were kind enough to let me be in one of the beta be one of the beta testers. It's actually super cool. I didn't know what to expect going in. I'm not like a big VR game planning kind of guy. But it was very neat. And I'm looking forward to actually speaking at the event as well. So invite our audience to check that out. Well, we got a great topic on tap today, Victor, obviously, you know, there's a lot of conversation around the shift just in doing business in general. In this post COVID world is kind of a theme of our show here at the evil sales leader.
Jonathan Fischer 2:44
When it comes to the buyer, him or herself, you say there are some key shifts? What do you think is going on there? What what are some of the reasons for the changes? And what do you think are some of some of the top changes are in terms of the buyer?
Victor Antonio 2:59
I think when we look back at the history of selling, right, here's what we're gonna say that there was, there were two epochs, you know, there was pre internet and post internet, pre internet salesperson had all the information so therefore clients were willing or customers were willing to listen to them, right. So you can gain the knowledge and reduce what is known as that information. Asymmetry. Right. Today, fast forward. You have the internet, right. And now, every year, the internet's been around, buyers getting smarter. I'm not standing when people don't already know. In 2011, I believe the Challenger book came on 2000 December 2000. Love the Challenger book came out. And the Challenger book, if you haven't read the book, read the book by Matt Dixon and Brent Adams says a fantastic book. But 2011 They said, look, the buyers 50 57% into the buying cycle, and I remember the whole market had a conniption about that. I'm in Georgia, by the way they use conniption for throwing a fit, right? So they had a commission, right? Because I 57% Does that mean we don't have to sell anymore? No, that's not what they were saying. In fact, that book is interesting because it highlighted two things is 2011. When they looked at for the first fact is the bias 57% of the buying cycle, somewhat argued today, they're now 7080, maybe even 90% of the buying cycle. And we'll talk about why that makes all the difference in the world and how we sell to a to a more knowledgeable buyer. The other thing that was in that book that kind of just broke the mold was that when they looked at a a simple deal verse and a complex deal, they said, Well, who's what profile wins these deals, when you look at a good economy or a bad economy, a down economy, which profile wins more deals, and it was a challenge or profile that won the most deals. But the one that did the worse was the relationship salesperson. Now that the whole world of selling had a conniption on that one because you know, it's all about relationship selling, but he was the biggest shift. And we have to acknowledge this, that a relationship today is a result of a sale being done. Not gonna be used to actually get the sale. Let me be clear. I'm not saying be a jerk with your customer client. Relationships are important, but customers want to know, let me state the obvious that you can help
First, and if you have a product or service, you can help them when and they buy it, then you definitely want a relationship with you. And so I think those those, those two key parts right there, the customer smarter, and they don't want a relationship buyers want to know, can you help me?
Jonathan Fischer 5:20
Think you're running counter to an awful lot of conventional wisdom out there about relationship selling, you're fully aware. Where's there a disconnect? I mean, it sounds good. I mean, you can actually really make a pretty easy case to Hey, even in the world of all this technology, it seems like if anything more important to make a human connection, is there a difference between making a human connection and old school? It's not even old school. But this this idea of relationship selling? Would you differentiate?
Victor Antonio 5:46
The so let's let's parse this thing carefully, right? Before before, you know the pitchforks and torches come out for me, right. And that is this. I am not saying that relationships are not important, right. But again, think about all the options clients have today to buy a product or service. Here's the reality, you have to accept this reality, all products or services, with the rare exception of the 1% of the 1%. All products and services are almost the same. We've least reached the level of product or service parity. Now, here's what's interesting, even though customers are smarter, right? The salesperson has become that much more important. In fact, I would argue that the salesperson today is the ultimate differentiator, because the salesperson almost had an extra has to act like a Sherpa to guide clients through this minefield of choices, right? There's so many choices that clients are saying, You know what, I need help making a buying decision. Isn't that interesting? They have all the information they need. But now they have so much information that they don't know how to sift through the information. That's when the salesperson shows up and says, Let me help you, you know, clear the minefield of bad decisions wrong, wrong, wrong product services, and let me help you make the right choice. That's why I think salespeople as subject matter experts have become more valued than ever before.
Jonathan Fischer 7:06
That makes a lot of sense. And, you know, a lot of people in sales will use the term consultant is kind of the paper title, or the sound let seamless salesy or get some parity with with their get some peer to peer connection with their intended prospect. What you're what I'm hearing you say is that better be for real, like you if you're legit a consultant, you can use the word shopper, that's a good one as well, because that's more of a guide. Right. So So do you think most salespeople are aware of this? Or is there still a pretty big disconnect on that front?
Victor Antonio 7:34
I think something interesting has happened. I don't know how to evaluate this. So I'm put it out there that maybe you guys, you know, your folks can tell me, you know, whether it's right or wrong. We fragmented the sales role. Before you know, a salesperson back in the day, you had the account from beginning to end from birth to death, so to speak. You know, today we have SDRs ideas, right? BDRs then we have account executives, right? Field salespeople could be the same thing. What before we would nurture everything from point to point? My point is that we've lost contact with clients, to some extent to sit there was always a salesperson, I'm talking about b2b sales. By the way, let me be clear here. When you look at b2b complex sales, I would I was coming up, I had about 10 to 15, large companies that I would babysit, I would sit on top of them. And I knew everybody in the company, right? Anybody had anything to do with the decision I was there. And what you're seeing today is is a total shift a dependence on technology, I would say an over dependence on technology, a big technology stack to actually do the selling for you. That's the lazy part of what's happened is that everybody just wants to send an email, send a voicemail, send a video, instead of picking up the phone sometimes and making the call. I'm not saying oh, man, you got to go old school, you got to use phones, you're not saying that truly have a multi channel approach. But sometimes I think we've relied on technology to actually make the connection for us. I think that's one big mistake that I see in the market today. Number two, is that because of a high churn rate with a lot of salespeople, and I'm trying to remember the number and then maybe Jonathan, you can give me your feedback if this number sounds right. When they looked at SDRs, for example, right sales development reps, the turnover rate, about a year ago was like one point, I don't know, like four or five months. So in other words, one year in four months, they went to another job. Well, the thing is, if you're not around long enough, you're not really going to understand the actual product or service. And I think what you're also finding is because salespeople don't understand the product or service, sometimes the client understands the product better than the actual salesperson. And I think the third aspect if I can just kind of throw this in as a side one side note is that the amount of investing done in training or sales training has gone down. I think the amount of investment in product training has gone down so we're trying to shrink the speed the value, in other words, train them faster and throw them out there. And I think what happens sometimes that the salespeople are practicing on their clients, something you should never do
Jonathan Fischer 10:00
Oh, yeah, that that's that's a real that's a pet peeve of mine in a leader in business is when someone's practicing in a prospect practice with a colleague practice with with a superior practice with your manager don't practice on it on a prospect. So what I'm hearing from you is just just we're trying to shorten the curve as much as we can right transform shorten the cycle, leading to hard on technology. And meanwhile, we have salespeople that are not properly trained for the task. That's, that's quite a few things to work on there. What Why don't we kind of unpack some of those a little bit further. So when we're talking about letting technology do too much of the work, a lot of salespeople probably don't know how to pick up the phone, and be effective, because people don't pick up the phone very often anymore. And when they do pick up the phone, you know, they're not well, well, you know, well prepared for that conversation. Let's give a few tips to our listener. What What can we do to turn that around? Well,
Victor Antonio 10:52
on the prospecting side, there is no magic formula, right? So let's be honest about that. For me, I've depended a lot on what I call inbound marketing. Inbound Marketing is the gravitational pull to pull people towards me that are trying to do my content and my my services. So I do a lot of sales training, right. And so what I've done, if you go to my channel, I'm not trying to promote my channel. But if you go to my YouTube channel, just type in Victor Antonio, we have over 200,000 subscribers on my channel. I use that as the ultimate lead generator, because I believe if I create valuable content, short snippets video or podcast just like you, Jonathan, what happens is people says, Look, I kind of liked this guy, who is he? Right? And that leads them to my website. And that becomes my funnel, okay. And so by the time they pick up the phone, they've gone through my YouTube channel, they found my podcast, right? Because I'm putting content up, I'm putting out about maybe three to five different pieces of content every week, driving to my YouTube channel, drive from my podcast, gives you my website. And then the hope is that the content there are so compelling to fill a need that they have, which is to increase their sales, somebody like me to train their salespeople that they pick up the phone, if they call me and I know they came through my website, which is the question I often asked to me. This is a gold button question, which is, how much research have you done on me? How much research have you done on my company, and as soon as the victor, we saw your videos, we saw this, we saw that my close rate is above 95%. And I'm being conservative, because they know me. In other words, when we look at the buyer journey, what's interesting today, and I think the folks on here will understand what I'm saying is that we go up online to look for information. First, I think Google had a study years ago says the average consumer goes online, and looks at 10 sources of information before reaching out to a vendor or supplier. So if they've reached out 10 times, again, let's go back to the Challenger sale, it's at 57% of the buying cycle. I think serious The company says 80 90% into buying cycle, they've done all the research, which means if they pick up the phone to call me, they've pre qualified themselves, because I have so much content. Tim Riester, from corporate vision has a great phrase, as you're looking for content on about you and doing their research. He says their preferences begin to form he calls it preference formation. Their preferences are forming as they go along the buyer journey. And then they reach out and call me. Which means again, they've pre qualified themselves, they know what they want, or else why would they reach on call me? And so I'm a big proponent of inbound marketing, by the way.
Jonathan Fischer 13:22
Well, I love that. And I think others would say that rather than lead gen, we should be having a focus on demand gen when it comes to even our marketing departments, right, there's the shift of letting really compelling content. And what that means is a hold of the conversation, right, but having some really great compelling conversation that drives inbound interest. So if a shift is let's start our laundry list, and we promise so so one of the main main shifts is that the buyer is far more educated. Correct? What does that mean? It means that they already come into the conversation with multiple other options they've already looked into. Correct. However, they probably have information overload and the properly prepared sales Pro can enter into that as a Sherpa. Right? And make all the difference. are we tracking so far? We're trucking so far man challenge for you. If I have a solution that represent Yeah, how do I how do I position as a Sherpa to that person? What are some of the key things I need to do that? I'm not just still coming off as salesy not still just pushing my solution. What are some key ways that if I'm that guy, on point, and I want to be that Sherpa, but I'm representing XYZ tech, right? What can I do?
Victor Antonio 14:30
Alright, so let's get the basics out of the way, right, let's get we'll get the ABCs out of the way real quick. And let's go to the bigger letters, right. The ABCs is that it's an ideal client profile. They're a target client. I know who they are. I've done the research. I understand the product or services that they're currently using. In other words, I know their business. I know their industry. I know their market segment. big checkmark, I got all that. I'm in the room. I'm talking to them. Right. Is that fair to say? Jonathan? I'm right there. Are we are we tracking right on right checked all that Okay, so now I'm in the room talk. So then I have to ask myself, what do they want to hear from me? They've done the research they know as much as I do. So they're the only reason they let me in that door, is because they believe that there's a sliver of hope that maybe this guy offers something that we're not we haven't looked at yet. In other words, if I gave you here's a good way of looking at it. And I love this analogy. I came up with this analogy, just to explain what this information overload means. If I gave you a 500 piece puzzle, right? Right, and says, Build a puzzle. You'll, you'll grab the cover of the box, right? And you'll look at the picture and you start assembling your puzzle. Right? Right. Excellent. Now, now, what if I gave you that same puzzle? But I didn't give you the picture? No, where would you start?
Jonathan Fischer 15:47
Yeah, trying to find the first couple things that make any sense at all right? Try to find
Victor Antonio 15:50
the edges, try to get the boards, whatever it may be, right. But if I can come in, and actually assemble stuff for people, and said, Here's what you're trying to do, here's what you're trying to build. That's what they need. And so the first thing I would say is that what customers want today, let me just underline, let me put the big frame around this thing is they want somebody with confidence. Now, every time you hear that word confidence, it's like you go in there feeling all, you know, with much bravado, it's not what I'm talking about. Confidence can only be derived by understanding what you're talking about, you understand the product, you understand the history, industry, and you understand your customer. That's the trifecta right there. That's, that's the Trinity right there. So if I understand the product, I understand the market, I understand my customer. I'm speaking from a different space. And this you can't teach. Because if I if I know the product, I know the industry, I know your business. I already know before I walk in the door, what you need, to some extent, that it's just a matter of me walking with that confidence. And the first thing I want to do that the salespeople need to do to is how it's almost like a direct conversation, engagement style, which is not to be afraid of the customer. For some reason, we go in there thinking we're begging for business, salespeople have to shift their paradigm says no, no, we're value merchants. I've always loved that phrase. Because when you're a value merchant, what you're doing is you're bringing value to that company, you're saying, Look, I got something that's going to help you increase your revenue, reduce your costs, or expand your market share. That's it. Those are three things they're looking for any client, you talk to you, I want to increase revenue, reduce costs, or expand market share. Let me show you how our product can do that for you. And if I can lay that out for Jonathan with that confidence. I don't know one degree ahead of everybody else on that one.
Jonathan Fischer 17:33
Will you remind me of something my mentor used to say Mr. Chet Holmes, the late great Chet Holmes, the one with the most passion wins. And what does win mean? It's a win for everybody, right? If you're doing your job as a professional, you're hooking them up with a solution that solves real problems for them. So it's worth mentioning that again. So knowing jumping back to interrupt
Victor Antonio 17:51
you before, because what you just said is so important. From a mindset standpoint, what does it mean to win? Like, what does that mean? salespeople have to understand, we don't sell, we exchange value. I mean, you exchange value. But let's let's talk about what that means. Okay, first is I help your company, I help your company increased revenue, reduced costs, or expand market share, which means your company grows, you employ 100 people, which means those 100 people are still going to be employed. And each employee has about 2.5 family members. So guess what, I'm helping you send your kids to college, because I sold you the right product. Now, I win because I made a commission. Right, because I sold you great value. That's a win win. Yeah. That's real value exchange.
Jonathan Fischer 18:36
That's right. That's right. It's not a zero sum thinking that people associate with sales isn't really good sales is it's no different than cheating. It's baseball. That's not good baseball and cheat, right?
Victor Antonio 18:46
Every time I hear ABC always be closing, you know, let's grab and sell them something. Let's hustle and sell them something. You're missing the point that in a true value for value relationship, you the salesperson win, obviously, but they win. I always ask people this question in my in my workshops and seminars, but do you have to love what you sell to be successful? Do you have to love what you sell to be successful? The answer is no. You don't have to love what you sell. It's great if you do but you don't have to love what you sell. Here's what you should love. You should love when your product or service does for your client that you have to love. Because if I I can sell a cup. I mean, I go I have no emotional attachment to this cup. I don't even like cups for example. What if I love what that cup does for my client? Hmm, that makes me happy. So I always love what it does for your customer. That's selling it's really trying to help somebody get on their journey everybody's trying to make progress. I always love that phrase every customer is trying to make progress to try to get from here to here our job as salespeople need to provide something some vehicle to help them get to wherever to try to get to
Jonathan Fischer 19:52
love it. So by shift number one is that they just far more educated. They're also far more clutters that's kind of a you can kind of take those two shifts right there. uncluttered in their minds with information overload in many cases, what are some other shifts that we should be aware of as evil sales leaders?
Victor Antonio 20:07
There is a book out there. And I'm just telling you if you wake me up with a dead sleep right now, so what is the one book I would recommend for people to read is the jolt effect, J O LT the jolt effect by Matt Dixon. Okay, Matt Dixon did a study using machine learning, they analyzed over 2.5 million calls. So this is not opinion. It's not anecdotal. It's data. And one of the things they discovered is that, you know, there's there's a number out there says, on average, you'll win 40% of your deals, right? They did a cross sectional study, you'll win 40% of your deals, which means you'll lose 60% of your deals, right? Simple math, right. But then they analyze the 60% and said, What happened as 60%? Well, 20% of that 60 went to your competitor. But what happened to the other 40 Out of the 60? Well, they went to no decision. Right? They went to no decision. And in this book, they analyze the data on no decision. And he realized there's two types of no decisions. Now this is really insightful, if you understand it. The first doe decision is status quo. I don't want to change. That's the first one. That's the first no decision. In other words, the reason I didn't decide was because I don't want to change status quo. We've all heard that right? Yeah. The second part that kind of blew me away is that once you get past status quo, you've created a sense of urgency, they want to change. The second part of indecision is the fear of messing up buyers regret. So in other words, and what he found was interesting that most people are past status quo, they know they need to change. But they're afraid of making that choice. Now, it's a subtle difference here. It almost seems like we're splitting hairs here. But we're not. If I'm in status quo, I don't see the need to change. So in other words, I'm talking to my close minded No, is this person ready to change? And if they are, then I need to move to the second face of no decision was, that means they're afraid of making a buying decision. And our job as salespeople is to do two things, at the same time, is to increase their certainty and reduce their anxiety that's selling increased certainty reducing anxiety. That's how you get people over the fear of missing out or buyers regret.
Jonathan Fischer 22:15
Well, I love that and does that circle us back to the other need to know your market, because maybe your solution isn't the best. So if you come at it with integrity, you can make recommendations from place of that place of integrity. And that kind of settles the whole conversation on on a better footing. Maybe when you are the right thing could be a timing thing could be the didn't have the right features. Does that is that something that's worth bringing into the conversation at this point?
Victor Antonio 22:36
The The thing is, if you if you qualify the front end of your customers, in other words, if you're at the top of the funnel, and you're qualifying the right way, then you're probably talking to your target audience where your product isn't fit. Too often salespeople use that as a crutch. We don't have the perfect solution. Nobody has a perfect solution. Right? Nobody has a perfect solution. You're trying to find people who are best fit for that solution. So what I would say is that if you're getting customers where the product doesn't fit, obviously, if you know that you're not going to try to oversell something you don't have we're both on the same page on that, Jonathan. But hopefully, through some type of qualification process. I'm talking to the right customers all the time.
Jonathan Fischer 23:15
Yeah, I love your response is kind of I was hoping for, because it's kind of a team play, isn't it that we need to have really good coordination between marketing and sales or marketing and sales enablement, if you're lucky enough to have an enablement piece in your in your structure. And the selling piece because it is a team play, and MQLs from marketing aren't always truly qualified. Right. So I think that's another sidebar worth noting, Brian, maybe more. So given what you've been saying here. So there's another shift what what's another another shift that you see taking place? And how can we be bored?
Victor Antonio 23:43
One of the biggest ones, I think that people could do. And, by the way, I've been I've been sounding the alarm on this one for years now. I wrote a book called response block selling about seven or eight years ago, something like that. It's while blocking objections. And what the data shows is that when we're having conversations with our clients, when you raise the objection, that you know, it's in their head, you know, it's there, right? price is too high. Now's not a good time, whatever those objections are, right? If you raise the objection, you control the conversation. But if you raise the objection, you also establish a sense of trust with the client because they're going hmm, I'm glad he brought it up. I was thinking it. I'm glad he brought it up. Imagine if we sat down as a sales team, right, as a virtual sales team, we would come up with three, five, no more than seven objections customers typically have. So what the data out there is showing today is that new buyers really like what you anticipate the actual objection, and then you raise the objection, and then you know how to dispose of the objection. So if you say, hey, our prices are too high. We, in other words, the customer is thinking, you know, I heard they're about 20% More expensive than other companies or similar companies, right? If I know that, then my job is again, this is confidence. Your lead in the direction of the objection, which is to say, Mr. Customer, a lot of people, when they first beat us, one of the things they bring up is that we're more expensive than our contemporaries. And the answer is we are. But let me show you why we're more expensive and how in the long run, we're actually going to save you more money. Right there, I've raised the objection, build some credibility and trust because I brought it up. But then I also took control of the conversation. And now I'm selling with confidence, because I believe in my product, I know it could help you. I'm not worried about the 20% difference, because I know you'll get that money back in the long run. Of course, we're more expensive. That's selling without hesitation.
Jonathan Fischer 25:37
Yeah, I love it. And really, that the value is it's your job to make that clear to the buyer as a selling professional. And I love the way you set that up. Yeah. How about some additional ones? We're on a roll? What's another shift or two that we see happening?
Victor Antonio 25:50
Well, I think also the we kind of hit on this a little bit. And that is to be, you know, it's almost me to brag, but it's also to curate the flow of information. What I mean by that, and again, this is something I've been talking about for years, when a customer asked for more information, don't give it to him right away. In other words, because too often we're like Pavlovian dogs think, salivate give, right? They saying we say we give, and then all of a sudden, the sales cycle just goes on forever. And we know that time kills all deals, salespeople have to have a go back to the C word confidence to say to them, Mr. Customer, you've asked me for this, you've asked me for this. And you still seem to have some concerns or issues that's holding you back, that I don't think you're really you know, you find your word. And but you say something like, I can tell there's something holding you back? Can you tell me what that is? And then let me address that directly. For example, customers say, Well, can we can we just have another demo? Or can we get another reference? Or, you know, can we get whatever, another presentation? And you're like, Mr. Customer, we've gone through two presentations already, where we've covered these topics. Apparently, there's something that's holding you back. So blah, blah, blah, can you tell me what that is? And what I'm doing is saying to the customer, indirectly, I'm trying to help you make your decision. I'm not just gonna keep giving you what you want information. Tell me what's really worrying you. Let me go get it. And then let's have that conversation. And again, it takes a lot of bravado to do that. And to have that type of conversation.
Jonathan Fischer 27:19
Yeah, I love that. Well, good selling starts with really good people. And one of the best places you can get people as from the fantastic company that powers the vault sales leader, and that's overpass. Overpass is the leading platform where you can go and find pre vetted talent to man or woman as the case might be your phones. And that could be in the role of AE, it could be a full cycle sales professional, it could be somebody in customer support. Anywhere you need professionals that know how to work a phone, there are 1000s of fantastically qualified people with their hands raised on the overpass platform. If you are a hiring manager is free to create your account. So check them firstname.lastname@example.org So I'd like to throw a wrench in there. We're powered by Overpass, they've got some great people on there, Victor and they need great trainers. I think you've shown that you're one of the better ones, folks on our listeners gonna want to take this conversation further. You've given us one of the cool things they can go that sales world dot m v. That's
Victor Antonio 28:12
the way to do have overpass feature in sales world as well. Just love
Jonathan Fischer 28:16
it. I love it. Yeah, that's exciting. I mean, I would encourage anyone to check out your website, your YouTube channel, I'll throw that up here for people to see what are some other ways people can take the conversation further with you?
Victor Antonio 28:26
Just Victor antonio.com. I think if you type in on the web, I'm all over the internet. So if you just go to Victor antonio.com, you find information, I would suggest people. If you're not on YouTube, follow me on the podcast, sales influence podcast, got some great guests great content. And I'm easy to find Victor at Victor antonio.com Is my email. I actually answered my own email. So you want to reach out? Let me know.
Jonathan Fischer 28:47
Well, I mean, I wish you were you were easier to find Victor. Yeah, just kidding. You do have a lot of stuff going on. And it's easy to get to it. So love that. Well, we definitely the chat lines have already been blowing up. So we've got a lot of great things to to get into here. Let me dive in. And I know that some folks, let's see here. Yeah, one of them asked Now, where was my charger for my VR headset? Asks Tyler.
Victor Antonio 29:11
necessary by the way, it's good point because you only need a keyboard to actually maneuver through sales world.
Jonathan Fischer 29:15
Yeah, I love that you just your keyboard and the arrow keys are actually better than a mouse, you know? Or if you have a touchpad if you're on that device. But yeah, it's perfect works really well. So let me see here. So what about insight selling is is a question that came to us earlier from Ella. Great question that seems to be kind of a hybrid of relationship and challenger sales models. And by the way, we didn't do it earlier, I was probably remissed. Some of our listeners may not even be fully aware of what is challenger selling maybe could give us just a super quick definition of that by way of answering ilus question.
Victor Antonio 29:47
So I'll answer both good questions. So the Challenger sales book again came out in 2011. And so it's one of the I think it is the first book to ever kind of like categorize people, almost like a personality test. They figured out that people are A combination of five types of profiles, but you have one dominant profile. One is obviously the Challenger somebody who challenges and pushes the customer. When trying to remember these off my top my head, the hard worker, you only always Hustler, the problem solver, the lone wolf. You know, those people just do it on my way, I don't need to process that. And then the relationship salesperson, right. And so there's five personalities, we all have all five, but one of them is a dominant style. I think what's interesting is that what they found is the Challenger style, whether again, you kind of ease up or down simple, complex sale, the challenger wins, does the best. And the relationship does the worst. What they didn't cover in the book, and I want to I should highlight this, by the way they didn't cover because it wasn't part of their study. It wasn't because they let you know, they didn't they were negligent, it just wasn't part of the study. And that is what happens when you close the deal. I truly believe that the relationship and the problem solver really kick in more, and challenger kind of fades into the background. So almost looking like a Quintus on a Quinta sign is a five face beasts got five faces. And the most dominant face, you know, is the challenger. But once the sale is made, maybe they want to look at the relationship side or the problem solving side to make sure that you're taken care of, to answer the question on inside selling. The before the Challenger, the Challenger was, you know, the challenger popularized the word or the phrase inside selling. But that was actually done. I think it was a Harvard Business Review study that was done. And it was really about provoking your client, right kind of poking the bear right type of thing. And so I like to look at this is the way I look at it. Today. Everybody has information, let's call that the first level information, right? Internet made information available democratized it, then the next level of selling was insight selling, right? I define insight as information beyond the obvious like customer goes, Oh, I didn't know that. Never thought about it. And you do that. In other words, you highlighting unconsidered needs, right. But now everybody is offering insight. So as Brent Adamson says, you know, insight today is table stakes is what you need. The next level, I think, if I keep the eyes going information, insight, the next level would be impact. Here's how this is going to impact your business. Revenue costs, expand market share, right? And in that your job is to help them again, make sense of all this information. So what customers are looking for, you got to have information. Obviously, if you provide insight, you position yourself as an expert subject matter expert, but the highest level is showing them impacting and helping them make that buying decision. Hope that helps.
Jonathan Fischer 32:33
Yeah, I love it. I mean, Joshua offers the comment that sales is no longer picking up the phone and calling it's research, connecting content creation, copywriting, et cetera,
Victor Antonio 32:45
et cetera, is the accurate part, et cetera, right? It's like all that. Yes. Right. Yeah, he's Josh was right now,
Jonathan Fischer 32:50
you gotta be kind of multidisciplinary. He kind of kind of work on some would you agree that those are all skills that anyone can learn? And get competent enough at?
Victor Antonio 32:57
Every look, any of these skills, you can be good at? I hate when people say, Well, I don't sell Shut up. You do. Everybody sells anybody can sell. You just sell with your own style. I think that's what they're really saying. I can't sell like that. Well never ask you to sell like that. We all have our own personality. I think when your personality comes through, that's when you sell. I often tell people who are very I don't sell, I asked him about a passion that they have. And as soon as I hit that passion, they just can't stop talking about it. I'm like, there it is. There you go. You're selling your passion because you enjoy doing it. You enjoy talking about it.
Jonathan Fischer 33:30
Yeah. Well, and I saw this this comment from Tyler he mentioned is that the upside, the only upside of loving what you sell, is it helps you understand your product quicker. Then you go up to your gear five, he puts it as he puts it sooner. I can comment. I gotta give it to
Victor Antonio 33:47
Tyler Mac like that. Never looked at it that way. That's kind of like, that is a cool way of looking at it. Tyler, I accept that man. You're right. Because I think if you love your product, you're you're you're more into it. And your your speed to learning it actually increases because you don't see it as effort slash work to learn that. So thank you. I learned something from Tyler today. Thank you very much, man.
Jonathan Fischer 34:07
Hey, Tyler. Love it. So Ben Barnes shares this. He says it's a great question and overcoming the fear objection. Where does empathy play into that in the way you see it, Victor?
Victor Antonio 34:20
Empathy is, you know, I saw I use this analogy when I do my keynotes. And I talked about there's a man. Imagine that you you're on the deck of a boat. Alright, you're sipping your favorite beverage. You're watching the sunset on this beautiful boat as the crew and during the cruise right? As sunsetting you're watching this beautiful, you're in the moment, right? All of a sudden, this guy comes by bumps into you and just kind of any bumps right off. You just bounces right off. He keeps walking and you see him wobbling all the way to the edge. He grabs the banister, and you're watching this and he bends over the baster and he begins to puke and you say Dang, that was hurt, right? That's sympathy. I said now if you put your drink down, golden Next to him stand next to him, Ben, grab the bathroom, put the finger in your mouth and make yourself throw up. That's empathy. Right? So when you can feel your customers pain, I know it's not a great visual, but you know what I mean? When you can puke with your customers always when you can feel what they're going through. And I think when you look at empathy, empathy is really understanding what are they really struggling with? Right, go again, to try and do three things and b2b increase revenue, reduce costs, expand market share, let's not complicate this. And when you can understand what they're struggling with, again, every customer is always on a journey, trying to make progress. We're here we're trying to get here. How do we get there? Our job as salespeople is to bridge that gap, but first by understanding where they're at. So empathy is huge. But then you got to pivot. Because I think the I came up with a sales form. And I'll be brief, Jonathan, I said, you begin with empathy. I got you understand you, then I moved to education. Here's what you haven't thought about insight, right information beyond the obvious. Here's the impact that's going to have on your next level. And then the third part is I empower you to make a decision by helping you say, look, based on what you've told me, these are the options available. Let's talk through them. Empathy, education, empower them to make a decision.
Jonathan Fischer 36:11
I mean, people have a hard time making decisions, what a great service it is, when someone comes alongside and can do what you just said. This next question from Bill Harper is a good follow on to that he he's stating that if you show them you understand their circumstances, meaning the buyer, the product is secondary. Would you agree? And how would you riff off of that?
Victor Antonio 36:30
I would agree with it with a and with with with a qualifier with an estrus. Obviously, you have to understand the customer. But if you don't have the right product, and this conversation is moot, right. And so if I understand you, great if I have the product to help you with what I have understood, then fantastic. So the product is secondary, if I understand you're correct, but I gotta have the right product. That's the only kind of slight, I'm not disagreeing with Bill. I'm just saying that's the only curb. I would put a topspin I would put on that one.
Jonathan Fischer 36:58
Yeah, in terms of focus, I suppose is But Bill, that's how it take bill to meet his question that,
Victor Antonio 37:04
should you lead with it now, if he's saying maybe this is what he means? Should I lead with understanding? Or should I lead with my product? I was here. Yeah. Lead with understanding? Absolutely. Right. Absolutely. Right.
Jonathan Fischer 37:15
Yeah, well, and understanding may be defined the way you were alluding earlier, where you are ahead of the game, when it comes to any objections, they're gonna have any fears they're likely to experience, you know about them, you already speaking to them only deepening that credibility and connection.
Victor Antonio 37:30
And by the way, customers, like, you know, this is gonna sound so cliche, but I'm going for it is that listening is becoming one of those skills that we just have to master and it's so hard to do. You know, really empathy requires listening. That's a prerequisite. And if we don't listen to our customers, and but the prerequisite of listening, nobody ever, nobody ever talks about this, the prerequisite to listening. First is understanding what understanding I got listen to you, right. But the prerequisite to listening is asking great questions, like quality questions to really get the information I'm trying to get to. And too often we're focused on well, you just got to listen to your customers. No, you don't you got to ask them great questions first, and then listen for the answer. So that's the prerequisite. We need to have quality questions, because that determines the quality answers.
Jonathan Fischer 38:17
Yeah, I love it. Here's an interesting story that goes back over to another department within the company, either marketing or sales enablement, or however you're structured. This is from Bill. It's a long worded question. I'm going to shorten what I think he's saying here. Businesses are spending less and less time working on their brand story. I want to riff off of what Bill is bringing up here he goes through the rigmarole of things that you mentioned earlier, where, you know, the differentiation isn't there. And salespeople are defaulting to features and benefits very often in their selling, which to, you know, add that to the declining sales experience, shorter job duration, it's a recipe for mediocre performance. I agree. I think we all agree on that. But I want to I want to turn into a question for you, Victor. What role does the branding story play in everything we've been talking about today?
Victor Antonio 39:03
I was I just did an interview with only letter Gore email@example.com. He was the chief marketing officer when I interviewed him, he just became the chief evangelist. And I was talking about if you don't know who gong.io is, go check out their website. So gong.io is revenue intelligence platform means they record calls and they using AI to pull insights from the calls to tell you what the best of the best new right. And I was, I was talking about how five years ago I said, I came across your website, their branding, and they use purple and pink and a spotted dog right. And it was the ugliest thing I've ever seen, like, ugly this thing was a monstrosity. I even told us this. It was repulsive. I think I told him
Jonathan Fischer 39:44
and other than that you liked it.
Victor Antonio 39:46
Yeah. As you go through Yeah. And he goes, Why? Why? He said, Why did you you know like I said, Why did you do that? He goes well, we wanted to be different we want it's almost like a pattern interrupt. Right? We want to stand out from the basic colors everybody was using But he said the real branding came from the fact that they started showing sharing insights going back to that data that we're finding from these, these conversations and generating these reports. And gone became known as the you know, the website you go to, if you want to find out what the latest data is saying, about selling. And so that's what made their brand. In other words, it's what people thought they were, it isn't about the color, or the logo and all that stuff. It was about that what made them was, Oh, these guys are known for blank and fill in the blank. And they were known as, you know, extracting just valuable insight from data that was going on real time. I don't know if I've answered the question. But that's how I look at branding. If you want to stand out, when I came up with the sales influence, podcast, sales influence podcast, it's okay, there's a brand for you. But my whole catch line is finding the why in how people buy, which means I look at the the psychology or you know, the neural processing of how people make buying decision. That's what I became known for, oh, this guy always doesn't look at how you sell, he looks at how people buy. And I can bang in on that drum. That was my battle flag. And I think when companies can define why they're different like that, they stand a better chance in the market.
Jonathan Fischer 41:18
Yeah, the differentiation piece. I mean, it's not something a given sales Pro can do on him or her on his or her own his or her own effort. They're going to need some help from the team.
Victor Antonio 41:27
I gotta ask you, Jonathan, yeah, maybe we can have a little we're gonna have a micro conversation. You're sure salespeople are now extensions of the brand? Yeah. And I think, you know, the more salespeople can contribute to the extension to the brand, in other words, by putting out content, great content, from their perspective, they're actually helping themselves and the company.
Jonathan Fischer 41:45
Yeah. Well, I can almost envision, and I'm probably some people are already doing this right now. But I could almost envision having somebody in enablement, or marketing, or maybe just a very gifted sales leader, grabbing their team, and almost doing their content strategy as a team, and even have it helping them personalize it like this. You know, Joe has this personality, and Susan has this personality and maybe helping them learn some tips and tricks. Like, would that make some sense to maybe let's take this on, if he's, if we're making the premise that these are skills that can be learned? Why not bring that on board? How do you feel about that?
Victor Antonio 42:18
You triggered me and I gotta say, it's because I, you know, like, it's rare that go, oh, you know, like, Tyler gave me that little piece of insight earlier. And it's rare that those happen to me. And I got this piece of insight. And I'm just trying to I really, I honestly can't remember who said this, but I was like, what? That's different. And it was about testimonials. Right? That we as companies, we develop these testimonials, right? He says the problem with these testimonials, is that there extra oh, by the way, was Daniel Pink. Yeah, it was on the diary of the CD or podcast, he said this right? He said, the testimonials are always outward facing. And I go, okay, which is what testimonials should be like, right? Like case studies and stuff like that. He said, But if you really want to motivate your team, your salespeople and get them all fired up about your product, why don't you internalize In other words, turn those testimonials inward into your company, and then get these customer success stories? And then you tell these stories to your salespeople, or your frontline people, your customer success people? Yes. Look, this is what they just told us. Oh, my God, this is where you contributed. Right. And I just thought that was fascinating that you took the testimonial and you turn it inward into a company? Yeah, I just thought that was badass.
Jonathan Fischer 43:32
That really is good stuff. I love it. Let's let's land on this question from Joshua. Do you think a salespersons LinkedIn page should be branded around the company that they work for?
Victor Antonio 43:42
Yes. That's a short answer. Of course. Yeah, of course. I mean, what are we trying to do? I mean, either you're on the team or you're not on the team. Right? I hear a lot of people say why I wanted to stand apart from my company. Now, here's the only if I can put an asterisk on this one, the only asterisk I would give it if the company is one of those companies that says no, we don't want you creating brand on your content on your own. Yeah, you know, we want you to kind of follow our marketing lead. It's that's a conundrum right? Because on one hand, you have to wait for marketing to give you the content so you can put it out there but you know that your your people want something else. Yeah, that's the conflict and that's that's always the the glitch when you work for somebody, right for a company that they have the last say, on what you put out. So that's a very difficult to answer. When you look at it that way.
Jonathan Fischer 44:32
It takes a deft hand and we not everyone is going to be really great at that. So yeah, obviously that's, that's probably as much art as science, right? So, but But it's definitely important to be loud and proud with who you're working with. And put that front and center. It's good way of putting it. Speak loud and proud. I'm really loud and proud that you were a great, fantastic guest on our show today. You've just been chock full of value. Thank you so much.
Victor Antonio 44:56
Thank you for having me again, Jonathan. Always a pleasure talking to you. I love this podcast man.
Jonathan Fischer 45:00
Love Your love everything that you've got going on. And if I have anything to say, this won't be our last conversation on the podcast here today. And I want to thank all of our listeners as always, every week you make it possible for us to continue to grow and expand. You've made it a great success. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you continue to bring your friends and show up on Fridays for these Live episodes. That's gonna do for today. Go make it a fantastic weekend. We'll see you