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Weekend Favs March 9th

Weekend Favs March 9th written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week. I don’t go into depth about the finds, but I encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an […]

How to Achieve Remarkable Sales Results Every Time written by Tosin Jerugba read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Ian Altman, renowned sales expert and author of “Same Side Selling.”

Ian grew his prior businesses from zero to over one billion dollars in value. He has since built a reputation for helping others build a culture of growth achieving remarkable results.

For 5 years in a row, he has been recognized as one of the world’s top 30 Experts on Sales, and his Same Side Selling Academy is repeatedly rated one of the top 5 Sales Development Programs globally. Ian hosts the popular Same Side Selling Podcast and you can read hundreds of his articles in Forbes and Inc. In this episode, Ian shares invaluable insights into the essential components of a winning sales process.

Key Takeaways

With an emphasis on consistency, alignment between sales and marketing, and the wise utilization of technology, Ian Altman underscores the importance of a well-defined sales process. By implementing a common process and language, businesses can navigate meetings effectively, overcome common obstacles, and shift the focus from price to value. Collaboration between sales and marketing teams ensure a cohesive approach that attracts and engages ideal clients, while leveraging technology enhances efficiency without sacrificing the personal touch. With these strategies in place, businesses can achieve remarkable sales results consistently, driving growth and success in today’s competitive market.

Questions I ask Ian Altman:

[01:27] What is the sales process?

[03:00] How important is a repeatable sales process?

[03:45] What are the core components of a repeatable sales process?

[05:37] As a Sales Guy, what do you think about Marketing?

[06:50] How important is the role of marketing in getting a prospect to pick up that first sales call?

[08:03] How do you effectively combine the culture of a sales process to the ultimate goal of closing a sale?

[09:59] How do you appropriately employ the use of technology in a sales process?

[15:13] How critical is ongoing training to better master the sales process?

[16:54] How do you make roleplaying effective?

[19:24] What are the common pitfalls beginners usually fall into when creating a sales process?

[21:37] Where can people learn more from you?

More About Ian Altman:


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Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

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John (00:08): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Ian Altman. Ian grew his prior business businesses from zero to over 1 billion in value. He has since built a reputation for helping others build a culture of growth, achieving remarkable results. For six years in a row now, he has been recognized as one of the world’s top 30 experts on sales. And his same side selling academy is repeatedly rated one of the top sales development programs globally. He’s also the author of a book named Same Side Selling Podcast, is called Same Side Selling. So Ian, welcome back to the show.

Ian (00:51): Thanks so much, John. It’s almost like that duct tape marketing theme where everything’s named the same. I don’t know how we come up with these things. I just attribute it to a lack of creativity.

John (01:00): Well, I’d counter that by saying that the market responded well to same side selling, and probably you then said, well, why don’t I call everything that it’s kind of branding 1 0 1, right?

Ian (01:14): There could be some truth to that, but it could just be that I was too lazy. But I’d like to think it’s better branding, but I’m just not a great branding and marketing guy like you. So for me, just I call it just blind luck.

John (01:25): Alright, so we’re going to talk about sales process, not just closing or whatever, one aspect of it, but the entire process. So maybe let’s start with defining what that is, what the parts of it are, because I think that’s a term that a lot of people will mention, but what is it?

Ian (01:45): And it can be different for different types of organizations. So depending upon what people are selling, you can define it differently. But fundamentally what it comes down to is how do we earn the attention of our ideal clients? How do we differentiate and stand out from the competition? Then how do you navigate meetings to help people make a decision faster than they might otherwise? And how do you shift the focus from price to value and results? And it sounds simple and it can be simple. It’s just not easy. And the reality is that I think where many organizations fall down, many individuals fall down is in every other aspect of their business. They have a defined process. Here are the steps that we follow. Here’s the language we use, and in sales, we just make it up. And that’s one of the biggest gaps. And so over time, we’ve discovered different steps that no matter what methodology you’re using, doesn’t have to be same side selling. If you follow these core components, you can be pretty darn successful.

John (02:45): So I know a lot of what you preach, you’ve kind of shadowed it a little, foreshadowed it a little bit. There is a repeatable process, but sort of the myth of the, oh, I’m just like a natural born salesperson. Probably butts with that a little bit, right? So how important is a repeatable process that says step one is this, then we ask for this, then we do this.

Ian (03:08): Well, so here’s the thing. When you have different people on a team and some follow a process and some don’t, what we find that the people who outperform others tend to be the ones who follow a consistent process. And if you’re managing a team of multiple people and you don’t have a consistent process, you don’t have a consistent language and you get different results, then you’re left guessing. Is it the individuals? Is it the process they’re following? Is it their approach? But if I have the same process for everybody, that becomes less of a mystery

John (03:40): How important we’ve talked about, I mean, I think we’ve high level said the importance of a sales process, but are there specific components that go into creating such a process and refining and evolving? I mean, is there a follow-up component? I know I’m going to cheat a little bit because every business is a little different, but are there kind of core components?

Ian (04:01): Yes. In fact, there are, and there are three components, and we can walk through ’em one by one. But the three components that I have found, let’s do and keep in mind in our same side selling academy, these were not necessarily things that we started with. And then we figured out, well, why are some people having success? Some aren’t. And then we added stuff and all of a sudden it’s like, oh, when we combine all these together, this works really well. It wasn’t like, oh, I knew all these things were going to work, and we did that in version one. No, it was over time we realized, oh, here’s what we’ve been messing up. Now that we’ve figured it out, I just want to share it with others. So the three components come down to the first is a common process, not only a common process and language, but how do we teach that common process and language internally and reinforce it?

(04:47): Then it’s what we call a playbook for obstacles. So many businesses will have a small number, maybe a dozen of the most common obstacles they come up with, and their team kind of invents the answer each time it comes up, even though it comes up almost every single day, which is silly. And the last part that most organizations overlook is that they don’t place enough emphasis on weekly role play or practicing coaching feedback and things like that. And those three components, if we can step through ’em piece by piece, are what I find are the difference between the top performers and those who are doing just Okay.

John (05:27): I do want to come back to that, but I’m going to throw another topic out. I’m a marketing guy, so I get the salespeople greatly. Those idiots can’t close. Well, that’s probably true. Now you are a sales guy. What do you think about marketing? That’s

Ian (05:40): Probably true. So the reality is that, and you and I have talked about this and we’ve got many friends who the big gap for many organizations is this lack of alignment between sales and marketing. So oftentimes the sales organization looks as marketing as top of funnel creating, and then it’s off to sales. And the reality is, throughout the sales process, there are questions that come up. There are issues that come up that marketing could provide content that will support the sales process. And too often there’s this wall between the two. They don’t talk to each other enough, and then you don’t get that multiplier effect for the organizations where sales and marketing has joined at the hip, that’s when you get the multiplier effect because you say, okay, the leads you’ve been generating, some of them are great. Some of them what we think we can refine the message to attract the ideal customers. Great. Which it’s all marketing wants. Marketing doesn’t want to create bad leads, they want to create great leads, but you have to work collaboratively to make that happen.

John (06:39): Yeah. Yeah. So I think increasingly today, and you correct me if I’m wrong on this, I mean a lot of trust has to be built before I even want a sales call. I mean, because there’s lots of ways for me to avoid sales calls. And so how much of the role then, does marketing really play in establishing the trust high enough to where I even want to pick up the phone or have you set an appointment with you?

Ian (07:03): Well, a lot of it comes back to this notion of disarming. So it’s the notion of if someone comes to your website and feels like you’re just telling the person who landed there, look, we’re the greatest thing in the world. You just don’t know it yet. They’re like, Hey, yeah, we’ve heard this before. Say from a marketing standpoint, here’s who’s a great fit not, and if you think you might be in this category, it’s a great fit. Here’s some questions we ask to make sure that we can deliver the results for you. And if you’d rather talk to one of our team members who can help figure that out, that’s great. The client ultimately has to feel as though, and you can’t fake this, that their outcome is more important than the sale. And once that happens, the guard comes down and people say, oh, you know what? These guys actually, they want to ask questions to make sure they can deliver what we’re asking for. They’re not just looking to pitch stuff at us. They want to see if we’re a good fit. Okay, now I can have a conversation.

John (08:00): That’s a brilliant point because I was going to ask you about the idea of culture. I mean, how much of what a prospect experiences from a brand, obviously some of it’s the website, but how much of it then is the culture of the sales process as well? Because there are definitely brands that want to be very consultative, very educational, not pushy at all. I mean, so how do you marry that?

Ian (08:24): Well, I think nowadays, if you’re not focused on the client’s outcomes, you’re missing the boat because it used to be 30 years ago, you could drop the ball and the person who you disappointed might tell their closest friends today, they’ll tell a million people they’ve never even met before. So we need to make sure that the good news for the marketing people is that when there’s a lack of alignment between sales and marketing and they get a different message from marketing, they do from sales, they assume one of them is lying. Usually they assume it’s the salesperson. So the marketing people are safe. But ultimately, if you’re trying to get a better outcome, the idea is if every message from beginning to end says, I’m more concerned with your outcome than I am the sale, then your customer can relax and say, okay, they’re asking me questions about success that the other vendors never even brought up, so I’m better off working with them than somebody else.

(09:16): But part of it is how do you get people to ask those types of questions? And when you talk about the culture, the top performing organizations that we see through our academy and through the clients I work with comes down to businesses where if you talk to them, their culture says nothing is more important than the client’s outcome. And if we don’t think we can deliver it, we’re not taking their business. And these are companies that went from 5 million to 50, from 17 to a hundred, from a hundred million to 700 million. I mean, we have example after example of businesses that have grown dramatically following these three core steps and focusing entirely on the client’s result is more important than us making the sale.

John (09:57): I love it. Alright. Used to be sales technology was a mobile phone. Now of course, so we’ve got AI bots and we’ve got all kinds of automation and all kinds of follow up. What’s the balance between using that for good and using it for not so good?

Ian (10:14): Well, generally I think what we do is we see some level of automation like ai, and then in most businesses, we figure out a way to mess it up and make it worse. And I’m a big fan of taking the IS s approach, which is we want to do things that are incrementally less stupid than they were last time. And so if you can take an incremental approach, and for example, we use AI tools for audio transcription and summaries for phone calls and video calls, and that way the system can draft a summary. Now if you just copy and paste it and don’t review it, shame on you. But if you take something that used to take you 40 minutes to summarize, and now you can edit it down in five minutes and send it over, that’s great. I think that the mistake that people make is rather than using this technology to assist, they try to use the technology to replace and then they’re all of a sudden not human. As soon as the client figures that out, think about it. We’ve all used a chat bot that we’re like, man, I can’t tell if this is a chat bot or a human. And then it reaches a point where you can tell it’s not a human. And now you go from being, this is cool, this sucks. And so you got to figure out where you intercept it and hand it off to a human.

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Ian (13:03): And it’s that I remember overuse. It’s that overuse. It’s that overuse of automation that becomes a problem where people say, oh, well, okay, they said this, so I’m going to route ’em to this situation. I had a situation with a flight recently where the airline lost the luggage, and it wasn’t that they lost the luggage, it was that I had better technology than they did. So I had an RFID tag, so I knew where my bag was. They didn’t, and I’m talking to the gate agent and I said, look, my bag’s over there, but I’m over here, which means my bag isn’t making on this flight, and we have an hour and a half and you guys get on, we’re fine. The AI bot at the airline says, oh, in a baggage issue, it’s like, look, I don’t care that baggage didn’t get delivered. I care the people in the airport didn’t do anything and had 90 minutes to fix it, but an AI bot goes, no, he mentioned baggage. So we route ’em to this box, and it’s like, no, that’s not what you want to do. Yeah,

John (13:56): But there are definitely places where, for example, if I want to schedule an appointment with somebody, just being able to click on a link and schedule it without interaction is a better experience. It removes the friction of me having to go back and forth. So definitely we’re, I know you’re not anti-technology.

Ian (14:13): Not at all.

John (14:13): It’s just the poor use of it.

Ian (14:16): And keep in mind when John, even that example of the calendaring, if I just send you a link and say, Hey, pick this thing. Your perception may might be, this guy’s lazy. If I send you a link and say, Hey, John, let me know what’s convenient for you. In fact, if it makes life easier for you, here’s a link that has my availability. You can pick from that, and if nothing shows up at a time that’s convenient for you, just fire us a note and we’ll find a time that works for both of us. Nine times out of 10, the client’s going to just click on the link, and now they don’t feel like it was lazy. It’s like, Hey, I’m just trying to minimize back and forth for you. Oh, and me, but for you. So how do we do that? So part of it’s how do we couch that in a way that doesn’t sound like we’re lazy,

John (14:59): Right? So I remember when I first started my career out of college and it was essentially a sales position, and so they sent me to a two day workshop how to be a better sales person, and then they never mentioned it again. So how critical is the ongoing training?

Ian (15:18): Ongoing is the key. It’s like anything else in life. If you took a golf lesson, never practiced that swing and never got reinforcement, you might be worse rather than being better. And it’s like in anything else, but in sales, people think that’s okay. So it gets back to those three components, which is if I’ve got a consistent language and I reinforce it with my team, if I say, here are the most common dozen things that come up, how do we overcome those? And now they’ve got a formula for how to deal with those. And then every week we have a formula for how we coach people. That’s when we get those high performing teams. And the funny part is that I’ve had clients reach out to other people like, wow, these guys, they grew from the prior three years. They’ve gone from 14 to 17 million after implementing this.

(16:00): They went from 17 to 109. How they do it, they reach out to the client and the client says, yeah, so we practice for an hour a week. And he goes, well, so in a year, how many times do you do it? And my client says, well, my calendar is 52 weeks, how about yours? It’s like we do it every single week. It’s not like, well, we say every week, but sometimes we don’t all in. This is something that we just do and we create a way to make it fun. I remember I had the CEO of the same company. He says, yeah, I mean, we’re growing like crazy, but people are doing the same sign and improv role play thing. And I don’t know, it’s like when I go over there, they’re just all laughing and having a good time. I’m like, okay, so that’s good. They’re actually enjoying it and they’re crushing your numbers, so they don’t have to be miserable. They can be having a good time, which is why they’re happy to do it every week.

John (16:50): So set that up a little bit. Give me a little explanation about, because everybody talks about role playing and we’ve all probably experienced really painful role playing. So how do you make that effective? And one of the things you said, consistency is probably one of the keys, but how do you make that effective when it is practiced, but it’s not in a real live situation?

Ian (17:11): Well, so I’ll break it down into first how we set it up, how you create variability, and then how you give feedback, because those are the three things you need to have. So first, in terms of the setup, we have three characters. We have a salesperson, we have a customer, and we have an observer. The observer is purely observing and taking notes because they’re not in the moment. So they actually learn more than anyone else in each round of role play.

John (17:36): Their wheels aren’t turning the whole time.

Ian (17:39): And so what we do is we say, okay, first you need to have an objective. So you need to say, here’s the scenario, here’s the background of this meeting, et cetera, because you can’t just jump in the middle of it. And usually it’s for the salesperson, okay, who’s this customer? What’s the background? Now what we do is we then create something we call in same side improv. We call ’em secret cards. We do it all digitally now, but the secret cards are a series of dozens of different scenarios. So it’ll say, for example, for the customer, they pick one or more of these cards and it might say, you’re afraid to lose control or headcount, or you’ve had a bad experience with a prior vendor, or you don’t trust, or your existing vendor, or you are using this meeting to leverage your favorite preferred vendor, or there’s executive pressure to solve it.

(18:23): Those sorts of things that often come up that people don’t know about. And then the person playing the customer plays that role. And so we’re trying to advance the meeting to achieve certain objectives. And that’s all very well defined at the end. What I tell people is the first person to get feedback is the salesperson and the salesperson’s supposed to say, what did you like? And what’s the one thing you would’ve done differently? Then we ask the person, who’s the customer, what are the things that stood out that were especially positive for you, and is there one thing that you would suggest that they do differently that they haven’t already mentioned? And then we do the same thing for the observer. So what happens is everyone’s giving positive reinforcement of, this was good, this was good, but here’s the one biggest thing that you might want to do differently. And I’m giving the salesperson the opportunity to share something that, no, because if I can do now, it’s like, okay, I can get to something that no one else has gotten to.

John (19:20): So one final question. We’ll end on the downer. What are the big mistakes that you see people falling into the pitfalls that when they’re trying to set this up and get something like this going when it hasn’t existed before?

Ian (19:33): So either there’s a few, I wish it was just one. One is that they say, oh, yeah, we should do this. But then they don’t really enforce it. It’s like in our academy we say, here’s the process to follow. Well, we have a dashboard that shows the individual what they’ve done. It shows the leader what people have done. So if you set deadlines and people aren’t actually following through, you need to hold people accountable. The second part is that when they’re doing coaching, the biggest mistake is either the leader, which sometimes is the CEO, sometimes as a sales leader, often feels their job is to ride in on the white horse and save the day. And the reality is that their job is to coach and mentor their team. And then during the coaching session, they look at it as an opportunity to beat the other person over the head instead of say, Hey, you did these things really well.

(20:22): Here’s the biggest thing that I would change this one thing, because you can’t change 75 things at a time. But if every time they had a role play session, they got one thing better in the course of a month, they’re going to be dramatically better. And what I love is that we take people who were never in sales before and six weeks into it, all of a sudden they’re the top performer in the company. Everyone’s like, what happened? It’s like we gave ’em a simple process they can follow. We told them how to deal with the most common objections that come up, and then we’re coaching them so they can develop those skills on a weekly basis. And surprise, wow, now they’re doing great. And it’s not that hard. It just requires that level of discipline.

John (21:03): Yeah. I like what you all said. The main thing too there is we probably tend to over complicate things, and by having a simple process to follow, we’re going to do it.

Ian (21:12): Exactly. I think there are a lot of great systems that are so complicated, no one’s ever going to follow ’em. And so what I present in same side selling and what I find attractive in just about every system that works is a level of simplicity that says, here are these really complex concepts. We’re going to make it simple enough that people will actually do it. And that’s what I think moves the needle. Yeah.

John (21:34): Awesome. Well, Ian, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. You want to tell people and where they might find out more about what we talked about today, same side selling and your academy,

Ian (21:43): This is going to be a great shocker, but if they go to same side, they will find everything they want. And of course, you can find me on social media just at Ian Altman, I-A-N-A-L-T-M-A-N, but same side will get you to me also.

John (21:57): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road soon.

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