The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

Working Out Your Outreach w/ Habit Formation w/ Liston Witherill *Recaped


As we approach the 250th episode of the podcast, I want to take some time to look back at all the ground we’ve covered together.

To that end, I’ll be periodically resharing some of my favorite episodes — this is one of them. I hope you enjoy it!

Like any good seller, you want to level up your outreach game, so you set out in search of that magic tactic: You read every book, listen to every podcast, and enroll in every course out there — only to realize you could have spent that time actually prospecting.

The lesson? Tactics can be great — but they’re next to useless if you haven’t built the right outreach muscles through execution.

Liston Witherill, Head of Growth at Gold Front, Chief of Sales Insights at Serve Don't Sell, host of the Modern Sales Podcast, and soon-to-be author, joined me to talk about the power habit formation can have on your outreach.

We talked about:

  • The mindset you need for outreach
  • Why execution trumps tactics when it comes to outreach
  • How pattern matching makes outreach easier

Now that your outreach muscles are ready to compete against an oiled-up 1970s Schwarzenegger, are you ready to dive into how AI is revolutionizing content marketing or how to get the most out of your CRM? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. As we approach the two hundred and fifty episode of the Podcast, I want to take some time to look back at all the ground we've covered together. To that end, I'll be periodically resharing some of my favorite episodes. This is one of them, and I hope you enjoy you're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome every one to the B tob revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about building your outreach muscle through habit formation and and what it means to truly stop selling and start serving your clients and prospects. To help us, we have with us. List in with here, all ahead of growth, at Gold Front. Chief of sales insights at serve, don't sell. Host of modern sales podcasting, soon to be author. Listen thank you so much for taking time and welcome to the show. Thanks so much for having me. It's my pleasure. So, before we jump in, we always like to start with something for the audience to get to know you a little bit better and always curious to learn, especially since we've all been spend a year, can lockdown what it is that you're passionate about that those who only know you through work might be surprised to learn, or perhaps a new you, passion you picked up during the quarantine. Okay, so two things. One is music, and I am a rapper and I make beats and I've actually performed on Sunset Boulevard like twenty or more times, more than years ago. And secondly, weightlifting. I am a very avid enthusiast of weightlifting nice. How long has that been going on the weightlifting part? Yeah, that's a good question. I think about six years and my biggest accomplishment to date is I deadlifted over five hundred pounds on my thirty seventh birthdays Nice. Nice, got to have those goals, I know. How do I get to a thousand? It's going to take a lot more. Yeah, yeah, doubling. It's not as easy as just doubling it? No, yeah, by a long shot. All right. So let's start with the misconception of sales, perception as it relates to kind of the growing millennial buyer population, soon to be Gen z buying population. We get a lot of questions and it's and actually was a topic that came up this morning actually within a meeting, is how the differences in the generations are impacting the way modern sellers should be approaching sales or thinking about sales, and was curious to get your perspective on that. You know, I love this question and actually I selfishly want to get yours as well. One thing that seems pretty clear to me is I don't really care about Gen z millennial, just sort of younger people who grew up with a phone in their hand are used to finding whatever information they think they need and making decisions without the intervention of a human being. And when they do need the intervention of a human being, they're used to chatting or, God forbid, sending an email. Boy, that that makes me dated, but yeah, they're used to sort of this asynchronous text based communication, but generally their expectation is to find pretty much everything that they need on a website and I I think that's going to have the biggest ramification because there's a whole different approach to interacting with people. And my guess is, and I'm starting to see this in my various businesses, people are more willing to communicate a synchronously, to communicate remotely, maybe not even meet with you, in order to buy...

...five, six, seven figure projects. So that's I think the biggest change is the the sort of old hat, and I've written about this a lot, this idea of like virtual selling isn't as good as in person and I always say why, and then people just go well, it's just not and I'm like yeah, okay, but why? And very few people have thought that next step deeper. And the main reason that it's not as good is because people who are used to in person communication pick up a lot of other information when they're in person. Body language. What are my surroundings? How anxious does this person seem? You don't have to be as structured in the way you approach things because timetables are a little bit different than when you live by your calendar online. So I think the whole thing is going to be moving to a much more structured more asynchronous approach and, coupled with other things that are going on like demands for privacy, changes to the way that we can contact people in business, which I think generally is a good thing, I think that's really going to radically change sales and I think also just all kind of wrap up here. I think we're going to a situation where the benefits of the Internet are going to fade out and this is going to be a larger conversation. But what I mean by that is it will be very hard to put trust signals out into the world that are reliable or credible because of all of the other things happening. There's machines writing articles, there are machines creating fake videos, they're all these things that we would use in order to demonstrate our expertise, which will be brought into question and will lack as much credibility, and so I actually think there's going to be a more emphasis on referrals, which seems just kind of crazy, but that's my prediction. Well, and I think I think you're one hundred percent spot on. I think that the ability to communicate kind of multi threaded, whether that be hey, maybe we did start this conversation in slack because we're in the same slack group or slack room or in a form somewhere, and then you know, hey, we su shot each other at text and then a little bit more info is sent over via email and then may we jumped on a quick call. Being able to do that quick communication and really understand how you're going to be authentic, build trust, credibility, rapport and do it in a way that is focused on what the person you're trying to sell to cares about is a shift. It's a shift not only in technology but in mindset, I think, in terms of how people are gonna be able to do it. I had not thought all the way out to the Internet not being trustworthy. I guess I just haven't trusted it for a very long time. So call me it, call me in skeptic, but as we look at it and you think about this, is there a way that you know? I mean fifteen years ago and I still hear this with some climes. We've got to be facetoface. So got to be faced face. I in the last three years I can think of one deal that I flew somewhere to sell, whereas all the rest were done before I ever actually had laid eyes on the person, and that creates a challenge from the communication standpoint. So how do you help people? How do you think people should be thinking about their mindset and generating that authenticity in a consistent, repeatable way, which is what any sales organization ultimately needs? Well, this is an interesting question because I you know, I think that prospecting more and more requires a lot of infrastructure outside of the prospecting process. So you know, things that I already mentioned content support for people through the process, other sort of bread crumbs and indicators of trust, but also information that people can use a self service. Because I don't know about you, Chad, but if I reach out to someone on Linkedin, what's the first thing they do? They read my profile. If they're...

...interested, they read my profile, they go to my website, they maybe read an article or two. They go what's this guy all about? Is it worth my time? Right, and if you don't have that, I mean there's just no way that you can compete. So in terms of mindset of authenticity, I think this is very personality driven. So you know, some people in the big five personalities, some people score high and agreeableness, which means they're more likely to agree with other people, which means they don't want to disappoint people, which means they won't be as direct with people. This is not me, my friend. I will tell you what I'm thinking. I score pretty low, not terribly low, so I'm not too much of a jerk, but I score in the forty percentile, which means for me authenticity is easy, right, because I think about being in authentic as a complete waste of my time and the other person's time. Right, because I know some people aren't going to like me, and that's okay, right. I'd rather them be able to make that decision quickly. So for me, I think one of the key mindset places to start is whatever you're selling, understand what's in it for the other person and you have to ask if you believe that. I occasionally get messages from people. You probably hear this too, what happens if our reps don't believe in what we're selling, and I always think, well, you can try to get them to believe in it, but if ultimately they don't, they should just move on right, because there's no faking that that's going to surface let's say they can hide it in the prospecting process, it's definitely going to surface when they're on the phone. Absolutely absolutely. And so when, when you think about building this outreach muscle, this habit formation, there are some habits that seemed to be very easy for people to to formulate, basically picking up their phone every thirty seconds, but something like prospecting, that takes a little bit more will, it takes a little bit more focus and being deliberate. And so how do you suggest people go about building that habit and really perfecting that outreach muscle? Well, I would challenge your assertion that it was very easy to build the picking up your phone thing right, because it's been the iphone was invented in Oh seven, android came shortly after that and it's been now, at the time of this recording, fourteen years of companies very intentionally and systematically trying to get you to pick up your phone. That's true, I'm true, right and so, and the way they do that is is just simple habit formation. And of course there's been books and movies very critical of phones, as they should be, but this is how habit formation works. Right, I have a trigger, something that causes me to think of doing something, then I have the behavior, the thing I do, and then there's a reward, and if the reward is variable, I'm more likely to be more interested in executing this process over and over and over again. Right. So, with habits as they relate to prospecting especially, there are a couple like really simple things that I recommend anybody do. So number one is, whenever you find someone who could be a prospect, if you have the infrastructure in place, you're using outreach or sales aloft or whatever, you have email templates, reach out to that person right now. Don't let it pass. So that's one easy habit. Right trigger. Oh this person looks good behavior, send them something variable reward. Occasionally people are going to be like hey, thanks so much, this is really interesting, I do want to talk to you right so that's number one. Number two is having a normal cadence. So a lot of people have this problem of like, especially in the AE model, where you're doing all your prospecting and you're doing all your selling, where they're...

...on this roller coaster of like I have a bunch of deals right now, pipelines full, I don't have time to prospect and that is just not sustainable, obviously. So for me, you know, it's true, if it's not on my calendar, it doesn't get done. And then I ask myself also, what are the things that I hate to do? So like building the prospecting list from scratch, finding emails, that kind of thing doomed to failure. If I'm responsible for that, I need someone else to do that for me because I know I'm not going to do it. So whatever it is that you kind of suck at or you're not interested in or you just fail at repeatedly, be honest about that and find a way to close that gap. But I always put on my calendar, you know, two hours to do prospecting or to get people on my podcast is one of the ways I prospect. Whatever it is. For you, I would say put it on your calendar, do it at a pretty consistent interval, date, time, day of the week, and that's going to go a long way. Yeah, time management is huge and I'm with you. If it's not on my calendar, it doesn't exist in very rarely ever even gets thought about, quite frankly. So right, making sure that you're carving out the time. I mean that includes I've been going back to your weightlifting. That clues working out right. I've got the time block for the workouts, I got time for the dog, I got time for prospecting and then, of course, working with clients and things like that. But if it's not there, that makes finding an opening to sell me something. If you're if you're prospecting, I mean that makes it tough and it makes my time I'm kind of picky about how I set my time. So if you're going to come at me, then the question becomes do you understand what I care about, what problems I may be having, and so the question becomes what are you seeing? To that mean there's so many places people could go to find information on on rolls and certain industries and things like that. Is there like a focused subset or steps you would tell people to say, Hey, here's where I'd go do my research to uncover what someone truly cares about so it will feed my prospecting to be more effective? Well, there's two things. One is pattern matching. So the more you service the same types of clients, the more likely you are to understand what is what I call a range of problems. Right. So one thing that I find funny is people who are of the mindset that every sale is different, and it's like, well, yeah, maybe it's one percent different, but there's a lot of overlap between if you're focused on selling the same thing, saying to the same type of person, there is a ton of overlap. So I'll give you an example. Right, I have a client where they have, I think it's like five or seven ICEP's way too many in my opinion. But I say, Hey, when we bring on your franchise's let's not give them seven ICEPS. Let's ask them to choose one. Focus on this group. Really start to internalize what I call pgvs. What are the pain goals and value that these people are after? Like what is a transformation and then how does our solution connect directly to that? Get them to be the best at that and then they can move on to another one if they exhaust the market, which, as you know, Chad, they never will. So that's number one. Is pattern matching. Number two. Just ask right. So one thing you can do is go out and test. If you have five problem statements, you can go test in your first five emails, five linkedin messages, five cold calls. However, you do it. You can test each one and see which one of these gets a reaction. It's not going to be a perfect test, but if you kind of switch up the messaging, it may give you a better idea of how to do that. So I think there's an over emphasis on tactics, in my opinion, and an under emphasis on just execution. And of course the reason for that is it's hard for me to sell a book or a course that says just go do it a thousand and times...

...and tell me what happens. But really that is the advice right. You have to do it in order to know whether what's working and what's not. Exactly. I love it and that's why, I mean, that's why tools like sales, off outreach, anything that's going to allow us to a be tests and actually get things done. He's, are great tools if I don't get hung up on the content creation or hiding behind the attack or, you know, distracted so I'm not actually doing, I'm just sitting on thinking about doing and then can't understand why I'm not hitting my numbers. So when we look at kind of the toughest challenges, like, if you had to mean we got we've talked about, you know, differences between you know, people who grew up with phones in their hands to all of these tools and text acts and things. What do you think? If you've been if somebody's would ask you, what's the biggest challenge facing sellers and prospectors today? Just it's obviously signal, the noise. There's just way, way too many things asking for our attention all the time, right. And so you know the number I was reading today, I don't know if you saw this, that some our email inboxes receive something like thirty or forty percent more emails in two thousand and twenty. Then, yeah, prior, Covid, Yep, covid. Yeah, I mean. And then, of course we haven't talked about spam phone calls, but I'm ready to throw my iphone out the window every time it rings because I know it's just like not a real person generally. And so I think it's really about the noise. And so we know people. You know, I tell my clients, I what you I'm sure you've seen these prospecting messages where it's like hi, so and so. We are such a great company and we have thirty years of experience and we do blah, Blah Blah, and if you ever need help with X, Y Z, and I'm always like, no one cares about that, no one cares at all. What is it about you that's especially interesting that can help me? I don't care if you do website development or do accounting or do whatever it is. I don't care about all that, right. I just care about how you can help me solve my problems. So I think that is by far the biggest challenge is. And then, of course, there's the dispersion of our prospects on now a bunch of them are on clubhouse. Do I start a clubhouse channel? Right, so I think that's that's the real challenge is there's a little bit of this sort of whackamle of people moving around the Internet and coupled with that just the amount of noise. And so really it is about creativity, uniqueness and coming up with kind of clever and new ways all the time, which is a tough challenge. That is it is tough. I mean it's constant reinvention, right changes, the new normal kind of approach. But if you get into that mindset and you're willing to be humble enough to understand you're not going to get it all right, but you know smart enough for reels. You got at least fail sometimes you're doing something. I think there's a lot of things out there that will help those who are truly focused on getting better and doing more from a service for my client type of standpoint. And so gotta know. How. How did you I mean, unless you're one of the rare ones that when you were growing up, around the holidays we're playing with new toys thinking I can't wait to get into sales, which I don't know anybody that thought that. But if you are, how did you get to where you are in your career now? Oh Boy, I know we don't have a lot of time, so I'll try to be fast. So I went to Grad School. This is later in my career. I was twenty nine when I got to Grad School and now have a master's degree in environmental science and management. The reason I went to school for that was to be on the business side of environmental work, and so out of school I ran business development and marketing for a consulting firm, which is exactly what I w wanted to do. And so yeah, that...

...was kind of my entry point into sales where I was overseeing our entire business development program and since then, for the last think it's been seven years, I've been running either an agency or my own coaching business, working directly with clients in a coaching or consultative path capacity to help them build their sales and marketing engines. So okay, and so that that's and I've noticed your background and your degrees when I was doing doing my homework, but I gotta know, rapping to sales like it's just the obvious questions like how did that come about? Yeah, well, it's actually they're more similar than you think. So one thing that I love about hiphop is the ability to influence how people think. And you know, most people will associate hiphop with whatever you hear on the radio, right, and I like that sometimes. But I what I love is kind of, you know, what some people might call message RAPP or like underground hiphop, where they're talking about something, and the idea that I could use music to expose someone to a new idea or a new perspective and influence their thinking is always what attracted me to hiphop. And you know, that happens to be the most important question in all of marketing and all of sales is how do people make decisions and how can we exert some influence or persuasion over those decisions? Not Manipulation, which we could record another podcast on, but how do I expose them to something new or different that they hadn't thought about before? And so that's the that's a connection. I love it. I love it. Excellent. All right, so let's change direction here little bit. We ask all of our guests kind of two standard questions the end of each interviewer. First, as as a revenue exact yourself for a multiple companies. That means you are a target for prospects and without a referral, which I'm I'm with you. I think we're headed back to that being even more critical. But if somebody doesn't have a referral into you, what have you found? This seems to work the best for somebody to capture your attention and build a credibility to earn the right time on your calendar. Yeah, I hate to say this because I hate doing it myself, but obvious demonstration of effort is one of the big things. So if I get an email or a linkedin message from someone and it says who I am. They know something about me. You can skip the flattery. I don't need you to be a quote, big fan of my podcast, right, because I know you're probably not. I don't need that, but I want you to bring something insightful about me and potentially what I care about, because if you're promising, you know what is sales. Sales is essentially change. In order for someone to buy something from us, they need to change what's in their bank account, they need to change how they're doing things, they need to change who they're spending time with. Right. So all of that, like I need to know. Do you really understand someone like me? And so that doesn't necessarily mean you go right a novel about how awesome I am. I don't care about that. But I want to know. How have you helped people like me before? Why should I believe you and why is this relevant to me right now? Those are the things that I want to know. If you can tell me that, you probably will capture my attention. That doesn't mean I'll buy anything from you, but that's really what builds credibility for me. I love it and it is and it's all about making sure you understand your target putting in the time. So last question. We call it our acceleration insight. If there was one piece of advice you could give to sales, marketing or even professional services people, one piece that, if they listen to you, believe would help them hit their targets, what would it be and why? Yeah, so my content in my business is focused on helping agency owners, digital services marketers, those types of firm.

So you said professional services, and this is universal, though, but for my clients I'm especially looking at you focus on what's in it for the other person. They don't care about how you do what you do, they care about the results. And if you focus on what's in it for them, again, pgvs. Why are they in pain right now? What are their goals, which are always the opposite of the pain they have right what is it worth to them, the value of changing, and how does your solution connect directly to that? But let's just start at the pain and the goals. If you can focus there, you will see a major difference in your sales success. But, as not so insignificant side Note, you'll also be able to charge a lot more for what you're doing because you're giving this is this is the value selling or your company as value selling right, because we're focused on providing value and results, not on our inputs to the project or the outputs of the project, the deliverables. Right. It's all about what is it worth to the client. That is the single thing that I want everyone to walk away with today. I love it. I love it and could not agree more. Listen. If a listener wants to talk more about these topics or we want them to learn more about your business, is best place to send them linkedin website and any place you prefer. Definitely go to my website. Serve, don't SELLCOM. You can sign up for my newsletter and I'll immediately send you my top ten podcast episodes and articles. So yeah, just serve, don't SELLCOM and there's a sign up on every page. I love it. Thank you so much for taking time. It's been an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you. All right, everybody that does if the episode, you know, the drill be to be read exactcom share with friends, family, Co workers and until next time, we have value selling associates, which you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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