The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Mary Lombardo on When Things Go Wrong


The sale is going well – at least you think you know where it’s going. Then suddenly things start falling apart. “I need to take this to my boss.” It’s a phrase we dread hearing, yet are all too familiar with in the world of sales. So how can we combat chaos?

To tackle this topic we sat down with Mary Lombardo, founder and CEO of Absolute Impact Corporation, a sales training company for industries that have outside sales teams.

You were listening to the BB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the 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 everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're going to talk about what happens when a sale does not go as expected, which I'm sure none of you have ever experienced before, and how you can avoid hearing the dreaded and need to take this to my boss. It's tackle this topic. We have with US Mary Lombardo, founder and CEO of Absolute Impact Corporation. Mary, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today. Thank you, Chad. Happy to be here. So, before we jump in, I have to ask. I notice on your linkedin profile that you have a law degree, and I have to ask. I've heard of a lot of transition, you know, origin stories on how people end up in sales, because it's you're never sitting around playing with, you know, dolls and fire trucks when your kid and going. I want to be in sales, but I gotta know how did we go from a lawyer to sales and able when right? Trust me, you're not the first person. You know. It's not an obvious paths as business school Chad, but law school cannon has served for me as a stepping stone in my career and surprisingly it's not uncommon to find nonpracticing attorneys in elevated positions and in the corporate world, at least, that's what I've discovered in one of my previous positions at a fortune one thousand company. There were five of us on the same floor, so I had a lot degrees. They all. Yes, we were all, you know, the those people that went to law school and and they're there. We were. So you know my legal education. It's offered me a host of skill enhancements that I've applied to a wide range of industries. And you know, even though I do have a law degree and I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I've benefited by my legal education, particularly because part of my studies focused on legal concepts and frameworks, and that has had immediate applicability to the startup efforts for my company. So you know, again, it may sound like an odd trajectory, but but it's surprising. There's a lot of US non practicing attorneys out in the excellent. So for our listeners, could you give them a little bit more context around what we're doing over it absolute impact corporation? Absolutely so. We are a Harbert sales training company and one of the major components that we offer to sales ...

...teams is our solution called smart selling. A smart selling has been around for thirty years and the cofounder, Larry Sugarman, and I have reached recently merge solutions. So part of the umbrella of Absolute Impact Corporation and are offering our targeted sales training to industries that have outside sales teams. Excellence, excellent. All right. So let's jump in. Anyone in sales, right, anybody's ever carried a bag has had the experience of believing they have an account under control, right, and then all of a sudden, you know, you think you know where it's going, and then out of the blue procurement sticks their head in or all of a sudden you get some indication that it's slowing down or, worse, it goes quiet. So when we were prepping for this, I'm kind of curious. Why is this topic so import to you and how do you suggested sales reps keep from this, keep this from happening? Right? So I guess it's important to me because there's there's there's several points here in understanding a sales cycle. I think so. I think that sales is a mix of art and science, and and the science piece cannot be overlooked here. You know that somebody in sales, obviously somebody successful in sales needs to have strong people skills, but it's critical for a sale to have all steps in a sales cycle completed. And Ninety nine and a half percent of the time they have to happen in the correct order. And so you know what, what? Something falls apart at the end. It's the result of three things, if you will, and so the prospects view of the solution to their problem has changed or there is not unique capabilities alignment. And and the third is that going through the entire sales cycle without testing whether the person you're talking to has the authority over resources. To me, it sells somebody. You giggle because you know, Oh yeah, Oh yeah, yes, so, so there I guess the the main point that I want to make and why that's important to me, is because I for sure have been part of the just getting swallowed up in the whole relationship without really doing the methodical leg work in order to have a deal close. Right. Well, I mean, sales is a discipline which those of us that have been successful at it have figured out. Right. It's funny to me when we know, when we work with clients who spend a lot of time with millennials or the younger's, it's say less experience. So let's say said five,... know, sub five years of field experience, and it's funny to see them making some of the same assumptions that I made when I was when I was carrying a bag right out of the gate, right. And it's funny they just keep repeating themselves and all that seems to change is the context from the buyers perspective, right. And so when we do you know that. So there's the all right, we things go dark, it goes, it goes a place where we don't expect it to go because we haven't worked our discipline. What about procurement? Right, will often here you get all the way through the sales process and I actually had a situation where somebody came to me and said no, no, they never once brought up price, and I'm like they will, they will just wait. Well, no, no, I've got this under control. They've never brought out price. And then, you know, two days later, Hey, so I got to talk to this guy from procurement. Yeah, and it procurements first words. It's going to be too expensive. So I'm kind of curious what top two things would you suggest sales reps due to avoid this? Well, they have to get procurement involved as soon as possible as a pas a p so you know, procurement. Their mission is to provide that person that has the authority with the lowest possible price. So it's important that they understand the value that I, as a salesperson, have created with this pros backed, because if they have no concept of the conversations or the value that's been created or my unique capabilities, they're just going to look at me and the other competitor or competitors and they're just going to look at price. The lowest price will win the YEP, yeah, it get them. You know, I agree one hundred percent. Get pcremen involved early. Procurement skuy goals and objectives to they've got metrics. They got a hit, so worked understanding and get them involved. I think it's a great thing and it's funny, no matter how many times you say it or how many stories you can tell where you know it was a benefit or it hampered something, it still seems to be the last thing that sales reps want to do. And I'm kind of you know, the procurement has this, I don't know, this view. It's they're the boogieman. It's like, no, I really just get them in early, make them part of the process. Right, right, and and you know sales are, they're very relationship based, at least in my world, and consultative sales they are very, very relationship based. I if it was a transactional sale, you know, if we were selling computers or cell phones, I mean you really, you don't need to develop a relationship. When I want to buy a cell phone, I go to the store and I buy a cell phone and you know I will never see that person again. But you know the types of consultative sales that that I have been accustomed to, and probably you Chad are very you know, multimillion dollar, multi year contracts that...

...require managing, managing everybody that's involved, institution and Co hurting the cats to think differently, you know, like we have to compel people to think differently. So so, you know, going to procurement at the eleventh hour is not a good idea. All it's going to do is push things out without a doll. Yeah, and and you're right. I mean, I mean I've done transaction seals. I, you know, made my mark with the complex Helle. I love that, love the complexity of it, and it was always, you know, I was just to tell the teams when I ran them, you know, getting the contract signs like, you know, you maybe forty percent there. You have taken the eighteen months to get that done, but now you got to actually get them to the point where they realize the value just sold them. So it's much longer and much more involved. In relationships are definitely a heavy part, but you end up in a a lot of sales ups. will end up in a situation per camera comes in, Hey, it's too expensive. So why do you think so many reps today still continue? It's not like this is a new thing. Still continue to fall back to. Okay, I'll discount, like I'll just I'll just discount. Why? Yeah, why do you think most reps just do that instead of pushing back and having a deeper conversation? Right? Personally, I think it's, you know, it's that hasty decision, just wanting to close something, just something. I don't I don't they care what it is, just something. You know, we have salespeople. We all know the pressures of carrying the quota and and sometimes it can just be that that sales people are not close to making their number and we carry we have a lot of pressure because of the number that we carry. But you know, can be very shortsided for a salesperson. And it's not that I haven't done it myself, because I have, and I've learned the hard way that not every sale is a good sale. So not every sale is a good sale. If I if I want to sell something just for the sake of selling it, it may lose the relationship in the end and I personally believe that the relationships are are more important than a quick sale because those relationships are going to turn into more relationships or future business, and so that person needs to really be invested in the problem that the prospect is trying to solve. Agreed, agreed, and the relationship, the relationships paid dividends far beyond whatever current account they're at or current up to. Right. They go different places and they're going to remember the relationship. They may not remember which is sold them, but some of the people that are my best friends that they are guys that I've guys and guys I sold to over the last seventeen years. Yeah, and they become, you know, great friends because you go through the trenches with them, right, that's right. They most certainly do, and and they begin, you know, they be into view us, you know,... trusted advisors. You know, and I think that there's I think that when we get to that place, when we're able to take a relationship from the preconceived notion of this is a salesperson who just wants to sell me something and really doesn't care about me, when taking that the near and changing it to this person knows their subject matter, their knowledgeable, they know trends, they know my business as well as I do. They understand my problems. They listen more than they talk, you know, they they they are here to help me and, you know, kind of switching that mindset once you're there, Chad, that's the sweet spot and that's where the magic happens because, as you just said, those relationships will pay off far more dividends than are in immediate quick sale. Yeah, there's nothing like I mean there are sales ups that are just like Hey, I got to close something, I want something in the pipeline, but you really have to slow it down a little bit and ask yourself, is this good business? Is this a good deal, not just for your company but for the person you're doing business with? Right, if you force something bad down their throat, they're going to remember that and that relationship is not going to be one you're going to be able to rely on in the future. That is absolutely correct. But again, you know, not every sale is a good sale. For me, I want people to trust me and I want them to be happy and know that I'm invested in whatever it is that they are trying to resolve and and by taking that posture and comporting myself in that fashion, it creates longstanding results, without a doubt, without a doubt. So when accounts go dark. So we talked about pricing a little bit. We've talked about you know, make sure you're working your discipline, you're work in your process. But everybody's had those accounts go dark and you know and a day goes by and you get a little anxious and a week goes by and you start to sweat. You know you spent the time to work with them, build rapport get them partially through the process. I'm kind of curious if you have any tactics or approaches that you recommend for re engaging with an account when it's gone dark that you found to be particularly effective. Yes, I do actually, and so, yes, this has happened to me and it was certainly part of my early learning process and part of what we teach. And smart selling is, and, as I mentioned earlier, I believe that sales is an art and a science and typically what I I think the reason that accounts go dark is because of a failure to create that whole tangible, logical, step by step timetable of a Bens with people that have authority over resources. Right. So the the science part is okay, you're so you you need to increase sales... five million dollars by the end of this year. That's the goal. Okay. So who needs to be involved in this decision? Oh, the board needs to be involved. Okay. Well, why don't we put them on the calendar for next week and I can talk to them. We can talk to them together. Who else needs to be involved in this procurement? Oh, procurement. Well, I guess I better go downstairs. Can I talk to them today, maybe right now? And so creating this backward, step by step time model or you know, timetable of events will will mitigate any really other reasons, hopefully, that accounts would go dark. So it's the the science component and the logical component of sales, like the tangible. Here's the nuts and bolts. So you want to be here, so let me get everybody else involved and let's put it on the on the calendar right, right, exactly. Having that plan that everybody's bought into, that you can hold each other accountable to, definitely helps keeping them from going dark. Completely agree, pletely agree. All right. So what do we what do we see? So, I mean a lot of these things that we've talked about so far, I mean these are kind of standard, what I would consider standard sales problems. Are I don't want to say age old because well shows how old I am. But it's not like we're talking about new stuff right. We probably if they were podcast twenty years ago, you and I, we be talking about the same stuff. But that's right. Let's look to the future a little bit. I'm kind of curious what you see as kind of the next emerging trend in sales that sales professional should be aware of and if you've given any thought to how how they might address it. Sure so, you know, obviously the Internet's made it easier for prospects to develop a better understanding of product capabilities without having to deal with sales people. So it's already had a huge impact on commodity sales, like, you know, books or shoes or, and I do a lot of shopping online, even pencils. So and now you know that we're going to have drones flying through the year pretty soon. So I think we do in some some to some degree. But for more complex solutions it's my personal belief that sales professionals are still going to need to be knowledgeable in their area and, you know, expert problem analyzers and listeners and knowing trends and just because a product looks like it can do the job that a prospects looking for, it doesn't mean it's the right one. So, for example, you know, automating and inefficient product says, can just end up doing the wrong thing faster. No,...

I love it. Yeah. So I think that really being a subject matter expert, knowing what is really driving that customer. And here's where the people skills come in. You know, what is this prospects real issue and are they really saying it? So is it? Somebody's job is on the line, so they really need to make some changes. It's really it's important to know what the what the real driving force behind what people are saying is. And this is for, you know, complex types of sales. Obviously not for the cell phones and not for books or shoes, but that's what I think. I think people need to really know the industry that they are working in and why they are working there and being able to show up as really a trusted partner perfect and we can't, we cannot under emphasize how important, and I think you're right, it's going to be even more important important moving forward, that ability to understand the perspective of the person you're working with right and become that trusted, relied upon got person to be, you know, a backstop brainstorm. How do I solve this problem somebody that they trust and understand? That requires a lot of emotional intelligence, is yes, as well as the discipline right the the field of sales, especially as we get into more of the technology taking away some of the commoditized spots. I think. I think it was Jeff Blunt said in his book. You know, in ten years they'll be sales reps that tell robots what to do and sales reps that are told by robots what to do. To Shay. Yeah, all right. So let's Change Direction here a little bit. We ask all of our guests kind of two standard questions towards the end of each interview. In the first is simply, you're a revenue executive. We run in a company. That means you are a prospect for other people, for other six professionals. Yeah, so help our audience understand. You know what get your attention when someone's trying to sell? Do you someone you don't know that? It's not a referral, it's not a warm intro, but somebody were really prospecting into you. What we get your attention. What works best to capture that and build credibility? Um, I think. Well, there's several things. You know. Are they really interested in knowing about me and my situation, or do they just want to sell me something? would be the first, the first item. You know, do they appear knowledgeable? I want to be able to get the sense and the experience from someone sitting across the desk for me that they know what they're talking about. And are they willing to listen? You know, as I said earlier, about being willing to listen more than speak. Well, when the tables are turned, I need to...

...see that they're really taking in what it is that I'm saying and not just talking at me. Also, there their tenacity. So if they're really trying to reach out to me and they could, they're consistent, then that tells me they're going to work hard for me. And and and finally, I guess, have they done their homework? You know, if somebody came in, if I allowed someone to come into my office or met with someone and they said okay, tell me your problems, that meeting would be over right. What? No, I'm not going to invite you in my house and tell you all of what's happening here. You have to know, at least to some cursory degree, what's happening in my business, why you're sitting across from me, why I gave you the time, and are you really interested in knowing about what's going on in my business, or do you just want to sell me something? Perfect, perfect. So last question. We call it our acceleration and say there was one thing you could tell a sales, marketing or professional services person, just one piece of advice you could give them that, if they listened, you believe would help them hit their targets, crush their targets. What would it be? And why? Take Smart Selling? Really, that would help anybody. But one piece of advice, I guess, would be nobody. Nobody really cares about you or your company or your product. They really only care about their problems, right. So talk about what they're interested in first and you'll have more than enough time to share, but only when the time is right. Perfect, perfect, Mary, can't thank you enough for being on the show today. If a listeners interested in learning more about you, smart selling absolutely impact Corp. What's the best way to get old? Sure, so they can email me at Mary at absolute impact Corpcom, or they can find me on Linkedin as well. Excellent. Well, thank you again, Marie, for taking the time. It's been an absolute pleasure having me on the show. Thank you, Chad. My pleasure. Have a great day. All right, everyone that does it for this episode. Please check us out at be Tob Rev exactcom and you know the drill. Share it out there with your friends, families and Co workers. Leave us a review. Let us know who else you'd like to have on the show. Always open to suggestions from the audience. And until next time, we have value prime solutions. With 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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