The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

The Science of Customer Connections w/ Jim Karrh

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Opportunity generation ultimately drives revenue. 

 

And it comes down to the interplay between 3 things:

 

Message, messenger and management habits. 

 

To learn more about how these play off each other, I spoke with Dr. Jim Karrh, Consultant and Professional Speaker at Karrh & Associates and Author of The Science of Customer Connections.

 

In this episode, we discuss:

 

- The elements of great messaging

 

- Why everyone can sell — even introverts

 

- Why a central source of conversational truth is important

 

This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with Dr. Jim Karrh, Consultant and Professional Speaker at Karrh & Associates.

 

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

All of this is a hundred percentunder your control. You don't have to be perfect, but it's manageable.It's just managing what comes out of your mouth and what comes out of themouths about it in your business. You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimizegrowth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you'vecome to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two,one. Welcome everyone to the BB revenue executive experience. I'm your host,Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how the interplay of message, messengers andmanagement habits impact opportunity generation and, ultimately, revenue. Often we focus on thisshow on one of these elements of this equation. Today we're going tobreak down each one and see how they play off of each other, seehow they amplify or nullify each other, depending on how well they're done.To help us, we have with this Dr Jim Carr, founder of carassociates an author of the science of customer connections. Manage your message to growYour Business Jim, thank you for taking time and welcome to the show.All Chat. It's a pleasure to be here and I feel like I willbe talking among my people. Work like with you have. They're on theline for revenue and trying to get there without driving themselves and their their teaminsane, which, depending on what is you have an organization, can bea bit of a challenge. You Bet so. Before we jump in,we always like to ask a random question just so the audience gets to knowyou a little bit better. So we've all been in this new reality wherethere's a, you know, a lot more remote work. We're working fromhome. You and I both have traveled endlesslie in the past, so nowwe're home more for better or for worse. So curious to learn something that you'vebeen able to reconnect with with this extra time at home and maybe apassionate hobby, something you were able to to find that helps you recharge andlevel set. Chat. I appreciate the...

...aspiration, the optimism in your question. Not to let you down, I did not learn another language or takeup any new hobby. The here, the household reality in the car householdis my wife and I have three teenage sons, the oldest of whom isa graduating senior getting ready to go to college, plus a three year olddaughter. So it's not like we've had extra time. Everyone has been homefrom school and we've been doing that sort of thing. I will say ona on a positive note, I did resolve to that was in a decentshape and I try to stay in decent shape, but I was not goingto make the nineteen of covid nineteen being the nineteen pounds right right. SoI went back to the P ninety x three workout series, which I haddone in the past, and it's something you can do about a half houra day at home the most part, and sometimes could even work out withwith my sons, and so I'm probably each add a little better shape thanI was when all of this started. So maybe that that's awesome. Yeah, especially when you know, especially when we live on planes and travel asmuch as we have in the past, like it's hard. It's hard tobe as physically fit or healthy as there's so much temptation, so much toyes, and just schedules are uneven and the quality of food is uneven andsleep is uneven. So all those sorts of things are difficult and when you'reon the road as much as we may have been before, and we'll seehow that's all going to play out. I think there's going to be abit of a hybrid world going forward, but my crystal ball is no moreclear than anyone else. It's right. Yeah, if we only knew whowould help and help. There's a lot of all right, what's happening today? Where's the business going today? All right, so let's get started.leaving. I can say, Chad, what I try to follow is ifanyone's see any supposed expert starts by saying...

...something along if present trends continue orat this rate, just turn them off at that point because it won't continueat this rate. Yeah, and what it's like every morning? Is itup as it down. You know, it's just it's one of those allright, we're just riding roller coaster. Let's see what exactly. So whathappens? All right, so let's jump in and let's talk about this Mand challenge and see if we can add a new perspective. So we allknow. Ever, anybody who's listen to this would know that most sellers,people in the sales profession are really good at talking about the value of whatthey provide, whether it be a product or service, and it's true forany seller right, anybody in marketing. You get really good at talking aboutus, talking about what word delivering, and it's true basically anybody who touchescustomer right. But they struggle to message or talk about their solutions, theirproducts effectively or in a way that you know is difficult for others to connectwith, and I'm curious to know. It's one of those things I've seenthroughout my career. But from your perspective and expertise, what causes this?What? What is it that we're struggling with? What's the real challenge herewith that creation and articulation of the message? Well, Chad, you hit onthe word confidence, and let's established that that is a chronic issue ina really big issue when you think about whether you call it sales messaging,selling conversations or just what it takes to generate opportunities and revenue. I've seena number of surveys of Bab sales reps in particular and in general, theirconfidence in the message behind their solutions. Self reports of confidence is less thanhalf of their confidence in the solutions themselves, and that has a tremendous number ofconsequences. So if you're you have a selling team and they're not sureof the questions to ask, what to say, the stories to share,they don't feel like they've got it straight, they're probably not going to engage inthe way that they should and oftentimes...

...sales managers leaders, company leaders willbe frustrated because why aren't they getting out there and doing there's so much opportunity. Why aren't we engaging the market place? And it can be that hesitation on. I can have that conversation but it's not going to go well becauseI don't I can't preview, I'm not not confident in it, and sothe conversations don't happen. You ask about causes and I consider them road blocksand they're based in brain science and they're based in psychology and oftentimes past assumption. So the number one roadblock, Chad to just what you were talking about, is our brains, which is the most wonderful mystical machine ever. Butour brains reward us for things that are comfortable. We get a nice electricalchemical charge from that, which means that we tend to talk about ourselves andour stuff too much. Our brains just draw us in that direction. Soit requires some intention and it requires good leadership and reinforcement about how we don'tlet ourselves continue to drift that way. I'd say a second area that causessome of these problems is our assumptions. There have been assumptions for decades thatthere's a certain personality type, is a certain kind of person who's really goodat leading selling conversations. Typically this the extrovert. It's someone who is skilledin communication, who's had specific kinds of training. It's that person and alot of sales people and customer service people and others inside the company would sayit's that person. And, by the way, I'm not that person.But what we come to learn over time with real sales people is that extraversionintroversion doesn't really make a difference in terms of effectiveness. In fact, mostof us, personality wise, are in...

...the middle of that continuum where arewhat may be called amberverts or I called the Nimble majority. It's more ofa bill curve, and that means most of us are naturally wired for thegive and take of good conversation, however that's going to be, and eventhe more extreme introverts or extreme extroverts have their own assets. They had theirown strong points about it. But the real takeaway chat is if you lookacross not just a sales team or a marketing team but service, delivery,installations, selling partners, whatever the ecosystem is around your solutions or your stuff, is that most of us are naturally equipped to be able to do itwell. So we need to look at that with a broad view. AndI just as a final thing that I run across a lot chant that getsin the way is organizational baggage. Some of that's baked in. We havesilos and layers and business units all over the place. There maybe lack oftraining or coaching. A lot of people haven't been trained in selling conversations andso they find themselves then to be frontline managers and they're supposed to provide coachingfor their direct reports and they're ill equipped to be able to do so.So and oftentimes we're bag are way down by what we try to do somethinglike this. Last year we remember around so and so about engaging higher inthe customer organization or the so that it intended to fizzle out. So thenumber one thing is our brains, but also, I'd say, our assumptionsand our organizational baggage can get in the way, and so we have toreverse engineer the process a little bit in terms of what will make for goodselling conversations and then attack those accordingly. Well, and in a lot ofsituations, if you think, I think sometimes organizations have set themselves up topropagate this. Right, you hire, let's just say, a sales professional, or it could be services, doesn't matter. You hire a new personand the onboarding process is ninety five percent...

...us, US, US, US, US. This is what we do, this is how we do it,this is our process, this is these are our products, these areskiws that, you know, it's all about us. Then we unleave thesepeople into the market and can't understand why they're not having these productive conversations,because nobody responds to Hey, let me talk about me, Hey, letme talk about me, Hey, let me talk about me. And sohave you seen with clients or do when you work with clients, do youapproach it in a way that maybe doesn't specifically go after you know how theyeffectively on board but helping them understand that at some point, at each stagein the revenue funnel, there needs to be a focus on how this messageis put into the world and, more importantly, do you tailor the approachto say how I'm going to work with marketing versus how I'm going to workwith you know, customer success with the sales team. Absolutely, Chad.What you've described as is pretty common, certainly from what I've seen with clientsand in other organizations. In terms of approach. The first thing I dowith the leadership is let's take a deep breath. The good news is thatin order to get much more effective consistent selling conversations, you don't necessarily needto change your go to market strategy, you don't need to turn the businessupside down, you don't need to necessarily change a pricing or distribution or yourpartner arrangements or anything like that. But let's look at the nuts and boltsof those effective sales conversations. This is eminently manageable. Doesn't have to beperfect, thank goodness, but if you can manage it and be consistently good, then you will rise above the noise. You will in terms of against yourcompetitors do very, very well, but you just need to get intentional, simple and serious. And I'd say for a you mention. You know, how do you approach this across sales teams and marketing success and other partsof the organization? I do recommend a...

...cocreation type of approach there and thereneeds to be a central source of conversational truth. That's kind of a highlike the title, plan to play. We book a guide that takes innot a repository but a guide of here are ideal, ideal clients, yourpersona's, your questions, to ask stories, to share evidence of what we do, things that are tailored toward a few specific conversations that are really thepriority. And I think if a lot of times, Chad, what we'llsee is is companies will turn this over to marketing or they'll turn it overor it's the CEO has decided what he or she really wants to say.I want everybody to be able to spout out our eleven point vision statement.This is, this is the thing that it needs to be. Or there'san agency or some outside party that comes with a new message. Sometimes maybea slogan or some mantra that's there and it's not internalized with the very peoplethat you want to deliver that message in their everyday business conversation. So thereare a couple of things by being very intentional of having a cocreation mentality.First is that your message itself will be better because you will involve frontline salespeople and Marketing in customer success and, I would say, other subject matterexperts, other people inside of your enterprise, that they will be able to bringyou more real works, better stories. They will know the kinds of questionsthat we need to be ready for in the kinds of questions that weneed to be asking in those those conversations. The other advantage to approaching it thatway, chat is that you're building some street cred you're building some momentumfor this new message during the creating process,...

...because people are going to go backwhat you're doing, workshops or group meetings or you however you you dothat and build out your playbook and validated over a period of a few weeks, they're going to be going back to their teammates, they're going to begoing back to their regions and saying, Hey, I'm in this, thiscool thing we're really developing something that feels like us and is very tailored andvery authentic and real. So when it's time to roll this out, you'llhave some momentum behind it. Yeah, there's I mean there's always that's kindof a change management approach, right. So if we think about out there'sthe how do we how do we evolve the message? How do we geteverybody on board that? I love the idea of Co creation and I amgoing to I'm going to go back and listen this and grab that phrase becausethat sound sounded very official. It's not original to me. I ripped itoff from other people. So it sounded great though I was like wow,I mean, it really Reson it. So, but there's the creation ofthe message, then there's the change management portion and getting people involved early.One hundred percent. One hundred percent agree with you. You know, it'scritical. Then you've got, you know, the reinforcement. How do we makesure they don't fall back into their old habits? But when you're developingthat message part, when you're working on that co creation, you mentioned pullingin people that will have better words or things like that. Do you incorporateany like conversations with current customers to see what it was that resonated with them, or is this really just farming and pulling together the information and the expertisethat we have internally? Great question, chat and I think you need topull from several sources. Ideally, and I will say to to you andyour listeners, this doesn't have to take a year and a half. Imean you can do a lot of these things, a lot of this workfairly quickly, but I certainly at the first level because there's this historic disconnectbetween marketing and sales. So let's break that apart when we want to makesure that is not one area delivering something they expect another area of the companyto Parrot, just to say so marketing...

...and sales, I would look atand and what's the business case and what are the conversations that we want?So it might be, just as one example, that the business goal isto expand accounts, to expand the number of the things that you're doing into retain people, retain customers. If that's the case, then I wantto get that customer point of view why they're doing business, where that's whatwe're helping them with. What other things they consider along the way and stayahead of that. Now it might be you're seeing a problem with when ratesor Commoditization, that your margins are shrinking. You get into these beauty contests andand where you don't want to be as a seller. So then youwant to explore a little bit more maybe why you did not get certain deals, why, and I know number of companies will have you know, winlaw studies and that sort of thing. You want to be able to bringin those data points, those stories that are specific, again to the businessgoal that you have and then the conversations that will be necessary for you tohit that business goals. I say sample widely. Yeah, talk to asmany people as you kind of mean that there's a lot of focus. Nowwe it's almost got a point where is kind of a buzzword with that buyerjourney. What is what is the buyer experience from from first contact when theymight be in like a low interest, low awareness state, they're not interestedin what you're provided or not particularly where of your company, but then movingthem to that high interest, high awareness state where they are engaged, andthen all the way through the sales process there also has to be a connectionpoints of the messaging so that from an early stage prospecting standpoint through customer success, the individuals or the companies that you're working with don't feel like they're dealingwith multiple organizations. So there has to be some level of alignment and I'massuming this is where the interplay and amplification of these messages come in. Curiousif you've seen, not that I want...

...to throw anybody into the bus,but curious if you have seen where companies have their way out of alignment inthat and how you've helped them kind of get to that more consistent amplification ofmessage through the entire process. Well, and we won't mention any name andlook this, these are chronic issues and again it has to do with ourway we're organized. It has to do with our brains. It tends tolook it's complicated how we sell and how we buy, especially for high valuesolutions on the B Tob side of things. So it's a messy issue. It'snot inaccessible, we just need to break it into some some simple components. So yes, this happens and it happens to really good companies and reallygood teams and professionals that's why you need a good, simple, scientifically sound, practical approach to tackling the problem, again, knowing that you don't youdon't have to be perfect, because you won't be perfect, but that's fine. So I think is a clarifying way of approaching all of this. Itend to think of really good messaging as a three legged stool, and sothink of the the legs of message, Messengers and management habits. The messageis you need a story, and it's not a story that's that's not eventhe right way to put it. Yet you need things to say and andshare that are conversational and shareable. So I talked earlier about mission vision statements. They are allowsy basis for a real selling conversation, a good everyday businessconversation, because they are self referent and they tend to sound the same acrossindustries and across organizations. But you want something that's really interesting that a lotof the emphasis these days on storytelling is a component of that. Bite sizechunks things that are relevant to the customers...

...world, things that you can rememberin the moment and that, when they're heard on the other side, areunderstandable and interesting and that can be shared yet again. So there's components oftaking what might be say marketing language, which is around positioning, and bringingit into sales language and customer language. That's part of bringing in different,different people from the organization and in being really brutal about getting it down intoits slimming it down and getting into its right components. The messengers part isthinking about it can be your fan base of customers, but it's certainly theother people inside the organization who we're going to be carrying the message primarily properly, probably the sales team, but also maybe you may have lots of teamsthat have customer contact and oftentimes it's at the delivery or the maintenance or implementation. Those folks need to have at least some pieces of that message at theready that they're comfortable and confident and sharing as well. Then the third legof the stool, Chad, is management habits. Those are the ways thatwe bake this in to how we meet, talk, coach, reward, support, socialize. How do we get this to be into the fabric ofour culture so that people will know what to say and they will have developedthe skills and the repetition of doing it and then we'll get back to thatvery notion of confidence that you talked about earlier. People will be confident whenthey're they feel fluid in it. They think it's going to make them lookgood and it's going to help them hit their goals and they won't get whackedif they're trying it and it doesn't go great the first time. Right.So we're working on this, managers are working with their teams and we're allsharing successes and those wins, and so it becomes a very virtuous circle ofa good message, a lot of people...

...who are equipped and confident and sharingit, and then management habits that make this a more or less permanent partof your selling culture. And so that's I mean, that's a great breakdownon how we manage it internally, right. But them, and we all know, the minute we turn around where we can management as effectively internally aswe want, the minute we turn around and we let people lose, thenit's out in the wild and it's and it can take on a life ofits own right. So I'm curious how how it affects it. Like ifwe have this down, the message, the messages in the management habits,if we have it down, how does that impact, amplify affect things likeword of mouth or the concept of trustworthiness that maybe a buyer prospect has ordoesn't have with us? Curious, once you've got that down, is iteasier to see positive word of mouth happening and the trust, credibility and rapportgo up, or is that yet another layer of messaging management that has tobe considered? Well, these things certainly are a connected and you just thinkinto the everyday consumer world of word of mouth. If you have a greatmeal or see a movie, as your Netflix binging during this time the casemight be, and people are inclined to share their experiences with others that theythink might benefit and it helps them look good in the process. So ifwe are feeding a system chat of having the right sort of message and thinkingwho is that fan base of messengers going to be, including your current customers, are clients and channel partners and and other people, taking a nice broadview of it, then we will enable a lot of a lot more wordof mouth. And interesting in that even in this digital world, a lotof recent studies about where word of mouth happens, it's still is far moreon individual conversations in old fashioned analog stuff. Then it is through, say,social media or a lot of the digital marketing, not to say thatthe digital side of the house is an...

...important and increasingly important we want consistencyacross that, but it is in those conversations that's where the money is right. So we want to be able to connect those dots. You mention theword trustworthiness and I think that's worthy of just a moment because there are veryfew absolutes in this business world. But I would say absolutely chat a hundredpercent of the executives and companies that I work with say they want something alongthose lines. They want their teams to be trusted, trusted advisors, consultative, something around that area of trust, which we can imagine. There's lotsof great reasons why, and it's also the case that trust is an increasinglyscarce commodity. Let me go back a little bit from what we know aboutconsumer psychology and what I see in in everyday practice as well. So whatis trustworthiness really and how can we avoid the pitfalls and how can we getthat right? So I think of a very simple balance, that two thingsthat comprise trustworthiness. So I think of tea equals e plus e and thetea is trustworthiness. The to ease are expertise and empathy. These are related, but they're they're separate. What I what I find is that many teamsover index on this notion of expertise, so expertise being your credibility, yourcredentials, your years of experience, the logo slide that you have, allof that. It feels easier to express that because it it's objective and wecan show it and we're confident in being able to do that. But there'sthe other side of it. The empathy is our understanding of the customers situationand what makes them unique and what they're struggling with. Not Sympathy, butempathy. And when I find is that...

...conversations are the only means to reallybuild understanding and demonstrate your empathy by sharing a story, by asking a question, reflecting things back. So it's also easy, and maybe this is oneof the reasons why Chad that, that it is those conversations that drive wordof mouth and drive so much a business. A lot of the expertise stuff canbe shared digitally. It is your videos in your white papers and yourthought leadership and all of that. Again, it's important, as Super Important Foundation, but it's getting into the right kind of conversations the right time withright people and leading the conversation in a way that's friendly to the prospect ofthe customer, helps them solve a problem, helps them address an issue. That'swhere you will set yourself apart by building that trustworthiness and through demonstrating yourempathy. I love it and it is I love to hear you say becauseyes, everybody listen very closely. People still have conversations with people. It'snot it's not about the social media stuff just by itself. And you know, I think about my own experience. If I'm looking for a referral orsomething, I am having a conversation with people that I that I trust,and asking some very specific questions. It's not like one hundred, forty twocharacter limit something is going to convince me that I've found the right solution.My pointment in a direction, but I'm still going to want to want totalk to the individuals themselves. So all right, so let's let's change directionhere a little bit. We ask all of our guests to standard questions.The Inn of reaching first is simply as a revenue executive yourself. I meansyou're a prospect or target for other sales professionals. I'm always curious to understandwhen somebody doesn't have that trusted referral into you, when they don't have somebodythat you trust saying, Hey, you really should talk to this individual.What works for you for someone to effectively capture your attention, build the credibilityand earn the right to get time on your calendar? Well, Chad,I suspect that you and I can both...

...tell lots of stories and get itwrong, and a lot of it is just, do you know, divingright into a pitch. And I know I don't want any SEO. I'mjust fine, but you know, because we're in this world, I dohave a lot of empathy, have a lot of appreciation for what it doestake to be a great sales professional and a revenue generator. It. It'shard, you know, this is a tough job and so I try tohave a little grace. That said, there is a lot of bad practiceout there. I'll tell you, I'll put it maybe the other way around. In what tends to work and what I appreciate the most. I doappreciate those folks who can combine a couple of things. So the first isan expert point of view. They'll tell me something I didn't know or helpme look at a problem or opportunity in a different way, and that comesback to that expertise port. But so someone who can can say something.It doesn't have to be provocative. The fact that that it's insightful it's probablya self provocative. So I appreciate that part. But the second area thatI appreciate is is something that's tailored to me. Someone's done their homework,so they may understand the pattern, they may and they have their domain ofexpertise, but they also appreciate in an empathetic way that I'm not quite likeeverybody else, or at least I don't think I'm quite like everybody else.Everyone wants to consider themselves to be autonomous, right. So that means that thepeople who approach me the well, they're not giving me a presentation,all right and just pitching and they're not trying to force an interrogation on meeither, and they're not saying hey, it's you, how about we schedulea twohour call so I can ask you eighty seven questions about your business andwe'll see if we might be a good shit. So instead it's I actuallydo appreciate a conversation that would make me feel smarter and can give me somethingthat I think is of value. So...

...if it's not a presentation and it'snot an interrogation, it's probably a good conversation. Love it all right.Last question. We call it our acceleration insight. If there was one pieceof advice, if you were limited to one piece of advice, you couldtell sales, marketing or customer success people one piece of advice that you believewould help them hit or exceed their targets. What would it be and why?They can offer some practical and just realistic encouragement you having a message thatthat does justice to the value you offer. It's that that confidence issue. Thata huge gap that we talked about just at the top of our conversation. Knowing this is a chronic challenge. No one can do this well bythemselves and we're in our own bubble. We've got our brains talking to usin the wrong way. But all of this is a hundred percent under yourcontrol. You don't have to be perfect, but it's manageable. It's just managingwhat comes out of your mouth and what comes out of the mouths ofoot it in your business, and you'll just need a plan you whether youwant to call it a playbook or a guide or something that helps you breakthrough barriers, helps you break through the natural tendency to talk about ourselves toomuch, and it makes it something that's eminently shareable. So it can soundvery simple. conceptually it is simple, but with a little intention, alittle practice and and staying with it, then this is something you can actuallyuse to set your business apart and grow your revenue faster than you could haveotherwise. Excellent. All Right, Jim. If a listeners interested in talking moreabout topics we touched on or learning more about your services or your book, where where do you want us to send them? Well, for thefree stuff, which is always the very appealing, I'd say go to mywebsite, which is Jim cardcom. My last name is spelled ka a areH. it's a family branding issue and I'm just, you know, stuckwith it. If you can get close by the way, chat ups.I've purchased the domains of most of the...

...common misspellings in my name. Youcan get close, you'll find it. I have my own podcast called themanage you or message podcast, and so that's a nice resource as well.On the inexpensive stuff, I have have the book that you mentioned, whichyou can find on Amazon and audiobook us on audible, is basically on allthe ways that that you buy and consume business books and I break it downinto message, messengers management and offer a lot of tips and encouragement there andI would encourage anyone who's interested and once the connect on a Linkedin is myprimary social platform platform of choice. So at Jim car there would be greatand as long as you're not pitching me Seo services within for Nano seconds ofmaking the connection, I'd welcome that. So tell me that you heard hurtus here and and if any way that I can serve as a sounding boardor a source of inside to be happy to do that. Excellent, jam. I can't thank you enough for taking time to be on the show.It's been in a pleasure, pleasures all mine. Thanks. All right,everybody that does off this episode, you know the drill be to be REVexactcom share the friends of family, Co workers. Anybody's just stuck in quarantineand, if you like what you here do is a favorite, leave usa review on itunes. Till next time. We had value selling associates, whichwe all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenueexecutive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe tothe show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much forlistening. Until next time.

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