How to Land a Meeting With Anyone

All our lives, connecting will be important. We connect for friendship and for business, and there are always folks where we sense a pressing need to make contact. “If I could just get a meeting with this CEO” or “Our product is perfect for these guys, if only I could get Mr./Mrs. Jones to take a meeting!” We have aspirations to connect, and if the right process is applied (like most anything), you can find success.

Prioritize the steps of your process based on warmth of connection; the warmest thing being a live connection or referral to the coldest being blind outreach.

Furthermore, be cognizant that whatever your approach (one or all of the below) – stand out. Differentiate. Do not come to the table with the same old message these folks have likely already heard and ignored from anyone else in your shoes.

  1. Check your network connections. Want to meet the decision-maker at an organization you’re prospecting? We are blessed with all of these wonderful tools today that can assist you in finding these types of connections. Is the person you’re trying to reach connected with someone you know? Are they connected to someone who knows someone you know? Are they in groups you are affiliated with or could become a part of? It’s easiest to break ground in a new potential prospected relationship if a mutual contact brokers the meeting. Reach out to your mutual contact, explain your situation and see how comfortable they are in making the connection with and for you. Would it make sense to all meet over lunch or another activity? Think about it from your target prospect’s perspective: what would make them most likely to meet with a stranger with an unknown message? The advice of a friend or business contact.
  2. No apparent connections to the person you’d like to meet? Pick up the phone. Or, depending on the situation, consider the pop-in. I say this only because in today’s digitally heavy world, doing something different gives you the ability to stand out. Call the organization where this person works, or if you have their direct number even better. “Mr./Mrs. Jones – Hi – this is XXXXX; I’m calling because I’m quite taken with your approach on XYZ or… I’m trying very hard to enhance my skills and knowledge of your trade, and I would love to get any time you can spare to get your advice on the state of the industry….. or…. I’m impressed by your experience in XYZ….. or…… I see we’re fellow alma maters of XYZ and felt I could learn a great deal from you; is there a chance we could connect over coffee or lunch?” Be focused, be targeted, be hat in hand. And don’t sell it all at once. You may have in your mind already had fantasies of a multi-million dollar deal with this person, but they don’t know you from Adam (or Eve)… rather than trying to sell them something, you’re selling a meeting. Why should they talk to you? Few people want to be sold to; many people are glad to offer advice and strike up a conversation that gives them a chance to give back and impart knowledge. The best customers are good relationships and referrals, hence why you will utilize that very methodology in trying to land this first meeting.
  3. Use social selling techniques to get their attention. It’s likely you can find your intended target online, whether it is on professional sites or company webpage or other places. Not only can this tell you a little bit more about the person (where you can find interests, hobbies and affiliations) but you may be able to secure means by which to contact them. I’m not suggesting you follow them on Twitter and like everything they post. However, it does make a lot of sense to send them a LinkedIn connection request or InMail with the aforementioned philosophy focused on landing the meeting. Sample LinkedIn request: “Mr./Mrs. Jones – Good morning/afternoon! It is my hope this note finds you well. Based on your experience and our mutual interests, I felt you would be a great person from whom I could learn and share ideas. I’d be honored to be part of your network.” A message whose intent is to establish the reason you want to connect, along with proof you did a little homework enough to know a mutual interest, that is not asking for a sales conversation but rather flattering them and explaining you just want to forge a connection (1) does not require much work on their part upfront, (2) introduces you softly to them, as in they can read your profile and (3) gives you a higher probability at getting a receipt of their connection on LinkedIn. You can find out a lot about a person if they are (very likely) represented online. There are obvious exceptions to that rule, but a lot of folks who are not online may be more reachable by phone to their organization or showing up to get a meeting, and since those methods are not as prevalent in today’s society you actually stand a better chance at success.
  4. Consistent, respectful touches. Let’s say you have their phone number or e-mail address and are even connected on LinkedIn, but each overture has been either ignored or rebuffed. It’s discouraging, right? And a lot of folks may even stop attempting to land the meeting. Find ways to respectfully stay top of mind. If you are connected on LinkedIn, and you are posting content, they can obviously see it and passively decide whether or not to engage with it. Furthermore, let’s say you see an article that you believe would be pertinent to your target – send it to them and ask for their feedback! “Mr./Mrs. Jones – Hope you are well! Saw this article today, and I’m curious how you and your organization are addressing this issue. Any thoughts you could share?” Find ways to coax them to the table without force. They may not respond – the first time, the second, or even for years, but I’m telling you that eventually – good things will come to those who wait. Stay top of mind and make respectful touches, like sending them a newsletter or inviting them to events (maybe even the golf course, as this is a common place for business connections that a lot of people enjoy!) and eventually, your odds will only continue to improve. Until…
  5. Time exponentially and radically increases your chance of landing the meeting. Be patient and persistent. The planets sometimes have to align – you may be going about all of the right ways to land the first meeting, but you’ve just not caught their exact timetable of freedom or willingness or ability to take your call. It’s all about timing and perceived value and the message you’re attempting to land. Remember Bud Fox attempted to meet with Gordon Gekko 59 days in a row and it paid off Day 60 (Wall Street). I’ve had target clients who became receptive three years after I called on them, and for completely different reasons and messaging and attempted meeting types than what I went after when I started. Sometimes, the person in the position or title will change, and that’s what leads you to get the meeting (I was the first at the table to meet with the new C-Level because I followed the trades and I used the above methods to express my potential unique value and landed a meeting while they were the new kid on the block just wanting to make unique impact).

With time, consistent and thoughtful messaging crafted to give you the best probability of response, a variety of mechanisms of outreach including ones that are extremely passive that just keep you top of mind, coupled with the power of your growing network and your continued efforts to differentiate the type of value you deliver, you too can get a meeting with anyone.

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Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carson-V-Heady/125078150858064?ref=hl , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at cvheady007@yahoo.com or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page: https://carsonvheady.wordpress.com/the-home-of-birth-of-a-salesman-2010-published-by-world-audience-inc-and-the-salesman-against-the-world-2014/

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The Daily Sales Non-Negotiables

You are beginning and laying out your sales day. How do you ensure to not only achieve everything you must achieve, but to make progress on other initiatives, prospect, stay on top of e-mail and your administrative tasks in the span of one day? It can be daunting, but with the right mindset and prioritization tactics, you can not only achieve it but can master your day.
There are non-negotiables to perform each day.
1 – Your schedule. The first thing I do in the morning is scan my schedule for the day. There are times when I’m double- and triple- booked (once, I was actually septuple booked!) and apply some reality to the day. There are meetings and calls and appointments that are imperative and others that are not. Be mindful but self-aware: what of these must be done today, and what is not mission critical and could conceivably wait until another day if it benefits today? There are times when we take on everything or accept every meeting; days where we are overly booked as opposed to relatively open. If there are tasks on our calendar for the day that could stand to be moved and doing so would help free up needed time, unabashedly do so.
While on the topic of schedule, spend time each day going through the following business day’s appointments and send a quick confirmation, specifically for external sessions. If you are relying on a potential client or business partner to join you at a meeting especially, it is greatly beneficial to check in on the status – “Good morning/afternoon! Just confirming our session for tomorrow. Very much looking forward to it!” It’s a great reminder that shakes out the reality of the meeting. If a meeting is going to cancel, it’s best for you to know as soon as possible. If it’s on and you get a response, you can gauge how engaged the recipient is with the meeting. It’s a great best practice because if there is a change to one or more of these appointments, it can greatly impact your day from a planning and travel perspective. Best to know ASAP.
2 – Management of Your Brand/ Prospecting. There are a variety of tools at our disposal – some company-provided and others that are for your discovery on the web. No matter what your pipeline looks like, plant seeds every day. This could mean spending some time perusing the business journals to see what’s new with your clients and prospects. It could mean analyzing your LinkedIn/Sales Navigator feed to ascertain what’s new with contacts and who could be desired new contacts. It is also portrayal of your own brand – what are you sharing to social feeds? I’m not talking about your gym pics or quoted song lyrics – this is where you blog or share a business article or create or post content that you deem relevant. This is how you create and establish a presence and brand, but also how you become and stay top of mind with folks in your network. There are numerous philosophies on this, and some folks shy away from posting on social for a variety of reasons. I’ve found that scanning my feed to see what’s top of mind for clients, prospects, partners and organizations is extremely helpful in how I not only go to market, but how I maintain or move the ball down the field in a business relationship. It’s also just as important in establishing a brand. What do you want to be, to your network and to current and potential clients? What image do you want to convey? The greatest asset a salesperson can project in these mediums is differentiation. Your personal brand is all your own, and there are platforms today that allow you to manage your brand all while prospecting by geography, industry and discipline to find people who can have the conversations you want to be having. Invest time in this every day – even if it’s 15-20 minutes – because over time it will pay massive dividends in how you build your network and book of business.
3 – Deal Management. I’ll make this one as simple as possible, because it can be quite intimidating when we have a massive pipeline. Comb through your accounts, prospects and potential deals each day and ask yourself: How can I impact this deal today? It could be as simple as calling the customer or a partner to ascertain current status and help needed. It could be ensuring that milestones in the process are being hit (or establishing said milestones, which is paramount to making sure your deal is moving toward closure). It could be as complex as putting together a deal or working through the negotiation. It could just be a quick e-mail to make sure – even if the ball isn’t in your court – that the other folks on the deal are aware you’re here to help or to see where you can add value. It is very helpful to go through your list each day and ask yourself if there’s anything you can do to move the ball down the field. If there is, do it. If there isn’t, move on. This can make what seems like a big task seem a lot more palatable.
4 – Of course, meet your commitments, but Prioritize Your Day. Frankly, I’ll make an open notepad entry to myself of the stuff I have to get done that day and I’ll check it off/ highlight it/ whatever makes me able to see I’ve completed it throughout the day. It’s quite helpful as well to carve out openings on your calendar for tasks that must be completed. Know you have to do some training or fill out a form or submit reports or even just update your substantial pipeline, and don’t feel like you have any breathing room? If you’re juggling lots of appointments, and especially when internal folks can see your calendar availability, it’s quite helpful to just shamelessly schedule time on your own calendar to get these things done. Of course, being sure you are using that time as you intentioned in an age where people can still each you via phone, text and IM is another issue altogether, but sometimes you need to make an appointment with and for yourself to get these tasks completed.
5 – Prioritize your E-mail. Scan and respond to the items that need immediate response. I’ll often save the stuff that merits response that I do not have time to address right away. If a quick response is expected or needed, those are the e-mails you must tend to as soon as you can by prioritizing relationship and revenue. If my boss is asking me for a report, I make sure that happens in the timeframe (and if it’s by end of day, I’ll add it to my aforementioned notepad entry of daily musts). If a customer where there is a pending large deal needs information right away, I’m addressing it ASAP. Furthermore, if there is an opportunity to reply and pull in other team members who will be the ones managing the next step in the process, it’s quick and easy to send this and lift this note off your plate so you can move the ball and move on to your other tasks in one motion. Be responsive, be decisive, but do not allow e-mail to run you over. You likely well know you could sit in e-mail all day every day and never feel like you’ve caught up while everything else around you that needs more attention falls by the wayside.
6 – HAVE FUN. The game of sales is exhilarating. No day will go as you intended. Go in with little to no expectation of how it will go or even how you want it to go; the pieces are set and the game is afoot when you get out of bed to begin your regimen. Yesterday might have been an utter failure, but today’s a freshly mowed and watered field and a new game is on the horizon. You’ve got to enjoy what you do. You’ve got to gravitate toward the components you enjoy most, be it time with customers and partners, leading teams, spending time in the throws of the relationship-building processes. Be proud – you’re an advocate for your clients and an ambassador of your organization. Act like it in everything you do, and have fun along the way. Take it all seriously, but don’t be so serious you miss out on the joys. Take the stressful situations in stride and don’t tackle them alone. Get others who can help you or that you can learn from either in the boat with you or seek their advice on how they’ve mastered tasks you want to master. We’re all learning, we’re all evolving, and oh what a fun journey it is along the way.
Master the day, and your body of work will be a masterpiece over time.
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Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G
Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.
Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carson-V-Heady/125078150858064?ref=hl , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at cvheady007@yahoo.com or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page: https://carsonvheady.wordpress.com/the-home-of-birth-of-a-salesman-2010-published-by-world-audience-inc-and-the-salesman-against-the-world-2014/

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What is True Customer Obsession?

Customer service is so yesterday. Anyone can provide service – it’s table stakes. To truly stand out today, a coin has been termed entitled “customer obsession.” But what is it? Are those people and organizations that claim to be customer obsessed truly so? Let’s examine:
“Customer obsession” is a great terminology. If executed properly, it is supremely beneficial for all related parties. A powerful relationship between an organization and its buyers transcends the transaction: it becomes a partnership in the truest sense of the word. The truly customer-obsessed organization is looking for ways to take that partnership to another or new level – how these entities who exchange goods, services, knowledge share and the like can find additional synergies and create new potential paths to mutual revenue streams and growth.
True customer service and obsession is not as prevalent as some might hope, because despite the mantra or motivation, something falls flat in execution. This makes it all the more important to truly partner in a respectful, two-way collaboration that not only fosters great ideas and strategy but ability to execute, to pivot, evolve, adapt and address concerns effectively.
Be Present. Be available, be truly there, open arms, working proactively to forge a relationship. Anyone can prospect or call on an organization – what unique value do you and your organization bring? What new ways can you potentially view the potential for the partnership, that differ from what this customer has heard before? Focus on starting new conversations. Differentiate yourself from the herd of other sellers and other sales organizations and find a unique common ground. It will garner a different type of reception when reception transpires. And be persistent but targeted with your targeted outreach and your delivery of message; it’s important to grow and scale at the right pace so you have bandwidth to serve.
Listen. Once you are at the table, it’s important to have a conversation to uncover a few things – where can you add value? What gaps exist for this potential client? What are their priorities, pain points and projects that make sense for you to address? Get to the table by talking about the things that matter to them. Once you’ve earned your seat at the table and you’ve brought value to them, you can talk about what matters to you. There is no better way to make it there than upfront positioning of unique value to them, arriving to uncover what matters to your prospect, and delivering. Always hear them out. Even when you may not be able to help them, even when your solution may not be the answer; your goal is to become a trusted advisor so that they are turning to you when they need help.
Be Responsive. Customers have chosen to do business with me in the past because I was quick to respond; even if I was not the answer man, I quickly replied and pulled in the right folks. Even if I did not get the answer right away or even quickly, I was regularly in communication and they could see the efforts I was making to secure responses or numbers or resources. Communication is the most important piece of any relationship – while there are always ways to improve our communication and make it more effective and productive, your willingness and ability to communicate and be responsive so others are able to depend on you is a unique value that will absolutely differentiate you from the pack. This is not just in the early-going when you’re trying to earn their business – it’s always. Even if you don’t perceive an immediate benefit to the response, you never know how your responsiveness or lack thereof can influence and impact that relationship, other related relationships or relationships and scenarios to come. Fall off the map after you’ve sold someone, and you may miss out on future opportunities, referrals, or situations where the people you worked with move on and you could have impacted another organization. Make time to respond!
Remove obstacles. In any relationship of the sales food chain, your responsibility to the link next to you is to remove barriers that exist in the partnership. Someone may be willing to give you or your organization a chance, and there is a modicum of leeway that exists for you to get it right and deliver on the proposed promises. There are only a certain number of missed deadlines or failures you’re allowed, if any, so you must be very much at the pulse of what’s transpiring in the relationship. Customer obsession means being very attuned to the situation and satisfaction level existing between your parties. Remove barriers to getting a deal done. Remove blockers that exist – red tape in your organization, which often means you’re the one serving the role of conduit to your greater organization and pulling the necessary levers and leveraging the right parties. You may have multiple roles or facets of your organization touching a customer – someone has to be the orchestrator and the face to the client and customer obsession may dictate you’re it. Keeps things simpler for the client so they can work through you, but it may mean you are working very hard to tie all of the pieces of your business together. Any way you slice it, if you are customer obsessed, you are looking for ways to address the inevitable challenges that arise in the relationship swiftly, respectfully and thoroughly. Your ability to do so will enhance the partnership and their perception of you as their advocate.
Be Part of the Plan. Where are they taking their business? What areas can you identify where you and your organization can add value? The more you focus on the holistic approach rather than getting caught up in the deal, the more likely you’ll be a longtime valued partner. The more you know about their business, even if it’s not pertinent today for a deal you’d like to get done, it may help you serve as a connector with other folks you know who can aid them, it may inform future conversations and it may open up possibilities you had not previously considered.
Customer obsession is making the customer the center of your world. It’s focusing intensely on what matters to your audience and staying focused on it through the passage of time and challenges and wins and losses. It’s one thing to say you’re customer obsessed and quite another to live it through dedication to the partnership. Are you customer obsessed?
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Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G
Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.
Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carson-V-Heady/125078150858064?ref=hl , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at cvheady007@yahoo.com or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page: https://carsonvheady.wordpress.com/the-home-of-birth-of-a-salesman-2010-published-by-world-audience-inc-and-the-salesman-against-the-world-2014/

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R.I.P. Luke Perry

“Beverly Hills, 90210” – undoubtedly my favorite show of all time because of the impact at that time of my life – launched when I was 11 – my oldest daughter’s age today. In junior high, if you hadn’t seen last night’s 90210, you weren’t in the conversation. My parents wanted to screen the show when they found out I was starting to watch it, and of course the one episode they watched, Emily Valentine slipped Brandon drugs and so this show was deemed inappropriate… so I would sneak-watch it. I’d have it on and change the channel when I heard them coming (though I’m sure they knew all along, since you could see the number displayed on the screen when a channel change had occurred).
I grew up with 90210, watching it in junior high, high school and college – my most impressionable years. I aged from 11 to 21 during its run.
For me, Dylan McKay was the show. He was so cool. Every guy was intimidated by him and wanted to be him, and every girl wanted him. He had some close friends, was worldly but was the loner – the badboy. He had a very intentional James Bond vibe but also a beat poet affinity (he procured a Walter PPK when he got held up, his wife got gunned down in his convertible 007-style, but he longed to travel the open road and write the great American screenplay). Luke Perry infused life and relatability to this guy who struggled with all kinds of stuff through many rises and falls and family issues and love lost.
I watched 90210 until November 1995 when Dylan McKay drove his motorcycle off into the sunset. Luke Perry was in “Fifth Element” with a brief cameo, made tremendous Lane Frost biopic “8 Seconds” but later – after the film career never exploded – returned to 90210 (and I started watching again). I’ve loved few characters on screen more than Dylan McKay.
Luke Perry has died at 52 years old – far too young. He was able to do some passion projects along the way and certainly leaves a legacy. Can’t believe he’s gone, all while “90210” is slated to return for a third go-around this summer. Clearly, he was well-respected as a person by those in his trade based on the outpouring of love from Hollywood. Prayers for his family and loved ones. R.I.P. Luke Perry.

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Deal Transparency is the Greatest Negotiation Tactic

Some deals can be quite challenging to get done.
There are a number of factors that lead to deals becoming challenging; there’s the financial reasons like budgets and perception of value, rising costs and total costs of ownership. There is public knowledge – we live in an information age where it’s relatively easy to price shop or learn more information about the pricing and results of products and services. There’s also ego – a lot of folks pride themselves as tough negotiators and they are intentionally focused on maintaining that reputation. I can tell you, having at various points in my career both being on point negotiating deals or getting called in to help get deals done, that I have found success by adhering to one defining principle: deal transparency.
Customers know that you are in sales. There is occasionally, deserved or not, a stigma attached to the salesperson, which leads customers to believe that you are not taking their best interests into consideration on your side of the negotiating table. Change that opinion. Take the same approach in negotiating a deal as you would and should with any attempt you are making to partner, for discovery, and for other stages of your selling process – truly listen, understand where they are coming from and what they need, and give them a look behind the curtain of how the deal works from your end.
It has helped me tremendously to share with clients “These are the factors that come into play when we are seeking some type of incentive.” There are often numerous types of incentives and resources that you can bring to the table – it’s imperative to outline all of the value included in your offering that is pertinent to the discussion, the additional pieces that are included as part of their investment, the things you can do or are willing to do for them because of the potential investment, and the “secret sauce” – it is not appropriate to tell them every detail of how much discounting you think you can get for them or how that’s factored in, but you can absolutely share with them some of the criteria taken into consideration as the deal is crafted and the discount is sought and settled upon.
The “bundle” is an extremely prevalent concept in today’s selling market. It’s frequent that an organization will bundle its offerings in an attempt to entice via additional value and reduced costs. So apply the same concept in crafting your deal, even if a bundle does not necessarily exist, and honor the “holy sales trinity” – the customer, your company, and you. All three entities must benefit from each deal, and the more intentional you are about catering to all three, the more likely the deal is to close and to benefit all parties.
Listen to and understand the challenges your customer has to make this deal. Budget, timeline and working with the true power in the organization – having buy-in – are all critical pieces. Furthermore, know the parameters of your sales metrics that are impacted – what does your company want you to sell? Will creating a “bundle” that speaks to these components enable you to secure greater pricing incentives for the customer? How can you create a deal that enables you to tell a story within your organization to the folks you are selling this deal to (the approvers)?
Know the roadmap for the customer. Where do they want to be? All things aside, what do they want on this deal and for the foreseeable future? Is there a way you can make that reality, sprinkle in the stuff that your company loves and that you guys get paid on, and put a bow on it?
Create an environment that is conducive to partnership. Be flexible. If you take a hard stance on a deal – “Do this, or there’s no deal or discount” you are very likely sending a message that will prevent them from wanting to work with you. But if you proactively tell them, “Hey, I hear your concerns about budget. I understand your timeline. This is where my company is coming from – we want to incentivize you to invest in this piece or this piece, and we’re willing to partner with you and involve resources from our organization to help you on that planning and execution. I propose we include these pieces you absolutely want and we find some areas we can include that my company is most inclined to incentivize, and I can socialize that story internally to optimize your discount.”
Everybody has to leave the deal feeling some satisfaction. We all need a win. Few deals are going to leave everyone 100% satisfied, but if we are fully cognizant of where our customers’ priorities and positions lie and we marry that to our organization’s needs and our payout wants, we can very truly find balance that works for all. I will absolutely give deal transparency to clients so they truly understand what it takes to get the best deal possible amidst the guidelines and parameters my business is operating on. It fosters trust, partnership and it will give you the highest probability of getting the deal done. Your clients want to work with people they can trust, and transparency in the business can be a great investment into your relationships that pays huge dividends in many ways for years to come.
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Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G
Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.
Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carson-V-Heady/125078150858064?ref=hl , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at cvheady007@yahoo.com or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page: https://carsonvheady.wordpress.com/the-home-of-birth-of-a-salesman-2010-published-by-world-audience-inc-and-the-salesman-against-the-world-2014/

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If You Want Something From Me, Don’t Make That The Only Time We Speak

A text or call or e-mail breaks a silence from a long lost friend or acquaintance and they want to connect – great! It will be good to catch up. Maybe you spent time together personally, professionally or both, and you envision a fun lunch where you can catch up and chat about old times.

You get to the lunch and you flow into the old act. You comment on that old boss you had, that time so-and-so got away with something or another or which romances have since cooled. You chat about work and the family. Then, unexpectedly, comes the pitch.
I get it. We all have to make a living and we all need help from time to time. Our networks are one of our greatest strengths in our career – specifically when looking to find a new role. Asking for help or advice outright is fine and good. Hiding under the pretense of catching up or talking specifically about something new in my life – maybe less so. And only hearing from someone when they want something from you is the pits.
We are all very busy in life, but we make time for priorities. I won’t claim to be the best at staying in touch with everyone I care about, but I certainly do attempt to make (for lack of a better terminology) regular check-in’s on folks – whether they are on my social media feed and I realize I should check on them, or just sending them a quick text, or just doing what I like to call “continuing the conversation.” We have so many ways to connect in today’s day and age, yet I fear we are getting worse at truly connecting.

Our younger days were so uncomplicated. We’d call or just show up and it would be time to play, ride bikes, do sports. We did not want anything from others but companionship, a feeling of belonging, comradery. As we get older, we get extremely busy with work, family, kids, events, and we prioritize a select group of people and things – let’s face it, we all do. But only reaching out to folks when you want something from them is bad form.
Make time every month or so to just cycle through your texts and your contacts and just reach out. Say hello. Stoke the fire a bit. Because if the only time someone hears from you is when you are asking for favors, the likelihood of response or receipt of said favor is greatly diminished. A warm, connected relationship has a much higher probability of yielding mutual value anyway – and this value can come in the form of friendship, a listening ear, shoulder to cry on or a trusted advisor with advice or career connections. Think about how much time you spend needlessly scrolling through the same social media feed or watching television – or doing something that is disconnected. Use the time to perhaps reach out to a few folks and rekindle the conversation. It’s a two-person dialogue and someone has to start it – why not you?

We can all get better at this. Perhaps some of us are masters at connecting and staying connected with their network. Even if it’s proactively going through and commenting on folks’ social media posts of things that are important to them, being engaging with questions and genuine joy in their joy and grief in their grief, you can stay top of mind and keep the friendship and connection in the forefront rather than back burner.
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Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G
Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.
Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carson-V-Heady/125078150858064?ref=hl , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at cvheady007@yahoo.com or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page: https://carsonvheady.wordpress.com/the-home-of-birth-of-a-salesman-2010-published-by-world-audience-inc-and-the-salesman-against-the-world-2014/

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How Endurance and Tenacity Can Translate to an Amazing Sales Career

Thrilled to have been interviewed by for the Sales Hacker Podcast! Why Endurance and Tenacity is Important for Sales Success – Listen here!

Why Endurance and Tenacity is Important for Sales Success w/ Carson Heady

 

What You’ll Learn

  • The importance of social selling
  • The backstory behind the “Birth of a Salesman” series
  • Why endurance and tenacity are the key traits to success
  • Building a referral system that drives leads
  • Being busy is cheap, prioritizing is expensive – the importance of finding time for yourself
  • What is the Holy Trinity of Sales?

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [0:09]
  2. About Carson Heady: An Introduction [4:39]
  3. A Book Within a Book: How Birth of a Salesman Was Born [9:23]
  4. The Holy Trinity of Sales [13:40]
  5. How Endurance, Perseverance, and Scheduling Carve Out Success [18:43]
  6. Success in Enterprise Sales Comes Down to Relationships and Probability [42:40]
  7. Sam’s Corner

Sales Hacker Podcast—Sponsored by Chorus and Outreach

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody. It’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome back to the Sales Hacker Podcast. Today, we’ve got a great show. We’ve got Carson Heady, a three time novelist who writes about sales. They’re novels featuring salespeople as protagonist, called the Birth of a Salesman series. He’s going to talk to us about that.

He’s also going to talk about what it’s like carrying a bag at Microsoft as a cloud specialist working on some of their products, how to effectively do social selling, why it’s important to cast a wide net, why you have to understand probabilities, what the Holy Trinity of sales is. There’s a lot of great nuggets in here.

Now, before we get into that, we want to thank our sponsors. The first is Chorus.ai, the leading conversation intelligence platform for high growth sales teams. With Chorus.ai, more reps meet quota, new hires ramp faster, leader become better coaches. Everyone in the organization collaborates over the actual voice of the customer.

Our second sponsor is Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach supports sales reps by enabling them to humanize their communications at scale, from automating the soul sucking manual work that eats up selling time to providing action oriented tips on what communications are working best. Outreach is running Unleash 2019: The Sales Engagement Conference. It’s going to be an amazing conference, March 10th through 12th. Hop over to unleash.outreach.io and use the code “SHPOD” to save $100 off your ticket. I can tell you that San Diego in March is a better place to be than most other places in the country. Here’s today’s show.

About Carson Heady: An Introduction

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody. Today’s guest is a very special guest. He’s an award-winning author and a top performing sales leader, speaker and management consultant. He’s Carson Heady, author of the Birth of a Salesman series, which details the art of sales from interviewing, through preparation pitching, closing and advancing your career.

He’s served in multiple levels of leadership at Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. He’s currently working at Microsoft, overseeing partner relationships and leading strategic sales planning. He’s got a strong social media presence of over 330,000 followers. Welcome, Carson.

Carson Heady: Sam, thanks so much. Appreciate the opportunity.

Sam Jacobs: We’re glad to have you. Tell us a little bit about your background, what you’re doing currently, and some high level overview of both your role at Microsoft, and also the books that you wrote, the Birth of a Salesman series.

Carson Heady: A little bit about me. I’m just a guy who is passionate about selling and kind of came across it by happenstance. I thought I was getting myself into a customer service type role after college. Turned out it was a pretty intense selling. Within a month, I was tops in the office and very quickly rose through the ranks. I just had lot of fun in sales. I’ve worked in telecom and advertising and now in technology. It’s been incredible.

It’s been a very rewarding experience and I continue to learn. I’d consider myself a student of sales.

A Book Within a Book: How Birth of a Salesman Was Born

Sam Jacobs: Tell us about your books. What prompted you to write them? Three books is deeply impressive. Tell us what they’re about–the Birth of a Salesman series–walk us through the trilogy as it were.

Carson Heady: I’ve always had a natural inclination to write. Yet, at the same time, I was like, sales books have been done so many times, and so well, I can’t possibly contribute to that ecosystem. And I created a fictional author of a sales book. He basically learns the lesson through real life application and then writes about it in a book. It’s a book within a book. It was a labor of love.

Birth of a Salesman, obviously a twist off of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, from a title standpoint. It follows this guy and he goes through typical things that I think we all encounter. I took a lot of influence from people that I had worked with, and some of my own experience of things that we had seen, and created a story. That’s what prompted it.

I think that’s the greatest thing about being in sales is that you’ll always have more story to tell.

I would encourage you to journal your experiences. You don’t have to set out to write a book, but I’ll tell you if I can do it, anybody can.

The Holy Trinity of Sales

Sam Jacobs: If we wanted to grab the Cliff’s Notes of the three books, and not focus on the plot or the narrative, but focus on the key concepts that you’re trying to convey, what are those key concepts in your opinion?

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Carson Heady: That’s a great question. When it started out, a lot of it was around what I felt was attention to the sales food chain–how important it is to be linked and to have a positive interaction and relationship with everybody that you’re touching in the sales food chain.

I also have a philosophy about the Holy Sales Trinity.

The Customer | The Company | You

Those three entities have to benefit from every deal that’s constructed. If somebody loses in that deal, it’s a bad deal. Walk away from it. Don’t do it.

You’ve got to be very forward thinking, but also focused on the priorities of the here and now.

I’m a firm believer that if you’ve got the right people–people that have the right approach, work ethic, endurance–doing the right process–the one that’s got the highest probability at success each leg of the selling process, you’re going to equate to success.

At each step of the process of selling, it’s so important that we’re focused on that step. When I’m prospecting, I can’t focus on the end result. I can’t focus on trying to sell everything and anything that I’ve got in my little bag of goodies.

The last thing I’ll say on that topic would be, if you’d ask me 10 years ago what I thought was the most important thing in sales, I would have probably said work ethic or tenacity.

But frankly, at this stage in my career, I would say it’s endurance because there’s so many times that we are going to go into selling situations where we’re going to be told no, where deals don’t go our way even at the last minute where internal politics, bureaucracy, process impedes us.

The way that we react and respond to that is going to determine our destiny. If we react poorly, if we get frustrated and complain, that’s not only going to create a negative brand for yourself, but it’s also going to ensure that you’re not successful in that role.

How Endurance, Perseverance, and Scheduling Carve Out Success

Sam Jacobs:  It’s a great lesson, talking about endurance, perseverance, and maintaining a positive attitude. How do you do that? We all hear “no” more than we hear “yes.”What do you recommend?

Carson Heady: I had one of the best years of my career this past year. It was coming off a tough year, actually. I learned a ton, but I lost a lot of deals last year. Because of that, I took so much learning on the other deals that I had that I won very substantially, and that was all that really mattered in the box score.

You’re talking about routines. That’s very personal for everyone to find kind of what their routine looks like, but I would say that it’s all about, for me, prioritization of my schedule and making sure that I’m carving out time to do the things that have to be done. Being strict to follow process. For me that looks like hey, I’m up early. I’m usually up by 4:00-4:30.

Sam Jacobs: What?

Carson Heady: Oh, yeah. I’m up early because that’s really the only alone time I’m going to get for the day and the only time that I can really totally 100% free my mind.

I’m up. I’m on the treadmill. I’m lifting weights. I come up with some of my best ideas. I can look at my work email, but I’m not beholden to anything because nobody’s calling me and I’m completely left alone so I can plan my day. I had a manager tell me a few years back, if there is something that’s scheduled for that day that isn’t paramount to your process and you’ve got other things that take priority, offer to move that meeting and push it out to a time where it’s more conducive and really prioritize what you’ve got to get done that day.

You’ve got to prioritize. Maybe it’s scheduling time to read a book or maybe it’s scheduling time specifically to prospect. Carving out that hour where you’re going through and you’re consistently prospecting, everyday going through the business journals, going through your LinkedIn, your Sales Navigation, doing some outreach, planting seeds for future success, being consistent and consistently applying process is what’s going to yield results.

RELATED: The One Thing I Wish I Knew at 22…

Success in Enterprise Sales Comes Down to Relationships and Probability

Sam Jacobs: Are there one or two other key lessons that you think we should take if we want to be successful, particularly in enterprise sales? Besides perseverance, what do you recommend we think about when we’re pursuing a 12-18 month sales cycle for seven figures?

Carson Heady: So glad you asked that, Sam. It’s all about relationships. There’s a lot of tools that are out there. Nothing will ever replace the face-to-face though.

They pay more to go through me because I was responsive and they knew that I would take care of them. If there was an issue, I didn’t go into hiding. I was on it immediately, pulling in the right people.

You never know when that’s going to come back around. It’s going to benefit you. Some of these folks will move to different roles or to roles at different companies and then that’s another potential prospect for you. Be very mindful of the relationship and do everything you can to devote yourself to that. The last thing I would highlight, talking about the perseverance piece, the relationships piece, is probability.

We’re in a game that can be broken down into a science and mathematics.

If I’m prospecting, if I’m doing five different activities to prospect instead of one, you better believe I’ve got a better chance of getting a hold of the person that I want. Be as opportunistic as you can, but use as many mechanisms as you can to get in front of these people. Remember: upfront, you’re selling a meeting. You’re not selling your product or service. Figure out what you need to say to get that meeting and realize that it is a numbers game. You’re going to need to try to sell a hundred meetings to get one sometimes.

  • Change your messaging
  • Evolve
  • Pivot
  • Be adaptable
  • Be coachable

Those are the types of things that are really going to change or drive change. You’re going to change your selling process over and over and over through the years. Don’t make drastic changes per se, but if you see a quality change that you can make, maybe better questions that you ask or you pick up words or best practices from somebody else that you managed to sell with, those are the types of things that are going to help your sales process get better.

Sam’s Corner

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody. It’s Sam’s Corner. Carson Heady, author of the Birth of a Salesman books, and also works at Microsoft. He is doing the hard yards of prospecting, opening up new opportunities with partners, closing deals. What I like most about Carson is just his overall attitude. He mentioned endurance. He mentioned the ability to take a loss and keep moving.

Carson’s very focused on probabilities, but he’s also focused on process. One of the parts about process is to schedule time for yourself. I’ve worked in a lot of companies just grinding from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to sleep. You cannot do that for a career. You will burnout. You need to schedule time for yourself. You need to take vacations. You don’t need to feel guilty. You don’t need to be there until 9 PM.

Learning the act of saying no to things that are not a priority is a key skill set of being an executive and it will also dramatically improve the quality of your life. Listen, I’m a person that lectures people on what time to wake up, but it’s more important that when you come to work, you are feeling good. A good mood is more important than staying at the office until 10 PM. That has been Sam’s Corner.

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