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Conversations That Sell, with Nancy Bleeke [Episode 769]

Words matter. Perhaps now more than ever. In this episode, Nancy Bleeke, author of one of my favorite sales books, Conversations that Sell, joins me to share how to connect with people during a crisis. And we break down (to a practical level) how to effectively open a conversation with a new prospect, existing prospect, or customer.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: Nancy. Welcome back to the show.

Nancy Bleeke: So glad to be here, Andy.

Andy Paul: It’s good to have you. I mean, it’s always good to talk to a fellow Wiscon-sonian.

Nancy Bleeke: You know, what do you think about people calling us Sconies?

Andy Paul: The first time I’ve heard it.

Nancy Bleeke: Really? Oh, okay.

Andy Paul: Really, Sconies?

Nancy Bleeke: People, people not from Wisconsin call us sconies. I’m like what, that’s not what we’ve ever called ourselves.

Andy Paul: Like Zonies from Arizona.

Nancy Bleeke: Yeah.

Andy Paul: Yeah, that’s what we call the people in Arizona in Southern California, when they come over in the summertime to get away from the heat. The Zonies are here. no, I had not heard that. Badger’s I could go with.

Nancy Bleeke: But not Sconies.  It was someone from Michigan and then I’ve seen it since then. I just think it’s odd. Don’t we get to name ourselves.

Andy Paul: Yeah, that’s right. All right. So we are recording this in the heart of the great pandemic of 2020. where are you keeping yourself safe?

Nancy Bleeke: Keeping myself safe right now in Southern Cal, Southern Florida, not Southern California. That’s where you go.

Andy Paul: I wish I were in Southern California right now. I’m in the heart of it right here in New York City . So we’re going to talk about helping small businesses set up their sales function. But I think we should address what is going on in terms of how this has an impact on small businesses, cause it definitely does, right?

you know, because the impact throughout, up and down throughout the supply chain, small businesses certainly, generally, don’t have the same reserves as big companies. And we know big companies are furloughing employees left and right. What are you seeing in the clients that you’re working with?

Nancy Bleeke: You know, it’s interesting. A few weeks ago, I personally also had a panic, like, Oh my gosh, what does this mean to everybody I know and care about? And what I found was within days, they pivoted. They were all back in and I find that they’re, they showed more resiliency and flexibility in their operations, the small businesses than the larger companies that I’ve worked with in the past, who immediately- I remember 2008, 2009, 2010, 9/11, that you know, within a month, everybody cut everything from the large companies I was working for. And I was expecting the same thing, with this time I was already like, okay, what am I going to adjust to my business?What about my team? What are we going to do?

And within three days it was obvious I needed to do nothing to cut back because everyone was like, no, we’re still in. Like, we still need to sell. In fact, we want to go in more, like we want to be more proactive in our, our selling or our business development efforts. I’m serious. It has been fascinating.

I do a lot of work with wealth management. Wealth management firms, 20 or less advisors. And so, they were like, you know, no, now is the time we have to stay in touch with people. So we, we, we’re, we’re staying the course. And I was like, this is, this is different, but small businesses are different, right?

There is a difference. People are more, people are often playing more than one role. There is a lot of flexibility for everything. And so, there’s not a lot of overhead fluff and so everybody’s kind of critical to things going forward. And I think also the mindset of risk tolerance is there. Right.

They have a higher risk tolerance because they’re not reporting out public numbers and worried about those sorts of things. And so I have to say I’m really proud to be working with these companies that see that they’re still going to be needed. They’re needed right now. And we’ve really, helped there people focus on staying and connection, you know, staying in contact with just human, you know, being a human being. How are you doing? Is there any, you know, questions you have? And not pushing sales or pushing, you know, but sales are coming because they’re being just good people.

Andy Paul: Sure. Well, I think that’s really, really essential. I was having this conversation with somebody yesterday is tha, yeah, he was complaining about the fact that he had seen on LinkedIn that, you know, all this sort of macho talk about, you know, double down. Now’s the time, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And, and he was saying that, yeah, as a, he was CRO of a SaaS startup that’s that’s, you know, fairly well positioned, but saying that, that, you know, what they’re finding with their customers, and they’re selling to the enterprise customers and midsize companies, is that, yeah, things have come to a halt, right. And people are reassessing. Everybody’s going to reassess. It doesn’t mean they’re not going to come back and, and say, we don’t need what you want. Or, you know, I think what we’re going to see is, as people say, look, we, yeah, we were talking about this huge deal with you with, you know, with X number of seats. But yeah, we’ve got the specific pain point we really do need to fix right now. So let’s fix that, then we’ll see what’s going to come. And I think you’re, and he was saying, is those are the conversations they’re having as is, or the customer saying, yeah, we’re just not sure right now. So if the customer is not sure right now, what should your approach be?

Nancy Bleeke: Your approach should be to be there for them. To see what you can offer them a value now. One of the things I said is, you know, talk to people even about how is it working from home? Are they looking for any tips, you know, there, or what are they doing? The people that have their kids at home from school.

But just, you know, I gave them this framework, you know, just call and say these words. I was thinking about you and fill in something specific. I was thinking about and, you know, knowing that right, you have school aged children, how is that going? And just be quiet and let them talk. They’re going to take the conversation where it goes.

And my advice was don’t take it to business unless they do. Because the business will come at the right time and trying to push people for decisions right now. Goodness, it’s going to backfire because they’re, you know, in a lot of the advisors I work with, like, I don’t want people to think I’m trying to take advantage of them, you know, in a time, you know, where they don’t they’re they don’t want to be taken advantage of.

But I want them to know that I’m there. And so this just finding, yeah. Out, how are you doing? What questions do you have at this time? Is there any way I can help you? And even if you were at the final stage of the sale and ready for a decision don’t call asking for the decision. And, and see larger companies that would be like, you can’t tell them that, but the smaller companies get it.

And what’s fascinating is through these conversations, there’s plenty of people that are saying, I’m glad you called because I am ready now. Like when can we get started? But I also know that this will be a short period of time with that. And then they are going to have to get into proactive efforts, you know, whether that’s a month from now or two months from now.

And so they’ve got to keep their skills fresh too. And if people are going to, and I saw people do this in 2010 in the financial services world, they backed off, you know, I’ll, I can help people, but I’m not going to do any selling efforts. And they were not positioned then when things started picking up because they were starting from scratch.

But the people that had kept in contact kept relationships going. We’re well positioned to just ramp up and I saw them recover faster than the other people. And so that’s why I’m, I right away started doing webinars. Like, you know, what do you do now? What’s the conversation need to look like now? And, and I, it was amazing.

We did one of them within like a, I think we decided, wrote the campaign to get stuff out and did it the next morning, less than 12 hours later and we had 88 signups.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, I think that this is, this is, this is really an important issue because obviously yeah, maybe a master of understatement with that, but, but getting it right is really important. And, and yeah, I think that, that people are sort of gravitating to the extremes, as we tend to do, which is you either need to keep, keep my, you know, pedal to the metal or I need to back off completely because I’m trying to be sensitive and you’re not being sensitive by not communicating to your, to your prospects. You’re being sensitive by communicating to them as you’re talking about. And, and this whole idea is, well, how can I be a value to somebody who’s not really intending to make a decision in the short term? But by doing so you then do position yourself so that when the world inevitably turns around, you’re the first person they think about because you had stayed in touch in a way that was a value to them.

So what is, what are some of the things people can do with that, to be a, be a value other than just being empathetic and being an ear to listen for your buyers in this stage?

Nancy Bleeke: Well, it’s interesting. It isn’t that you’re going to be the first person they think of, but when you contact them, the feeling of goodwill and the trust is going to be there. Right. So, so I saw this really nice chart about how do you build trust and, and, you know, people really focus on their expertise, you know, of whatever it is that they’re offering.

Right. We’re the best at this. We, you know, we provide this, we know this, that you don’t. And that, that whole, that saying about people don’t care how much, you know, until you know, how much they care is is, is so true right now. And it does start with empathy, but then it goes to reliability and then, and then knowledge, expertise, like that’s what people are looking for. So right now, right. You start with empathy, but the reliability is about showing up. And so that’s one of the things to do to, to be a value right now, show up. Ask questions, to find out how things are going, you know. What are they concerned about? You know, what’s going on? What do they see in, in the near future, in the far future?

Not again, looking for, how am I going to shove what I’m selling at them, but just what, where are there thoughts? Because you’re going to see some people are more resilient and their thoughts are going to turn to business and whatever it is, you’re offering faster than others. But it, and so if you’re in ongoing connection, that that is, you know, you’re going to, you’re going to be the one that’s talking to them and, identifying that pivot and then being able to start that business conversation up again.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I’m, I referenced Charlie Green earlier, who was the coauthor of the book, Trusted Advisor and, and, you know, one of the foremost experts on trust around, and, and he brought up an interesting point, he said, yeah, during this, this, well in general, but especially during this time, is that as a seller, you not only need to be able to ask the questions you talked about what you really say, Gee, how are you feeling right now? And what’s happening with the kids etc etc. But you also need to be able to talk about your own feelings. And so, cause he brought this up in the context where I think it was really important for people to keep in mind is that yeah, people buy from people they know like and trust, but one of the ways that, and this is, this plays out in several dimensions is, is Charlie says, you know, research shows that people are more likely to trust people who they feel trust them. And so by being vulnerable and talking about your feelings, you’re, you’re, you’re taking a risk to say, yeah, I trust you to react to this in the right way.

And that starts building this connection of trust in a way that you wouldn’t, if you’re just having a one way conversation about it or not asking, obviously not asking about it at all. So it was really important when you’re in this situation, having these conversations is, yeah. Don’t be afraid to talk about how it’s affecting you, be be open and vulnerable.

Yeah. You’re transmitting to the customer. Yeah. I trust you to respect my feelings and to be curious about the feelings, because again, go back to the know like, and trust, Robert Cialdini in his latest book Pre-Suasion said that people more likely to buy from people who they think like them. See, we always, we always talk about, we need to be trusted. We need to be liked. Now the buyer has the exact same needs from you as you have from them.

Nancy Bleeke: Yeah. In that chart about empathy, reliability, knowledge, vulnerability is, is next, right? And it is. And so I have found some really interesting conversations about the whole spouses working out of home, you know, out of the house. And, and how’s that going and in sharing part of yourself, you know, during, during this. I think is, is exactly what you said. It’s really important because people buy from people, you know, and, and that’s why, right. And that’s why I still, whether you’re selling the enterprisers or not, you’re not selling to an enterprise or selling to the people with in it. And so that’s why I’m like all the skills that, that I, you know, teach and preach are, are just so relevant now.

And it’s not giving up on business, it is still business and you will still get to the business conversation, but you’ve got to remember that it’s still is a conversation and that’s two way, and it’s not just about your questions. It is about what are you also bringing to it, you know? And how do you set up your questions?

That’s one of the things over the last year I was at the end of the year, I always reflect on what are some of the nuances that I’ve noticed from this last year? That, that really make a difference in conversations. And one of the last year was about the, everyone knows to ask questions, right? Everyone knows that how well we do it is another story. But there’s a nuance and how you lead into your questions, how you set them up, the context that you give them and how much you can bring in that vulnerability.

And, expertise and how you set up your questions. So for example, you can, instead of just saying, you know, what are your thoughts around this? Or how are you feeling? You know, it’s, you know, in talking with so many people in the last week, I’m, I’ve heard so many stories about blank. And so you’re bringing an expertise or letting them know that you understand something, you’ve got some contacts and then you’re letting them join that conversation.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, I think that and this place to a whole other thing to do, which is one part of this is that, you know, if you want to- Sell, we hear the conversations about, well, we need to add value to our clients, right? We need to provide value. And so people are always looking for these tangible sources of value that they want to identify that we’re giving, but it’s really important for people listening to understand is that one of the most important ways you add value to your, your buyer is to make them feel understood.

It’s that simple, but you can’t make them feel understood if you’re not asking the questions. If you’re not getting them to, to open up, if you’re not being vulnerable yourself. If you’re vulnerable, sometimes you have to lead with your own vulnerability in order to get them to be vulnerable, that’s fine. But then this value that when the customer starts feeling understood and lets, you know, everyone knows Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs being understood as one of the critical needs that is valuable to the buyer because then now they can trust you.

Nancy Bleeke: Well, and what I find is interesting about that is even the question, how are you feeling? You gotta remember that people have different styles and some people don’t want to talk about their feelings. And so it’s knowing, you know, do I ask how are you feeling or do I say, what are your thoughts about?

Andy Paul: Right. What’s on your mind? What’s on your mind? Great question.

Nancy Bleeke: Yeah.

Yeah. What’s on your mind. But what I’m finding again, that nuance is, sometimes that question can be way too broad. Except that I think now, with what’s going on, you can’t be too broad because where they take your very open question is what’s important to them. But sometimes it’s where they take it as what they expect you want to talk to them about.

And so it’s giving ourselves permission that if they are like, Oh, I’m sure you’re wondering if we’ve made a decision on this and they take it right away to what they think you’re going to be calling for. It’s, it’s, it’s being able to say, let’s table that for now, you know.

Andy Paul: Yeah.

Nancy Bleeke: And give them permission to, to, to not have to be like, ah, I know this is important and you’re probably wanting this and say, I’m really checking in with you. How are you?

Andy Paul: And this, and this is the point I wanna make. That is so important again, for people listening. Cause we prefaced this whole thing sort of saying, behaviors that you want to exhibit, you know, during this, this period we’re going through- and I’m sorry I said that because these are really the behaviors you need to exhibit at all times.

And this is the thing that drives me nuts when I see what’s what’s happening, you know. LiInkedIn being the first and foremost is, lead with empathy. And you know, everybody’s talking about empathy, empathy, and it’s like, Yeah, just do it now, but then we’re not going to end up empathy later. Right? Cause once we’re there, it’s like, no, no, no.

This whole emphasis that you exhibit these unusual behaviors that you aren’t exhibiting otherwise, just shows you how weak you are otherwise. Because this is the way, regardless of the situation, these questions about this question about what’s on your mind, what’s new with you, you know, these generals about the other person they’re appropriate at all times.

Nancy Bleeke: So empathy, I think is one of those things that, I actually did some research on it these last few weeks, cause it is such, you know, such a. a focus right now and, and looked at that Daniel, I think at Daniel Goldman, in his emotional intelligence, also talks about empathy and that there’s different types of empathy. And it’s interesting, there’s some empathy that is actually going to hurt people. And that is the empathy. Oh, I can’t remember which one it is. Where you are physically and emotionally feeling thei  pain and those people that are doing that are like, this is really painful for them. Right? They’ve got to find ways to recharge. They’ve got to find, they’ve got to find ways, if they want to keep helping others, they’ve got to find a way to, to limit some of the emotional feeling for themselves so that they can help more people.

Andy Paul: Yeah, so well, and so Paul Bloom has written a book called Against Empathy, which is a great book and he’s not really against empathy per se. But you know, there are three types of empathy that, that people identify emotional empathy, which is the one you talked about, compassionate empathy, I can put myself in your shoes and see the world through your eyes, or cognitive empathy, which is, I think is the most valuable one to have in sales, which is, I understand why you feel the way you do. You see it’s one thing to say, I, I, yeah, I can, I can put myself in your shoes, but you may not really understand why they feel that way.

And so I can’t help you if I don’t understand you, this goes back to this whole understanding piece again. So with cognitive empathy, if, if I understand why you have the feelings you do, I’m in a much better position to help you. And so yeah, people just have this blanket description of empathy. I urge people to read Goldman’s book, which is great. Obviously a classic or Paul Blooms book Against Empathy. It talks more about compassion and so on, but his, but the point Bloom makes, and the reason I brought it up is, because when you talk about emotional empathy says, yeah, the problem with this is that people tend to make bad decisions when they’re using emotional empathy as the basis.

Nancy Bleeke: And sometimes those decisions are like for right now in the financial world, people wanting to make big financial changes that probably aren’t in their best interest. And so if I’m aligning myself, right, so if I’m aligning myself emotionally with them, I might want to be the voice of reason that helps them work through that maybe that’s not the right thing and take them down from it. So there’s, there’s so much danger there, but, but going back to something you said about, you know, what, what can we do to give people value? This is going to sound maybe contrary to what we’ve been talking about, but I think right now is a great time to offer help to people that they know and care about and potentially get referrals and additional introductions to people that you can help.

So, so one of the things is extending what that value is, you know, because I care about you and what we’ve been talking about I’m extending, you know, the opportunity, to spend 20 or 30 minutes with someone that you know, and care about who might be having questions about, and then you got to give them one or two things that, you know, you could help someone about.

And, and, but, but it’s not self-serving you really are, is a courtesy to them. But for people that are, I always say for people that are the good networkers that are the people that the other people are coming to them all the time for help. They might be stuck right now, too, and not knowing how to help people that they know and care about.

So if you extend an offer- so I have in the last few weeks offered to so many people, Hey, if people are trying to get use to Zoom, I’d be happy to jump on a call and spend 15 or 20 minutes with them to give them some of the things I’ve learned over all these years. It’s a simple thing to offer that has nothing to do with what I do as a sales consultants, but I’m paying it, I just am paying it forward. And to me, I found that the words that are really proud of you, people, you know, and care about because now I am I’m, I’m, I’m extending something of value that maybe take some pressure off of them because they, if they are wanting to help people, you know, that are in their circle.

Andy Paul: I like that. That’s I mean, yeah. And I think it’s the reason I like it too. It’s it’s different than saying, Hey, we’re offering, you know, 30 days free or something, in some cases that has a lot of value too, if it’s targeted appropriately. Yeah. Offering free services, free setup, and so on to help people through this period of time cause I mean, yeah, companies have products and services that can actually help people making this transition to remote work and so on. Yeah. If you can do something you’re willing to do, make an offer, do something for free, extend yourself, even if it’s a limited term contract, you know, they may cancel and the whole thing’s done.

So what? I mean, that’s the investment, as you said, and paying it forward, that oftentimes comes back to help you.

Nancy Bleeke: Then someone brought up, cause I had talked to hundreds of people about this in the last week through these webinars and someone said, well, but then what if they just want everything free from me? And I said, well, you gotta be careful about what you give. And if they’re asking for more than what you’ve offered, then the next thing is, you know, I appreciate that there’s more, that would be helpful to you. Let’s schedule another conversation to talk about what that is and how we might work together, but separate it from that helpful phone call, because if your helpful phone call turns into a sales phone call, there’s kind of some disconnect there.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Well I think a, a good  line that, I don’t know if I want to call it a line cause that makes it sound like a sleazy technique, but good words to use in that exact situation, is, would you be open to having a conversation about

Nancy Bleeke: Okay. Asking it as a question.

Andy Paul: So, yeah, this, yeah. They perhaps are asking for more and you said, well that’s yeah, maybe we do that another time. Would you be open to having a conversation about this. And, yeah, it’s a, it’s a great, a great series of words. I, Oh, what’s the guy’s name? David Field is a consultant, Connecticut based, I believe, written a couple of really excellent books. And that’s a line that, you know, seven words he talks about that convert into meetings is would you be open to having, would you be open to a conversation about, and I think it’s very powerful and it’s putting the ball in their court.

Nancy Bleeke: Well, I, so I can see that as a question. I also think that sometimes we have to be the leader to set expectations. And so we could preface that question with, you know, I suggest this, would you be open? To having that conversation. And that’s one of the other nuances from the last year was that we have to be the leader and always knowing what’s the next step or two, so that we can set that expectation so that they’re not ever wondering so what’s the agenda here. What’s the, you know, why, where are you taking me? We always let them know here’s where we’re going next. So even at the beginning of a conversation with someone that you introduce, you let them know, you know, you let them know that we have this much time and I’m here to answer some questions. Andy had introduced us and you know, at the end of it, if there’s something more you want to talk about, then we’ll discuss our next steps, but you’ll let ’em, you let them know right then. Cause I still do think that people are expecting, if you’re offering me something free, it’s going to move into a sales.

You know, you’re going to take it into a sale. Somehow you’re going to try to take advantage of this or, or have me. And so you gotta, if you can take that off the table right away to let them know this, isn’t going to turn into a sales call. I’m really here to help you. And then we’ll, we’ll we’ll decide what’s the next best step.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, and, and to that point, you have to exceedingly clear and consistent is that if you’re saying it’s not about sales, you can’t ever bring it up, right? I mean, it’s just, then your integrity just disappears. Because suddenly the words don’t match your actions and your ability to build trust disappears in a heartbeat.

So when you have these, and it’s such an important point that you bring up as a, if you’re gonna, if you’re gonna say these things, you gotta, you gotta live up to them.

Nancy Bleeke: You do. Well, and going back to that, that chart of empathy, reliability, knowledge, integrity, vulnerability, that whole, what you say is what you better do. So even for the people that you’re saying, you know, I’m, I’m willing to offer this to people you know, and care about, and letting you know, caring through if they’ve made the introduction, make sure that you’re doing your part to deliver something of help there.

And, and that’s the whole thing. So through all these last years, everyone’s like, we’re here for you and all these, everyone’s sending out emails right now. Right? Everyone’s a lot of emails. So another thing of value. Intangible, but important. I got 29 emails, in 24 hours, two weeks ago.

We’re here to help, but, but even when I just got one before we started today, and it was all of this information about what you should know about, you know, COVID-19 or what we’re doing.

And then the very last thing was, and we’re here to help. And I thought, I wouldn’t have it because I’m looking for it. I would have never even read that, but no, not one person called me in those 24 hours. So now I believe is the time to also call people and not hide behind emails and not hide behind mass emails.

It’s gotta be, if you’re going to email, it’s gotta be a very personal something that you can connect to that person. But I think now is the time to be using the telephone.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Or Zoom, but the point, the point being yeah.

Nancy Bleeke: It’s a, it’s a conversation. Cause that’s part of it. Empathy, reliability, all of that is much easier when you can use your tone when you can have your inflection, when you’re, when you’re having a conversation versus an email exchange where you can’t get those things across.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, I would say by definition, you cannot make a, you can’t have somebody, someone can’t feel your empathy through an email. You have to talk to him that this is a human, I mean, hopefully people are listening to, so we’re clear on that when we were talking with this conversations earlier and expressing empathy, as we’re talking about having a conversation with someone, not hiding behind emails, you talk about.

And that’s the thing is that if you want to stay in touch with someone during these days is yes, it should be talking to them. I mean, I think that relying on the email, there’s certainly a place you want to define what your, plan is going to be over, you know, period of X months, the be able to stay in touch and provide value to someone.

But if you really want to understand what someone is going, someone’s going through, is you got to talk to them.

Nancy Bleeke: Right now people are picking up the phone more than ever. I mean, that is something I’ve- are you finding that as well?

Andy Paul: Yeah. I mean, I’m seeing some data that’s saying that’s the case. And I think that, that partly is, everybody’s anxious. Just take it as given. Everybody’s anxious, anybody that says, yeah, I don’t, I don’t care about the virus. Yeah. They’re lying. Everybody’s everybody’s anxious, everybody feeling a little bit disconnected and I mean, I think, you know, some companies are doing a great job on Slack and others, you know, keeping everybody roped in and then having group activities and so on.

But people still, they want to talk to people. I mean, I think that’s why, I think it’s a, I just wrote a blog post about this. I said, you know, the title base of business, no one knows what the new normal is going to be because we have no idea. It’s not gonna be this, right. It’s not gonna be everybody working from home.

That’s unless we just can’t get rid of this virus. And then life, as we know, it changes immeasurably in many dimensions and sales would be the least important of those. But it’s yeah, it’s not going to, they’ll be different, but we can’t predict what will be,

Nancy Bleeke: But, you know, you go back to Aristotle’s writings, the need for human connection doesn’t go away. That is a constant through existence.

Andy Paul: I think that one of the things this, this episode with the pandemic illustrates, at least for me, is that, you know, there’s a sense of conviction on the part of so many people in sales is, you know, now armed with this technology is that people are different now. And the fact is the human brain doesn’t evolve that quickly.

It’s not evolving over 10 years. I mean, the way people process information, certainly well, the way people gather information, the way they process doesn’t really necessarily change, but you know, we’ve been imputed these huge changes in the human psyche and human decision making criteria, da da da, just ain’t the case.

It doesn’t happen that quickly. Doesn’t matter what the impact of technology is. Things have changed. We’re seeing some changes, but yeah, zoom again, none of the day someone saying what’s the risk to me to making this decision. If you can’t answer that question, it doesn’t matter if there’s one stakeholder or 15 stakeholders. Cause you’re just amplifying that risk factor by 15.

It’s all about people, people it’s all about people.

Nancy Bleeke: So it’s funny though. Cause even like in making the phone calls, they’re like, ah, you know, if people don’t answer, then you have to have a really succinct voicemail that again, portrays some kind of understanding about them, whatever. And then let them know I’m going to follow up with an email. So then that’s when the email is great. It’s a followup to the voicemail so they can easily get in touch with you.

Andy Paul: And which is a such great point. Again, this is not specific to this time-

Nancy Bleeke: No. It’s

Andy Paul: always Set those expectations. Yeah. Why, why would you set the expectation for the prospect to leave a voicemail for them to call you back? Because-

Nancy Bleeke: Oh, when they grabbed that number, let me get that number down. Oh, I’m going to read listen. So I get it again and then pick up the right. It’s just unrealistic.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I mean set expectations. And so, you know, one behavior you can adopt during this time. And it’s one that I teach people all the time is that if you’re mailing prospects, emailing prospects is why, why are you sendinanything, an email that doesn’t have an attachment or a link to an article, something that just would help educate them perhaps about the decision they have to make, nonspecific to your product. It could be a white paper to something, something that just helps them a little bit, you know, educates them, provides them some value, do that every time. You know, and then if you want to have a spur in terms of, you know, setting expectations for next actions, just say, and this one of my favorites is, you know,

Mr Prospect, the email I was thinking about you this morning, I read this link or attached article. Yeah. There are two things in here. I think we should talk about with Tuesday at nine work for you. You’re going to get a response to that. Or if you do that as a video email, even which we haven’t talked about specifically yeah.

For using Loom, or VidYard or BombBomb, one of these services is like, that’s very powerful. People respond to those, especially in this day and age.

Nancy Bleeke: Yep. I think then the last thing that has to happen, that I see a lot of people skip after that call with very specific, you know, request or call to action, is then saying, and if I don’t hear from you, here’s what you can expect from me. Right. If I don’t hear from you, I’m going to reach out again via email, or I’m going to call you at this time.

So again, they know if I don’t do this, they’re not going away. Right. They, but then we’ve got to do that. Like what you talked about earlier, if we say what we’re going to, that we’re going to do something right, then that’s what we have to do. That’s gotta be one of our, you know, our prompts that we follow through on that. And it’s going to be a phone call or is it going to be an email that. That is, I see that missing a lot in people’s emails is then what if they don’t do this, then what am I committing to? And that it’s our responsibility to do that followup. So, you know, most people still aren’t going to, to do whatever action we ask, but then it’s, what are we doing next?

And what’s our commitment to the number of outreaches that we’re going to make. And along the way, continuing to bring them something,

Andy Paul: Yeah. And I, and what’s, you’re also setting the stage for there is trust building. Cause you’re saying, look, I’m making a commitment. I needed to live up to it. And the more you do that, the more you create this feeling of reliability, perception of reliability, which is huge for trust building and making decisions in your favor.

So that, and that goes back to something I like to talk about too, which is, yeah, give yourself reasons to demonstrate your liability, give yourself reasons to demonstrate your credibility and your trustworthiness. Build those in.

Nancy Bleeke: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s great. That’s a good way of thinking about it. Is it gives you some accountability.

Andy Paul: and, but you’re, you’re demonstrating it to the, to the

Nancy Bleeke: Exactly. Yeah, no, I like.

Andy Paul: most people don’t. And this is, again, we, I believe your margin of victory in any deal is assume it’s 1%. So if you’re just the little things, make a huge difference. And I haven’t talked about that enough recently, I guess on the show is-

yeah, there’s gotta be 1% better. And I, it’s not price it’s in some dimension. And this was, this was actually, gosh, I think maybe about 10 years ago, at this point, there was a paper in the Harvard Business Review, some paper, professors had done about, what they call tie-breaking selling. And I was talking about, you know, these small little things, you do that to help you win deals that aren’t price related.

You know, at the end of the day it’s yeah, it is the reliability. It’s the credibility it’s Oh yeah. Maybe they offered a faster turnaround or may they also gave me another six months of warranty or there’s something you do that’s not specifically just reducing your list price, but often times it’s these intangibles that having to do with service and support and making people feel better about doing business with you, that really are the key things. So, well, good. Well, Nancy, we are running out of time, but it’s been fantastic to talk to you, so tell people how they can get in touch with you.

Nancy Bleeke: Well, I mean the easiest way, email me, or call me nancy@salesproinsider.com and, connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m very responsive on LinkedIn to us to start conversations there as well. So, reach out send me, send me an email, even though we’re saying call, send me an email. Cause, right now the days are swamped, but I do, I will respond. And if you want to talk about conversations, talk about what you can do during this time, or any time to increase your probability of the success, the successful information exchange that needs to happen for someone to make a decision. I’m your girl.

Andy Paul: Yeah. And that D I’m glad you brought that word up just to serve a Lakota to this whole thing, is that, you know, and think about it in your own sales process when you’re out there, people listening to the show is, is that they think, how am I enabling my own success? And, you know, to do that, you can’t treat sales as a game of chance.

We’re just playing the odds. Right. As what we talked about here today, as Nancy talks about with her emphasis on the conversations her book Conversations That Sell is what can you do to affect the odds of winning each interaction increasing the overall probability of winning the deal. And that’s really what you need to be focusing on.

Nancy Bleeke: Well said.

Andy Paul: Alright. With that, we’ll sign off Nancy. Great to see you. We’ll talk again soon.

Nancy Bleeke: Alright.

Andy Paul: Bye.