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How to Build Fundamental Sales Habits, with Bridget Gleason [Episode 402]

On this episode, we talk with Bridget Gleason, VP of Sales for Logz.io, about fundamental sales habits.

Key Takeaways

  • The topic is sales advice. Sound advice is welcome. Shortcuts do not solve problems. New books usually teach old principles in a new way.
  • Accelerate! is not a show about “the one thing you need.”
  • “High anxiety” is not necessary for sales, in the long run. Does the expectation of immediate gratification cause anxiety?
  • Do the basics well, and don’t worry about missing out on anything. Unfortunately that’s not what managers telling their teams.
  • If a hack builds on a foundation, it may work. However, it’s unrealistic to look for “three quick steps,” to achieve consistently good results. Skill doesn’t come from hacks, but from learning and practice.
  • When a CEO is anxious, how can a sales rep relax? Make your investment more about sales education than in sales training.
  • Sales manager training yields a higher ROI than rep training. Companies are not investing enough in manager education.
  • Processes are based on the successful execution of selling habits. Without effective habits, there are no sales. Strong habits reduce stress and make yourself more productively available.
  • Part of building self-confidence is letting go of your anxiety.
  • Well-intentioned hacks may tempt a rep to forget to study, learn, and practice good sales behaviors.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul 0:35
Hi, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing, sales, automation, sales process, leadership management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe to help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you. Hello and welcome to the Sales Enablement Podcast Episode of frontline Friday with my special guest Bridget. Bridget, how are you?

Bridget Gleason 1:08
Andy I’m great. I want you to ask me where I am today. I’m in a different place. I’m in Boston now. Yes, this is going to be one of my more frequent locations going forward.

Andy Paul 1:22
You’re becoming sort of bi Coastal like me, actually

Bridget Gleason 1:27
Yes, your copy. Yes, I’m trying to try coastal. You’re right. I’m trying coastal. But you’re try coast. You’re dry coastal.

Andy Paul 1:35
Am I? You’ve got Hawaii. That’s your mind?

Bridget Gleason 1:38
Yes. Yes. Let’s just try coastal in different directions. But we’re covering the globe.

Bridget Gleason 1:44
We’re covering the globe.

Andy Paul 1:44
Yes. We’re gonna keep going. You’re gonna keep heading east. I’ll keep going west. We’ll meet somewhere.

Bridget Gleason 1:48
Eventually, we’ll meet. Yeah, my goal in my next life is to have no airline status.

Andy Paul 1:56
Wouldn’t that be nice?

Bridget Gleason 1:58
Yes, that’s my goal. No airline status. No airline knows me or cares about me or hotels

Andy Paul 2:03
So yeah, I’ve got this like lifetime status at Starwood. So yeah, it’s, that’s kind of nice. It’s got a little perk, we talked about travel, remember the last episodes? We did get a little spoiled with the upgrades and so on. But, you know, I could do without it.

Bridget Gleason 2:23
Exactly. Likewise.

Andy Paul 2:27
So I thought today was a good topic to talk about because I know you read voraciously as I do, you know, we try to keep up with what’s current with blogs and books and so on. So part of what our books have struck me recently is like, Are we just this may sound odd coming from somebody who runs a six day week podcast, but you know, are we just off the rails with some of the sales advice that’s being given out these days. I mean, there’s Just this whole thing about hacks you know, it’s just sort of driving him nuts it’s always this latest hack this hack that and maybe I’m a little I don’t say old fashioned but a lot more conventional in the sense I think that to me you know hacks always smack of shortcuts and you if shortcuts don’t get you where you want to go. Now that a bandaid, my view of a problem challenges a specific aspect of your sales. You don’t need a band aid, you need a permanent fix.

Bridget Gleason 3:34
It is funny coming from someone who runs a six day a week podcast on sales. Okay, so let’s not get lost on me. I mean, and I’m participating. I’m one of those guests on this week.

Andy Paul 3:45

Bridget Gleason 3:47
I am definitely one of your enablers.

Bridget Gleason 3:50
Gosh, I

Bridget Gleason 3:53
how do I feel about it?

Bridget Gleason 3:56
In some ways, I don’t have a problem with it. If your advice is sound. Now, I agree that shortcuts don’t solve the problem. But I also recognized from my own learning and reading and my own experience and experience with teams. everybody hears and absorbs things in different ways. And different things will resonate with different people at different times, given what they’re doing. And the same with me. I mean, I read sales books all the time, like you do. And I don’t end up hearing a lot that’s really new or different. But sometimes it’ll hit me differently, or a story will strike me differently or I’ll be going through something and so it’s just particularly germane to that point in time. So in that way, in some regards, I think okay, well So lots of stuff has been out there. Some of it seems to me to be a regurgitation of just like classic advice. I guess the second thing I would say is, you know, everything now is in sound bites.

Andy Paul 5:15
That’s the point right to me is it’s not that it’s, I mean, I like books. And part of the reason I do a long format interview on this show, is that it’s not meant to be you know, here’s that one thing and if you’re not doing this one thing, man, are you missing out? Because most of the time I see those types of you know, it’s a blog and article shared somewhere. You know, it’s just playing to people’s anxieties about sort of fear of missing out on something. And, you know, if you’re in sales, you’re really in it for that you should be thinking about, you’re in it for the long run, you know, to sort of calm down a little bit, you know, if you’re in this state of high anxiety, which is what I guess what I’m reflecting Cuz I see this a lot. When I’m talking to sales reps, I’m talking to managers and, and even CEOs, it’s like we sort of reached this the serve and maybe it’s just on par with what’s happening, you know, society at large. It’s just this constant, you know, simmering and bubbling over boiling over, if you will, people just freaking out about missing out on something

Bridget Gleason 6:25
I think Andy it’s a reflection of the times.It’s a reflection of this culture and I don’t want to keep going talking about the millennial culture, but the millennial culture, and the video game culture and the gratification now and I want it to be quick and I want a three minute video not a 20 minute video. I want a blog post, not a book. I want to listen to it. I don’t want to read it. I think we’re just in this world of sound bites and urgency and now deals are transactional and customers have read a lot of stuff online already. So get to them quickly and learn it quickly. And I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not saying it’s effective, but I understand why it is.

Andy Paul 7:15
Yeah. What it is, from my standpoint that’s my reading or not reading but listening and watching comedy specials with this comic comedian Tom papa. And I thought he’s very funny. He served very conservatively dressed, wears a suit, suit and tie and it looks like Joe average from next door but has a very interesting perspective because he you know, he talks about all these these things that are happening and these things over you know, fear of missing out as I started talking about fear and I loved this idea of his pattern. So I was like, no, it’s okay, just relax, you know, everything’s gonna be okay. And I think that’s a message that we have to that we have to tell People as well as especially in sales is that you can pick up something and read about the latest you know the latest thing you must do you know if you’re not doing this thing you’re missing out your conversions are gonna suffer so on and so on so forth that’s like yeah, you know just practice the basics focus on the basics do the basics Well, you don’t worry about missing out on anything.

Bridget Gleason 8:25
I agree with you and I don’t think that that is the message that’s being told that they’re hearing anywhere else. I think the message that they’re hearing from managers is do it now do it quick learn it now learn it fast. I think they’re getting a different message, Andy. And I think what sells also is three quick tips too fast and I think this is true since the beginning of time. I mean, if you look at what sells in magazines is five steps to a thinner body. I wish I didn’t have to go and swim for an hour this morning. I wish I could have done it in three easy steps.

Andy Paul 9:13
What no running?

Bridget Gleason 9:15
Well, I like to balance. I like to do a balance. So if I have access to a pool, you’re gonna find me in a pool just because I run all the time. So I have access to a pool. So I am a fish.

Bridget Gleason 9:31
I’m a Pisces also. So maybe that makes sense.

Andy Paul 9:35
I didn’t know your sign of Pisces

Bridget Gleason 9:40
Quick tips on how to make a Pisces more effective.

Bridget Gleason 9:47
So I think he indeed knows that this is not the message that they’re hearing in other places.

Bridget Gleason 9:53
And I think that’s what’s challenging. I don’t disagree with you. But I think your message is unique and it could be a reflection of just the time that you and I learned sales and we had weeks of training and you weren’t allowed to go talk at least I wasn’t talked to a customer for like three months. Now somebody starts and gets on the phones right away.

Andy Paul 10:21
Oh, I thought I was kicked out of the door my first day.

Bridget Gleason 10:25
Okay, so you had a different experience than I did.

Andy Paul 10:28
Yeah, I mean, I thought that I talked to anybody.

Bridget Gleason 10:33

Andy Paul 10:34
I was out knocking on doors

Bridget Gleason 10:36
Yeah, what’s wrong with that? But I do think back to it with regards to these hacks. I’m okay. If it’s a hack that is building on a foundation of some sort. You know, that it’s as if it’s a building block of learning or what you’re doing or how you’re approaching your sales. It’s okay. I think it’s unrealistic to think that three quick steps and you’ve mastered the enterprise sale or whatever, you know. It doesn’t happen that way. And I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing lately for some sales roles in Boston. And this is true, not just in Boston, but I would say in my career, you can have a lot of variability. You have people that have the same amount of experience, same number of years, they may have even had success at various positions, but their skill level varies dramatically. And I think some of it, there are people that are always looking for the hack, and quick and the shortcut. And there are others that have taken a more sort of lifelong learning approach, which is you got to just keep doing it. You got to have repetition, you’ve got to. Hacks won’t get you there.

Andy Paul 12:13
Yeah, I mean, as we know, we’ve talked on the show before about sales education and sales training and, you know, big believer that people may use a little less training and a little more education about sales. And part of that is and certainly, there’s a lot of literature out there about, you know, how your buyers make decisions, right, how the brain actually works, how the social or the the social psychology, the behavioral economics of neuroscience, how it works, in terms of decision making, how people are influenced to do certain things, certainly lots of great classic books out there. And if you read those, what’s happening is, you know, the human brain isn’t changing. You know, these hacks are my point of view is the trouble for a while the hacks is just that it was talking about force or short term band dating but they don’t really address that said, the sales, the sales reps anxiety as opposed to the customers need and how customers make decisions and that part’s not changing. You can begin to relax a little bit, you understand that? Yeah, if I spend more time focusing on understanding how to help them make a decision, to be more focused.

Bridget Gleason 13:32
Think about the bind of the salesperson. Because the sales reps anxiety is driven by the managers anxiety. The manager’s anxiety is driven by the VP of sales. The VP of Sales anxiety is driven by the CEOs anxiety. And so it’s hard to tell a sales rep to slow down, relax, learn more educationalist training. We’re all the way up the chain. They’re getting a lot of pressure from people to do it fast and learn it fast.

Andy Paul 14:05
They’re always I know, this pace and that’s really the key is you know, if you’re listening to this and saying well, geez, Bridget’s points right on, you know, I mean pressure I really don’t have time. What I’m saying is you got to begin to make that time and make that investment as we’ve talked about before. Otherwise, you’re always going to feel this pressure, and you’re not gonna last as long in this career and sales as you could. Because you’re gonna stress yourself out and burn yourself out.

Bridget Gleason 14:36
Perhaps but I was talking to the CEO of this startup called chorus dot. A guy you might know, Roy

Andy Paul 14:48
I know the product.

Bridget Gleason 14:49
Yeah. So what he was asking me about was how do you get adoption? Like the sales reps love this tool where it records them. Calls annotate it transcribes, they can see where they took notes. And it really helped the sales rep that he said, I won’t get adoption. This won’t fly unless the managers really buy into it. And we got on this discussion around manager Training Manager education. And part of it I think Andy is, is there enough of that that’s happening. A lot of managers are promoted from sales reps. So they go from sales rep to manager but then they’re not given training on how to be a manager. And I think there is an opportunity for there to be more education and training for managers. So that they are coaching in this way that encourages the education, encourages the slowing down, encourages the mastering of particular skills, and not adopting these hacks and hoping that that’s going to make everything magically work.

Andy Paul 16:00
Yeah, and people are saying, and I agree. I mean, Jason Jordan and other people who have written about sales management have done research and show that the highest ROI that companies are getting from their training is their manager training, sales manager training. You know, that has a bigger return than being so what they get off training the reps.

Bridget Gleason 16:24
So why isn’t there more of that?

Andy Paul 16:27
Because, yeah, I think it’s easier for companies to say, yeah, let’s train our salespeople. But the leveraged effect of training your manager to become a more effective coach or more effective manager. You know, the impact is huge on that.

Bridget Gleason 16:44
I think we need a new show.

Andy Paul 16:46
Okay, which is that?

Bridget Gleason 16:48
I think we need a show just for sales managers. I want to support sales managers, and maybe this is just sort of an open you know, our show isn’t specifically for anybody

Bridget Gleason 17:01
I just sympathize with the sales reps out there, that they are being given this pressure and we’re giving them a message and their managers are giving them a different message. And I agree with you 100% that the leverage is with the sales manager. That’s where the leverage is.

Andy Paul 17:20
Well, I think that part of what I’m talking about here today applies to sales managers as well.

Bridget Gleason 17:24
Oh, yeah, I do, too. And I guess that’s the message is it’s not just the rep. It’s got to be the manager in the system in which the rep is working within.

Andy Paul 17:35
Yes, yeah. Oh, no, absolutely. I think that. Yeah, I think that there’s such sort of so much emphasis in sort of a blind adherence to this idea about our process that what they overlook are sort of the fundamental behaviors that without which I call them selling habits, if you don’t have the selling habits You can put as much pressure as you want on people, and they’re just not gonna execute the way you want them to, no matter how strong your process might be. But the thing is the process is really based and predicated on people effectively executing these fundamental selling habits. And so we’re really overlooking that. That’s what this is, to me what creates so much anxiety is if people will just relax a little bit and focus on mastering these, these fundamental habits, marketplace sales, productivity and sales processes offering much more effective productivity increases, but we continually are skipped by that. And that’s why the hacks become so attractive because in the absence of having sort of this fundamental mastery of these basic selling habits this thing that looks really cool, that’s gonna save me today.

Bridget Gleason 18:55
It’s the look how popular the book is the four hour work week the four hour what is the other one? It’s like a four hour workout. No I mean, like there’s also workout one too, but the four hour work week. But the thing is the four hour work week, wow, I want that hack. Like it’s so attractive. I get why these are attractive. That’s super attractive to me.

Andy Paul 19:21
Sure. But that was also I think people sort of misunderstood that book to some degree because it wasn’t in some respects, so the message for most people isn’t they could work 40 hours a week, but there’s another way of looking at how they do things. Yeah, I know they prioritize what they do in order to become much more effective with the time they have. And that that book was fundamentally the same message right? That’s what that’s like giving yourself some slack. It’s about not setting them when I say Take it easy, I don’t mean go slow, but it means reducing the stress. Yeah, making yourself available to be more productive. I mean, that to me it was my take away from that book was not Yeah, we can also work four hours a week, but that while we can all become more productive and reduce our stress and doing so.

Bridget Gleason 20:14
Yeah, and I think this is reducing, there’s several things going on here. One is being more effective and actually gaining skills in the profession of sales. And one is reducing stress and they do go, they are correlated. Like I think if you feel more confident and you have more mastery and more skills, I think your stress level, it doesn’t always mean it should go down, stress is largely internal.

Bridget Gleason 20:44
Hopefully that will help the stress level.

Andy Paul 20:49
Yeah, no, I think that one of the real keys to individuals developing self confidence is to let go of all other anxieties.

Bridget Gleason 21:01
Oh yeah, like all your anxiety and again, let’s go back to your mighty CEO and the board let go of my anxiety about how a quarter might end they’d be like no Bridget, we’d like you to keep up that anxiety continuing to hang on to that anxiety so we don’t have to. I think they count on me having anxiety.

Andy Paul 21:26
On a more fundamental level those i think that you know, somebody understood how to be more effective and quickly sort of building a rapport with a prospect. Do you know that makes the whole sales process a little less anxiety inducing, and in turn increases self confidence and makes them more productive? So those are kicked out. So one example right? So if you could master that one focus on mastering this one sales behavior of how do I do this? How do I engage authentic love with a prospect more quickly? The ramifications on the ripple effect of that can be pretty substantial. So that’s our one example just sort of, you know, how can you relax and become more effective and more productive?

Bridget Gleason 22:27
We’re in agreement, the world out there. And actually, I think and even the people writing about the hacks. I don’t think it’s necessarily it’s not ill intentioned. It may be naive.

Andy Paul 22:45
I don’t think it’s bad. I think a few people, very few people probably have no intention about it. I think most people come from a position of trying to help others.

Bridget Gleason 22:56
Yeah. And so I think it’s trying to help given the pressure That reps and managers feel okay, try this. Try this, try this. And maybe the message is they’re not the answer. Right?

Andy Paul 23:24
Right. But we’re gonna come back we’re gonna talk more about that future episode because this is something that , to my mind, is really sort of central to how people look at improving their individual productivity and the quality of their lives while still being incredibly successful. Yeah. So, Alright, that’s it for today. Bridget. As always, time flew fast on that one. So we will look forward to speaking again next week. And we look forward to having all of you that are listening to us today. Join us again next Friday as well.

Bridget Gleason 24:06
All right, have a great week.

Andy Paul 24:07
All right, talk to you later. Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard, and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at AndyPaul.com

The Sales Enablement Podcast with Andy Paul was formerly Accelerate! with Andy Paul.