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How You Can Accelerate Your Success in 2017, with Mark Hunter [Episode 355]

Welcome to Sales Kick-Off Week!

Joining me on Day Five of the 2017 Virtual Sales Kick-off Week is my guest Mark Hunter.

Mark Hunter is The Sales Hunter. He’s a keynote speaker, sales trainer and author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price, and most recently, High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Benefits.

On Day 6, this last day of our 2017 Virtual Sales Kick-off Meeting the focus is squarely on you. And the steps you can take to elevate your professionalism and performance in 2017.

Want to improve your sales performance in 2017? Start by investing half an hour to learn from Mark Hunter.

Key Takeaways

  • Mark’s 2017 sales resolution is to spend more time with fewer prospects. Who do we prospect? Is a heartbeat enough of a qualification? Mark’s dog has not bought from him, yet.
  • Mark wants social media be one-to-one communication. #SocialMediaWithoutSocialCommunityIsSocialStupidity
  • The number one challenge facing salespeople is to know and accept that their most valuable asset is their time. Use tools to manage your time.
  • Connect with three or four external peers to challenge and motivate each other, to get to the next level. Top performers associate with top performers.
  • Every floor in a building is not the same. Move yourself to the next floor and find a whole level of new opportunities and relationships. It will change your paradigm.
  • What can you do to improve yourself this month or quarter? What can you do to improve yourself over the next five-to-ten years? Mark’s goal is to read a book a week.
  • To read a book a week, Mark will have to: 1) pick up his reading pace, 2) become more focused and retain what he reads, and 3) be able to cut out other activities from his time.
  • Higher-achieving people, while they work out, are listening to podcasts, not to music, to better themselves.
  • Disrupt You!, by Jay Samit, shows that things are changing, and there are incredible opportunities coming, if you open yourself to change, and take advantage of them.
  • Ask your kids everyday, “What did you Google today?” We have to become more curious, and be methodical about it.
  • Curiosity needs to build your knowledge. Have purposeful personal goals. What will you sacrifice to attain your goals? Have an accountability partner who will check in with you.

More About Mark Hunter

What’s one book that every salesperson should read in 2017?

The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond — and what to do about it, by Dr. Henry Cloud, and Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, by Simon Sinek.

Episode Transcript

ANDY PAUL: It’s time to accelerate. 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, and any other resource that I believe will help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business, and most importantly, you. Mark Hunter, welcome.

MARK HUNTER: Hey, thank you for having me on the show.

AP: So for the people listening to the show, my guest today is Mark Hunter, the author of High Profit Selling and, most recently, High Profit Prospecting. He’s here to help us kick off 2017 with a bang and help you rock it out of the gate to success this year. So Mark, let’s jump right into it. What’s your personal sales resolution for 2017?

MH: Well, my personal sales resolution is really to spend more time with fewer prospects. One of the things I’ve really been working on – and I’ve been talking about it for a long time, but I’ve really been doing it myself – is this: Who are you prospecting? One of the big challenges we have is we tend to prospect people who have heartbeats and something I noticed is that my dog has a heartbeat, but my dog is not my customer.

AP: Has your dog bought from you yet?

MH: My dog has not bought from me and what my dog wants, I’m not selling, so you know what, sorry, it ain’t gonna happen. But that’s really my main focus. I want to really truly use my time better in 2017. and the way I’m going to use my time better is by spending more of my time with really fewer prospects. It’s going to allow me to create more value and – as you say – it’s really going to allow you to amp up your sale and to sell faster.

AP: All right, you know I’m in favor of that. We’re going to get back to that and explore that in greater depth. Now we’re going to set the stage for some questions here. So for people listening, if you could make a resolution for the sales business in general, what would it be? I mean, how would you like to see everything evolve over the next year?

MH: I’d like to see social media becoming one to one communication, instead of just being social media. I’ve got a tweet I’ve been using for a long time. #socialmediawithoutsocialcommunityissocialstupidity. I want to put an end to this whole thing of just blasting stuff out there. I want to turn social media into a one-to-one tool where we’re using it to communicate with people. That is how I think we’re going to leverage social media much better in 2017.

AP: So how do you use social media for one-to-one communication? Give people an example of how to use social media to help them sell more.

MH: Here’s how this works. I’ll put an article out there or I’ll make a comment on something on a social media site. Let’s use LinkedIn for instance, since that’s the big b2b site. When people communicate with me, I make sure I respond back, but then what I’ll do is I’ll quickly get a conversation going with them. Just the other day had a conversation with the CEO of a company in Tampa, Florida. We went back and forth for about five different exchanges by way of LinkedIn Messages. First, we were in a discussion, then we moved it over to LinkedIn Messages going back and forth about five or six times. You know what was fascinating? We never once thought about moving it to email. We never once thought about moving it to the telephone. We got the complete deal taken care of strictly by way of LinkedIn messaging. That’s the one to one see. What we’re doing now is we’re using social media the same way that we used the telephone. If you think about it, social media is nothing more than the old telephone party line. For those people who are old enough to remember party lines, you remember how at 10:15 your neighbors would all get on the same phone line and you’d listen in on everybody’s conversation. Now we’ve got to bring it down and make it one to one. So, I think social media is going to move to the next level: one-to-one communication.

AP: All right. So next thing: What’s the single biggest challenge you see sales professionals facing this year?

MH: It’s an acceptance that the most valuable asset they have is their time. Quit thinking that the most valuable asset that you have is your is your sales funnel, your prospecting lead list, or what you sell. No, your most valuable asset you have is your time. There are so many great tools out there that help you get very efficient and very effective. Take advantage of them to help you use your time more efficiently.

AP: Okay, give an example of a tool.

MH: Let’s use Salesforce for instance. Now you know we’re way beyond light years in having CRM systems be this “sales gotcha” tool. If you’re using CRM systems right, they are a tool that’s going to help you automate and very effectively manage things far more effectively. Let me give you an example from social media. I use Hootsuite. People say, “Now wait a minute, that’s social media.” No, it’s not. It’s social one-to-one. Here’s why: The first stream I look at in my Hootsuite are messages to me. Again, it’s amazing how many conversations I’m able to have people with people in one-to-one messages, just using Twitter. I’m using Twitter and Hootsuite as the telephone. I love it.

AP: Okay, so there’s your device, Hootsuite. Sort of in line with that then is what’s one behavior that sales professionals can master right now that would make a difference in 2017?

MH: Quit playing the “IF THEN” game. “If only we had this, then I could do that.” I am so sick and tired of this. Salespeople today have more ability to impact their marketplace than ever before. Look at what the internet, social media, and all these platforms allow us to do. They allow us to communicate so much more effectively, so much more efficiently. Is cold calling dead? The part that’s dead is the “cold,” because there’s really no need to make a cold call anymore. There’s so much information available out there now so really, we should be incredibly grateful and thankful for all of the opportunities that we have out there. So, the big piece that I’m really telling salespeople they need to do is get connected. An old expression is, “You never want to be the smartest person in the room.” Well, you never want to be the smartest person in your group, but I want everybody to get connected with three or four other salespeople. Challenge, charge, motivate, and just kick each other in the tail to get to the next level.

AP: Should these people be within their company or just peers from elsewhere?

MH: I like getting people outside your company, because then you’re not all sucking each other’s exhaust. When you’re dealing with people inside your own company, everybody’s singing from the same songbook. It just drives me nuts. Grab other salespeople out there in other industries. Connect with them on the telephone or maybe, if they’re in the same city, you grab a cup of coffee once a month or something like that. It is amazing. If you look at the top performers, what makes the top performers, so great is because they associate with top performers. If you want to be a top performer, you’ve got to hang with a top performer. I like to think that everybody is everybody is no different than an elevator in a building. You happen to live in Manhattan, and your elevator goes up and down to every floor in the building. Every floor in your building is not the same. Every floor is different. Many people are only allowing their elevator to go to a certain floor and they’re getting off because they’re comfortable. Hey, go up a couple floors and see what opportunities are out there. I always encourage salespeople to move themselves to the next floor. You’re going to find a whole different level of opportunities, a whole new level of relationships. It’s going to change your paradigm thinking. I’m going to run with this for just a moment but Verne Harnish is a guy who I thoroughly love. He’s got a consulting group called Gazelles, and he wrote the book Scaling Up. A few years ago, Verne moved to Barcelona, Spain; because he wanted to be more centrally located. Does his elevator get off on a different floor? You bet it does. Top salespeople have great relationships.

AP: That’s good. So, at the beginning of the year, you have to be setting goals. You get given a quota and maybe you have some activity metrics that you really have to follow, but what about your own personal goals? What’s the key to good personal goal setting for sales professionals for a new sales year? What are things they should be looking to achieve now outside of quota? What are the personal things they should be looking to achieve in terms of maybe the types of skills they want develop or the mindset they want to develop or experiences they want to have over the next 12 months? How do they set those goals?

MH: Well, I’m glad you bring that up because too many people focus on the professional goals and they forget about their personal goals. Your personal goals are just as important as your professional goals. Let me share with you a goal because it is amazing what we can accomplish. In 2016, I was amazed at what I was able to get accomplished. It wasn’t because I had a gun to my head, but because I did things. I look back and go, “Wow, why can’t I keep that accelerated pace forever?” Here’s the thing: You can. You’ve got to make sure that you’re focused. When you develop personal goals, ask yourself this question: What is going to come off my plate? If we don’t direct ourselves as to where we go, how will we know if we got there when we get there? We won’t. You want to be incredibly focused. I’m going to challenge from a personal standpoint. Two things: One, what can you do that’s going to improve yourself this month, this quarter? Two, what can you do to improve yourself over the next 5-10 years? Let me give you a good example: I want to be reading a book a week. Now think about that for a moment. What do I have to do to get there? In order for me to accomplish that, I really have to do three things: One, I’ve got to be able to read faster. Two, I’ve got to become more focused and be able to retain what I’m reading. Three, I’ve got to be able to cut other stuff out of my day to make time to do the first two. Undoubtedly, as I get this mastered, I will increase my level of knowledge, my level of thinking, and so forth. One of the things that I have found myself becoming too Internet-driven. In other words, I allow reading websites to become my source. You never you really never get the depth reading a 500 word or 1000 word article versus a 60,000 word book on a subject. think that takes our level of thinking to a much deeper level, which results in a higher outcome.

AP: Yeah, I think I agree with you. It requires more depth of thought and integrating more than just a single serve nugget together as you read. With the blog, you’re going to hopefully get one thing out of it. On the other hand, a book, you may get multiple things that you have to consider and think about and then say, yeah, these combine together to form something even more valuable.

MH: Let me share with you a personal thing. This is a thing that I challenge people with. This is going to get me in trouble. There’s a lot of people who have earbuds in all the time, and they’re listening to music. I really think the higher achieving people are not listening to music. They’re listening to podcasts. Why? Because they want to better themselves.

AP: Smart people are listening to this podcast.

MH: That’s why you do it every day. That’s why you’re doing this thing, right? So, I have my earbuds in every day when I’m working out, and I work out for about 40 minutes a day. I generally will run three to four miles and I’ll do some weights. That’s really about it. I try to get in four days a week. I’m always listening to podcasts. My objective for when I get done with my workout is that I’ve gleaned one new insight. My verification record is the fact that I’m able to tweet something out immediately when I get back on my computer or I grab my phone and I tweet it out immediately when I’m done with my run or whatever. That’s what I’ve made my own little personal goal because again, top performers always realize that there’s something to be learned in everything that they do. The lower performer looks at things and says, “There’s nothing to learn here.” The high performer always sees everything. There’s something to be learned.

AP: So backing up to what we talked about earlier, one behavior that people could master this year is to master the habit of curiosity.

MH: Oh, I like that. That’s tweetable. Master your curiosity.

AP: Write that down. A lot of surveys show that people – especially from the millennial generation – think that the opportunities aren’t as widespread for their generation as it was for their parents’ generation. The book Disrupt You by Jay Samit shows that there’s an incredible amount of opportunity coming. You have to be open though, you have to be curious, and you have to be willing to change your mindset.

MH: Yes, because what you’re going to do is you’re going to take that macro opportunity, and you’re going to turn it into a micro opportunity for you.

AP: I think that’s really it. I was talking to another guest, CEO of a software company, a guy named Jay McBain. He writes very intelligently about the evolution of technology, the SAS business, and how that’s going to evolve opportunities. Based on his reading of the industry, he projects that instead of being horizontal or verticalized, anything that’s evolving he calls vectorized. It’s verticalization within a vertical. It’s niches that become extremely profitable opportunities. The thing is, the technology’s available to make everybody have access to be able to serve customers using technology and new solutions. You just have to apply the principles that Jay Samet talks about in his book. Open your eyes up to these incredible opportunities out there. That curiosity really drives that and to me, that’s the opportunity for people who want to develop. Learn to be open. Learn to listen without judgement.

MH: Yes, and that’s one of the challenges with social media. We all get into these little bubbles, and we fail to see what is outside. Here’s a really easy way to challenge your curiosity, and I tell this to parents. Ask your kids every day, “What did you Google today?” Think about that for a moment. If we were to just google something every day. I might be watching a television show, I might be reading a book or something like that; and somebody’s name pops up. I just google a person. What’s Google say about them? Now, we can we can discount all of the weird stuff that’s out there on the internet. It’s curiosity though. It’s just finding out more. We have to become more curious, and that means getting outside our bubbles or getting outside our little circles.

AP: Well, I think that that along with that – besides just the ad hoc searches – is to me, part of curiosity is being methodical about it. When I was a kid and my dad would come home from work, he and mom would sit down and have a martini. We were sort of banished so they could talk between themselves for a while. I would go in our living room and we had the World Book Encyclopedia. I basically started with “A” and read my way through it.

MH: You and I know each other well enough that I can say I didn’t have the World Book Encyclopedia, I had Compton’s Encyclopedia and I used to just love reading it.

AP: I pretty much worked my way through the alphabet with it. I didn’t necessarily read every word, but I was going through every encyclopedia. I think that’s why my wife gives me a hard time about having all this useless knowledge in my head. The fact is, though, your curiosity has to have a goal in mind as well.

MH: It does. Curiosity allows you to be in almost any circle and have a validated conversation.

AP: Well, let’s say you’re visiting a prospect in their office, and you can see visual clues and tie it to something. That enables you to start conversations. It’s been very valuable for me. I mean, again, this useless knowledge that my wife talks about actually has come in handy many times.

MH: Yeah, it allows you to walk into a situation and be more confident and comfortable. When you’re more confident and more comfortable, the other person becomes confident and comfortable, and what does that do? It raises the level of the conversation. A lot of salespeople listen to this and they’re dealing with CEOs, CIOs, CMOs etc. You have to realize that you’ve got to be seen as one of them. Well, you can’t walk in and be seen as one of them if you don’t know what their circles are all about. That’s why that level of curiosity is so important.

AP: So you’ve got your quota, you’re going to have your activity metrics. The key for you, as a sales professional, is to write down your personal goals, relative to mindset development, professional development, skill development – things that are sort of outside that you take responsibility for. As Mark said, as you take on these goals, what are you going to sacrifice? What’s going to come off the plate because you can’t fit everything in. So maybe it’s that TV at night, or maybe it’s you’re going to bed an hour earlier so you can sit and read for a bit before you go to sleep. You have to be deliberate, so write it down. When you’ve written down the goals, hand them to somebody to be your accountability partner. Say, “Here’s my personal goals for this year. I’m gonna give them to you. We’re going to talk about quarterly, at the end of the year, whatever you put in as your benchmark and see how I did.”

MH: Can I jump on this? Ask yourself this: Five years from now, will your life have been better because you spent an hour and a half every night watching mindless television or will you be better off because you spent an hour and a half reading? I have never seen “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” “Sopranos,” or any of those shows. We don’t even have cable. We got rid of it because I wanted to be able to spend more time reading and really digging down deep. A year ago, Warren Buffet’s sidekick – who was about 89 years old at the time – was asked what he was reading and he rattled off the name of some physics book. The reporter asked him, “Why would you read something like that?” He said, “I just don’t feel I know the subject well enough.” Now think about that for a moment. If a guy who is 89 years of age can sit there are say that, doesn’t that shame all of us?

AP: Oh, yeah. I have that in spades because my wife’s father was very much that way. Of course, he passed away at 92 a couple years ago, but up until the end, he was giving me books for holidays. It would be really serious book about economics, and I knew he’d read it and that he’d expect that we would discuss it. I remember when he went on a trip to China when he was in his late 80s and came back and the local church he belonged to asked him to give a talk about his travel. He stands up in front of this group in the basement of a church and starts talking off the top of his head about the geographical origins of Tibet and then he started talking about the historical background of the dynasties. He had read up on all of it and prepared this talk and I loved it. So. that is curiosity. I really think it is a habit. We learn that there’s a reward for a habit. That’s why it becomes a habit, because there’s a reward at the end of it for us. You’re watching TV, you’re looking forward to something and you get some psychic pleasure out of it. It’s not long lasting, though. Let’s change that. Make it a book, make it something that you’re really curious about and that’s going to really improve your life, and you’ll get that same psychic reward.

So we were talking about books, and other than your own books, what’s one book you want people to read?

MH: Man, I’m sitting here in my office and I’ve got to turn around because there’s a book called The Power of the Other. It’s written by Dr. Henry Cloud. It was very highly recommended by a number of people, and I just picked it up the other day. It’s sitting on top of a stack of about 9 or 10 books, and the one under it is Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. It’s a shame that too many people don’t even read a book a year. I want to do it on overdrive, because if it’s worth going, it’s worth doing well.

AP: Right. For people listening to this, I’m not going to give anything away about Mark, but Mark isn’t in the 20s or 30s. I think we could agree that similar to me, the bulk of our career has passed already.

MH: Dr. Willy Jolly always says, “the best is yet to come.” Willie is about 65 years old.

AP: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I don’t want to get off track too much, but you had made reference to this great book I would recommend people read. It’s Disrupt You by Jay Samit. He also has a great TED Talk about disrupting yourself which I really recommend people listen to, but back to your point about being optimistic. I think part of being curious is being optimistic. Samit has this affirmation that he uses which is, “Today can be better than yesterday, and I have the power to make it so.” Sometimes life, business, and your career is just hard, especially in the early parts of the career. You’re just learning the profession, you’re coming to grips with the facets of the job that that aren’t always fun or pleasant. Keep this is mind. This is really powerful. Today can be better than yesterday, and I have the power to make it so. That is the heart of optimism. If you can embody that into your daily activities, it’ll be very powerful for you. Very powerful. I love it. Gotcha. We’ve had a great kickoff talk to get people excited about 2017. The theme is “Master Your Curiosity.”

MH: I’m jazzed about 2017 and here’s one quick thing: Don’t wait until February to kick in gear. Let’s go now, while your competition is sitting back, chilling out. Go! I always like to say, “The year starts before December ends.” But we’re past that now.

AP: Well, it’s a great point. You’re always asked to put together plans for 2017. We’ve talked about doing some planning here, but these are not spend the day plans. These are things that you can come up with pretty quickly. The key is to keep thinking about it. For instance, let’s talk about your personal goal plan for the year. Spend 10 minutes every day for the first two weeks and write down the plan. Then rewrite it the next day and see what you come up with differently. By the end of the two weeks, you’ll have a plan that you can look at and say, “Okay, I can do this, I can achieve this.” Over those two weeks you’ve sifted through obstacles and outlined a solid plan, and you’ll have come up with something that’ll be really good, really doable, and really achievable.

MH: I love it. I call that the “cup of coffee” planning. It’s planning you do over 10 minutes while you’re drinking a cup of coffee. It’s amazing. Every Saturday morning, I sit down for about 10 to 15 minutes and just review where I’m at on things. I ask myself, “What do I need to change?” It helps me line things up for the following week, because I want to be focused on outcomes. What are the outcomes I want to achieve?

AP: Exactly. Mark, as always, it’s been fabulous talking to you. It’s been great. I love it, and hopefully you’re having a happy New Year in Omaha.

MH: Hey, the snow is flying. But you know what? It is the way it is.

AP: It’s the way it is. I know you’re off to lunch with your good friend Warren Buffett, so thank you for joining us today on this kickoff edition of Accelerate.

MH: I will give Warren your regards. If people want to get in touch with me, it’s thesaleshunter.com. With the last name “Hunter,” you know I had to use it. And no, I didn’t change my name. That was my name since birth.

AP: thesaleshunter.com. Well, great. Remember, friends, make it a part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new – just as we talked about here today – to accelerate your success. It’ll be worth your time to invest in us just a minute and go to iTunes or Stitcher and wherever you listen and hit the subscribe button for this podcast. I’d also love it if you take a minute and leave a review on iTunes telling others how much you value these conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Mark Hunter, who shared his expertise of how to accelerate the growth of your sales. Thanks for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone. 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