Art Sobczak is author of one of the classic sales books, “Smart Calling: Eliminate the Fear, Failure and Rejection from Cold Calling.” In today’s episode, we talk about the essential and practical takeaways from Art’s book. We’ll dig into how to get a win on every call and how to eliminate the term “rejection” in your proactive calling. Plus, Art shares how to leave a voicemail that will increase your chances of getting a response. Tune in for a master class on how to improve the effectiveness of your outbound calling.
Andy Paul: Welcome back to the show.
Art Sobczak : Andy. Thank you so much for having me.
Andy Paul: Well, it’s a pleasure to talk with you again. So where have you been hiding out?
Art Sobczak : Well, I am at my home base, which we’re calling world headquarters here in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’m formerly from Omaha, Nebraska split time there for, for a number of years, but I made this permanent about 10 years ago. So yeah, living in paradise and it’s a little, little warm in the summer, but I don’t mind it because there is no humidity.
Andy Paul: Yeah, that dry heat. I’ve talked to people that live in Phoenix area and they carry like gloves with them to touch their door handles when they go to get in their cars. Do you do that?
Art Sobczak : No, I think that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but actually the worst thing, the worst thing is actually getting in your car for the first couple of seconds. And then you turn on the air and then everything else is fine. Other than that, uh, people see on the news that, Oh my gosh, it’s 115, but they don’t get as our 115 is like you’re 95 anywhere else. Or like 80 in the Midwest with a 90% humidity, which is, which is worse.
Andy Paul: Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I’d rather, I’d rather be in Phoenix at a 115 than Manhattan at 95 and 90% humidity. Yes, absolutely. Yeah, but it’s not like at school in Phoenix, Scottsdale. Cause I’ve been to like strip malls and other places where they got the, the water spritzers going on. So you got started that the misters? Yeah. That’s that’s cool. That keeps you very comfortable.
Art Sobczak : It does, it keeps, it keeps it comfortable. And the thing is yesterday, I think it was 105 and I was outside after the sun went down and it felt like it was 70 and it was, it was just absolutely beautiful.
Andy Paul: You’re a golfer.
Art Sobczak : I am a golfer, uh, not, not a good golfer, but uh, hold my own and probably play a couple of times a week at least.
Andy Paul: And so when it’s that hot, when do you go out?
Art Sobczak : The funny thing is, is that it really doesn’t affect me and I’ll play all times of the day. And the only thing is you just drink a lot of water and occasionally you might put a cold towel on your head or around your neck. And again, there’s no sweat. I, when I played in the Midwest and it was 85 degrees and a hundred percent humidity, I’d be soaking wet by the, by the second hole.
Andy Paul: But I imagine that I don’t know if it’s true because it’s such a popular resort area, but I imagine you’ve got a pretty short round. If there aren’t many people playing in the heat of the day, as you can get, get around pretty quickly.
Art Sobczak : Yeah, the courses are fairly open mid day. And for everybody else out there, the, the rates really come down in the summer as well. So Phoenix is open for business. Scottsdale is open for business, everybody listening. So come on out.
Andy Paul: Alright, there you go.
Art Sobczak : We’d like your money.
Andy Paul: Well, I think a lot of people like money these days. Um, so yeah, getting the tourism trade back will be important. Part of the recovery certainly here in San Diego as well. So not many tourists, it’s usually packed right at this time of year, which we’re recording this and second week of June and yeah, usually the waterfront where we live close to is, is packed with tourists and not this year so far. So hopefully that can change around here shortly.
Art Sobczak : Yeah, hospitality business certainly has been hit hard and hoping for a quick and rapid recovery for those folks.
Andy Paul: Yeah. So, um, we’re going to talk about your release of the third edition of your classic book, Smart Calling: Eliminate the Fear of Failure and Rejection from Cold Calling. Um, this is third edition, right?
Art Sobczak : It’s the third edition. The first edition came out in 2010. Third edition came out in 2013 and now we waited seven years and here we are with the third edition, bigger, better, and smarter.
Andy Paul: Alright. Well, so what sort of compelling you to update the book?
Art Sobczak : Well, any the thing is, is that the process of smart calling really hasn’t changed that much? What, what has changed a little bit is the technology. Our ability to get information, to make our call smarter. And what has also changed is that I had tons of success stories from sales pros out in the field who are using the process and I wanted to share those with, with other folks, because I believe that people learn not just from a process, but from examples and from their peers. So that’s what I wanted to include in the book. And I had so many of them that was actually kind of hard to, to it down, but, but that’s what we did.
Andy Paul: Well, and let’s, I’ll start sort of at the beginning is, you know, you sort of, talk about the fact that, that people, even though you have cold calling in the title is that, that, uh, you know, you said don’t cold call again, right? Cause people tend to conflate this idea of cold calling with proactive, outbound calling. And as you pointed out, there’s, there’s a difference.
Art Sobczak : Well yeah, let’s define for people who may not be familiar with the book or the process smart calling very simply is knowing something about the people and the organizations and the situations that we’re calling into so that we can tailor, customize and personalize our value messaging so that it is relevant. And therefore going to create some interest to cause someone to want to listen to us. Kind of novel concept. Right.
Andy Paul: Create interest? What are you talking about?
Art Sobczak : As opposed to, as opposed to the pitch, as opposed to the dumb cold call, which is calling somebody up that you don’t know, who doesn’t know you, who’s not expecting your call and giving them the same me and product oriented pitch and asking for something. Without knowing anything about them, even if they may, might even be a prospect for us. And I still get those messages, I still get those calls. I would imagine you do as well. And there’s absolutely no reason today with all the information available to us and the technology and sales enablement, uh, including Revenue.io, of course, too get people to, uh, to, to use all these tools and really make it easier on themselves and show respect for prospects.
Andy Paul: Well, so let’s, let’s, let’s talk about that for a little bit, because this is a topic that is coming up increasingly is about sales behavior and I think that’s really important, at least in my mind to start being really clear on something, is that in my mind, and I’m interested in your opinion is, but I’ll state mine first to sort of set the tone is, you know, in my opinion, is, is the failure of sellers to do exactly what you talked about, resides with their managers. Yeah, it’s the manager that sets the expectations for what needs to happen and how, how proactive, outbound calling needs to take place and to do smart calling as well as to the classic, you know, pitch cold calls. Why, why aren’t managers taking the reigns and saying, look, we’re going to train our people, create the culture that says, this is how we interact with our customers.
Art Sobczak : That is a great question and it’s actually kind of mind boggling for me to get my head around it. And the only thing I can come up with is that the, the managers who have that mindset of just get on the phone, make more calls, give me more phone time, smile and dial. Uh, just go for the appointment. I have to believe that they’re, they themselves are not educated in a good sound sales process themselves, and maybe they’d been thrown into that situation. They don’t know any better. And the, the management above them doesn’t know any better and they’re just pressuring them for, for numbers. And therefore what they’re doing is, you know, it’s, it’s a trickle down.
Andy Paul: Well, it is absolutely. And this, but that’s the, yeah, it was part of my questions, but yeah, I’m sort of tiring of this idea is that we keep blaming the salespeople. And it’s one thing. If a salesperson is given the tools and give them the training and given the time to develop, and they still persist in bad behaviors.
And if, and if the manager can’t change the behavior through the coaching and mentoring, then perhaps the person’s not a fit, but the manager has to put that work in, right. A manager has to set the set, set the tone, walk the walk, model the behavior, set clear expectations, and then use feedback and coaching to get people to do what needs to be done in the way that needs to be done.
But if they’re not doing that, then it’s their fault. It’s not the seller’s fault. I give the analogy of, of, yeah. When we were kids growing up, you know, there’s always a kid on the block your parents didn’t want you to play with. Right. And at some point you’d always hear about, well, parents don’t really pay attention to what he’s doing and you know sort of blaming it on bad parenting. Well, that’s, that’s what I consider is really what’s going on in sales too often is we blame the seller, but it’s really bad parenting.
Art Sobczak : Yeah, I would say for newer sales reps, most definitely. Because if they’re thrust into a situation and they don’t know any better, they’re simply going to do what their manager is, is, is telling them. If you have more of an experienced sales rep and is hired into an organization where perhaps there isn’t a lot of guidance and I mean, I’ve worked with organizations that have one or two salespeople all the way up to thousands. So, and number of organizations with a smaller number of salespeople of course are much more numerous than, than the larger organizations. So there are many cases where a small business will simply hire a salesperson or two, and the person doing the hiring has no idea what sales is other than we need them. Right.
Andy Paul: Yeah, well, right. And we’re going to hire somebody that, uh, looks good, you know, it has the superficial attributes that we think a sales person needs.
Art Sobczak : Yeah. And maybe they might did send them to a course or buy them a book or might just say, you know, here’s a phone go at it. And in that case, it’s, it’s totally up to the salesperson to, um, go out and gain the skills and processes and, and whatever it’s going to take to, to get the results that they’re looking for.
So, yeah, I would say for the most part, it’s top management’s fault because you’ve got to provide some guidance, but ultimately at the end of the day, the salesperson is was the one who is picking up the phone or not picking up the phone and having it engagement with, uh, with prospects and customers.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, my point was is that if, if yeah, with all the tools and technology we have, that we’ll be able to listen to calls, record calls, coach calls and so on is that if there’s somebody who’s persisting in the bad behavior, my point is management needs to get rid of that person and find somebody that is prepared to do what needs to be done in the way that it needs to be done.
Art Sobczak : And likewise with salespeople, I’ve had salespeople come to me and say, well, you know, my manager is clueless and they’re insisting that I place a thousand calls and they say that, uh, you know, I don’t need to do research before our call. What should I do? And my answer to them is find a new job.
Andy Paul: Absolutely. It’s like, well, it’s like finding a new prospect, you know, find something that’s qualified for and aligned with what you need to, you know, your ideal client profile. You have an ideal company profile when you’re looking for employment.
Art Sobczak : I’ve always said that there will always be jobs for great salespeople because. I I, I mean, personally I think a resume is kind of a worthless tool. I think salespeople should actually follow the smart calling process when they’re looking for a job. Oh,
Andy Paul: meaning. Well, let’s go, let’s dive into that. That’s interesting. So what, what do you mean by that?
Art Sobczak : Well, let’s say I’m a salesperson looking for a new opportunity. And I have laid this out for salespeople in the past. I said, okay, well, let’s, let’s look at what you’re experienced in, but also let’s look at what your, what your passion is. What are you really, really. Interested in, whether it be, you know, sports or whatever.
And then I suggest to them go and find companies that fit the profile of, of what you’re interested in, who sell a product or service. That is something that’s congruent with, again, your interest and or your, your skills or your expertise. And then we’re going to plug in the smart calling process, which is identifying what is it that, that you have to sell to them?
What is it that this manager or VP or whomever, it might be, what is it that they’re looking for in salespeople? So kind of get an idea of that so we can start forming our possible value proposition. Then we want to start doing the research and the research being of course, online and real-time research.
So of course, going into LinkedIn, finding out who are the players involved here, VP of Sales, Director of Sales, you know, sales managers, what does that organization look like? Uh, everything. I can also find out about that company. What are they doing? What are there sales results, uh, anything, you know, any news about them. And then of course, I’m going to do some social engineering. Social engineering is simply talking to people other than your desired decision maker for the purpose of gathering sales intelligence. So I am most definitely going to call into the sales department and I want to get some salespeople on the phone and I want to talk to them about what is their experience, what do they do and anything and everything that I can.
And then of course, I’m giving you the condensed version of this. But then based on all this, I’m going to put together my game plan for my possible value proposition to approach whoever that, uh, that hiring manager might be. And it’s not going to be human resources. It’s again, going to be the person. And I tell this to every, every sales person I’m looking for, the person who owns the problem, uh, the problem being, we need more sales.
Right. And then I’m going to approach that person with my well-crafted. Uh, email message, InMail message, whatever my cadence might be, whatever my initial approach might be. And again, there’s a lot of different ways to do that. And that’s how I would suggest somebody gets hired and, and pitches themselves to an organization.
And, you know, don’t, don’t just put together a resume and send it out to me that that’s, that’s ridiculous. You’re, you’re selling yourself as a salesperson. So why not follow a sales process?
Andy Paul: Yeah. And, and to further that point is, is a lot of times reps just work with like placement firms or, you know, head hunters or whatever. And, and then you’re only looking at what they present to you. And to your point, it’s just like sales is, yeah. Do the research. Who do you want to work for? And, um, Yeah, I cold called and got job one time. A company I had read about that. I didn’t do that much detailed research because it didn’t exist. The ability to do that didn’t exist at that time. It as much as I could, but yeah, I read an article in fortune magazine about a company on a Friday and I cold call them on Monday to get an interview with the VP of Sales.
Art Sobczak : Awesome.
Andy Paul: Yeah.
Art Sobczak : you got hired?
Andy Paul: I got hired and I had, no, I had no background in the industry at all, but I was just fascinated by what they were doing. I mean, it was, and that was a big change for me from an industry standpoint and actually sort of took a step back, a job wise to get in the company. But yeah, it’s just, yeah, pick up the phone. So excited I just called. And somehow, somehow I talked my way into getting in to see the VP of sales two days later. Good job on the spot.
Art Sobczak : That’s interesting. And I’m sure there’s many, many sales executives listening to this right now. I would say very few of them probably have had that type of experience where somebody just approached them like that with, with that person and taking that initiative. And I mean, we all want. To hire people who really, really want to work for us and somebody who’s going to take that initiative, be creative.
And again, demonstrate the skills that that sales executive is looking for. I mean, that’s the entire package.
Andy Paul: Yeah. I think people when the working environments we’ve had maybe the last 10 years where there’s, you know, server employee driven a market where there’s so much demand for, for qualified people, as they get served complacent and say, well, yeah, something interesting is going to come along as opposed to saying.
Yeah, these are the companies, the handful of companies, this particular company that really want to work for. And to do what we just talked about is do the, the prepared outreach as you talk about the smart call. Yeah. They don’t get those calls very often. I never did. And I was VP, I don’t know, five different times, um, at startups. Yeah. I never got that call.
Art Sobczak : Yeah, great salespeople will always have a position. And that’s why I love this profession so much because- obviously I’m biased. But when, when you’re, when you’re around top salespeople, they just exude confidence, uh, the communication skills, the, the, the can do attitude. That’s the greatest profession in the world.
Andy Paul: No, no. I mean, you and I have both been in it for a long time, so yeah, no, no argument here. Um,
Art Sobczak : Well, our entire lives, I always say that everybody’s a born salesperson because kids are the greatest sales people in the world. Some people just choose not to make it a career.
Andy Paul: I haven’t heard that before. I think they’re good at it. I mean, they can be very persistent. Uh, they can be very patient. I mean, sometimes, I mean, I’ve, my kids on occasion would fool me by- I thought they’d forgotten about certain things, but no, they, they came back and made their, made their case. Uh, after you thought the whole subject has gone away.
Art Sobczak : Well, you think about it too. Kids are persistent askers and they are deaf when it comes to hearing, no. And even my kids who are grown know still how to ask for the money.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I don’t think that ever changes. So, um, one of the important concepts you talk about in the book, and we talked about this the first time you’re on, but to me, it’s, it’s something I’m such a huge believer in is as you talk about, get a win on every call. So tell us what you mean by back. Cause I think it’s so critical.
Art Sobczak : The subtitle of the book is eliminate the fear of failure and rejection from cold calling. And over the years, of course, I’ve had people challenge me on that who didn’t read the book, they just dismissed it saying, well, that’s not true because rejection is part of sales, it’s inherent. And the way I deal with that is I always ask question in my training workshops, who here has been rejected before on on a sales call or prospecting call? And people are falling over themselves, thrusting their arm up in the air, I’ll say, okay, great. How do you know? How do you know? And then of course the common answers are, well, you, you get to know, or, uh, somebody tells you they’re all good or they’re going with somebody else, or it’s their tone, their dial tone when they hang up on you.
And I say, okay, that’s great. Now those are all things that happen to you. Okay. Things happening to us, experiences are inevitable in sales if we’re putting in the effort activity and that’s always going to be part of it. So then of course I always ask is rejection an experience itself, or the way you define the experience? Then you see the light bulbs going on. Of course, it’s always the way you define the experience and we have choices. We always control the stories that we tell ourselves. So if you tell yourself that if I got to know on a phone call, I got rejected. Of course, that is how you’re going to feel. But why in the world, if you have a choice, would you choose to make yourself feel bad as a result of just something that happened on a phone call?
And it’s, it’s interesting that if you look at it, so we got to know it was just, it wasn’t a right fit or something that didn’t work. Now, if you put it in terms of another profession, like an accountant, a if an accountant’s spreadsheet doesn’t work out the way they want it, they don’t say, Oh God, I got rejected by that spreadsheet.
It just doesn’t happen. So it’s actually kind of absurd. So what I suggest salespeople do is number one, just don’t call what happens to you rejection instead, just look at it as all right. Well, it wasn’t a fit. It was just something that didn’t work today. Uh, and a no isn’t forever. It might be just not now.
And now somebody else might say, well, yeah, that’s all, that’s all well, and good. Those are just words. Well, of course words drive our feelings and emotions and actions. And I do suggest, and this is to your point getting a win. Instead of just leaving it at that, let’s get something positive on every single call that we can call a win.
Now, this does not have to be something that the prospect does, so it doesn’t have to be getting the appointment or the sale. It could be just something we attempt. Every single time on every single call. And maybe it could be a question that we ask, maybe it could be just getting a decision and I equate that with the win.
So at the end of a long day, instead of saying, Oh God, I got rejected 30 times today. Can’t wait to do it again tomorrow. Which actually never happens. Uh, we can say I accomplished my goal, primary objective three or four times, whatever that might be getting an appointment or you’ll say, Oh, whatever. And then you could say, and I accomplished my secondary objective, which is that when the rest of the time and the reason for that is sales is a profession where I firmly believe that about 90-95%, maybe more of what we accomplish is due to how we feel when we’re doing it. Going back to the accountant, the accountant can come in, you know, hungover, feeling like dirt and probably still put out a passable work product. In sales that’s a little bit more difficult for us to do. I know I’ve tried. So yeah. We, we have to proactively do things just to keep our attitude up and yeah. Out of everything salespeople do prospecting can potentially be the hardest because that’s when we’re going out and playing in heavy traffic on the highway the most. We’re opening ourselves up two, two more of those potential setbacks and the ones who do the best at it are the ones who know how to deal with it. They don’t call it rejection and they’re getting wins all the time. And, and I gotta tell you, Andy, over the years, since the book first came out, the number of people that have told me that, that one concept just changed their life and their ability to go out there and pick up the phone and, uh, and, and help others, which really is what sales is.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. That the, having the attitude about helping is one thing that helps her shield against the rejection. Because again, they’re not rejecting, they just don’t need help at this point in time. But, but the whole thing, getting a win on every call for me, when I look back on my experience and when I was out making tons of cold calls every day in the field, Is I tried to learn something on a recall and that, to me, it was the win, right. If I could learn something about this customer, otherwise, maybe when they would be in the market for it, you know, the reason why perhaps they weren’t interested right now. And if I could walk away with some additional knowledge about it, for me, that that was the win. And that helped me feel better about what I was doing.
Art Sobczak : Yeah. I suggest at the end of every single call, salespeople ask themselves a couple of times, one is what you just said, what did I learn? And then the other is what could I have done differently? Or what will I do differently really next time? And those could be wins as well because I just, I just something about myself that I can change to make the next call better.
And. If you, if you think about the, just the sheer numbers of how many times you could do that over the course of a week, a month, a year, I mean that alone could be a graduate degree in sales.
Andy Paul: Well, yeah. If you have that attitude that you’re trying to continually learn how to get better. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So a different question for you, and this is going through your book this time again is, is, you know, when you talk about preparation and the importance of preparation, and interestingly, I’m seeing, you know, over the last year, certain parties are pushing back about this idea about research being overrated, right. That just spending too much time on LinkedIn just doesn’t give a return or, or whatever. I mean, have you felt some of that and seen some of that.
Art Sobczak : Oh, yeah, no doubt, because there are salespeople who will spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, social media and all this, and they’ll call it research. But really what it is call avoidance. And it doesn’t have to take a tremendous amount of time to get what you need in order to put together a good possible value proposition.
And also here’s the other thing about time on research. Uh, I mean, these numbers are all over the board. Yeah. I don’t know. I’m always a skeptic when somebody throws out numbers, like it takes, you know, so many attempts to get somebody on the phone, whatever, but whatever that number is. It’s it’s more than one. So the next three or four or five times you’re calling that person, you don’t have, have to do all the research. You’ve already done it the first time. So that, that is one argument against we don’t have to spend a tremendous amount of time during our day on research, but if someone is taking an hour on LinkedIn and they’re avoiding placing the call, now we’ve got a problem.
So I suggest that salespeople systematize their, their initial research for again, whatever it is that they’re doing and what they’re selling. Now, if you have more of a transactional, lower dollar sale, you’re not going to be investing as much time as somebody that is selling enterprise software with multiple decision makers into a large organization. Okay. I’m taking a little bit more time figuring out what is the hierarchy look like and so on. Um, so, so yeah, I, I, I, you, you can spend too much time doing this. And then the question is, are you doing it to avoid picking up the phone?
Andy Paul: Yeah. And all I think what’s happened is there’s been some people that yeah, the opposite to your point, spend way too much time doing the research call avoidance and what the response has been on. The part of many managers, just general overgeneralization about thought sounding redundant, generalization about, well, Yeah, just don’t do any it’s like, nah, no, that’s, that’s, that’s gone too far the other direction.
Alright. So I want to talk about, um, you know, you’re you talking about customizing your openings and, and I think this is another topic that, you know, people are paralyzed by. You know, what did they say when they first, first calls people and, and try to do it in a way that doesn’t sound canned. You talk about this in the book is it’s okay to have a script. You just don’t want to sound scripted
Art Sobczak : Yeah. That’s, that’s the paradox with, with scripts. People who are against scripts are against them because they don’t want to sound like a moron. And the-
Andy Paul: Robot.
Art Sobczak : And, and, and the paradox is if somebody just wings it that means that they’re probably going to sound like a moron. So scripted is- we want to use a script like an actor uses a script, and I define a script as the proper combination of words to use in a situation that is going to help us get the result or reaction that we want from the person at the other end of the line. And I use the analogy of, if you were going to write an article for a trade publication or a website that was going to get in front of all of the decision makers in your business would, I mean,, it’s something that could just make your career, would you turn in your rough draft? No, of course, nobody would, they would, you know, do an outline and you go through several iterations of it. You’d fine. Tune it, Polish it up right? Now if somebody just jumps on the phone without preparing what they’re going to say, and they say the first thing off the top of their head, what did they just turn in? Their rough draft.
Andy Paul: Right. Yeah.
Art Sobczak : Your, your, your polished versions always yeah. Is going to be better than your rough draft. Now the key is of course, in the delivery and the way we write and the way we speak, speak as much different. So that’s why we need to spend time on putting together the right words and following a process, I’ve got a process that we teach and you also want to make it sound conversational and to make it sound conversational it’s a combination of again, using the right words, but then delivering it. In such a way that it sounds like the first time he ever said, and, and that may take a lot of practice for some people. Some people are just kind of natural doing it. Other people, it takes a little bit. I had a, I had a coaching client one time and the, if I can tell a story real quick, Guy had contacted me and I don’t do individual coaching anymore, but this guy, I mean, he came to me almost begging me to take him on. And he was about my age. He had built a very successful, um, company in the, the employee benefits business and through a series of bad decisions, bad investments, and a very costly divorce, he was almost bankrupt. So he said, I have to get back into doing the only thing that I know, and that is selling employee benefits. And he says it’s been forever since I’ve made prospecting calls. Can you help me? I said, yeah. Okay. Here’s what I need you to do. I need you to go through the course and then come back and we’ll, we’ll go through your, your, your value proposition. So he went through it with me and I said, okay, deliver it to me like you would a prospect. And he sounded like he was reading it. I said, okay, well, the, the, the script itself is good, but you gotta work on your delivery. I said, I need you to recite this into a recorder, play it back and do it until it just sounds like the first time you ever said it, he says, how many times do I need to do it? I said, I don’t know. You tell me, use one. If it takes a hundred, I said, do it 101.
Andy Paul: And it memorize it for God’s like
Art Sobczak : He called me back the next week. I said, okay. Deliver it for me. And, uh, and he did, and it sounded just, I mean, beautiful. I said, how many times do you have to do this? He said, well, it was close to a hundred. So, I mean, whatever it takes.
Andy Paul: Well it Yeah. so it seems like, so here’s an issue that the spring mine is again, as I was reading your book again here, the third edition I have to admit, I didn’t read the second edition. I only read the first and the third. You know, part of this has to be about what’s you’re selling right in the opening because yeah, it was, you know, and certainly in SAS businesses, they’re selling a demo or a call with an AE they’re really. Is really focused on us as the seller, not on them as the buyer. And it seems like that’s one of the sources of disconnect that I hear oftentimes. So how, how can sellers do that differently? I mean, the objective is still the same, but how do they, how do they open to make that happen?
Art Sobczak : Well what every salesperson has to understand is that you’re not selling a thing. Don’t talk about your thing. Okay. People.
Andy Paul: In the nicest way possible.
Art Sobczak : That’s right. And people can, people will object to your thing, but it’s real tough to resist a potential result that appeals to them and is personal to them. So we, we don’t talk about the thing. Or what we want to do. And, and, and one mistake that I’ve been talking about forever. And there are people out there who actually teach the opposite of this. They say to do this, but to me, it, it just creates resistance. That is don’t go for the appointment, mentioned an appointment don’t ask for somebody’s time. Say, I like to take 15 minutes of your time or, you know, our demo or any of that, because they really don’t even see a reason to stay on the phone with you for another 15 seconds.
Let alone book another call with you or a demo or whatever. So really all we’re trying to do. I suggest that we have two objectives for our. Opening. And that is to put somebody in a positive, receptive state of mind, because if you think about what state of mind is somebody in, if they pick up a phone call from somebody that they don’t know who it is.
We’re normally in a neutral or a negative frame of mind or skeptical. All right. Not where we want them. So. So we need to reverse that as quickly as possible. Get them into that curious, positive, receptive state of mind. And then the only other objective is to get them talking. Because now if I get them talking from that state of mind, and then I can engage in the questioning and the questioning is what’s going to open them up, get them talking about themselves, what they want, what they’re looking for, we’re building some rapport and then, then we can move forward with, with the rest of the call. But again, somebody opens up and says, you know, our subject here with business by phone, and we’re a world renowned sales training company. What I’d like to do is to, um, arrange a call with you where I can show you that. And I probably made about six mistakes just in that opening. They’re asking and talking about me. Uh, no value asking for something, asking for a decision. Really the here’s. Here’s all I want to hear after my opening to somebody. Yeah, sure. Yeah. What do you wanna know? What, yeah, sure. Let’s talk.
Andy Paul: Well, and that’s and you do you have a great suggestion, which is, and I really like this is that instead of saying, let me ask you a few questions. You say that I’d like to exchange some information with you. I think, I think that’s genius.
Art Sobczak : And that was actually submitted by a smart caller out in the field. And that that’s one thing that we added to the book. So many examples like that. I mean, I, I learned something every time I do a workshop. I learned something every day from, from sales pros out there. Who, who, who are using the material. I just love it.
Andy Paul: well, I think that that’s and I want to serve, not dwell on it, but just make sure we re reiterate that so people understand this. Yeah. That’s, that’s the type of thing that engages people, opens them up to a conversation. Um, involves them. Right. They’ve got a role to play in this and you know people like to exchange information.
Art Sobczak : Well, yeah, that way they don’t feel like they’re just going to be pitched and- It’s funny, Andy, there’s so many terms in sales that are negative. When you think about it, uh, getting past gatekeepers, cold calling, rejection, uh, the pitch. Pitch should be in baseball and softball and that’s it and because a pitch is one way. And like you said, if somebody feels like they’re taking part in a conversation, I mean, let’s face it people. I mean, the old saying people want to buy, they don’t want to be sold. And if we give them a role in the process, it doesn’t seem like a sales call. It seems like a conversation that they may get some value from.
Andy Paul: Yeah, no, absolutely. And, and so part and parcel with that whole thing too, with like, at least in my mind, I like to exchange some information is, is really the position you’re coming from when you do that is, you know, everything is so important is to. Feel more like a peer when you’re making these calls. Not as a supplicant, not as a somebody’s asking or begging for something, but that yeah, you’ve got a reason to wanna talk to me. There’s exchange information, help them in some, some dimension.
Art Sobczak : Yeah, and that is a great point because too often, and it’ll come through in a sales person’s voice. If they perceive themselves as being at a lower level than the person they’re speaking with decision makers want to do business with people that they perceive as, as being a peer. And if you give any indication that you’re intimidated or you’re not worthy, they’re just going to look at you as a, as a vendor, as opposed to somebody who has some possible value that may be able to help them.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And you, you talk with this in the context of, uh, are referred to Oren Klaff’s book about the status alignment idea and that’s yeah. That’s, it is, you’re going to act less confident and be perceived as being less confident. Um, you know, as you talked about you don’t think you apologize for interrupting or, um, you know, ask for their time or something like that.
Art Sobczak : Yeah, one thing I suggest that we don’t say is, I know you’re busy, so I won’t take too much of your time. Okay. Because now we’re apologizing and, and you’re also stating the obvious,
Andy Paul: which is you’re going to take a bunch of their time.
Art Sobczak : Yeah, everybody’s busy, right? The things that salespeople say right at the beginning of a call that just shoots themselves in the foot.
And when, when I work with sales reps and I review openings and voicemail messages, even the ones that are good that probably. Are getting good responses. Normally I can change a few words here or there and do some microsurgery to even make it a little bit better. Because again, words, words do have tremendous meaning.
And when we have this small window of opportunity to either create interest or resistance, one or two words can make a difference.
Andy Paul: Yeah, well, so the last point I want to get into here is we’re starting to run down on time is your possible value proposition. Uh, so I want you to explain what that is.
Art Sobczak : Well forever in sales, the terms of value prop and elevator speech have, have been around. Right. And what, what we’re doing there is that we are, we are creating something that we feel is going to be our big gun that is going to create interest with everybody. Well, here’s the thing, when you really analyze it, you, you can’t, you can’t near in value for someone. They can only extract it out. Meaning that they’re going to decide what’s a value, right? So that’s where I call it possible value. So I call it a PVP possible value proposition. And we create that of course, based on our knowledge of, of what we have our knowledge of, of buyers, which I believe all sales training should start with not the product, but the buyers who are our buyers, what’s going on in their world.
What are they looking for? What do they not want as it relates to our type of product or service? Uh, what’s most important to them, all of those things. Now, when, when I, when I know all these things, and then when I’ve done some research done some social engineering, now I can tailor my, my possible value. To them so that I can, I can maximize the chance that it’s going to resonate with them because really that’s, that’s all that matters. And when, when somebody tells me you don’t do the research, you’ll need to know anything about them, just, you know, going with your pitch. I mean, to me, that is just, that’s so ludicrous because we are bombarded with thousands of messages every day and we only react to a couple, if that, right? And how do we decide which ones we’re going to reply or react to? Well, the ones that resonate personally with, to us the most, and the only way that we as salespeople are going to have a chance to do that is to, is to make it all about them. And, um, so, so that’s what we’re doing with the, with the possible value proposition. And then what we’re doing is we’re plugging that into our messaging. We’re plugging that into our emails, our InMails, our voicemail, and the opening statement when we actually get them on the phone.
Andy Paul: Perfect. All right. Our unfortunately run out of time. We could go on forever because gosh, I didn’t even touch most of the things I want to talk about, but we’ll have you back. We’ll do it again. So, um, people want to find out more about you and your book. How can they do that?
Art Sobczak : The book has its own site, which is smart-calling.com smart-calling.com. And there are multiple buttons there for places that you can buy the book from. If you do Amazon Barnes and noble, wherever, and the real bonus of going there is after you get the book. I forgot to mention this. I had so much stuff. I wanted to put it in the book, but you know how publishers are. They didn’t want to make it like a thousand page book and make it multimedia. So I put together a free companion course. And the resource library where every single chapter has additional material, both texts, webinars, audio, video contributions from other people. And I mean, if I were going to charge for this, I would charge a couple of. Couple of hundred dollars easily, but it’s free for everybody who buys the book. And then after you get the book, you just go in there and you can get access immediate access to that course. So that’s smart-calling.com. And for anything else about me, you can go to the site smartcalling.com. No hyphen smartcalling.com. And there’s a lot of content there as well. If you’re interested in personal training or speaking. Got that there as well. And then one more thing. I also have a podcast, theartofsales.com.
Andy Paul: There you go. All right. Well, thanks so much for joining us.
Art Sobczak : Any thank you for having me on very enjoyable and, uh, sales reps out there. I’ve been, I’ve been signing off with this for the last couple of months. Hey, the world needs you right now. So go out there. Be confident, make things happen.
Andy Paul: Excellent. Right. Thank you very much.