In the Praxis Sales Mastermind, we’ve got seriously talented and hard-working sales professionals all doing their best to help serve each other to succeed. In our September 12, 2019 call, we helped new comers and seasoned veterans alike! It was a blast. Let’s dive in:

Nick Weingartner: How do I get a meeting with the decision maker?

Praxis Participant Nick Weingartner does customer service, operations, and now Sales at his apprenticeship with SmartBarrel. SmartBarrel provides construction contractors with a solution that makes clocking in to a job impossible to fake (they call it “buddy punching” – hah!), as well as live project monitoring, payroll, weather notifications, and more.

Being a small startup, Nick has had to wear many hats. He’s excited to get into sales, and start setting up meetings. But how should he do it? We gave him a few principals to follow.

Be as specific as possible with your pitch.

Casey McGoff, Sales Director at Temperpack drove this point home expertly with examples. Which of the two pitches would you be more receptive to?

“Hi, we help construction companies stop their workers from buddy punching. Can we meet next week?”

“Hi, we’ve helped Akron Construction, Tightrope Electric, and Malton HVAC reduce their payroll spend by 11% by completely eliminating buddy punching all in the last 3 months. We can do that for you right now.

My bet’s on the second one.

Give these example pitches a listen, they’re worth it!

Be specific by leveraging social proof to companies similar to theirs. This will stand out from the scores of worthless salespeople droning on generically about the value they claim to bring. Don’t claim. Show. Tell your prospect exactly who you’ve helped and how, and they’ll be interested.

Know something about your prospect before you call.

In my experience, if you drop at least 1 piece of information that shows you’ve done your homework/research on a prospect, they’ll take you more seriously. And it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. It can literally just be the length of time they’ve worked at the company. It can be a specific piece of technology you know they use in their processes. Or a mutual connection you have on LinkedIn, if you’re the social selling type.

The point is, leverage your knowledge first thing in your pitch.

“Hi Bob, I know you’ve got at least 12 salespeople on LinkedIn, and they’ve got Sales Navigator accounts – we help sales teams convert 50% more leads out of their Sales Nav subscriptions by doing X, Y, and Z.”

If your pitch is both specific AND shows personal research, you’re golden.

Have a service mindset.

Ben Fickel, Account Executive at ExactData felt a profound shift in his results when he got out of his own way, and began focusing on service to others.

By internalizing the fact that you have value to offer, and that your role is simply to help others see that, you come across less needy and desperate. You’ll be more confident, less pushy, and you’ll make more money.

Eleasah Whittaker asks: What were the main things that tripped you up early in your sales career?

Elseah Whittaker is in the first module of Praxis. Meaning her life is about to get crazy awesome beyond her highest expectations. I love that she has the drive to even show up to one of these calls on a Thursday night that early in the program!

This question is darn good. It made us all pause and think.

Getting rejected sucked at first. Then it made me stronger.

For me, I had to make 1,000 cold calls and get rejected a ton before I was any good at it. One time, I was just calling down the list of names hoping to get someone to actually pick up. I was calling for a CIO of a major semi-conductor company. I dialed, waited a few seconds, and a woman’s voice asked who’s calling.

I told her my name, and that I’m looking for Bob, the CIO.

For some reason, she put me through.. The call went like this:

What are you selling, Nick?“, he barked.

“Uh.. err, Hi, I’m Nick and I help organizations lower their storage hardware and support costs. Do you -”

We don’t need that.

“Oh, well I- I-”

“Goodbye” *click*

That made me incredibly angry. He just OWNED me. I wasn’t going to let it keep me down. That one rejection motivated me through the next 100. I decided that I would get so good on the phones that someday, I’d own someone like him on a sales call.

It tripped me up in a good way. Facing rejection, the more hardcore, rude, and mean-spirited the better, makes you stronger. It builds up a buffer to rejection that carries through to every area of your life, not just sales.

Office politics are confusing and stupid. But you can learn it.

A lot of us feel a bit awkward in our first office job. The environment has unwritten political rules that aren’t automatic knowledge for most. Ben Fickel overcame this by relentlessly asking questions with genuine curiosity. He wanted to understand how everything worked at his company, from the product to the employees. Knowledge is power; seek it out and you’ll be powerful.

Ben went back and studied the history of the company. He read old training manuals, company initiatives, everything he could get his hands on – even stuff which had nothing to do with sales. Now, just 1 year into his career, his senior reps who’ve been there 2-3 years ask him for advice.

Don’t sell what people need; sell what they want.

Jerrod Harlan used to sell PT sessions as a personal trainer. He wished he realized earlier on that he should’ve been focused on selling people what they want, not what they need.

In the healthiest sense, this is valuable insight. If you try selling someone on your services by pointing to your expertise in diet and exercise, it’ll be tough. But if you ask them why they want to lose weight, and tie your service offering into their vision of an ideal future that they want – you’ll be more successful.

Sales isn’t about promoting features. It’s not even about promoting benefits, though that’s better. It’s about understanding the pain your prospect feels, understanding how they want to get to the future, and showing that what you’ve got to offer is the solution to get what they want.

There’s simply too much value in every one of these calls to condense into a single blog post. But I’ll leave you with a little gem from VMware Sales Development Rep Logan Westburg:

We also touched on:

  • How to get a remote Account Executive roll.
  • How to shift your mindset around your self-worth away from just working hard, and more into what value you bring to the table.
  • How to get 1% closer to success every day by asking “why?” when people say “no”.
  • How being in a Mastermind radically accelerates your Sales career.
  • Why being a smooth talker doesn’t get you as far as knowing your shit.

But all that juicy content is for Praxis participants and alumni only!

Until next time,

Nick