By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

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This week’s episode is entitled A Mind For Sales: Sales Book Club with Mark Hunterand our guest is Mark Hunter, one of the best voices in B2B sales today. Mark is the author of numerous books including the brand new book, A Mind for Sales.

These are uncertain times.  A lot of prospects are slowing down on things.  Mark is talking to sales leaders all day long trying to figure out how to keep their team motivated and how to keep selling, how to keep selling with empathy. I ask Mark what general advice he’s giving based on what he’s seeing in the field?

Look at the long picture. Look at the long game. Don’t try to play the short game, play the long game. We’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this. I’m very optimistic.

The piece that I’m saying right now, short term, is you need to be listening to everybody’s backstory. Everybody’s got a backstory, a personal backstory and a professional backstory and you got to take a couple minutes and listen to that. Listen to it with empathy because you know what?

You’ve got a back story. What’s happened so far to you and how are you responding to it? And if we demonstrate that, it’s amazing how we create a much better connection. There’s a lot of business being done out there, a lot of business, a lot of opportunities, but you just have to take the time to listen, and listen more intently.

And that’s advice that you could give at any time. You could’ve given it three months ago. You can give it six months from now– Use your active listening skills and understand where someone’s coming from. I’ve heard pros and cons of people saying, giving the what’s keeping you up at night question and making questions too broad.

How do you exercise active listening? How do you let your prospect share while still maintaining control and direction of the conversation?

Mark, in his book talks about minefields and the mind traps, M-I-N-D traps.  I ask him to talk about the things many sellers face when they have good intentions. They develop their systems, they do some of the things he’s talking about, but then they start to execute and they lose. Seeing they lose momentum, they lose confidence. I ask, what are some of those common minefields of mind traps and how do you get around those?

Listen in or read the full transcript below for LOTS MORE:

Paul:  Hey, welcome back. Time to grab your board and swim out into that turbulent sea, see if you can’t still catch a wave. Even with the storm brewing all around here with the man who… Well, he’s out there casting his net and seeing what comes forth here. We’ve got Matt Heinz from Heinz Marketing.

Matt:  Well we did some research. We did a couple of different research projects in Q1 where we have answers coming back from people in what was a much better market and it’s interesting, normally you would say, “Oh that was just done, that would be a pretty good.” Boy, even 30, 45 days later, I bet you some of their answers have changed.

Paul:  I’ll bet they have. And you know what’s interesting to me, I’ll just throw this in before your guest today here. Maybe you can talk about it. Many of the companies that we talk to on the Funnel Radio network and all the stations that we do here, a month or two ago, couple months ago, they were reporting the best year they’d ever had, the best quarter they’d had in a long time.

I’m here in Orange County, they were on the Orange County Business Journal the other day. They had their all-time record year last year, so we were all prime for big time and all of a sudden, how the mighty have fallen. In a very short period of time we’ve gone to one of the worst queues we’ve seen maybe in our lifetime or in a while. That rapid decline from the heights to wherever we are now here has been dizzying I think for people.

Matt:  It has been and I think people are still buying, people are still selling, there’s business, but there’s also a lot of, just a lot of stress. I think in a world of what people feel is unrest is actually a form of grief from what’s going on, from not knowing what’s coming next.

Paul:  It’s the uncertainty that comes next. I think that’s what adds to fear. I can handle just about anything if you tell me what’s happening. I may not like it, but I’ll find a way to deal with it, but when I don’t know, I’m a scared kid in the corner saying help me.

Matt:  Yeah. Well I think our guest today will help us a little bit with that. Thank you Mark for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. We are here every week at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern if you’re joining us live. Hopefully working from home. Thank you for making this part of your work from home work day.

If you’re listening to the podcast, thank you so much for joining over 100,000 of your B2B sales and marketing friends and every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio was always available. Past, present, future at salespipelineradio.com.

We are featuring every week, some of the best and brightest minds in sales and marketing. Today, absolutely no different. Very excited to post today, a friend. One of the best voices in B2B sales today. Mark Hunter who is the author of numerous books including the brand new book, A Mind for Sales. Mark, thanks so much for joining us today.

Mark:  Thank you for having me on today. Looking forward to talking.

Matt:  So I want to talk about the book and for sure people are going to want to get a copy of this book. It’s one of my favorites of the year far for sure in terms of the topic and what it covers and what it recommends, but I think a lot of people, as you know, as Paul alluded too are kind of… You know there’s uncertain times, there’s a lot of prospects that are slowing down on things and you’re talking to sales leaders all day long trying to figure out how to keep their team motivated and how to keep selling, how to sell with empathy. What’s the general advice that you’re giving based on what you’re seeing in the field?

Mark:  Well, but the two pieces I’m telling everybody is a). Look at the long picture. Look at the long game. Don’t try to play the short game, play the long game. We’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this. I’m very optimistic. I know we were talking before the show regarding first quarter is the best one and all of a sudden boom, this hits, but you know what? We’re going to get back on track.

The piece that I’m saying right now, short term is you need to be listening to everybody’s backstory. Everybody’s got a backstory, a personal backstory and a professional backstory and you got to take a couple minutes and listen to that. Listen to it with empathy because you know what?

You’ve got a back story. What’s happened so far to you and how are you responding to it? And if we demonstrate that, it’s amazing how we create a much better connection. There’s a lot of business being done out there, a lot of business, a lot of opportunities, but you just have to take the time to listen, and listen more intently.

Matt:  And that’s advice that you could give at any time. You could’ve given it three months ago. You can give it six months from now is to use your active listening skills and understand where someone’s coming from. I’ve heard pros and cons of people saying, giving the what’s keeping you up at night question and making questions too broad. How do you exercise active listening? How do you let your prospect share while still maintaining control and direction of the conversation?

Mark:  Well, this is really, if you think about it, what we’re talking about here today has really been part of selling for a thousand years. But unfortunately, lost that mojo in terms of listening. Now we’re suddenly coming back to it. What do we mean by that? It’s really taking what that person is saying and just letting them talk.

And you know what’s interesting is the typical salesperson wants to guide the conversation. They want to guide the conversation, they want to take it to the next question, they want to go to that. And really right now, we have to step back and let the customer, let the customer guide the discussion, let them drive. And what I’m finding is when we take the time to just be a little more open and a little more empathetic, what we’re doing is we’re creating a deeper relationship, which is creating trust.

And if you think about this now, right now, in the midst of this pandemic situation, trust is more important than ever in anything and everything. You want to know that you can go to the store if you need to and you’re not going to get COVID-19.

You want to be able to trust, you want to trust. So the conversations we have as salespeople, we have to create that. And you do that by letting the customer drive, sharing with them, let them share their backstory. You share a little bit of your backstory, but let that personal relationship come through.

Matt:  And that’s something you can still do remotely, right? I think clearly, there’s more companies that even in better times are moving towards more of a remote sales inside sales format. Every salesperson today is being forced to work remotely and give up some of the value of the face to face conversation.

I believe that will come back and that you really can’t replace face to face in-person selling. Are there best practices for authentically building those relationships and building that rapport when you have to do that remotely?

Mark:  Well, there is. I mean we’re all in a WFH, work from home, so that means we’re SFH, but remember our customers are in a BFH, they’re buying from home. And one of the best practices I really contend is that we have to allow every person’s situation to be their own situation.

Now what do I mean by that? I was talking to a lady the other day and she was working at her kitchen table because her husband was at the one desk they had in their apartment. He was working. And then as I’m sitting there and we happened to be on a Zoom call.

Suddenly her three-year-old comes and runs in the room and jumps up on her lap. You know what? I got to roll in, “Hey, what’s your son’s name?” And we had to talk. And again, it’s letting that conversation come through.

Do not pass judgment. You’re talking to somebody and the dog starts barking. Who cares? That’s great. “Hey, what kind of dog have you got? That’s great. I’ve got this dog.” Again, you allow for the personal connection to come through. That’s the biggest best practice. But there’s another best practice.

Speed, speed sells now more than ever. So many sales people, what they’ll do is go, “Hey, this is a great call. So forth. Well let’s set up time for the next call. How’s your calendar look next week?” Next week is off the table. If you think about all the changes that have occurred just in the last week, what I want to do is, “How’s your calendar look this afternoon?

How’s your calendar look three or four hours from now or worst case tomorrow morning?” Speed sells. And what does that allow you to do? It allows you to move through the process faster, because remember we’ve got social distance, but social distance is changing so quickly, so rapidly. I got to move quickly.

Matt:  We’re working from home, we’re selling from home, we’re broadcasting from home. Is that BFH? I don’t know, but we’re very happy to have with us today, Mark Hunter sharing some great wisdom on selling in this moment.

He’s the author of a number of books including high profits selling, high profit prospecting and the brand new book, A Mind for Sales and I want to spend some time talking about this book so you can learn more about Mark on his website, thesaleshunter.com.

You can get a copy of the book there. You can get a copy on Amazon and a bunch of different places. And I think this book is particularly important now because I think when we’re working from home, when we’re selling from home, we’ve lost in many cases, the rhythms that we’re used to working with.

And a big part of this book is the mindset you have for sales and the habits you set up. Talk a little bit about why that is so important for salespeople especially right now.

Mark:  Well it is and the reason I wrote the book, because I wrote high-profit prospecting beforehand where they give you the tools is that a prospect? But people said, “I can’t prospect. I just don’t know how.” And really what it comes down to is they didn’t have the right mindset.

The right mindset overpowers, overcomes any other issues that you might have because you could have the best sales stack in the world. You could have the best product to sell, but let me tell you something. If your mindset isn’t right, you’re not going to be successful at all. What is the mindset? The mindset is about putting the customer first, putting the customer first.

In my book, I talk about how I got fired from my first two sales jobs because I wasn’t even thinking about the customer. And when we think about the customer and here’s the whole deal, my whole objective when I sell is to help you the customer, see and achieve what you didn’t think was possible. That’s my goal.

If I’m passionate about helping people, I’m going to be incredibly successful selling because I’m going to help move you to the next level. And especially right now in the midst of this pandemic that we’re in right now, to me, I get jazzed to be in sales during times like this. Now I don’t wish this time upon anybody. I mean I want to get out of it, but it’s when we’re needed more than ever as salespeople to be able to help customers.

Matt:  Well, and I think that you mentioned earlier building rapport and sometimes I think selling with empathy is asking, “How are you doing? How are you feeling through this?” And we’ve been doing that with employees, just saying, “Hey listen, how are you doing? What do you need? What do you need from us? What do you need from your colleagues? What can we do to be supportive of you?”

And I think just that level of even just asking the question and being empathetic is more than a lot of people are willing to do. We’re going to come back. We’re going to pay some bills and take a quick break. We’ll be back with more with Mark Hunter. We’re going to talk more about the mindset for sales. We’re going to talk about how that relates to not only getting your number but accelerating and moving in and through your career. We’ll be right back on Sales Pipeline Radio.

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Paul:  All right, we’ll see if the connections will hold up for run half more of our conversation here with Mark Hunter.

Matt:  You never know, you never know. We were talking with Mark Hunter today who is the sales hunter and a frequent speaker at sales kickoffs and the company kickoffs, and pretty much any sales conference around the country, you’ll find Mark speaking keynoting. Author of a number of books including the brand new book, A Mind for Sales.

And talk about, I mean you mentioned earlier, people don’t know how to prospect. Sometimes they don’t have a plan or they don’t have the discipline to do it. Let’s get specific. Let’s talk about place, let’s talk about desk organization, let’s talk about list printed out in front of you.

What are some of the things that can eliminate some of those physical and mental barriers to helping people increase their activity and output?

Mark:  One of the first things I tell salespeople, anytime you’re feeling stalled, stop. Take a piece of paper out. Make two columns, left column, write down your best customers, write them down. And right column, write down the outcomes that you’ve helped them achieve, not what you sold them. It’s not what you sold. It’s how they were helped because of what you sold. Write down those outcomes.

And it’s amazing when you write down those outcomes, then you suddenly begin to realize, hey, wait a minute, I am making a difference with people. And when you begin to look through that list, then you realize, wait a minute, I have the ability to help people. So then when I do is I tend to say, okay, who are people? What are profiles that are similar to those great customers?

So that becomes my ICP. And in a very simple term, your ideal customer profile and then what you have here is you say, wait a minute, I have the ability to help these people. So now it’s my responsibility to reach out to these people. And then what it comes down to is very simply, I’m just going to call and have a conversation.

You see, my objective on that initial call is, you’re not expecting me to call. You didn’t wake up this morning and gee, I hope a sales person calls me and tries to tell me something I don’t know. But what you want to do is you just want to earn the right. You just want to earn the privilege, the honor and the respect to be able to talk with that person again.

Because if you do that, it’s amazing how sales suddenly becomes really very easy, very simplistic, and it becomes you’re engaging because it’s now, I’m helping you, the prospect and I’m going to help you even more when I turn you into a customer.

Matt:  That mindset sounds like it’s important not just for sales, but for any customer facing professional, any leader, anyone who wants to sort of step into their day with a positive, proactive, practical mindset. I want to ask you specifically about the marketers though, and I think that is, I look at a lot of great sales books like yours and say marketers need to understand this.

They need to understand what your sales counterparts are, reading the energy, understand sales best practices to create better cohesion between sales and marketing efforts. What can a B2B marketer learn and take away from A Mind for Sales?

Mark:  What they can learn is how important it is to be aligned up with sales. I share in the book a couple of stories how it’s so easy for sales to throw missiles at marketing and marketing to throw missiles at sales. You know the old joke when you miss your number, who do you blame? You blame marketing if you’re in sales and if you’re in marketing, that’s old, that’s old.

Mark:  What I in the book is a couple of stories where salespeople were a little frustrated with marketing, gee, that’s not unusual, but what they did was they said, look, let’s work together. Let’s work together on a couple of customer projects.

And it was amazing how when marketing was now sitting in alongside on the telephone calls, sitting alongside in the meeting, sitting alongside, and it was amazing how suddenly what the salespeople and marketing were able to do was really hone the messaging.

And this is what I talk about in the book. Marketing deals in a macro perspective, okay, we’re dealing messaging, we’re dealing educational content, lead generation, et cetera. The sales person is down at the micro level, individual. So it’s so easy for the salesperson to throw missiles.

Well, gee, look at this document. Look at this, look at this. You have to hold it salesperson, understand why marketing wrote that. Marketing wrote that from a macro perspective for the marketplace, for the audience, for that demographic segment, for that group.

You’re dealing with it for one individual person. So anyway, there’s a couple of chapters in the book where I talk about how when sales and marketing comes together and I share some strategies and some ideas in the book as to how to pull together, then suddenly it’s amazing that it’s no longer two different departments, two different teams, but it’s one, it’s one, working together to help the customer because there is a logical flow.

Both sides need each other. Sales must have marketing. I hate it when salespeople say, “Wow, why don’t they just give us all marketing money?” And no, you don’t want that. You don’t want that at all. Marketing is beautiful at creating that overarching messaging, creating the educated marketplace and really so to speak, bringing the prospect to the salesperson. Then it’s the salesperson’s job to close it from there. But boy, both sides got to be working together.

Matt:  Wrapping up here with a few more minutes with Mark Hunter, the author of the new book, A Mind for Sales, and one of the things you cover in the book, best laid plans don’t always survive contact with the battlefield.

When you talk about minefields and the mind traps, M-I-N-D traps, can you talk a little bit about the things that many sellers face when they have good intentions, they develop their systems, they do some of the things you’re talking about, but then they start to execute and they lose. Seeing they lose momentum, they lose confidence. What are some of those common minefields of mind traps and how do you get around those?

Mark:  Well, the common traps are, we’re going to inundate our sales force with all of these apps and hacks and all these different things. And what happens is we say, well, if we just lay in this process and we just lay in this, we just lay in this and it’s going to make it, but then what happens is the sales organization becomes so encumbered while the sales force is being controlled by the apps and the hacks, that they really don’t have the ability to do what they do.

The best app, the best sales app out there is your mind. And what happens too many times is we create all of these tools and what began as a CRM has mushroomed into 10,000 different platforms and they’re all great. They’re all great, but we have to understand how do they complement the mind? How do they support the mind?

Because at the end of the day, it’s important that the salesperson drives the app and not the app driving the salesperson. Let’s go ahead and use it and use a very simple example. The Tesla automobile, self-driving mechanism. It’s a wonderful tool. It’s a wonderful tool. It’s great, it’s great.

However, there’ve been some deaths that unfortunately had been recorded because people overused the app, they overused the self-driving mechanism. See, the self-driving mechanism when it’s used right, is a great complement to the driver, but when used wrong, it can kill.

And yeah, that’s a pretty drastic example, but this is what happens when apps and hacks, and fast programs and so forth get out of control in terms of how the salesperson’s using them. You’ve got to use them in the perspective of the big picture.

Matt:  I was reading on your website and the other description for the book, and wrote this down. Do not read this book if you would rather make excuses, do not read this book if you feel like it’s someone else’s responsibility to train you. And I hope that many good sellers are in organizations with strong leaders, with strong coaches, with access to training materials.

But I’ve heard you speak and read enough of your content to know that you believe strongly in individual sales reps taking full responsibility for their own. Obviously their own code in their actions, but also their own training and education. What are some other books and resources in addition to your own that you think are must reading for modern B2B sellers today?

Mark:  Well, I really like all three of the books written by Mike Weinberg. Sales Truth is his most current book, but then Sales Management Simplified and New Sales Simplified. I think those three books are absolutely outstanding. And I think also that there’s a perspective that we have to get outside of the sales world.

And Ray Dalio has written the book Principles, came out almost two years ago now. But I believe that is a foundational business book that every salesperson can read because one of the challenges we have in sales is that we have to be able to think broad.

We have to think big, and we can’t allow ourselves, because remember we’re selling it to people who aren’t into sales, so that means we’ve got to understand their world. So that’s why I very highly recommend Ray Dalio’s book, Principles as a business book, not so much sales focused. But I love everything by Mike Weinberg.

Matt:  Well I agree with you on that. And I think it’s been for people like yourself and Mike and others who are writing right now and giving just good practical, no nonsense, no spin advice to help sales people keep their motivation and keep going, but we’re out of time unfortunately for today.

I want to thank our guest again, Mark Hunter. Check out his book, A Mind for Sales. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, you can find it on his website, thesaleshunter.com. Check it out. It’s a lot of good stuff.

We’ll be back next week. We’ve got a lot of great guests lined up as we head into warmer weather. I’m looking out the window here. I work from home, Paul, and it is sunny. It is gorgeous. We’re going to go and do some beer canned chicken later today and make the best of it.

But on behalf of my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks for joining us for another episode, Sales Pipeline Radio.

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Sales Pipeline Radio is sponsored and produced by Heinz Marketing on the Funnel Radio Channel.  I interview the best and brightest minds in sales and Marketing.  If you would like to be a guest on Sales Pipeline Radio send an email to Sheena.