John Small Mountain
What distinguishes John Smallmtn's model and how does he approach discoveries differently?
In order to have successful and fulfilling projects, John Smallmtn highlights the significance of comprehending a client's particular needs and desires and focuses on qualifying for alignment and fit rather than merely closing transactions.
How can sales teams prevent concluding transactions that are not beneficial to the business?
Sales teams should concentrate on coordinating with the company's objectives and results, staying in frequent contact with their salespeople, and screening potential customers to ensure a suitable fit for the business. Rushing to close agreements in order to meet quotas or make money might eventually hurt the productivity and reputation of the organization.
A discovery call's significance in the sales cycle is the main issue.
Discovery calls are essential in the sales cycle because they enable salespeople to comprehend customer needs and create a business case before delivering a proposal. Discovery calls should be a prolonged process rather than a quick cure.
What are the seven disqualification conversations in sales?
The seven disqualification conversations in sales are "I'm not sure I need this," "I'm not sure I can afford this," "who else are you talking to," "are you the decision maker," "time and what's gonna get in the way," "is it competitive," and "can you help us get this across the finish line?"
Ricky Pearl: Today on a Couple of Pointers Podcast, we are lucky enough to have John Small Mountain with us, the CEO of Adapted Growth, and the author of Selling From Scratch. Welcome to the show.
John Smallmtn: Thanks for having me on, man. I'm excited to be here.
How do you feel about that word guru? Not a good thing? Good thing? Okay? Context?
Ricky Pearl: And I've, I love talking to you because you are, you're my discovery guru. and, How do you feel about that word guru? Not a good thing? Good thing? Okay? Context?
John Smallmtn: You know, you know, intention is really what matters, and I know your intention is good. You know, I can leave all my opinions about that word off to the side.
Ricky Pearl: All right, fine. It's probably somewhere in Stanford's list of inappropriate words, but I want to talk to you about discovery. I think that you have a way of doing discovery, and I've obviously read the book and we've chatted for a long.
What if you were to define or describe how you do discovery differently, what would be the main takeaways, like the main attributes of what's your unique about your model?
Ricky Pearl: What if you were to define or describe how you do discovery differently, what would be the main takeaways, like the main attributes of what's your unique about your model?
John Smallmtn: Well, I think a lot of people, when they think about [00:01:00] discovery, they might be thinking BANT or just like a black or white list of questions, right? Do they have enough headcount? Are they at a revenue level? And one of the most impactful things I've learned on my journey was whenever I started working with my business partner and we were doing websites and we had a very particular way of how we wanted to do website work, and he would always tell me, Hey man, it's not enough that they have a need.
It's not enough that they have money. They have to want it the way we do it. So figure out how to qualify for that. And then we're off to the races. And so it took me a long time to kind of get behind that because coming from corporate environment, you always make the pitch. You always make the offer.
You weren't terribly concerned about fit and alignment and
Ricky Pearl: Just close deals and worry about the shit later.
John Smallmtn: Exactly right. Like let them deal with it. Like that's not my concern. But here I am the project manager, I am the person they're gonna be communicating with and you know, there was probably four or five deals that I [00:02:00] shouldn't have closed, but my ego got on the way I wanted to work on these deals, and they were nightmares because they didn't want it the way that we wanted it.
And so when I work with marketing and advertising groups now it's what is your method look like and can you quantify that to your salesperson so that way they're bringing on really great people who want what you're actually delivering. You know, like the example that I always use is SEO versus PC.
Yes, they're both growth-minded marketing, you know, tactics and different things, but they have different half lives. They have different ways of getting done. And if you, if someone has an expectation that they're gonna get PC and you sell them SEO. When they're mad, you've earned all their fury, right?
Because you didn't really question enough to understand what they were really looking for, because they're not gonna show up and say, I want SEO, and have a really great understanding of what that is. So you need to understand where are they trying to go and why is that important, and what are they concerned about?
And that's what really great discovery is in my opinion.
Ricky Pearl: Well, I've never met anyone that [00:03:00] kind of coaches more of qualifying out. Just like removing every kind of obstacle, every kind of barrier, having the most honest and open conversation about everything. You know, the kind of conversation people should have had with their wife or their partner before getting married.
You know, she's like everything on the table, you know, my wife often says, I conned her into this marriage now it's too late. I think she says it jokingly, right?
Examples of what your discovery or what your qualification calls might sound like
Ricky Pearl: But what are, like, give us some examples of what your discovery or what your qualification calls might sound like.
John Smallmtn: Well, you know, a lot of this starts with who do you really wanna work with, right? And the smaller you are, especially like on the agency side, if you're doing creative work for people, if you're doing branding work, you really need people who are gonna like trust your process, right? And they're gonna be on board with you because it's such a conceptual thing that you're delivering to them anyway.
If it's forced, it's gonna be a nightmare for everybody. So how can a salesperson come up and have these kinds of conversations when they're not the owner or the founder? And it really [00:04:00] comes down to who do you not want to deal with and how do you view yourself and what, going back and doing all this marketing stuff, of going back and talking to the best customers about, what did you like?
So that way you've got the best view of that possible. So that way when you're doing discovery, you can be looking for that. Not the thing that you want to be, but the thing that you actually are. So that's how you om overset the expectations there. But if you're the small person and you're losing out to bigger, more established companies, talk about it.
Hey, how important is it that you're working with someone that's really well established? You know, you might lose some of the personalization, but is that important to you? Well, yeah, super important. You know, we wanna work with someone who's tried and true. Okay, cool. We might not be there. Can we talk about it?
And then you get to have this really great discussion at a stage early enough that it can still be a concern versus waiting until like, you know, you want them to sign, you've sent them a proposal, you're hounding them for them to sign the proposal, and they're looking for any reason that it doesn't make sense.
Then it's a much [00:05:00] bigger process to try to get them to detach from that. Look at it honestly, and then potentially make it a make a change it doesn't normally happen. So when you can lead with that intention, know who you are and know why you're different, your discovery becomes much more about are we aligned in how we want to get to where you're looking to go versus do you have enough revenue? Have you been in the space long enough? You know, what are your goals over the next 90 days? And, you know, okay let's get there.
Are we aligned?
Ricky Pearl: Yeah, I almost consider the those superficial values of like, do they fit my ideal client profile in terms of size, weights? You know, all of that kind of stuff. More to be like attraction in a relationship. Like there has to be attraction. It's a prerequisite for you to form a relationship, but it can't be what a relationship's based on, you know, that's literally just what gets you in the door.
And then it's a conversation. Are we aligned? Are we moral, you know, on morals, on values, on life goals, whatever else are the more important topics. But now, that's a minefield, you know? Am I going to my prospects and saying, Hey, look I'm [00:06:00] pretty grumpy until I've had my first coffee in the morning.
How do you feel about afternoon meetings? Yeah, I could, you know, and then another thing like I'll never miss a meeting, but occasionally I'm a minute late, right? I do try to stack my days back to back. Like, would you find that offensive? Like, how deep do you have to go before you know, disqualifying yourself?
John Smallmtn: This is, in my opinion where the, it gets a little muddled between art and science, right? Because I'm a data-driven guy. I love looking at KPIs and numbers, and I would rather look at spreadsheets all day long and CRM data than, you know, try to like force a fit. But there is a little bit of this. You have to be able to read the writing on the wall, right?
Because there's multiple layers of communication. There's the verbal stuff, there's the non-verbal stuff there's all of these things going on. So I don't think you d depending upon how small you are and depending upon what you want to go you know, be willing to die on, is kind of what I talk about with my clients.
Then that's where you have to kind of make your own kind of personal decisions around that because you know what's [00:07:00] important to you might not be important to anybody else, and that's okay. Right? Because a lot of my clients are also still the founder and entrepreneur. So like, who do you want to work with, right?
And who do you not want to work with? Because if you can't tell your salesperson that it's gonna be a nightmare for everybody involved Now.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah.
John Smallmtn: One of my favorite projects was the owner was like, hey, they gotta be able to pass the, grab a beer test. And I said, okay, what's the grab a beer test? And he goes, well, if I won't want to grab a beer with him, we're probably not gonna get along, right?
And on one side of this, I was like, man, I love this. I love that, that this guy has got a standard about who he wants to work with. On the data driven side of it is how do we qualify for that? You know, like how do I encapsulate that in the simplest format ever? Do you think that this person is qualified around this thing that's important?
Ricky Pearl: And, and. Yeah, very subjective because like, I mean, I'm gonna say this very tongue in cheek, you know, I don't know who this guy wants to grab a beer with, you know, like, he could be some like extreme [00:08:00] right wing you know, crazy, I don't know what, and then like those are his people and that's who he wants to work with.
How does this translate though down from founder-led sales to a sales team?
Ricky Pearl: Pretty hard to define from a business context. So how does this translate though down from founder-led sales to a sales team? Like how do you systemize an approach where, you know, say the team do have KPIs, they do have a quota they may be slightly more inclined to try close a deal that isn't a perfect fit because it's a client in the door.
John Smallmtn: Man, nobody at the heart of it really wants a bad fit. . Right. And I've never talked to, I've never talked to an owner or founder who's like, John, I just want to close them because I just want the money, right? There's always this idea of like, it's gonna be fine. They just need to give us a chance, and once we show them what we're capable of doing, everything is gonna be fine. Oh. But like, you know, you let enough foxes into the hen house, you don't have any hens, right. You don't have any eggs, you don't have any production, right? And that's how it is in marketing firms, right? When we're on social media and we look up [00:09:00] agency life, right? You see, you know, it's rough in some of these agencies, right?
Because the agency guys have these big quotas and they're selling it and it's, you know, it's kinda like in tech when you're selling off the roadmap, you know, like, oh yeah, that's gonna, that's coming, it's coming. You know, we don't have that feature yet, but it's on the roadmap. It's gonna be okay, right? You have,
Ricky Pearl: The roadmap sell, sure.
John Smallmtn: Yeah, you have the same thing with like marketing agencies, right? Are you guys gonna be able to do X and Y? Oh yeah, for sure. You're gonna. Well, we don't actually do that. And then it's a huge problem. You know, the first thing is you have to constantly be talking about alignment with your salespeople, right.
And you have to be talking about the outcomes, right? I dabbled for a while in the high ticket area, right? And there was some less than reputable people selling offers in that area. I was thinking, these people just need to know how to qualify. Right. And that was not the case. They just wanted close rates above a certain percentage and that was it.
They didn't care about anything else. Right. But in the agency world, like you're gonna have a relationship with this person, they're gonna be okaying your creative thoughts about [00:10:00] how they should be talking about their business. Right. On everything from positioning to colors, to brand, to all these things.
Ricky Pearl: Let me give you a practical example.
John Smallmtn: Yeah,
Something you need to find a fit for?
Ricky Pearl: Some of our cl, some of our clients like to slightly micromanage the process more so than other clients. For example one of our reps hasn't made calls in the morning. And we'll get a message from that client saying is, you know, is Jane working today?
And other ones would maybe look at it at a weekly basis and say, Hey, looking at your week this week, it was a little bit low. Is everything okay? And others might never look at the inputs and only ever look at the outputs, outcomes. And if the outcomes are low, they'll have a discussion around that. Like there's different degrees.
Would you say that's something you need to find a fit for? Or that's something you would say, look, bring in clients, but you need just robust processes that they slot into so that there isn't a way to micromanage. Like where do you draw this? Where do you, how would you tackle something like that with one of your clients?
John Smallmtn: That's a really good question, I think [00:11:00] because it's a great example because you are gonna have very different opinions about what people want as far as, you know, account management and account check-ins, and daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly kind of things. If you guys are known for not being the super high touch group, I would set an expectation around that.
You know, like I might not necessarily be like, now, if you call us on Thursday, it's gonna be okay that we don't get back to you until Tuesday, right? Because no one appreciates that. But you know, when you're talking about who you are and why you're different, and why you're able to charge what you're able to charge, hey, you know, so this means that sometimes we're gonna be heads down doing the work that, that we've agreed to, you know?
So you might not be hearing from us what kind of cadence is important to you. Put it on them.
Ricky Pearl: I love the way you wear these things. So we are the hard touch one. We kind of have a balance, like we are set up to take on the clients that really wants. Intimate oversights as if this was their employee. However, we do get the ones that don't want that and we are like, oh, this is nice.
You know, this is nice. We set up for the former, of course. But you know, but it is nice [00:12:00] when it's not.
How long are your discovery calls?
Ricky Pearl: And so these are the kind of things like how many of those questions, because like, that's one of 30 attributes that would kind of define a good client. How long are your discovery calls?
Would you go through, like, would you have these like 30 bring up these 30 points?
John Smallmtn: I like a long discovery call personally, right? Because I, I want room to really understand what they're going through, what is going on, and I do believe that so much of the cell is made in that discovery call, right?
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. It's all about discovery. Hundred percent.
John Smallmtn: Everything else is easier, right? So all these people who wanna make discovery, like a 15 minute fix thing, and they're just doing BANT, and it's the, and it's the most heavy handed, like low EQ kind of call, you can imagine. I don't even think you're doing yourself a favor for the next person you're gonna hand that call off to personally, right?
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. Listen, don't get me wrong we do a lot of those 15 minutes call type things, however in my mind, discoveries a bit more of a process through the sales cycle. And so that first 15 minutes is quite [00:13:00] literally, do you have a problem that you want solved that looks and you'd like it solved?
Kind of like how we solve it. Is it worth having a more detailed conversation? You know, it's like, let's not dive into an hour long meeting here if we don't need it. So that for me is the goal of a quick low 15. Is, are we attracted to each other?
John Smallmtn: Yeah,
Ricky Pearl: Yes, let's go on a date.
John Smallmtn: I think that really depends upon how you're sourcing your meetings, right? Like I'm not doing a bunch of whole like cold direct outreach currently, right? So I've stuff kind of coming in my direction so I can have a little bit longer, hey, let's see if I can help you. And it's not as quite concerning because they're reaching out to me and it's not an outbound motion, right?
Ricky Pearl: And they know you and they want your help.
John Smallmtn: Exactly, right? It that's already been established. So I just get to come in and kind of see if there's a big enough need to really warrant my help. Or maybe they just had a little tweak and, hey, here it is. Go try this. And then if this doesn't work, then let's talk about it again. But most of my like 30 minutes at a minimum, in my opinion, right?
And the greener the offer the longer I want my discovery to be, right. Because then I can really [00:14:00] go into trying some talking points and stuff. You know, I'm working on a project right now. I'm the first salesperson who's not the founder. So like I'm in the middle of trying to take all this knowledge he's accumulated. And put it into like a sales process and the questions that go along with that. And so my discovery calls are all super long because it's just like, hey, I wanna learn how you do this. And then if there's some opportunity to work together, we'd love to talk about that.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. To me, the perfect, like the two stages of a sales cycle that are critical discovery, for me, that's 80, 70% of the sale is in the discovery and then the stage before your proposal. Where you're building a business case where you're matching everything that you've discussed to how it'll be done.
And to me, those are often when I see customers, those are the two shortest stages. If they're there, the demo, the discovery is 15 minutes, then they go to dis demo, and from demo, they're got a proposal. Nothing in between. And I'm like, well, yeah, no wonder like you, you didn't even understand their needs in discovery and then you [00:15:00] didn't even address their needs in this stage after demo. You were basically just saying, Hey, was that demo hot shit? Do you want this? Like, super try,
John Smallmtn: Yeah,
Ricky Pearl: You know, like, anyway, so you've got this concept in your book. These the Seven Reasons these deals
John Smallmtn: Yeah. The big seven.
The Big Seven
Ricky Pearl: The Big Seven. Talk to me about this.
John Smallmtn: A handful of years ago I was at a sales conference and a guy gets up on stage and he goes, you know, guys, there's only seven reasons why most deals don't close. And at this time, I had already launched my business and I was helping people as a side hustle with CRMs. I wasn't a sales coach yet.
This is way before anything I had now going on. But I had built a handful of CRMs and I was like, let me go test this assumption because this feels a little too much like a silver bullet territory. And so I had built probably, I don't know, 15 or 20 CRMs for different people by that point. And so I still have access to all that data.
And lo and behold, there was a lot of commonalities in why these deals didn't complete. And it didn't matter if it was a service waste company, if it was commercial [00:16:00] insurance, you could see these common threads. And so piggybacking off of what I heard there, I did a deep dive. And then the part that was missing was this qualifying for like cultural fit is kind of how we talk about it now.
Do they want it the way that you do it? Do they like you being high touched? Do they want that low touch? Are they wanting that, are they wanting you to show the work? Are they just paying for the outcomes and they could give a crap about everything else. Some of that is gonna align with how you do the work and some of it won't.
And the better job you can do of qualifying for that, asking questions about it. The easier everything else becomes after that. So the part that was missing was what I now call wild cards. Like, know who you are, know where you are in the market. Know why people aren't ready to buy from, you know, why you lose deals to these other competitors so that way you can talk about them super early on to save yourself time.
It's really the thing that I'm going for here. I spent way too much time trying to think that sales was all about trying to talk people into stuff and I've had a huge shift, you know, over the past four or five years, [00:17:00] around the idea of. . I don't want to try that hard. It usually goes bad whenever, try to talk someone into something that they don't want to do.
I don't want to try that hard. And why don't I just make my life easy by finding people who are already ready for this and want it.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah, I, that's you know, rather deal with a living than trying to raise the dead. And I've pro I've adopted that in in how I send off a proposal now I'll send off a proposal. The only follow up that they get from that proposal is a few days later if they haven't responded saying, Hey, I just want to check that you actually received the proposal.
Like, no time pressure, I just wanna know it's in your inbox and you're not sitting there going, when the fuck's Ricky gonna get me this proposal. And then once I got the proposal, I'm like, you know, you're an adult. You've got needs, you know everything that I need to, that I can do to help you with it. This isn't on your timeline, like when you want to do it, you know, like, I'm not gonna sit there every week going, have you made a decision?
Have you made a decision? Have you made a decision?
Cause if I don't want it, how's me hurrying them going to help anything?
Ricky Pearl: You know, cause if I don't want it, like, how's me hurrying them going to help anything?
John Smallmtn: Oh. Like that is one of the, one of the biggest reasons why people lose deals. It's one of the [00:18:00] big seven, right? It's this loss of momentum and we're still super excited about it because it's tied to our revenue and our goals and our advancement, but we've gotten off of the call, right? It might have been a couple of weeks or a couple of days, and they have had the gravity of everything else in that business come back and show up in their face.
And we're still super excited because this is all we do all day. And that mismatch and urgency and excitement can get misinterpreted and misread so easily. Right. And you were saying it a second ago, you know, you said after you send the proposal, you're only gonna send one, one more email. Hey, did I get this?
One of my favorite things to talk about is how easy it is to default to just following up via email and not taking every last bit of advantage we have whenever we're actually on a call or a video call with like a prospect. Because if we're talking to you and we get to that stage and you say, well, yeah, I'd like to see a proposal.
Okay, Ricky, I'm gonna put the same together. I'm gonna send that over to you. It might get there tomorrow morning because I wanna make sure it's right. Is that okay? Sure. Cool. If I don't hear from you by the end of the [00:19:00] day, is it safe to assume that like you didn't get it? You know, and I get to have a really kind of quick conversation about a follow up point past their follow up point that I get to own right.
Ricky Pearl: you know, we always obviously try to find out timings right? So like when do you need this by? Because if there's no urgency on their side, I also know like, oh, we're in an exploratory phase, right? Like, no decisions being made. But if I spoke to someone yesterday who's like, listen, we've got a conference, you know, coming up in March.
We need this person available to do follow ups after the conference. Well, if they haven't made a decision by the end of this month, I know this isn't happening, you know. And I might go back to them saying, look, I know you needed someone by the end of March. We're coming up to a deadline where we'd be able to practically deliver that.
I just wanna check, like, you know, it may not be a priority for you. You might not want to go with us. I just don't want you to miss, you know, come back to me a week later saying, okay, let's go. And now we can't deliver. So I'd have those kind of, but that's like a practical beneficial follow up saying, Hey, we are reaching a, we are reaching a [00:20:00] deadline.
You wanna move beyond that deadline, that's fine. But it does change what we had discussed or proposed or were able to achieve for you by when we were able to achieve it. Like none of that. Have you read Jolt Effect?
John Smallmtn: No, I haven't. Should I?
Ricky Pearl: Right. Yeah. You're gonna love it. You're gonna love it. I know you're a big reader, so it's what's his name?
I think Ted McKenna and Dixon the guys from Challenger Sale and workforce. So they've come up with one of those reasons people don't don't buy. And the original concept was you had to deal with the status quo. Why change? And you had to overcome the fear of change. Now there's a new element to it that once I've decided to come to change or there's, you've overcome the fear of change, then there's the fear of making a decision.
And that's separate. That's about like personal responsibility for the decision and how to overcome those things. Anyway, we're getting very much off track.
What are these seven?
Ricky Pearl: So do you know the seven, like what are these seven? So you mentioned loss of momentum.
John Smallmtn: Yeah. So the first one is always, I'm not sure I need this. Okay, perfectly great [00:21:00] reason to say no to our product or service. But before I just accept this potentially automated response, let's have a conversation about who we are, who we help, what those things look like, and see if those things are on your radar.
And then we'll have that discussion, right? Which is why you go for gaps and pains and you know, you lead with those kind of things because that's typically what gets you in the call the first place. So that's the first one. After that is I'm not sure I can afford this, so you gotta talk about money, as soon as humanly possible, right?
Because if you're, let's say you're doing a, an enterprise level sale, right? You might be talking to someone for years before you actually get that deal done. And if they don't even see this as something worth spending money and you're wasting your time, right? Like you can talk yourself into whatever you wanna tell yourself that you're gonna be able to talk 'em into it.
But like, once again, you're not putting yourself in a high high ability to win percentage with, without talking about money. So we talk about money. The rest of it in my head, in the way that I group it, is, I just call it the path to Yes. Right. So the path to Yes. Is, you know, who else are you talking to?
Who else do we need to [00:22:00] talk for this to be heard and like everyone gets to be heard. Are you the decision maker, right? Are are we cultivating a champion? Are we dealing with someone directly? Time and what's gonna get in the way, right? So the status quo, the time, right? Who else you're talking to? Is it competitive?
Who else do we need to get invested in this conversation? And then also, Can you help us get this across the finish line? Right? Are you in that place of leadership or not? So if you're dealing and if you're having conversations about this and they're tied to your qualification structure inside of your CRM, you don't get ahead of yourself, right?
Ricky Pearl: Now, so these are good. These are good dis qualification conversations to have.
Do you also have these as like the disposition for reasons for closed lost in your opportunities?
Ricky Pearl: Do you also have these as like the disposition for reasons for closed lost in your opportunities?
John Smallmtn: Yeah. Like, and this is one of my biggest pet peeves, because if you don't make no readily, like, like a reasonable response, right? Because sometimes they can have it or they can need it and they can be able to pay for it and it's still not gonna get closed. Right. But, and I'll see some of these sales [00:23:00] teams and they're not allowed to market deal is lost because, It's a, maybe just not today, and it's like
Ricky Pearl: Oh, fuck
John Smallmtn: You're not helping anybody.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah, I see that all the time. Like nothing moves too close, lost everything. Just moves to not now. They said, look, not now. You know, they're
John Smallmtn: and then your data sucks as
Ricky Pearl: you know, ave. Yet they're gonna hire someone internally as opposed to outsourcing to us. But if that doesn't work out, they'll come back to us.
And so we, they put that as a, not now. Like, no, that is lost. You lost that to the states' quo. If they come back to us, it's a new opportunity.
John Smallmtn: Yep. Absolutely. And I mean, just from a data-driven perspective, right? If you don't ever close the lid on a deal because they told you no, and you're like, you know what? You're right. You actually don't need this. And if we tried to do this, it'd be a disastrously fit for you for these reasons. Like your dad is gonna be.
How long does it take to close a deal here? Well, we have no idea because we just have 500 deals, just like thriving out there in limbo, because we're [00:24:00] hoping someday they're gonna come back and close that.
Ricky Pearl: You know, I find the main reason to be, the main reason is I find the, it's the language, right? And a lot, to me it's all about the language. What's an opportunity? Like, we've grown up, we've used this word a million times, right? What's an opportunity? Well, an opportunity just means there's a chance in the future for something, for success with something or whatever, however you define it. But that's an opportunity.
Is there a deal here?
Ricky Pearl: When we say a deal, like, is there a deal here? You can say, this deal is on hold. This deal is not happening. You know, this deal is closed. A deal is a very fine arts defined object. Whereas an opportunity is a little bit broad in scope. And so I feel like that's why people never want to close opportunities.
It goes against human nature. Certainly a masculine quality in human nature as well of just wanting options and opportunities. As opposed to
That is really interesting. Like I tend to think of maybe, right, because I talk a lot about personality and I'm a very nerdy, [00:25:00] developer type, right? So I'm all about process and repeatability, and I want the data behind it. So it's easy for me to be like, okay, cool. Like tell me no for now, because I don't wanna waste my time, and I'd rather give you your time back.
and we can talk about this when this makes sense, like knowing in the back of my head, I'm gonna get really great data, right? Because one of the things that I have found is that when you can really make no, okay, you can then get like a backstage pass as to why they told you no, which is great if you're trying to improve your offer, improve your targeting, improve your outreach.
So when you can make that like, Hey, if this is not a fit, please let me know. Sure, absolutely. And then when they come up and they say, Hey, this isn't a fit for us. Okay, awesome. Right? I, first of all, I hope you're getting the help that you need. Could you let me know what I missed?
Ricky Pearl: Yeah.
John Smallmtn: Boom.
Ricky Pearl: So many don't do that. Like we, you know, companies are still guessing pricing. They're like, and they're guessing their pricing based off, I sent the price outs. Did they buy it or did they not? [00:26:00] On average, you know, I think most people aren't taking it because of price. So let's try a lower price.
Is there a no-brainer number for you that you think you would've said yes?
Ricky Pearl: I think most people aren't taking it cuz let's try a lower price as opposed to talking to other people to say, Hey listen, I know there's no deal here. I'm not even offering to adjust my price here. I just would've loved to have known what figure I could have said that you, it would've been a no-brainer for you that you think you would've said yes.
Is there a number for that?
John Smallmtn: I have a very real life example that happened to me fairly recently, right? So this guy calls me and he needs a CRM and he wants to build some automations into his crm, and we do a bunch of that stuff. So we're having the conversation, and the guy is, John I'm not good with people, so I want all these automations.
This is gonna take me to the next level. He's got pain, he's all over the place. I'm like, oh my God, this is amazing, right? He's just dumping pain. This is gonna be the easiest conversation of my entire career. And so I almost was like, you know what? I'm just not gonna talk about money. I'm just gonna keep going.
And then I was like, you know what? Every time you do that, John, that doesn't go well. And this is happening inside of my head while I'm having this call with this gentleman. And I was like, okay, [00:27:00] can I recap what I said just to make sure I'm on the same page with you? And he's like, yeah, please.
Right? So I'm like, you said this. He's like, yeah, John, this is all correct. I was like, can we talk about money for a moment? And he was like, yeah. And I said, I know it's not super comfortable, but I found it doesn't serve us if we're not on the same page. You know, a build like this because it's just you.
Right? Your small organization is gonna start at $1,500 is what I said. Right? Because that's where our CRM builds start because of everything that comes with it. And he goes, and I said that sounds like that maybe wasn't in the ballpark. And he goes, will you do it for 500? And I said no. Unfortunately I won't.
And he goes, why not? And I said, well, because I told you based upon this conversation, I know where you are. Right? This is what it's gonna take to do the job well. It's gonna be this. He's like, well, you do it for less. I said no man, unfortunately I can't. And he was like, okay let's talk again next week.
And I said, and I was just like, what are we gonna talk about week, right? We're kind of at an impasse here and he goes, yeah, okay, well, well, let me think about it [00:28:00] and I'll let you know. And I was like, okay. Right. Totally fine. And that was it. But imagine the other side of that, if I had just leaned into my ego and like avoided the uncomfortable moment and just been like, you know what?
This guy gets it. He really wants this thing, right? I would've set myself up to get ghosted, to get no response, to do all these things that everyone like has to deal with because I avoided the most important part of that conversation
Ricky Pearl: I tell every single person in our, on our discovery calls, I tell everyone the price, every single person, the price in the price range. Hopefully they understand a little bit why. And you know, that kind of gives us a very good idea. And in fact, I don't even tell them at the end. It's not like I wait right till the end because I want some time to work out after this cuz I, right, because, so I tell them like towards the very beginning, right?
Like, hey, like this is the kind of service, this is what we do. We are not a leads generation company. We are a company that takes away all your pain and headache of hiring. [00:29:00] You know, training and trying to maintain and retain an SDR. We do all of that for you as a service, but we will hire the same kind of, and same caliber person that you would be hiring in-house if you had the option.
So we are, you know, this is kind of our price range we are hiring in-country, et cetera, et cetera. Is, you know, is that the kind of budget that you are looking for this kind of a. and when they're like, oh mate, we are like no. I said, I'll always go and say, look, there's a few different options now.
Either you, the only way to bring that down because we are employing in the US or in Australia where there's like, you know, high rates. The only way to bring that down is to employ out of the country. You know, you can look at, I don't know Columbia, Manila, India. Pointer doesn't do that, but that's a really great way to cheaper. Is that something you're willing to do? And they're like no, we don't want that. We only want in-country. And then I'll go and say, look, well then you can't do this with human resources. Like there's no ways to pay below what a minimum wage is for a person to do the job. Would you be willing to look at email [00:30:00] or LinkedIn or other channels that doesn't, isn't so human labor, human resource intensive.
And then the conversation will just be about email. But like, if I hadn't brought that up to begin with, I'd still be fucking outbound SDR services for the next 30 minutes, which would just end nowhere. So I even gotta like categorize them early on. So go like what, you know, because I'll they might come to me saying they want an SDR, but nobody wants an SDR.
What people want is top of funnel leads. Or what they want is to understand their market message fits, you know, or what they want is to find a repeatable sales process. Like these are the things they want. An SDR is maybe their best guess at how to do it. So I'm still trying to even work out, like, do they even know what they want?
Anyway, but people who avoid pricing fucking blows my mind. Blows my mind while they don't discuss it early on.
John Smallmtn: Yeah. I mean, I get that it's uncomfortable, right? And this is where all my other stuff comes into play, right?
Ricky Pearl: But let's [00:31:00] be honest, is it uncomfortable? Like for a salesperson is talking about price genuinely uncomfortable? There's a lot of uncomfortable shit salespeople have to do, is talking about price. One of them.
John Smallmtn: Now. Yes. To certain salespeople, right? Because this is where personality comes into play, right? Because you know, if you're, some people love conflict, right? And they'll, they're that kind of person who loves to challenge people and, you know, and do that kind of thing, because that's just who that is.
And that's, , a lot of what kind of like traditional salespeople were, right? You go find that person who's so eager to motivate that you're gonna throw some money at 'em and they're gonna go be that hard charger and ask all the hard questions and save everyone a bunch of time. Well, that has to move away from a little, oh, we have to move away from that a little bit, right?
Because now everything is more relationship driven. Everything is connected. So if you're, if you see talking about money as conflict because that's how you've been raised and your personality re reengages, all of that stuff, Your default is to not talk about it, right? And it's not, you know, until you meet someone like us, right?
And it's like, Hey, you can, you need to [00:32:00] talk about money because hey, you know what, first of all, you can, did you know that you're actually allowed to qualify for money a, in like a pretty early stage conversation just to make sure that you're not wasting their time? Half of the stuff that I teach people it's almost like.
It feels weird to me because I have the curse of knowledge now, but I'm like, how do you not know that you can go have this conversation with people? Well, John, because I didn't think that was allowed. You're allowed to like, ask anything in a conversation as long as you have an agreement that, that makes that conversation topic okay. So if you're uncomfortable talking about money, build an agreement. Ricky, we're gonna have to, you know, spend a little bit of time talking about money at some point in this conversation. I know it's uncomfortable for both people sometimes, but just to kind of make sure that we're on the same page, if it gets a little bit uncomfortable, is that gonna be okay?
Now you have an agreement, and now when you say, can we talk about the investment to kind of make all that stuff go away? Now if you're uncomfortable, it's on you. and that's where mindset shifts have to happen. And coaching and training become important because
Ricky Pearl: Coaching and training.
John Smallmtn: you know, if you are, if you're this out of the box blunt, kind of heavy handed [00:33:00] person, great. Yeah. Tell 'em to go talk about money. They're gonna go do it probably badly, because they're not gonna have all like the EQ to kind of do it well. But every personality brings some greatness to the sales role. And it also is gonna create some challenges because there's balance in all of these things.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. Amazing man. Every time I talk to you, I'm just like, this is why I listened to John Small Mountain about discovery, right? Every single time.
Where do they find your book?
Ricky Pearl: Somebody wants to read your book. I mean, I know it's a little bit of a silly question. Where do they find it?
John Smallmtn: It's on Amazon. We have the audiobook version. It's one of the coolest things I've gotten to do is feel like I'm like a recording artist and recorded it here in my house. So the audio version, we have the print version. If you'd like a signed version, send me an email, John, at Adapted Growth, and we can get you one in the mail.
Ricky Pearl: Right. I I love the, I listen to the audio version. It's gonna sound weird, but I listen to it in the shower and what a great listen. Like I'll sitting there showering, like, going over disc profiles saying like, how can I incorporate this was just such a good listen.
How do they get in touch?
Ricky Pearl: And if somebody just wants to, I don't know, get a little bit [00:34:00] closer to your magic, learn a little bit more about what you do or just have an opportunity to engage in conversation with you without paying you as a coach yet. How do they get in touch?
John Smallmtn: Yeah. This is my other kind of secret project, if you will, right. I've been building a community in Slack and it is filled with really awesome people. There's no charge to come hang out. But if you're an entrepreneur or a salesperson who wants to be consultative in your approach, if you're a creative and you're thinking about how do I sell this thing that I want to go do, send me a message on LinkedIn, Twitter, everything is at Small Mountain.
We can get you into the community. There's about 115 really awesome people. Ricky hangs out there sometimes. There's a bunch of other sales coaches as well, because I'm not it for everybody and that's okay. But that is a really cool place to do some networking, test some ideas, test some messaging, and be around some other really high performing people.
So it's probably the best way to come hang out.
Ricky Pearl: And I really love that community because, you know, it's not, there's the communities that are like 20,000 plus great for selling to other sellers, whereas your community's [00:35:00] just people are genuinely trying to get consultative and advice. In their process. I've seen like discovery calls being dropped there saying, how did I do?
Hey, who wants to practice some disco questions. You know, just what do you think of this email? You know, what do you think of the language? Just so much great advice from people who have no interest in the outcomes other than them trying to support you and hoping that you'll support them in return when they need help.
It's a fantastic community.
John Smallmtn: Thank you, man. I appreciate that. It's been like after the audio book, it's probably the thing I'm most proud of.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah you've collected a group of extraordinary individuals.
John Smallmtn: Thank you, man. I appreciate that and thanks for hanging out in there. You're quiet and you lurk, but you always bring the heat when you have something to say.
Ricky Pearl: Mate. It is. I think I did, I made a mistake. I made a classic outbound mistake. In fact, I went wide instead of deep. And so if you look at the sidebar of Master Slack channel. I don't know, like 30 fucking communities. And I can pop in and see if the keywords that I mentioned were listed or something like that.
Whereas what I'm [00:36:00] in the process of doing is culling it down to four, four or five and you know, just spend meaningful time in a few communities, all of which like serve a particular need for me.
John Smallmtn: Yeah. I'm in a, I'm in a very similar spot. I was in a bunch of paid communities, right. By other sales coaches and sales consultants, and I was just kind of, I wasn't hanging out there and I wasn't really getting the value. You know, I canceled a couple of those memberships. I exited a couple of groups because much like you, I've got this greatness of the Sherpa community and everyone has got really deep relationships there.
And I was kind of feeling like if I'm not gonna be all the way here, I probably don't need to be here at all.
Ricky Pearl: Yeah. Amazing community. At Small Mountain, reach out to John if you want to get involved. Definitely get his book and if you need someone to help your organization with discoveries in particular, I mean, I'm sure you've got a lot of other talents you've mentioned. CRM and just on that, the other thing that I found so interesting about your CRM builds is you are one of the only people that I know in a professional [00:37:00] capacity who will not make the same CRM recommendations as everyone else. You say like these overpriced overpaid platforms. Yes, they're nice, but you do not need them and you can get a hundred percent effective, efficient, and successful sales process going with the tools like Pop Drive, Go High Level, you know, just things that are like much easier to, you know, attain and maintain. And I love that. I think there's just such a need for that. And not everyone has to move on to HubSpot or Salesforce.
John Smallmtn: Not everyone does, you know. And it's like, that's why I got into this thing, because I was reading about all this really cool tech and hearing about really cool tech at the enterprise level, and I was like, man, everybody needs this. That way salespeople don't just can keep lying to themselves. You know what?
Screw that guy. He didn't know what he wanted, you know, like. You can only say that to yourself so many times as a salesperson before you have to look back and be like, you know what? I'm the common denominator in all of those conversations. So maybe it's a little bit me, I don't know. But [00:38:00] if you don't have a CRM that's holding that data, and if you're not like building a culture of coaching and encouragement of like, Hey, why'd you lose?
How do we improve next time as opposed to the Don't lose that deal like that like one is creating the opportunity to go back and be reflective and make improvements. And the other one is just creating perfection syndrome, right? And no one wants to show up and be honest when there's this weight that you can't be wrong.
Ricky Pearl: And building up a middle funnel that is so unmanageable that your whole funnel breaks under the weight. Right. It's been a pleasure talking to you.
John Smallmtn: Thank you man. This was
Ricky Pearl: I'll obviously see you again soon in the community and anyone listening to this, I'll highly encourage you get involved.
There are a few people out there that I feel bring genuinely unique, well thought out, and you know, inc. Like just, well, just brilliant concepts to sales professionals and John is one of them. John, thanks for being on the show. We'll chat to you again soon.
John Smallmtn: Thanks for having me.