How can we enable the lowest 80% of people across all occupations to engage with others and establish trust?
The secret is educating common people how to convey their emotions and sentiments through the power of storytelling and a framework or structure to create compelling stories and quickly connect with strangers.
How can salespeople engage with customers and speed up the buying process through effective use of storytelling?
Top salespeople facilitate a customer's buying process and hardly ever need to close by training them to create stories about happy, successful customers rather than concentrating on pain points. They also align the sales process with the customer's buying cycle.
What are the traits, principles, and convictions of the perfect salesperson, and how do they differ from those of a player of finite games?
The ideal salesperson has an abundance mindset, a desire to help clients make money, accomplish goals, and solve problems, is unselfish and empathetic, is willing to make a deal only if it benefits both parties, doesn't pressurize or twist arms, and has a life purpose to teach, to help, and to grow. The ideal seller is more concerned with maintaining the game and expanding the pie for everyone than are finite players who are motivated by winning and losing.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello, and welcome back once again to The Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today, I have sales legend, office speaker, and sales philosopher Mike Bosworth as my guest. Mike, welcome.
Mike Bosworth: I'm happy to be here with you, Marcus. I think we're about, uh, eight or nine time zones apart today.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. Mike, would you mind giving, uh, the audience 60 to 90 seconds on your background please?
90 seconds background
Mike Bosworth: I grew up poor with, uh, no real good role models. I ended up at the age of 19 going into the Army and ended up serving 13 months in Vietnam. I realized I was a pawn and a huge political thing, but in Vietnam, I did get the opportunity to learn a little bit of data processing, and I ended up running the IBM's card system in Saigon that managed the inventory of US officers in the country.
Mike Bosworth: And so when I was coming back from Vietnam, I wrote IBM a letter, and I told them about my experience with their, uh, card computer and asked them for a job. And they said, Mike, we think you should go to college. So, I went to, uh, Cal Poly Pomona on the GI Bill, and, uh, when I graduated in 1972, almost 25 years old, the luckiest thing in my life as I got an entry level job was Xerox Computer Services in 1972. In Xerox
Mike Bosworth: Computer Services, in essence, invented cloud computing. I spend a year on the help desk. Another, uh, year and a half taking care of customers. And then they asked me to go into sales and I had two answers, no. And hell no. One my violent alcoholic father was a salesman. That's the last thing I wanted to do was be like him.
Mike Bosworth: And the second thing was all, uh, Xerox Computer Services clients I'd been taking care of, the sales, our sales people lied to them about the price and lied to them about what the system would do. So in virtually all of 'em, I had to turn, turn around and reshift the expectations. So I had no respect for the sales profession at all.
Mike Bosworth: So Xerox came back a week later and said, we, we really want you to try sales. We're gonna take away your risk. We're gonna give it to you in writing. If you try for six months, at the end of six months, you can have your application support job back, and you can keep your application support salary while you try your try sales for six months.
Mike Bosworth: Well, I had a huge advantage that we can get into later that none of the other experienced IBM sales people who we had hired, cuz our CEO was from IBM. So virtually all the experienced sales people we hired were 35 to 45 years old and they were star top 20% IBM sales people, right? So I went into sales in 1972 at 28 years old, and my first five months I sold more than anybody in the history of the company had sold in a full year.
Mike Bosworth: And then they promoted me to sales manager and said, teach everybody to do what you do, Mike. I was completely unable to, cuz I did it all on intuition. So I crashed and burned. So I went from hero to zero. Eventually thanks to um, Xerox wanting me to be a trainer and my affiliation with Neil Rackum, I finally learned that the real key to sales productivity,
Mike Bosworth: it's to figure out how to codify what the top 20% do and teach it to the bottom 80%. So that's my introduction.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. So the most obvious question to follow on from that is how do you empower the bottom 80% to sell as well as the top 20%?
How do you empower the bottom 80% to sell as well as the top 20%?
Mike Bosworth: Well, up until 2008, from 1983 to 2008, I was teaching them a a, a rigorous sales process called solution selling or customer centric selling, which
Mike Bosworth: taught them to use discovery questions written by the smartest people in the company, et cetera, et cetera. But it didn't change the 80 20 ratio. And so the way we empower the bottom 80% now is we te and this is not just a sales profession, Marcus, you could really say that. 20% of humanity are really good at intuitively connecting with people and building trust.
Mike Bosworth: And 80% of people in all professions, teachers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, aren't very good at connecting with strangers.
Marcus Cauchi: Yes.
Mike Bosworth: So the real key, the missing link is how do we teach average people who grew up in a family, where there wasn't a lot of, um, emotional connection, there wasn't a lot of vulnerability.
Mike Bosworth: Maybe dad was macho and said, Don't cry, don't be a baby. They didn't learn how to express their emotions and feelings, and so the real key is to teach the bottom 80% how to connect with strangers and build connection and trust in a very short amount of time. And we use the power of story to do that. We teach 'em how to build effective stories, how to practice telling those stories, and then how to attend the buyer story.
Mike Bosworth: So the story model allows average people to connect with strangers.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, so let's start with how do you build effective stories? Is there a framework, a structure that people can learn to apply in their real world?
How do you build effective stories? Is there a framework, a structure that people can learn to apply in their real world?
Mike Bosworth: Absolutely. When we started trying to figure out how do we teach people how to use the power of story, we went to the experts and the best storytelling experts to me are in Hollywood.
Mike Bosworth: Of course they have two hours to tell that story and they have big budgets. But if you look at most Hollywood movies, let's take, let's take the classic chick flick. Boy meets girls. So in the, in the beginning of the movie, you fall in love with the boy. You fall in love with the girl. They have chemistry.
Mike Bosworth: They, you know, they have this beautiful vision of falling in love and then they start hitting the struggle, the pothole. And so most of the movie is now, Oh God, she thought he was cheating, da da da, and da da da. And so most of the movie is struggle and, uh, conflict. But then, you know, late in the movie, at the top of the story arc, New Year's Eve, New York City, the boy and the girl meet again at the top of the Empire State Building.
Mike Bosworth: They kiss, kiss, kiss, and make up, and then you see one year later and they're pushing a baby carriage through, through Central Park. But that story arc is what Hollywood uses. And so we like, we, we have to first teach our customers to build stories about happy customers. They're happy customers, where the hero of the story is not their product, not their solution, not their technology, not how smart they are, their consultants or the support, the heroes of the story,
Mike Bosworth: stories are customers, happy, successful customers. So when we go into a new client, Even though they, you know, they've got great technology, we first have to help them harvest happy customer stories or what we call customer hero stories.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this is really interesting because there's so much training about that focuses on pain, pain, pain equals dollar, dollar, dollar, but that
Marcus Cauchi: goes against the architecture and biochemistry of the brain because people need to be able to perceive a better future before they're willing to open up and the gap.
Mike Bosworth: You're exactly right.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay.
Mike Bosworth: So, and there's one other philosophical thing I just want to throw in here at this point is people hate to feel sold, but they love to buy.
Mike Bosworth: So our philosophy is let's facilitate their buy cycle. And if we are really in harming with their buy cycles, and we bring them step by step through their buy cycle, we'll rarely have to close. And if you, if you look at really topnotch salespeople, they rarely have to close because they're so in tune with their way, their buyers wanna buy that
Mike Bosworth: at the end of it, the buyer says, Well, isn't there something I need to sign here? How do we get this thing started? They buy.
Marcus Cauchi: So I have a question that's been bothering me for a while, which is, is what passes for great in sales fit for purpose?
Is what passes for great in sales fit for purpose?
Mike Bosworth: If what is for great, what passes for great.
Marcus Cauchi: Yes.
Mike Bosworth: Well, most really great sales people
Mike Bosworth: are not doing it on purpose, they're doing it intuitively, which means they can't tell, teach other people. So the real key is to build what this, the topnotch people do intuitively into a model that we can teach the bottom 80%, the the, um, the mother load of pot potential sales productivity is getting the bottom 80% lifted.
Mike Bosworth: They need a model for connection and trust before they dive into their discovery questions. And so we, we call our model story seekers and we say it's sales methodology agnostic. In other, we've been hired by solution selling clients who were frustrated because 80, the bottom 80% quit using it. And once we teach the bottom 80% how to connect using the power of story, they already know the discovery questions.
Mike Bosworth: They, they almost overnight turn around.
Marcus Cauchi: Understood. Let me rephrase the question then. What normally passes for being a great salesperson when managers are looking to hire is they tend to look for self starters, self-motivated, highly competitive will to win motivated by money. My experience of people who are, uh, wired like that, they're ghastly human beings.
Marcus Cauchi: They're not people that customers, uh, readily trust because they're competitive, not collaborative. They want to win. So by definition, someone has to lose, and often it's the customer and their motivation is to make the sale and get the money and get to the top of the leaderboard rather than to serve the customer.
Marcus Cauchi: So they're very transactional and they end up churning customers quickly. Retention rates, profitability rates, lifetime customer value is lost. So my, my, my question about what is fit for purpose, When you describe that top 20%, I understand they do it intuitively, but what are the qualities they possess that make them stand apart from all the other sales people other than the ability to engage at a rapport level?
What are the qualities the top 20% possess that make them stand apart from all the other sales people other than the ability to engage at a rapport level?
Mike Bosworth: Well, I think the things that make them stand stand apart are they have an abundance mentality. They're not into a win lose. They're into, uh, what Steven Cubby used to call a win-win or no deal. If we can't come to some agreement where both of us win, we shouldn't be doing business. And, um, they don't pressure, they don't twist arms.
Mike Bosworth: They want to help their customers make money, save money, achieve goals, and solve problems. That's their need to wanna help their customers become heroes.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, it's really interesting. I dunno if you're familiar with, um, I think it's James Carse who wrote the book, Finite and Infinite Games. A finite game player understands the game ends and their job is to win or not to lose.
Marcus Cauchi: Whereas an infinite game player has an abundance mentality.
Mike Bosworth: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Their objective is to keep the game going and make the pie bigger for everyone.
Mike Bosworth: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: And so they're not after a bigger slice of a shrinking pie, they make the pie bigger. So anyone can have as much as they like.
Mike Bosworth: There's enough for everybody.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So in terms of the ideal salesperson, if you were to design them, you are the creator. And you could design the ideal salesperson. Describe to me those qualit, those, those characteristics, the values and beliefs that underpin their behavior.
Mike Bosworth: Well, I'm not sure they're even that conscious of their values and beliefs, but I would love to have higher X teachers.
Mike Bosworth: I think if somebody goes into teaching, give me that person and I can teach them how to sell and make a lot more money. But, but I like their, uh, their purpose in life to teach, to help, to grow. They're unselfish. And by the way, those despicable human beings you described, they make great CEOs of public companies.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. But again, the research on that is really damning. The impact, the positive impact that CEOs add is around 7%. And, uh, the American boardroom, 5% of US board members are clinically psychopathic, whereas on death row, only 3%.
Mike Bosworth: I'm with you. I Marcus, I've seen so many great companies over the years go to hell on a hand basket when they went public, because when they were private, senior management was into bro growing employees and developing happy customers and, and developing better products.
Mike Bosworth: But once they go public, now they gotta make that quarterly number.
Marcus Cauchi: And this, this is the thing that forgive me, but it really pisses me off. Because privately held companies that operate on quarterly reporting cycles are effectively cutting their own hamstring. And what you end up with is people who forget that you exist because of the customer, not in spite of them.
Marcus Cauchi: And the research on the s and p 500 between 2010 and 2016 that Gallup ran, I, I think it was Gallup, the companies that had highly engaged employees had 273% higher profit per employee, 130% higher revenue per employee. Staff turnover was 40% lower. Daily productivity was 20% higher, and year on year compound share price growth was 316% higher than the companies that had mildly or actively disengaged employees.
Marcus Cauchi: If you're a hard blooded stonehearted capitalist, it doesn't make sense to drive the business into losing money, losing customers, and losing staff by being a total ass, Why do they do it?
Mike Bosworth: Well, most privately held companies I've known aren't driven by quarterly numbers because senior management doesn't care.
Mike Bosworth: I didn't care. I had an amazing privately held company called Solution Selling with 75 employees, you know, doing 10 plus million dollars a year. I never had a, a budget, never had anything. It was,
Marcus Cauchi: but the minute venture capital and private equity come in,
Mike Bosworth: It starts to ruin the process. Exactly right.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah, exactly.
Marcus Cauchi: So, a again, I mean, I'm really interested about the point that you made about teachers. There is an insurance company in the UK very successful called Direct Line, and they only hire people from caring professions for their sales and um, uh, support desks. There's a real, um, message in there because these people are high on empathy.
Marcus Cauchi: They're great listeners. They care about solving other people's problems.
Mike Bosworth: Yep.
Marcus Cauchi: Their ego is out of the way.
Mike Bosworth: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Really interesting.
Mike Bosworth: So did who, uh, you know, Jeff Bezos, the guy at Amazon who got the divorce and his wife, ended up getting, uh, 35 billion dollars. Did you see who she married? She married the teacher, a middle school teacher of one of her children
Marcus Cauchi: That was a win
Mike Bosworth: boy, that's a win for him, huh?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay, so come back to story seekers. So the first thing you do is harvest those better future stories then what happens?
The first thing you do is harvest those better future stories then what happens?
Mike Bosworth: All right. So let's just say. I'm gonna give you my personal example, and I did this intuitively when I was 28 years old, and I spent, it took me 30 years to codify it, but I had the privilege of installing and implementing a first generation MRP system for a manufacturing plant in Orange County, California, where the results were beyond phenomenal financially.
Mike Bosworth: And, um, the receptionist would call the materials manager and say, Uh, I've got this guy from Xerox in the lobby who wants to talk to 80% of the time they would come out back then. Primary reason, Back then in, in, um, 1974 is the only way they could learn anything about new technology was to see sales people.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely.
Mike Bosworth: They didn't have the internet, right? So, so they come out and he's 48. I'm 28. As soon as he comes out and sees me before, Yeah. I even shake his hand. They go like this because they think, Oh shit, you look at his watch, you look at his watch. I now have to be plight to this kid for 15 minutes before I can give him the boot.
Mike Bosworth: How can he that young know anything, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Mike Bosworth: So I'd confirm with him. I'd say, So you're the materials manager here? And he'd say, Yes. And I'd say, Can I share a quick story with you about another materials manager I've been working with the last 18 months, who's less than a mile from you? Never did I have that story turned down ever.
Mike Bosworth: 100% of them said, Sure. And I'll just give you synopsis first. The setting. The setting is the stories. A guy named Ed Blackman, he's now the president of the Orange County Apex chapter. And I met Ted or Ed two years ago cuz my boss made me go to APEX meetings so I could learn more about manufacturing.
Mike Bosworth: And Ed's the Eds the had been the materials manager at Pac Electronics for the last, uh, three years and he had a terrible job. Every day he'd come in and his CFO is pissed at him cuz he's carrying way too much inventory, ruining the bottom line of the company. His VP of manufacturing is mad at him because he's missing his shipment schedule.
Mike Bosworth: All because Ed can't control shortages. And 18 months ago when Ed found out that Xerox has now created new technology that will enable him to do a complete replan of his entire plant, even though he has 50,000, uh, component parts. Overnight. He decided he was gonna be our first MRP customer. He that we had no other existing customers.
Mike Bosworth: He had to take the risk of being an innovator and an early adopter. That was 18 months ago. Today, you look at his number, it says inventory was 8 million. Now it's down to 2.7 million. His past due backlog 18 months ago was 27%. Now it's 2%. He's got the shortages completely under control and he's in line to get to be the VP of manufacturing.
Mike Bosworth: But enough about me. Marcus, what's going on here?
Mike Bosworth: I filled my pipeline with that one story, and at the end of that story, invariably after one minute, they'd say, You want to come in and look around, and they'd take me into the plant and give me a 45 minute tour of the plant. Now I can do my discovery questions because my story. My peer story, he said yes to the peer story out of peer curiosity, but at the end of that story, one minute later, he had peer envy.
Mike Bosworth: And there's no stronger buying, emotional buying motivation for anybody in corporate America than peer envy.
Marcus Cauchi: I love that. I should be stealing that. You'll get credit once . Excellent. Very, very interesting. Okay. You tell VP story that then is driven by curiosity that then lowers their resistance so that you can engage in discovery.
Mike Bosworth: In discovery. Yeah. That story eliminates the discovery resistance.
Marcus Cauchi: Right. Okay, so once you are in the discovery process, how else do you use stories?
Once you are in the discovery process, how else do you use stories?
Mike Bosworth: Well, you, you've got little anecdotal stories and again, I did it at the time intuitively, but we were selling a system. Yeah, it did shortages, but it did closing the books.
Mike Bosworth: It did payroll, it did cost accounting. And so as I'd go through the company and I'd meet the cost accountant and I'd say, and I'd tell you a quick story about another cost. You know, so I had, I had stories for all the functional players within my prospect.
Marcus Cauchi: Very interesting. So did you, uh, do you build this into a playbook?
Mike Bosworth: No, because I had those stories. Cuz I had personally worked hands on making the product work.
Marcus Cauchi: Understood
Mike Bosworth: that, That's why when they promoted me, Marcus, I was clueless.
Marcus Cauchi: I understand Mike, but now,
Mike Bosworth: Oh, now.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Yeah. So you build those functional stories into the playbook. How quickly does that incre, uh, how much does that increase the speed of ramp up for new hires?
How much does that increase the speed of ramp up for new hires?
Mike Bosworth: Oh, it, it's incredible. Um, because we can get new hires. We had a client, a big, uh, $3 billion a year, um, electronic, or a networking company called Mitel. They realized that. Product marketing was ruining the buying process and the rental process for new sales people because they were teaching the product as a noun instead of a verb.
Mike Bosworth: In the workshop, we would teach these people how to smoothly tell that 62nd customer hero story. But these, this guy, he was right outta college. He's in a bullpen. He's paid to dial for dollars. But now when he calls and he gets a CIO and the phone, he says, Oh, you're the CIO? Can I share a quick story with you about another CIO?
Mike Bosworth: They all say yes. And his first week in the bullpen, he found a new prospect that turned into being a 7 million deal. He, you know, he, he got him excited and passed it out to an over to an outside rep. But in other words, if you can teach new, new hires to effectively tell real stories, you can have them prospecting in a week.
Mike Bosworth: Very interesting.
Mike Bosworth: They can't do the whole, they can't do the whole buy sell cycle in a week, but boy, they sure can't help you fill your pipeline and then you'll let them ride along and be apprentices for the senior people when the senior people take over the deal.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, again, this is something that really frustrates me.
Marcus Cauchi: There was a time when I started out, back when refusal was a kid. And your manager would go on ridealongs with you and, um, they would observe you and they would ob uh, they would coach what they saw. But we're in the third generation now of sales managers who don't know how to prospect. They definitely dunno how to coach their roots into the role is Mike,
Marcus Cauchi: we've just fired the idiot manager. Congratulations, you're now the idiot manager.
Mike Bosworth: Right.
Marcus Cauchi: And that's your runway, uh, which is the only education you've ever had is what was done to you. So if you were designing a sales operation from scratch, what would the runway and career path look like for a new salesperson who had the potential to move into management?
If you were designing a sales operation from scratch, what would the runway and career path look like for a new salesperson who had the potential to move into management?
Mike Bosworth: Well, the new salesperson would go through the story seekers workshop, ideally in their first week on board, but that company would already have a repository of true customer hero stories by job title and industry so that we could teach them to practice telling, and then that company would have the ability to smoothly chase the new employee
Mike Bosworth: to hand off to a, a senior rep as soon as they would get somebody who wants to know more somebody. So their job is to develop peer envy, and then once there's peer envy, bring in a senior person. And then ideally I'd let my junior person be part of that process and learn like an apprentice.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. And so what do they need to learn over the next 12 to 24 months so that they can evolve into a more senior role?
What do they need to learn over the next 12 to 24 months so that they can evolve into a more senior role?
Mike Bosworth: They need to learn how to manage the, uh, the corporate buying process, which means we start off with a sponsor. And the sponsor admits pain, has a vision and we document that buying vision story in an email. We send it to the sponsor, and then the sponsor loves that letter so much cuz it's their future story.
Mike Bosworth: They, they share it. And so our, what what we do is we measure public displays of trust by the buying committee. So the first big public display of trust is, Sure, I'll listen to your story. The next public display of trust is they start opening up and sharing freely, and then the big one, they trust you enough to share their pain.
Mike Bosworth: I don't like saying to buyers, Do you have a problem with A, B, and C? I want my buyer to volunteer to me that he's got a problem with A, B, and C. So when they volunteer to buy, Then you can solidify the vision, you can document it, but it's really learning how to manage that corporate buying process where they have a committee, they need to get three bids.
Mike Bosworth: You know, we have to do proof, we have to, uh, help 'em do an ROI. We have to help 'em have a transition plan of how they get from where they are today to having new this new system implemented. We have to teach 'em how to handle the risk phase of the buy cycle at the end when all of a sudden they get cold feet.
Mike Bosworth: So, I mean, the, the enterprise buying process is complex and it's gonna take him a year to be able to fly solo on that.
Marcus Cauchi: Very interesting. Okay. So,
Mike Bosworth: but it's not pounding the product into 'em.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, no pro, uh, the product training is lethal, but I see it so often in tech in particular, there's nothing they love more than inflicting product training on sales people who then go and inflicted on
Mike Bosworth: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, customers. And the other problem I think is that so many organizations are fixated on training so that they can check a box and their emphasis is on retention. And as a result of that, they're not focused on what actually matters, which is application.
Mike Bosworth: Right.
Marcus Cauchi: And what I've noticed is that at least 70% of learning happens out of the classroom.
Marcus Cauchi: In the field. In the real world.
Mike Bosworth: Absolutely.
Marcus Cauchi: It's not reinforced because managers do not know how to coach.
Mike Bosworth: The new salesperson. Training in most of these high tech companies is, is relegated to product marketing, which is a disaster. Can I tell you a quick story about how I finally figured out how to kill product marketing?
How to kill product marketing
Marcus Cauchi: Oh yes, please.
Mike Bosworth: I'm doing a public solution selling workshop. I have 24 people at the U, but they're all from different companies. So the first morning I'm going around, What do you sell? What do you sell? What do you sell? And I get around to most of the people there are selling complex, intangible, hard to explain, hard to justify, new technology.
Mike Bosworth: I get around to this guy, Richard. I said, Richard, what are you selling? He says, Mike, I sell glue. And I said, You know, Richard, I've never had a glue salesperson go through one of my workshops before. And then my next question, I wanted to grab it and shove it back in my mouth, but it slipped out. And I said, Tell me about the glue.
Mike Bosworth: Well, he was a chemical engineer, masters in chemical engineering from MIT. And if you ask a, a chemical engineer to tell you about the glue, get ready for a long answer. He started talking. It was industrial. He talks about bonding and vibration and mold and temperature and moisture. And I went, Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Mike Bosworth: And I, uh, I gave him the timeout sign and I said, Richard, sounds to me like you're using the word glue as a noun. Can you change it to a verb and tell me about your product? And he was smart. He, he got it. And soon as now verb he's now, he started talking about the gluing his customers are able to do. And that's the problem with product training.
Mike Bosworth: Product product marketing is teaching nouns and buyers need verbs. Buyers need to be able to visualize, How will I use this when this bad thing occurs to help me solve this problem? Not nouns. Well, does that make sense?
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, yeah, absolutely. Uh, my friend, uh, Bob Mester always talks about customers renting outcomes.
Marcus Cauchi: They never buy the product. No one in the history of humanity. Has ever woken up and said, you know, as a, even as a kid, all I wanted was an ERP system. Uh, it's just never gonna happen. That's like talking about your ugly children to strangers. Yeah, and I think one of the really important things that every salesperson needs to understand is relevance.
Marcus Cauchi: You need to be timely. You need to be contextually appropriate. And you always, always have to be relevant. If you fail on any one of those things, then you are just an unwelcome interruption. And part the problem is that so many sales people are, uh, sent using brute force, uh, to speak to people who are not in the right place in their buying cycle to contemplate buying what you have to offer, what you're offering
Marcus Cauchi: is contextually inappropriate or you are ver you are noun it rather than verbing it. And it's not relevant to them because you're not putting it in the context in which they live and they work.
Mike Bosworth: No.
Marcus Cauchi: So what advice would you give to managers? Because I believe managers are fundamentally the most important people in a sales organization because they can make or break
Marcus Cauchi: a great team or an average team, and you can turn a great team into one that's performing terribly, or you can take a very average team and make them as a team superstars. So what advice would you give to a manager?
What advice would you give to a manager?
Mike Bosworth: The problem I see today, Marcus, is nobody's doing decent management training. When I was at Xerox, boy, they invested in training.
Mike Bosworth: So with, with the absence of training today in 2021, we recommend, See, selling is not an academic subject. It's a skill. And if it's a skill, it takes coaching and practice. And so what we prefer to do if we go into a new client is, is say, I wanna train your cadre, your managers and story seekers first. And so let's say we have 16 managers
Mike Bosworth: on the Zoom training for three days, and after we lecture for 45 minutes, then we have a breakout where we practice. We go into zoom rooms and everybody's in a small group of three or four people with a coach, and so the managers learn how to coach and tell stories. Then when we train the sales people, we have their own managers.
Mike Bosworth: Serve as role play coaches, and by having them take it first as a salesperson and then have to come back and coach their own people in it under our supervision, they learn how to debrief calls and coach and help 'em build letters and do the things that on their own, they're just never gonna learn.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, So I have a fairly radical view on this.
Marcus Cauchi: And I'd be curious your response. I fundamentally believe it is an act of gross misconduct for a salesperson to turn up after the company has spent money on marketing, on lead generation, on securing the meeting, and they turn up on researched, unplanned unrehearsed without a written plan, without clarity in terms of what they're trying to achieve
Marcus Cauchi: from the outcome of the sale and then they come out of it without capturing any lessons, without debriefing, and, uh, their managers are at fault for allowing them to do this. And I believe both should be I sanctioned if not fired, if they do that more than once. Um, being unfair,
Mike Bosworth: those sales managers, Marcus. We're made sales manager, cuz they sold a lot and they've never taught to be man-
Mike Bosworth: I was never taught to manage. I, they, they don't know what managing is. They have their position because they were a great salesperson.
Marcus Cauchi: There was a study done by Jonathan Farrington for the Sand Research Center that came out in 2020 and his findings are that only 6% of sales managers are actually fit for purpose.
Marcus Cauchi: And this is a really damning indictment of leadership because they do not create an apprenticeship and they do not create a runway, right? Where, um, I, I work with a number of technology companies and what we're doing with all of those companies is we find out what the career ambitions are of the sales people and we train them
Marcus Cauchi: in the skills of management or channel management or senior account management in the 12 to 24 months before they progress to their next position. So they learn how to onboard a new hire. So last one in coaches, the next one in. Then they get involved in coaching, mentoring, training, running sales meetings, developing forecasts and reports.
Marcus Cauchi: Planning, strategizing, debriefing calls so that by the time they get into the role, they've interviewed prospective candidates, they understand all of those different functions because they've lived them. And I think we need to implement sales apprenticeships and management apprenticeships.
Mike Bosworth: Well, you better write a white paper because the vast majority of us public companies are not investing in sales training or management training.
Mike Bosworth: They just hire 'em. They push 'em out there and like Oracles a classic example, you don't make your number, you're out. It's sink or swim.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, only 3% of the budget is spent on management training.
Mike Bosworth: That's more than a lot of companies. I see. They have no budget
Marcus Cauchi: that that's the global spend on training.
Mike Bosworth: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Only 3%.
Mike Bosworth: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: It's pitiful.
Mike Bosworth: So it's time for you to write a book, Marcus. B2B Selling and Sales Apprenticeships in Developing Great Sales Managers. Cause there's no book out there on how to do that.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, interestingly enough, I'm in collaboration with a friend of mine who is the grandfather of sales enablement.
Marcus Cauchi: We're writing a book on sales management enablement because it's, It's appalling.
Mike Bosworth: It is appalling. It's appalling.
Marcus Cauchi: It's an act of incompetence by leadership.
Mike Bosworth: So can I tell you one more nugget?
Marcus Cauchi: Yes, please.
Mike Bosworth: Another thing Neil Rackum discovered accidentally. Because Neil Rackman was only watching top 20% sales calls.
Mike Bosworth: And back then Xerox big company, they'd hire six new batches of new sales people out of top 10 colleges. Put 'em in six weeks of product training, kick 'em out of the nest and say, Go sell for Xerox though this is copiers and fax machines, not my division.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Mike Bosworth: And these sales people will get better and better and better, but at 18 months, each batch, you could set your watch by it, they would peak and start to plummet.
Marcus Cauchi: Right?
Mike Bosworth: And what it, what it turned out was what they lacked initially to be effective in the first year was solution expertise. Took them a long time to develop solution expertise. But in the, in their 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th months, they had developed enough solution expertise. That when a buyer would bring up a problem, they would help diagnose the problem, help 'em create a vision, but after 18 months, they became impatient.
Mike Bosworth: And now the buyer, The first day of the 19th month, the buyer starts to admit a problem and the seller goes, Oh, we see this all the time. This is out of whack. This is outta whack. This is out of whack. Here's what you need. And as soon as they sales people start telling buyers what they need. Their performance goes down.
Mike Bosworth: So in my workshops, I'll say to my sales people, I say, If you don't believe me, on the next break, I see how many of you have a long term partner, romantic partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse. And then 80% raise their hand. I said, On the next break, call that person on your mobile device. Give 'em two to three you need to statements and see how they respond.
Mike Bosworth: And uh, they come back in with their tails between their legs. And I say, If the person who in theory loves you more than anybody else won't take that from you, why would your prospect? So we now teach them that when the buyer admits a problem to say, Can I tell you a story about another person who had that same problem?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Mike Bosworth: And slow it down and give them the lesson from the other, from their peers perspective. Instead of the salesperson saying, Here's what you need, you need our total solution to fix this problem.
Marcus Cauchi: My sales hero is Colombo.
Mike Bosworth: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: No one ever assumed they would get caught. He was always defedent he was always the underdog.
Marcus Cauchi: He struggled. And if, if you learn to play your sale like Colombo, um, then no one ever thinks you're the smartest person in the room.
Mike Bosworth: Right. I've been using Colombo for years. Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. Excellent. Mike, look, I've got a few, uh, quick questions to wrap. The first one is you've got a golden ticket and you can go back and whisper in the ear of the young Mike, age 23 at his full idiot
Marcus Cauchi: best. What bit of advice would you give him that, you know, he would've probably ignored, but would've been of valued?
What bit of advice would you give a young Mike that he would've probably ignored, but would've been of valued?
Mike Bosworth: Well, I don't think I would've ignored it if I, if someone could have shown me back then. How what I was doing intuitively could be codified so we could teach it to everybody else, my career would've ramped up much fa faster.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, absolutely. Well, when I was 23, I knew everything. Now I'm 53. I realize I know next to nothing. I think wisdom is wasted on the old, and youth is wasted on the young.
Mike Bosworth: Youth is wasted on the young for sure.
Marcus Cauchi: okay. Tell me this one thing that you are struggling with at the moment. What are you wrestling with?
What are you wrestling with?
Mike Bosworth: Uh, what I'm wrestling with in helping my wife with her we can solve business, which we're now, we, we built a desktop application and it was too linear. So now we're building a mobile device, we can solve application, but the biggest problem we we face is getting people to spend some time and work on their relationships, to work on their romantic relationships.
Mike Bosworth: And the second part, part of that is we usually get the female to say, All right, we need to work on this. But there's a lot of reluctant males who still won't go along.
Marcus Cauchi: Aha. Okay. Not sure I can help with that. I don't think I'm qualified.
Mike Bosworth: I don't think. Well, since I haven't figured it out, I'd be amazed if you had, but I thought I'd try.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. (inaudible) how can people get hold of you?
How can people get hold of you?
Mike Bosworth: On LinkedIn. Mike Bosworth on LinkedIn. Easy peasy.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Mike Bosworth, Thank you.
Mike Bosworth: Thank you, Marcus. I enjoyed it.
Marcus Cauchi: It's been a barrel of laughs. Thank you so much.
Mike Bosworth: All right.
Marcus Cauchi: If you are the owner or the CEO of a tech company and your goal is to grow your business, achieve real, sustainable and profitable hyper growth with highly engaged and highly productive employee.
Marcus Cauchi: And clients who stick with you for decades. Then let's schedule time for a brief conversation. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me on LinkedIn. Now, if you found this conversation useful and insightful, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. And if you feel the urge, then give it an honest review.
Marcus Cauchi: One star, three stars, five stars, whatever. In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling. Bye-bye.