What do you mean by selling and making sales?
The individual describes sales and selling as the coming together of two equals working together to accomplish their shared goals. They place a strong emphasis on the value of starting by assisting the client in achieving their goals. Additionally, they stress the importance of treating all clients as peers, regardless of their status.
How can we change our way of thinking such that each person takes responsibility for their own learning and seeks support from their superiors and employers to develop and reach their full potential?
The person proposes a change in perspective towards growth and learning. They stress the need of establishing a training methodology and connecting training to certain corporate initiatives. They motivate people to commit to action items and the adoption of new skills and include management in the training process. They emphasize the necessity of making learning a habit and the duty of the individual in seeking assistance to maximize their potential.
What does excellent customer service really mean to the customer?
Answer 5: The person has the opinion that a seller should first determine whether they can assist the buyer. They stress the significance of comprehending the demands of the customer and offering value. They draw attention to the fact that there is sometimes a focus on technique rather than intent and that there is a gap between business goals, seller needs, and trainer expectations.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello, and welcome back once again to the Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today I have as my guest, a legend Tibor Shanto. He's principal with Renbor Sales Solutions. He's a prolific author, and he's also somebody who really believes that sales is a human thing. Today we're gonna talk about why it's a mistake to throw technology at the wrong end of the problem.
He sees that technology is often disrupting the human side of sales, and that sales have be, uh, salespeople have become operators on the assembly line. We're gonna dig into leadership management salespeople. We're gonna dig into why pain has become something of a fashion, and why those sales fashions don't really serve you as a vendor and why customers are being underserved by just simply focusing on pain.
We're gonna look at how we can dig into the passive market, where actually, um, the real gold is. And how do you [00:01:00] move people from passive to active and be there at the right time in order to be relevant to them so that you can move those people who are currently in the status quo into making that decision to change.
And helping customers to see why they should buy so that, but without making them feel like they're being sold. So Tibor, welcome.
Tibor Shanto: Thank you. How are you, Marcus?
Marcus Cauchi: I'm very well actually.
How have you found pandemic?
Marcus Cauchi: I've had, um, some of the best times in my career in the last 18 to 20 months through the pandemic. How have you found it?
Tibor Shanto: I found it the same way. You know, I think, um, I think a lot of it was where you were when it hit, but I found it to be an interesting experience and actually I reacted right away. Um, I know that at first, you know, last March a lot of people sort of were paralyzed and I think by acting right away and continuing to stay in motion, you know, I found my footing.
I, and you know, [00:02:00] people who went to the sideline, even though they found direction, it took 'em a while to, to, to get into it. And I think, you know, because of that, the customers found different energy in me. I changed my approach, you know, and I, I approach customers with sort of a humorous point of view of what are you gonna do with your teams in the off season, whatcha are gonna do to make sure that you know, when, when the league comes back to play that they're ready.
So I got a number of engagement just working with salespeople once a week, running drills and things like that. So for me, from a business perspective, it was positive. From a human perspective clearly it wasn't for the unfortunate souls who were lost to the uh, to the pandemic. But from a business point of view, and for Shanto, it was a good thing.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, it, it's really interesting. A, a friend of mine had some connections in number 10, and he told me that on the 7th of March, uh, the following day, they were gonna, uh, lock the country down. So I've literally packed [00:03:00] up two bags, moved, um, all of that stuff into my conservatory, and I've been there ever since and haven't missed a beat.
So, I, I agree with you. If, if you turned up with the intention of carrying on, then there was no reason to see this as anything other than a change of medium. Okay.
60 seconds on your history
Marcus Cauchi: So Tibor, would you mind giving us 60 seconds on your history please so people get a, a sense of where you've come from?
Tibor Shanto: Yeah, I'll give you the real one.
I got into trouble once by giving the, the humorous one. Um,
Marcus Cauchi: Give that as well.
Tibor Shanto: So the real one is, you know, I got into sales sort of in a sideways, you know, somebody recommended a stock back in the eighties and I made a lot of money. And then the same fellow made a recommendation the following week and I lost everything and more.
So I realized that there has to be more to this than getting tips from one guy, um, especially since I know what else it was procuring from him. So I took the program, I took the thing, and eventually I realized that being in the stock [00:04:00] market is really being in sales. And for a while I, I sort of pushed back on it, you know, intellectual, cerebral, and no, I'm a finance guy and all that crap.
But once you accept that you're in sales, which you know, was I guess in the early nineties. So for about six years I sort of pushed back on it. Uh, but once I accepted that I was in sales, that again, there's more to this than meets the eye sort of attitude and that Joseph got me into it and like, you know, the more you peel back, the more interesting it is.
I think the people who don't succeed in sales are the ones who don't commit to it. They either see it as a transitory thing or they just see it that as long as they show up and throw up and look good and tell the person, well, my system told me you're a buyer. You know, so, but I think if you dig into it, it's, it truly is an interesting profession.
I if you choose to do it as such.
Marcus Cauchi: And [00:05:00] that I think is a really key point cuz I, I think a lot of people don't see it as a profession. They see it as a job and their, their in lies a huge difference between the top performers and the mediocre middle.
How do you define sales and selling?
Marcus Cauchi: Um, so, okay, so tell me this, how, how do you define sales and selling?
Tibor Shanto: So for me, sales and selling, it's interesting you ask that because I do this exercise. In every workshop that I do. Cause I think definitions are important, you know. And, and I'll get to why and how in a sec, because, but I wanna answer your question. I look at it as the meeting of two equals working together to achieve their mutual objectives.
Now none of that happens until you help the customer achieve their objectives. So it all starts with that. Right? So, but it is a mutual thing. You know, I remember reading, what's his name? Anthony Paranello
Marcus Cauchi: [00:06:00] Paranello. Yeah.
Tibor Shanto: Selling to Vito. Yeah. And you know, a number of things stood out in that book, but one of the things that stuck with me is you have to talk to them as a peer.
Whether you're talking to the person sweeping the halls, or whether you're talking to the person in the, in the, in the corner suite. You have to be able to speak to them as peers. And I think that ability is not there in, in a lot of salespeople.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, thi this is really interesting because that's about how you perceive yourself conceptually, and I think a lot of salespeople.
When did you realize you could tell your mother you were in a sales?
Marcus Cauchi: I, I was going to jokingly ask you the question, uh, but I'll now ask it seriously, which is, um, when, when did you realize you could tell your mother you were in a sales?
Tibor Shanto: Probably when I got my first sort of big deal, but when I knew why I got it, you know, you got you, you got a few because you bumble around and you know, you know, fate looks down on you and says, yeah, here's a couple to keep you going. Right? But you don't know why you got him, or things like that. Right?
Like it's the [00:07:00] old notion of, you know, running into a, you know, even the blind squirrel runs into a nut sometimes. Right? But I think I'll have to say that it was when I joined my first formal sales organization and, and it was the first time that they provided training and I began to realize that there's more to this than just being a smooth voice on the phone, which is what my experience was up to that point is being on the phone and, you know, smile and dial and sound smooth and, you know, nothing negative in terms of lying, but just, you know, it was a volume business as opposed to anything else.
But I think that when it became clear that I was going to, to have to feed a family off it, it became clear that one should commit to it and, and take it that seriously. As, as I said, you know, we touched on it a moment ago, but you know, I had, uh, my podcast, I had my Bosworth on who's the, you know, author of
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Tibor Shanto: Solution Selling and [00:08:00] that, that had a big influence on me. I always told him that, uh, he's responsible for my most famous sale because I closed Xerox for a six figure deal on 9- 11. And I remember like, you know, that was the closing date, but the sale happened much earlier. I. And throughout the sale, I was reading his book and I was putting it into practice as I was reading him.
And I remember going up to con uh, to Connecticut with my, at that time, the head of the sales organization. And he used ask me, why are you doing it like this and why are you doing it like that? And I said, dude, I'm following the book. I'm gonna like play it out and see what happens. But you know, you gotta do it.
You know, like you gotta commit to something and do it and see what happens. And so I closed Xerox on 9 -11, but he was on, he was on the program and we both agreed that we're the only profession that doesn't practice between games. And that in itself almost says [00:09:00] everything right, speaks the mindset, speaks to commitment, speaks to attitude, everything.
Marcus Cauchi: Katie Dorsey always says, you know, you can either practice intentionally beforehand, or you can practice in front of the customer. And the problem that I see far, far too often is that salespeople just turn up and they wing it. And there, there is absolutely no room for that. How dare you turn up and, um, wing it with people who are busy.
How dare you take up their, steal their time without putting in that effort in terms of planning, preparation, rehearsal, and, uh, what, what's flabbergast me is the number of salespeople who don't read, who don't invest in themselves. And so I I I have a question because I think one of the challenges that I see is so many organizations offer training, but the emphasis should really be on learning. And learning is the [00:10:00] responsibility of the individual. Uh, training is something that entitled people expect from their company. And, um, as a result, there are very few real sales professionals out there. Um, you know, as a percentage of our overall global population, the majority of them are really order takers or zookeepers as Mike Weinberg, uh, describes them.
How can we shift that thinking so that the ownership for learning shifts to the individual and then they seek help from their managers and their company in order to enhance and meet their full potential?
Marcus Cauchi: So, yeah, how, how can we, how can we shift that thinking so that the ownership for learning, uh, shifts to the individual and then they seek help from their managers and their company in order to enhance and meet their full potential?
Tibor Shanto: Well, I think the attitude towards that whole notion of, I don't want to use the words because the, I don't wanna take it down any sort of single path, but this notion of learning and improvement, right?
I can look at it a couple of ways. I, with all deference to some of our peers, you know, I think that a lot of them, [00:11:00] and I started off that way, I have to admit sort of, you know, it's like memoirs of a salesperson, right? And then, you know, how do we put those memoirs into practice? But if we're going to, as we talked about earlier, if we're going to grow and evolve and change, then we have to demonstrate that we can't just talk about it. Right? You know, one of the things that I tried to do, and somebody pointed it out, is that you have to have a training methodology, which is as important as your content sort of, that you're delivering.
So it's all well and good to be good at cold calling, but if you don't have a methodology for changing, if for delivering that knowledge, and then more importantly helping that knowledge become habit, then I agree with you, it's a waste of money.
And I'm in the training industry and I and I, and I take the cri- criticism directly and that's why we do what I call 3D development programs. So the first D is for discovery [00:12:00] where we work with management, we try and understand the team through assessments if the company likes or direct interviews, so we understand sort of what they're open to, how malleable they are, you know what, what they relate to.
And we try to work with management to tie training to specific initiative. So whether it's a new product or whether, you know, so it's not something that's separate from ongoing experience. It shouldn't be an event, should be an ongoing, you know, development experience, right? So we try and tie it to that so it's not just a guy with a funny name and we're having pizza for lunch.
But you know, this is important because these are the things that we're reliant on and we generally try, we often fail, but we generally try to get the most senior person to come and tie the outcome of the training to the outcome that they expect from a company. So beginning that focus on outcomes [00:13:00] and so on.
And to the question of ownership at the end of the training. And we involve the managers, cuz my expectation is that the manager is not ready to perpetuate the program that we're putting into place. So without saying that we involve them and we make them, you know, sit in the, in the passenger seat, but very close to the whole thing. Right?
And, and the goal is we tell them that we need them to perpetuate this once we leave town. But we get each of the individuals to commit to three action items that they learned during the, the, the program. And, and I'm a one day guy, I believe, taking them off the road for two days, they're not gonna take anything away with them.
But at the end of that one day, I get them to commit to three action items and I tell 'em, I don't care what it is. But it can't be that I, like T Boy's tie. I wear a tie when I train. Um, so I say it can be that I like T Boy's tie, but something around voicemail or whatever the case might be. So then we [00:14:00] use that as the sort of springboard for a long. The third, so the second D is deliver, so we deliver the content and the third D is drive. So we put a lot of emphasis on adoption because all the things that you touched on, if, if, if they don't make it a habit, if it doesn't become part of their day-to-day routine,
Marcus Cauchi: How have you found it?
Tibor Shanto: it's a waste of time.
It's a waste of money. So we're with them for a minimum of nine weeks where we have regular individual follow-throughs. So that moment when, you know, in training, when they say, you know, this too shall pass. Well when they look up, we're there, you know? So, you know, so we put a lot of emphasis on adoption and we do point out to the people that after nine weeks of handholding and direct attention, you have to decide whether it's a skills issue or an HR issue.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this again, is really [00:15:00] interesting, um, in, in terms of the disconnect that I've seen through my experience between what the business needs, what the seller needs, what the customer needs, and what the, the learning or HR function expect of a trainer. I see huge di disconnect there. And net result is that the emphasis tends to be on technique, not on intent, and the underlying value of great selling to the customer.
And so I'd like to explore this whole idea around the intent as a seller. Uh, when you show up, I fundamentally believe that your intent must be to establish can I help? And if I can, am I the best person to help? And if I'm not, have an obligation to refer even a close competitor because they are the people who can solve the customer's problem best.
What you believe in terms of teaching salespeople around the importance of turning up with the right intent?
Marcus Cauchi: And so I'm [00:16:00] curious about what what you, uh, believe in terms of teaching salespeople around the importance of turning up with the right intent.
Tibor Shanto: I always say that intent is key before you even turn up, right? So from the moment that you start the conversation, now is my intent is, you know, there's value in you and I talking.
That's sort of like what's swirling in my brain, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Tibor Shanto: So, because I do believe, you know, and I don't wanna sound like a hippie despite my age, right? That when you speak to someone over the telephone, your intent comes through and we've all had that experience, right? Where somebody is like, I'm not a perfect speaker.
I don't sound like a radio voice when, when I'm making prospecting calls, but I sound human and I'm genuine in my intent as to the things that I want to help them with. And the way that you communicate that, the way that I suggest you communicate that is focus on objectives that you've helped and [00:17:00] impacts that you've helped others achieve.
So rather than saying anything about yourself, lead on the telephone. Doesn't matter if you have a radio voice or if you stutter like I do or whatever. What you put the focus on will clearly communicate your intent. Because if I put the focus on positive outcomes that I've been able to help others achieve.
So not my product, but what others were able to achieve as a result of interacting with me, of paying me. Then it's easier for the customer to recognize themselves in that statement than if I describe my services, which, you know, is not that important for the first few months. Um, they become important after.
So I think there is an opportunity to begin that whole notion of intent because I play this game with, with, with, with people in, in my programs and I have 'em pictured the person that they're trying to currently [00:18:00] sell to and how, you know, based on their role, how many projects they might be involved with.
And then each of those projects is not one thing, it's a series of components. And then each of those components has three or four viable competitors. And each of those guys has a salesperson. And each of those is going to make a call to this individual, right? So what are you gonna do to sound different? Right?
And I would argue that the, the thing that you're gonna do to sound different is focus on the outcomes that people describe to you six months after the fact. So one of the things I like to tell people to do is to go back six, seven months, nine months later and ask them how their workflows changed.
Not how do you like my product and did it plug in well? And you like Betty and customer support, which is important. But if I can understand how your workflows changed and as a result of that, how your business benefited. So as a result of what I [00:19:00] did, you were able to take a step outta your supply chain, and as a result of that, you're able to get, you know, your product to market a day earlier than your competitor.
And as a result of that, you've increased your market share because of the current scenario and supply chain, but most people lead with the truck that they sell as opposed to that outcome.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, thi this, um, speaks to something else which is, uh, critical, which is in my observation, very few salespeople, even people who are quite seasoned, really understand the moving parts in their customers and their prospects businesses.
So one of the things that frustrates me and saddens me, is how often salespeople are sent out, unarmed and unprepared because they have no business acumen. They're product pedalers who turn up and then they vomit product features and functionality. And they're always under [00:20:00] pressure because they're always behind their quota.
And you only have to look at the, uh, stats that are going around now. They were bad pre pandemic because, um, the only, I think it was only 14% of sales teams worldwide were hitting quota, pre pandemic. Now it's only 3% and you're seeing these poor people going out there beating their heads against the wall, uh, trying to survive.
And they know nothing about the moving parts. They don't really don't understand the implications of making this purchase, especially when you're selling complex, uh, products and services. I, if you're selling commodities, you can kind of get away with it. But if you're selling, you know, complex ERP systems or software or whatever, you've got to understand that it's not just the pers uh, the person you're pedaling to, but the entire organization will suffer if they make a poor decision.
Why do we not focus more? Why is there not enough emphasis on the business acumen side of the whole function?
Marcus Cauchi: So what, why do we not focus more? Why is there not enough emphasis on the business acumen side of, uh, the whole, uh, function?
Tibor Shanto: Well, I'll answer it in two [00:21:00] ways. You know, our vision is limited by our father's vision, right? So we have to, to, to look at it that way. But, you know, one of the things that I find interesting is when people ask me what, what book they should get for their team, you know. I remember my last corporate job.
They had a good idea and they had a good training culture. I'll, I'll give them that. Every year we had a .Good and quality trainer and all that, and out of that we came to the conclusion that if you don't put a book in Salespeople's Hands, they won't read a sales book in a given year. So every year we select, every year we selected a book that we would give them.
And it was, it was good because then, you know, they, you know, that's where sort of the idea of adoption first got into my head. But what I realized is, what you just said is we're sending them out and we're wondering why they come back bloody. So what I suggested, and it's been my suggestion ever since, when somebody asks me what book should we get, our [00:22:00] sales team or sales individual, I always say, get 'em the 10-day MBA. Because that's the language of the person at the other side of the table, right?
Because if you're speaking to a CMO, or you're speaking to a CRO or anything with a C in front of it, they learned how to speak, what they do in MBA school. They didn't learn it, you know, on Sandler or Shanto or the next guy, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Tibor Shanto: They learned how to process decisions and how to look at projects and things like that.
So if you could go out and begin to fit into that conversation, right? So in their language, at their pace with their dialect and so forth and so on, then you can begin to be part of that issue. You know, one of the challenges I give the people that I work with is think of that prospect we talked about a moment ago who's involved in all these decisions.
And picture them on the busiest highway in your city. So each city's gonna be different, right? [00:23:00] And what are they thinking about? You know, stuck in the middle of traffic at 8:30 in the morning on their way to a leadership team meeting. And if you can identify with those issues, right? Not your product, right? Even though your product could change it to the better, but if you can identify with those issues that they, they're thinking about looking through the windshield wondering how the fuck am I gonna get there on time and save my ass in a bad quarter? Like if we take the stats that you gave earlier, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Tibor Shanto: 3% or something like that. What's that individual thinking about? And if you can make a call to that individual later in the day and dangle three or four sort of thoughts in front of them.
Not products, but thoughts, right? And one of those thoughts relates to the issue that was, you know, they were thinking about in traffic, then you've got a conversation. But you know, the thing is that that's the language that the status quo and the passive [00:24:00] speak, right? But most people are only learned to speak the language of buyers not potential prospects. But you know, like with those potential prospects, you plant the seed, you come back regularly, water it, put manure on it. By the time they move through the stages, they're gonna be yours. Right?
How can we equip managers to better do their job?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this then leads to another really interesting question, which is how can we equip managers to better do their job? Jonathan Frankton did a study for Sandler's Research Center.
Tibor Shanto: Mm-hmm.
Marcus Cauchi: Back in 2020 where his conclusion was only 6% of sales managers were fit for purpose, which honestly, I think that's high. How can we better equip sales managers? Cause I think they are the most pivotal people in the entire sales organization, but more often than not, they are unequipped.
They're thrown in at the deep end. Congratulations, we've just fired your idot boss. [00:25:00] You're now the idiot boss. Off you go.
How can we prep sales managers and give them an apprenticeships and a runway so that they are capable and competent by the time they move into that role?
Marcus Cauchi: How, how can we prep sales managers and give them an apprenticeships and a runway so that they are capable and competent by the time they move into that role?
Tibor Shanto: I think apprenticeship is key, right?
So, you know, in some ways I'm not a big believer in hypo. You know, it's been shown that, you know, the high performer type programs and so forth. But you know, I think most organizations have a sense of who's gonna be in the management track, right? Maybe not the day that they join the company, but at one point you begin to have whispers and those whispers get louder, right?
So once those whispers begin, I think they should be, as you said, have a certain apprentice because, I think sitting in the room, my experience has been that there's a lot to learn, right. But I think they need to be put on once, even once they're selected, because I'm exactly what you painted. I was made a manager attaboy, you know, I think the reason was they [00:26:00] wanted to grow the business in Canada.
I'd grown it to the point where, you know, I wasn't gonna be able to manage and grow it alone together. So they said, attaboy manager hiring you guy. You're good. You know, and I remember sitting in a hotel in Nashville and you know, calling my boss and saying, why did you do this to me? You know, like, I'm working harder than I ever did.
I said, I'm, I'm the one closing the deals. It's not, they, they, it's like the bird dogging concept, right? I was going all around, you know, the territory, which was like, from Chicago, right down to Texas, right. And I'm like running around, you know, with my, with my salespeople who basically found the lead and half polished it right.
So now I was a half polished turd, right? And I had to go in there and try and close it, right? So I said, why are you doing this to me? Cuz I only make 1% override on these guys. Before I was making like decent coin, like, you know. So he went through the process and I give him credit. He had a [00:27:00] long conversation with me, put me through some classes that helped me understand.
But, you know, basically what he said to sum it up is that, you know, as a manager, Uh, you know, I told him, I don't want him, I don't want my wife to hear this. He said, I wanna sprinkle you in a whole bunch of different people. So I said, let's not talk about how you've vi visualized doing that. But he, you know, he worked with me and, and I think he helped me become a good manager.
But I think that's the rarity. I, I think most people. I think the other half of the reason that I was promoted is they didn't want me going anywhere. And I think that's primarily the reason in a lot of, a lot of promotions.
How do we prevent managers ending up with burnout?
Marcus Cauchi: You've touched on something that I see happen very, very often, um, which is that the manager gets promoted and then they think their job is to be the hero closer and they turn up and say, Tibor, let me show you how a real man sells and there's no transfer of skill.
And as a result, they become a bottleneck. [00:28:00] And the net result of that is that you end up with the manager who earns less than they used to working twice as hard than they did before. And so you end up with this burnout, uh, or they, they end up starting to get really, uh, resentful and angry with their salespeople and they don't have an opportunity to step back.
Because they're under so much pressure cuz now they carry the teams target. And the net result of that is that you end up with this really toxic environment because the manager is either playing the hero closer and jumping on their shiny, uh, steed, uh, to show how good they are. Uh, or they end up just churning through salespeople cuz every sales meeting they're beating their hands on the table saying, you know, get out there, do more prospecting, and they play the numbers game. So how do we prevent that?
Tibor Shanto: I think education, and I think to some degree, having the discussion around [00:29:00] what the role of numbers are, because I know that some people say, and I know you're in that camp, that it's not a numbers game, but on the other hand, numbers do play a role in in sales, and so I tend to liken it to sports that some things have to be measured because that will tell us what the activity underneath I need to focus, to focus on, to make an improvement.
So if I'm a runner and I'm doing the hundred meters, let's say 11 seconds, then I need to understand that because then I could say, okay, I need to work on my, the way I'm moving my feet, the way I'm moving my legs, and so forth. So to me, the numbers are strictly an indicator of things that are happening in that measure, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Tibor Shanto: So the question becomes how me as a salesperson, if possible, by extension of the organization, can put things into effect that [00:30:00] make those indicators better, but it's the activity that we want to focus on, not the numbers. The number is just an indicator of our progress in our endeavor to improve.
And so I think that if you looked at that, like I have a thing that I call the activity calculator and it asks people to give me four numbers. What's your average deal size? Most people say depends. And I don't know if they sell depends in the UK, but over here it's just an adult diaper. Right? It's not a unit of measure.
But you know, I always tell like, you know, I don't know what a critical score in football in the UK is, but for instance, here in hockey, a plus minus is a critical score, right? Let's not get into what it is. So, you know, often I'll go into a workshop and I'll go, anybody here a hockey fan? And in Canada, surprise, surprise, you know, you get a good hand.
It's show of hands. And then, you know, you find [00:31:00] somebody who's, who's friendly and, and, and outgoing, and I ask them who their favorite player is. And you know what their assists are, what their goals are, and you know, I get the numbers right. And I go, what's their plus minus? Oh, they tell me, you know, whether they're on the road, it's this, and at home arena, it's that.
Right? What are your numbers? Like, how many calls do you have to make to speak to an individual? And the reason that's important is that the number of calls is a reflection of time and the only non-renewable asset that we have. And I always say jokingly that the only thing that Queen Elizabeth and I have in common is at midnight we get 24 hours.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Tibor Shanto: And then what we do with it really determines our success. And that's why I think measuring things becomes important because I know that, for instance, it takes me about an hour and five minutes to get an appointment. The research, the effort, the emails, the, this, the, that costs me. And I, I specifically talk about time in [00:32:00] terms of currency, you know, currency of sales, right?
So it costs me an hour and five minutes to get an appointment. So if I know that I need six appointments for the month, then I can go and put away six hours and 30 minutes in my calendar and based on experience and keeping track of my activity. Cuz again, that's what professionals do is they're aware of their activity.
They don't wait for the morning paper to tell them how they did, you know, and the night before. Then I can focus on which activities I want to change and so forth. Right? So, again, so I do think that numbers play a role, but I do agree with you that it's not the notion that most people take it with, right?
It's really a question of how do I, what indicators do I use to understand how I need to change my activities [00:33:00] to improve how I utilized time? Because the one thing I can guarantee you next, the taxes, and the third thing that they always say I is that your numbers are gonna go up next year and you ain't gonna get more time.
So you need to understand how to change your activities so you can improve your investment of time. So as an example, if you, if you're selling a, a product where your discovery cycle or that segment of your cycle loosely called discovery, let's say it takes three meetings. And each of those meetings takes an hour.
And let's say we're in Covid time, so you don't have to drive, but before that, you have to drive, right? So now if you're semi-pro, you're gonna prepare for that meeting, right? Let's say you prepare for half an hour, right? So in theory, that's an hour and a half for each meeting. So if I focus on [00:34:00] my skills and ask better questions, and I'm able to motivate the customer to move forward and take a meeting out, if I can take my discovery from four meetings to three, from three meetings to two, right? Then I've just freed up potentially an hour and a half to two hours of time that I can invest in other activities that could be improving myself, that could be if I need to, prospecting and so forth. So the reason I think that numbers are important is because of that element of time and, and, and to me, time is a constant. So the only thing that I could do to bend it in my favor is the activities and how I approach it.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, on that note, I think it's really important to distinguish between leading and lagging indicators because the majority of managers are, uh, fixated on tracking the lagging [00:35:00] indicators.
Tibor Shanto: Mm-hmm.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, or focusing on activity rather than meaningful action. So I'm with you a hundred percent. I, if I know it takes me an hour and five minutes to book a meeting and I need six of those.
I know I've gotta put that six and a half hours in. But, uh, I think far too few managers are, they're focused on the right measures. And so what they do is they focus on efficiency rather than the effectiveness. And what I'm interested in, just like you, is how do I take that three meeting cycle down to two and what, what can I do in order to drive the sale forward instead of spending my time spinning my wheels in a continuation rather than a good advancement?
And so far, too few managers are really questioning why they're measuring what they're measuring. And I think a lot of that is a function of leadership and I, I certainly in the tech space, you look at the things that they're interested in, which are [00:36:00] revenue, new logos, and pipeline. Now, the problem is if you're measuring those things, people will then focus on delivering those things.
But in terms of pipelines,
Tibor Shanto: Give dad what he wants.
Marcus Cauchi: Say again?
Tibor Shanto: You give dad what he wants, right?
Marcus Cauchi: A absolutely. Uh, and the, the, the problem with doing that is that you are creating busy work for your reps.
What does good preparation look like?
Marcus Cauchi: So, okay, let, let's take a, a quick step into the preparation process. Cause I, I'd love to hear how you teach preparation and planning because I think it's a, an area that is woefully underdeveloped in most sales organizations. The preparation is essentially postcode turn up and then vomit up lots of features and functionality. So what, what does good preparation look like?
Tibor Shanto: So the, I think there's various levels. I think there's ongoing preparation, which is again, the reason that people don't like sales.
I, I used to own, uh, the domain, but I let it go. Sales is [00:37:00] a blue collar job, right? Because there is some heavy lifting that you have to do in order to, you know. So I think there's a broad, broad type of thing like that I think every organization needs to do. Who are your best targets at high level, low level, this, that, what have you.
Where I bring, I think something different into it is I li I like to understand why I won, why I lost, and why people move to the sideline because depending what vertical you're in, you know, anywhere from 30% to 50% ostensibly move to the sideline. Right? Now the question that stats that I haven't seen any for, so if you know where I can find them, that'd be great, is how many of those that go to no decision are revived in what sort of pace or cadence. Because you know, again, so I'm big on understanding what happened and big on understanding what objectives I've been able to help people achieve. So as I mentioned earlier, [00:38:00] I'd rather go back six months later and talk to you about how your workflows changed because the next customer I call, instead of selling my product, I'll talk about that.
That people who deal with me, these are the outcomes that they've been able to achieve. So if you follow my script and I do script things, by the time I introduce myself, you will not know what I sell, but you will know what outcomes I'm talking about.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Tibor Shanto: And if those outcomes connect with you on some level, then I have a chance to get the appointment.
Now, when I get to the appointment, I need, you know, we agreed earlier that you know, whatever that number is, 60% or 70% doesn't matter. Um, are people who don't wanna be sold, they wanna buy. So that means you gotta take somebody who had no, I, you know, back to traffic. They, they were not thinking about you at all and you want them to buy from you in this or the next [00:39:00] cycle, which is why, again, if you can, like, don't make it up.
Like you need to know your targets and you need to be, you know, I always say that the wrong message on the right warhead is really not good. Right? So you can hit the person right there, but you gotta have the right message. And to me, it's around outcomes and objectives. And if you look at some of the work from Trust Radius, it's, they don't trust the numbers that people throw at them.
What they want is customer experience. How are others using and change by virtue of interacting or buying with you? So you need to understand how your customer looks at the situation. Where your product may fit in. And so it's not that they need to understand your product, but you need to give 'em a picture or a story, what I call a visual story, right?
Because it's not like you can't give 'em a Tolstoy, which is what most salespeople want to do, right? But give 'em a visual story of an outcome that they can [00:40:00] expect, right? Based on your experience, you know? So we do have this tool called the 360 to be deal view that goes through that, you know, what are some of the, and, and I work with the fact that, you know, objectives is not an abstract concept. It could be broken down. So there's four sort of building blocks that we deal with areas for conversation. So risk, you know, so can you help them avoid risk? Can you inform them of risk that they weren't even considering? You know, so there's a lot of juice to risk, right?
Similarly with finance, most salespeople, especially of the sort that we've been talking about, tend to mostly talk about how they can get you more revenue or eliminate some expense so you can have a better bottom line. But in Canada, and I'm sure it's similar in Europe, you know, like most people are, are dealing with foreign exchange, right?
So there's a financial element that you can talk about, right? How does that relate to you being able to move their goods and maybe a different impact on their foreign exchange? So they could save [00:41:00] money and rely less on their line of credit. But if you're not aware of the process of line of credit and reliance on it, you're not gonna be able to make the connection.
And that's why the 10-day MBA comes in because it's not about what I do, it's about the line of credit, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Tibor Shanto: And I think that's what we have to sell and so forth. So when I get there, I try and understand. So if I wanna sell my prospecting program, which is one of my favorites, accredited by the Canadian Professional Sales Association, I can't go in there and and say, hey yo, you wanna buy a prospecting program?
I got this nice one here, you know. So it doesn't work anymore, right? So what I try and do is, from experience understand, you know, what my customers were raving about after I left, right? Like, what do they love most about the Shanto show? Right? So it generally, that's what I would lead with, right? So the thing that I tend to focus on is outcomes that I've been able to [00:42:00] deliver.
And if I'm not sure, so like when I wanna sell the prospecting program, one of the first questions I would ask you is, you know, Marcus, I'm curious how much of your current revenue this year is coming from new customers versus existing.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Tibor Shanto: And they always gimme some number. It's a 85 15, you know, 90 10, da da da da da.
And then usually there's no need for sort of an intermediate question. But sometimes if I know enough about the industry that this some factor that if I ask the question about would validate that I understand their day-to-day, then I'll ask it like, how do you, like, for instance, one example is, do you commission them on um, margin or, or, or top line, right?
So like how do you measure, like what's an important measure for you? But I only use that to, if I have an opportunity to demonstrate that I get their world. But they gimme that 90 10 number, that 85, 15 number, and then I say, that's great. You know? So if I looked at your [00:43:00] 2,000 and and and 21 plan. What did you have in there?
And it's never the same number. It's usually 80 20 or something, but it's never the same number. So now there's a gap, right? So now I can work that gap. Right? Now, the mistake salespeople make because their manager doesn't know any better, so I'm not blaming the salespeople manager and VP.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Tibor Shanto: Is as soon as that opening comes, like as soon as that variance comes, they jump into it with their product, right? Not realizing that it's a bottomless pit, right? Where what they should do is get the customer to begin to explore why they're, they're in the state that they're in. Think about this wonderful scenario. This prospect just admitted in two questions without a gun to their head that they have a problem.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely.
Tibor Shanto: Right, so now you can play with that. Right? So similarly, like if I have no idea about their industry, you know, I would say to you, Marcus, you know, I'm curious if we were sitting here 18 [00:44:00] months from now and you know, you won the world, your team had won the World Cup, you know, or in North America, I would say, you know, hit a grand slam, right?
So if your team had hit a grand slam, what does that look like? And they look forward, right? Because you, you've given them permission to leave the present and look 18 months into the future and it takes 'em a second to get going. And sometimes you have to be willing to seed the conversation from experience, right?
Cuz you've gone back to previous customers. You know what's turned them on. So sometimes you have to seed the conversation with intelligent questions, with intent. To go back to the point that you mentioned. If I ask questions about my product, I'm a schmuck, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Tibor Shanto: But if I can ask him questions about where I've been able to take others.
So when I ask them, what does Nirvana look like in 18 months? Not the band, but the the state, right? And they described the market share this, that boom, boom, boom, whatever the case might be. Right? The idea is to let 'em talk, [00:45:00] not to jump on any one thing. And then, you know, I look at them in a very considered way because you know, to some degree there is theater arts and sales, right?
And you know, I look at 'em and I go, you know, it's interesting, you know, I understand why you want to do that cuz I've helped other customers do a similar thing. You know, I'm just curious to, if you can help me, you know, why aren't we there today? And then they start telling you all the things that they see as
being in the way of what they just described, that they wanna be in 18 months from now.
And so now we can have a conversation about them based on what they just said and potentially when an opportunity to get them to the state that they just stated they want to be in.
Marcus Cauchi: So for those of you who are listening, I hope you picked up on the beauty of what Tibor has just described, because that's meeting the customer where they are, not where you want them to be, and it's all about them.
And it's about using intelligent, [00:46:00] insightful questioning to help them realize that there is a gap to identify the better future that they are trying to achieve. And help them to realize that you can guide them to get to where they want to be from where they are today. And that, I think, is a fabulous takeaway.
So thank you for that cuz it was elegant and really, uh, beautifully put. And this, this then brings me to this next point that I know is near and dear to your heart. You say, don't talk about pain. It's, uh, become very fashionable.
Talk to me about how you take somebody through that process of moving from being passive buyers into active buyers
Marcus Cauchi: Talk to me about how you take somebody through that process of moving from being passive or not even realizing that they need help and building on what we've just been talking about, so that when there is an opportunity to turn passive buyers into active buyers through that questioning process.
Tibor Shanto: So I think the one thing that has to be realized is that sometimes you can't change the timeline. Like [00:47:00] one of the, one of the side effects of the way that we prepare salespeople is that while we train them to understand that we integrate very well into almost any system out there through our series of wonderful APIs that are blessed by Jesus or whatever beauty that you know, like, but you know, you've got like all the APIs.
So if you understand that, then you need to understand that while you need to sell this quarter, there's a whole bunch of moving parts in in in, in their project and it's not a priority, right? Like again, one of the things you need to understand, I always tell people, go to association sites. If you wanna know what's a priority for the person that you're speaking to go to their association site.
Cuz these associations are trying to retain members just the same way that we're trying to retain customers, right? So they have to capture these roles, imaginations, because they have to have an [00:48:00] existence, whether it's pre Covid, during Covid, or post Covid. You know, there's organizations on both sides of the ocean that are putting on highfalutin conferences, right? Where they invite all the learning and development people, where they invite all the VPs of sales, where they invite all the window washers, right?
And in order to attract those people, they need to bring thought leaders. So go and see what the topics are, the keynotes in these conferences, cuz that's what's on the mind of people that they're trying to get over here for a couple of grand, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Yes.
Tibor Shanto: So if you wanna know the talking points go to where people have already done the research, right? Like it's not like you have to, you know, you just have to go to the right places. Like, you know, if you wanna do it without research, like I have a, a resume on every job board, right? Not because I'm interested in a job, but every time somebody posts a job for, for a salesperson, I get an email, they get a phone call.
So you can get ahead of things. So think about ways that you can be, [00:49:00] again, ahead of the customer so you can be there greeting them when they get there. But the thing that you have to understand is sometimes you can't change the timeline. And if that's the reality, the quicker you accept it and try, stop trying to browbeat 'em into pulling the timeline up.
Look at it that you have all that time to influence them, right? So if you use technology in the right way and you use your knowledge, right? So ask yourself, where was the last customer of this sort that I sold? What conversations did I have with them six months before they bought? So maybe that's the kind of information I should be sending Harold here, because he's six months before based on what he's telling me and what I've validated and so on.
So maybe he's not thinking about which knob do I turn to get that? Maybe he's thinking about why do I need the knobs, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Tibor Shanto: So send information. What salespeople do in that passive stage, it's six months that they have to wait impatiently, right? Either they forget [00:50:00] the customer, which is like 90% of them.
They say, oh, call, say call me in February. They'll, they'll call them in January, but they don't use it. Or if they send information, they send product related information, right? But at that time, the customer is not interested in product. They're trying to make a decision as to which process they're going to go, because with one process, your product's the fit.
If they go, you know, it's like whether you gonna go,
They're, they're learning how. They're in that research phase.
Exactly. Should I go cloud or on-prem? Right? So I'm not even at the point, do I go with Microsoft or Amazon? It's like, do I go cloud or do I buy a server? And so if I could send them information as to why they should go cloud and what are the benefits of going cloud, and then, you know, if I could slightly, you know, put in there some experience that I've had. You know, that so-and-so told me that when they switched to cloud, they were a able to get this, right? If you send them that kind of [00:51:00] information, then that's a value to them, cuz that's probably the kind of thing they're thinking about. Right?
As they get closer to the time, then clearly you're shifting gears. But by sending these things, you've also earned the permission to call them in the meantime, right? And so that's how you become their emotional favor during that. So I don't think that, I think you should explore whether you can move the timeline timeline up, because sometimes you can, but you also have to accept that sometimes you can, much like when we talked about, you also have to accept that you have to disqualify a prospect.
You sometimes have to accept that, you know what, like I ask them why. And that's the other thing that salespeople forget to ask is what's gonna change between now and then? And you know, if they tell me that it's a personnel related thing, it's somehow logical that I'm not gonna be able to tell 'em to train somebody before they hire them.
Right? So it's absurd to try and sell them sales training while they're trying to hire the person. But if I can [00:52:00] help them with the hire, like with some interesting questions or ways to discover whether the person can really prospect or they're bullshitting you, I have value to them, but it's not a product-based value.
It's like the stuff they're thinking about and don't like about the whole process.
Marcus Cauchi: Very interesting. Tibor, we've come to time sadly, so you need to start wrapping up. This has been really, really insightful and, um, I'm, uh, keen to do this again cuz I suspect there's a lot that we can cover again in the future.
What one choice, bit of advice would you give idiot Tibor age 23 that he would've probably have ignored?
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me this, you, you have a golden ticket and you can go back and whisper in the ear of the idiot Tibor age 23. What one choice, bit of advice would you give him that, you know, he would've probably have ignored?
Tibor Shanto: Take up the guitar.
Marcus Cauchi: Is, is that so you could get lucky?
Tibor Shanto: So I could've been in a band, I'm a frustrated musician, but from a sales point of view, I think what I [00:53:00] learned, and I think it came from Mahan Khalsa's book, you know, Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Tibor Shanto: Where
Marcus Cauchi: Love that book.
Tibor Shanto: Yeah. As, as long as the question is not personal. And it's on your mind. And it's on your mind because something in that moment threw that question out. So you can't ask 'em why they would wear that blue tie with that yellow jacket, but, and you know, you also can't ask certain things about their wives.
But anything else relating to business, you know, I think I would be more brave in asking what's on my mind if, if I can go back, you know, I would ask some of the questions that I was reluctant to ask cuz of lack of experience.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay.
What books would you recommend?
Marcus Cauchi: So what books would you recommend? You've already mentioned the 10-day MBA. What else would you recommend?
Tibor Shanto: Uh, the other one, where is this sort of reading, I'm [00:54:00] rereading it, but I love it, which is The Hard Truth About Soft Selling, which a lot of people today wouldn't like. Uh, sort of questions some of the things that I would agree are soft selling. You know, the, some of the statements in there that I like and have to be put in context so you know, is that, you know, he never got paid commission, you know, for relationships strictly for a deal.
Um, and the other, which I think is worth exploring in the next episode is that in some ways we've created a generation of professional visitors.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. That does concern me because I think there's a huge problem that a lot of salespeople, particularly the older generation, have a perspective or a view that their superpower is breathing other people's air and drinking their bad coffee. And you're turning up without any purpose, [00:55:00] that's not really gonna, uh, wash particularly nowadays. And if you are not relevant, if you're not timely and you're not delivering value at every single touch. You're gonna be forgotten very, very quickly and you're gonna get locked out.
How can people get a hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So how can people get a hold of you?
Tibor Shanto: Uh, you know, usually I'm at the local bar. No, just kidding. Um, the easiest, I think, as, as is becoming the norm now is LinkedIn, but if you can spell my name, T I B O R, surname, S H A N T O. And you put a.com. After it, you can find my website.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Tibor Shanto, thank you.
Tibor Shanto: Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure.
Marcus Cauchi: Likewise.
So this is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from the Inquisitor Podcast. If you found this useful and insightful, then please like, comment, share, and do subscribe to the podcast. Now many of you know that I'm heavily involved in the whole world of strategic alliances.
The good news is, that I and several others are [00:56:00] launching the Black Pearl Strategic Alliances Mastermind Group. If you believe that your success in the future will be determined by your ability to collaborate, then ping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore whether or not you'd be a suitable member.
It's gonna be fun. We're gonna be tackling the hardest, uh, questions around building strategic alliances, developing real life working tools that work in practice, and we're also gonna be helping you to take issues that you are dealing with and you're gonna get 12 of the greatest minds on the planet tackling your issues with you.
So if that's the kind of thing that you'd be interested in, ping me either an email or connect on LinkedIn and drop me a line with #blackpearl in the body copy. In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling.