What guidance would you give top executives and founders on the selection and training of their sales management layer?
Since many sales training programs do not cover prospecting, and since 83% of newly employed salespeople quit within three years owing to lack of output, companies should concentrate on employing salespeople with strong prospecting skills. Improper prospecting is frequently the main factor contributing to a salesperson's lack of production.
What characteristics characterize the ideal sales prospect?
In order to succeed in their position, the perfect sales candidate needs a combination of talent, a willingness to learn, and some training.
How can one make the other person during a conversation seem attentive, particularly in the context of sales prospecting?
The speaker must be succinct and have a compelling value proposition if they want the other person to be receptive. They should make an introduction, discuss the difficulties their clients are facing, and then politely request 15 to 20 minutes of the other person's time for a thorough discussion. The effectiveness of the conversation can be improved by using technology to micro-target ideal prospects.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello, and welcome back once again to the Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today I have as my guest, Wendy Weiss. She's the founder of Salesology, which is a prospecting method. She helps companies to increase the quality and quantity of qualified uh, sales appointments, which then in turn drives sales.
We're gonna be exploring some of the perennial problems that we both see. How do we teach sellers to prospect? What, why is it that what they're doing isn't working and you know, getting to the root cause so that you can solve those problems? Because prospecting is a very, very different set of skills to actually running a sale.
Unless you understand what prospects want, how they talk about it, then chances are you're just gonna show up and throw up and talk about your product, which is the equivalent of showing photos of your ugly children to strangers and wondering why they aren't, uh, exci as excited as you are, so [00:01:00] Wendy, welcome.
Wendy Weiss: Thank you for inviting me to be here.
60 to 90 seconds on your history
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay, well let, let's start with 60 to 90 seconds on your history. You know, what qualifies you to, uh, teach people how to prospect.
Wendy Weiss: Okay. Well thank you for that question. And I'll just begin by saying I was never, ever supposed to be a sales trainer. Um, I was actually supposed to be a ballerina.
I, uh, grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Yeah, of course. It was everyone. And, um, you know, I danced with, uh, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. I danced with the Cincinnati Ballet. , and as you probably know, ballet is one of the most difficult and exacting art forms.
Marcus Cauchi: Yes.
Wendy Weiss: And I got into my current career, uh, by accident because I needed a day job.
And I got a job with a telemarketing agency that did business development. Turned out I was good at it, which was a complete surprise, because ballet dancers don't talk. [00:02:00] We danced, we don't talk. So I did that day job for a while. And actually one of my first clients, I, I started my own business then when I, I had clients that I'd represent and I did business development for them.
It was, uh, actually one of my first clients dubbed me the queen of cold calling cuz I found so many opportunities for him. And from there I segued into the business that I have today. The business that I have today, my company, we work with sales teams. Often underperforming sales teams, and we turn that around by teaching them to prospect, to build a pipeline of opportunities, qualified opportunities faster, more easily, and more profitably.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this, this sense speaks to another really important and sad feature of the modern times. I saw a statistic last year that said only 13% of sales teams were hitting [00:03:00] their quota entirely, and this year the number I've been hearing is around 3%. Now, it's hard you'd be hard pushed to find one that is performing on that basis.
And I'm, um, uh, incredibly concerned that we are probably in the third generation of sales manager who doesn't know how to prospect and doesn't know how to teach their people to prospect.
What advice would you give them when it comes to hiring and developing your management layer so that your salespeople are fit for purpose?
Marcus Cauchi: So if you are advising senior executives, founders, owners, what advice would you give them when it comes to hiring and developing your management layer so that your salespeople are fit for purpose?
Wendy Weiss: Is the key question, isn't it?
This is what I see. So many companies hire new salespeople and then they teach them every last thing that they need to know about whatever it is they're selling. Which can take a really long time. They may even invest [00:04:00] in, uh, sales training. But lots of times sales training doesn't teach prospecting. It starts with the idea that you're in front of a, an opportunity, you're in front of the prospect.
How do you handle yourself? So this process of hiring someone, teaching them everything. And then maybe teaching them, uh, how to ask good questions. It takes a really long time, and I saw a study about a couple of weeks ago that said 83% of newly hired salespeople are gone in three years. They either quit or you've had to let them go cuz they're not producing.
Marcus Cauchi: I'm stunned. It's that low actually. I'm amazed that it's not more, cuz I more often than not, what you see is this revolving door. It keeps speaking back to problems upstream. And this is, this is one of the big frustrations that I have, that, um, most management and most leadership is fixated on trying to solve the symptom [00:05:00] instead of address the cause.
Wendy Weiss: I have clients, sometimes they'll say to me, they have somebody, uh, that, you know, they're just not closing. And then when I take a look at what this person is doing, they're not closing because they're not prospecting properly, . So they're not talking to the right people who are likely to buy.
Marcus Cauchi: That happens so often.
Why is it people don't ask? Well, why isn't it working?
Marcus Cauchi: So this then begs the question, why is it people don't ask? Well, why isn't it working? And instead of doing that, they double down on stupid and they just increase the volume and stuff, uh, and treat it like a numbers game.
Wendy Weiss: Yeah. Well, it is a numbers game, but it's not a numbers game the way people talk about it.
The idea is not more appointments. More appointments, more appointments. The idea is qualified appointments with talking to the right people. I'll give you a really concrete example. I had a conversation with a client recently who told me, They were an insurance agency [00:06:00] and he had a fairly new insurance salesperson who was getting a whole lot of appointments and, and my clients said to me, I, but he has a closing problem.
He's not closing. So I asked some questions. Well, it turned out that this young man moonlighted in a bar and he was making appointments to discuss insurance with everyone that came in the bar. These were not qualified appointments. People didn't show up. They did, they didn't really want insurance, but he was getting a lot of appointments cuz he served them in the drink and say, Hey, you wanna get together and talk about your insurance?
And they'd say, sure.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Wendy Weiss: So, okay. That was the prospecting problem, not a closing problem.
If you were designing the ideal prospect there, would the, what would their qualities, their values, their motivations look like?
Marcus Cauchi: That then raises, uh, another question about the qualities of the human being that makes a great prospect. If you were designing the ideal prospect there, would the, what would their qualities, their values, their motivations look like?
Wendy Weiss: Well, [00:07:00] the ideal prospector, first of all has to have some talent for this, but talent alone is not enough. Think of all the talented athletes that have never made it to the Olympics. They have to be willing to learn their craft. Bottom line, this is a craft, this is a skillset. There is the myth of the born salesperson that somehow, yes, there are these people out there.
They're just born knowing what to do and knowing what to say.
Marcus Cauchi: You, you pop out your mother's womb and say, interesting question ma'am. Why do you ask? That happened Never.
Wendy Weiss: Exactly. And um, you know because of my background as a dancer, I'm gonna quote Anna Pavlova. Anna Pavlova was one of the great Russian ballerinas of the late 19th and early 20th century.
She danced with the Imperial Russian Ballet. She danced with Ballet Diaghilev. She was the first ballerina to tour the world with her own [00:08:00] company.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Wendy Weiss: Anna Pavlova trained for eight years at the Imperial Russian Ballet School.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Wendy Weiss: Had she not done that, she would never have been able to do all the things that she did.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Wendy Weiss: And Anna Puff Lova very famously said, no one arrives from talent alone. Work transforms talent into genius. Anna Pavlova was born with a whole lot of talent to dance. Then she trained for eight years in her craft so that she could go on and have that career.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Wendy Weiss: You may have hired someone that's born with a whole lot of talent.
They need to learn their craft, and it will not take them eight years to do it. It takes eight years to train a ballet dancer. You can train someone to set qualified appointments, someone who has no experience in your industry at all. You can train them to set up qualified appointments for you, for someone on [00:09:00] your team that knows what they're doing.
You can do that in two, maybe three months. We do it all the time.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So again, one of the things that I see happening in many organizations, particularly within technology, is um, they don't really give them new hires enough of a ramp up period. And they just throw them in at the deep end, uh, and then they burn through them.
So you end up with this revolving door and the sales floor lited with the corpses of, um, salespeople who fail. In fact, what's really depressing is I think it was 22% of new hires leave within 42 days. That's one fifth over a fifth disappear within 42 days. Now that's a terrifying waste. When you consider the opportunity cost, cuz that now sets you back and you burn through money, time, management time, all that kind of stuff.
What does a great prospect to turn up with in terms of mindset and intent?
Marcus Cauchi: So [00:10:00] looking at the ideal prospect there, um, what kind of, uh, how do they turn up? Let's start with that. Let's turn up with mindset and intent. What does a great prospect to turn up with in terms of mindset and intent?
Wendy Weiss: That's such an interesting question and I never thought about it in exactly those terms. The mindset, you know, people say a lot of really just really stupid things about this topic.
They, uh, say that it is about just toughening up and learning to deal with rejection. They say it's about going through people saying no to you and hanging up on you to get to somebody that's saying yes. They say it's a numbers game. Usually what they mean is dial the phone a hundred times a day and if that doesn't work, you're not getting traction.
Dial the phone 200 times a day, and so on. And all of these things that people believe about prospecting are just not [00:11:00] true. I have an ongoing, uh, disagreement with a colleague of mine who says the skill in prospecting is knowing what to say so the prospect, uh, when the prospect says no. Which to me is crazy because I think the skill is in knowing what to say so that they say, yes, this is a skillset and if you approach it in that manner, there are certain things you need to have in place to train your people so that they can learn this skillset.
And a lot of the conversation about prospecting is everybody hates it but then there is like some people that love it. Which is kind of a dumb conversation. The idea is not that you love this, the idea is that you're neutral, that you want your salespeople to be neutral. It's not an ex emotional experience. It's a business process by which you acquire prospects, potential opportunities, period.
Marcus Cauchi: That's a really, really [00:12:00] interesting insight that prospecting shouldn't be an emotional experience. Uh, I really like that. So I shall be stealing it and you'll get credit at least once with my pleasure. So this is really interesting because one, one of the lessons I learned is that you people reflect back what you project out.
Yes. Um, and how you show up on that call I've found to be really very, very important. And I agree with you, but you know, you should be neutral. And the ones that sound like trigger immediately creates, uh, resistance because, you know, it's a sales call. So instantly the defense walls go up and you're trying to get the clown off the phone, and the next words outta their mouth prove why you should.
The opening moments of the call
Marcus Cauchi: So let, let's then talk about the opening moments of the call.
Wendy Weiss: Okay, let's do that. Um, don't say, how are you today? May I have a moment of your time? Is this a good time [00:13:00] for us to talk or anything like that? I'm a big believer, just getting to the point. Maybe it's because I live in New York City. I dunno. When you reach out to a prospect for the first time and they don't know who you are, there are two things that they wanna know.
And that is, who are you? What do you want?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Wendy Weiss: So have an introduction. Um, and for all you managers out there, what this means is you need to have scripts for your people. They need to have an elevator speech. They need to have a way to introduce themselves quickly. That's going to resonate with the type of prospect they're reaching out to, and that's not about what you or your product or your service does.
It's about how your clients are better off after you finish doing all the things that you do. And I'd like to comment [00:14:00] Marcus for for a moment on this idea of scripts, because every time I say the word scripts, salespeople and managers go, oh my God, I don't wanna have scripts. I don't want my people to use scripts.
That's terrible. So I'm gonna let you all in on a little secret. All of your salespeople are already using scripts. And this is what I mean, they probably have a way they introduce themselves right now. An elevator speech. Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: It's the pattern.
Wendy Weiss: It's the pattern. It may not be written down, but if they're saying the same thing over and over again, that's the script.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Wendy Weiss: They probably have questions. They hear, objections they hear, they have a standard answer. That's the script. So the question is not should we have scripts Cause you, your people have scripts. The right question is, do the scripts that they are using work?
Marcus Cauchi: And I would add to that, do they sound [00:15:00] natural? Because the, the real problem I have with scripts is you sound canned. If it doesn't sound a natural, then automatically it bu it doesn't fill me with comfort. And I think the first thing we as salespeople need to do is create the conditions where the other person doesn't see us as a reason for their amygdala to go off.
Wendy Weiss: Right. Well, part of the training and prospecting is having that script and learning how to use it.
You watch tv, you watch the news anchors. They are reading from a teleprompter all the time. They sound like they're talking. It is a completely learnable skill.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Wendy Weiss: And so the idea is not you have a script. Hello, Sir or Madam, may I have a moment of your time. That's not a script. The idea is it's a guideline.
The points you wanna make, how you're gonna get someone's attention. [00:16:00] And I would argue if, uh, prospects, if your, if your sales team is not getting enough qualified appointments. If prospects are saying, I'm not interested in hanging up the phone, your scripts don't work.
Marcus Cauchi: And it's probably you're neither timely, relevant or bringing value to them.
If you're interrupting my day, at least bring me some value. So this then raises the other question around research because there, there are two quite polarized schools of thought in the prospecting world. One is that you do your research so that when you go in you're relevant, then you are playing a game as a sniper.
Uh, the other is you do no research. Just barrel through 10,000 names and dial for dollars, and at the end of it, hopefully some of the mud will stick.
Wendy Weiss: Well, I'm kind of in the middle of those two things because I define prospecting as a appointment setting. Let me give you my definition of the word appointment.
The prospect [00:17:00] agrees to have an in-depth conversation. That's it. Maybe you're gonna get in your car and go see them. Maybe you're gonna do it all over the phone or on a zoom call, but the prospect agrees to have the conversation. Prospecting is like dating.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Wendy Weiss: You wanna go on a date with someone, you've gotta ask them.
Then you go on the date. Prospecting is like asking for the date. So the preparation to do that is, and managers you need to have these things in place for your people, a very clear microtargeted definition of who they're looking for. What makes an ideal prospect for you in your market with your offering?
And you want it to be very narrowly focused because when you do that, it's easier to find them. It's easier to create the messaging that's gonna resonate, which makes it much more likely to get a qualified appointment. And because it's a qualified [00:18:00] appointment, it makes it so much easier to then close the opportunity.
So that's the first thing. Um,
Marcus Cauchi: Halleluah.
Wendy Weiss: When you're trying to set an appointment, you're not actually on the phone to have a conversation. I'm gonna say something really controversial here, Marcus. Consultative selling does not work for prospecting. It's two completely different skill sets. Prospecting is asking for the date.
Consultative selling? It's kind of going on the date, asking the questions, getting to know the person, building the rapport, all the things you need to do. That's not prospecting. Prospecting is, what are you doing Saturday night? Would you like to have dinner? It is not, what are you doing Saturday night?
Would you like to have dinner? And by the way, how many children do you wanna have? And I'd like you to meet my family, when can I meet yours? And do you [00:19:00] believe in long engagements? And what's your favorite color? That's not prospecting. Save that for the date.
How do you create the conditions so that the other person feels receptive and doesn't feel like you're stealing their time?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, that makes sense. And so when you open the conversation, how do you create the conditions so that the other person feels receptive and doesn't feel like you're stealing their time?
Wendy Weiss: Well, first of all, you do need to be brief, and if you think about prospecting like dating, The goal, your goal is to set the appointment, which means the prospect agrees to have an in-depth conversation with you.
It is not that the prospect agrees to dump their vendor and hire you or that they're gonna pull out their credit card at the end of the conversation. It's really, it's very narrow. It's essentially you introduce yourself, you need a very strong value proposition. And we could talk about that. [00:20:00] You introduce yourself by, uh, talking about some of the, uh, challenges that your clients have that you help them with.
And you essentially say, I'd like to introduce myself and the product, the company, the service. And I need 15, 20 minutes of your time. Whenever's, good for you. That's essentially what you're doing. You're trying to introduce yourself once they say yes. Then you can have that conversation.
Marcus Cauchi: This, this is really very interesting. Um, you, you talk about micro-targeted ICPs, and certainly I, I agree, uh, wholeheartedly. You know, now there is technology out there, tech like, um, white rabbits for example, that allows you to identify before you dial who is who, who has a similar psychographic shape to your ideal prospect so that you can then start to identify those people within your prospect list.
And then you can micro [00:21:00] segment and clearly define on the basis of their particular interests and drivers. And when you do that, you suddenly increase the effectiveness of those calls by and literally factors of hundreds, because now what you're doing is you're entering into their world into a conversation that feels relevant and timely to them instead of just showing up and peddling product.
How do you go about doing that in such a way that puts the customer at the heart instead of you?
Marcus Cauchi: So in, in terms of developing that proposition, that value proposition to create a really strong 32nd commercial or, uh, elevator, how do you go about doing that in such a way that puts the customer at the heart instead of you?
Wendy Weiss: Great question. There's a few ways that we do this. Um, one of the things we do in, in our program is we actually have participants in the program make a list of everything they do. Because salespeople like to talk about what they do. So we have them make a list, that's one [00:22:00] column, make the list, next column.
How are your clients better off after you do that thing? Yeah, that's the hard part. And we make them sit down and do that. We also, um, will often have them interview existing clients because, Salespeople they wanna talk about all the, all the great things they do, and they wanna talk in their industry jargon.
The problem is nobody cares what you do, and your prospects don't speak your industry jargon. So, yeah, that's a problem. So we have them interview clients about kind of before and after scenarios. What made you come to us? How did you f how did you feel about that? What was going on? How did you feel about what was going on?
You came to us, why? How do you feel about it now? Because I'm, I'm looking for that language that it's emotional language that connects with that other human being that says, yeah, that's, [00:23:00] that's me. And I'll give you, I'll give you an example. Back before Covid, we were doing, it's coming back now, we were doing a lot of work in commercial real estate. And, um, I have somebody that does business development for me, and typically in this industry, they'll hire new people, but they're, the managers are so busy, they're running their own deals and, and they don't really, most of them don't really love training the new hires. So our script went like this. We specialize in working with plug in the correct title, executive managing directors in the commercial real estate industry that are sick of micromanaging junior brokers that aren't producing.
When we got the right person on the phone, and Tim would say that they would laugh and then they'd book an appointment with me. That was it. That's all we said. Because that's what they didn't want. They hated it. [00:24:00] A lot of them. Some of them, you know, the ones that loved it, that wasn't a good target for us, but most of them didn't.
They didn't wanna manage.
Marcus Cauchi: Really interesting. Well, again, this then speaks to a really disastrous aspect of the way things have gone, um, which is that there doesn't really seem to be a management apprenticeship anymore. Literally. Now what happens is you get tapped on the shoulder and told Wendy, we've just fired idiot boss, you are now the idiot boss.
Congratulations. And off you go. That's your runway. And so you do what was done to you, or you do what you think is best. Without really understanding the underlying causes of your problems. You're now also probably carrying the bag with your own target as well as now having all this responsibility for people who 24 hours before we are equals.
Now you're having to manage them. So my, my question here is this around, it's really around leadership. Why [00:25:00] is it that leadership seems to have forgotten just how damn difficult it is to be really productive consistently as a prospector, particularly now where, you know, we're talking 33 to 46 dial attempts just to get through to a decision maker.
Yeah, it's hard, and the expectations are ludicrously are un achievable in most cases.
What would you say to leaders?
Marcus Cauchi: So what would you say to leaders?
Wendy Weiss: I think it goes back to what we were discussing earlier, which is this idea of the boring salesperson. If leadership thinks that all they have to do is hire someone and they're going to figure it out, they're probably not gonna figure it out.
They may be very talented, but they're not gonna figure it out on their own. But if that's you're starting place, the mythology around sales, it's like, oh, born with the gift of gab. He's a people person. So what? They, [00:26:00] you need people, your salespeople need to learn their craft, period. And so that means leaders need to take responsibility.
There are things that need to be put in place for when you hire someone that's brand new, you need that clear "lemme take a step back". I mentioned before my first career. I was a dancer. I believe everything I know in life and business I learned at ballet class. This is what I learned in ballet class. I call it the salesology prospecting model.
If you're a dancer, you don't run out on stage and start dancing. You warm up so you don't have a career ending injury. So what that means is if you're a sales leader, you need to have some things in place so your people can warm up so they don't hurt themselves and they don't hurt you in your bottom line.
That means a clear definition of the target. We already talked about that. The clear definition of the process. [00:27:00] When you say to somebody, go prospect, there are a lot of questions they have to answer. Who? How? Am I gonna call? Am I gonna email? Am I gonna text? Am I gonna use social media? What am I gonna do if I'm making phone calls?
Do I leave a voicemail? Do I, uh, how many do I send emails? How many, what's the frequency? Define it. And then you can benchmark it, you can measure it, you know what works. And then as we've been discussing, you need scripts. Those are the three things you need to have in place to make salespeople, uh, successful so that they can warm-up
and they don't hurt themselves, and they don't hurt you in your bottom line. The next step in the model is, you know, if you're a dancer and you have a concert coming up, again, you don't just run out on stage and start dancing. You've been rehearsing for months. Anna Pavlova trained for eight years at the Imperial Russian Ballet School before she joined the Imperial Russian Ballet.
[00:28:00] She learned her craft. That's what successful people do, and so what that means is your salespeople need to practice. It's not an intuitive skillset. Think how many talented athletes have never made it to the Olympics or played pro sports. They go to practice every day. They work with their coaches.
That's what your salespeople need to do. Ballet dancers, we take class every single day. That's what your salespeople need to do, and it won't take them eight years. Then the third step in the model, we have warmup, rehearse, then you perform. The problem is most people just jump to the performance.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Wendy Weiss: Which is why it doesn't work so well. And let me say one more thing about this performance and call reluctancy elephant in the room. This is a lot like stage fright, and I have been there. You're waiting in the wings, you're waiting for your cue, your music, your heart is pounding, your [00:29:00] palms are really sweaty, but then you hear your music and you get out on stage and you dance well.
What enables you to do that? Well, it warmed up so you're prepared. And you've rehearsed, so you have automatic muscle memory. You don't have to think about it. You can just execute. That's what enables you to get out on stage and dance. And what I have seen in all of the years that I have been doing this is that when people, new salespeople are in a very simple system and they know what they're gonna do every step along the path, and they have answers to their questions, they're no more, there's no no unclear parts, they know what they're doing, then they can execute.
And that call reluctance from most people, it disappears.
Marcus Cauchi: So I'd like to just dig a little bit into where the responsibility lies for sellers to develop. Because I'm conscious that whilst logical for a company to invest, [00:30:00] sometimes they don't have the money. Often they don't have the inclination. One of my favorite.
Act of stupidity was to refrain, "we hire veterans, they don't need training". Which essentially was just, um, uh, writing your, what's assigning your death one in invisible ink. And it's flabbergastly me how entitled many salespeople feel that their employer should do all the, uh, the training. And I, I think we should be shifting the conversation towards learning and putting the responsibility back on the learner.
Because ultimately they're the, the final and full beneficiary. And when the company makes that investment, that's fantastic. But if you want to get on, I put money on it. Anyone who made it into the Imperial Russian ballet damn well wanted it. And they fought tooth the nail for it.
Wendy Weiss: Yes.
Marcus Cauchi: And they weren't waiting for a leg up and there was no entitlement.
They got the, you know, they got the broken toes, they got the blisters. [00:31:00] The skin off their feet then yeah, every body, every muscle in their body ached for year after year. That's how they got there. It wasn't cuz someone gave 'em a handout.
Wendy Weiss: No. The dance world is cutthroat competitive and, and it's true. If you dance, you have to really want to dance and.
If you want to be successful in sales, you have to really want to be successful in sales because it's, as we've said, it's not intuitive. Uh, it's not just going to happen on its own. And yes, management has responsibility to put things in place for their salespeople, but at the end of the day, if you are the salesperson and you are hungry and you wanna be successful, you have to take action.
It is about taking, it is about taking action. And if you don't wanna do that, then go find something else to do because there are, there are jobs out there where nine to five people pay you a [00:32:00] salary. You show up and do what you do and go home at the end of the day. But that's not really what we're talking about today.
You have to have that drive, that passion.
How do they differ from the run of the mill? The average?
Marcus Cauchi: If we look at the mental resilience, the, the mindsets of great prospecters, how do they differ from the run of the mill? The average?
Wendy Weiss: I think the big thing is not accept that there is a good reason for someone to say no to you. If you are speaking with a qualified prospect, if they say something that disqualifies them by whatever your criteria are, then they're not a qualified prospect.
But other than that, if you think, if your salespeople think there are good reasons for prospects to say no, that's not a mindset of a [00:33:00] successful prospecter. I'll give you a personal example. When I got that day job all those years ago, and the day job, it was with a telemarketing agency. They did business to business, business development, and they gave me a script.
They, I was really lucky. They trained me. And when I got a prospect on the phone, if they said they wouldn't book an appointment with the client, I thought, they must not have missed, they must not have understood, because clearly if they understood, they booked the appointment and I was about 20 at the time.
I didn't know anything about business, I was a dancer. So I would just start over. But that's, that's how I thought about it. It's just there's, there's no good reason to say no because remember, when you're prospecting, you're not saying dump your vendor, hire us. You're saying, we'd like to introduce ourselves.
We'd like to have a conversation with you about whatever the topic is. So why? Why? If you've targeted well and you've done your [00:34:00] homework and you're talking to the right person and you have something of value to offer, why would they say no? And when I see a lot in, you know, when working with my clients, many of them newer salespeople, or you know, the prospect says, well, I'm busy.
And they go, oh, okay, click. I'm working with someone. Oh, okay. Click.
Marcus Cauchi: It's really interesting cuz I, I think a lot of salespeople suffering from an internal monologue. First of all, catastrophizes, the expectation going into a call is that they're gonna be given a hard time. They're gonna struggle to get the person they need.
If they do get to them, they won't want to take that call. And you are already setting yourself up massively for failure, uh, just through that in a, um, you know that in a script.
What do you teach people when it comes to managing their own internal voice?
Marcus Cauchi: And, um, so what do you teach people when it comes to managing their own internal voice?
Wendy Weiss: There [00:35:00] are actually two things that I wanna talk about here.
Um, the first is, there are the facts, and then there are the stories you tell yourself about the facts. So the facts are you're gonna dial the phone, you're gonna reach someone, or you're not gonna reach them. If you reach them, you're gonna say something. They're gonna say something. That's kind of it.
Those are the facts. The story is everything else. So, When I'm working with a client and they will often tell me these very elaborate stories about what this complete stranger that they talked to for two minutes, what this complete stranger was thinking, I will keep pushing back and saying, what did they actually say to you?
And you know, oh well they said they really, you know, they don't have any need and well, what did they actually say? You know, well, they're just too busy right now cause it's the holidays. Well, what did they actually say to you? And it, it turns out they said [00:36:00] something like, well, I can't talk now, but if you call me after, uh, January 1st, we can talk.
Marcus Cauchi: Right?
Wendy Weiss: So, so they've got these elaborate stories, so I always want people like what are the facts? Let's, let's start this based on fact. What did they say? And the other thing is that whatever it is they say, this is data. We talked earlier about prospecting is not an emotional experience. I mean, think about how many of your emails get deleted.
You had sent, they delete your email, so you're gonna have a nervous breakdown, of course you're not. So same thing here, not an emotional experience. This is data. So if everybody that you talk to has a negative reaction, they are reacting to what you are saying. What a lot of people do is they go, oh, this doesn't work.
This doesn't work for us. This doesn't work in our industry. No. You say, okay, this script isn't [00:37:00] working. Let's revise it. It's data. It enables you to come up with the approach, the introduction that's gonna resonate. So they say, oh, okay, yeah, I wanna talk to you.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, a couple of observations. I I, I've come across so many organizations that haven't altered their ideal customer profile in 5, even 10 or many, uh, more years, and they haven't paid any attention to how their market has shifted subtly or quite significantly.
Uh, and as a result, they're wasting a huge amount of time. The other thing that I see, which seems incredibly wasteful, and they're misplaced is that the people, the most senior people are not the ones building the list. And I think that's again, another really important aspect in terms of the quality of the data that you are giving to your salespeople, uh, to use because, uh, o otherwise, in the average amount of time that an sales development rep and SDR is [00:38:00] spending speaking to customers is three minutes outta the 480 you pay them for everyday. That's the average. And often it's not only that you got a terrible script and a bad approach, but your data is awful.
What advice would you give and direction would you give to management and leadership around the building and maintenance of that list?
Marcus Cauchi: So what advice would you give and direction would you give to management and leadership around the building and maintenance of that list?
Wendy Weiss: The list is foundational, and when we, when we work with a client, that's, that's where we start is the definition, that very clear micro-targeted definition of an ideal prospect.
And telemarketing 101, it's about the list. So that information needs to be solid for the SDRs. Now here, here's the other thing. When I started my business 25 years ago and I had clients that I'd represent and I did business development for them, they would give me a book. They'd say, here you go. [00:39:00] And you know, that would have company names and the switchboard number and like no names.
So the person, I'd have to figure out who it is and get to the person I wanted to talk to. It's not like that now. The data is available. There are tools available to get accurate information. You should take advantage of it. And there are other tools, like a, a completely amazes me how in 2021, almost 2022 there are still so many companies, they're not using any kind of software to manage their prospecting. You cannot do this on an Excel spreadsheet. Doesn't matter how smart you are, you just can't do it. And you need a dialer. And these are tools 25 years ago, we're dialing, you know, dialing by hand
Marcus Cauchi: Manually. You can only do 15 dials an hour that way.
Wendy Weiss: Yeah. Yeah, and the dialer, uh, I mean we [00:40:00] use, uh, software that doubled the call volume, and then when we added a dialer, it went up another 50%. So call volume is, is really high and it enables you to drop voicemails because we can get some of these people do return phone calls and respond to emails.
What makes a good, interesting and compelling, uh, voicemail that makes someone want to call back. How do you craft one of them?
Marcus Cauchi: It's interesting, and I was watching a debate, um, in one of the forums that I'm in, and there there was a very strong consensus from, uh, some very successful telemarketers that leaving voicemail was, uh, uh, not a great strategy. Now I've had success with it, but I, I'm really curious about what makes a good, interesting and compelling, uh, voicemail that makes someone want to call back. How do you craft one of them?
Wendy Weiss: Well, the same way you craft your script. What's the problem that they have that you can help them with and how do they talk about it? And you [00:41:00] can also include, I am a big believer in storytelling. So you can give an example. It has to be short because you don't have a lot of time on a, on a voicemail.
But if your client has a problem, If there's a problem that you solve for clients, and you could give an example, we worked with this client, they had this problem here was we fixed it. That can be very powerful. And we do a voicemail campaign, which is a series of messages that you leave it over time and it's voicemail and its email.
Um, people will often say to me, well, Wendy, you know, people don't answer their phone, so is an email. There is actual research that was done at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business that they tested, spoken communication against written communication. So spoken communication is when you're face-to-face, you're in the same room with [00:42:00] someone.
It could be on a zoom call, it could be on a phone call, it could be a voicemail. They tested that against written communication, a text, an email, a social media post, a letter. And what they found is two things. If people hear you talk, even if it's only on a voicemail, one, they think you're smarter, and two, they're more likely to take action on whatever it is you're talking about.
So what we do, what I recommend is we leave the voicemail and then we also send an email. And what we've seen, we've seen it internally, I've seen it with my clients. Most prospects that respond do respond to the email. But as soon as we stop leaving the voicemail, the response rate goes down. So we do both.
Marcus Cauchi: By roughly how much? Just outta curiosity.
Wendy Weiss: At least 50%.
Marcus Cauchi: Wow. The whole idea of only having one channel to surround a prospect. [00:43:00] And, um, a lot of the work that I do is around strategic alliances or, um, you know, big ticket enterprise. And we know that in most of these organizations there's between 8 and 12 decision makers.
And we're seeing in enterprise, it's around 10.9 at the moment per decision. So per se, per buying cycle. So what I'm really curious about is why so few organizations. Systematically prospect to surround the account and use the s d r function in that way so that they can go deep and wide within the organ, uh, an organization and instead they just go after one or two job titles and spread themselves terribly thin without ever creating true relationship, uh, with the, uh, the stakeholders within that business.
Wendy Weiss: Yeah. You know what's really interesting about this voicemail campaign idea? Uh, that I was just describing is [00:44:00] lots of times when you've left, done this voicemail campaign and we usually, we usually start with four voicemails for emails, cuz the research shows it's typically gonna take eight to 12 touches to get a response.
So we start with eight and we track it. We might need to add more, but what happens over time, even if someone is non-responsive. When they do respond or when you do get them on the phone, they know who you are. They know, uh, it, it's like you've kind of started to develop this relationship just by leaving them the voicemails and sending the emails.
So that, that's the first thing. And then the other thing is that when we're, uh, when there are multiple stakeholders, we'll generally say, okay, start at the top, go through the cycle with whoever's the top and then just keep working your way down. Cuz what's gonna happen is we recycle. You [00:45:00] do the four voicemails and four emails.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Wendy Weiss: And depending on how many leads you have, if they're non-responsive, you just recycle them three months, six months, a year out and start over. So if we're going down, that's, let's say you've gone through the list and nobody responds, you start back at the top. So it's, it's a way of continually reaching out to that account until you are able to penetrate it a little bit.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, thi this is really interesting because with the white rabbit technology, we're now able to provide a prioritized lead list on the basis of whom amongst that cast of characters is likely to be positively responsive to a, a sales call from one of your reps. And so you can then choreograph the sequence with which you target people from the basis of their probability to be receptive.
Now, the beauty of that is you don't then end up getting blocked by contacting [00:46:00] someone who's, um, very likely to be unreceptive or even overtly hostile. You get, you surround them with, you know, five or six people who are gonna be positively responsive and then you, uh, target the job title that really matters.
Thoughts in terms of prospecting for the medium to long-term pipeline and playing that long game
Marcus Cauchi: And I think because so many organizations are operating on this quarterly reporting cycle and, you know, what can we do to get it in this month, this quarter? They don't really play a long game when it comes to prospecting. So in, in wrapping up, what I'd love to do is, uh, get your thoughts in terms of prospecting for the medium to long-term pipeline and playing that long game.
Wendy Weiss: Yeah, well, you certainly have to take a look at how long your sales cycle is. If your sales cycle is years, you can't expect that somebody that is prospecting today is going to close one of those deals before the end of the first quarter. It's just not gonna happen if you have a three year [00:47:00] sales cycle.
So you, you do have to take the long pew and, and push that out because all that, all that does is put a lot of pressure on the sales rep who can't. You're setting up an impossible situation for them. They're not closing a deal. Say, set an appointment today for January 5th. They're not closing that deal by the end of the month.
If you, or by the end of the first quarter, if you have a three year sales cycle. It's not happening.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. So I'm very curious, uh, about one other thing actually. A lot of the technology come, well, in fact, o over 70% of all products sold on the planet today go through channels. They go through licensees, franchisees, resellers systems integrators, managed service providers, distribution retailers, all that kind of stuff. But almost no vendors really treat, uh, well. A very small proportion of, um, vendors really treat their channel as if they are their [00:48:00] best customer. And I'm very curious to see if you're seeing any trends.
Out in the market where vendors are starting to work with their partners, helping them build their pipeline, investing in building the partners brand and helping them sell their entire portfolio and building their pipeline so that they're successful. I'm curious if you're seeing any of that happening out in the market.
Wendy Weiss: Not, not, I mean, it it, it's surprising that type. Channel partnership. You could almost describe it as the low hanging fruit. It's, it's there. So rather than being that warrior going out on your own, uh, to. Have a partnership that's really a partnership to work together for mutual benefit seems it would be so much easier.
And yet I'm not seeing that a lot.
Marcus Cauchi: I'm with you a hundred percent. I mean, if you sell hot all the time, instead of sell cold, you have a six, uh, 14 to 18 times [00:49:00] higher close rate. Your sales cycles are at least half as long. Average initial order is two and a half to three and a half times. The referral rate is at least four times higher. And yet everybody seems to be fixated on prospecting the cold market instead of prospecting the hot market.
,What advice would you give to maybe, uh, see, see the rip the scales from their eyes?
Marcus Cauchi: So in, in finishing, what I'd really love your thoughts is some, uh, final words of wisdom for people to maybe rethink the way they go to market, the way they approach prospecting. What, what advice would you give to maybe, uh, see, see the rip the scales from their eyes?
Wendy Weiss: Well, the first question that you should be asking yourself is, and, and we've been talking about this, the whole interview, but you know, what are these challenges that your prospects have that you can help them with?
And then how do they talk about it? That's your foundational, that's your core message.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep. [00:50:00]
Wendy Weiss: And then you take a look around and you say, well, okay who, who is serving that same market? Either reseller, you're a distributor, your franchise, or simply who can we partner with because they have clients. Slightly different problem, but related.
And so we could partner to serve that market as well.
Marcus Cauchi: Uhhuh.
Wendy Weiss: And, and so those are two distinct but important steps. Said, I'd recommend all of our listeners our watchers take today. It's like, what's the problem? How do they talk about it? And then who else is serving this market that I can partner with to make my life easier?
What one choice, bit of advice would you whisper in the ear of idiot, Wendy, aged 23?
Marcus Cauchi: Interesting. Okay, so you have a golden ticket and you can go back and whisper In the ear of the idiot, Wendy, aged 23. When you thought your immortal, invincible and you knew [00:51:00] everything. What one choice, bit of advice would you whisper in her ear?
Wendy Weiss: I would whisper that you don't know what you don't know. And when I started my business and I was actually older than 23 when I started my business, but nonetheless, I've been dancing. and I thought dancing was the hardest thing I will ever do in my life. Everything else has to be easier, which which has been true. And I knew I was smart and I did like to read and I thought, you know, I could figure this out.
And I started my own business and along the way I made a lot of mistakes and they were completely preventable. Mistakes, things, you know. Because you don't know what you don't know until, until it slaps you in the face. Hey, Wendy.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Wendy Weiss: You didn't know this. You should have known about this. So the advice that I would give to my 23 year old self [00:52:00] and to anyone that's thinking about starting a business is do get some expert advice.
Get expert help.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. My favorite question whenever I have a problem is who has fixed this already? Right. Um, and then go straight to the source.
Wendy Weiss: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: And there there is no point beating your head against the wall trying to reinvent the wheel when you can shortcut it and use your intellect on something more important.
Wendy Weiss: Yeah. And I didn't even know the questions to ask myself. because I was the ballet dancer. I didn't know anything about business. I just, you know, said, oh, I'm gonna do this.
What was your best mistake in business?
Marcus Cauchi: What was your best mistake in business?
Wendy Weiss: I think I just told you my, my best mistake. Well, that maybe that was my worst mistake in business.
What was the best one that you learned the most from?
Marcus Cauchi: What was the best one that you learned the most from?
Wendy Weiss: What I learned the most from, I'll go back to my dance career. I feel that so much in my, in my business, my life, I learned in ballet class, and what I [00:53:00] learned was to keep moving forward. And you know, I'm not saying that my business that there haven't been setbacks or disappointments or anything like that in ballet.
You have a terrible class or a terrible performance and you beat yourself up and then you go take classes the next day cuz you have a performance that night. So I think the most important thing that I. Done fairly consistently and fairly successfully throughout is when something happens that, gee, that's not what I wanted
That was not the outcome I was looking for. I'm really sorry that happened. It might take me a little bit of time, but I regroup and I, and I move forward cuz that's what you have to do.
How can people get ahold you?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Wendy, this has been absolute joy. Thank you. How can people get ahold you?
Wendy Weiss: Well, I invite everyone. We have a gift for all of audience today, uh, which is actually two guides.
The first guide is the Cold [00:54:00] Calling Survival Guide, and the subtitle is Start Setting Appointments in the next 24 Hours. And that is for if you, it's for you if you're a salesperson and you're making prospecting calls. It's also for you if you are, um, a manager and you wanna know what to have in place for your people that are making prospecting calls.
And then the second guide is called The Business Owner's Guide to Schedule a More Qualified Appointments. When our prospects are all completely freaking out, and that was written for the time. So we live in it's 12 actionable steps that you can take to drive sales today. And um, I believe you're gonna post that with this recording?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah, it'll be in the, it'll be in the show notes. Okay, wonderful.
Wendy Weiss: And,
Marcus Cauchi: uh, contact you website, email.
Wendy Weiss: Cold calling results.com is the website and you can email info or wendy at cold calling results.com. [00:55:00] You can also call me if you're in the US or Canada. I am a phone person. (866) 220-4242. Actually, you could call.
From any place with that phone number actually
Marcus Cauchi: with a plus
Wendy Weiss: one with a plus one. Yes. (866) 220-4242. I do return phone calls,
Marcus Cauchi: Wendy Weiss. Thank you. Thank you. So this is Marcus Kki signing off once again from the Quista podcast. If you found this useful, then please go back, listen again, take notes, tag someone who would benefit from listening to it.
And if you feel the urge, uh, then please comment. Get in touch with Wendy or myself about the whole concept of, uh, prospecting and you know, what you need to do in your world. And if you'd like to get a hold of me, Marcus@ laughs-last.com. Direct, message me on LinkedIn Connect, and if you feel the urge, go to Apple Podcast.
Scroll below the fold and leave an honest review. You can be rude [00:56:00] about me, I won't be offended. Uh, in the meantime, stay safe and happy selling. Bye-bye.