By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
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This week’s episode is entitled “Selling with Empathy and Integrity (Right Now and Always)” and we are pleased to have as our guest, Mike Schultz, President of RAIN Group
and author of multiple best-selling books. His new book coming July 2020, Virtual Selling, is available for preorder, along with other books, Rainmaking Conversations, Insight Selling. Folks, do yourself a favor, go to the website for tons of resources, research, webinars, blog posts. These guys do a great job when it comes to content.
I ask Mike “What are you seeing from organizations that have been traditionally in person sellers?”
Quite frankly, the value prop you bring isn’t necessarily different just because you’re not in person. Because you can’t see someone at a trade show doesn’t mean you can’t still talk to them.
Mike shares five things that are really different now when it comes to virtual selling.
- Managing yourself
- Managing meetings
- How you set up and build relationships
- How you get people to make decisions and how you get them to choose you
- How you actually manage a team that is completely distributed
Of course in light of current times, we also talk about whether or not this pandemic will really permanently change anything.
Listen in now and/or read the transcript below:
Paul: Hey, welcome back. It’s time once again, to grab your board and swim out into the sea of ideas and see if we can’t catch that Sales Pipeline, as it starts to curl up over the horizon with the man with the curly hair today. Here, it’s a Matt Heinz.
Matt Heinz: Curly hair. Are you judging my beard here?
Paul: I am. There’s some curls in there. Looking a little exotic, looking a little been locked in the house too much here, look to it.
Matt Heinz: Well, you figure why not? It’s just one less thing to have to worry about. Usually I will put on a reasonable shirt for zoom meetings. Today I said, “Screw it, I’m wearing, as you can see, I’ve got my Wrigley Field tee shirt on. Can’t watch baseball but I can wear it for now. I don’t know, that’s crazy. And our guest today is similarly follicly challenged. Although I use that term as in a joking way but I tell you what, man, this haircut is the best. It’s so easy. It just takes a couple of minutes a day. I haven’t bought shampoo in years. You just do soap up there, man. You know what I mean? You don’t need shampoo.
Paul: Well, and I’m wondering if we should not go this way because we’re trying to get ourselves as clean as possible. No place that germs can gather, dust can gather, germs can gather and grow. And maybe this is the new look that we should all adopt here.
Matt Heinz: I don’t know. All I know is, I am grateful to have a job to have this radio show to Paul, have you in my life and to continue to bring joy and smiles to my face and the over a hundred thousand people that are listening to this show on a regular basis.
Paul: I’m happy that we could bring your guest back. Because the last time, you had a homeschool emergency. The bell went off. The school was in lockdown and the principal was required elsewhere. So, we had to cancel the interview and suddenly you had to go be the disciplinarian.
Matt Heinz: Well, we could spend a whole nother 25 minutes show just on how bad Heinz homeschool was going. The joke that I’ve used that is not that far from the truth is that we got three kids in Heinz Home School. Two of them have asked to be transferred to another class. And then one of the teachers has been fired for drinking on the job. And it’s not that far from the truth, unfortunately, but let’s get started. Thank you everyone for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio, very excited to have you here. Our numbers of people, Paul, that are listening live right now as I talk on the Funnel Media Radio Network continue to grow. And it’s pretty exciting to see that.
Also very excited to have those of you joining us on the podcast. For those of you that are listening on demand, thank you so much for joining us. And every episode, if you like what you hear today with our guest is, every episode, we’ve got over 200 now available on demand at SalesPipelineradio.com. Every week we’re featuring some of the best and brightest minds in B2B Sales and Marketing. Today is no different, appreciate Mike Schultz for joining us today, for joining us a second time. We’re not going to have a homeschool emergency today, the door is locked. They’re just going to deal with themselves for today. President of the rain group. Mike, thanks for joining us today.
Mike Schultz: Thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate it, Matt.
Matt Heinz: So, how was your work from home homeschool quarantine going over there?
Mike Schultz: So, my work from home and the homeschool quarantine is actually going just fine. We have offices around the world and we literally gave up our office because we were expanding our staff all around North America. We went virtual about six months ago. And so, after 17 years of having a variety of offices in North America, we actually set up to work from home just before all of this happened. So, I have a fire going outside. I played golf this morning. I already have a fire going. And I came inside to have the most fun I’m going to have today with Matt Heinz and his raggedy curly look. Folks, if you don’t know it, whenever Matt doesn’t have to see his parole officer, he just lets himself go. So, it’s only for a short period of time, once the Federal prisons open up, Matt’s going to be much more buttoned up than he is today.
Matt Heinz: Me and Paul Manafort currently confined to our homes and oversharing on Sales Pipeline Radio today. So Mike, let’s try to get back on rail here and then just talk a little bit about what you guys do and how that has changed over the course of the last couple months. I think, you guys have been and if you’re not following RAIN group and you’ll do anything related to B2B sales, you absolutely have to follow these guys. Great sales training, leadership development, their content is phenomenal. Just check out their blog and their content alone is fantastic. We’ve had them as guest posts on our blog numerous times. What have you seen the last couple of months that have shifted? It feels like, the selling continues, but the venue and format in which we are improving ZIL performance has changed. What are you seeing?
Mike Schultz: Yeah, for sure. You know this one. Two sales people walk into a bar. No they didn’t because that’s illegal. You can’t walk into a bar right now. So, you can’t even do your two sales people walk into a bar joke anymore. It’s a pretty wild difference, especially for the folks who are used to pressing the flesh, being on planes, driving to meetings, having meetings, having people come to their office, doing strategic account sessions, being onsite. Of course, we have all been using some virtual technology to one extent or another, if we’re in complex sales and we’re in B2B complex sales because that’s how it goes. But there has been a bit of a forced choice over the past six, seven weeks, where people have no option and to some extent and to varying degrees, people are really struggling with it.
So, it hasn’t really changed that much for us. I mean, we’re a training company and you might think, well, we’re travel dependent and event dependent. And we are to an extent because a lot of people in live training can be very powerful but we’ve been doing virtual training for years. So for us, it doesn’t make that much of a difference from a delivery practice because we had everything ready to go and we just transitioned our clients. But probably the biggest thing is trying to figure out this virtual selling thing. And it’s really a challenge for some folks, from both the technical perspective and the setup perspective but also a rhythm and an interaction.
And just, how am I supposed to do my job differently and be differently right now? And people are at a loss. And so, a lot of our conversations, a lot of our client work has. Whether it’s shifted in the core content that we’re delivering, not necessarily. Although we’re doing quite a lot of just, how to do virtual selling now. That’s been the bit of a flood, fortunately, we have that all ready to go. So, we’ve been doing that quite a bit but every conversation is about, “Okay, how do I do this virtual?” That’s really probably the biggest shift.
Matt Heinz: Well, you mentioned a couple things that I think are important to talk about relative to how people continue to sell remotely. Because quite frankly, the value prop you bring isn’t necessarily different just because you’re not in person. Because you can’t see someone at a trade show doesn’t mean you can’t still talk to them. We have video conferencing available. Even most of the time we’re doing these recordings on Skype. I don’t necessarily get to see the person I’m speaking to. In this case, you do. So I’m looking at you, I’m seeing the lake behind you.
A couple people told me, you build credibility by walking in and seeing what’s on the walls and asking people, what are the things they care about. So, I could ask about the fire you mentioned, the boat behind you, all of these things but you mentioned talking about rhythm. I’m thinking about discipline and accountability. What are the things people need to be aware of, that might be a slippery slope that could impact their productivity in this new environment?
Mike Schultz: Well, you hit on two of the five things that are really different when it comes to virtual selling. So, if you want to know at least the things that we’ve seen that are… Let’s call it a five out of five different is one, managing yourself. So you said a rhythm and accountability perspective. There is a forced intensity and focus when you have an eleven o’clock meeting at a client site, when you’re prepping to get on a plane for a big delivery, all your focus is on that. But when you wake up in the morning and you might have a couple of virtual calls, a lot of guys are just floating. So, their ability both to manage themselves when they are not in an office, when they don’t have their peers all around them, with the buzz of energy and the going to the conference rooms and the people walking by and seeing your screens.
When you’re by yourself in your bat cave, it’s just a very different feel. And a lot of folks are also not feeling particularly motivated because there’s a sense of grief and loss in the world right now. And a lot of people are selling into companies where they literally, the buyers are saying, “Glad I have my job but I certainly don’t have a budget.” So this motivation, focus and self accountability is one. I’m going to go through the other four areas but I’m not going to explain them but we can set them up.
Two, how you manage meetings is different. Three, how you set up and build relationships is very different. Four, you said selling hasn’t fundamentally changed but how you make the case. That you make the case of, do this, not that, do it this way, not that. Because it’s going to make a big impact, how you get people to make decisions and how you get them to choose you wildly different. And then the fifth thing is more about management, which is, how do I actually manage a team that is completely distributed. That is also going through this major chain selling into environment that is somewhere between not so great to icing.
Matt Heinz: That’s super helpful. And I imagine more detail on a lot of those topics. And of course, you’re not going to be able to get into all of it here today with our time restrictions. But your new book, Virtual Selling, available for preorder on the website, RAINsalestraining.com, along with other books you published, Rainmaking Conversations, Insight Selling. Folks, do yourself a favor, go to the website, tons of resources, research, webinars, blog posts. These guys do a great job when it comes to content. What are you seeing from organizations that have been traditionally in person sellers? Right?
Because I think we’ve got an increasing number of people that are inside sales, where they may not be in their bullpen or with their peers but they’re doing it from home. And so, the emotions haven’t changed. You’ve got people that are field sales reps but really do spend most of the time in a home office but they’re still working those named accounts. Then you have, we’ve talked to a number of companies that are in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals. And they’re road warriors. They’re used to being, not just in front of a prospect but also in front of a prospect with samples, with physical materials. What’s your advice for them? That’s more than just some of the discipline. You also are trying to replace things in a physical environment that aren’t as easy to do remote.
Mike Schultz: Yeah. So let’s talk about some of the people that have traditionally done the flesh selling. There’s manufacturing, as you mentioned and pharmaceuticals but there’s also professional services. What about all the accountants that go to the networking event and shake hands? And what about all the people that go to conferences, sometimes every other week? And they’re just pretend to be drinking while they’re drinking their seltzers because they’ve got to work for 14 hours. Except for the ones drinking, not seltzers and they just crash out but they don’t know what to do. And as well, even things like, if you go to the corporate office to visit a client or to make a sales call and it’s at two o’clock, what time do you show up?
Mike Schultz: Well, it depends if you need to get into the high rise and if you need to plug in because you’re doing a presentation. But let’s say, you get there and someone comes down to the desk to take you up. You have the elevator ride up to chat, then you plug in and you’re saying hello. And then you say, “Great, we have six or seven minutes.” You’re at 1:55 because you don’t want to look too eager, of course. But let’s say you just don’t want to be late and you want to have your hour with the hour. And then they say, “Great, we have six, seven minutes before we get started, let’s walk down and get your coffee.” You have 15 minutes for that rapport. If you have a web call, what time does the web call start? 2:02.
Paul: Right on time, yeah.
Mike Schultz: 2:02 and everyone says, “Great, everybody’s here. I guess we’ll get going.” How do you even have the in room rapport when someone else says “Great, everyone’s here, let’s get going.” And it’s just a wildly different feel. So, there’s a lot of, I’m going to call it, herky jerkyness. It’s very contrived, a certain amount of deer in the headlights but especially the folks that are used to networking and having breakfast, lunches and dinners. They’re kind of at a loss for what to do. So, those are the things that we’re saying.
Matt Heinz: Yeah. And I think that, what we’ve seen people doing or encouraging folks is that, whatever you wouldn’t normally do in a real situation, level up the communication channel with an extra level of, I guess, either visuals or audio or something that allows you to make a better connection with that prospect. If you were going to make a phone call, do it as a video call. If you’re going to send an email, maybe record a video of you sharing something with that prospect. Do something to maintain some version of eye contact, some version of getting to see you.
And you really also have to double down on finding other reasons and other avenues to build that rapport. And find out interesting things about people, such as, we are both bald, mad at this home from prison and you have a lake behind you. There’s a fire down somewhere that is not going out of control, you’re not on a boat that’s streaming by that someone’s about to go skiing on and you’re still doing this but you said you were enjoying us. That’s great. Paul, we have to take a break, I know. You’re wildly waving your arms. We will be right back. More with Mike Schultz on SalesPipeline Radio.
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Paul: All right, let’s head back to Matt and his guest. And before we do, I’m going to ask one quick question of your guest here. Will coronavirus really permanently change anything?
Matt Heinz: In response to that? Are you seeing any changes in that, as well?
Mike Schultz: Yeah. So, there’s a question. The post coronavirus, still in the immediate shock period of what is spending going to happen, the economy’s still closed for the most part in a lot of places and a lot of people have fear. So, there’s a certain amount of, I might not be buying right now but if buyers are saying only 26% of sellers are listening to me, that has nothing to do with the current environment. Certainly they may or may not be purchasing and depending upon the industry they are but it’s just these core things that sellers aren’t doing well. But I think from an environment perspective, yes, we are seeing a lot of buyers saying that sellers are approaching them poorly, leading with the COVID-19 thing. When we were originally talking about this podcast, we we’re going to talk about integrity and selling and showing empathy. A lot of sellers are just hitting the prospecting hard because they’re afraid for their jobs. And buyers just think that they’re complete doofus’s when they reach out.
Matt Heinz: Just a couple more minutes here with our guest today on Sales Pipeline Radio, Mike Schultz from RAIN Group. I’m curious, Mike, you’ve been in lockdown for a little while, I think in Washington and California, West Coast, we went down a little bit earlier but now as you get used to this new normal, what’s something that you like about how you’re working today, that you hope to continue no matter what the new normal looks like. And what’s something that you don’t miss from your old normal, that you hope is no longer a part of your new normal?
Mike Schultz: Well, interestingly for us, we got rid of our office about six months ago. So, we went virtual just before everyone went virtual. So, if you look behind me, you mentioned that there’s a lake and literally people are jet skiing by. So, I didn’t want to go to the office because it makes me feel better to work here. And I like my family and have two little kids and I get to see them all the time and yet I can close myself off in my office. So, I don’t miss the commute. I don’t miss the driving. And we just wrote this book on Virtual Selling, which is actually up on Amazon right now, pre order. So, we wrote this book on Virtual Selling, but we also recently wrote a book on being productive and being able to focus in a time of crisis.
Because my wife and I went through some personal things, we lost a son a few years ago after a very long, very long illness. And we literally lived at the hospital with him for the better part of seven years. And I ran RAIN Group from a pediatric cardiac intensive unit sometimes for months on end. So, the question is. How do you care for your family and deal with the crisis and how do you also maintain your life while bad things are happening around you? That’s something that for me, what’s good about this situation. I know it’s going to sound really weird because this isn’t the worst thing that happened to me. And fortunately, my family is healthy right now and my extended family is healthy. We don’t have anyone suffering from COVID-19. In a weird way, and I know it’s an odd way to answer the question, I feel blessed to be able to have a job and to be able to be with my family and to have my family healthy. Even with all the craziness going around me, there’s just a lot of gratitude. So, that’s something that I appreciate about right now.
Matt Heinz: Wow. Well thank you so much for sharing that. Yeah, I think there’s a lot that we can put in perspective. We face headwinds all the time in our lives and our business and some are harder than others and some feel more prescient or more personal than others. Boy, I know at some point here, we’re going to have an opportunity to go back to normal. And I think at some point, sporting events with fans in the seats, we’ll be back. At some point, we’ll have the opportunity to go back into the field and do face to face field selling. I imagine there’s some of that that won’t go back to the old normal and that’s not necessarily a bad thing that there will be advances here. Do you see that some companies and their sales organizations that may have traditionally been field sales teams will continue to do remote selling?
Mike Schultz: Oh, I think that this is a tectonic shift, a seismic shift, in how selling and buying is going to be done and how communications are going to be done. I think that it was happening already, that there was an evolution towards this. And now I think that it has just gone from a 20 mile an hour jog towards it to a 90 mile an hour, no going back. And companies like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group are actually studying buyers right now and studying sales leaders at large companies. And they’re essentially saying that they’re not going back. There’s both the interaction expectation cultural shift that everyone’s going to get used to this. Literally three or four years ago, people didn’t want to click on video because, I don’t want people to see me. Now. You expect it every call, every time and you have to be camera ready no matter what.
So, there’s that different feel shift, just change of tastes. But the other thing is, is the guys that could have five meetings a week can now have 12 and there’s not necessarily a dip in production of how good those meetings are. If the sellers can engage it’s still, it is going to be harder to sell. But for those people that can get the medium down and get the rhythm of how to sell down, like those 12 meetings can result, it won’t necessarily mean that I’m going to close fewer things. You could literally have twice the sales results. It’s just the question of being able to actually succeed through the channel. Yeah.
Matt Heinz: Yeah, awesome. Love it. We’re out of time. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wrap up. Thank you so much to our guests today, Mike Schultz from the RAIN Group. You can check them out at RAINsalestraining.com. Lots of great new research they’re putting out on a regular basis. Check out the new book, Virtual Selling. Get them on Amazon and our links to that on his website, as well. We’ll be back next week. We’ve got a great lineup of guests coming up over the course of the next couple months as we close out the spring, close out Q2, move to the second half of the year. On behalf of my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. You’ve been listening to SalesPipeline Radio.
Paul: And with that, we wrap up another episode of SalesPipeline Radio right here on the Funnel Radio Channel for at work listeners like you.