Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 216: Q & A with Jeff Shore @jeffshore

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If you’re not already subscribed to Sales Pipeline Radio, or listening live every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific you can find the transcription and recording here on the blog every Monday morning.  The show is less than 30 minutes, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities. You can subscribe right at Sales Pipeline Radio and/or listen to full recordings of past shows everywhere you listen to podcasts! Spotify,  iTunesBlubrry, Google Play, iHeartRADIO, or Stitcher

This week’s episode is entitled “What Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Has to do with Sales, Rollow-Up and Emotional Connections” and our guest is Jeff Shore, president of Shore Consulting.  Jeff has been a sales expert, author, speaker and executive coach for more than three decades.  He’s guided executives and sales teams in large and small companies across the globe to embrace their discomforts and grow in ways never thought possible.

We talk about the new book, Follow Up and Close the Sale: Make Easy (and Effective) Follow-Up Your Winning Habit. And we talk about the work he’s doing around customer experience and the law and the entire customer life cycle as well. We don’t get a lot of people on the show that can talk about cognitive behavioral therapy. We also talk about his background and experience around research in this area and how it relates to sales. This and a lot more! 

Matt:  Thank you very much, everyone for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. Very excited to have you here. This may sound live, but if you’re hearing this episode, I’m on vacation on a cabin on an island unplugged and very excited to be doing so, but also excited to be continuing to bring you some of the best and brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing. If you’re listening to this podcast for the first time, thank you very much for joining us. Very excited to have, I think we’re over all of 120,000 downloads and listeners to the podcast. So thank you very much for making this part of your work from home, staying home, wearing your mask day. Very excited today to have joining us, Jeff Shore. He is the president of Shore Consulting and the author of numerous books, including a recent book on follow up skills that we’ll talk about here in a minute. Jeff, thanks so much for joining us today.

Jeff:  Thank you very much. The secluded island? That’s a very 2020 vacation of you. I notice you didn’t say cruise anywhere or heading off to Italy. You’re going to a deserted island somewhere.

Matt:  We are. I mean, it’s a nice backup. My wife is from San Diego and every year we do a vacation down in San Diego, North County and just rent a house and just go to the beach and hang out. And this year we’re not doing that, unfortunately. But going to hanging out in an island north of Seattle in the summer is not too bad of an alternative.

Jeff:  I’d taken my family up a couple of years ago. We rented a cabin out on Fox Island and had a delightful time. It was just absolutely beautiful.

Matt:  It is. I’ll tell you what. I mean, it’s Seattle for most of the year. It doesn’t rain as much as people think. It’s just gray a lot, but the summers up there are just spectacular. So now you know if you’ve been to Fox Island you know. Well thank you for joining us today. We’ve got a lot we can talk about here. I want to talk about the new book. I want to talk about the work you’re doing around customer experience and the law and the entire customer life cycle as well. But we don’t get a lot of people on the show that can talk about cognitive behavioral therapy. And so I wanted to start by just talking about what is your background and experience around research in this area and how does that relate to sales?

Jeff:  It really began, a personal journey for myself to recognize many years ago that I wouldn’t have called it an addiction, but it has so many things that look like addictive properties.

I had to peg myself as recognizing that I had a comfort addiction. What I was addicted to all things comfortable and that I was kind of ordering my life according to that. I could see it in the way that I ate, cheeseburgers, comfortable, broccoli, uncomfortable. Elliptical, uncomfortable, sofa, very comfortable. And so in the way that I took care of myself in my business pursuits, whether I was going to confront somebody in a relationship and, Matt, I just had just significant comfort addictions. And as I was thinking about that, I was thinking how many other people do that? And because I work in the realm of sales and I talk to a lot of salespeople, I started to see patterns from sales professionals who were really not doing what they could do. They weren’t fulfilling their potential because they were letting their own desire for comfort get in the way. And they were making decisions that made them more comfortable, but weren’t were not necessarily in the best interest of their clients.

And so that’s when I got into the question of, “Well, if it is in fact an addiction, then how do you treat an addiction?” And the number one treatment for addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy. And so I dove in and learned all that I could, and really tried to get a sense of how that works and started to apply it to my own life first and then started to teach it to sales and marketing professionals. And it’s been a journey that I’ve been on for the last, oh, about seven years and the best seven years of my life. It’s been really cool to lean into my own discomforts and then do what I think is a pretty fun things on the other side of that discomfort.

Matt:  I love it. Well, talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Jeff Shore. You can learn more about his content, more about his experience and expertise at jeffshore.com. Author of at least 10 books. I mean, I think I’ve lost track here. The most recent book is Follow Up and Close the Sale, which is really focused on follow up. But seems like such a simple concept yet, so elusive, at least on a consistent basis for so many people. You’ve covered so many things in your career and so many topics amongst your books, why was Follow Up focus of the new one?

Jeff:  Well, there’s really a couple of key reasons. One is the subject has been talked about a lot, but there hasn’t really been a lot written about it other than blog posts. There’s not really that resource. If you go to Amazon and type Follow Up Sales, you’re not going to get a lot of hits right there. And so I wanted to be able to tap into that gap, but I also recognize that sometimes we’ve made it far more difficult than it needs to be. And so I wanted something that was very approachable, that didn’t require some extremely complicated CRM system that you had to master all the ins and outs of something that was very simple, but also very service oriented. It’s not a matter of badgering someone until they buy. It’s a matter of serving someone, of solving their problem and then once all their problems are solved, they will buy. So it’s a very customer friendly approach to how we stay in touch and how we continue to add value after that initial conversation.

The premise of the book is really what do you do after the customer says, “Not Yet?” You have the conversation, they’re not ready. They need to think about it. Now, what do you do? And that’s what we get into in the book.

Matt:  So a lot of companies, when they think about follow up, they immediately say, “Well, we’re going to do a drip campaign, right? We’re going to put them on drip campaign. We’re going to put them in Marketo,” or whatever. And look, there’s value in that, but there’s an awful lot of pitfalls that that creates as well. Can you talk about the pros and cons of drip campaigns and what a better approach looks like?

Jeff:  If you look at it from this, I know, look, you’re the marketing expert. I’m more on the sales guy, but I think we have something in common and that is that in marketing what are you trying to do? You’re trying to raise emotional interest and you’re trying to get a number of attention points. You have to stay present in their mind and you want to keep the emotion high. Well, it’s exactly the same thing that happens after that initial sales conversation. You want to stay present present in their mind and you want to keep the emotion high. But I think you have to do both. So the problem with a lot of drip campaigns is, yes, you’re staying in their attention, but in a potentially annoying way because of the absence of the emotional connection. One of the things I’m sure you and I haven’t talked about this, but I’m sure you and I are on the exact same page. How many emails do you get on a given day from somebody trying to sell you something via an email? And it’s incredible.

I’m sure like you, my finger hovers over the delete button. I can’t delete these fast enough because they’re impersonal and if I’ve got somebody who’s great for your show or I’ve got this great new product, right? I can get you a thousand leads an hour for the next eight years. But there’s nothing personal about it at all. And then they go into a drip cam… Hey, don’t know if you saw my last email, but still would like to talk. And you know I don’t want to bug you, but boy, do I have a great product. There’s no emotional connection. So you are bugging me.

So any drip campaign that does not raise the emotional altitude of the prospect is in danger of getting their attention for the wrong reasons. That’s the concern that I have, whether it’s pre-sale sales conversation or a post-sales conversation, either way we need to raise the emotional altitude of the customer.

Matt:  I mean, you used the word emotional connection. You use that phrase quite a bit here. And I’m wondering for companies that are looking at it, we got a large sales team. We’ve got a lot of prospects for managing, do I have to manage this on a one to one basis? Is there any way to systematize, at least creating that emotional connection, whether that’s a checklist, whether that’s calendar reminders, are there tools that can help with that as well? Is there a middle ground of finding that unique one-to-one connection while still having a system that helps you with that?

Jeff:  Yeah. And I think that there is. Well, first of all, you raised a really interesting point. Do you want this cast as wide net and try and pull it over as many prospects as you can, or do you want to look at it and say, “Here are the highest value targets. Let’s go after those.” And those are two different strategic approaches. And I would argue that there’s a validity to both of those approaches, but they are different approaches. And therefore, you’re not going to take the same tactics in those two different approaches. If you’re looking at, say, the high value targets, these are the people that I’m going after here, because I think who these people are, what you know about them and how do you add individualized, personalized value to those people?

But if you’re going on at a broad sense, whether it’s in the marketing process before a sales conversation or the follow up process after a conversation, it’s still the same question has to hold true, how do I add value? Now, I can add massive value to a lot of people at the same time, but it still has to be the same thing. How do you add value? Pestering me with emails that say, “We’ve got a great product that I want to tell you about,” is not adding value.

That’s the concern that I have. Now, if you came back to me and you said, “Listen, companies like yours, we know that they’re dealing with this issue. If that’s a concern for you, watch this video or read this article just about…”. Now, there’s the potential for value. But it’s just the pestering that just drives me up the wall.

Matt:  We are recording this episode, as I mentioned, a couple of weeks in advance of when it’s going to play. But even though we’re not predicting the future, I’m pretty sure we’re still going to be in the midst of a pandemic by the time people listen to this and it gets published. Your book was written before, I assume that based on how books get published, I’m assuming this was written before a lot of this came down. Has anything changed in terms of the way you think about emotional connections when you think about follow up in the new rhythm of how people are working and selling right now?

Jeff:  Honestly, it’s a great question, Matt. And honestly it worked out very, very well as far as the book goes, because it’s like when Zoom came along, what did they do? They said, “Hey, Skype, you’re not doing this right. We’re going to step in and make this really, really user-friendly.” Now they had no idea of the boost that they were about to get because of the pandemic. I feel the same way about the Follow up book, because for example, one of the things that I talk about extensively in the book is the use of video technology and the fact that it should not be cutting edge, but it still is if nobody’s using it.

So we get into that discussion of how you can really stand apart using video technology to communicate with your customers, either pre-sales conversation or a post-sales conversation. It’s just that now it’s going to resonate much more freely because I made the point in the book that you people are probably more comfortable with video than you think they are. Well, here we are today. Everybody’s comfortable with video. They don’t have a choice. So it actually worked well into this. Yes, I would have leaned into it a little bit more if I had known what I was up against, but I think it actually sets it up pretty well.

Matt:  I would agree. And I think, real quick before we take a break, I think, that emotional connection is something, I think people are craving even more right now. It’s something that we are naturally wired for as human beings. I think it’s something that we feel like we get in a richer way when we’re in person and we’re in front of people. I don’t think Zoom can recreate that in personnel. And I think it’s one of the reasons why face-to-face selling and events are going to come roaring back once it’s safe to do so. But I think if you can find a way in a variety of formats to create that connection, if you can be authentic and natural in the way you do that, I do think, as we talked about earlier, you can systematize that. I think you can create a system that puts you in a place to create those emotional connections in an authentic way with some degree of scale and efficiency.

We’ve got to take a quick break and pay some bills. We’ll be back on Sales Pipeline Radio. More with Jeff Shore. After the break, we’re going to be talking more about selling, following up, what marketers can do to support these efforts and what broadly some work Jeff’s doing in the realm of customer experience in customer life cycle. We’ll be right back on Sales Pipeline Radio.

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Paul:  And now back to our show with Matt and his guest.

Matt:  All right, well, welcome back. Thank you very much for listening and thank you again to our guests today, Jeff Shore from Shore Consulting, author of numerous books on sales strategy. The most recent book, Follow Up And Close The Sale now available. You can find it at jeffshore.com. And Jeff, we talked before the break a lot about follow up and about emotional connection and how to do that in an authentic way. And I want to broaden that conversation beyond just the sales funnel and talk about how important it is to do that across the entire customer experience. Talk a little bit about the work you’ve been doing more recently around the entire customer life cycle and how you’re thinking about that.

Jeff:  Just before the break you had brought up something really important. You were talking about emotion and how much this weighs into the customer’s purchase decision and even their shopping decision.

And I think we’ve all known for a long time. That emotion is important, right? It’s almost trite to say this now, but I think we’ve underplayed just how important that is. Something that I referred to as emotional altitude, people buy in times of high emotional altitude. And just like in a marketing campaign to try and get somebody’s attention, the death of a marketing campaign is that passive elimination. I eliminate you because I just forget about you, because I don’t see you and you don’t strike an emotional chord. The same thing after you’ve talked to a customer.

If they forget about you because that emotional altitude wanes and it does, you’ve got a problem. I had on my podcast, I interviewed the Swedish researcher, Martin Lindstrom, and he did something really interesting. He studied people who were making purchase decisions. They were hooked up to a functional MRI. He was reading their brainwaves to see what part of the brain was firing. And his research suggests 85% of that decision is emotional, 15% logical. So we make the decision out of a gut. We support it with the brain. So carrying that high emotional altitude is just critical.

That’s why it’s not just a matter of, do I have a message? It’s the question of, does the message spike the emotion? There’s a reason why babies and puppies and sex work so well in advertising because they all appeal to that emotional impulse.

Matt:  Yeah, that’s interesting. And I think that there’s been plenty of research that I’ve seen that shows that connection. If you don’t put a focus on it throughout the customer experience, it starts to wane after a while. And I think that it’s easy for customers to feel like they’re taken for granted. For the seller, the provider feels like they’re just doing their job. We’re doing what we said we were going to do. Think about this in terms of relationship, a spouse that no longer feels special because he or she is not being wooed the way that they were during the courting process. I mean, the same thing happens in things with sales and what I’ve noticed too, is that companies that are perceived as doing it well, aren’t necessarily going over the top. They’re just spending a little extra effort doing that. So a little bit can go an awful long way in providing that value in maintaining and enhancing that emotional connection for a longer period of time.

Jeff:  It’s interesting. Just a quick story on that. Before I started writing the book, I was at a conference, sat down next to somebody at lunch. “What do you do? What do you…,” you know these conversations, Matt. And she asked me a question, because she found out that I was writing a book and, well I was about to start writing a book, and she said, “Let me ask you a question. What do you have more of, time or money?” And I’m thinking, “Okay, that’s an interesting question. What do I have more of time or money?” Look, I’m not rich, but there’s no question about it. I have more money than I have time. There’s no doubt. And she said, “Well, this is what I do. I write books for people. I’m a ghost writer. I take your money and I give you time. That’s what I’m going to do.” Because you know how much time it takes to write a book.

And I was really intrigued. Her pitch was fantastic. I absolutely loved it. I said, “I want to take this idea back to my team and let’s chat here soon. Never heard from her. Never heard from her until I ran into her three months later. They’re like “you never called me back. Now, I barely remember you at this point.” And this is a perfect example of emotional altitude that wanes over time when we do not continue those impressions and continue to spark the emotion. Because I was really excited after that first conversation. I’d looked at her and I just said, “You know what my book is about? You knew, right? It’s about following up and you did not.” So how could I, with any integrity, consider using you for this project? And was trying to turn it into a lesson for her, but this is what we’re talking about when that emotional altitude wanes, because they just forget about us, it’s the death of any potential for converting that sale.

Matt:  That’s such a great story. And I think what she could have done to potentially get that deal was not necessarily create some massive piece of content for you or spend an hour researching what you’re up to. It was simply like, “Hey, that was a great conversation. What’s our next step?” It’s just remembering to connect the dots again, to have the conversation, to keep the conversation going forward. Is it that simple? I mean, could you literally just say, “Okay, could you set something on your calendar that says, “Look at people I talked to a week ago, a month ago, and make sure you follow up.” I mean, is it as simple as just a starting point to just create a system that just reminds you of who to follow up with when?

Jeff:  Yes. Such an important question. And this is where we marry marketing sales follow up. It all comes together. Too often we think that each contact sits in its own silo. And so I’m going to do this. And then my CRM tells me two weeks later that I’m going to do that. And then I’ve got to send this article. I would argue that the better way to look at this is, one long story. This is a continuing narrative from my first impression that I make on that customer over here, all the way through that lead gen process, to that conversation that we’re going to have face to face, the follow up afterwards. There’s an art to this narrative and every conversation sets up the next conversation. And that conversation begins by hearkening back to the last conversation. I always think you’re better off if you’ve got a theme here that allows you to pick up where you left off and to reconnect along these lines.

And again, going back to my story, there was a three month lag since I had talked to this person without any connection at all. There was nothing that tied in that emotion or carried it forward. So essentially we had to start all over again. And by that point she couldn’t get that emotion where it needed to be. And I was like, “Nah, I’ll just do this myself.”

Matt:  Well, just a few more minutes here with our guest today, Jeff Shore, who’s written multiple books, including a new book you definitely got to check out at jeffshore.com at his website. And he did not pay me to say this, but I mean, he’s got access to all his books. He’s got a bunch of great new videos, just a lot of content for free that you’re definitely going to enjoy whether you’re in sales or marketing. And speaking of that, I mean, this conversation has been a lot about like for salespeople, building an emotional connection. Obviously, we get a lot of marketers that are listening to this as well. What’s the lesson for marketers? How can they either enable their sales organization to be better at doing this? Or what can marketers directly do to lean in on this to provide value to their organization, to the sales team, into their pipelines?

Jeff:  Well, I think it’s probably a little pithy to say, know your customer, but it’s the same problem in marketing and sales, and in my mind, is that we tend to approach either our marketing or sales message from, “Here’s what I have to offer,” versus, “Here is what you really need.” But if we don’t really understand that customer deeply enough, and I think the issue is that, oftentimes on the marketing side, I know this is true for my business, I look at the world and I say, “Okay, these are the societal shifts and this is what’s happening over here.” And I’ve got a lot of clients in the real estate space. So what’s happening with urban movement right now? And are we going to see a massive shift into suburbia? And what does the Atlantic have to say? And what does Forbes have? That’s all well and good, but there’s nothing like sitting in somebody’s living room or at least now having a conversation via Zoom and talking directly to consumers about their experience.

Because even when you look at where we’re at right now through this pandemic and how we’re negotiating through shelter in place and quarantine and everything else, I can guarantee you, if you have one on one individual conversations about what your target market is going through, it would be very different than what we’re seeing. Big data is important. Right now, I would argue that small data is more important. What is the individual experience of people that this is where focus groups right now have never been so important. They’ve never been so important as to be able to address the emotional aspects of what people are going through today.

Matt:  Last question for our guest today, Jeff Shore. This has been a different year than I think all of us expected. I know you spend a lot of time normally on airplanes and probably on a few fewer flights this year than normal. I’m curious as you reflect at least on the first six months of this year, who knows where this is all going, what is something that you miss that you can’t wait to get back to during you’re experiencing after all of this. And what’s something that you don’t miss? Something that this period, maybe a silver lining of this period has made you realize that you don’t miss and want to relinquish as things get back to some version of a normal?

Jeff:  The answers kind of conflict here because I don’t miss being on airplanes. I really, really don’t, but I do miss being face to face with people. It is a… for me, I got to get on an airplane in order to do that. So there is a little bit of a conflict along those lines. But having said that, what I’m reflecting back on the last four months, I think I find, and I think most of our audience is probably feeling the same way, over the last four months I’ve spent a lot of time making stuff up. People ask me a question, like, “What do I do about this?” Well, we’re going to do this and we’re going to do this.” And then afterwards it’s like, “Is that right? I don’t even know if that’s right.”

So when we think about how much time we’ve spent and how much energy we put into adjusting on the fly and making snap decisions, this is the thing that I think is a really, really cool because I’ve been studying this in preparation for a presentation that I’m giving actually next week, your intuition is better than you think it is.

And the idea to make snap decisions is actually what makes you more valuable to your organization. We get into this impostor syndrome where we look and we go, “I’m dealing with stuff that I’ve never had to deal with before. I’m making it up on the fly. Are people going to figure it out? Are people got to learn that I’m just basically faking it right here?” No, no, no. That is your intuition at work. And you’re making that decision. You’re not making it in a vacuum. You’re going through your brain. You’re comparing every experience you’ve ever had in this database. And you’re making the call. The worst thing you can do is not to make the call. So I just argue that it would be unwise for sales leaders and marketing leaders to be out guessing themselves too much. Your intuition is stronger than you think it is.

Matt:  I think that’s a great way to wrap up. I know you’re not on airplanes as much, but you are crazy busy and your time is super valuable. I really appreciate our guest today, Jeff Shore for joining us. If you liked his message and want to share this with others in the organization, maybe your sales leaders or other people in your leadership team you can find or replay on demand of this episode, as well as all of our episodes at salespipelineradio.com.

Thank you very much for joining us. I may be sitting on an island somewhere, doing nothing, maybe even taking a nap, but I appreciate you joining us. We’ll be here again next week at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern. On behalf of my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.

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