In this Outbound Sales, No Fluff chapter 1 bonus content, Ryan Reisert is interviewed by James Bawden, Owner of The Lunch Break Media Group and experienced Director of Sales. What happens when the product or service that you sell doesn’t really solve a real problem? It’s a reality that a lot of sales professionals face, which is why this interview is dedicated to discussing a solution to this more in depth.
Discover more exclusive content from Outbound Sales, No Fluff, in the Audible version here.
James: All right, folks, my name is James Bawden. I am here as a part of this extra content for Outbound Sales, No Fluff. I have the privilege and the honor of interviewing Ryan Reisert about the things that often get overlooked when people have read the book – the ideas that he had as he was writing each chapter. So look, in these interviews… this is, again, no fluff, this is giving you extra content along with the audiobook.
So Ryan, chapter one. We just got done listening to Chapter One: Why Everybody Hates Salespeople. And really it boils down to you either got to solve a problem or go away. You guys explain that very clearly in this first chapter. What happens when the product or service that you sell doesn’t really solve a real problem? I think that’s a reality for a lot of salespeople out there. So how can an individual salesperson that’s listening to this take what they’ve heard you say in this chapter and turn it into something that they can use even if they don’t necessarily have a product or service that’s solving the world’s problem?
Ryan: Yeah, that’s a great question, James. At the end of the day when you talk about solving a problem or going away, it doesn’t have to solve world hunger, right? But there has to be some sort of need, there needs to be something that is going to require change for them to make a purchase, right? They don’t care how big or small that purchase is – there still has to be some sort of need, right?
We talk about the problem of a watch, right? When most folks think about a watch you don’t think there’s a problem you’re solving, but there certainly is. And that can translate into any type of environment where you’re pushing a product or service to an audience. And if you don’t understand what that … Keenan talks about this in gap selling – which is a piece of recommended extended content here. You’ve got to be able to identify some sort of gap which is the problem, right? And how big that gap is or how big that problem is going to become the difference between being able to make a sale and not being able to make a sale.
And if somebody doesn’t have a need, a pain, a problem right now, you should just go away. And that’s okay by the way! Not every single conversation we get into as a sales professional is going to be a win, right? The no’s are just as important as the yeses. And as you start to have those conversations and you get to a point where you’re not quite understanding that, it’s okay to ask your buyer, “why?” Or you go to people that you’ve actually sold to and ask them those questions: “Where were you at when we engaged in the first place? What was their current state? And you ultimately made a decision to buy from me. Why?” Understand that why, and then you’re going to be able to get into a position where you understand if you can, in fact, solve a problem for somebody.
And when you get to that why, now you have an idea of a persona; which we’ll talk about in these later chapters around folks who look like this – look like a duck, quack like a duck, likely is a duck – those are the types of individuals that I want to go and see if I can help. And then there’s the whole timing thing. So for those who can’t figure that out, honestly that’s why this is the very first chapter – because that’s the most important piece of this equation. If you can’t figure that out, you’re just not gonna have success.
James: Yeah, I love that. And I remember reading that first chapter as an individual contributor and being a little nervous about the fact that I kind of knew that I hadn’t identified those problems very well. And, I think a lot of the times what happens is you get dropped into a new role and you’re fed maybe some marketing language, right? Like, “these are the problems that we solve.” And that’s like you’re just kind of taking it as like, “Okay, well, these are the problems that we solve!”
What I love about this advice that you’re giving us, it’s not to go read all the marketing material. It’s turn around and go internal to your current customers and just go find out the actual answer. I think that is such an overlooked step that is so obvious – it’s right in front of your face – but hardly anybody does it!
So I love that as you get done listening to chapter one, you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach of like, “Ugh, I don’t know any of the problems that I solve. And if I do know the problems that I solve, if I’m being honest with myself, I know that they’re really high level and don’t make any difference to the people that I’m calling – or it sure seems like that based on my results so far.”
So as we kind of progress here, you kind of touched on some of these different elements. I have to imagine and you can elaborate on this for us, that’s kind of like the absolute reason why this is the first chapter, right? Walk us through a little bit of your thought process and why the first chapter of your book on sales is titled “Why Everybody Hates Salespeople.”
Ryan: You’re spot on. We have to get in the mindset. Really, the purpose of this book was coming out of selling inside sales boot camp – which was a 90-day program for folks who’d never done sales development before. Here are the fundamentals, go get a job in tech, become a sales development rep, and change your career similar to what it did for me. And so what I wanted to do is try to take all of my experience being a rep that’s gone through the ranks, up through leadership, and all the experiences I had building and scaling sales teams, and trying to boil it down into the fundamental principles that somebody who’s never done this before could read and take action on right away.
And the number one lesson is exactly that. Nothing else matters, right? No one cares about your product or service, nobody wants to read about all your accolades. And when you’re starting a conversation with someone you got to get to the point – do you have something that there’s a need for, there’s a problem? And I need to be able to identify that quickly and I need to get in and get out. And it’s okay if I can’t do that. Rejection is real, and you have to be able to start to get in this mindset of, “Well, everyone hates salespeople because they try to peddle stuff at the wrong time – most of the time – even if there’s good targeting. And they don’t know how to understand what a no really is versus a not now.” And so that’s a really, really important mindset to get into: if you’ve never done sales before, that rejection is real!
And success – especially at the top of the funnel – for those who are, most of the people that read this book are just getting started. You’re going to get kicked in the teeth probably 19 out of 20 times if you’re really good. More often than that probably, 98 out of a hundred, right? You might have a 2% success rate!
So right away you got to be like, “All right, I don’t want to be this guy. I don’t want to be that person that doesn’t understand what’s happening here. Now I’m going to start to arm myself with understanding ‘do you look like someone I can help or not?’ And as I get confidence through the successes and the failures, I can start to learn from those conversations and identify when is the time to actually push back and ask a couple of extra pointed questions and when to go away,” right? So solve that problem or go away!
And as you start to build your career, you get to a point where, “All right, now I understand I am a salesperson. Most people hate me when the time’s not right. But when the time’s right, all of a sudden they love me if I’m doing a good job!”
And so as you start to get that framework and that mindset in place, then it goes into the second part of this chapter which is like, “Hey, guess what? You know how you can really start to be successful? As you start to understand the problems you can solve that’s great, but most of the time you can’t. Timing is going to be a big thing, and maybe you’re just off for whatever reason – the company is not in the right place, the individual you’re trying to sell to is in this transition. “Hey, I’m still here, James. How can I help you?” And now when I start to make your success my number one priority even if I’m not going to get a commission check, that’s that next level piece here.
So chapter one talks about the problem. The problem is most of the time you, the sales rep, interrupted my time. But now if you can start to understand the math of how everything works in the first place – but also becoming an expert – you become that person, you become that individual that someone wants to go to when they have a problem around a topic that you started that first conversation with – that’s when you start to really go next level. And that “aha! moment” isn’t going to happen right away. It’s stuffed into this first chapter because it’s all around that same mindset. So, become an expert in what you do, but not just your product or service, but the actual market that you’re selling into!
So how do you understand all of those things that are at play? Where do you fit into that equation? And start to build out relationships or become an expert in understanding how other things work together, and you can become a strong referral source, so people come to you like their friends when they have a problem. Who’s the first person you go to as a person in the consumer market? You go to friends and family. “Hey, do you know someone who can do this? My car’s broken down,” whatever it might be, right? And then if you can’t find that then you go where? The search engines: Google, Yelp, you look for reviews. If you’re on Amazon it’s like, “I want all the reviews.”
Well, eventually you have to go out and talk to a salesperson. And Noah Goldman talks about this idea of “being above the buy button” and the future of sales is about selection and implementation – help me decide and then help me be successful. And so even if I can’t be the person to solve your problem with my product and service and get a commission today, I can at least understand more about you through questions and just what I know about your company and things like that. So when we engage, if I’m not helping you and getting my number from a commission check, I’m at least helping you to solve an actual problem that you might have in one of those top threes. And that’s where you really start to take it to the next level.
James: My favorite part about that is that you mention this isn’t something that you can necessarily manufacture overnight. This takes time, this takes understanding your role, your position in the market, how you can help. All of these elements that you’ve talked about, it just takes executing on it over and over again to come to a point when you realize, “Okay, I don’t have to have commission breath. I don’t have to be stressed out if the deal falls through because I understand the way that this whole thing works.”
And I think having this as the first chapter really sets the tone for the rest of the book because from here you can focus on this larger understanding and then get into, “Okay, so who are the people? How do I do it?” All of those wonderful tactical things that we all love about the book.
So I’ll wrap up this first chapter one bonus content interview – bonus content for the audiobook. And you’ll hear us again at the end of chapter two!