Episode 102: Patrick Boucousis – Needs Are Why We Buy, Value Is What We Buy
The Sales Natural Patrick Boucousis is joining the Social Sales Link team for an eye-opening discussion on trust and value in sales and more specifically, social selling. Listen as Patrick shares the explanation behind the concept of needs and value when it comes to selling and what salespeople should be focusing on first before anything else.
Find out what the formula is for growing trust and why you need to focus less on self-interest if you want to make yourself valuable to your prospects.
Patrick Boucousis 00:00
Social selling to me sort of encapsulates what I thought I was always doing, albeit without the aid of technology. And really what it does for me now, social selling is more the advent of the incorporation of technology into what I guess I’ve always been doing in terms of building trusted relationships, or growing, I should say, trusted relationships with people.
Bob Woods 00:20
Welcome to the Making Sales Social Podcast! Featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick as they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Here are your hosts, Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 00:58
Welcome to Making Sales Social. I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 01:01
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:02
And Brynne, who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 01:04
We have Patrick Boucousis, The Sales Natural. I am so excited to have him. You know, we just recently met, he connected with me with all these really nice words about our content, really, about how authentic it is and I sit down, looked at his profile, and I’m like, this is someone I want to know. So we hopped on a call, and I thought this is someone our audience should know. He is a high-performance sales coach and trainer that really focuses, really on like the trust-based and when I, you know, and even in his profile, he talks about authentic, right, totally aligned with what we believe. Patrick, welcome to the show. Tell everyone a little bit about you.
Patrick Boucousis 01:48
Thank you, Brynne, and thank you, Bill. Yeah, I coined the expression Sales Natural, although I wonder if that was the best term to use because a branding expert told me a little while ago, he said, “You know, Pat…” he said, “…anyone under 50, doesn’t know what a natural is.” So he didn’t see the Kevin Costner film. So I guess it implied authenticity, ethicality, transparency, and that’s really the focus, it’s a case of gaining trust, really quickly and people wanting to do business with you, irregardless of the product or the service, because selling at the end of the day is about people, not about products and services and it’s creating that connection and doing that quickly by letting your authenticity show and being a value of your game, being a value quickly.
Bill McCormick 02:32
I love that. So those are… that’s music to our ears, for sure but before we get started, we always ask Patrick, every guest the same first question, what does making sales social mean to you?
Patrick Boucousis 02:43
Okay, well, you can see I’ve got a few gray hairs. So I kind of came to social fairly late in life, you could say. And I’ve been in sales my entire working life. In fact, it’s all I wanted to do when I was a kid, my dad was a (unintelligible) — so I didn’t want to be a fighter pilot or a fireman, I always wanted to be a salesperson.
So I guess social selling to me sort of encapsulates what I thought I was always doing, albeit without the aid of technology. And really what it does for me now, social selling is more the advent of the incorporation of technology into what I guess I’ve always been doing in terms of building trusted relationships or growing, I should say, trusted relationships with people.
Brynne Tillman 03:21
That’s a perfect answer, really, it’s what we’ve always been doing on digital, right, like, and what you’ve always been doing is this value selling, this authentic selling. So we are so excited to learn and go deeper into kind of your techniques and your strategies and how you, the things that you teach your clients to do that really creates that trust. So my first question to you, and it’s pretty much you know, converting what you’ve taught in the real world to digital, is, how would you recommend someone show up in a trust-based selling mentality on LinkedIn or on for social selling?
Patrick Boucousis 04:06
Yeah, that’s a really good question. You know, if you were to define trust, the definition of trust that I really like was by a guy called David Maister. He coined the expression “trusted advisor” and he came up with the trust equation. If you can imagine equation, and on the top line, its credibility plus reliability plus transparency. Basically, telling the truth, doing what you say you’ll do, and being open and transparent. They grow trust and under the line is self-interest. self-interest diminishes trust. So I guess as a salesperson if you’re going to show up, the challenge for salespeople, you know, is not to grow trust is to not lose it.
And as soon as we show up, oftentimes we start talking about our products, self-interest, ourselves, self-interest, our company, self-interest, we’re full of self-interest. And that just undermines trust from the get-go. So I guess my recommendation is don’t talk about yourself, get onto the buyer’s page, learn all about the buyer, live in their world and you will grow trust, just show that you care and you will grow trust.
Brynne Tillman 05:03
I love that. One of the things that we talk about all the time is to detach from what the prospect is worth to you and attach to what you’re worth to the prospect. So it sounds like that’s what you’re saying.
Patrick Boucousis 05:15
And be a value. Now, here’s the thing, to really be a value, you need to have trust first because you need to learn from the buyer what value is. Because value is like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder, right? You can’t, I guess I’m bemused by expressions like add value, create value, propose value. My perception is you can’t do that. Value is received, it can’t be given. We sell products and services. Buyers will get value from them or from you, that’s their judgment. And so if you’re trusted, then you can have the conversations that enable you to determine, you know, what do you really value? What is important to you? Forget the needs, it’s the outcomes they want. What are the results?
Bill McCormick 05:55
Right, right. So, that mind shift, that’s great, because I always say, “Hey, make sure you’re providing value, make sure you’re providing value” but maybe I need to switch that around and so what are some of the things you’re teaching your clients to try to arrive at that value to understand that better from the client’s point of view?
Patrick Boucousis 06:15
Yeah, it’s a good question, I guess rather than provide us value, we are potential sources of value. And it’s the buyer that will ultimately judge if that’s going to be the case. So we need to have the conversation to understand what their perceptions of value are. So imagine why people show up at work. We tend to think, well, it’s for the paycheck, that’s true but then there’s recognition, acknowledgment, advancement, risk avoidance, absence of stress, those are the things that are a value to people. We tend to talk about needs in a business sense, but needs in the sense, satisfying needs. They’re like inputs, what people want are the outputs. What’s the result? What am I going to get if I satisfy the need? And I guess what I say is that needs are why, value is what we buy. And that’s what we really want to focus on. Salespeople tend to focus on needs. But they’re pretty generic. If you describe a need, it doesn’t really provide a great insight into what you want. I mean, talk about a car, a house, a suit, you can describe it but how would anyone know what you wanted? If instead, you turn around and said, “Well, how do you want to feel if you walk around in that suit? Tell me about your lifestyle? What’s it going to be like living in that house?” Then you get an understanding of the perception of value. Does that make sense?
Brynne Tillman 07:25
I love that. I want to kind of go one wider, I think on that, not necessarily deeper but you know, there are different times that we’re providing value and in social selling, sometimes there is, you know, I need to provide a backup, there are three ways to deliver value on social. There’s one too many, right, so we share something on our newsfeed and lots of people see it, there’s one too few where I have a message specifically for CEOs in the advertising industry. And then I tailor a message that goes out to a lot of people that’s a particular persona. And then there’s one-to-one where we get really personal, you know, those are all different times to provide value. We actually talk a lot about social listening, like even before we ask them questions, we can identify what are they consuming? What’s important to them? What are some of their priorities? And then we can share that. What are some things that we can do, first, the one too many? How do you recommend we find out what matters to the many and get that message out to them?
Patrick Boucousis 08:37
That’s an interesting question, Brynne. (unintelligible) I wrestled with myself because, of course, in a marketing sense, what you want to do, you know, the riches are in the niches, as they say. It’s a case of understanding who do you want to appeal to? Who could you potentially be a value to? And as I was saying before, it’s really their core rather than your core, right and I guess it’s a case of putting yourself out there, I guess one of the things that makes me cringe on LinkedIn is so much of the self-promotional material, given what I’ve said, you know, picture of our new product this or new that, or we’ve just done this, I really don’t care. If on the other hand, you tell me about someone that’s accomplishing something, albeit as a result of your product.
Don’t tell me about your product, tell me about what they’re accomplishing. I can join the dots, I can figure out that obviously, they’re using your product to do that but we tend to be in your face, you know, that we, you know, we said, “Hey, look at us, we’ve done this for them.” And, you know, so I guess the way I try to appeal is just to talk about results, talk about outcomes. On the one hand, or alternatively, talk about the problem because people more frequently relate to their problem than they do to the solutions. Of course, it’s, we think about, we think in terms of our problems.
Brynne Tillman 09:46
It’s interesting. We recently did a webinar where we shifted, normally we’re education value, education value, education value, and people love it. But we did a little shift and we played with it a little and we did this is what’s broken, this is what’s broken. And people were like, “I was blown away!” And I think because they related to what they were doing wrong. So before we taught what was right, they were like so the value was in talking about what was broken. So…
Patrick Boucousis 10:18
That’s how I came across you, Brynne, right, you’re on that, it was a Phil Gerbyshak videocast and reached out because I was really impressed. It was just sheer value. Right? What, you know, you were just speaking my language. And it was just so refreshing. As I said to you, you know, that it was great. That’s how it should be, you know, I can join the dots and know you’re smart and do all this stuff. You don’t have to tell me that. It’s just by virtue of demonstrating your knowledge and useful tips to me, I get that you’re obviously a person to come talk to if I need some help to do that. That’s the bit I think where most selling and marketing goes wrong. They don’t credit people with the ability to join the dots.
Bill McCormick 11:02
Yeah, yeah, I think we try to market to the least common denominator, you know. And so what ends up happening is we simplify it so much to the point that we lose people’s interest. (Brynne: You think?) I think, yeah, I think we do, or overshare and we overcomplicate it. Yeah, I think there’s a middleground to be played because we either simplify to the point where people are “(whines) yeah” or we give them so much like, you know, we regurgitate so much information. It just flies over their head.
Brynne Tillman 11:42
So is it we, “we,” or we, general salespeople?
Bill McCormick 11:46
I’m speaking in general, I’m not saying…
I’m like ohh no…
Patrick Boucousis 11:50
I much prefer the term enable, to help. I mean, we’re really in the business of enabling or empowering people. You know, there was a study done. I heard about it many years ago, it was done by PWC and I tried to find the study, but they did a study into the difference in credibility between something you find out for yourself and something you get told and apparently, something you learn for yourself is six times more powerful or credible than something you get told. Makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, if a vendor tells you something, well, I would say that, wouldn’t I? Whereas if you find that out by some other means it’s far more credible. And so I think one of the environments we need to set up to sellers is to give people the ability to discover and enable that discovery in terms of how we might be able to help them, which is what you did, bring in your talks. You know, I can join the dots, as I said before, in terms of how you might be able to help me.
Brynne Tillman 12:42
So you know, on our website, we have a Benjamin Franklin quote that says, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” and so you know, that is I love how aligned we are in some of those.
Patrick Boucousis 12:58
Yes, yes. Reminds me of what I ended up with water on the knee. And I went to the doctor and he said, what happens now? He says, Well, you know, we got a saying in the medical profession, “First, you see one, then you watch one, then you do one.” He said, “I’ve watched one.”
Brynne Tillman 13:15
Oh! So you’re the first “do one.”
Patrick Boucousis 13:17
I’ll find someone else to do it then.
Brynne Tillman 13:20
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s hysterical.
Bill McCormick 13:22
Yeah. I remember going to the barber once and the girl it was her first haircut ever on a live person. And I said, “Do it on me because you’re not going to make a mistake. If you make a mistake. I’ll just shave my head and it’ll all be good.” So here in the States, there was a Gallup just came out and said recently that salespeople on the trust meter are just above politicians. And so we don’t have a great reputation for being trustworthy. What are some things that you suggest to your clients, those that you’re coaching, to raise that trust level up and to become, to be seen as more trustworthy?
Patrick Boucousis 14:02
Well, we often talk about building trust. Well, the first thing is you can’t build trust. Okay, trust grows, you create, it’s like a hothouse, you create an environment in which trust grows. Trust is the feeling that occurs in another person in terms of their perception of you. You can’t, I can’t get you and say, “I’m going to make you trust me.” That’s not going to, in fact, just by virtue of saying that, you’re not going to trust me.
So it’s again, it’s this telling the truth, showing up being reliable, and being transparent. And here’s the thing. There’s a concept of the trust default theory, have you heard of that? What it says is that we human beings are hardwired to trust, we default to trust, that’s our natural state. When you think about it, to build communities we had to trust one another. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have survived as a species, right. So Tim Levine at the University of Alabama has done a lot of research on that and it’s interesting. So a default state is to trust. That’s one of the reasons why we’re really quite gullible. We have a lot of cognitive biases as people like Daniel Kahneman pointed out in his studies.
So the thing is, though, we tend to undermine it, though. We tend to lose it. And so salespeople go overboard trying to grow it and just in doing that, you actually diminish it. You talk about how credible I am and look at all the stuff that we’ve done for everyone else, hopefully, building trust but you’re undermining it. The tricky thing about this, though, is the impact on people that you’re seeking to trust is, they’re not aware it’s going on. This is something going on in their lizard brain, they’re processing this and they decide that they like to trust you or not. They don’t suddenly say, “All right, now I trust you.” It’s a feeling that emerges.
And the problem is that we’re salespeople, we operate too much on the conscious level, whereas humans, you know, 98% of the time, we’re on autopilot. And the buyer’s on autopilot, we’re on autopilot, we need to think about what’s going on the impression that we’re creating. And I guess a lot of my training is around that, it’s subtle, in terms of impacting people. Just do the right thing. Show you care, they will trust you.
Bill McCormick 16:04
Yeah, (Brynne: Interesting.) I heard Craig Groeschel says that, you know, people will say trust is earned and mis… — I don’t, I’m getting it wrong but what it comes down to is that trust is given and mistrust is earned. And so, no mistrust is given and trust is earned, I think is the flip side of that. And so I think we come at that level and understand that and we start there. And you know, I said I was on a podcast earlier, you know, we just have to treat people like they’re humans and stop looking at them like a number on our CRM, or prospects, or, because when we look at them as opportunities and we come in and they disappoint us, and they don’t go with us, they don’t choose us, we actually have bad feelings towards them. And when we give that off and it’s not good for us, it’s not good for us as salespeople to do that.
Brynne Tillman 17:01
As humans, it’s not good.
Patrick Boucousis 17:05
Well, if you think of another traditional sales process, right, we have, we talked about, you know, prospects as targets, they don’t see themselves as that. And then we talk about a sales cycle. And that sales cycle is, you know, needs discovery, proposal, demonstration, they’re all stuff that we do to the buyer, instead of talking about a buyer journey, which is as a guide, taking the buyer on a journey.
Now, here’s the thing. That doesn’t fit so well in our CRM systems because we’ve got these set points in our CRM, you know, and we, we increment our pipeline, or a percentage chance at each gate that you go through that we, you’re like a bunch of sheep, you know, we’re putting you through these sets of gates. That’s not how the buyer’s perception is. And I suppose the sales process that I teach is understanding where the buyer’s mind is at in terms of, okay, we’ve grown trust, now we’re starting to collaborate. Now we’re starting to explore their value gaps and what they don’t have, now we’re starting to cooperate and invest, working on a solution with them all in their language, nothing at all about our product.
And I think that’s part of the challenge. I heard a beautiful expression the other day, and I think I mentioned it to you when we first spoke, Brynne. At the end of the day, they want to trust you to help them. They want to trust you to help them make a decision they don’t trust themselves to make.
Brynne Tillman 18:16
Oh, say that again, I don’t know if we talked about that but that’s, that’s really resonating.
Patrick Boucousis 18:22
The buyer wants to trust you to help them make a decision they don’t trust themselves to make.
Brynne Tillman 18:27
Interesting. And so trust, again, that comes in twice into that, right, to trust is so critical. So talk about the things, you need to show up, you need to tell the truth. What was the, you need to…? (Patrick: Be transparent and open.) be transparent, open. So if you haven’t done those three things, they’re not going to choose you?
Patrick Boucousis 18:45
No, no. And, you know, I’ve worked across a number of industries, a whole range of products and services. And I could tell you now, the product or service makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. It just boils down to you as an individual. If they trust you, they’ll buy from you. And, of course, by the way, it works both ways. It also enables you to very quickly qualify, you know, 50% of the sales of salespeople pursue, they shouldn’t have been in any way, they weren’t going to win them. And you can find out very quickly, you know, is this person going to trust me? And as a result, am I going to be able to meet their perceptions of value? No, well, I’m out of here, you know, and you save so much time and qualify much more quickly.
Brynne Tillman 19:26
So I would just want to share, kind of bring this back to digital and social for a second, when you connect and pitch to someone, you are breaking trust. (Patrick: Yes.) Right? That’s a bait and switch. You are breaking trust. The very first interaction you have with them is breaking trust when someone engages with you and you immediately say, “We help companies like you.” You’re breaking trust, I mean, it’s literally de… — it’s going to devastate your pipeline. You think what you’re doing is building pipeline, you’re breaking the pipeline and when someone loses trust in you, you’re done. It’s really hard to earn that back.
Patrick Boucousis 20:12
Absolutely, absolutely. Now, and that’s the interesting thing is, even when you do the pitch, when they asked you to come in and give us a pitch, there are a number of examples of some of the guys I’m working with where the prospect has asked them to come in and give us a pitch, and they’ve immediately started asking questions of the prospect and said, I’m not going to give you a pitch. I’m clueless, I don’t I don’t know whether I can help you or not, can we just have a conversation. They look stunned, and that’s where they went, and they ended up totally engaged. They didn’t miss the pitch but we’re just going to entertain the vendor by giving him the space, don’t take it. So we’re gonna need it. I don’t want to do a pitch. Let’s just have a conversation about you.
Brynne Tillman 20:50
One of the things that we talk about when we run that first call is, and even if they’re ready for the pitch, “Is it okay if I ask you a few questions? So then when I talk about what we do is actually relevant to you?” And they go, Oh, okay, right.
Bill McCormick 21:05
it’s respecting their time. And just to your earlier point, you know when we do that connect and pitch, and we, not only do we, they lose trust in us, but especially doing on LinkedIn, they lose trust in our company because they can see our company, they see who it is we work for. So it’s on a much higher level. So if you’re a sales leader that’s listening to this and your reps, you’ve got them doing this connect and pitch, understand it’s hurting your comp… — the trust that people have in your company, also, I think that’s…
Brynne Tillman 21:36
The bots are also, so we’re getting messages, for example, Bill, I mean, I had you share this, but you got a message that talked about your pest — that you’re in pest control because they scraped content from your profile. I got a message that said, you know, we looked at your profile and recognized that you need some help with LinkedIn. It was a bot, right? Like, there, you know, it looks like you’re not leveraging LinkedIn to its fullest. I mean, that’s the message they sent me. And it’s a bot, right? And, some people are capitalizing their name so they can see what’s being scraped because there’s so, they’re inundated with all these pitches. All of that, it’s not a net-neutral if they don’t respond. Yeah, they’ve lost trust in you. And I can’t scream it from the rooftops, you know, louder.
Patrick Boucousis 22:35
Yeah, yeah. Don’t get me started on bots. And it’s like, chat, you know.I’m sitting there on chat. We have an issue with something, with your telecommunications provider or something with your internet, you’re there on a chat. I’m thinking, you know, I remember this 50 years ago, we had teletype machines, we used to sort of send teletype messages backwards and forwards. Here we are, we’ve got the phone and everything, and for crying out gently, we’ve actually gone back to Morse code, sending teletype messages to one another. I mean, it’s kind of nuts. We’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater here.
Brynne Tillman 23:05
(unintelligible) … to Zoom. From LinkedIn to Zoom.
Patrick Boucousis 23:07
Yeah, you get face to face and that’s the only way you’re going to grow trust, you’re not going to grow trust over a chatbox.
Bill McCormick 23:13
And that’s probably a whole other episode that maybe we can have you back on to talk about automation and trust, and automation and the breaking of the trust cycle. There’s the title of that next one.
Brynne Tillman 23:27
I think there’s a masterclass in there.
Bill McCormick 23:30
Yeah, that would be good. We can just definitely discuss that but unfortunately, we are out of time. This flew by. So thank you so much for sharing, Patrick, if you could just tell everyone how they can connect with you and find out more about you and what you do.
Patrick Boucousis 23:44
Okay, thank you, Brynne. Thank you. So my website is TheSalesNatural.com. As it sounds, one word. You can find me on LinkedIn, you should find me also as The Sales Natural. My name is probably a bit of a mouthful, Patrick Boucousis, it’s B for Bob O-U-C-O-U-S-I-S, and by all means, email me at any time, Patrick@thesalesnatural.com. And I’m also offering some free seats in my, I’m offering a free version of my online training program. So if you want to learn about natural selling techniques, authenticity, and how to grow trust quickly, then, by all means, reach out. This is not a bait and switch. It’s genuine, it’s a paid program at the moment but I’m offering a free version of it. Just getting it, just bringing that to market and just making that available within the next few weeks. So by all means, please reach out to Patrick@thesalesnatural.com
Bill McCormick 24:41
Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. It was so, so good. And for all of our listeners, thanks once again for being with us. And don’t forget this week as you’re out and about to make your sales social. We’ll see you next time everyone. Bye-bye.
Bob Woods 24:56
Thanks for watching and join us again for more special guests and instructors bringing you marketing, sales training, and social selling strategy that will set you apart. Hit the Subscribe button below to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social podcast. Give this video a thumbs up and comment down below on what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com for more information.