Episode 135: Thomas Ellis – The B.U.D. (Better, Unique, and Desirable) Sales Process
Thomas Ellis, the author of B.U.D, The Sales Process That Gets Results, joins The LinkedIn Whisperer Brynne Tillman to talk about the “Better, Unique, and Desirable” process and how it can help you win more clients and build strong relationships with them.
Find out why Thomas believes in always making it about the customer and their journey. He recommends taking time to get to know your client and wow them every step of the way. The goal is to make your prospects know that you genuinely have their best interests at heart. Listen as Thomas shares that the difference between persistent follow-up and an annoying one is a conversation that not only follows up but is also adding value. He also talks about what you can do when a prospect ghosts you despite having a series of great conversations.
Lastly, Thomas gives sales professionals the ultimate advice going into 2023, what you should be doing heading into the next year. Tune in to find out!
Thomas Ellis 00:00
Ever think about it, the world has changed but the processes of selling have not changed. So social to me means we’ve just added some things to this setup process like these zoom calls, right? We’re now doing a lot of zoom calling to present prospects to presentations. So that’s the only thing that’s kind of changed in the last few years.
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices in sales, marketing, and business. Join Brynne Tillman and me, Bob Woods, as we each bring you the best tips and strategies our guests are teaching their clients, so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Enjoy the show.
Brynne Tillman 00:53
Welcome to Making Sales Social! I’m Brynn Tillman, and I am absolutely thrilled with our guests today. This is a man that I have known probably for a decade, maybe we have collaborated on things before we’ve hugged in real life, really a phenomenal sales trainer and coach, an excellent keynote speaker and the author of B.U.D.: The Sales Process That Gets Results. So welcome, Thomas Ellis.
Thomas Ellis 01:28
Welcome, Brynne, it’s a pleasure to see you. Actually, I was just thinking about this… I met you, It’s been almost a decade, right?
Brynne Tillman 01:36
Yeah! And we met on LinkedIn, and it was a few years before we actually met in person.
Thomas Ellis 01:44
Absolutely, absolutely! I’ve seen you twice in person.
Brynne Tillman 01:47
That’s right, and it’s some of my favorite times. I think you’re amazing, and I’m excited to have you here today. (Thomas: Thank you) Before we jump into B.U.D.: The Sales Process That Gets Result. I’m going to ask you a question that we ask all of our guests. What does making sales social mean to you?
Thomas Ellis 02:04
So making sales social means to me, as you know, if I think about it, the world has changed, but the processes of selling have not changed. So social to me means we’ve just added some things to this serve process like these zoom calls, right? We’re now doing a lot of zoom calling to present prospects to presentations. So that’s the only thing that’s kind of changed in the last few years.
Brynne Tillman 02:36
What’s the piece of social when it comes to sales?
Thomas Ellis 02:39
So the piece of social that comes to sales is I love…we use a lot of LinkedIn these days, right? LinkedIn is a fabulous tool, as you know, being the Whisperer of how do we engage with prospects before we initially have those conversations?
Brynne Tillman 02:55
Ah, okay. I love that. I love that. So let’s talk a little bit about B.U.D. Better, Unique, & Desirable, which you have been talking about for many, many years, and now it’s a book. Tell us a little bit about the B.U.D process, why is this what gets results?
Thomas Ellis 03:11
This gets results because, basically, it’s a very easy and simple process, right? It all is about the customer and taking the customer through the journey but more importantly is about making the customer feel special, making them feel want to make it. Listening to them offers them, could advice. We’re not selling them, it’s just helping them solve their problems.
Brynne Tillman 03:41
So what makes that better, unique, and desirable?
Thomas Ellis 03:45
So it makes it better, unique and desirable because, you know, the better part is we want to be better in our preparation before we meet a customer. We need to be better in really understanding the industry that they’re in, understanding the person that we were actually speaking with, and finding out a little bit about them.
The unique part of this is, you know, from the first time we interact with this customer, the very first interaction, we should wow them, and we should wow them, and every step of the way should be a wow.
The desirable, is we all want to work with people that have our best interests at heart and show up on time and do what they say they’re gonna do and always keep the customer first.
Brynne Tillman 04:38
I love it! So I want to go back, so better. I love it better. We all want to continuously get better, and learning, I love you talking about not just learning about the customer, or the buyer but their industry and maybe even their clients and who they’re selling to. So I think that is when we approach them with that better in mind. We are much better. So I love that.
Unique is interesting. So I would like to go a little deeper in the unique side. How you’re standing out, how you’re making. So if you could give us an example or two about how, you know, the idea of unique is great. How do we put that tactically into play?
Thomas Ellis 05:18
So tactically into play is, first of all, we are all unique individuals. That’s the first step. So we need to be authentic, right, but to give you an example of what I mean by unique is, when you are talking to a prospect, and you’re having conversations, and there’s a lag time in between the next conversation, you should be looking for content to send them pertinent to the conversation that you had.
Not necessarily something that you wrote but say you read an article from HubSpot or Forbes, this is “Wow! Brynne would really love this because we were just talking about this.” And you send them that article, and you say, “Brynne, based on our last conversation, this sounds like something you may have an interest in reading.”
That’s what I mean by unique. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get none of those types of email.
Brynne Tillman 06:13
Yeah! And we actually, there’s one… you might like this, we use, we send podcasts with the exact same concept. So we use Listennotes.com and we find podcasts based on those topics. Because not only am I rarely getting the article or the video that reminded me of a conversation we had but now like a podcast, very few people are sharing that and almost every business personally I know loves to consume podcasts.
But here’s our little thing is we don’t just send it. I might say, “Hey, Thomas, loved our conversation on sales results. Recently I listened to a podcast by the author on XYZ podcast. Here are some of my takeaways, let me know if you’re interested, I’m happy to send it to you.”
And that permission base, especially now, if we’ve just had a conversation, it may not be as important but if you’re re-engaging someone that’s been forever since you talked with them, that permission-based is magic because you’re respecting their inbox, it doesn’t feel salesy. It doesn’t feel spammy and so that’s my little add to what you’re saying, but I love what you’re saying. I think it’s awesome. So talk about desire. In dating, we know exactly what desire is but in business, what is desirable?
Thomas Ellis 07:43
It means the same, almost the same thing, right? Because people want to work with people that they are desirable to work with. So what are those traits of a desirable people, right? So one of them is that they do what they say they’re going to do, right? One.
They have impeccable follow-up, every conversation that they have with this customer is about the customer, and it’s not about I need to make this sale. I basically say if this service does what we’ve talked about doing, then you will be apt to purchase the service. So I’m not selling anything, I’m helping them improve a business process.
That’s the desirable thing. Everybody wants to work with people that they desire and the person is really authentic, and they just love talking to that prospect and customer.
Brynne Tillman 08:33
And learning about them. (Thomas: Exactly!) Yeah. I love that. So I think you know, you’re right in dating when you’re dating someone when you ask them lots of questions, they feel heard, right? And it’s the same thing with your prospect. You’re dating your prospects, I love this!
Thomas Ellis 08:49
It’s all about the prospect. You talk about the prospect, not about you, but the prospect. The more you do that, the better off we’ll be.
Brynne Tillman 08:57
I love it! Talk to me a little bit about the difference between persistent follow-up and annoying.
Thomas Ellis 09:04
You know what, I get this question all the time. I work with a lot of clients like this. Well, I said, why haven’t you followed up? And they’re like, “Well, because I don’t know what to say, or I don’t want to bug them. I don’t want to be a pest.” So the first thing I tell them is, “That’s mindset. That’s in your mind.”
If you think that you’re a pest, you’re a pest but to follow up we want to make sure that when we’re following up, we’re following up in a manner that we’re adding value to the conversation. I’m not saying, “Hey, Brynne, have you made a decision on that proposal?” On Monday, then on Wednesday, I’m calling, “Hey, Brynne, have you made it?” I’ve called it. I’m sending you some information based on our conversation that will help you make a decision. I always tell people if in every conversation or email that you send, you’re adding value, you’re never a pest. And my point is being pleasantly persistent. People like to be pursued, but we have to do it in a pleasant manner.
Brynne Tillman 10:03
What are some mistakes salespeople make? Like, “I’m tossing this email back to the top?”
Thomas Ellis 10:08
Or “I’m just checking in.” or “I’m following up on our last conversation.” or, you know, those mistakes, or “Have you made a decision yet?” And all of those pointed questions, you know, that customers get very annoyed at.
Brynne Tillman 10:27
So there’s the big difference. So I love that. I just want to do one more follow-up on the “follow-up.” So a lot of salespeople get stuck here, right? Like what value now we talked about other people’s content. What value can they offer, in a follow-up that doesn’t feel like a pitch, but leads closer to them making a solution? Is it original content? Is it…what works in that follow-up?
Thomas Ellis 10:56
What works? What doesn’t work is your content from your company, propaganda that doesn’t necessarily work. What does work is you find an article where a customer’s maybe using your product or service as giving it a testimonial about it. You know, to say, “Hey, you know what? I found this article, here’s a wonderful…” “I spoke with this guy, the guy mentioned something about what we do.” That could be very, very helpful.
Another one is it could be personal, right? You know, you could have had a great conversation about what they do, like, I’m a golfer, so anybody that talks to me about golfing, you have my full attention.
So if you understand what this person does, personally, you know, find something that you can send them on a personal level, and I like that because people want to buy from the person before they buy from the product and the salesperson.
Brynne Tillman 11:58
That’s awesome. There are so many things that we tend to do that are automatic that, like, here’s my cadence. And typically as salespeople, we don’t slow down enough to really personalize and tailor that to each individual person, and I think what you’re saying is we’ve got to just slow it down, really look at the message that it’s going to human being not a prospect or a lead, and that you’re really just building rapport, where should lead to your solution down the road.
Thomas Ellis 12:32
And I have a perfect example that relates to football, one of my prospects is a huge Giants fan. I’m a huge Giants fan.
Brynne Tillman 12:40
I’m in Giant’s territory now.
Thomas Ellis 12:42
You’re in Giant’s territory, right? So we have lots to talk about. So when the season started, I emailed and said, “Hey, you know, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the Giants is going to be like. I love the ownership, the new coaching…” and he emailed me back saying, “Yeah, yeah,yeah…” So every week we’re talking via email about the game, you know, not about business. “Did you… Wow! This is going well. We’re excited! We have 3,1 4,1 haven’t been that way, in many, many years.” So that’s something that if you know what the customer likes, and you’d like it too, have conversation.
Brynne Tillman 13:18
Yeah, it’s really about building that rapport. What advice do you have when a prospect pre-proposal but when a prospect is sound great on the phone, you’re really excited that there could be an opportunity here, and then they ghost you?
Thomas Ellis 13:32
Oh, the famous “ghosting.” So I had, and this is common, you know, I just, I would advise people to say, “Hey, pick up the phone.” cuz I love the telephone. If you can get them on the phone, you can say, “Hey, Joe, you know, I know we’ve had some great conversations. I thought that it was going in this direction. Obviously, I was wrong, could you share with me why we haven’t been able to reach each other in the last couple of weeks?” or a month or whatever. Okay, that’s a tactic I like using.
Another one. If you don’t feel comfortable calling, send an email, basically saying the same thing say, “Hey, you know, we were having some really great conversations. I thought we were moving forward but somehow things have halted. Is this still not a prerogative for you?” try to reach back out to him or I just send them a simple email that says, “Hey, Joe, is the timing right for us to continue this conversation?”
Brynne Tillman 14:36
I like that! The other thing that we recommend all those things you just said. Do it in a LinkedIn video, go on to the mobile app, click message and all those things that Thomas just said, if you don’t want to do it on the phone and you don’t want to do it in email. Hope on and there’s about a 90% response rate when you send a video.
Thomas Ellis 14:56
Wow! That’s great. I think I’ll start using that.
Brynne Tillman 14:59
Yeah. Oh, It’s amazing. People connect with you as a human. Yeah, so it’s pretty awesome. So I love all these things. If you could give one sales tip to a seasoned professional who’s just sort of, you know, things have changed, they’ve sold or attempted to sell through a crisis, and, you know, things are still not exactly the way they were, nor will they ever be exactly where we were before.
What’s your one big piece of advice to people to really kick it up, particularly as we go into 2023? Like, what should a seasoned sales professional really be doing differently?
Thomas Ellis 15:40
So the one thing I tell people is they have to change their mindset. We have to change our minds, we can no longer think about what we did in the past, that’s not going to work anymore. So they have to be a taboo. Take a weekend to get all that stuff out of your system, and push it and get some new stuff. Just look at what’s going on, right, and say, “If I’m going to be successful, what three things do I have to do differently in 2023?’
And now is a great time to walk through with that process. Look, where you are, look at where you want to be or have to be because quarters are going up next year. Revenues are gonna miss, they’re gonna say they want more so how do I get more and it all boils down to, I, as individual has to change my mindset and come up with a program and plan that’s going to work for me next year and be willing to adapt it on the fly.
Brynne Tillman 16:34
Great advice. Thank you. Well, Thomas, this was amazing. I can’t believe how fast our time went. Tell our listeners, and viewers. Tell them how they can get in touch with you?
Thomas Ellis 16:46
Great, thank you. You can reach me on LinkedIn. Obviously, Thomas Ellis. You can link with me on my website, which is www.tellissalescoach.com and if you want to call, I do answer my phone unless I’m in the training or coaching or something. My phone number is 301-343-0001.
Brynne Tillman 17:13
So can I just tell you how I’ve been reading your website wrong all this time? Yeah, no, this is so funny. I thought it was tellissalescoach.com. (Thomas: Oh, wow, okay.) That’s hysterical. And I see it’s Thomas Ellis, tellissalescoach and I thought it’s tellissalescoach.com. How funny. Well, that was a funny way… Thank you so much for your time and your brilliance. Go out and follow Thomas. Go on LinkedIn and ring his bell so you can see his content. And while you are out and about make sure you are making your sales social.
Bob Woods 17:57
Thanks for watching and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing, sales training, and social selling strategies 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.