Episode 15: Liz Wendling – Stop Using “Phrase Grenades” and Start Creating Strong, Solid Connections
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team are joined by Liz Wendling, president of Insights Business Consultants. Liz believes that sales skills are not optional. Listen as she helps you identify a unique approach, as well as determine processes and techniques that feel most aligned and natural to you.
Liz Wendling 0:03
(Bill McCormick) What does making sales social mean to you? (Liz) When it’s built for them, you tend to use it. I still can’t believe we have to say this, but it’s about slowing down, tapping the brakes, and stop selling, and pitching to someone on the first or second email.
Brynne Tillman 0:19
I love it we say–often say, connecting pitches, a bait-and-switch.
Intro (Bob Woods) 0:27
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices and 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. Here are your hosts, Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 0:53
Welcome to making sales social. I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 0:57
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 0:58
So Brynne, who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 1:00
I am so excited. We have an amazing guest. This is Liz Wendling. She is a business consultant, sales coach, author of six books. She was on the Selling From The Heart challenge. And I was so crazy compelled the entire time. Oh my god, I dropped everything. There were so many golden nuggets. Like I was–it was like being in a Billy Dolt concert for salespeople. I was like; “Oh my god, this is magic!”. And then she agreed to be here. So Liz, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us.
Liz Wendling 01:40
Thank you so much for having me, and Brynne. I’m looking forward to seeing you on the Selling From The Heart challenge.
Brynne Tillman 1:45
Well, I’m excited about it as well, I have to say, go back everyone, and watch that. We’re going to try to bring out some of that magic today.
Bill McCormick 1:53
Tell us a little bit about you, how you got involved in sales, and what it is you do?
Liz Wendling 1:58
Well, for about the last 30 or so years, I’ve been in some form of marketing, business development or sales. And sales really just stuck with me, I felt like I had that knack to take out all the BS, and the garbage, and the old school tactics and processes that are still around today, still being taught, and still being used. And I was able to create a way for me to sell that not only resonated with me, it resonated with my clients. And so over the last 13 years, I’ve been doing that, teaching my clients a way to sell, that helps them to change their approach, their language, and process. But it’s all built on them, not for the masses, it’s who they are and how they want to show up. Not only in their sales conversations, but in the world. And I do a lot of custom work with people, but–truly has to be, you have to own it yourself before you’re able to bring it out into the world, and I help them do that.
Brynne Tillman 2:56
One of the things that’s missing in the sales world, maybe not completely, because a lot of people are working with you. Is being able to show up with an authentic voice. And it sounds like I mean, basically, you know, “sell with authenticity” is one of–like your main phrases, right? And so when you teach a team of salespeople, or even your sales training company that teaches everyone the same script, you lose that. So I love hearing like everyone gets their own voice.
Liz Wendling 3:28
When it’s built for them, you tend to use it. If you’re saying or doing something that doesn’t resonate with who you are. And in the back of your head, you’re going; “Oh, that doesn’t sound like me”, or “I don’t like that”. Then when you deliver that, it doesn’t land on the other person. And there’s this weird energy that’s going on. They don’t know why you look so weird. You don’t know why you feel so weird, and how could you be authentic, when what you’re saying doesn’t come out of you, with–that doesn’t relate to who you are. And all of these weird energy gets thrown into the sales conversation. And people don’t realize or even understand what’s going on here. But this doesn’t feel good, for me, or the other person. And that doesn’t always end in a sale when it feels like that. So to be able to step into your sales conversations, without any of that chatter in your head where you think; “Oh, that doesn’t sound like me”, or “I hate doing that”. Then just a beautiful way to show up and be with another human being in a conversation, that may lead to a relationship, or close business.
Bill McCormick 4:27
Great. So one question we ask every guest that’s on is “what does making sales social mean to you?”, Liz.
Liz Wendling 4:35
I would say that laser targeted prospecting approach and process, and the actions professionals take to intentionally–and that’s the keyword “intentionally” create strong and solid online connections, that lead to–eventually lead to that close business. But it means being social first. I still can’t believe we have to say this, but it’s about slowing down, tapping the brakes, and stop selling-and-pitching to someone on the first or second email. This may be a shock to some people, and you must stop doing it. If you push your products and services too early, that is the quickest way to lose trust, credibility, and opportunities. Slow down, stop pitching.
Brynne Tillman 5:20
I love it, we often say; “connecting pitch is a bait and switch”. (Liz) Oh, that’s good.
Bill McCormick 5:26
And the other one is, slow down your outreach to speed up your outcome. (Liz) drumroll, that’s good. (Bill) So that’s fantastic. So as a sales trainer, what’s like, the top thing that you teach in the real world to your clients, that helps them at the very top of their funnel.
Liz Wendling 5:46
It all starts with, if you can’t get someone’s attention, you’ll never get their business. And it will always be that way. So I tell people, whether it’s online or offline, to avoid the impulse to send boring, bland, and beige messages that sound like everyone else, and they just fall flat. And to focus on the quality. And I know you’ve probably heard this, but many people don’t want to do it, focus on the quality of the message rather than the quantity, and start to step back, and begin to craft messages that create momentum that have some energy in that, that have some meat on the bones, that have some value attached to them. And intention, because you want to send a message that shows that you understand your potential clients’ pains, problems, challenges, issues, and situation. And if you really want to stand out and become memorable, it is about personalizing every communication that you send out, you don’t have to start from scratch each and every time. But you should have a foundational language that comes out of your fingers, or out of your mouth as you’re prospecting. And there’s a big difference between typing out a message, or leaving a message that is written or spoken to, to someone, and not at someone. And so much of the messages that we’re getting, feel like it’s just “written at me”, not truly written, right to me. And with our world filled with some of those messages that are just–there’s just so many of them coming at us. They are generic, and they lacked that personal attention.
Brynne Tillman 7:25
So share with us a couple of tips that can help people to switch from app-to-to.
Liz Wendling 7:33
I would say to avoid–and if they went back in their emails, which I’m going to challenge them to do, avoid that old school language. And those overused phrases, otherwise known as a “phrase grenade”, they throw around like confetti, and everybody’s using the same language. And it’s just ending up in all of their prospecting emails and messages. And these days, prospects are so smart, they are so smart, because they recognize that one size fits, all made for the masses, the moment they receive them. And what they really look like is a–an email, an old school cold call turned into an email, and they sound like: “Hi my name is so-and-so, when I’m with such-and-such, and we’re great at this, or we can save you money on that. We’re the leader in this industry, and we’re the best in the marketplace”. But what a cold call would sound like and then they follow it up with: “I’d love to set up a time to show you how fantastic we are, when would be a good time to talk?”, and nothing screams 1990s quite like that, and leading with yourself, and your company, and your products, and services. And then telling someone what you want to do to them, telling them that you would love to set up a time with them is the quickest way to get deleted. Because I always say that when you tell someone what you want to do to them. That is a command, not a request. If I say to you; “I would love to get together with you”, “I’d love to find a time on your calendar and do a demo”, that’s self-centered. And it’s all about me. That’s not about the other person. So if there’s no request in your email, good luck, getting someone to get back to you. Because you basically just said to them, I want to get on your calendar. I don’t really care how busy you are. I want to find some time to get on your calendar.
Bill McCormick 9:22
The 2000s version of the 90s telemarketer, what they’ve added to it is the guilt factor. You know you get the follow-up email two days later. “So don’t know if you saw my message”, you’re obviously not interested. So I’m going to remove you, well thanks for finally getting the hint.
Brynne Tillman 9:37
The problem is that you don’t, and they keep messaging you, even after they threaten to remove you and get another one. So how do you switch that up?
Liz Wendling 9:48
Communication in business especially now because we’re communicating online now more than ever, more than ever. We’re not seeing a lot of people, truly, human being-to-human being, body-to-body, we’re looking at each other’s whites of our eyes only through a computer screen. So everything we say our communication is a superpower. And when you’re online trying to communicate, you want to make sure that it’s clear. It’s concise. But it’s also direct. Because clear, concise, and direct is powerful. And you only wind up blending in when sending messages and blending into that sea of spammy messages. And I want people to send emails that get someone’s attention, and they land with impact. And the only way you can do that is to spend a little extra time crafting messages that sound like you wrote it for them, not the masses.
Bill McCormick 10:45
Give us a few examples. I love the term “phrase grenade”. Sorry, I wrote that down the other day when I heard you say it, and I was like, Yes, like she gets it. So give a few examples of phrase grenades that people are using in our messaging nowadays.
Liz Wendling 11:00
Okay. And I always preface this by saying, I know they’re using it because I read hundreds-and-hundreds of emails a week, before I start working with a client to get that baseline. What are you doing now that’s causing people to avoid you, and usually, this is what I see. Almost, I’m gonna say 100% of the time, these are what I call “minimizers”. And they actually minimize who you are. When you show up when you apologize. You show up in your apologizing for being you, and for being–doing your job. And you say things like, I’m sorry to bother you. So I’ll be quick or the first line is real quick, you use the sentence real quick, which means real quick, I’m just trying to get your attention because I can’t get it any other way. But you waste someone’s time when you do that. I’m sorry to keep bothering you. Sorry for my persistence. I’m not sure you got the last seven emails, or even starting an email with: “Hey, how are you doing today? How are you? I hope you had a great weekend, I trust this email finds you well”. And any of that stuff that just sets you up. First of all, to be put in the box of everyone else. Typical, boring, and bland, doesn’t make you stand out in any way. And even saying things like I’m just following up and just touching base, reaching out and checking in. We’ve been doing that for 30 years. There’s other words out there, than reaching out, checking in, following up and touching base. And those words have a tendency to feel like, forced, to feel like; “Hey, remember, we were talking about doing some business. So I’m just knocking on your door again”. And what it actually does is it actually makes people back up versus lean in. Because that message sounds like the same message that I don’t know, the 147 other messages in their inbox that say “just want to follow up”, “just want to touch base”, “not sure you got my last email”, “sorry to bother you, try to be persistent”. And it doesn’t help move the conversation forward. And that’s why people have to send another message, and another message and with each message that’s sent, there’s a little hint of neediness. Each time you do that, you amp up the neediness. And that’s how it lands on the other person. You may not think you sound like that, but it does. And when you look needy, they back away.
Bill McCormick 13:14
That’s one thing that salespeople really struggle with; sales professionals struggle with, and I want to unpack it a little bit more. So how do we follow up where we’re leaning in, and we’re not driving them back.
Liz Wendling 13:27
When I teach my clients that you never leave an interaction with someone, or a zoom call, or a phone call, or face-to-face meeting without–not necessarily booking an appointment or having something on the calendar. That’s one option. But I also believe in how you show up in the language you use in the body language and how you communicate to someone about how are you and I going to stay connected? How would you like us to keep our conversation going? You shared with me this is important today? What do you want me to do as you’re going through your decision-making process? I don’t want to be one of those people who just follows up with you with no value. I want you and I to have conversations where the momentum is there, or stay in touch in a way that honors both of us. How would you like us to do that? So now I have a conversation with someone that is of high value, and I value them and their time as well as mine, but it conveys that we’re equal. I’m not chasing you. You and I are now making a decision about how we’re going to move forward. Now is that perfect? I’d say 95% of the time because someone will say, you know what, that’s a really good idea. And then they start telling you their schedule. They’ll say well, I’m going on vacation or I’m good at–I have. I’m going to be at a conference for three days and they tell you exactly when to follow up. It’s beautiful because then when you do get back to someone, you get to use their words: “Hey, John, you and I spoke three weeks ago, and you mentioned today would be the perfect day for us to revisit what we talked about a couple of weeks ago”. And the conversation always stays nice and even. And you never feel like you have to chase someone, I’m just following up, just touching base, because that–those only serve to annoy, aggravate and irritate people along the way. And I think that’s a lot of times where sales are lost because all of a sudden, you showed up as this awesome professional. And now you’re being a little too needy.
Brynne Tillman 15:30
I love that, and you know, we talk a lot about, when we do messages, we’ve made a little shift with some guidance from Andy Foot. I don’t know if you know Andy Foot, but he’s awesome. And when we will say, hey, we’ve got this great piece of content on this, this-and-this, if you’re interested, let me know, I’ll send you a link, versus sending the link. And what happens is when they say; ” Oh, yeah, sure, send it”. They’ve asked for it. (Liz) Right. And so with this follow-up, they’re asking for it. (Liz) Yes. How would you like to follow up? And they tell you, they’re saying I want you to follow up with me that way. And it’s their idea, it’s genius.
Bill McCormick 16:09
There’s an expectation before you end that call, you’ve already got an expectation set of when the next round of communication is going to happen. So as a salesperson, I’m not sending back one. Okay, when should I, and what am I, it’s already set up.
Liz Wendling 16:25
So much happens. somebody looks at you a little differently. They’re like, well, I like that I even had someone say to me, Hey, I’m gonna use that. Can you say that? Again, I want to use that in for–because I was just having a conversation with him. And it was different. It was different enough for him to say, “Oh, I like that. I wish my salespeople talked like that”. And, but there’s so much that happens in that little interaction where you are seen as an equal, and there’s nothing more beautiful in a sales conversation situation, consultation, where they see you as already adding value and no money has exchanged hands yet. Nothing has happened. But they see you as very different from everyone else.
Brynne Tillman 17:10
So we’ve got a ton of prospects that you know, kind of ghosted, gone quiet. 50, a 100, depending on how much you’re working your pipeline, and you miss that opportunity to get them to say this is when I want you to follow up, what is a good message for someone to reignite a conversation?
Liz Wendling 17:31
Well, you can go back and actually say, look, I think I flubbed up or I missed something. And I forgot to ask you this, you know, just kind of call it out and say, I was thinking the other day, or you popped into my head, and I realized I forgot to ask you what you’d like me to do, or how you’d like us to stay connected. There’s always a do-over.
Brynne Tillman 17:50
Oh, my God! That’s so easy and so amazing. I forgot to ask you, how would you like me to follow up with you? Is the most brilliant follow up in all the world.
Liz Wendling 18:01
And then they tell you, and but, when you call it out and say I goofed. Or you know what, when we hung up the other day, I totally forgot to ask you something, then you ask it. And again, now all of a sudden, you’ve elevated yourself back to that all equal position. And anytime you find yourself, they’re here, you’re down here, and you gotta try to get yourself back up to being equal. Watch your energy, watch what you’re typing, watch what you’re saying. Because you will convey a little bit of neediness, like I need this cell, please get back to me, I’ve got a quote, I have a boss breathing down my neck, I got to bring home a big paycheck this month. And people feel that because now all of a sudden your intention is different. Now it’s a little bit more about you and less about them. And that’s how it lands on them. So you might still be wanting to serve them and keep the connection alive. But your words and your energy are conveying something totally different, and then they ghost you.
Brynne Tillman 19:05
Simple genius. I took more notes on this than any other interview we’ve ever done. Believe me, I’m transcribing this.
Liz Wendling 19:13
That’s the thing. It’s like when people say to me, holy crap, this, we switched an email or change something around, and they’re like, this guy got back to me. I haven’t heard from him in four months. And he just emailed me back, because they felt a different person show up whether it was email or voicemail, something shifted in them enough to make them want to call you because you dropped the annoying, aggravating, irritating energy and you showed up more confident, clear and concise.
Bill McCormick 19:42
And that’s that energy piece, you know, and when you said there’s that weird energy and I know sometimes as a consumer, I’ll get just a weird sense about somebody and I’ll be like, no, it’s because, they’re probably, because they’re not coming as themselves. They’re not being their authentic selves and that’s what’s coming through.
Liz Wendling 20:01
Right. There’s that wall that’s up, and you sometimes, you can’t tell what it is. And both parties don’t understand what’s rubbing people the wrong way. But it’s easier for someone to ghost you than To tell you the truth that I don’t like you or I don’t like the way you talk to me or you feel a little needy to me. No one’s ever gonna say that. But people will say–but things like this to you. I so enjoyed the connection we have, I can’t believe I met someone like you. You are, you’re such a great listener, I love the way you treat me. I appreciate the way that you’re interacting with me. I like that you gave me the space to make a decision versus created some kind of fake urgency and got me to sign up when I wasn’t ready. People appreciate that. And I think now more than ever, we’ve got to honor where people are. And realize what’s happening in the world and we have to stop stepping on the gas. And we’ll make more, by doing less, by backing off a little bit.
Bill McCormick 20:58
So good. Well, Liz, thanks for–our time is about up, man. This has been power-packed. I hope you go back and rewatch this. I know I’m going to, I took some notes too. It was so good. So let’s tell everyone, tell our listeners. How can they stay in touch with you, get in touch with you, and continue to learn from you?
Liz Wendling 21:18
Well, they can go to my website and it’s lizwendling.com or please connect with me on LinkedIn, and they can–everything that we talked about today is inside the pages of both of my last books on Amazon, the Sell Without Selling Your Soul, and The Heart of Authentic Selling.
Brynne Tillman 21:33
So go check out–so if they just put Liz Wendling in Amazon, all your books will come up? (Liz) correct. Yes. Mhmm. (Brynne) Great investment. What have I ever been–
Bill McCormick 21:42
Just gonna say. Wow, speechless.
Brynne Tillman 21:44
First of all, I’ve been doing a lot wrong, and I mean I live and die by I hope all as well. He there’s so many little tweaks that can make such a big impact. My biggest takeaway, which by the way, we teach LinkedIn from a perspective of being value-centric, not about you. It’s about providing insights and value. The switch from I’m following up to, I forgot to add like, that’s better. I forgot to ask how would you like me to follow up–
Liz Wendling 22:17
Or stay connected. Don’t even use the F word. How would you like us to stay connected. So the takeaway is, drop all the F bombs, no more follow-up, touching base, reaching out, and checking in. They only signal and trigger resistance, get rid of them completely. They do nothing to move the sale forward.
Brynne Tillman 22:37
(Bill) Wow, (Brynne) my soul is full. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner, right? Like we never had so much. You’re in that euphoria. That’s where I feel right now.
Liz Wendling 22:47
Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me on. I so-enjoy this.
Bill McCormick 22:51
Thank you for having us and everyone out there. Remember, you can join us here for Making Sales Social. Bye-bye. (Liz) Bye.
Outro (Bob Woods) 23:01
Thanks for listening, and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing, sales, training, and social selling strategies that will set you apart. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social podcasts, leave a review down below. Tell us what you think, what you learned, and 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.