Episode 155: Walter Crosby – Critical Mistakes CEOs Make With Their Sales Organization
Author, podcaster, and CEO of Helix Sales Development, Walter Crosby joins our resident host Bob Woods to share some of the critical mistakes CEOs make with their sales organization that stops the company from scaling. Listen and understand what kind of culture an organization should have to stop the right people from living and what you should do as a CEO when your company is in a situation where you need to “tighten the belt.”
Making a decision is difficult especially during a recession. Don’t base your decision based on a “gut” feel. Look at data, Look at the rearview mirror, know what worked in the past and what didn’t work and as you do that make sure to look at yourself in the mirror too, maybe there’s something that you need to improve in yourself as well.
Walter Crosby 00:00
Whether that conversation’s virtual like what we’re doing right now or digital, social media platform or face-to-face like old traditional, our lens is a little different with each one of those platforms but it’s a conversation where we listen, we’re empathetic and we’re a little bit skeptical sometimes where we can challenge our friend or our prospects and our customers about whether they’re really thinking the right way.
Bob Woods 00:26
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.
Bob Woods 00:51
My guest today on Making Sales Social is author, podcaster, and CEO of Helix Sales Development, Walter Crosby. Walter works with growth-minded mid-market CEOs who have the desire and commitment to build a performance-based sales culture. Helix sales development leverages the sales manager or manager within managers. I should say within the organization, teaching them how to direct a successful sales team, create the process, establish positive accountability, and coach with a coaching as a constant management style, which a lot of people don’t do as we all probably know.
Using its proven sales training process helix says that 91% of salespeople rise to the top half of companies they work for within the first year. That’s a hell of a goal. I like hearing that a lot, and speaking of the podcast and the author part, Walters also just published a new book, The 7 Critical Mistakes CEOs Make With Their Sales Organization: That Stop the Company From Scaling! Which is out now on Amazon and we’ll hear a little bit more about that. And he’s also host of the Sales And Cigars podcast, which can be found on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and the major podcasting platforms and we’ll get into a little bit of that too, as well during our show. So, Walter, Welcome, and congratulations on your new book, too.
Walter Crosby 02:13
Thanks, Bob, I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you looking forward to it.
Bob Woods 02:17
This one is going to be fun, as they all are. So let’s go ahead and do this. Our first traditional quest question, we ask of all of our guests is What does making sales social mean to you?
Walter Crosby 02:28
It’s a good question. To me, I think it’s about having a conversation and being able to whether that conversation’s virtual, like what we’re doing right now, or digital in a social media platform, or face to face, like old traditional, our lens is a little different with each one of those platforms but it’s about having a conversation, just like you would with a friend or family member, right? We just have a slightly different objective. It’s to help solve a problem and some of our friends have problems and we have a tendency to want to help them.
Sometimes I have to resist the temptation. When my spouse comes and tells me about something that’s going on, I have to resist, like, well here, why don’t you do this? I just, sometimes you just need to listen, and be able to take that in. So it’s a conversation where we’re listening. We’re empathetic and we’re a little bit skeptical sometimes where we can challenge our friend or our prospects and our customers about whether they’re really thinking the right way. So all those things even socially, my posts, social media is about challenging the way people think sometimes,
Bob Woods 03:38
Yeah, yeah, I like that, especially because if you softly challenge people, when you do that, and you’re still in that conversation, still learning about what it is that they’re looking for. It’s almost like their minds open up to new possibilities at the same time and that’s one of the really great things that I like about social is you can do that, through conversations, you can do that through your content. I mean, there are so many different ways to do that and it’s not really persuasion per se, and you’re not playing Jedi mind tricks or whatever, you’re just finding out more and offering them something that they may not be thinking about.
Walter Crosby 04:15
It’s about listening first, right? I think you’re 100, right? If you’re not listening to that person speak or you’re not listening to that or reading that person’s posts with an open, open mind and open year, then you’re not going to be able to really engage with it and you know, outside of social media, right where there’s or even when some social media, people just don’t have conversations anymore. And they don’t, because they don’t listen, and it’s really about having that. Sometimes it’s an uncomfortable conversation which is ok, if you’re listening, we were talking before about our alumni and some of my best friends are alumni from your Fair institution and we just agree that, you know, we have different perspectives, but I learned stuff from them, and they learned stuff from me, it’s just part of the idea that you just have to listen and really have a conversation.
Bob Woods 05:13
Absolutely! So how does using social work, with what you do for the CEOs and sales managers that I referenced in the intro?
Walter Crosby 05:23
You know, I think whether you’re a CEO or a sales rep, I think we have to acknowledge that there is not one way to go about sales, right? I mean, I hear people saying, cold calling is dead, and social media is dead, and you gotta do it this way. Everything works and everything doesn’t work, right? So do a little bit of everything. I think we need to focus on doing fewer things better but if you don’t have a presence on social media, and we can define social media, lots of different ways, it’s where your audience is and if you’re, if you’re not speaking to that audience, and when I say speaking, I’m not trying to use the word persuasion before and sell them something that’s not the goal. Me it’s about education, being helpful, challenging how they view the world, maybe, from time to time, but when I’m doing social media, I’m speaking to a very specific, what we call a “DOT” an ideal client profile, like the persons that we we want to work with that we feel we can help and other people may hear it and you know, they can reach out to us or they might learn something, that’s all great. But there’s a small group of people that we can work with, and we can help and that’s who I’m talking to and if that resonates, great.
Bob Woods 06:45
Yeah! That’s excellent. That’s excellent. So speaking of social and social presence, and things like that, I’m going to do something a little different today and it’s only because Walter publishes such great content on LinkedIn. So please definitely follow him on LinkedIn, go to his profile, click that follow button, Walter Crosby. So I’m going to draw from some of his recent posts, because he brings up a lot of really good questions and points that are being discussed in sales, sales management, and also hiring of salespeople today, too, so this is obviously not only for people who are managing, but people who are salespeople who want to, you know, kind of slot into that, too. So this is going to be a great conversation.
First off, we’re hearing all kinds of things about layoffs at various companies. It’s just the way things are right now. One of the areas that always gets hit is sales, not only in headcount, but in training and support and Walter has a quote, that I think is brilliant, “Why would you stop resources to improve the revenue machine? It seems counterintuitive, and even crazy.” So Walter, why do you think CEOs, CFOs etc, you know, go through all these actions? And what should they be doing instead with the understanding that their companies are probably in situations where they do need to be doing that proverbial belt-tightening?
Walter Crosby 08:07
Oh, absolutely. It’s a great question and I’m glad that posts kind of resonated, I think, what happens is that a CEO, or senior executive in an organization, it has a gut reaction, like we have we perceive our revenues going to drop recessionary times, whatever the reason is, they’re basing it on gut reaction rather than data rather than looking at what’s really happening. Look in the rearview mirror, what happened the last time we had a recession? What happened in 08, what happened in the 60s, in the 70s, the 80s and 90s? Every decade has a situation? How did you react? What worked? What didn’t work? That’s one way to look at it. Like what have we done in the past that’s working and what have we done that didn’t work?
The other piece of it is they’ll look at their sales organization, the way a CFO looks at it, and because they’re getting data from the CFO, so we got to cut the 15,20, whatever the percentage is that they feel they need to cut. They’re going to cut it from the sales organization, but they’re going to base it on inaccurate, or ill informed data. So not all salespeople are created equal and not all of them are in a role that shouldn’t be doing the same thing. If we’re going to lose a little bit of market share and we know that we’re going to lose market share, then how do we protect those accounts in that market share that we have? But if we have to go out and find new logos, what are we going to do? How are we going to prepare our team to do that? Do we have the right team to do that?
You know, the guys that are been selling accounts that are doing 2 or $3 million a year are your biggest producers. Why are there your biggest producers? Are they just working these large accounts and just recurring revenue and they’re growing it a little bit? Are they out, killing it bringing a new logo? Both are important but when you go into a recession in this scenario, you have to do belt tightening, which one do we want to cut? Which ones do we want to grow? Which ones do we want to support? There’s no easy answer. You got to look at it and you got to look at the data and there’s ways of doing that. That’s one of the things that we can do for a CEO but if they just cut based on top producers, those people are not necessarily find your business.
Bob Woods 10:29
Yeah. Yeah, I like that it is very understandable because they need to be hunting.
Walter Crosby 10:36
Yeah, it depends upon what you need. So if they need to protect the market share, those people have to be there, and maybe cut some of those account managers or farmers who were just handling smaller accounts and we asked everybody to step up and do a little bit more but if you’re going to need to go find new logos and guess what, when you’re in a recessionary time, it’s a great time, if you have good fundamentals, to go out and grab business from your competitors, because everybody’s looking at what they’re doing, it’s easier to have a conversation, of value conversation is going to win, right? You can’t just go sell on price.
So it’s having the right people at the right time in the right roles, and what we’re into right now and where we’re going, I think we still need the same fundamentals. We still need to be able to have the right kind of conversations and be able to message it well and be clear about what our objectives are but if you just make those decisions to cut people without understanding why we’re cutting them, I think that leads to long term problems in a sales organization.
Bob Woods 11:45
So now let’s go to the flip side of that, hiring salespeople in a recession. You recently hosted a webinar on this, and I’m wondering how sales managers in the C suite can hire for and develop not only just a sales team but a recession ready sales team?
Walter Crosby 12:01
Well, there’s a little overlap in the questions. First of all, we should never stop recruiting, we should always be looking for talent, I don’t care if it’s, you know, sit on the bench and keep those relationships going but there are 6% of sales people in the planet, 6% that we consider elite, that are really great at having value conversations or consultative hunt, talk to the right decision makers can build relationships can follow a process, 6%. There’s another 14% that are good. They do a pretty good job. They’re not great, but they’re good, another 20%, that’s above average, depending upon where you put average, the rest you don’t want on your team. I mean, just being honest and straightforward.
So if you’re not always looking to recruit talent, you’re going to run into a problem, because you should be able to go find talent when you need it but to go find talent in a recessionary time is much the same as when we’re having good economic times. It’s just the supply and demand swings, just like it does in every other, like, you know, I was an economics major and that’s one of the few things I remember from economics classes was supply and demand and that sets the price. So we’re going to pay more right now for really good salespeople, because they have lots of opportunities awaiting them.
That’s something that we need to get straight in our head as a senior executive, a comp plan needs to be aligned with the market and it also needs to be aligned with what we want them to do. If we want them to go out and sell new logos, then we should provide the right incentives for that behavior and if we want them to procure new growth within an existing account, that comp plan should do should be aligned with that, but it’s looking for what we need to do, and then going out and finding those people. And you know, we have some tools and techniques to be able to help define that in a candidate.
Our way of approaching hiring salespeople is the first first mistake that people make is that they hire the salesperson the same way they hire an admin, an engineer, a manufacturing person, anybody else in the organization, and I’ve been a salesperson for over 30 years so I can say this, we’re different. We can go sell ourselves, and we’re better at interviewing than a lot of hiring managers or better than a lot of HR people. And we can skew that, that interview and we can write a resume that makes things look well. So if we treat them the same way we treat all of those other people in the organization, you’re going to hire poorly. So let’s figure it out, let’s approach it differently. Let’s approach it with some data-driven, some science behind it. Let’s put together an interview structure that is objective that allows us to truly evaluate candidates from one to the other and ask them all the same questions. Let’s put a little effort into training the people doing the interviews? Because we all bring bias to the party and there’s unconscious bias all over the place.
I graduated with a woman who was at a very large bank, in their HR department and if she got a resume from a candidate who had graduated from a particular university, she would toss it like it never existed. So I mean, that’s more than an unconscious bias, things like that happen. Silly. It’s wrong. It’s unethical, and should be rooted out but that’s one of the things that happens. So we need to spend some time helping our hiring managers and people doing the interviews, to do this with more structure to it, to make sure that we’re creating an objective scoring, right, the idea that we should be trying to disqualify hiring sales candidates is much like what we do with prospects, we’re always looking for the reason this might not work, we’re always looking for a challenge that might occur, right?
Should this person come into my pipeline as a customer as a prospect, my sales pipeline, same idea applies to hiring salespeople, does this person meet a certain criteria along the way? and, you know, they’re kind of inside baseball is we don’t sell the job or the company until the very last meeting, we asked the CEO to come in, and whoever the senior executive is going to be part of that process. That’s when they come in and sell it, they sell the culture, they sell the role, they sell the company, they sell all of the things that are, are there during the early process, were trying to root out why this person might not be successful, do they have the criteria that are going to haunt build those relationships? Whatever is important. So I think that’s a fundamental difference from our approach to sales hiring to the traditional methods.
Bob Woods 17:09
Okay, good. That’s interesting, that’s fascinating. So let’s go from hiring to retention, especially in this day of, you know, quiet quitting, and people just saying, you know, “see you, would want to be you” what do you tell the sales manager or C level type who is losing people? And they’re like, “I’m losing so many people, I’m losing good people.” How do these companies retain those people?
Walter Crosby 17:37
I think the first thing that they need to do, and I had this conversation last week, with a CEO of a mid-market company, it’s a Go grab a mirror, a very uncomfortable conversation for the CEO. Why are they leaving? That’s what you have to understand. You get a certain amount of information from an exit interview. You really got to understand your culture. You have to understand the people that are working with you and we’re talking about salespeople, so the people that are doing well, we can ask them, you know, what working, what’s not working, but it’s understanding your culture. And if that isn’t aligned, and I don’t care what your culture is, right? If it’s all real competitive, and you know, just that whole, capitalistic kind of thing, or if it’s more, like, Let’s everybody get along, and let’s all be, you know, big team player, right, either end, we got to understand that and we got to put the right people that are going to fit that culture into the organization.
If you’re losing people, are we losing the wrong people to the right people? That’s a question to ask. Sometimes we just need bodies, which is a terrible situation to be in. But sometimes that’s the case. So you got to really look at what your culture is like, and a company culture and a sales culture. They need to be congruent but they’re not exactly the same. I want a sales meeting, when I go in, I want it to be loud, and a lot of energy, people calling each other out. And I also want it to be like that big, you know, big Italian family, right? dinner on Sunday. There’s a lot of yelling and screaming, a lot of hand motions, everybody’s excited. But nobody, nobody gets to pick on somebody else on that, at that table. They come together as a family.
Sales team needs to have an element of that where they kind of lock arms and you know, protect each other internally and externally. We work together, we’re competitive, but we’re a team, right? That takes a special type of leadership and it takes a special type of management, you have to have alignment with your comp plans. You have to have alignment with the right expectations. So to you know, circle back answer your question. I think it’s about really being reflective about what we have? Is there alignment? Are we asking people to do the right things? Are we measuring them on the right things, the right metrics? And did we tell them that? but you know, from a culture point of view, the big mistake I see often is that they don’t connect the dots for the salespeople, or anyone else in the organization. They have this big flowery story about what culture is like, but they don’t help the individual understand what they can do every day, every week to be part of that, and to be helpful. Hope that answers your question.
Bob Woods 20:29
Yeah, yeah, it does. So is that a function of just general communication? Or more training specifically? Or where does that part come from the “connecting the dots” parts or should it come from?
Walter Crosby 20:41
It needs to start at the top, the CEO needs to be able to explain the vision and the strategy as to the whole company, and then the leadership group and the management group, they need to be able to tell the rest of that story. “So Bob, the CEO, said A, B, and C. So this is how we’re going to achieve that in our roles in our department, these are the things that you have the ability to do, you can make this decision with that customer, when they have this problem, you get to make that decision because it’s part of our core values, it’s part of our culture, it’s part of our mission.” That little piece right there of being able to help that individual understand some of its communication, some of it is built for that person to believe that they can do that, right. So they have to be able there’s trust there on you know, trust is a two way street, it doesn’t get fixed by flipping a switch but if you don’t start working on it, and you don’t start to address it, and don’t start the lead truly lead, the problem is going to continue.
Bob Woods 21:45
Okay. Yeah, that’s something that’s something. So I’m going to shift gears just a little bit in one of your recent LinkedIn posts, you start out with a line that just resonates with me, like you wouldn’t believe “I never get an ROI from training people.” So here at Social Sales Link, we’re sales trainers ourselves, we hear this all the time, you advocated different ways of doing training, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about that?
Walter Crosby 22:12
It’s the last thing we do. Literally, some people in the sales improvement space, sales development space, lead with it, we just need to do training because what does that do? It allows the VP of sales or the senior executives to say “I’m doing this, I’m providing them training” it sort of allows them off the hook?
Bob Woods 22:33
Yeah. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking when you started saying that. Yeah!
Walter Crosby 22:37
So what I’ve seen. I saw this a couple times earlier this year, the salespeople went to training last year, and it didn’t work. “Okay. Well, tell me a little bit more about that.” So they sent 10 salespeople to training over the course of a six month program, nothing wrong with the training, nothing wrong with the, with the way they delivered it, it was all fine. So you know, was the sales manager able to help the salespeople with the training? “Oh, we didn’t send her to the training!” Well, this is for salespeople. What do you think the sales manager’s job was right? Is what I’m asking, you know, sales managers should spend 50% of their time coaching, some form or the other.
So there’s this idea that training is “checking a box and I did it.” You know, we spend billions of dollars in training throughout the year, and a huge percentage of it is sales training. So to address your question, Bob, I think we need to understand our culture, we need to understand what we’re asking our people to do to ever give them the right training, have the CEO and the senior leadership team deliver what they’re responsible for to the sales organization. And those are things like the story that we’re trying to position ourselves as. What’s the company’s position in the marketplace? Are we price driven? Are we premium offering, offering at a premium price? How do we differentiate?
CEOs and senior executives hire salespeople to think that they’re going to figure all this out themselves? I disagree. I think it’s the responsibility of the company to say this is why we’re different. So I think that is a big, big piece of it. Understanding if we have the right pieces in place, do we have the right culture, right, because some companies like they look at salespeople as free labor, or they look at salespeople as, you know, these people that just go out and play golf and go to lunch and do all these things. And not to say that bad salespeople don’t exist, but there’s a lot of good ones out there who have to fight through getting a deal through the building. Getting through the front door is a fight and then getting it out the back door to get delivered to a customer is sometimes a bigger fight. And if that exists in your organization, then you have a barrier to success and that needs to get corrected.
So we look at all those things. Do we have the right managers in place? Do they know how to coach? Do they know how to manage or is there accountability in place? Because if you go do training, and the manager doesn’t know what the training looks like, They don’t know how to hold people accountable, and they don’t know what to hold them accountable to. And you don’t have a good way of measuring all of this. We don’t have a clear process for people to follow as a salesperson, the training is going to fail. So let’s get all of our house in order first, and then deliver training to the right people at the right time with the right methods.
Bob Woods 25:21
Yeah, yeah. It seems to me that I mean, you know, and just listening to you kind of an overriding theme through the answer to every single question that I’ve asked has been culture. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah and, and I mean, and that execs not only have to understand that there needs to be a culture, but they need to build that culture too.
Walter Crosby 25:43
They’re responsible for it. And that’s the unpleasant truth. I’ve been a salesperson, 30 plus years, and I’ve worked for some great guys and gals that really meant, well and some folks who just were just miserable people who hated salespeople, right? They saw us as a necessary evil, and they treated us as such but that CEO is responsible for whatever is there, and they have to, they have to try to change that. And if they’re not aware of it, there’s no way to change it. If they don’t care, you’re not going to change it, if they don’t see the value, that it ties everything else together. If you have this ability to communicate honestly and openly, and you have a culture that allows for people to say, “that’s, that’s crap. I don’t believe that” and be professional, but to share people’s real thoughts and to feel like you’re going to be heard. I think that’s important for everything else to work. So that post you refer to me, there’s really a question, right is to people like, if you spent 10s of 1000s of dollars on training, and you didn’t get an ROI? Well, it’s common. Maybe we should look at why, maybe you should understand what’s causing that to fail and do it differently next time. Yeah, it isn’t. Just check the box.
Bob Woods 27:00
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly because otherwise, you’re just throwing money out the window. So we’re gonna get to your book in just a minute but first, just a quick overview about your podcast sales in cigars, which, by the way, I had the honor of being on several months ago and had a great conversation back then this is obviously a great conversation, too. So while you and I know all about this, Walter, how, how does sales in cigars? How do those concepts which a lot of people may go? I’m not sure I get this? How do they go together
Walter Crosby 27:35
To conversation? Every once in a while, you’ll have a cigar. So you appreciate what I’m saying? And not everybody does? And that’s okay. It’s perfectly fine.
Bob Woods 27:44
It’s more of a mindset, I think, you know, I mean, it doesn’t have to be cigars, it doesn’t have to be libations. But when you do, when you come in with that type of mindset, that it’s just relaxed, and you’re just going to have a conversation. That’s, you know, you can almost put “cigars” in air quotes, I think, because it really is, like you said, all about conversation.
Walter Crosby 28:05
Yeah, there’s definitely a slant to it and you know, the logo and the tags and all that are tied around it, but I’m speaking to a particular group of people, but in general, I’ve had lots of people on, I asked one, the same question to everybody at the end, right. It’s the only one programmed question. And it’s like, “Do you have a relationship with cigars?” It’s awesome because I’ve had people on and it’s, “Yeah, I hate them. They make me sick. I don’t want anything to do with them.” Just happened once or twice. Not a lot. I’ve had a lady that was a super smart, high level executive in marketing, who I thought I was going to ask that question too and I would have got that answer. And her response was, ”I’m not a regular cigar smoker but here” she holds up a cigar that was 18 years old that she had saved. It was still smokable, It was just 18 years old. It was from a wedding, they had a cigar for their wedding that had their names on it and the date. And that was like part of her relationship with cigars because she’s held on to this because her husband and some of the family members, right. So it was a memory for her.
I’ve had people tell me about, you know, they don’t like cigars, but the smell of a cigar reminds them of their grandfather. So there’s a memory component to it that makes this personal but to me, cigars are contemplative, you know, I usually have when I’m thinking about something, and want to contemplate an idea, trying to be creative, and usually a pen and a notebook are involved for me but to me, it’s all about just having a conversation which goes to sales, because sales is just a conversation is where we started. And cigars can be an element of that or not just like so. But it’s trying to have fun with it and try to have a conversation and try to make people think a little differently about whatever the topic is.
Bob Woods 29:53
Yeah, definitely. Let’s move to your book The 7 Critical Mistakes CEOs Make With Their Sales Organization: That Stop the Company From Scaling! So what drove you to write this book? Did you sit down and go, I mean, that only came up with this concept because you’re coming at it from a very specific standpoint, it seems like but you know, just what was the thought process behind that.
Walter Crosby 30:15
I was talking to a friend of mine who I had on my podcast, and before the podcast, he’s like, you know, you should write a book. I shouldn’t, I don’t have time to write a book. So here’s the reason for it but when you really think about it, now that I’ve gone through the process, and quite frankly, we’ve been talking about the book for the last 30 minutes, yeah, all of the things that we discussed are in the book. So I was having the same conversations with people over and over, whether it be Chief Revenue Officer, Sales Director, sales, VP, CEO, visionary, entrepreneurial founder, whatever, I was having the same conversations with them on a regular basis.
So writing the book was relatively easy, because I’ve been having those conversations for the last 10 years. So it was just putting them down in a format that made sense that I need a little help and structure with, but I’ve had a couple of people who have every reason in the world to be honest with me about it, who’ve read it and they’ve said that, you know, there’s a lot of good stuff in there and you’re right about x and y and it was easy to understand, which is what my goal was, is to be helpful. It’s a short book that was written to be helpful to people and the guys that helped me write it and that’s how they refer to it is a “Shook” Short, helpful Book. And it was relative, it was fun. Not every day, but it was fun I put together, but like I said, we’ve been talking about it. Every part of our conversation was touching on one of those elements that CEOs struggle with.
Bob Woods 31:56
Yeah, that’s something, that’s something that’s cool. So, we love those one thing you can do right now takeaways type of thing. So I would say probably, especially drawing from your book of the seven critical mistakes, which one’s probably the worst one, and what could someone do to avoid that?
Walter Crosby 32:16
So that’s one of those questions that make you think right? And how do you make a good question is, indeed a good question. I think there’s a fundamental piece that a senior executive could really focus on, and that they’re better at it than they realize. And if they just take a moment to think about it, and contemplate, and that’s differentiating their company, their offerings from their competitors, and it’s all that is, is telling a story. And that’s why CEOs can be good at this, because that’s part of their role is to tell the story, whether it be their leadership team, the Board of Directors, if it’s publicly held to, you know, analyst, whoever they’re their spouse, or trying to convince them to go spend a bunch of money to start a company, right?
They’ve told the story, they know how to do it. So why? And it goes beyond just differentiating your it’s not features and benefits. Nobody cares like, why does this matter to your prospect? What problems does that solution that you’re offering that product, that service? What problems does it solve? and being able to talk about those outcomes, that’s what differentiates a company is being able to talk about what you do without talking about the widget or the service. So you know, that problem that you have, right? And don’t ask them what keeps you up at night? Because you should know.
Bob Woods 33:37
I hate that so much. Yeah, yeah.
Walter Crosby 33:39
Is this kind of thing a problem for you? “Well, yeah, we’ve been struggling with that for years.” But what if you could do something like this? Well, how is that possible? It might not be here. But let me ask you a couple of questions, right? And now you’ve got their attention because you understand their problems, you understand what they’re going through, right? We got that’s the conversational part, right? And you listen to them. And it’s like, I don’t know, yet, I think I might be able to help you, right. And then eventually you talk about your product but in the beginning, you’re only talking about the product in the sense of the outcomes that you create, the solutions, you provide the problems that you solve.
And the CEOs think that their salespeople know how to do that. 6% of them are pretty good at figuring that out. 14%, they can do it If you give it to him, the rest of them, they got to add help, you got to give it so it’s got to be congruent with all your marketing, the messaging has got to be the same but if CEOs and visionary leaders can really tell that story, and help break it down, they would have so much more success, just that, culture is important. Management is important. The right metrics are important. But if you’re not able to differentiate yourself, like why you why now, you can’t answer those questions. You probably shouldn’t be in front of those people.
Bob Woods 34:54
Yeah, so that’s a powerful way to wrap things up if people want to learn more by Your offerings where can they go?
Walter Crosby 35:02
Well, the books on Amazon, I don’t know if anybody’s ever heard of Amazon, but they can go to Amazon
Bob Woods 35:07
Yeah it’s a company, yes.
Walter Crosby 35:09
They can type in my name or the seven critical mistakes and it’ll show up. If somebody wants a copy of the book. Since you and I are old friends, and you do a lot of good work. If somebody that’s a listener of your podcast and they want a copy for free, if they ping me on LinkedIn then I’ll send them a copy for free.. No strings attached. They can just, the idea is to help.
Bob Woods 35:37
Yeah, very generous and it’s Walter Crosby, just in case you forgot and then sales and cigars are also on the major platforms, as they say.
Walter Crosby 35:47
Anywhere you find podcasts, you can find “Sales and Cigars”
Bob Woods 35:51
Chances are, if you’re listening to this podcast on a platform, you’re gonna find Sales and Cigars as well in that exact same spot, which I won’t list because God knows how many platforms are going out to any more. And then your company’s website.
Walter Crosby 36:06
helixsalesdevelopment.com which is also where you can find the podcast and access to my LinkedIn and all that. So there’s a few tools there too, if somebody’s interested in learning a little bit more, we’re not for everybody, we want to provide value and the thing I usually tell a senior exec is if if I can’t help you, I’ll tell you, and I’m more than likely, I know somebody who can. We’re not gonna waste time.
Bob Woods 36:32
Yeah, no, I hear that. So with that Walter Crosby, sales performance expert, author and podcaster thank you so much for joining us today. Appreciate it.
Walter Crosby 36:42
This was a lot of fun. I had this circled on my calendar right after the last football game I watched but this was just as much fun as I had anticipated. So thanks, Bob.
Bob Woods 36:58
Good. Good. Good. I’m always very, very happy to hear that. And I want to thank you for streaming this episode of Making Sales Social. So remember, when you’re out and about this week, or whatever week it happens to be? Be sure to make your sales social.
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