Episode 31: Richard Rothstein – Why It Pays to Be Client-Centric: Providing Value and Letting It Come Back to You
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team are joined by Richard Rothstein, CEO of Rothstein Consulting.
Listen as they discuss strategies on how to provide and lead with value as a sales professional, and why it’s all about valuing the people you’re helping and letting that come back to you.
Richard Rothstein 0:00
I’m very much an inbound methodology kind of person about making very client centric, and making it all about being real people, and I think that’s at the heart of making sales social, whether it’s literally on social media or not. It’s about being a person, providing value, leading with value, you know, valuing the people you’re helping and letting that come back to you.
Intro (Bob Woods) 0:28
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. Here are your hosts: Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 0:54
Welcome to making sales social. I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 0:57
And 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 Richard Rothstein here. We’ve been connected probably for about four years. We originally met through Fred Diamond’s IES, Institute for Excellence in Sales, where I presented. We’ve been kind of buddies on LinkedIn ever since, and I’m really excited, because he brings a whole another nother level of conversation that we haven’t had on the show yet. So welcome, tell everyone a little bit about you.
Richard Rothstein 1:28
Thank you Brynne. Yes, I am Richard Rothstein. I’m the CEO and founder of Rothstein Consulting, and so for now, gosh, like 20 years, I’ve been in this crazy sales, marketing, you know, boots on the ground management world doing all kinds of different stuff. These days, Rothstein Consulting is a growth agency. So we help our clients, which are a lot of professional service organizations, like accountants or lawyers, and also high growth startups. It can be SaaS, or you know, anything else that’s pretty disruptive in the field and has some cool new take on something. But we help them avoid the three biggest mistakes you make when you’re looking for growth, and that is your sales processes, your marketing programs and your recruitment efforts, and so we come alongside them, we make sure that they don’t make those mistakes and can manage their growth really well.
Brynne Tillman 2:20
Awesome, and what I learned from you a little bit, and I don’t know if we’re going to go in this direction a little while, as you’re emailing cadence. Yeah, it’s a little bit different than other people in this space. But Bill has a question for you before we go there.
Bill McCormick 2:36
Yeah, and so I think that’s the direction we will go in, I love that direction. But first Richard, we asked every guest the same question to start out: What does making sales social mean to you?
Richard Rothstein 2:46
So I’m very much an inbound methodology kind of person about making very client centric, and making it all about being real people, and I think that’s at the heart of making sales social, whether it’s literally on social media or not, it’s about being a person providing value, leading with value, you know, valuing the people you’re helping and and letting that come back to you.
Bill McCormick 3:09
I love that, and so I’m very interested to hear now–how you do that with an email cadence, because honestly, I get emails every day. So my LinkedIn name is Bill McCormick, and I have a common, then I have an industry designation leftover from my promotional product years of Massey MSI. I can’t tell you how many emails I get better to Massey, so talk a little bit about this email cadence.
Richard Rothstein 3:34
Yeah, so definitely, I am as big a downer on automation on LinkedIn, as you guys are, I hate it. In fact, I actually have a special character in front of my name with a space, so that I can second help see that a little bit of like: “Oh, okay, I’m not star. My name is Richard, so thanks for playing, go over there”. But with email, you can do a lot better job of personalization, you know, then a lot of people do now, and certainly, there are people that do this badly, right? But the whole point of, and I’m kind of going to talk about sales automation in general, the idea of not just it being an email cadence, or a sale, or a phone call cadence, but it being one big sequence, right, and so I use HubSpot personally. Certainly other tools can do this, but you know, I’m a HubSpot service provider, and so that’s part of what I set up for my clients is one of the cool things is when you’re calling through somebody, you can kind of create a list and say, you know, similar what you guys do when you’re working your LinkedIn stuff, right, is you take the take the list, and you do an Excel sheet, well, you know, in HubSpot, you kind of break down your database and say: “Okay, well, I’m gonna call through this segment”, and then you can say: “Well, if I didn’t get through on the first call, then I put somebody in a sequence”, and so I don’t know how deep you’ve gone into this with your clients, with your show here. So the numbers are that it takes at least eight, eight attempts to contact somebody. It used to take like 3.8974 something long like that. But basically you just take 4,(Brynne) sounds like pi,(Richard) right? Yeah, it used to take four in 2017. So in four years, the number of minimum contacts, attempts you need to be making has doubled. I don’t know about you, I’ve been in sales for 20 years, that makes me gulp a little bit. Because if I want to get the same amount of results, I don’t have the ability to do double the amount of work and double the amount of contacts. Okay, the good news is, is that with technology, you don’t have to, you can create it, you can create a system, I wouldn’t recommend doing this all email alone, I recommend an integrated approach where you have a system I know HubSpot does this, there are other CRMs that do this. But are created, kind of an automation kind of thing, where you have a sequence, where it feeds you, it says: “Okay, today, here are your tasks, you need to call these people”, and then once you let the system know you made the call attempt, then the next day, it knows to send an email, right, and so you do this, you can set this up for your eight attempts.
Brynne Tillman 6:13
Which is “sales loft” to do that.
Richard Rothstein 6:17
Right, it’s a similar kind of idea, but you know, and that’s kind of, I think, the way that, you know, I’ve been able to be successful these days. I mean, look, I used to be, I used to hit those phones hard, like, back when it mattered, back when people were like: “Whoa, you did that manually?”, you know, I did 150-200 dials a day. But the problem is, it doesn’t really matter that much anymore, because it’s about how you’re getting a hold of people. Because, you know, that’s what makes it important, and that’s a mix too, is because if some people don’t respond to your email, some people don’t respond to your, you know, your phone calls. Somebody, they’re gonna respond to each, and you know, the cool thing about when you have like a sequence of tasks instead is, you know, there are all these different methods that you can get ahold of people now, and you can’t necessarily truly automate them. But you can have lists of tasks and reminders that tell you: “Hey, today, actively poke this person on LinkedIn. Today, text this person”, now text is a bad example of that, because you can’t automate that into a system like a HubSpot. But you know, something like LinkedIn, I wouldn’t recommend that.
Brynne Tillman 7:17
There are a lot of automated texts now.(Richard) Yeah, there are. I’m saying, Jeb, one firm, for example, I think I got a text today from I see: “Neva, Jeb is texting me”.
Bill McCormick 7:27
Yeah, so I think what I hear you saying is it’s okay to automate a structure, but not the messaging so much. So what you’re saying is, what you’re being pro–you’re being proactive in creating a structure and a cadence, that’s multifaceted, multi channel, multi platform, because not everyone responds the same way.(Richard) Right,(Bill) and we need to contact and communicate with our clients and our prospects, how they want to be contacted and communicated, not how we we care to, you know, Brynne may want to reach out to someone on LinkedIn, but if they don’t use LinkedIn regularly, that may not be effective, I may want to call someone, but if I’ve got their business phone number, and it doesn’t ring through their cell, and they’re working from home, which almost everyone is still doing, then that’s not effective. So here’s my next question: In the messaging, how do you stand out from the other 15 or 20 messages I get every day, emails I get every day, that say kind of the same thing, like: “We help companies just like yours”.
Richard Rothstein 8:34
Right, so, and that’s important, that’s where segmentation really comes into play. So for instance, for me, actually, part of what kicked off this whole process here is, at the end of last year, I made a major effort to do a better job of segmenting my database, right? Shoemaker’s Children, you know, didn’t have shoes, right. So segmented, and I created a segment up there that was, you know, I created a special field, so that I could, you know, look at that, and it was basically, what kind of contact were you, right, were you a startup, were you an accounting firm, were you somebody who could be a good referral partner, and of course, Brynnelanded in my referral partners pile. So one of the things I did you know, that I’m still doing actually, is I did, I’m doing exactly what I’m talking about, right? I have a big list of work and it was like 500 people. So I first shot out a couple of marketing emails to them, and you know, based on how that segmented out, I want to create a list of like, something like 150 people to just dial through, and when I didn’t get a hold of them, I would put them in one of these sequences, that then had, you know, eight touches after it, through various means. Brynne picked up, you know, but so that’s–(Brynne) Who knew!(Richard) I know, and then we had a good call, with golf from that. But one thing that’s interesting is, you know, I had her in those, but I fully expect her to not pick up and for me to go: “Oh, you know what, let me reach out to her”, I’m like that, because, you know, she’s, you know, the queen of social selling, right, and there are other clients that I have that never pick up their phone, but we’ll have like, a half hour long conversation with me on text. You know, there are other people that the phone is the only way to get a hold of them. So, you know, yeah, and some people actually–there was one guy who was talking to you for a few months on Facebook Messenger. He wouldn’t pick up the phone with me, he picked up the phone once or twice, but he and me, are like, talking on the phone, he didn’t like doing email, you know, it was Facebook Messenger. So you never know, and you know, you do have to have that variety of ways to do it. But it’s about personalization, right? If I was sending something to Brynne, I would want to make sure that I looked at that email sequence and said, where are some things that I can kind of inject little personal things that I know about Brynne, that are helpful, and some of this you can–you’d be surprised how much personalization, you can automate, based on what level of based on what information you put in your database, what fields, that kind of thing, because at the end of the day, the automation, the personalization that people are looking for isn’t necessarily just, you know, this is specifically targeted at Brynne Tillman, and I know specific things about her personal journey, because I’ve talked to Brynne for hours, they want to know specific things about their problem, and problems are surprisingly common. You know, if you’re in a particular industry, you know, you probably have the same problem. So, with just a few pieces of not information that is more common knowledge, you can create a deeper sense of personalization, as opposed to a bigger, wider thing. You know, if for instance, with this list of referral partners, I didn’t just say: “Hey, let’s talk some time”, right? I said: “Hey, based on what I know about you, I think we could be good referral partners. How can we talk about building each other’s business?”.
Bill McCormick 11:51
So that list of 500 that was mainly referral partners?
Richard Rothstein 11:55
Yeah, that was all people that–they weren’t existing or for partners, or people I’d met through networking, or whatever, that basically, they didn’t fit any of my, you know, they were kind of more centers of influence to use the networking term. They weren’t people that I thought fit like, direct fits for me to go after.(Bill) Into a prospecting funnel.(Richard) Exactly, but there are people that I thought I could leverage to add more to my prospects.
Bill McCormick 12:18
So two questions I have, because Brynne hasn’t gotten to ask anything yet. But this is fascinating to me, so out of 500, how many would you say that you actually got through and reached, and had a substantive conversation with?
Richard Rothstein 12:35
So far, that number is probably close to 50 or 60.
Bill McCormick 12:41
Okay, and that’s great numbers, and it’s ongoing, right?(Richard) Oh, yeah, yeah,(Bill) it’s just going to go up.(Richard) Right, absolutely,(Bill) and just for the audience, your win here? What was your win? What would you consider a win with each of these calls?
Richard Rothstein 12:58
So a win to me would be somebody who had not heard from me for a while, or did not remember me, and all of a sudden, I was top in mind for them to recommend to other people. Now, I mean, bonus points if they can, if they’re like: “Hey, yeah, let me refer you to blank and blank”, you know, if they have people immediately, they’re like: “There’s some people I can send your way business wise”, you know, bonus points. But I’ve gotten all kinds of cool benefits from this, right. Like, a guy’s doing my website right now for free, that I talked to, there’s an ad platform that wanted me to try them. I know, there’s an ad platform–
Brynne Tillman 13:31
Going through that now, and it’s definitely not free.
Richard Rothstein 13:35
No. No, I was like: “You want to do that for free? Okay, dude”, and he’s like: “Yeah, I know you know lots of people, that would be good clients for me, and I know you talk, I’ll do yours for free and you’ll tell the world about it”.
Bill McCormick 13:47
And that’s smart, so I think it’s safe to say that in this case, a win for you is having a conversation, right?(Richard) Yeah, yeah, definitely,(Bill) and so the takeaway is that, yes, it takes them a little bit more work to segment them to do that. But you’re getting much better results, and I’ll–go ahead Brynne.
Brynne Tillman 14:08
Slow down–yeah, you’re reading my mind. So yeah, so ultimately, what’s happening and this is something we teach it, and Bill is like: “I’m not gonna say it, because Brynne wants to say it so badly”, which is, you know, what we teach with LinkedIn and the outreach, in order to really customize and tailor the experience. “You need to slow down the outreach, to speed up the outcome”, and so you know, what you’re saying is awesome, and I’m also hearing that, you know, there are different levels, right, there’s templated stuff that’s just going out, highly custom stuff that you’re typing every time, but then there’s this piece in the middle that’s tailored, right, like it’s a template with fill in the blank here, so they know that, that this is about them, and I think that’s where the magic lives. I don’t know that we’ve ever talked about it exactly like that, but I do think that there are these three ways of messaging, and you’re falling right in this sweet spot, and you don’t have to recreate it every time. But make sure that there are things in there that they know, this was not a bot sending you a message.(Richard) Exactly, right.(Brynne) Yeah, so I love that.
Bill McCormick 15:23
So fun that, if I’m a sales professional that’s listening right now, whether I’m part of a team, maybe I’m a sales leader, maybe what’s going into my mind is: “Yeah, but there’s all that work upfront”. There’s, you know, that segmentation that–now get granted if they have a CRM, that’s been done for them. But what’s your advice to someone who maybe isn’t using a CRM right now?(Brynne) We have one.(Bill) We have one, but the chief sales officer doesn’t use it. What’s your advice for–(Brynne) not yet,(Bill) full disclosure, I’m being transparent.
Brynne Tillman 15:57
Right, so it’s new. We’re working our way into it.
Bill McCormick 16:01
So what’s your advice to me, about how to go about doing that in an orderly fashion?
Richard Rothstein 16:08
So first, I would say, Bill, shamey-shamey, okay. My number one advice to anybody who isn’t using a CRM in 2021, is do it. Like, these tools aren’t hard, I mean, there’s a free version of HubSpot, there is literally no reason for people to be working through spreadsheets, and giving themselves headaches, and trying to crunch this stuff themselves. Okay, there are fairly advanced tools, fairly cheaply available now, that are well worth it.
Brynne Tillman 16:38
We paid and we have one that’s lovely, right, and we’re going to use it. So here, I’m going to just, on a side note, because this is something that we need, we have a full-time project manager, who is going to keep us honest, and every day, who’s new in your pipeline, let’s add them in. So we recognize our gap and we know we have–so our project manager launches all our clients, we have a pretty good system in place for, we have a great system in place for client launches, and onboarding and all that stuff. The sales piece we used to have, we used to have a CRM that we replaced, because it was a CRM and email, and we moved to Kajabi, for elearning in our email, they didn’t have that CRM piece, and now we’ve brought that back in. So full disc–we didn’t used to, use one, and we need to do that again. But at the end of the day, you know, and I hear that you’re saying these are free tools. It sounds like the cadence, putting that cadence together.(Richard) Yeah,(Brynne) when it comes to this it is critical. I mentioned back in, when I was a chief learning officer of an employee advocacy tool years ago, and we had SalesLoft, and SalesLoft was our cadence, right? It took you completely from entering them into all those touches, and it would automatically know how many days to wait between each touch, and then bring it back to the top of the pipeline. What do you recommend for larger organizations that are investing in these tools, what do you recommend for the coach or the entrepreneur, or even the individual sales rep that doesn’t have the support from their company? What are some tools, you mentioned HubSpot, what are some tools that they can use that are affordable, and do that job?
Richard Rothstein 18:54
So I think HubSpot is a great one, because you can, you know again, there’s a free option, anything with a free option is probably a good place to start, to get your feet wet, and what you’re doing. I will say, you know if you’re trying to do this on your own, if you’re trying to organize it with spreadsheets or Word Docs, or whatever, you know, you can map it out, but it won’t have the same effect.
Brynne Tillman 18:54
So the next question, that’s good. So we’ll just put HubSpot as the tool to do something like that, and then I think that’s great. I want to ask one more question, and then I’ll Bill talk about it. Eight touches, talk to me just randomly, what are like the eight touches in the time between, so touch number one, like just pretend.
Richard Rothstein 19:12
So touch number one for me is always the phone, touch number two and three are most likely phones. I mean, excuse me, or most likely email. Touch four is usually either a text or social, and then we’ll do another phone call on the fifth day, and then at six, six days will be an email, and then we’ll rest today, and have a final phone call. Those won’t be like, those will be business days, you know, and some of that it’s for just on my part, you know, what I’ve found works for me, I mean, there’s a huge variance there, some people put their eight touches over a month. You know, some people have found that it works better over two months. I would say start tight and then expand out, you’ll have a better front of mind. If it’s like, you know, if it’s tight together, there are some industries that you’ll find that that pisses people off, and so you need to stretch to that.
Brynne Tillman 20:09
So I’m gonna say, because this show is Making Sales Social, so if you are going to front it, because this is sort of a softball back to Bill, if you, you know, you ever gonna front this with social touches first, what would they be? And then I’m going to ask Bill the same question.
Richard Rothstein 20:25
Well, I mean, for me, it would probably be, definitely LinkedIn, I would, you know, send them a message that was very like centric to them that, you know, showed, like a, you know, like a, I did a brief bit of research on their thing, but maybe say: “Hey, you know, here’s an article that I think you might enjoy”, you know, that, you know, and if they were, you know, I might send them like a, you know, if I’m already connected to them, then it’s a no brainer to do it that way. If I’m not connected to them, I probably should ask you guys what I should do, because I’m torn, as far as which way to take.(Brynne) Yeah, that’s fine.(Richard) As far as you know, the connection request goes, but you know, if I’m not connected to them, send them a connection request. You know, what I’ve been doing up until now is saying, cuz if I’m sending the connection, precedents are saying connection, and I say: “Hey, we’re connected to X number of people, I thought you should be a decent person to connect with”, you know, thanks in advance that kind of thing. Just to show I’m not crazy, or if I’ve met them at an event or something, I’ll say: “Hey, good seeing you”. Next event, and then, you know, kind of like I did with you, Brynne, initially, right?
Brynne Tillman 21:29
Yeah, you had a lot of touch points before we ever talked. So yeah, so Bill you want to share with you, I’ll do, and then maybe.
Bill McCormick 21:36
So what I would do is, I don’t use the mutual connections, to me, nowadays, that’s kind of like the LinkedIn version of: “Hi, do you come here often”, and you know, I had someone today actually reach out and use that, but gave me the names of two people, and I knew them. So that was good, but what I–if you’re not connected with them, here’s I would recommend, going and looking at their activity, and engaging on their posts, and that will give you more of a context to connect with them: “Hey Richard, I saw that you commented on Brynne’s post on XYZ, that really resonated with me”, and so, doing it that way actually gives a more propensity that they’re going to accept, and you’re on the right foot, and then it gives you another opportunity to share more content, you are right on the on the button, if you’re connected with someone already sending them content. Here’s the key, though, you want to send content that they want to read, not content that you want them to read, right, and that’s where we kind of, we used to get this wrong all the time. But it’s looking at their magnets, looking at the people that they’re following, and that they’re engaging on the content of, and say: “Hey, Richard, I saw you commented on Brynne Tillman’s article on being a thought leader on LinkedIn, I thought you may want to also look at her ‘A Day in the Life of a Social Seller’, you may find this interesting also”, now you’re just being a resource, and that’s the most important thing, I think, nowadays is to be a resource in all of those seven or eight touches, what we would want to do is provide absolute value, no pitches at all, really, just, you know, here’s something we thought you’d find useful. Because that’s really where it gets people to draw in and want more.
Brynne Tillman 23:23
And I will add, if they are not engaging in content, look at your shared connections and reach out to them and say: “Hey, how well do you know Bill?”, and you know, you’ll come back and say: “Hey, I just did a show on the sales experts channel with Bill right now. Great, you know, I’m looking to get in front of him”, and then we can either lead that to an introduction, or permission for me to drop your name. So that’s another way in anyway, but yeah.
Bill McCormick 23:47
So we are out of time. But wow Richard, this has been fantastic. I’ve got a whole page full of notes. and I know the folks that are listening got a lot, a lot, a lot of value. So thank you so much.
Richard Rothstein 24:00
Thank you guys, I learned too. I was writing down something at the end there so–
Bill McCormick 24:04
Awesome, and you can go back and rewatch this and listen, but if folks wanted to stay in touch with you and connect with you, how can they find you?
Richard Rothstein 24:13
So LinkedIn is a great place, Richard Rothstein, make sure you just send me a message with the star. Just kidding, but also, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you let me know you saw me here. I’ll give you a free one hour consultation to kind of walk through your sales strategy, and you know, and see what makes sense.
Bill McCormick 24:35
Fantastic! We’ll put all that information in the Resources page for you all. So great! Well, thank you so much. Thanks everyone, once again for listening and watching us here on Making Sales Social.(Richard) Alright.(Brynne and Richard) Bye, everyone.