Episode 74: Clancy Clark – Selling by Serving: What Makes You Interesting Is to Be Interested
Clancy Clark joins our hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick to share what it means to sell by serving and how it is connected to social selling. Listen as they discuss Clancy’s seven steps for Selling by Serving and discover the right process for reaching out to a prospective client, including preparing before engaging, building rapport, and presenting your solution.
You’ll see Clancy’s perspective on the value of developing authentic relationships and why it’s all about being interested in your prospect to be interesting to them.
Clancy Clark 00:00
Making sales social, hang on word social, being a social being, wanting to interact and be a part of and be connected into that group.
To me that’s what being social means. It doesn’t mean going to cocktail parties and floating around and meeting and greeting. It means to me, the social aspect means a real meaningful connection with other people. And to me, that’s what I see as a social circle. And when we make sales that way, the network just develops and grows, the referrals come and it just snowballs from there.
Bob Woods 00:35
Welcome to the Making Sales Social Podcast! Featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick as they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling.
You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Here are your hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 01:13
Welcome to Making Sales Social! I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 01:16
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:17
So Brynne, who’s our guest today?
Brynne Tillman 01:19
I’m so excited! We have Clancy Clark with us, who’s an author, a speaker, and a coach around selling and Selling by Serving. So we’re excited to talk about this. We found Clancy through our good friends Larry Levine and Darrell Amy through Selling From The Heart. And what I love about what we’re going to talk about today and everything that Clancy talks about is really a part of our core belief as well, which is it’s not about making the sale, it’s about helping your client solve a problem and it’s really in the core, our core belief, obviously Selling From The Heart and with Clancy so all of that aligned, Clancy, welcome to Making Sales Social!
Clancy Clark 02:00
Oh, thanks so much for having me. It’s my pleasure to be here with you two wonderful people.
Brynne Tillman 02:05
Tell our listeners a little bit about you.
Clancy Clark 02:08
Yeah! So related to sales. I’ve been in sales for over 30 years and had three pretty distinct career chapters there. One was in Western Montana and all of them have been in the field of agribusiness. All of them were building a sales territory from a book of zero. All of them were I wasn’t one of the good ol’ boys, I wasn’t from that area, they weren’t familiar with my company, it was in a down market — how many other cards could I have stacked against myself in all three iterations.
But you know, I’ve always felt that to be a great advantage. I didn’t think of it that way when I was doing it, but now I realized that it really forced me to become better at what I do and earn all my business on merit, and not on a network of pre-existing people and all, not that there’s anything wrong with that but that was just my journey so I really embraced that.
And I’ve had great success and all of those three career chapters. My second one was in Florida working as an agronomist, a sales agronomist, and then the one that I still do to this day is working as a consultant to the large dairy farms in New Mexico. And I live in Southern Colorado now, we’ve been here coming on five years.
So yeah, I would just remember when I started in sales, I determined that I would make it honorable by the way that I approached it. And I ran and looked in the mirror I said, “I’m going to go meet people, make friends, and help others.” And I believe some sales will flow out of that. And lots of sales have flown out of that. And, to me, the most important thing about what we’re talking about here is being fulfilled.
I mean, I think it’s just one of the most important things in life is to feel good about what we do. And by placing that service to others as the top priority, we can feel proud, we’re fulfilled we know that we have a strong character in what we bring to the marketplace we’re not out there just trying to hit numbers and get armies of people, so the fulfillment is there and I think it’s only there three approach. And number two, most sales ironically — what I call the beautiful irony in the book — more sales flow out of that than if we’re chasing them as <inaudible> so that’s just a little bit of me and my philosophy in sales.
Bill McCormick 04:29
Fantastic. So a salesman’s salesman. So someone is out there and actually in the in the trenches or maybe I should say, in the muddy ditches for you, for what you do out in agro- but so Clancy we ask every guest the same question to start off what does making sales social mean to you?
Clancy Clark 04:48
You know, I think first means to me using the social media platforms as a way to network and sell and take advantage of this wonderful technology that we didn’t even have when I started out in sales, and it’s there and it’s powerful, and it connects people all over the world. But to me, I go into more of that making sales social, and awkward social, being a social being, wanting to interact and be a part of, and be connected into that group.
To me, that’s what being social means. It doesn’t mean going to cocktail parties and floating around and meeting and greeting. It means to me the social aspect means a real meaningful connection with other people. And to me, that’s what I see as a social circle and when we make sales that way, the network just develops and grows, the referrals come, and it just snowballs from there.
Bill McCormick 05:47
So we’re talking about Selling by Serving. So here’s the book, kind of dog-eared. I’ve been reading it, really enjoying it, and I love the selling by serving steps. And so I thought, what would be really great as we could kind of break these down these seven steps and talk about it during each one, how are we serving our clients? So the first one is preparation?
Brynne Tillman 06:14
So yeah, and how does preparation, how does it align with making sales social as well? And we can actually help with that. So you share kind of your perspective, and we can bounce off of your ideas.
Clancy Clark 06:26
Yeah, so preparation, again, I think there’s the obvious, there’s the physical preparation. And there’s a lot to that. It’s not just having, you know, my product brochure or anything else, it’s knowing the arena that I’m working in, it’s knowing the arena that my client is working in, or my prospect is working in, it’s knowing the business environment. Is the market up? Is it down? What’s going on? And, you know, that’s a lot of what I call the physical preparation. It is doing as much research as I can about my prospects so I happen to know as much as I can about them. And then, obviously, you know, such things as appearance, organizational skills, the worst thing to do is to go in and get into a nice conversation and realize I left something back there in the office or back there in my car, and I have to run out, it doesn’t send a good message right off the bat.
And so, to me, there’s that aspect of preparation. But then there’s also the mindset preparation, which I think is the bigger piece. And to me, it boils down to, ultimately, am I mentally prepared to give this 100%? Am I fully focused on this and not something else? And not what’s happening with my cell phone account or anything else? When am I fully ready to engage? Am I ready to listen to understand rather than to respond? And am I a 100% present? Am I really ready for this moment? Because if we think of it, this is a moment, a big moment of gravity, and it will never come again. And so I’m never going to have a second chance to be interesting. If I’m interesting today. I’m going to become interesting next week. And so very important moment. And I think that’s, to me, preparation boils down to, “Am I ready mentally to go in here and really serve this individual and help them in some way?”
Brynne Tillman 08:15
I love that! I think there are three things that I’m pulling from that. The first, the physical preparation, we just go back to if you want to learn about them, look at them on social media, LinkedIn, Twitter, what are they sharing on their Instagram, if you want to know where they vacation, like if you really want to get to know them a little bit.
But on LinkedIn look at their company, look at the people that have recommended them that are their clients, and understand not just their industry, but their clients’ industry. So that’s the physical preparation part of that.
The second thing that I love that I heard you say was really be present, right. And I think that even in social, what happens is we are prepared to answer the next question before we even hear it. Like, you know, we’ve got, you know, we’re not really listening, we ask a question. We’re not really listening to the answer, because we have something we want to say. And something that Bill and I talk a lot about is just really understanding what matters to them, like stop sharing what we want to share, and start sharing what they want to consume, what matters to them. So I think that’s a big piece.
And the number three piece around the mindset, another thing that we talk a lot about is detach from what that customer is worth to you and attached to what you’re worth to that customer because when you can bring value, they want to work with you.
Clancy Clark 09:47
Bill McCormick 09:48
And I think that this is a huge part of it, of the sales process, if I can use that word, and serving our clients because if we have that preparation done beforehand, we come in really holding all the cards and when we walk into that we’re not worried about whether we’re going to make the sale, we’re there to just serve them.
And if we’ve done our homework and research the right way and prepared the right way, that’s really going to kind of smooth it over for us and social can really certainly help with that. So the next one we could really get on tangents with, I’m kind of excited about this one. And that’s engagement. So your second step is engagement. So talk about that a little bit.
Clancy Clark 10:33
Yeah. So that is that moment. It is that time whether it be an email, or whether it be face-to-face, or whether it be on a virtual thing like this, but that is that first point of contact. And the way I like to think of it, especially in you know, b2b sales is, you know, there’s this company over here, and there’s this company over there and there these whole bodies. And then yet, there’s these two individuals who are there, and <inaudible> where those two come together.
And it’s, you know, behind that is one organization, behind that, another organization, that is the touchpoint for two organizations, individuals, it really doesn’t matter. But I just stress, the gravity and the profundity of that moment to come in because like Brynne said, if you’re focused on what value, you also need to be focused on bringing anything of interest to this individual, because it’s very competitive, most places that we go. And so I always say, you know, there’s the stack of 67 business cards over here of the non-interesting ones, there’s two or three sitting over here that are being considered. And are you going to get on that pile of two or three, are you going right to the bottom and becoming number 68 over here? And, like I said, the phrase that I use is “Not interesting today, not interesting tomorrow.” If I don’t make that powerful first impression, then it’s unlikely I’m gonna come back a week from now and all of a sudden be evaluated as “Oh, he just became really interesting, all of a sudden!” No, they’re gonna say, “This is the not interesting person,” and they’re going to turn off their ears, right? And they’re not gonna… so to me, the most powerful thing that I want you to know, if I go in, and I’m calling on Brynne, I want Brynne to know that I’m there to learn, I’m there to meet her, introduce myself, but I’m there to meet her, I’m there to learn, and I’m there to help and become an asset to whatever it is that Brynne is working on.
And, you know, you can say those words, but then when you do those things, then they become a lead. But that is my message is looking someone right in the eye and let them know, “I’m not here to talk about product service myself, my company, I’m here to meet you, I’m here to learn, and I’m here to help.” And I think that unfortunately, or fortunately for us, that that is pretty rare in sales where a lot of people come in with guns a’ blazin’ — product brochures, flyers and that’s just not who I am. So I’ve got to be authentic.
Brynne Tillman 13:09
So what I’m hearing is what makes you interesting, is when you are interested.
Clancy Clark 13:17
Perfect. Oh, yeah, yeah. right.
Bill McCormick 13:21
And I think you said it also, you said, your authentic self. And you know, if we kind of slide this over to the social realm of things, this is coming in authentically, connecting with people authentically, not just pitching them right away. Just before we got on the call, I got actually an email from a company that does LinkedIn lead gen, she didn’t even look at my profile, but said, “Oh, I see by your LinkedIn profile, you’re in Albany, and I’m going to Ithaca this week.” So that was that moment. She’s trying to build rapport, which is the next thing that we’re talking about but she was but she didn’t look at my profile. It wasn’t authentic.
To me, it was a scheme. It’s a trick to try to get me to kind of engage with her and we can’t do that. And the, you know, you said the 67 business cards on one side and a three or four. Well, that’s the all of the invites that get deleted because they’re pitching, (Brynne: Right.) <inaudible> these ones that we accept over here because we’re interested in them, because they were interested in us.
Brynne Tillman 14:24
And we’re providing value, we’re providing value that is valuable to them, not necessarily do we want to pitch our product or service. That’s not what they care about.
Bill McCormick 14:35
What I’m saying is these steps actually build upon one another right? So we’ve done the preparation, so we know what to talk about. We engage them authentically. So we show that we’re interested in them and that leads to the third step, which is rapport.
Clancy Clark 14:51
Yeah, exactly. And rapport is, I think the important thing there is you know, why is it important to even care about rapport but psychologically we know that, all things given equal, people tend to buy from people they like. And people tend to like people that they perceive are like them. And now this can come across as very inauthentic <inaudible> woven into your authentic self. But it’s just nice to find some areas of alignment, whether that be, and again, I think it’s really important to know the prospect. Some prospects do not want to talk about their family, hobbies, anything they want to get down to business. And, you need to be sensitive to that, I think.
But most people are willing to engage in some of that, learning about their hobbies, learning about where you’ve lived, learning about your family, or anything like that. And if you can find out that both of your kids play soccer, and both things like that can help to just what we’re talking about is building a real relationship. And so the girl that you mentioned, Bill, you know, she was trying at one level, but hadn’t done her homework, she was trying to build rapport before she was prepared. And so, you know, these are, this is not a method, these Seven Steps of Selling by Serving, they are, in my mind, a logical sequential cycle and framework that a person needs to be aware of, and move through in that order because if I try and build rapport with you but I haven’t done my homework in preparation, I’m one of the 67. I’m not one of the three or four. So it’s just a way to begin to align, and to begin to develop a human relationship within the sales business environment.
Bill McCormick 16:34
And it’s the same on social you know, you have what we say is you can’t ignore people, you have to respond to comments, you have to do it authentically. And start that and look for the opportunity to take that conversation away from from social either face-to-face or by phone, and then—
Brynne Tillman 16:54
And social is one of the best ways to do that research in advance. Who are your shared connections? Where did they go to school? Where did they work before? I mean, there’s so much you can learn to help build that rapport. So what’s the next one, Bill?
Bill McCormick 17:07
Next one is discovery.
Clancy Clark 17:09
Yeah, discovery. That’s good. It’s going back to what Brynne was talking about, you know, am I listening to understand? Or am I listening to respond? You know, am I there to just waiting for my chance to jump in and talk about something? Or am I listening all the way through? Because if this person says one thing, and I’m like, “Oh, I know what I want to say about that.” And then I tune out everything else, they might tell me something more important, more valuable, and more of a connection in the part that I’m not listening to.
So this is where I see so many salespeople get overly enthusiastic and get ahead of themselves and they’re just like, “Oh, yeah, that’s a great point you brought up and I wanted to tell you about the benefits of, you know, product XYZ” and it’s nope. We’re not there yet.
That’s the time, that’s solution presentation, we get that next, but now is full immersion into the prospect. “What are your needs? What’s going on in your world? What are your next steps? And tell me about what that really means? What’s the implication of that issue that you’re having?” And we can enlarge the need by asking those, you know, “Then what?” or “What happens then?” type questions. And so it’s not only, to me, about learning their needs, I think, through that process, and this is not manipulation at all, but it can be very powerful, is to get the prospect to acknowledge that this is a need here and now.
So that in their mind, I want them to go, “This is something I really need to address and I’m really glad that you’re asking me about it.” Because all of a sudden, I realize this is a threat to the very existence of my business if I don’t take care of this. And that’s the point we’d like to get to where they see that need as big and some urgency gets injected into it.
So but mostly, to me, the whole discovery thing is about asking natural questions, just as if I was visiting with either one of you wanting to learn about your life, wanting to learn about your business, wanting to learn about your challenges, your successes, what are your goals, what are your visions, what are your potential threats, and I would ask you about those if we were in a barbecue and just having that conversation. That’s the way a great discovery should be — super natural and just understanding that I’m here to help and I’m here to learn and out of that mindset, I think that’s the flowchart for the formulation of the questions.
Brynne Tillman 19:38
I love that like normal, your discovery if you’re looking at your own agenda, you can never truly serve them until you know their agenda, right? It’s serving yourself if you come in with your agenda, not serving them.
Bill McCormick 19:58
Yeah! So many sales reps come in and they have their sales process but the client has a buying process. And I love it that it’s just a conversation, I think of our friend Jeff, but George, he says, “You don’t do discovery on a client, you do discovery with a client. It’s a team. It’s a team effort.” And so I love that. And so that, then that brings us to the solution presentation.
Clancy Clark 20:25
Yeah, that’s what everybody wants to get <inaudible>.(Bill: Let’s go, let’s sell this thing.) Yeah, so the solution presentation, but it’s not, you know, this isn’t the product presentation, this isn’t a service presentation, it is a solution presentation. If I’ve done a great job of all the other steps up to now, I have uncovered, we have uncovered, Bill, jointly, this need that the client has and I am 100% confident that I have a solution for that need. And it’s just, you the know, the solution presentation and the agreement. The next step, if done, if everything has done well, up to that point, it’s the most natural thing in the world and I can say, “Bill, you know, you’ve told me in discovery that if I had a solution for this need, if I could really help you to trim those costs, or to increase that productivity by whatever, that’s something you’d really want to do. Well, I do have that and the name of that solution is product XYZ.” It’s very incidental, they don’t care about the name, they don’t care about the color, they don’t care, they just want to know that it will fix my problem or it will satisfy my need. And so that’s, again, the focus is explaining thoroughly, how this satisfies the need, how it solves the problem. It has nothing to do with the product name, the service or anything else. All I want to do is say, “I can help you with this need that you have and it happens to be called whatever the name of the product is.”
Brynne Tillman 21:57
And are you presenting the ROI at this point too? Like your <inaudible>…
Clancy Clark 22:01
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. If you know if they’re talking about that, of course, if it’s a personal sale, somebody is buying a car, whatever, there may not be an ROI to it. And so but in a business-type environment. absolutely. If we’re talking about, yeah, if we could trim those costs by X amount, then what’s that going to do for your bottom line? Yeah, right. And we can absolutely get into that, because that’s part of their need, or their problem they’re having.
Bill McCormick 22:29
And it seems that that should flow right into the agreement that that should almost be like, a seamless next step. Or it would come to the last step, which is objections? Am I correct in that?
Clancy Clark 22:42
Yeah you are and you’re leading me along perfectly there Bill. And there is a reason that I don’t put, as in most sales training, it’s, you know, whatever the steps are, you know, prequalify, the lead and then introduce yourself, and then ask open questions, ask the close questions, present your product, handle the objections and close the sale. There’s a very purposeful reason that I put objections after agreement, because I think if we do very well, on all of this, objections are not inevitable. They don’t have to come up and it is the most natural, seamless, we’ve done with the discovery, we have together on the same side of the table, rolled up our sleeves and identified what the need is. Then I have done my job well, of showing that this is a wonderful solution to that problem or a satisfaction of that need. And so then when it gets to the agreement, and I always, always, you know, eschews the term “closing the sale,” because that denotes finality, something is done. And I’m like, no, no, that’s just the beginning of me showing them how much I’m going to serve them. I want this open, always open, always growing. But there are agreements at every step along the way, right? I mean, if we agreed to meet again in two weeks, and you’re going to read the article that I left you and then we’re going to discuss that. An agreement is just moving the process forward.
So gaining agreement on the sale, is, to me, when it works as outlined, it is the most logical thing that either party can possibly think of to happen next. I mean, I can’t think of any other question except to say, “Brynne, does it make sense for you to order this product now?” And that’s something you think is a good idea. And you’re thinking you would have been offended if that hadn’t been the next question. You would have thought this person isn’t understanding me. You’re going? “Yes, that’s exactly what I want to do right now.” And when you get to that point, this thing that we get built up so much in sales about “Oh, closing the deal. He’s getting the order signed,” becomes rather anticlimactic. It’s very incidental. I’ve built a relationship. I know I’m going to help you. I know this is just the beginning of a marathon. This is not a sprint with us. And so yes, your first order. Wonderful, thank you very much, but it’s not nirvana. It’s not the pot of gold. It is the logic, the most logical next step that either one of us could possibly imagine happening. And to me, that’s when I know all the other steps have been done well.
Bill McCormick 25:20
Yeah, this is fantastic. And I just think, you know, I’ve been on many sales calls with the famous Brynne Tillman and I know that the more preparation that’s done in the beginning, and the more alignment that happens with the client, we have those times where the client says, “Okay, yep, I’m ready.”
There’s not even any asking for the deal. It’s just like, it’s a pre-gone conclusion, because that’s what they want us for. And I think that if we can do that preparation, and we can gain the rapport, and really do the discovery in the right way that the sale is just a natural foregone conclusion, because we’ve met all that criteria, or it’s not and we’re going to point them in the right direction, right? (Clancy: Right.) And that’s moving it along. Also, because again, we’re not so much looking to close a sale, as you said, we’re looking to start and build a relationship. And so…
Brynne Tillman 26:14
And serve them, help them solve their problem.
Bill McCormick 26:17
Serve them. So go out and buy this book, Selling by Serving and Clancy is going to tell you how to get that in just a moment. He’s also going to tell you about his new book. So Clancy, tell them how they can remain in contact with you and get your books. And please talk about your new book.
Clancy Clark 26:36
Yeah, thank you very much. Well, I happen to be on LinkedIn social media. So yes, I spend a fair bit of time there. And I love it. That’s my favorite social media platform, by far. So people can find me there on LinkedIn, just type in my name. And my website is www.clancyclark.cc. And there is a link to order the book Selling by Serving and yes, I have my new book now. It’s called Love Your Work Live Your Dream.
It’s all about helping anyone who works for a living to make sure that that vocation is meaningful. And then connect the dots from that inspired income to living the life of our dreams, those things that we want to do outside of our work, and make sure that our vocational vehicle is worthy of getting us to those dreams, the things that we want to do, the things that we’re meant to do while we’re here. So it’s a broader reach and but again, it’s all about fulfillment. It’s all about making sure that a vocation is meaningful. It’s about being clear on the vision that we want for our lives. And then connecting the dots between what I call inspired income and living our dreams.
Bill McCormick 27:46
Fantastic. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. So listen, connect with Clancy on LinkedIn, go to his website, and order his books, I promise you, you will not be sorry. I mean, there’s a lot more about the seven steps in here. I promise you and we just scratched on the surface, but it was so so good. So Clancy, thank you so much.
Brynne Tillman 28:06
Thank you so much. This has been so much fun.
Clancy Clark 28:08
Oh, thank you for having me and I got my lucky pen!
Bill McCormick 28:13
All right, wonderful. Well Clancy, thanks so much, and listeners. Thank you once again for listening to another episode of Making Sales Social! Don’t forget as you’re out and about this week to make your sales social. Bye-bye.
Bob Woods 28:25
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