Ep 29 – Top 5 Skills All Sales Need to Succeed – Tim Wackel
Presentation of the episode
He thinks skills are as important as good skills. That’s why he gives us the top skills every sales need to master in order to succeed.
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Hi, everybody. I’m very happy to be with Tim Wackel today, who is a Sales trainer, Keynote speaker and executive presentation coach for 21 years now. Hi Tim, how are you doing?
Great. Can you tell us a little bit about you and what you do as a business?
So I have spent the first 20 years of my career Gabriel, as we talked earlier in corporate America, leading building, managing, growing sales teams. And for the past 20 years I’ve had my own consulting practice where I’m hired by sales leaders to really help their sales teams perform at the highest levels.
And you have a strong opinion about playbook and CRM saying that those tool and you know, that I really found of playbooks and with sales deck, I’m trying to have the team following the methodology and a playbook, but what you’re saying is that skills are more important than playbooks.
Yeah, I, so I’m gonna tell you both are important. But if I had to make a choice Between a rep that had a great playbook or a rep that had great skills, I’m gonna have to take the rep that has great skills, cuz if we have a great playbook, but we don’t have the skills necessary to implement the playbook, we get nowhere. So I’m a real, I’m a real skills kind of guy.
And that’s where I focus most of my time, energy and effort.
Great. So what are those skills, those skills that you think that are the most important for sales to…
So when I look at sales and sales skills, Gabriel it’s kind of linear process, you know, that’s kind of the engineer in me is, Hey, what does it take to be a top performer?
And I would tell you, number one, top performing sales people understand exactly who they’re trying to connect with. In other words, they have a list and whether you’re new business development and it’s a list of prospects or whether you’re account manager, and you’re just having to stay in touch with existing clients that matters not to me.
I think it’s really, really important that we have a list and a list should not be confused with a CRM. right. Cause I can have 20,000 names inside my Salesforce database. That doesn’t mean I’m gonna do anything with it. I think we need to understand as sales professionals, how many conversations we need to be having each and every quarter each and every month each and every week and each and every day because we don’t have that information in front of us, nobody at three 15 on Friday says, Hey, I got an extra hour or two. Why don’t I make some more calls? So I think number one, it’s really, really important that we understand who we’re trying to connect with. And we have that ideal client profile or that targeted list in front of us at all times.
So that would be the first skills?
That’s the first skill.
And is it really a skill or is it more process in fact?
Well, you know, you raise a good question. It’s probably a combination of both. I mean, if I think salespeople that do the best, create their own list, right?
If you wait for your sales leaders, or if you wait for the marketing people to put together a list, you really don’t have any skin in the game. It’s like, ah, this is bad dog food. These are these aren’t very good leads. Right? I like it when a sales rep has their fingerprints all over the list. In other words, they’ve gone through the process of understanding, Hey, Here are the types of industries. Here are the types of companies. Here are the types of customers. Here are the types of geographies where we’ve been successful before. Therefore we should try to be successful in these other companies, cuz there’s a certain amount of mapping and mirroring. That makes sense. So I think we could argue, is it a skill? Is it a process? It’s probably a combination of both, but having that list in front of us is step one is skill. So skill two skill two then is if I’ve got this list now I’ve gotta be able to go out and connect with people on this list and odds are, they don’t know me. Odds are maybe they don’t even know my company or the things that we can do for them.
And skill two?
So skill number two is you’ve got to be able to tell a great sales story. Right. So Gabriel, if you’re on my list, I’m gonna try to connect with you and maybe I’m gonna call and leave you a voicemail. Maybe I’m gonna send you an email message. Maybe I’m gonna connect with you in social media on some way, but I’ve gotta be able to tell a sales story that resonates with you. That gets you to go: Wow. You know, that’s kind of interesting. I’d like to hear more. And in my experiences, most salespeople, don’t understand how to tell a good sales story. Most sales people create sales stories that is all about them and all about their products and all about their solutions. And it goes on and on and on, and you simply don’t have the time to go on and on and on. You and I were talking earlier that, you know, people don’t go into the hardware store because they wanna own a drill. People go into the hardware store because they need to have a hole because eventually that hole’s gonna hold a [00:06:00] shelf for a picture. Right. And so as salespeople, when we create these stories, We need to make sure that we’re speaking the language of the customer.
We need to make sure that we’re saying things in such a way that it really creates curiosity and it gets that customer. It gets that prospect. It gets that other person to say, wow, you know what? I’d really like to learn more because the goal of a sales story is you’re not trying to sell your solution. The goal of the sales story is you’re trying to sell the idea of having an initial conversation. So can you tell a meaningful sales story, and it’s not just one version of the sales story, right? Gabriel, if I reach out to you, I’m gonna give you one version of my sales story. And if you don’t respond well, then after a certain period of time, I’m gonna reach out again and I’m probably gonna reach out again, maybe using a different medium.
And I might use a slightly different version of my sales story, because if you, and I’ve never communicated you just can’t take one version of the story and rinse and repeat and recycle it over and over again, you need to be able to tell multiple versions of your story and the versions are gonna be based on, you know, who you’re targeting the versions, gonna be based on exactly the industry they’re in the versions gonna be based on, you know, what’s going on in their environment right now. So yeah, if you’ve just got one version, you’re probably swimming upstream, but I think a really good sales professional is gonna have maybe four or five or six different versions of their sales story that is designed to get others curious enough to listen.
And those stories have to be prepared also. So it’s part of the playbook, no?
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And this is where you and I agree, but disagree. Yeah. Part of the playbook should be Hey, before you go to battle, before you pick up the phone, before you push, send on an email. What are you trying to communicate? What, what are the three or four or five or six different versions of your sales story that you’re ready to take to market?
Great. So that was the third tip, the sales skill, what is the fourth skill?
So if we’ve got a targeted list, we know who we want to have conversations with. If we know how to put together and tell a very creative sales story, then the third skill really is you have to understand the art and science a proper follow up. And, this is a huge opportunity for many sales people. As many sales people will make one or two or three attempts. And then they disengage Gabriel and, and what we’re learning, especially during the pandemic and post pandemic now is that you have to be consistent and persistent in your follow up, unless your sales story hits the center of the bullseye. Right. If I know you are in the market for a red automobile, and my sales story is about, we have red automobiles, then you’re probably gonna call me right back. But the odds of us being in the center of the bullseye are not high. So what we have to do is we have to be persistent and consistent in our follow up and most sales people number one, either disengage way too soon. So they’ll only try one, two or three times to connect or number two, their follow up is not. It’s not a proper follow up. And what I mean by that is that if you’re calling or you’re emailing to check in, or if you’re calling or emailing to touch base, that’s not proper follow up. Your follow up should be insightful. Your follow up should be valuable. Your follow up should be creative. Your follow up should be provocative. Your follow up should be fun. And I know that if I do that, [00:12:00] eventually Gabriel clients like you are gonna be like, all right, I’ll give this guy 10 minutes, cuz he’s been very persistent, very consistent. And his messages have not just been recycling the same thing. He’s adding value. He’s making me curious. I’m willing to have that initial conversation with him.
So skill four is that if I’ve got this targeted list and I know how to tell a really good sales story, and I’ve been persistent and consistent in my follow up, eventually a certain percentage of those clients are gonna be like, okay, I’m gonna give you 10 minutes. And skill four is really knowing how to win that first conversation. Because if you don’t win the first conversation, there’s not gonna be a second conversation. And what happens often during the first conversation is I’ve got you on my targeted list. I’ve approached you with this creative sales story. I’ve been persistent in my follow up and you say, okay, Tim, I’m gonna give you 10 minutes and too many sales people today get that 10 minutes. Whether it’s face to face or virtual, they show up and they throw up, right? It’s the spray and pray. And what I teach salespeople to do during that first 10 minutes is you need to ask questions in such a way that nobody’s ever asked those questions before, because if you can engage that prospect, if you can engage that customer on an intellectual, on an emotional and on an intelligence level, like nobody else has, they will make time for you. Way too often salespeople show up and they ask questions that are very. Self-serving self-focused right. How soon are you looking to make a change? Who besides yourself is involved in a decision making process? How have you guys decided how to budget for that? Those questions have absolutely zero value for the prospect. Right? That’s all about me. I’m trying to solve my needs. I’m [00:14:00] trying to get value from you. That’s the wrong approach. We have to ask questions in such a way that the customer goes, oh my gosh, you know, nobody’s ever asked me that before. We hadn’t thought of that before. I’m gonna have to get back to you on that. So the four skills are really about knowing how to win the conversation and win’s kind of strong euphemism, but it’s, it’s about how do you engage people in such a way that they really enjoy the conversation and they feel like they got value out of it versus feeling like they were being manipulated into some sort of sales process.
So is it still some discovery question? So it’s not about discovery.
It is about discovery. But it’s about asking questions in a way nobody else is asking them. So we have to do discovery, but if so, here’s a simple discovery question. Do you have budget? Okay. So that’s a discovery question, but that’s a very poor discovery question. So how do you ask that question in such a way that the customer doesn’t even realize you’re asking about budget? That’s the key is really understanding the art and science of asking questions in the proper way.
Great. So skills five.
Skill five then is now that you’ve reached out, you’ve connected. You’ve had multiple conversations. Now, how do you present your ideas? How do you present your solution? How do you present your products or services in such a way that the client says, you know what, that’s exactly what we need. Way too often, we just recycle the same proposal or we just recycle the same presentations over and over again. If your client describes their problem to you and they describe it in French then why would you present your solution in English? In other words, you need to use your clients words, their ideas and use that language to wrap your solutions so that when you present it back to them, they go, you know what, that’s exactly what we need and that voice inside your head says, [00:16:00] yeah, I know that’s exactly what you need, cuz that’s what you’ve been telling me. So I’m simply just trying to make that translation of, Hey, here’s what we offer, but these are the words you’ve used to describe it. So I think this is what you guys need to do. So it’s really about understanding the proper way to present your ideas and doing it in a way that’s clear, concise and compelling.
And is it about rephrasing or is it about bringing new ideas on the table, but with the words of the customers?
I think it’s the latter more than the former. Yeah. It’s bringing new ideas and bringing new ideas in such a way that they go, wow. You know, nobody else has approached us with this.Nobody else has explained it to us in this way. I really see why we should make a decision to go to that next step with you.
And, is it through conversation or is it through a document? Because if it’s through a document, you have to prepare the document in advance with the world of your customers. So it’s a new job each time.
Yeah. So in my world my preferences is if you, if you want a document, if you, my customer are looking for my ideas in a document, I’m more than happy to put together the document, but in return, you’re not gonna get the document until you agree to meet with me and let me walk you through the document. Because, cause my experience Gabriel is you could put the words F you in the middle of most sales proposals and no client would ever call you on it. Cause I don’t think they read the doc on things. And so I’m more than happy to put together that proposal for you. But in return you have to agree to meet with me for 30 minutes via zoom call. So I can just walk you through the document because again, the last thing I wanna be is column FOD. Where, Hey, we need four bids. We’ve decided who we want to go with. And you’re one of the other three. I don’t have time for that. So if you’re unwilling to make time for me to talk you through my document, then I’m probably not gonna do the document for you.
Is it skill six or there is another skill?
Oh, you know, there probably is a skill six and it’s really, I would say it’s probably knowing how to continue to nurture that relationship. Cause if we’ve done all this work, if I’ve identified you as a target, I’ve told you a great sales story. I knew how to follow up. You eventually gave me a conversation. I knew how to win the first conversation. So I had multiple conversations and then I presented my ideas and we did business together. Then how do I make sure that I nurture that ongoing relationship? Which sounds very simplistic, but most salespeople, myself included the only time we ever show up is when somebody’s ringing the dinner. And that’s not the way to build relationships. The way to build relationships is I show up whether you’re ringing the dinner bell or not, because I’m invested in you and not in you, just as a customer, but in you as a human being, you know, what’s going on in your career, what’s going on in your family.
So how do I continue to show up when times are good and when times are bad, cause everybody shows up and I’ve said this for years, when there’s an RFP out on the street, the lobby is full of salespeople. When there’s no RFP, that’s when you need to be in the lobby, right. Is when nobody else is there, that’s when you need to be involved. So if there’s a sixth skill set, it would be kind of the power behind building meaningful, connected relationships.
Great. It was a great tip. So I would say in fact that you gave us five skills or six skills to build the perfect playbooks, because the first one is really about how you create your list and what list do you create? The second one is about having a story and not only one story, but many version of your stories. The third one is how do you follow up and you have to do it consistently and persistently if I follow myself correctly. And the other one is really about the first conversation. So having good question and preparing good question and questions that the performer are asking and at the end is how do you present your ideas and how do you not only rephrase, but also use the word of your customers to present the idea and to bring new ideas to the table? Is that correct, Tim?
That’s absolutely correct. You did a perfect job. You pass.
Great. Thanks a lot. This episode of the virtual selling podcast is over. Thanks for sticking around. Join us twice a week for a new episode, with new stories and challenges of giants in the field. If you enjoyed today’s episode, we are always listening for your feedback. Share the show on your favorite podcast platform so you don’t miss any episodes. This episode was brought to you by Salesdeck.io, the virtual selling platforms that increase your sales team efficiency and sales readiness enable remote management and vemps sales operational excellence. Book your Salesdeck.io demo today to discover how you can close more deals with engaging and better prep customer meetings.
One last thing, Tim. How can our auditors join you? And what is the best way to connect with you?
You know, probably the easiest and best way to connect is just going out to my LinkedIn profile. Tim Wackel. I’m the only one out there. And out there you can find all kinds of resources, there’s client testimonials. And if you wanna connect deeper the LinkedIn platform will show you exactly how to get ahold of me.
Great, Tim. It was a pleasure to have you in this podcast. Thank you.
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