Jeb Blount is the bestselling author of People Buy You and an internationaly recognized expert on sales. He believes that Sales Professionals are the Elite Athletes of the Business World. On the Sales Gravy podcast Jeb teaches you how to open more doors, close bigger deals, and rock your commission check.
Why You Should Stop Trying to Sell Yourself
Sales Myth: You Have to Sell Yourself
Most of us, at one time or another in our careers, have heard some trainer or manager exclaim,
“You have to sell yourself.”
“If you want to get that job, son, you have to sell yourself.”
“The real key to sales is your ability to sell yourself.”
“If you want others to like you, you’ll have to sell yourself.”
The Sell Yourself Cliche
This philosophy is prevalent in business culture.
A while back, I was at an Ivy League University for a speech by a successful businessman to a group of MBA students from the top business schools in the world. The speaker was so well respected that when he walked into the room there was a hush.
The audience members were on the edge of their seats in anticipation.
And what was the message?
What was the secret of success that this revered businessman offered?
“Never forget how important it is in business to first sell yourself.”
The entire audience nodded in unison.
For this wise man and many others, the phrase sell yourself has become an easy-to-use cliche´. It just rolls off the tongue. Like the audience at the speech I at-tended, most people will nod their heads in agreement to the statement as if some prophet on a hill had just read it from stone tablets.
People Buy You for Their Reasons, Not Yours
Sales expert and bestselling author Jeffrey Gitomer teaches a simple philosophy, “People love to buy but they hate to be sold.”
In other words, most people prefer to buy on their terms. They do not want or appreciate a hard pitch or a features dump. The buy for their reasons not yours.
Yet daily salespeople across the globe, on the phone, video calls, email, social media, and in person, sell to their customers by dumping data, pushing their position, or simply trying to talk their way into a sale.
The sell themselves to anyone else they can get to stand still for more than five minutes.
But it does not work, because people like to buy, they don’t like to be sold.
When You Try to Sell Yourself You Push People Away
The harder you try to sell yourself to others, the more you push them away. A conversation where the other person tells you all about themselves, their accomplishments, and how great they are is a turnoff. It is a features dump.
Think about it, the most unlikeable human in the world is the person standing in front of you talking about themselves.
You don’t walk away from that conversation thinking how much you would like to spend more time with them. Instead you think, “What a jerk,” or “How boring,” or “Wow, that guy is full of himself.”
We Love to Talk About Our Favorite Person
Still, we do love the opportunity to sell ourselves. Most of us, if given the opportunity, will talk for hours about our favorite person, oblivious to the negative impact it has on how we are viewed by others.
When pressed, experts who are quick to tell you to sell yourself, are unable to explain exactly how to do it. Sure, they will offer tips, but it's mostly hyperbole.
Here is the brutal truth: You cannot sell yourself to others; you have to get others to buy you on their terms.
You're Talking, They Aren't Buying
Even if you are preceded by a great reputation and others are anticipating meeting you, your attempts to sell yourself can backfire. I learned this lesson at a speech I gave to a large dinner group. One of the audience members was such a big fan of one of my books, that he lobbied the meeting organizer to be seated right next to me.
During dinner he asked me questions, and I talked and talked and talked—about me. A few days after the speech, I called the meeting organizer to follow up and offer my thank...
Blending Text Messaging Into Your Account Management Process
The Fine Art of Blending Text Messaging Into Your Account Management Process
I love blending text messaging into my account management process. As a communication tool, it’s fast, efficient, less formal than email, and allows for arm’s-length, nonintrusive, synchronous communication that still feels personal.
There are two reasons why blending text messaging into your account management process works:
It’s mobile. Text messaging is integrated into the mobile and wearable devices that are attached to us 24/7. These are the primary communications devices in our lives and businesses. Everyone has a mobile phone, and for Apple users, text is integrated across all devices and desktops.
It’s treated as a priority. One of the key reasons why text messages work so well is that most people feel compelled to read and/or respond to them immediately.
Text is a Versatile For Account Management
Text messaging is extremely versatile virtual communication channel. You can attach videos, images, voice messages, and links to articles and resources. And, when the person you are texting is not available, texting shifts from synchronous to asynchronous communication.
For account management and communicating with customers text messaging is a tremendous tool. It helps you nurture and maintain relationships, keeps customers updated, and allows you to quickly respond to concerns from anywhere.
It's for these reasons that text messaging is the perfect virtual communication channel to blend into your account management system and process. Text messages are an easy way to:
Check the pulse of your accounts
Send account updates and data.
Send insight and educational resources.
Keep key contacts apprised of shipments and order information.
Be proactive with solving issues.
Send offers and specials.
The real key to blending text into your account management process is ensuring that your text messages are intentional, systematic, and part of an account management plan
The Truth About Why You Really Lose Accounts
A brutal truth is that most customers are lost because of neglect. Not prices, not products, not the economy, not aggressive competitors. Neglect!
Neglect happens slowly. It creeps up on customer relationships.
Salespeople delude themselves into believing that if their customers are not complaining, they must be happy. So, they spend all of their time putting out fires and dealing with squeaky wheels, all the while ignoring accounts that that don’t raise their hand.
Wrapped up in this warm blanket of delusion, salespeople swing the door open and invite competitors in.
Assume Every Account is At Risk
Aggressive competitors don’t miss an opportunity to displace salespeople who neglect their customers. When you fail to proactively anchor your customer relationships, those competitors slip through and encourage buyers to consider other options.
This is exactly why you must never lose sight of the long-term consequences of neglecting accounts.
Relationships matter and must be protected against an onslaught of competitors. You must not take any relationship for granted. Assume that every customer and every relationship is at risk.
I’m not saying this is easy. One of the hardest things to do is keep your fingers on the pulse of your customer base.
Quarterly business reviews and other formal meeting are time consuming. You probably have a large account base and you can’t possibly meet with everyone. Every single day you are putting out fires and dealing with immediate customer service issues.
Pay Attention to Your Accounts
The good news is the one secret to defending your accounts is completely i...
The 2 Sales Follow Up Superpowers
Sales Follow Up Superpowers
On this Sales Gravy Podcast episode Jeb Blount (Virtual Selling) and Jeff Shore (Follow Up and Close the Sale) discuss the two sales follow up superpowers: Speed and Personalization.
The brutal truth is that salespeople have a big problem with follow up and it is holding them back. The good news, is this is a problem that is easy to fix.
On this episode you'll actionable tips and tactics that will instantly improve your sales follow up skills.
BONUS: Download our FREE How to Manage Your B2B Sales Team From Home guide to get the scoop on how top sales leaders are getting more productivity from their remote sales teams.
The Cumulative Impact of Small Actions Every Day | 5 Minute Selling – Part 4
On this episode of the Sales Gravy podcast, Jeb Blount (Virtual Selling) and Alex Goldfayn (5 Minute Selling) discuss the massive impact of small actions, done a little bit, every day. Listen to the other episodes in the series: Part One | Part Two | Part Three
Jeb – Does Faith Matter in Sales?
Alex, I've got a question for you about faith. This is not a religious question. It's a faith question.
You are very convincing human being. You say that sales can be done in 5 minutes a day. Talk to people, call old customers, run the system. It works.
So, I do it one day. Nothing happens. Then do it the next day and nothing happens. I do it the next day and still nothing happens. Then by the 4th day I'm like, “Alex told me to do this stuff, and I made these phone calls, but I didn't sell anything. So, I’m going back to sending emails because that’s easier.”
How important is faith in the system, over a long period of time, to actualizing the five-minute selling process?
Alex – On Faith in Yourself
Great question. Faith is a great word in sales. Faith in the system is really about faith in yourself.
This is important because, in sales we deal with failure and overcoming failure is the key to success.
Faith is continuing to do the right things even when they're not working as well as you would like, because they are still the right things.
In the book I have a two-week challenge: Give me 5-minutes a day for two weeks - that's 50 minutes over 10 days. That is just five proactive outbound prospecting calls a day.
If you do that for two weeks, you will find more open opportunities and more close opportunities. It’s just two weeks of faith and here is no way that you won't improve your sales position.
Jeb– On The Cumulative Impact of Small Actions
It's all about cumulative impact. The cumulative impact of small actions every day. Over time, these small actions add up to real numbers.
But this requires faith because you can't prospect for a day, you can't do follow up for a day, you can’t do anything for a day and expect everything to suddenly change. It just doesn't work that way. You've got to do a little bit every day and keep doing it over time.
Now let me give you the flip side of this question. What happens when it starts working?
Salespeople have a bad habit of quitting the things that are working. Let's just say that I give you the two weeks and then it starts working. Then suddenly my pipeline is a little bit bigger, the deals in my pipeline start to move. Suddenly people are actually spending time with me and we’re having conversations.
What happens then? I get busy and then I quit. How do I make sure that I don't stop doing what's working?
Alex – Staying On Track With Small Daily Actions
You're totally right. Salespeople are busy. They're not sitting around. Therefore, the answer is you must schedule proactive, outbound sales calls into your day.
Mark Twain said, “if you're gonna eat a frog, you might as well eat it first thing in the morning 'cause it's not gonna taste any better later in the day.”
Firstly, do it first thing in the morning - at 8:00 or 8:30 or at 9:00. By 10:00 o'clock you want to be long done with this.
Second, what do you do if you miss a day? The next day you come back to it and you get right back on track.
It's like if you have a bad eating day. I've been trying to lose some weight. Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. My wife and I went out to eat and celebrate 19-years. We had a gigantic meal, and a huge dessert. I ate like a jerk, but it was awesome - a fabulous meal.
So, my weight loss effort over? Am I done? Am I just going to give up and go back to the to the chips and the an...
Break Your Fear of Rejection Into Doable Doses | 5 Minute Selling – Part 3
On this episode of the Sales Gravy podcast, Jeb Blount’s (Virtual Selling) and Alex Goldfayn (5 Minute Selling) offer a simple strategy for overcoming your natural fear of rejection by breaking it into doable doses.
Jeb On Breaking the Fear of Rejection Into Doable Doses
Human beings fear rejection. We hate and avoid rejection at all costs. But, in Sales, your job is to go out and find rejection and bring it home.
However, when you break your fear of rejection into doable doses, it gets easier to handle because, over time, when you face a fear repeatedly, you gain obstacle immunity.
Alex On Using the Phone
Yesterday I had a video call set up with prospect. It was at the end of a long day of video calls. You know, where everybody is a little box on the screen, right? My brain was tired of being on camera, I just wanted to walk around with my phone - just put my feet up and not be on a camera.
In some cases, I feel like there's more dimension and depth to a phone call as compared to a video call.
If you can get good at the telephone you will put so much distance between yourself and the 95% of sales people who don't do well on the telephone, that they will never be able to catch up with you.
That's how important the telephone is right now.
Jeb On Blending
It’s about blending. Salespeople need to get used to the word blending because, blending is how we will be selling going forward. With Virtual Selling, it is about meeting the buyer where they are. You should use the communication channel that is right for the moment.
But salespeople are not having synchronous conversations – especially by phone – because they are afraid of being rejected.
This is exactly why I think your 5 Minute Selling System is powerful.
If you just do it a little bit every day – even five outbound calls per day – you reduce these fears to a small part of your day. But, as you start facing that fear, a little bit every day, it will get easier for you to handle the rejection.
And basically, what you start doing, is building a chain of days in a row where you're investing in conversations with customers.
Think about it, 30-days of five minutes a day talking to your customers. What happens to your pipeline? Your business? Your income?
What happens inside of you?
Alex On Asking More Often
In baseball, if you fail 70% of the time, you go to the Hall of Fame. For salespeople, if you're failing 80 to 90% of the time, you're doing damn good!
So, when we try to avoid every single no, we don't give ourselves the opportunity to get the yeses that make us successful.
The salespeople who get the most no's, the ones who get the most rejection, are the ones who are most successful. Because, they're the ones who are asking the most.
It's simple. If you get the most no's you get the most yeses.
Thomas Edison said that many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
So, if you've already been rejected eight times by this prospect, the ninth rejection is literally no worse. It's the same. There is no difference.
Jeb on High-Intensity Prospecting Sprints
I'm working with a group right now and we are running high-intensity prospecting sprints. We're doing 10-minute phone blocks.
It’s a simple cadence: 10-minutes, 10 dials, with a goal to set one appointment.
It's just so easy for people to rip off 10 dials. Leveraging this methodology allows them to get a whole lot prospecting done in a short period time with better outcomes.
Because we break rejection into doable doses (10-minutes at a time) it’s easier for them to remain motivated and focused.
How to Eliminate Cold Calling By Talking With People You Know | 5 Minute Selling – Part Two
On this episode of the Sales Gravy podcast, Jeb Blount's (Virtual Selling) and Alex Goldfayn (5 Minute Selling) teach you how to eliminate cold calling by talking with people you already know.
Jeb: On Why Talking to People You Know Can Eliminate Cold Calling
“Welcome back to part two of my conversation with author Alex Goldfayn about 5 Minute Selling Skills. On this episode, we discuss one of the greatest sources of new pipeline opportunities.
It's the people that you already know. Talking with the people you know is an easy way to eliminate cold calling.”
Alex: On Planning Who You Will Call
"I feel like we don't call people because we don't know who to call, right? Unless you're using a CRM perfectly, it's not going to tell you who to call. It's a list of names and numbers.
At the beginning of the week for five minutes, write down who you're going to call that week. For example, customers that just made an order with you.
Right now, try thinking of five customers you haven't talked to in three months or more, you can't do it because you're not talking to them. They're not in your head.
Customers who used to buy from you but stopped are another group of people that's very difficult to think of because they don't call you to break up with you. They just go away. You know, they go away quietly, so we need to plan who to call.
And then we have the whole rest of the week to call a few each day. If you don't want to call them directly send a text or email to set up that phone call.
I think the only semi valuable use of email in the sales process job is to set up the phone call. Otherwise, it's nearly useless. In business to business, selling right and email is just slightly better than doing nothing at all.
Plan your calls and then write down what happens. What did you say? What did they say and then? What's the dollar amount associated with that interaction?
Because then once you fill that in, that becomes a goldmine that you can follow up on. The most successful people follow up a lot more than other people.
So, plan who to call and then track how those calls went and what was said and what the opportunity dollar value is. If you do those two things, each thing takes 5 minutes. The calls take 5 minutes. The things to say on the calls take 5 minutes.
How can you not grow if you're making hundreds of additional proactive communications a year?"
Jeb: On Eliminating Cold Calling By Talking With Inactive Customers
"It really is that simple.
Let’s start with customers that just aren't doing business with you anymore. To me, this is the gold mind of all gold mines.
When we're working with clients who want to accelerate growth, engaging inactive customers is almost always where we go first.
I had one client, for example, that had a half a million inactive customers in their database. We pulled the list and just picked up the phone and started calling them. We did exactly what you said Alex. All we did was call them up to say hello.
In one hour, we sold $1,000,000 in business.
Now most of that was to one business that was expanding rapidly. We got the owner on the phone and the he was ready to buy. He said he was just about to put out an RFP."
Alex: On the Rewards for Being Present
"It was so hard for me not to jump in in the middle of that, I had to really practice my silence technique there because I got excited by what you were saying.
You got that business sitting at that conference table because you were present and nobody else was. The guy even said I was just about to take his business somewhere else. But you're here, so I'm going to reward you with business
If you're the customer,
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great compliment to books
If you want a good base of what to do, how to do it this is the pod cast for you. If you’re experienced, this is the pod for you. If you know it all and crush your quota , this is a podcast for you.
Basically listen and read his books for a fresh perspective
Short Simple and to the point!
Really enjoyed the episode about prospecting and caring for customer during Coronavirus chaos. Very informative, good reminders and a great way to approach these times as a sales representative.
Jeb is an amazing sales person and I have bought all of his books and love what he does. I think he’s a must listen to if you are in sales. Just started listening and can’t wait to hear all of his podcasts.