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.
Kaizen and Feeding the Sales Pipeline With Cumulative Prospecting
Putting Aside Time Every Day to Prospect Will Keep Your Pipeline Full
Kaizen is a theory that developed in Japan after World War II and revived the country, their spirit, and their commerce. It’s similar to what we call “feeding the pipeline,” and involves the art of cumulative prospecting. If you set aside time every day for prospecting, you will find a steady flow of success and less stress!
I recently posted a podcast of my discussion with Kristin Austin, where we talked about the importance of perseverance in life and sales and how you can apply the same theory of continuously moving forward to finding satisfaction and success in both.
Japan was in ruins after World War II, and the nation had the task of cleaning up the devastation and overcoming the hopelessness and helplessness that had taken hold. A movement developed that is now a part of their national ideation to this day. It’s called “Kaizen,” and is similar to what Kristin and I discussed.
What is Kaizen?
Kaizen in Japanese means “a change for continuous improvement.” In this case, it’s a business philosophy rooted in making small progress every day to improve your life and find success. Kaizen is based on the idea that it isn’t so much about the grand changes and ideas that we have; change is found in the small steps that add up to large-scale and lasting habits that lead to success.
After hitting rock bottom, the Japanese realized that thinking about the gravity of the destruction and what they had to do to overcome it could become paralyzing. The same is true of sales. The enormity of hitting quota, closing a big sale, and feeding the pipeline can be overwhelming. This can put many salespeople in a state of paralysis where they miss the methodical and gradual steps to get there.
Why the Kaizen Theory is the Key to Cumulative Prospecting
After Kristin was in an accident that permanently altered her life, she had the choice to either give up and retire, or take small steps to get back to her career, pick up the business she had built, and do what she loved again. It initially seemed like a daunting task, so she took minuscule steps, as she called them. One was picking up the Fanatical Prospecting book to gain inspiration.
Then every day, she would do one small thing that would bring her closer to her goal. She didn’t try to set the world on fire; she set out to make one small daily improvement toward rebuilding her life. Kristin emphasized, "If you are moving in the right direction even slightly, you are moving, which differs from being paralyzed."
Kaizen and the Pipeline
In the podcast, we also discussed the notion of “feeding the pipeline.” The mistake I often see salespeople make is that they fill the pipeline by prospecting up front, but once the sales start coming in, they stop feeding it.
They’re on a roll, so they aren’t paying attention to the fact that their pipeline is emptying. And when they do notice, they recognize that nothing is coming down the pipeline because it has gone dry. That puts them in a situation where they become desperate and focus on closing the sale, rather than solving the problems that their clients are having and making an improvement in their lives.
Keeping Your Pipeline Flowing with the Philosophy of Kaizen
So the key to being successful in prospecting is not letting your pipeline run dry. Let’s face it: not many people enjoy cold-calling others and asking them to buy something they may or may not want. However, that’s not what pipelining is.
Filling your pipeline means seeking out those people who not only need your product or service; it means finding the people who would most benefit from what you’re offering. When you change your mindset from closing to helping, you increase your satisfaction, decrease your stress, and stop feeling the weight of paralyzing stress.
How to Get Back Up When Life Knocks You Down with Kristin Austin
“Life is short. Hug the people that you love and make sure that they know you love them without hesitation. Anything can happen to anyone, at any time. We all live with this concept that we are safe if we can control everything, but sometimes the Universe has different plans. That applies to sales too. Sometimes you think you have a sale in the bag and it all falls apart without anything that you have done. You have to roll with it and keep on keeping on." - Kristen Austin
When Kristin Austin was hit by a car, her world fell apart. On this episode of the Sales Gravy Podcast she shares how she climbed out of a deep hole to resurrect her business and life, one prospecting call at a time.
There is no doubt that we all find ourselves hitting roadblocks that seem impossible to overcome. If you are in that situation, Kristin's story is sure to inspire you to take action and get past whatever is holding you back. You'll learn how to get back up when life knocks you down.
Life Knocks Kristen Down
Kristin Austin was hit by a vehicle in May 2018. After regaining consciousness, she began two-years of recovery. This required her to rebuild her life from the ground up.
Kristin owned a business for over ten years that was rooted in marketing and sales; she was a university instructor, a wife, and a mother - and suddenly it all stopped. She was forced to put things in place to keep her business running in her absence and focus on the basics of relearning how to be Kristin.
Kristen Gets Back Up
Forced to stay home and slow her pace, she decided to go back to the basics. Her mission was to get out of her own head and figure out how to get back to the life she left behind out of necessity.
The Fanatical Prospecting Book awakened her spirit because it put her back into a mindset of figuring out a plan about what she had to do, how she was going to do it, and how to get back out there. Throughout her life, Kristin was a salesperson, starting early as a child selling watermelon on Bondi Beach, and moving on to ultimately being a pharmaceutical rep.
The message from Fanatical Prospecting that inspired Kristin was, “If you do the work, the sales gods will reward you.” Once she read that phrase, she immediately got onto LinkedIn and posted about it. And the same day, people responded by coming out of the woodwork to inspire her with words of encouragement to get back up and do what she did best: SELL.
The More You Prospecting, The Luckier You Get
At her lowest, Kristen stuck in her house recovering, feeling worthless, insecure, and shut down. Then the pandemic presented a surprise opportunity when Kristin took over as head of sales with a new company.
There was still the negative self-talk and insecurity. She focused an important lesson from Fanatical Prospecting: “The more you prospect, the luckier you get.” This inspired her to keep moving forward.
Some days were really hard, and others were like shooting fish in a barrel - but above all, she was back in the game and this gave her life purpose.
Put in the Work
Kristen's story teaches us that when life knocks you down, you can get back up. You just have to put in the work. We can all become paralyzed with fear, negativity, and hopelessness - but the trick is to move forward. Kristin, even at her lowest, found the faith to know that if you continue trudging ahead, things will change.
"Nothing happens until you move. Nothing happens until someone sells something. The big lesson I learned is that you have to do something. If what you are currently doing isn’t working, then do something else. Don’t keep doing the same old thing."
When Kristin hit rock-bottom, she turned to Sales Gravy University, knowing that it might be a small step to go back to the basics, but it was a step nonetheless.
On Doing Whatever It Takes Featuring Brandon Bornancin
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goals and dreams, build your business, climb the sales leaderboard at your company, or bounce back from failure?
Lot's of people have dreams but few actually grind it out and turn those dreams into reality. The good news is that you can defy the odds to get everything that you want in business and in life if you are willing to do whatever it takes.
On this episode of the Sales Gravy Podcast, Jeb Blount and Brandon Bornancin dive into what it really means to be willing to do what ever it takes.
No matter who you are or where you come from, your education, or your network, you can create the life you want and build the business you’ve only dreamed about.
Brandon's journey is all the proof you need.
He graduated college flat broke. He started a business that was an epic failure. Then he turned it all around – before he was 30 – closing over $100 million in sales for Google and IBM and founding two multimillion-dollar companies, the second named “LinkedIn’s Top 50 Startups.”
How did he do it? By doing Whatever It Takes.
Listen above or watch the video below:
Download a free chapter of Jeb Blount's brand new book Selling the Price Increase here: https://salesgravy.com/selling-the-price-increase-free/
How to Sell Without Selling Out with Andy Paul
On this episode of the Sales Gravy Podcast Jeb Blount, Jr sits down with author Andy Paul to discuss what it means to Sell Without Selling Out. Together they discuss why it is so important to make selling more human.
You'll learn that persuasion is not a sales skill. Instead it is a blunt instrument of last resort that sellers use when they don’t know how to influence the choices buyers make.
Get a leg up on your sales career with our free sales training resources. Check them out here: https://salesgravy.com/resources/
The Future of Video Messaging Featuring Vidyard’s Michael Litt
Video messaging is hot and it is a core component of effective prospecting sequences because it works! At Sales Gravy we love using video messages to grab the attention of prospects.
Our favorite tool for sending those messages is Vidyard. That's why we were thrilled when Vidyard CEO and Co-Founder, Michael Litt agreed to sit down with Jeb Blount, Jr. on the Sales Gravy Podcast to discuss the future of video messaging.
If you are the kind of person that likes to be on the leading edge of sales technology and techniques, you will love this episode!
How to Become a LinkedIn Selling Machine – Featuring Daniel Disney
On this Sales Gravy podcast episode, Jeb Blount and Daniel Disney discuss the real secrets to becoming a LinkedIn selling machine. You'll learn the keys to to filling your pipeline with qualified opportunities, building your personal brand, improving your closing ratios, and increasing your income.
Why You Should Use LinkedIn’s Marketing Power
LinkedIn is one of the greatest tools ever created for sales professionals. It ranks right up there with the car, telephone, and the internet.
Leveraging LinkedIn gives you the ability to connect with and learn more about prospects and customers than at any other time in history. Sales professionals who master LinkedIn quickly rise to the top of the ranking report.
LinkedIn offers a huge opportunity for salespeople, but it isn’t easy and not everyone was born with the skills to use it. Salespeople need to learn and practice using LinkedIn. It isn’t something that you can jump into headfirst and be successful.
As salespeople, you tend to automatically sell, but with LinkedIn, you have to take a step back from your regular habits. It is all about the long game and building relationships, not quick sales.
You Have To Find The Balance Between Your Professional Persona And The Personal You
Another problem that most salespeople have when using LinkedIn is that they have a hard time finding a balance.
We are so used to using social media in our personal lives that when we have to use LinkedIn professionally, it feels strange and can become a balancing act between being our professional self and staying social.
When you get it, however, it is a very powerful tool.
LinkedIn is about nuance and building familiarity to create awareness for your product, and it is also a direct message tool.
People Have Different Preferences For Receiving Messages That Resonate
One thing to remember is that people have different preferences when it comes to engaging. Some like the phone, some like email, while some don’t have the time to talk and others have full email boxes.
LinkedIn is a different way to reach someone to start a conversation, so in some respects, it can be a pirate’s way in – but only if you use it effectively.
The key is reaching the prospect with the right message at the right time, and that often takes sequencing your communication so that it is cumulative and encompassing.
When you think about the numerous ways that we now communicate, you can’t just use one channel, be it email, telephone, instant messaging, or snail mail. You have to be the master of all of them and master using LinkedIn’s marketing power.
If you only choose one silo, then statistically you are going to miss prospects. And if you do, you miss building familiarity through a channel and the cumulative effect.
Success lies not in one over the other; it is about using all the tools and being persistent in an authentic way.
Persistence Is The Key To Building A Certain Amount Of Reciprocity
Persistence is a mental skill for people, and it demonstrates that you care about them and believe that you have the solution to help them.
Also, when you are persistent on a genuine level of obligations, you develop a certain amount of reciprocity.
When someone does something nice for you, and you are in the right place at the right time, you are likely to gain their business. You have to blend and sequence all the channels that you have to reach your prospect, which involves cumulative messaging.
People have so many different ways of communicating that you need to hit them from every angle you have at your disposal. Using LinkedIn’s marketing power comprehensively can help you achieve that!
Consistency Adds Cumulative Layers Of Messaging
Gold nuggets if you listen!
There are not a lot of great sales and marketing podcasts that help you move the needle in your sales career. Definitely worth the time investment. Anthony Iannarino was right you rock! Thanks for the nuggets.
Pass me the Gravy!
I'm always captivated by the compelling conversations happening here on Sales Gravy, and with good reason - Jeb and his guests consistently offer valuable information and actionable insights that can immediately be applied to your sales strategy. No matter the topic, I learn something every time! Highly recommend.
One of the best professors.
No need for any description: just listen to this man !! An intellectual pit bull, a mental beast , a do or die neuronal force of nature ! After you listen, listen again and then read his books. He’ll turn you into an attitudinal hurricane too !