it’s the read method, insider podcast, we’re going to dive right into this one.
It’s episode, 74.
, we’re at 74 episodes.
Already we’ve been doing um one or two a week.
We’ve been averaging like one and a half new shows each week and uh we’ve had some very interesting guests, including our returning guest tonight, who is the founder and ceo of badger maps.
The number one route planner for field salespeople and after just to refresh stephen, had his mba from stanford uh.
He joined google where he became uh, google’s number one enterprise sales executive globally in 2009.
So this guy knows his stuff about sales and outside sales and worldwide sales.
For that matter, and in 2000, 2012 steve founded badger maps to help field sales reps be more successful in their multi-stop route planning system.
He also hosts outside sales, talk a podcast that i’ve guested on, which is really cool where he interviews uh industry experts on their top to share their top sales tips, and he also as a result of that podcast.
He actually, he started uh the sales hall of fame, which is he’s the president of the sales hall of fame.
This is the only sales hall of fame.
I know of and uh today we’re going to talk about how um to transition from outside sales or skills outside sales, rep need to transition to inside sales roles.
So welcome back stephen to our series of training here, absolutely well, i’m really happy to be back, and hopefully we can cover some useful stuff here.
Yeah and – and we have we’ve been – we’ve covered a lot of ground in in these three uh in this series of podcast shows that you and i have done – and you know all with relevant major subjects – uh, as i alluded to before the previous two episodes, and Today, um this was this show is, as a result of one of the uh.
One of our followers actually was one of your followers.
When you posted one of our last episodes, saying asking the question uh directly, you know what should outside sales people do in order to transition to inside sales, where they can’t be on the road as much if at all, um and and what do they do and And you know in doing the research for this show tonight it’s a very deep subject, and you know it’s not as easy as people might think, just get off the road and go sit around the desk to start selling.
You know selling stuff so um.
So there’s there’s much transition going on right now, as we know, as we touched on a little bit before the show started in all areas in all retail spaces and there’s a significant rise in inside sales, while the outside sale forces are shrinking so um.
What do you think that looks like so one of the researches that i did stephen, and you may already know this or find this interesting, where in 2016, uh salesforce had actually done uh a survey where 40 percent of large tech companies had planned to increase their Inside sales head count and then startups and smaller companies, small tech companies were already generating most of 55 of their sales or revenues from inside sales teams, and that was in 2016 right.
So what do you think that looks like let’s say in 2019, just before covet hit and now the follow-up question would be what it looks like after? Yes, i i guess, there’s uh the key piece of that survey.
I think is that it’s of tech companies, so there there’s been a big change in the way tech companies have gone to market.
Since i started my career technology used to be very expensive and sold on cds, i’m speaking specifically of software hardware, uh, like servers used to be sold, you know direct from the major old traditional server manufacturers um, you know, hp, ibm, uh, etc, and they, you know With when vmware kind of you know came online and started recreating uh using virtualization, and this is getting into the wii’s technology, the the history of it, but they basically a lot of servers, got commoditized, so that kind of technology changed a lot and is effectively sold.
Um through online or inside sales channels, right now and and frankly, mostly most things are moving to the cloud.
That’s the big trend, so people aren’t even buying servers anymore, like like badger maps, our software company, we, you know, obviously serve software all over the world to field sales.
People we have zero servers.
We don’t have one, it’s all.
It’s all cloud-based um.
We use several cloud providers through different things um, but you know: that’s that’s really, uh the the running of the the physical boxes.
The physical servers is no longer a responsibility of most technology companies um.
So i i guess the other.
So that’s half of technology like the the actual hardware, the other half is the software and software used to be sold.
You know for a lot of money, buy a field sales rep who would show up at your office and sell you the software, and it was they were giving you a very expensive cd right, um, the the the tech work was all done up front.
The investment was done up front.
It’s a finished product, they’re handing you a cd right, yeah, you buy it once then you own the software on that cd.
If you want to pay the software company in an ongoing basis, they’ll give you updates to that software, and that was generally between 15 and 20 of the original cost of the of the the software.
So if you paid a million bucks for a piece of software um, it was another 200 grand a year.
If you wanted to get rights to the updates to that software, the next cd effectively, which would come out every you know, three years or whatever the reason you’ve seen this major move from inside inside sales to or from outside sales to inside sales is because that That trend has changed in technology, so technology now is.
Software is generally sold um as a service.
You know it’s it’s like electricity, that comes out of the wall.
They call it cloud computing and um.
What that means is you can consume it on an ad on an as needed basis? If you have it look like for badger, we sell software for field sales.
People, if you are, if you have a team of field sales, people for 100 people, you, you buy exactly 100 licenses and you pay for those on a monthly or annual basis.
And it’s about 50 bucks a person per month and that’s pretty common for how software is sold, but that is you’ll.
Note 50 a month is a lot cheaper than a million dollars one time, and so as a result, when things are cheaper, less friction less questions.
It’s less of a challenging decision to make you you move just you move to servicing customers in an inside model, because it’s cheaper right.
It doesn’t make sense to fly people around the world to sell someone.
You know 500 bucks a month worth of software or as it would have, if you were selling them a million bucks of software or 500 grand in software.
So we’ve seen this major trend and change in the software industry and i think it’s important to um.
It’s important it’s an important case study, basically, because a lot of companies are in a short-term way, being effectively forced by covid to sell with an inside sales strategy instead of what they have traditionally done and was traditionally the best way for them to go to market, Which was an outside sales strategy, and so you can kind of look at the um software industry and how sales has changed in the software industry over the last.
You know, especially the last 15.
10 15 years i mean even 10 years ago.
Cloud computing was was in its early stages, i mean but uh, but it’s really pretty much the it is the dominant dominant way it’s done today.
So you can look at this as a case study and and learn from it yeah.
So so we covered pretty much tech company and, and you you you’re, a tech, software, tech company yourself.
What about the you know, nuts and bolts so to speak, uh outside sales? People who you know whether it be you know, goods food.
You know, i know a couple of uh account: managers that sold food to restaurants and, like in your previous example, beer to bars and stuff, like that, like the nuts and bolts people out there, how how do you think they’re managing um right now? How does this same um an analogy applied to them? Well, i think it depends on your industry and it’s very different.
If you’re selling food to bars or medical devices to doctors – or you know beer to bars, let’s do beer to bars versus medical devices to doctors and and these you know these are the types of customers that that badger has and – and so i know them really Well, and – and this is this – has affected these customers – these businesses in very, very different ways: um, if you sell and we’ve lost about 20 of our customers, i mean they and hopefully they’re coming back and they’re they’re furloughed now, but you know bars will open if, In the case of the beer to bars person, you know that that sales rep is for furlough today, but hopefully bars will open up here at some point again and and we’ll we’ll we’ll all leave our houses and be able to uh.
Do that safely again and and uh, and therefore you people will drink beer bars again and therefore you’ll need a sales rep selling beer to that bar again and they’ll come off of of of their furlough but um, it’s very different.
If you’re selling beer to bars right now versus medical devices to doctors, if you’re selling medical devices to doctors you’re still operating in a very similar way, so we saw um.
We saw about 20 percent a 20 reduction in our customer base as a result of of covid um.
Just from you know these traditional nuts and bolts, as you say, sales people that are out selling um.
You know it’s a really really challenging time for a lot of companies and depending on who they are some of them.
Just can’t go into the field at all or can’t meet with.
I guess go, go meet with their customers at all, and so it can be really challenging for a sales team to bridge this gap of having going from a sales model of having face-to-face visits where you’re you’re sitting down and getting to explain things to your customer Pitch to your customer and maybe it’s a complex sale, maybe it’s an expensive sale if it’s a risky sale, maybe it’s a competitive sale.
All those things kind of lead you down the path of outside sales and face-to-face interactions being the best way to go to market and you’re.
In a lot of cases, companies just aren’t able to do that anymore, so um, they’re, they’re, switching and over to a an inside sales methodology in a lot of cases or just shutting down in the cases of beer to bars right.
They just you know, shut down production, shut down the sales team etc, but in some cases they’re they’re.
They are needing to make this shift.
So maybe you know you sold cancer, uh cancer, ablating equipment to um to radiation oncologists and the radiation oncologists really can’t meet.
You face-to-face right now, but they still need to buy radiation oncology equipment, and so they still want to meet with you, but they just want to meet um not face to face, but they want to meet uh.
They they want to meet um.
You know over over zoom zoom yeah, so a lot in a lot of these cases, um it’s very difficult for these types of reps, sometimes because there’s a reason that their stuff was being sold face-to-face in the beginning and uh.
You know they now that it can’t the product can’t be demoed well or shown, and the doctor can’t see it.
You can’t build the relationship, etc.
It’s it’s extending an expanding sales cycles, making it’s making things take longer um, so i think uh the not to mention you know, and why is it taking longer that you know relationships are impacted, it’s harder to build relationships? It’s then it’s it’s harder to to look around the room and see what people’s body language is who’s supportive of a deal who’s, not um.
I guess to to your point um, you know, so what? What should these people do? Who are in these nuts and bolts sales situations? You know that you refer to you know in terms of they were going, the field no they’re, not.
I think the key is to stay productive for these types of reps.
You know keep generating new sales cycles um and more sales cycles, moving sales cycles downfield.
Even if you can’t demo your product in person, for example, just keep uh keep doing what you can and and a sales cycle extension doesn’t mean it’s not going to come, which means it’s going to come later, so you need to focus on building out the funnel At the top of the funnel, as much as you can, the middle of the funnel, maybe kind of feel like a no man’s land, but just keep pushing and moving things down field, and sometimes the end of the sales cycle can be very challenging right now for Field sales reps because they they’re not able to um.
Maybe the purse strings are closed or are tighter.
Maybe they don’t have the same access to um to the decision makers as they used to have uh.
My little light here is going out there, that’s better.
It was kind of flickering on me um, so uh, i think another thought for for these reps is, is learn how inside sales reps have been behaving as opposed to outside sales reps, so they use different strategies to build relationships than outside sales.
Reps necessarily do right.
So maybe an outside sales rep would show up with donuts and coffee, and that was a great strategy.
Maybe they would take people out to lunch or dinner or whatever it is.
There were a lot of things that outside sales people had at their disposal, and – and so what’s helpful – is to look to inside sales reps and see what’s made what they’ve done and what different strategies they they take to make to be more successful.
Um good example that i think one thing you see inside sales people doing a lot better than outside sales.
People is developing their social selling skills, so learning about your customers online before a meeting researching them building your relationship in a social environment, um and, and obviously this.
This is a topic big enough for a book um and – and it’s not my area of expertise by any means.
I i i on my podcast.
I have invited like five, four or five uh social selling experts on during covid and so there’s like um and they’ve kind of they all kind of approach, social selling in a different way and there’s a ton of like tips and tricks to that.
You can learn to better build relationships, better, maintain relationships, kind of it’s kind of like a almost like a drip email, that’s more passive because they’re just you know, if you’re creating great content, they keep following you and, if you’re putting stuff out there in a meaningful Way, um in a thoughtful way, people are continuing to interact with your brand and um and there’s a bunch of things that you can do, but i i do recommend checking out some.
Reading a book on social selling um there there’s there are some great experts on it.
I’ve, if you just look up uh, like you, know, linkedin and social, see on my podcast, like the titles you can tell which titles are about that that i’ve come out with in the last three months, there’s like four or five of them, and those guys are Great um, so you can read their books or just listen to their episode, but there’s definitely a lot of wisdom there on how you can set up a profile, how you can, what cadences and sequences that you can use little ticks trips tricks and tips um.
That’s that’s a thing that i think an outside sales rep, making that inside transition should look at um, i’m trying to think what uh? What are some of the good tips.
I think uh one another tip for outside sales people right now in general and all sales people – i guess uh, you know, sales cycles are extended.
This is a difficult time.
Focus one way to stay, motivated and keep your is to keep your focus on the.
How am i gon na perform in the next year? How much money am i gon na make in the next year, as opposed to being like? What am i gon na do this month, because, like maybe august, it’s just gon na be tough and a lot of this? A lot of people are in industries where this is not your fault and it’s just it’s going to be a slow time right, and but what you can do to be productive is try not to try to be able to look back at this period and be Like well yeah, i didn’t really lose that much because i just didn’t get as many sales in august, but i set them up to be closed.
You know next february and i really knocked them down in in february, and so it just depending on your industry.
You can focus on, you know doing well in february once you know next february, once things open up, for example, then then uh, even if you’re not going to close the sales now you can, there are things you can do to really have really kill it.
Next year and with lead gen and building relationships and that sort of thing so um.
So what do you think? Um has driven the move towards inside sales and why? This is such a big opportunity for big companies and small companies? And you know what about those guys that are saying wait a minute.
You know i’m used to going out and meeting customers and a lot of these deals regardless of covet or not or regardless, of the circumstance um.
These are big deals and, and you and face to face this – is how you close deals.
Do they need to adapt to some sort of a hybrid model? Um, you know in the office three days meet, you know meet one day, one appointment, virtual meetings, some in between um.
What about you know those guys who get off they’re always on the road, and you say now: you got ta, stick them on around the desk and they’re like they’re, just not comfortable communicating that way.
Yeah! Well, i think you know the the first.
I guess the first part of that question was what has driven this change and that and we started out talking about kind of uh, the technology industry, and i think that that has been an ongoing movement and that was driven by the economics of of field sales Field sales are more expensive because you’re you’re sending them a more expensive reps of outside sales.
People tend to be more expensive than inside sales people, because it’s a uh, there’s more.
It’s a broader skill set.
You know you um it’s there.
You need to have more skills to, in general, to have developed more skills to be out in in outside sales than inside sales, and you got car expenses and flights and expense accounts and lunches yeah, exactly not done so, not just in salary, but also in the Actual expense of moving them around right, so it’s just outside sales, just more expensive than inside sales.
Why would you do it well? Because in many cases it’s far more effective and therefore you know it’s made up for in greater sales.
Shorter sales cycles, better relationships, better customer retention, etc, but um the the model, the model uh uh.
I think uh that you, you see a lot with with with um field sales, people and and why? Why have what? So, why have you? How why are we seeing this move in other areas is obviously just coved right, there’s a lot of people that can’t go and see their customers right now right and that’s um, that’s a that’s a real problem in in general.
I think for so.
That’s that’s why you’re seeing this today? Is it and you didn’t see it before necessarily right um? So, let’s see the next part of your question was uh? Is it uh? Is it a mix like do? Are they gon na be in the office two? Three days? A week gon na be on the road to the you know a couple times a week or is there a? Is there a? Is there a happy medium yeah? I think this also the hybrid model you asked about the i think most field sales people are in some way in a hybrid model and always have been.
I mean they’re still just because you were a salespeople person that effectively was in the field a lot.
You were still doing, some phone calls or some emails or some mailers or you know there were there, was office, work to be done, um, regardless right, so um.
I think uh.
I think that that you know everyone was already always in a hybrid model, even if you were like a pure door-to-door sales, rep like knocking on doors and selling water, to offices or insurance to offices, or you know, uh solar panels to homes or security to homes.
Like pure pure play, b2b or b2c field sales, i think, even in those cases you were already in somewhat of a hybrid role right.
You still were following up with people with phone calls etc.
But i think the modern world allows us to kind of have the best of both worlds if you’re a field salesperson, but you have a meeting that can be done with zoom or can be over done over the phone um can be done over.
You know you.
If you can keep in touch with people with the with with uh text messages and and social selling, you can leverage all these to all these things, to get greater reach and do even better.
But it doesn’t necessarily replace what you’re doing in the field.
But but maybe you are spending you know one day a week in the office catching up on all that stuff and then four days a week in the field, and i think we see that a lot so so do guys need to panic.
Like you know, if you’re in the road, all the time and you’re making this move now, you’ve been forced to make this move because of covid and all the other stresses off that the circumstance of covet brings.
Should they panic a that they’re having to get off the road you know or the stresses of having to deal with it? You know and how do they view the move to inside sales as an opportunity? Well, i i think um for one for one thing in industries where the best way to go to market is face to face and field sales that will that will be back and they just have to kind of grind through this time, and it’s just going to Be a tough time um, but you know i wouldn’t panic there.
There are cases where the industry that you, the way you were making your living six months ago, maybe is going to be a bad way to make a living for the next.
You know for 12, more months.
Maybe who knows? I don’t know when, when restaurants be fully open, if you’re a bartender right now, you’ve got to find a new career for a short period of time right and there are certain types of field, sales, people or inside sales.
People that need to do the same or retail sales people for certain, obviously there’s a ton of retail sales people out there that that are all out of work right now, yeah.
So i think you know it is a good time to make a shift.
I mean if someone was selling purses and in uh in a chanel store and now that chanel store is closed.
I think that you know you could maybe take some of those skills and and those sales skills they’re going to transition to an inside sales role where you, where you’re selling, you know something else over the phone and that maybe isn’t the best role for you and It maybe isn’t your ideal role, but it’s something that you can do for the next year until the retail stores open up again and then you can switch back to that.
If that’s, if that was your expertise and what was the best fit for you, but i do think people need to be willing to make changes and willing to try new things to make ends meet in these times.
But i mean panic is never good unless, unless you need to panic before you’re going to take action, panic is never good.
I would but uh, but in general i do see this as being a temporary thing.
I think you know we have a couple things going on right now, one we have a recession uh which we, you know maybe have not seen the worst of yet it’s the end of august uh, 2020.
So things you know the stock market’s still very high.
The there are, you know there are indicators that things are going to be fine.
There’s also, i think, some risk of a decent downturn and a prolonged recession here so dealing with.
That is one thing dealing with covid and that whole situation is another and uh.
I think you know some people need to take actions and and make changes in in the way they’re making their living.
What they’re doing what what their burn rate is in terms of expenses um and there are uh.
But there are people that uh, but but i think all those all those changes should be made with keeping into account hey.
You know that that chanel store is going to be open again, people are going to buy purses again that you know the travel industry.
People are going to travel again, they’re dying to do it.
They just you know they can’t do it right now.
Um people would love to go to bars and drink beer.
If you’re a beer salesman like you will be selling beer to bars again, but look to do something else right now that uh, you know to make ends meet and um.
You know i, but certainly like those roles will come back and the you know: face-to-face sales field, sales outside sales, it’s crucial for many types of sales.
It shortens sales cycles, it deepens relationships.
It’ll always be important.
It’s really hard to replicate the connection that you can make with a customer um in person, whether you’re on zoom or over the phone.
You know, interactions over the internet, know the you know: they’re they’re, clunky, they’re, awkward in person, meetings with eye contact and it you can understand a customer and their problems, better, yeah, there’s more authenticity to it.
You you know.
If there’s a connection, you can absolutely yeah right, um yeah, you can feel the connection, you can it’s how we’re evolved.
It’s what we do.
I think we can uh.
You know i i kind of like to say that uh, both dating apps and uh and sales may be enhanced by the so dating and sales are both enhanced by the internet, but neither will replace in-person interactions, whether dates or or sales cycles, they’re going to stay In person, ultimately to some degree, but yeah sooner or later you got to step out and and meet got ta say you got ta get out into the sun right so um.
I think they’ve been saying this for car sales.
Ever since i was like you know, i won’t even date myself, but it’s been a long time.
They’ve been saying: oh yeah, you know, car sales is going to go fully online nobody’s going to come in the showroom anymore and, oh, my goodness, a typical saturday afternoon.
In the showroom is still a zoo yeah, i think i think that’s incorrect.
I mean there are certain companies that are able to do it, because the demand for their cars is greater than their product or than the the number of cars they’re able to sell.
So they’re there there’s more there’s less inventory than there is demand for the inventory um and you know tesla’s.
The only thing i can think of is like that, but um for for for the the bulk of the market.
I i it’s hard to imagine someone wanting to make a purchase of a bmw or alexis without going going visiting the lexus dealership visiting the bmw dealership, visiting mercedes dealership talking to the sales people touching the car sitting in the car, making sure making sure it fits Them i mean i i if, if you’re gon na have people getting an opportunity to interact with with the car it’s worth having a sales person there, it’s it’s it’s it’s foolish for for a cfo to look at that as to as a as purely a cost, Because, if you’re, if you’re selling a product that has margins you’re going to win more business, if you have that sales person, interacting with the person you’re answering questions, predicting their objections, overcoming their objections, you know positioning against the competition um you’re, going to make more sales And and ultimately, more profit, if you have that sales person than if you uh try to try to save that save money on that line item i i and that’s basically, what going all internet would be and if you, let’s just say that bmw decided to do That they’re, like wow, look how much money i like you know these guys over at tesla, are saving by not having a sales team.
That’s fantastic! Why don’t i’m the cfo of bmw, i’m just gon na i’m just gon na get rid of all these showrooms and all these sales people and you can just buy bmws online? Who would like to do that? Well that you know mercedes and lexus are gon na eat bmw’s lunch.
If they do that, because you know the the lexus sales guy is going to be able to say he’s going to be able to talk up, is going to have that opportunity to talk up the lexus that the bmw as a company did just didn’t, get didn’t Get to have, and so though, they’ll beat they’ll, beat them and and uh, and so i think that you know field sales and face-to-face sales and sales people are are here to stay.
I actually think it’s one of the better one of the better long-term careers in our in our economy, because a lot of careers are going to have problems over the next 20 years because of globalization.
Because of automation, because you know software is eating the world.
There are a lot of jobs that are great jobs today that are effectively more and more being done by software or by someone it was a high.
Maybe it was a high-paying job in in you know, ohio and now it’s a low-paying job and wherever pakistan but um.
You know that that that those trends are important and here to stay right, um, so globalization, uh and uh and and software there’s a lot of jobs that were done by by hand by grunt work and now we’ve we’ve just coded software to be smart enough to Do it or or one person can do the job of 10 right like the world, used to need more way more accountants than the world needs today, because software is doing a lot of the accounting work automatically.
So there’s an example of a high-paying job.
That is, is both subject to both outsourcing, because someone in pakistan can be a great accountant for a firm that is based in ohio and and also so that that firm in ohio doesn’t need to hire a local accountant, and also software helps a lot.
There’s really big companies that that have built great software products that do that do the bulk of your of your taxes and your accounting.
So i think uh.
You know that sales, however, is not like that sales.
You need someone who has cultural understanding and connect with your customers.
You need someone in a lot of cases, it needs to be face-to-face or, if it’s not, you won’t win deals or it’s worth it, it’s worth paying for it face to face, etc.
And what i’m hearing you um echo there without using the one word, is people welcome and appreciate the experience and of dealing with a real person? Absolutely you know the experience matters because oftentimes, that’s what they’re shopping for is the experience.
It’s not you know the products they can get from one showroom to the next um, but the experience is what sells products these days.
Yeah absolutely start.
Starbucks prove that i can make just as good a cup of coffee as starbucks can.
In my in my kitchen you know – and i don’t have to leave my house, but why do i? Why do i go to start and it costs you know a quarter and why? Why would i ever go to starbucks and pay five dollars for a cup of coffee? That’s you know, i got ta travel there.
It costs, you know, what’s you know 20 times more than what it was than what i i could have done before? It’s the same thing: it’s like i do it every day, it’s hot water that keeps me awake.
I i do it because i i enjoy the experience right like i’m driving by one.
I know i’m going home.
I could make a cup when i got home, but i i want the experience i want them to make it i want.
I i want to stop there.
I like i like the way they make it.
I, like you, know, write your name on the cup.
Why do we like it? I don’t know because they’ve created a great experience, but if and if i’m going to buy a like, if i would buy a lexus, i want to buy it from from you right, because you know everything about it and i don’t even know what questions to ask.
I don’t you know what i in, if i’m in up in a car buying cycle, and you do, you know how to tell me what i need to hear and and guide me and you’re.
You know you’re a sherpa of of uh of my experience.
You know i made this point today on an earlier show that we did out in out west again.
Actually it was out of british columbia, um and i said to them.
You know outside sales, reps and sales reps in general.
Anyone interacting with clients, are creating solutions and solving problems for clients even before they.
Those problems occur um and that’s where the opportunities are is anticipating? Okay, your your lease is coming up or you’re, going to start paying for maintenance.
After you know, 40 000 miles or kilometers, whichever country you’re in and it’s to anticipate and reach out to that client and say here’s a solution, um i’ll upgrade you to a new car so and keep your payments very close.
You won’t have to pay maintenance again for another two three years: you’ll have the latest technology and all the connectivity, and it won’t cost you much extra or it will only do this, and all you have to do is this.
So literally it’s not the car or the product so much, but it’s the fact that you’re making it so seamless that they’re saying well sure you know if it’s that easy and – and you mean all i have to do – is come in once or they know that You know what they like uh.
They already know the product uh.
So if you’re offering them a newer one, it must be better.
You know, or most likely, it’s better.
So it’s it’s there’s a lot of that.
That’s missing, uh and why, outside sales or face-to-face sales, is such a a huge opportunity for good salespeople to become great average salespeople to become good or for anyone seeking a career change which is ultimately what’s happening? Now, like you spoke about those chanel sales reps who are probably in a retail store um, you know selling purses and bags and and whatnot.
This may be an opportunity for them to visit a car dealership and look for to make a career change, because i’m telling you they’ll be probably very good at it sure.
If you can sell purses, you can sell cars, i mean it’s, you know the the skill sets for different types of sales are highly transferable yeah communication.
Some purchases cost as much as a used car these days, absolutely which doesn’t make any sense to me, but why? No one, no one asked me what i think i have no idea, but but i i think what you’re you know.
One thing you mentioned that made me think: it’s trust right, like you, you, with lexus having you as a salesperson, your customers trust.
You they’ve been coming to you for years that you, you led them right.
The last time they’ve been happy, you know what you understand them.
You’ve got notes about.
What’s important to them.
You know that mrs jones really just loves the smooth ride of the lexus and uh.
You know you know that mr jones has always kind of asked for a zippier car, so it’s so nice the way the hybrid model can you can flip from kind of eco mode over to uh over to to sport mode? They both just love the love, those cars because they’re getting the best of both worlds.
You know like and – and you can tell them about that on day – one when they come in because you sold them their last one.
You understand what’s important to them.
You have that relationship, they and you have their trust because you led them.
You led them right.
That’s you know that’s hard for tesla to compete with, because you know they’re just checking out the specs online right now right.
So it’s i think you know.
I i i think, uh there are times when companies get away without doing great at sales, but but competition will come in it will catch up, yeah yeah, it look it and – and you – and there have been – that’s happened – a bunch of times over the years in Software, as some company will have such a hot product and everybody knows what it is already and wants it and so they’re like.
Oh, we don’t even have a sales team people, just you know, show up and send us checks right like and and those companies as they mature as they get comp competitors um.
They always end up having sales teams yeah we’ll deliver it to your home and put it in your driveway.
You know and we’ll throw you the keys from the curb because of covid, so no one will show you the car either.
You know and show you how it works, so yeah there’s a lot of opportunities out there so and i’m glad we touched on this subject and there’s so many different, analogies and comparisons.
But so what about the culture should, when you’re leaving the outside sales role that you’ve been in for 20 years and now because of a pandemic? You can’t sell beer bars, like you say, and you’re going into an inside sales role or you’re, leaving the chanel store and can walk it into a car dealership um.
Will this be a culture shock for these people? Um yeah? I mean i, i think, uh.
You know, i think, the modern the way the world is right now is a culture shock for a lot of people.
I mean, i think social people in general are lonely right now.
I think you know people feel disconnected from family and friends, and you know i think, but but also their roles right.
If you’ve changed from being a field salesperson to an inside sales person and uh, you know field sales.
People enjoy a lot of autonomy in their lives and in their days and they’re, you know they’re they’re moving around out in the world, it’s very different.
If you, whether you’re in a in a world where you’re going to an office now every day, uh versus you know, if you’re going in a world where you’re just staying from your staying home and working from home, which i think is probably more common with a Lot of people that were in field sales and are now being switched to inside sales by the time we can go to offices, they can also go back out into the field so uh.
I suspect that that’s that the common change we’re seeing right now is people that were in field sales that are now just like working out of their spare bedroom, um but uh, but yeah that, i think, being in an office every day.
There are cultural issues that that sales people, someone who has been in outside sales for 20 years, might struggle with you know, just the politics and the you know the uh, so it’s less, i find going up to an office every day, less like mentally, stimulating than When i was in field sales, because i and i go to an office basically every day now, because i run this company – i guess i’m still traveling around so i’ll meet with customers i’ll meet with.
I go to our different offices.
While all our offices are closed.
Right now, so i’m not doing that but um, but i did go to all of our offices, but but uh you know in europe we have an office philippines, utah and san francisco.
So i was moving around quite a bit um just running the company, but when i was in field sales, i was always flying to new places or driving to new places and interacting with new people, and i really uh i really found i i really enjoyed that Element: the freedom, the autonomy, just the the excitement, the the stimulus of it all was was i really enjoyed and i think, field sales people a lot of them do enjoy that and will miss that when they, you know, certainly when they’re, when they’re stuck in their Spare bedroom, but all even if they were going to a an office job every day, where they’re sitting the same desk.
And you know just seeing the same people every day and and kind of much more structure and nine to five feel to an office than than a field sales person, yeah and – and there are those who just love being working alone, right uh in their their their Car is their office and they come into the office once a week or once a month and it’s a hard shift.
It’s a hard shift to be literally forced to make the transition, because there’s no clients for you to visit yeah.
So so, just getting out of the working by yourself environment to be enforced into working at home or in an office uh or strictly over the phone.
You know, along with dealing with the cold, i mean it’s two things you’re two issues, you’re dealing with and and those of who also have to you know, look after kids or family members.
That’s a third issue.
So there’s a lot of stress involved with it too.
So that’s what i was touching on you know is this: would this be a culture shock and how how how would most salespeople, who are used to being on the road you know literally have to stop dead in their tracks and work from home? So with that said, uh steve, what are three tips that you would use that you would offer to outside sales, reps that are transitioning to this inside role.
Just to sum up everything that we just talked about on this episode about how skilled outside sales reps can transition to inside sales roles um.
Well, i guess i guess first tip is to don’t be afraid to make transitions right now.
They’re likely temporary, but you know don’t be frozen by what’s going on make transitions keep making ends meet.
I guess second, is there? Are sales skills, relationship, building skills, um that are very different uh in the modern world um than than well? I guess it’s very different to go through a whole sales cycle over zoom in the phone than it is when you could show up in person, you could interact with people, it’s very different, to give a presentation or a demonstration to a prospect from a remote situation.
I think uh many sales people, you know they usually meet with their customers in person, and you need to make the and to make the transition to remote selling.
It can be a real challenge.
You know that there are.
There are many many products that it’s way better to sell in person, obviously right and you you’re disadvantaged and zoom over the phone, but i think uh you, you know a car being a great example.
You take away the showroom and the sales guy.
It’s tough right, but uh, you know if, when you are presenting over in a remote environment, i think there’s some things to keep in mind.
That will make this that that that first recognize that it is different and that there are some things you have to do differently.
So in person you, you don’t have to be as succinct.
You can have like natural conversations like presenting over over video or over the phone.
You have to be a lot more succinct, a lot briefer people’s attention spans are different in person where than they are like watching a zoom or something.
So if, if you’ve been talking for 10 minutes, like i mean that’s bad, you can assume no one’s paying attention anymore, because you know it’s just.
We all have zoom fatigue to some degree.
It’s a real thing.
I think it’s some you can.
You can bring in like interactive activities if you try to keep the audience engaged, especially if it’s a group of people you’re presenting to you, can you know, pull people give them quizzes.
Ask them, ask them questions, give them the ability to offer their opinions.
Your questions via chat – i guess this kind of depends on the size um you can still leverage slides.
It’s it’s probably important to keep it simple.
You know, i think graphics, animation features are great.
There’s there’s uh, you don’t want too many of them.
I guess sometimes less can be more, but but uh you need to engage people and – and it’s it’s much easier to be engaging when you’re in the room with them right.
I think a lot of field sales people historically have been able to leverage their their interpersonal skills and uh and then once they’re uh.
You know it’s harder to be funny over zoom, it’s harder to be engaging over zoom than it is in person right.
So if it’s harder to just you know, make a connection right um, i think it’s harder for them to understand your message.
You know, i think, uh, i think, there’s some quote people people will not work to understand your message.
You have to work to be understood, it’s great, like you know, classic classic sales quote think about transitions.
Yeah, um! It’s it’s much more difficult to transition from one thing.
People have a difficult time following points in a way that they aren’t.
They are able to follow points face to face when you start presenting over zoom or if you’re talking on the phone.
It can be hard to follow where, where someone is you want to, you know, uh, you want to make sure that you summarize what you’re talking about keep circling back to hey.
This is the question i’m i’m answering even like in this call right like you’ll.
Hear me be like okay, so yeah like by the way, i’m you know that so that’s another like i’ll.
I could summarize this section by being, like that’s another reason, uh another tip for people making this transition from outside to inside sales.
Like all these things that i’ve been saying are tips for making this transition um so yeah.
So i found something that you just said there, because i actually had it in one of my sales courses uh.
So it was uh susan kane, the book quiet power people.
Don’t buy because they understand what’s being sold, they buy because they feel understood, yeah, so important, and it’s harder to understand to them.
What i think one important thing, what she’s saying there is you’ve, got to understand your customers problems before you before you consult them, and it’s so much harder to connect to them and understand them and empathize with them and get where they’re coming from over the phone Than it is or over zoom than it is in person um so yeah, that’s that that’s that’s a that’s a very important point and it takes a bit more effort.
We we know that it takes a bit more effort and sometimes i feel what’s important and relevant.
Today is to keep in touch in between these official zoom calls or uh in between these official presentations.
Whether that’s you know uh a monday morning, checkup or checking in or friday, you know to say, have a good weekend.
You know, let me know if you need anything for the rest of the week or over the weekend or whatever the case may be, or whether it’s one of those empathy calls just making sure just checking in how things how they’re handling this situation.
If there’s anything that you could do to offer some additional service that will help their team out uh or help their customers and uh so that when you get on these zoom calls and, like you say when things get back to some sort of normalcy, they’ll, remember Those conversations they’ll remember who checked in with them: um i’ve had several clients like this several and who have been sold multiple cars to over the last eight years and calling their homes and saying hey.
What’s going on? How are you doing, especially my you know, old? Some older clients that i have they’re they’re they’re, not necessarily shocked, but they’re still pleasantly surprised.
Just to call and say: hey, are you, okay? How are you handling things? I haven’t seen you in a while.
Well and one more thing you can as an outside salesperson.
Changing to an inside sales role along these along what you’re saying right here along the same path is – and i guess we talked about it a few minutes ago – was – is focus on your social selling.
Yeah focus on on.
How can you you’re connected to all these people, make sure you’re connected to all your prospects first of all, but then you know you: can you can cr create a valuable piece of content or or a company? You can create a valuable piece of content for all of their sales reps to send out to that.
It’s really engaging and great to put like.
If i were alexis, i would be handing you and a you know a great infographic to share on linkedin, because you’re connected with all these people who are potential buyers of of and your facebook for that matter.
Some of these people are your friends, so facebook instagram linkedin.
They should be giving you great content that that you couldn’t create, like you know, the most fantastic infographic.
You know some someone who went to college for design and communication and marketing is the person who should do that.
They should create some amazing, really engaging graphic like about lexuses and why they’re great, and why now is a great time to buy one and you can share it and all the other sales reps at lexus can share it with their neck with their networks.
That’s a that’s a valuable thing for lexus to invest in, i think yeah, no, absolutely and um.
We all have thousands of followers.
I mean collectively as sales reps in any given dealership.
It’s probably amounted to tens of thousands of combined friends and followers.
So it’s it’s! A great way to get the message out literally in 30 seconds to a whole bunch of people, and it’s it’s almost it’s pretty much free to do so, and the other thing, while you brought that up, is these individuals, if you’re doing this type of social selling Or social branding is you, the individual are becoming the brand as opposed to the logo on the building, so to speak because you’re, the person they’re contacting and yeah one of the great things that that i know this social, social selling and keeping in touch does.
Is the majority the majority of clients that i have if they come in for service, they literally will pay a visit to me or ask if i’m in uh some will hide jokingly because they don’t want to be upgraded to a new car, but that’s usually the Chance they take of coming in the showroom but uh, but but in a fun way, um, but they they come to develop this expectation of dealing with the person seeing them having the go-to person dealing with a familiar face, familiar relationships, you know conversations knowing that.
Okay, this person is there.
So if i have a problem, the first person, i’m calling is my guy or my gal, who deals with who i deal with, because i have that assurance.
You know, so i think that’s very important.
Today i mean it always has been relationships always have been important, but going forward.
I think it’s become even more relevant for companies overall to sustain whatever type of business they can and to potentially grow in the future, because when things get back to whatever kind of normal we’ll have those relationships are going to have opportunities to thrive and those businesses Will have opportunities to thrive, yeah so so important to uh to to stay stay in touch with people at that level.
I think i mean it’s uh and you can really um.
There’s there’s a lot to learn about social, about social media and you know how to uh how to do account based sales and leverage social media.
When you do it um uh, there’s a there’s: a guy named jamie shanks that uh i did it.
I did a podcast with that that talked about this.
That was really valuable.
Um on my on my podcast outside sales.
Talk the jamie shanks episode really that he, he talked a lot about this and how you can how you can leverage it yeah now i’ll definitely check that out that, because that’s that’s so important going forward and anyone should check that out, uh, whether you’re inside sales Or outside sales, uh check out outside sales talk for first of all, which is uh, steve, benson’s, podcast and uh.
You’ve got some really great guests, and you know they should go to your youtube channel too, and check out your videos, because they’re outstanding and as well they’re they’re featured on linkedin and your uh.
Your training is there yeah those little training.
Videos are worth watching.
You know they’re like 10 minutes each and i’ve probably done 10 of them on on topics i think, are pretty important.
They’re just on the badger maps, uh youtube page under sales training classes, it’s they’re cool.
Those are those those i i spent a lot of time on those, but you know they uh and they were a lot of fun, but it was kind of just a hobby.
For me, i guess yeah yeah being in front of the camera that long, oh, my god, it takes patience.
Man yeah! It’s amazing how much effort you’re, making a 10 minute video.
It’s a lot of it’s a lot of effort.
Yeah! Oh trust me.
It is well folks um, we we, you know, here’s another episode.
This was the third in a series of episodes with steve benson, and i i certainly encourage you to go back and check out episode.
68 on the read method – insider it’s actually.
This is this is going to make your fourth episode with me.
We did our first episode like a couple of years ago, and a couple years went by and all of a sudden we were doing like three and i’m in in pretty much a month, yeah.
Well, we’ve got the time now everyone we got the time we got the time.
So i don’t know about you, but i’m not busy right now.
Well, i’m trying to be busy, but it’s not working very well in a good way, um.
So folks, so we’ve check out episode 68, where steven and i discuss how to lead a sales team in a time of economic crisis, because every company out there, with the exception of if and even if your company, is thriving and is experiencing exponential growth and sales.
You need to know how to lead that sales team, so it doesn’t fall apart and uh.
The second episode, uh 69 was action.
Sales leaders need to take in a recession or, to you know, avoid one within your company, and we know that.