This week we answer a big question: what do sellers do?
In this episode Darryl is joined by Greg Nutter, author of P3 Selling, Principal Consultant at Soloquent Inc, and VP Global Sales at Darzin. Join them as they discuss a lot of words starting with the letter P and why they're the skeleton of the B2B sales, whether we should orient around the selling or buying process, and exactly why we find it so hard to apply the things we learn.
Find Greg on LinkedIn, or at the Soloquent website. Find his book P3 Selling here.
Connect with Darryl on LinkedIn.
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It's another day folks. How goes your time selling? I gotta ask you that. Are you frustrated? Are you feeling good? Are you optimistic? Are you cautious? Are you frustrated? I think we sales reps, honestly, I think we spend the vast majority of our time. Being frustrated, being annoyed, being exasperated, being discouraged.
And it makes you wonder in all sincerity, why we chose to do this. I mean, I know why we chose to do it because I can't think of another job that pays as well. That requires, shall we say, less formal education. We haven't had to do, you know, seven years of medical school to qualify for this job. And if we're good at a job, we can earn a very nice little take home.
Just, just for that, you know, we keep earning some big bucks right out of the gate, but the reality is there's something to be said. There's something to be said for that seven years of education that a doctor might have or that, you know, four or five or six years that a perhaps a, a lawyer might have.
And you get the idea. It could be an engineer, it could be whatever. It's, it's the, it's the highly. Educated careers that command very res, very respectable salaries with a high upside earning, and then become a foundation for them to aspire to other roles in the future where they maybe needs to be a CEO one day.
Maybe it's to be active in politics one day. Maybe it's to be an entrepreneur one day. Who knows? So what is that, that in that timeframe, They have a chance to truly study the greats, to learn what's right and to learn what's wrong. That is, that is the upside. But of course they incur massive debt doing that and uncertainty and they're eating a lot of ramen or a lot of craft dinner.
And those years in between, right? It's kind of like a lot of famine. And eventually, one day there'll be some feast. Now sales is kind. The opposite, but kind of not. How's that for waffling? I know, I'm, I'm so strong with my voice and my opinion today, whereas it's the opposite that if you're good at your job, You can make money out the gate and, and live a very wonderful life.
But the reality is why it's kind of not, is because most of us struggle. Remember how you, when up by beginning, do you feel frustrated or exasperated, or you're banging head against the wall, you're feeling rejection, Are you having a hard time getting motivated? And, and admittedly, I think we all agree that if we're rocking it and we're killing it and we're closing deal after deal and we're like far exceeding our quota and President's Club is imminent, if not already secure, we're not fitting those feelings, right.
It comes down to the fact that we haven't had. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 years of academic education in training and development. We haven't had a residency where we can make that mistake. Our residency is real life. Our residency is real life. So the one thing that those people have in common with us is that there's a lot of learning to do this and that.
I would, I would contend we are eating as much ramen as they are. But just in a different world until we become the masters of our trade. It's interesting the power of repetition, The power of refinement. I'll give you an example. So as you know, my son is in, is a broadcast journalist now. What was interesting was he went to a school that took a very different approach to broadcast journalism than most other schools.
So, Context, most other schools, at least here in Ontario, Canada where I'm residing they'll have you go and you might do, you know, maybe three or four productions a semester of a newscast. That's it, three or four productions, and that means three or four chances in that semester to write the news or to be on camera, or to be a producer, or to be an editor.
You know, all the elements of producing a new. As you might imagine, there's more students than there are chances, so a lot of people never even get in front of the camera and they go to a two or three year program and then boom, they apply for the jobs. My son, his program, they did a newscast every single night.
Every night. I remember him calling me in a year and a half into the program, and I was like, Dad, I'm bored. I'm like, You're bored. He goes, Why? Why? Why are you bored? He goes, I've done it all and I've done it a thousand times. I said, Trust me, son. Gonna get through this. You're gonna be great. So he finishes the course.
Then he goes out and gets a job and life is grand. And he's done very well in his career. And the one thing he says to me over and over and over again is, you know, we hire new grads. They're useless with much love and affection because they've never had to do it. And he goes, But we hire grads from my old school.
We come in and we kick ass right away. And the employers are like blown away. Re. Familiarity, being forced to learn, being forced to make the mistakes. That's what it comes down to. And brothers and sisters, I had to go through the exact same training, so I thought to myself, How can we distill down the essentials of B2B sales success?
And that that moment in time, I got this wonderful email coming and cross from my good friend Greg Nuder. Now, if you don't know Greg, Greg is the author of P three Selling and his book is called The Essentials of B2B Sales Success. And it's exactly the same situation that I've described to you where he tries to distill it down in a way that's very easy to apply, so you can quickly overcome the stumbles and the mistakes and the challenges that you're gonna have or you are having now.
In a manner that's consumable and applicable. So I thought, let's get him on the show and we could talk about the most important elements of B2B selling success, and then maybe while we're at it, you go to Amazon, you pull it up, P three selling. And then you could check it out. Fall along. Greg, welcome to the show, my friend.[: [: [:
They're given a phone book or a list of people to call go out there and call me when you got an order. And that was my primary motivations behind the book. You know, if you work for a big organization they give you some very good sales training they walk you through it, but there's a lot of us that just go out there.
In fact, that's where I started my first job was telephone sales. A hundred percent commission, here's your phone. Go. Right? And you either survive or you don't. And I was fortunate to survive, but many of us who. Have the talent, have the skills, could be successful, aren't because the environment they get thrust into is just too complex for them to, to figure out how to make it do, and then they change careers, which is a loss for everybody.[: [: [: [:
So they try to influence perspectives around taking action, around, solving problems, around even a, a decision process. And the third thing they do is they message. So once they understand and then they try to influence and they message or talk or communicate or pitch against those things that they learned and, and.
They influenced. So you just stand back and say, Okay, so what do I want to understand, influence and message against? And there are three things that just happen to start with the letter Pete. First one is problems. And problems or opportunities. So we want to uncover problems that a customer wants to solve, and certainly ones that we can fix, ideally win ones that we can address better than the competition.
We wanna understand the importance of those problems. We wanna understand the urgency of those problems. Second P is people who has those problems, who is impacted by those? What's their perception around how we should solve them and who's got what level of authority or influence in solving them.
The third P is process, and it's not a selling process, it's actually a buying process. How do people make buying decisions and how is the company that you are selling to going to make a buying decision? Either to select a product or to say, I'm not gonna bother. Selecting a product. So that's the, the buying decision.
So we need to know what's that process look like? Where are they in that process? How are we positioned and based on our positioning and, and where they are, what are the best actions we can take to move things forward? So problem people, process.[: [:
And I'd like to advocate, doesn't matter where you're on the selling process, it matters where the customer is in the buying process, right? Because that tells you what you should do. Just cuz I've given a proposal doesn't mean somebody's ready to. So I look at their behaviors, I look at their perspectives, what they're doing, what they're saying, and based on that, I know where they are in the decision process and therefore I know what to do.
So absolutely positioning as it relates to their buying decision process is a critical thing to understand.[:
I'm gonna under, I'm gonna assume you're saying the three most important elements are problems, people in process. Is that a fair point?[: [: [: [:
What makes B2B selling so difficult to master then?[:
I, I like to refer to it as clerking, right? It has a a two step, the salesperson. Gives you some information and then they ask for the order. And then if you say no, they give you more information and then ask for either the order or the next step. So it's that two step. And that two step does not work very well in a B2B environment because B2B selling is more about creating awareness, giving information.
Doesn't do that very well. B2B selling is what we call a complex sale. You, you could call it solution selling or consultative selling. And it has two Dimensions to it. One is, it's complex because as we talked before, is that there's a lot of different people involved in the decision. It's just not one person or one person and their spouse.
There's multiple steps. There's a lot of criteria to go through, and the connection between a feature and the benefit that a company gets from it is not always as obvious. And so, Again, we think that if we just give information, people will go, Oh yeah, you've got the best product. And, and again, that doesn't work.
The third part, and, and I think you touched on it Darryl a little earlier, is that there's a lot of training out there. I like to say there's you know, go to Amazon, there's a million books, there's thousands of trainers, there's hundreds of methodologies. But in my experience, I'd work with people who were late twenties, thirties, forties, and I watched them and I said, They've been through this training and they were still making the same mistakes.
And that mistake is they were focusing on their product and not on problems that they're trying to fix. Right? And so either no one's reading. Vast material of sales training or it simply doesn't work. Right.[:
How was that for a loaded statement? And it's remarkable every time as a buyer, I ask a sales rep, and I understand I've bought a lot of stuff over my many years in my leadership positions. How does this feature help me out? Rare, great. Less than 10% is the time that someone can bring it back to my problems, my pains, and my issues, and I think.
Biggest reason is because they don't follow, and I, I can say this as a sales leader, they don't follow their own defined sales frameworks that would help them uncover what are my initiatives, what are my goals? What are my objectives? What are the, what are my key metrics? You know, what is my frustration?
You know, what is the biggest itch that needs to be scratched? And they just jump into the product pitch cuz they're far more comfortable there. Then they are over in the actual understanding, as Greg said, What is your problem? That was the first P, the very first P. And so when you say there's a lot of training out there and people still make the same mistake, they're focusing on product, not on problem.
That just like resonates so huge with me and I will challenge you folks to listen to your own calls and tell me if you're focusing on the problem. Or if you're spending 98% of the time talking about product or service. That's my speaking, just, you know, Yep. Absolutely. Frus with much frustration that this continues to happen.
And I will agree with you, Greg. This is the thing that I, I talk to with my colleagues, my executive peers, my sales peers, and I say, I don't get it. I've trained them. They've all nodded, they've all gone through the program and, you know, listen to the calls and it's like they forgot everything when they left and then went back to their desk.[:
Let me tell you about the new version that we got. Let me tell you about the latest thing we're bringing out. It's all product. How many companies actually do training on business problems on the impact those problems have on organizations? Who are the people most impacted, Right? Which problems do we solve better, or which opportunities do we create?
Even better than our competition, right? How do people make buying decisions for our product? What are the typical criteria they use? What do they look for? Information, right? So understanding that in detail is, is business acumen and the way you learn it, actually, for the most part, you ask customer.[:
I keep on saying this to my audience over and over again. I'd get picked up the phone and talk to existing customers like, this is so easy to do. First thing I did when I started my current gig here at Ultz was I went to customer support and I said, Give me 10 customers who are a match for our ideal customer profile and our target personas.
I wanna talk to them and whether they're happy or not, I wanna talk to them. They're a match. And it's amazing what you learn when you do that. It didn't take long to do. It was a good investment. Heck, you could do a couple a week and within a month you've talked to 10 people. So folks brilliant advice.
Such an easy fix there. So, understanding, it's about so many . It's, it's about b2b, not b2c. It's about focusing on problems on feature. Where does the seller begin? Like what's the starting point to re jig how they sell that, give a solution for this? Like what, what do, what do you, what do you, Tell me, Tell me.
Audience the answer, Craig.[:
Right? Which is what the outcome, but it doesn't tell you the what do you do selling, And a B2B environment for me is about creating awareness. It's about creating light bulb moments that, oh, you know, you're right, that problem is actually bigger than I thought. You know, I didn't realize it actually has a a cascading effect throughout my organization.
It is more urgent than I was originally thinking. So creating that awareness, awareness around perspectives of solving the problem and the people part. What people should be involved in that decision. Why their perspectives of how to solve it might not be the best and the decision process. Hey, I understand that you only wanna look, look at a product that has five references in our industry, but can I suggest a reason why you might not wanna do that?
So it's creating Awareness around areas where you excel. And if you understand that that's true selling, not talking about your product, right, then you start realizing that the way you create light bulb moments or awareness by asking good questions. And suggesting, but never telling. Telling does not create awareness, or at least not very much gives information, but it doesn't create awareness.
My favorite example is, you know, you're at a, a social event maybe a company social whatever, and somebody comes up to you and says, Hi, my name is Greg Gutter. I would bet most people within 30 seconds will forget their. because they just gave information, right? And they had a lot on their mind. What am I gonna say back?
Who is this person? Et cetera. But if you did something a little different, if you said, Hi, my name is Greg Nutter. I'll bet you can't guess where my last name comes from. And then people go, Oh, hmm, Nutter. I wonder where that comes from. That question alone caused you to think and realize, Realize that what I told you was important.
And so asking questions is what changes people from just kind of multitasking around what's in their head and what you're saying to single tasking, which is focusing on what you ask them. It causes people to think, and that's how you create awareness.[:
That's how it works. Can I tell you how many times she has saved me, especially at social functions. You're line, slight bulb moments are created by asking good questions and not telling that I want, I wanna park that line cuz that was profound. The other part was when you close the deal, that's the outcome of a sales process.
Selling is about creating awareness and light bulb moments. That's selling. If you do it well, then there's an outcome, right? So let's piece it together. Selling is about creating awareness and light bulb moments and light bulb moments are created by asking good questions. Boom. Dead on. Okay, so. That's Greg's solution to this.
Now let me ask this next question. I think there are so many sales frameworks out there, whether it's, you mentioned some of them already, whether it's, you know, complex selling, solution selling, Miller Hyman Medic Med Pick, spiced spin. The list goes on. Sandler Sandler. Yep, exactly. How they're all designed to walk us through these concepts, but we seem to have some difficulties following the framework, so, Based on that, I guess I asked the question, is there a hope for every sales rep right now who not at their head when I started out the call by saying, Are you feeling exasperated frustrated?
Like you're not making traction, you're not hitting your numbers. How difficult, Greg are these concepts to truly learn and excel at? Cuz right now there's a lot of people who intellectually know a lot of what you've said, but are still stuck.[:
I started my career learning, strategic selling. I was a great bracer of spin selling. But they are, they can be difficult to master. And so, You know, I'm gonna go back to something you said earlier, Darryl, around, you know, people who've gone through seven years of school and all this education and you know, they come out very ready to go like, like your son.
In a lot of those careers, even though somebody comes out with really high level training, they still use what I would call checklists. Take a look at a pilot. Before that pilot takes off, they go through a checklist. Are these, are these untrained people? No. Are they not smart? No. These are very smart people.
But they go through a checklist before they take off and before they land. Surgeons are these stupid people? No. They probably spent 10, 15 years in school. But before they conduct a surgery, They go through a checklist before they close up, they go through a checklist, right? And it's been shown that those checklists save lives.
Similarly, in selling in my book I talk about four key checklists, typically processes that you need to follow to be successful. And if you follow those, It helps bring those concepts together instead of saying, Well, I can't remember what was in chapter three and really how to do the ASR technique.
But if you go through a call planning checklist and think about what am I gonna ask? What am I gonna say? What's my call objective? What I'm gonna close on that are, it helps you bring those concepts together and plan before. Execute. I have another checklist around prospecting, which we all know every sales rep hates to do, but few make their plan without doing it well, and I have two others.
One around call man, sorry. Deal management. How do I ensure that I do all the right things to improve the success of each deal and around pipeline manage. And so there's a quick checklist to look at where I am and based on where I am, what do I need to do? What are the most high payoff actions and they pull from the concepts in the book.[:
I mean a surgeon, I'll go back to that example, right? They have a checklist of things they need to do a surgery, especially to wrap up, make sure they don't leave any sponges inside the patient, as an example, right? So it is a process. Yeah. But I guess I still struggle with this. How are people going to excel at these concepts, even with a checklist?
Cause isn't that what many of these frameworks are?[:
How do I evaluate the success of that call? Was it good, bad? There's a great quote in my book. I can't remember who said it, but the quote is, People don't learn from experience shock. People learn from reflecting on their experience. It's by sitting down afterwards and saying, What did I try to do?
What happened? How would I do that differently? And so through each iteration of a sales call, much like your son, you know, when he was practicing over and over and over, he got better and better and better. And things became much more, Yeah, I'm sorry. Natural. Yep. But he probably still uses a checklist, right?
He just operates at a higher level than people who haven't had that level of practice. So planning is really critical and reflecting on how well things. Went are two of the probably most critical behaviors you can have to get great at B2B selling.[:
You know, one of the easiest questions I always ask my, my team before they call somebody especially if there was a response to an email and they've scheduled this call, so, you know, it's still, it's not like they're doing this for every call necessarily, but I'm like, have you planned the. What are the, what's the flow?
What's the timeline? What are the objectives you wanna get out of it? You know, how are you gonna move it forward? Have you cross-referenced it to anything else you've observed or picked up? Which was, of course, going back to the three Ps, one of them being problems, right? Do you understand the people? Do you understand the problems?
And then of course in the call, I mean, this call might be to figure out the process. Who knows, right? But your, your call planning and I find too many, you don't, you wing it, you, you just, you feel like confident you can do this. And then you, what happens is you, you get distracted. You go off on a tangent often like some of my podcasts do, and you're like, Pray, wrap it up.
Let's go. All right. And that's because I didn't stick to the plan. So if I were to maybe answer the question, are these difficult concepts? I think Greg's done an amazing job saying this. Really three things need to understand, guys. It's the problem, it's the people, it's the process. I mean, it's just simple as that.
Selling's about creating awareness and light bulb moments. Light bulb moments are created by asking good questions. Getting the deal is the outcome. That's not selling. A lot of what we're talking about here is a couple, is I would, two things come to me at least. Two, maybe three. One is. It's a mindset that I need to do this.
This is how selling works. Mm-hmm. two is I need to be intentional. I need to follow the process. I need to follow the steps. The framework will help me follow the steps. The framework is my friend. I'm going to lean on it. It's not a and, and then the third element I would ask you to consider is pride.
All right. I will abandon my. Because, and humble myself to follow this process and this framework and believe in it. Not that I, not that it knows more than I do, cuz at the end of the day, I'm the one asking the questions and I'm the one who they have a relationship with. But if the, if the process works, let's genuinely follow it as opposed to too many of you having pride issues, which is like you're winging it cuz you know better and you don't need that process.
So again, just like that surgeon or that airline pilot, stick back to Greg's point. After all that education and all that experience, they still have a checklist. They still have a checklist. Yeah. Right. And that's huge.[:
They always had, they were great conversationalists. They, you know, asked about your spouse and your kids and, you know, and they were. And we used to hire sales people who had that kind of profile, right, who could build relationships really quickly. The problem is, in a B2B selling environment is few deals happen a.
A single call, they happen over multiple calls. And so just being a nice guy might get you to the second meeting, but it won't get you to the third or fourth or fifth. People need to get, see value in spending time with you. They can get product information over the internet and they probably have their own buddies that they'd rather go to the pub with.
So each call that you're on needs to be about adding value. And keeping 'em out of trouble. I always like to say, you know Darryl, I love you. You're fun in the pub, but I'd rather buy from somebody who's gonna make sure that I keep my job. So selling, which used to be highly relationship oriented, now, is becoming much more of a science, less art, more process and people who.
Figure that out. Follow the process and get better and better and better. And the people who think it's just about being a nice guy and buying lunches. All right. Have year after year of mediocre results.[:
And if I don't fix this problem, I'm gonna get in trouble. And the result may be me losing my job. I need your. Please keep me outta trouble. Mm-hmm. . All right. But I have to also defend my decision. I'm gonna ask you lots of questions and I, I'm a really busy guy, so I don't have a lot of time, So honor my time.
And, you know, really help me understand, again, the problems, the people, and the processes that I'm in the middle of as your buyer. And if you work with me on that, you know, we're gonna be really successful folks. It's P three selling. You can find it on Amazon. I'm sure you can find it elsewhere too.
Greg, my friend, you are the founder of Solo Point. You help business owners and senior sales executives solve revenue growth problems through direct, indirect, or multichannel sales models. So I, I'm so grateful you came here. You folks, you can learn more about Greg. He is on Twitter. Greg Nutter, just sick of sounds.
He's on LinkedIn, Greg dash Nutter. You can go to his company, soloquent.com is there. What's the best way, Greg, to get ahold of you and continue this conversation?[: [:
So that we're done another week in the books, folks, thank you so much for your time today. I had fun. It was a good conversation. Where do you wanna go next? What topics are hot and heavy on your mind? If I could go get a guess, who would that guess be? What do you want me to talk about? Who do you want me to talk about it with? You tell me. Reach out to me on LinkedIn, reach out to me on Twitter.
You know the drill. In the meantime, if you like this show, you should share it. You should share it with your boss. You should share it with your sales engagement. People. You should share it with your rev op people and say, We need to do some P three selling. Share the wealth, share the show. In the meantime, I should talk to you all again next week.
Take care of folks. I'll talk to you soon.
This episode was digitally transcribed.