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Why You Need to Have Authentic Conversations with Customers with Brent Keltner
Episode 6620th April 2022 • The Science of Selling STEM • Wesleyne Greer
00:00:00 00:32:58

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Highlights

  • How he became a go-to-market and revenue acceleration leader (02:12)
  • Defining the authentic conversations that you can have with buyers (04:27)
  • Applying the skills he acquired doing qualitative market research to his revenue growth work (06:48)
  • Why you should start with your customer stories before going into your product (09:41)
  • Being a Revenue Officer: Getting the sales team, marketing team, and other team players in alignment (12:09)
  • Shifting your focus away from your product to thinking about your customer’s WHY (14:39)
  • The value of ensuring your core goal is to get into your buyer’s world (17:53)
  • Pattern recognition: The one thing that he took from his academic training into the corporate realm (22:47)
  • NOBODY cares about your product (28:36)

In this episode of the Science of Selling STEM, I will have a value-packed conversation with the Founder and President of Winalytics LLC, Brent Keltner, Ph.D. Winalytics is a go-to-market and revenue acceleration consultancy that helps clients reach their top growth potential by shifting from product-driven selling to value-driven go-to-market strategies. Brent is also the author of the forthcoming book “The Revenue Acceleration Playbook: Creating an Authentic Buyer Journey Across Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success” Brent brings to the role more than a decade of experience as a revenue leader in enterprise to early-stage companies and ten years as a Ph.D. social scientist at Stanford and the RAND Corporation.  

His clients have included Ascend Learning, Credo Reference, DealerRater, Lexmark, Mursion, Ready Education, True Fit, and Verisk Analytics. Brent and I will dive into the topic of authentic conversations: what they are, how to spot them, and how they differentiate a business. You will learn what authentic conversations with your customers should look like and how to build and train a sales team that can have these conversations. We will cover all aspects of having authentic conversations with buyers during our discussion. 

You’ll also learn how to find out if your sales team is currently having authentic conversations, and how authentic conversations can lead to better discovery calls and more sales. If you’re looking to differentiate yourself from the competition, having authentic conversations is the way to do it. Listen in to learn more!

Quotes

“Every phase of the buyer and customer journey starts with your buyer why and then your customer why. Then look at how you can make them more successful. You will grow faster, you will have better buyer and customer relationships, you will like your work more, and you will learn every day” - Brent Keltner

“If you wanna capture your customer stories, don’t just go and show up with a bunch of random questions. Ask 6 or 8 questions around what you think is your value” - Brent Keltner

“Don’t start with your product. Start with your customer stories” - Brent Keltner

“Shift from thinking about your product and focus more on a story around how a customer used your product” - Brent Keltner

“Don’t focus on sales skills, focus on sales skills in the context of go-to-market skills because we should all be running authentic conversations at different depths” - Brent Keltner

Resources Mentioned:

Learn More About Brent in the Links Below:

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/bkeltner/

Website - https://AuthenticityWins.com/

Email - BKeltner@Winalytics.com

Connect with Wesleyne Greer:

  • Wesleyne’s Website - https://transformedsales.com/
  • Wesleyne on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/wesleynegreer/
  • Wesleyne on Facebook - https://web.facebook.com/wesleynegreer
  • Wesleyne on Twitter - https://twitter.com/wesleynegreer
  • Email Her at WGreer@TransformedSales.com

Transcripts

Wesleyne Greer:

As a sales manager, you are judged by the

Wesleyne Greer:

performance of your team, and you're praised when they do

Wesleyne Greer:

well. But one thing that you've not been able to figure out is

Wesleyne Greer:

how to get everyone on your team consistently hitting quota every

Wesleyne Greer:

single month. On the Snack size sales podcast, we discuss the

Wesleyne Greer:

science of selling stem sales leadership in the science,

Wesleyne Greer:

technology, engineering and manufacturing fields is

Wesleyne Greer:

difficult. You will learn from sales managers just like you

Wesleyne Greer:

that will give you actionable insights and tips on how to

Wesleyne Greer:

develop as a leader and achieve your revenue targets every

Wesleyne Greer:

single month. So pop your headphones in and get ready to

Wesleyne Greer:

listen to my guests today. They will give you information and

Wesleyne Greer:

inspiration to ensure that you have actionable insights that

Wesleyne Greer:

you can put into place today. Hello and welcome to another

Wesleyne Greer:

episode of the science of selling stem today I am so

Wesleyne Greer:

delighted to have Brent Keltner with when analytics here. How

Wesleyne Greer:

are you Brent? I'm doing well. Wesleyne

Brent Keltner:

I'm really excited for the conversation.

Wesleyne Greer:

I am to let me tell you a little bit about

Wesleyne Greer:

Brent. Brent Keltner is a PhD and the founder and president of

Wesleyne Greer:

Winter Olympics a go to market and revenue acceleration

Wesleyne Greer:

consultancy they help their clients reach top revenue growth

Wesleyne Greer:

by shifting from product driven selling to focusing on authentic

Wesleyne Greer:

and buyer and customer journey. Authenticity wins. When you

Wesleyne Greer:

anchor each buyer or customer conversations on how they define

Wesleyne Greer:

value you will grow faster before starting with analytics

Wesleyne Greer:

he spent more than a decade as a revenue leader in enterprise to

Wesleyne Greer:

early stage companies including Kaplan edge ventures plus del

Wesleyne Greer:

Sol partners and college link. He began his career as a PhD

Wesleyne Greer:

social scientists and spent 10 years conducting qualitative

Wesleyne Greer:

research interviews at Stanford University. He lives in Boston

Wesleyne Greer:

with his wife at son and daughter. They are active

Wesleyne Greer:

members of park St. Charles and Boston Trinity Academy. Wow,

Wesleyne Greer:

you're not doing a few things. You have a PhD you had many

Wesleyne Greer:

companies. You have two kids and a wife. So tell me how did you

Wesleyne Greer:

start your career and how did you get to where you are today?

Brent Keltner:

Yeah, let's start at the endpoint and then we'll

Brent Keltner:

walk in cheese's back I mean, we I think of myself as a go to

Brent Keltner:

market and revenue acceleration leader. I love selling, selling

Brent Keltner:

in the modern buyer centric market. If you're thinking about

Brent Keltner:

selling outside of the buyer journey, you're thinking about

Brent Keltner:

the wrong thing because sales as a standalone profession is

Brent Keltner:

broken. Yeah, salespeople need to be guides they need to be

Brent Keltner:

trusted advisors that starts on the website starts in

Brent Keltner:

prospecting sales continues it continues in the expansion

Brent Keltner:

motion. So I say that because I ran qualitative research

Brent Keltner:

projects and I got really good at doing what we now call

Brent Keltner:

authentic conversations wasn't about me wasn't about my

Brent Keltner:

research project it was all about is what's in it for you

Brent Keltner:

Mr. or Mrs. Bank, executive, telecom executive and CERN's

Brent Keltner:

executive, what are you going to get out of the interview? What

Brent Keltner:

are the peers we're working with ads you're going to be able to

Brent Keltner:

learn from I got really good at that may be good at qualitative

Brent Keltner:

research, you may be good at selling. I transitioned to the

Brent Keltner:

dark side as academics call to the from the Academy to Kaplan

Brent Keltner:

and then a bunch of other companies. What I found out is

Brent Keltner:

running authentic conversations was not the way people were

Brent Keltner:

trying to sell. People in my teams at Kaplan and edgy

Brent Keltner:

ventures were trained to product sell, they were trained to drag

Brent Keltner:

their buyers through their pain, pitch their product, handle

Brent Keltner:

objections and close them down. And it's like where's the

Brent Keltner:

partnership in that where's the buyers success in that so I

Brent Keltner:

trained my teams on our own authentic conversations and it

Brent Keltner:

was fantastically successful had four quick growth successes

Brent Keltner:

started consulting on it we've had a successful consulting

Brent Keltner:

business for seven years which is all about every phase of the

Brent Keltner:

buyer and customer journey. Start with your buyer why and

Brent Keltner:

then your customer Why come back to how you can make them more

Brent Keltner:

successful, you will grow faster, you will have better

Brent Keltner:

buyer and customer relationships, you will like

Brent Keltner:

your work more you will learn every day.

Wesleyne Greer:

So we have a whole lot to talk about here.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because yes, your vision of conversations with buyers is so

Wesleyne Greer:

aligned with my I often say stop vomiting product knowledge on

Wesleyne Greer:

your buyers like and they don't care about you. So I'm really

Wesleyne Greer:

curious about this authenticity because a lot of people are

Wesleyne Greer:

throwing this word around now oh my authentic this or be

Wesleyne Greer:

authentic that like how do you really define those authentic

Wesleyne Greer:

conversations that you're having with buyers?

Brent Keltner:

Get to me I'm an authentic conversation is just

Brent Keltner:

intentionally focus on do we have a fit or not? The you and I

Brent Keltner:

and look, you can have authentic conversations and a personal

Brent Keltner:

relationship? Is our relationship going in a

Brent Keltner:

direction we both want to it to go? Right? So it's really about

Brent Keltner:

being working on alignment. It's about not you and I, it's about

Brent Keltner:

we, and what are we doing together? So for us, a good

Brent Keltner:

authentic conversation just has three parts business personal,

Brent Keltner:

you start by just agreeing, are we talking about something we

Brent Keltner:

both care about, because if I don't know what you care about,

Brent Keltner:

then I'm vomiting at you, right? Whether it's in my business life

Brent Keltner:

or personal life. And once I know what you care about, good

Brent Keltner:

karma, personal respect is focused on that. Share the

Brent Keltner:

elements of your product, share the elements of your customers,

Brent Keltner:

stories that align to what you care about. And then the third

Brent Keltner:

part is see if you care. Did I deepen your sense of fit with

Brent Keltner:

me? And if so what will you do about it next, so let's agree

Brent Keltner:

what we're talking about. Let's work towards deeper alignment or

Brent Keltner:

not. And then let's agree to what on both sides we will do.

Brent Keltner:

And if you have conversations like that, you'll have more

Brent Keltner:

great conversations every day, not good conversations, but

Brent Keltner:

great conversations that lift you out of your day, and you

Brent Keltner:

together are imagining a better future that you're actively

Brent Keltner:

working towards.

Wesleyne Greer:

Hmm, that's so good, really thinking about and

Wesleyne Greer:

when I listened to you, one thing that really draws me to

Wesleyne Greer:

why this is so important is you're talking about us and

Wesleyne Greer:

listening and actually walking along that buyers journey. So

Wesleyne Greer:

you started your career doing market research, and many people

Wesleyne Greer:

don't even actually understand what market research is help us

Wesleyne Greer:

talk to the audience about what you did specifically in that

Wesleyne Greer:

world, and how it helped you doing your work that you're

Wesleyne Greer:

doing now?

Brent Keltner:

Yeah, so I did qualitative research, and it was

Brent Keltner:

more looking at human capital strategies. How are people

Brent Keltner:

investing in their people to then drive business growth, but

Brent Keltner:

it's related to qualitative research you can do in a market

Brent Keltner:

research phase, when you're interviewing customers, what I

Brent Keltner:

found what I learned quickly, as if you had a structured set of

Brent Keltner:

questions, six to eight, that you went through in every

Brent Keltner:

conversation, you could see the patterns quicker, right? Because

Brent Keltner:

you and look, it doesn't mean they're not some every

Brent Keltner:

conversation is gonna go a slightly different question way.

Brent Keltner:

But if you have those questions, you commit to asking in every

Brent Keltner:

conversation, you see the patterns quicker if you go to a

Brent Keltner:

sales conversation, and you sort of commit to a structure where

Brent Keltner:

I'm going to start with some discovery on your why. And ask

Brent Keltner:

three or four questions, and I'm going to share more on me, but

Brent Keltner:

I'm going to stop and ask you where you're seeing the most

Brent Keltner:

value. And then at the end, I'm going to ask what are you

Brent Keltner:

willing to do about it? Right? So as I became a revenue leader,

Brent Keltner:

I use that same structure to like, what is a good first call?

Brent Keltner:

Let's just commit to asking six or eight common questions. So we

Brent Keltner:

know how good that call was, at the end. And for good market

Brent Keltner:

researchers. And I listened to an awesome podcast about a woman

Brent Keltner:

who drives growth by doing customer stories. So if you want

Brent Keltner:

to capture your customer stories, don't just go and show

Brent Keltner:

up with a bunch of random questions. Write as six or eight

Brent Keltner:

questions around what you think is your value. And you start

Brent Keltner:

with an open ended question. Where are you getting the most

Brent Keltner:

value out of this relationship? Are there any things we could

Brent Keltner:

improve? And do better? Because that's always just asking, but

Brent Keltner:

then you probably have three questions around specific

Brent Keltner:

things, you know, you do well, specific gaps that you help

Brent Keltner:

companies solve process or capabilities, you don't ask

Brent Keltner:

those every time and get a range of response. So that more in, as

Brent Keltner:

you said, just a little bit more thoughtful, just being more

Brent Keltner:

intentional. taken five 10% of our time to prep and reflect we

Brent Keltner:

do better,

Wesleyne Greer:

huh? You know, one of the key things that I

Wesleyne Greer:

when I'm working with sales teams, I tell them, Hey, have

Wesleyne Greer:

your new salespeople do I call them win loss reports like

Wesleyne Greer:

they're the new kid on the block, give them five questions

Wesleyne Greer:

to ask the deals that were won in the deals that were lost in

Wesleyne Greer:

their territory, or just have them pull random ones because

Wesleyne Greer:

like you said, it's like hearing the voice of the customer

Wesleyne Greer:

getting that story and understanding and as a brand new

Wesleyne Greer:

salesperson. That's the best way to learn. Hey, this is what we

Wesleyne Greer:

do really well. This is what we don't do. Well, I don't want to

Wesleyne Greer:

step in that mud.

Brent Keltner:

I love that. I was on a call today with a guy

Brent Keltner:

named Austin Kennedy who's the CRO at a company called hu which

Brent Keltner:

does immersive simulations for training different types of

Brent Keltner:

skills. I had never heard this before, but they start their

Brent Keltner:

onboarding with customer use cases and stories. Were really

Brent Keltner:

powerful, you just said the same thing is, don't start with your

Brent Keltner:

product, start with your customer stories and then come

Brent Keltner:

to how your product helps with us. It shifts from what we

Brent Keltner:

talked about when you start with customer stories, it shifts from

Brent Keltner:

you and I to we as peers that are working on a common problem

Brent Keltner:

we're both trying to solve. So I love that idea of new sellers,

Brent Keltner:

do a win loss report, absolutely, actually really know

Brent Keltner:

why they bought or why they didn't buy

Wesleyne Greer:

Exactly. And the crazy thing is, it's when we use

Wesleyne Greer:

this voice of customer when we stop talking so much. And

Wesleyne Greer:

actually listen to the buyers. It gives us so much insight. I

Wesleyne Greer:

was actually on a call today. And when I'm walking through,

Wesleyne Greer:

I'm delivering a proposal, I always ask for agreement. Do I

Wesleyne Greer:

have this right? And they were like, actually, no, you don't

Wesleyne Greer:

have it right? This is what the challenge that we're going

Wesleyne Greer:

through is. And so it helped me shift my trajectory to ensure I

Wesleyne Greer:

was meeting the customer where they are because they weren't

Wesleyne Greer:

here. They weren't all the way up here. They were still down at

Wesleyne Greer:

the baseline level. And I

Brent Keltner:

love that you said that you did that with the

Brent Keltner:

proposal, because people often forget honestly. And you know

Brent Keltner:

this every single conversation, things change, new players get

Brent Keltner:

involved. So once you think you know your buyers, why start the

Brent Keltner:

next conversation? Do you still know the backers? Will IRS

Brent Keltner:

things change? Or can they go deeper? Can they help you

Brent Keltner:

quantify or they can help you tell you more about why that

Brent Keltner:

would make them more successful? And then before you get to a

Brent Keltner:

proposal? Have them confirm it? Put it at the top of the

Brent Keltner:

proposal? Why are they talking about working with you?

Wesleyne Greer:

Exactly. And you know, the crazy thing is the

Wesleyne Greer:

meeting was scheduled and the person emailed and they said, I

Wesleyne Greer:

thought you said you're gonna send me a proposal so we can

Wesleyne Greer:

review for it before our meeting. I said we don't send

Wesleyne Greer:

proposals. We present proposals why exactly what you said,

Wesleyne Greer:

because if you send somebody a proposal, you're putting the

Wesleyne Greer:

onus on your buyer to interpret it the way that they want to

Wesleyne Greer:

interpret it, you can't tell them the story around it. You

Wesleyne Greer:

can't give them the why and help them remember, you came to me

Wesleyne Greer:

with this problem and this problem, and this is the

Wesleyne Greer:

solution to fix it. That's right. So you mentioned that you

Wesleyne Greer:

were a Revenue Officer at a company. So tell me as a Revenue

Wesleyne Greer:

Officer, how did you really ensure that you got all of the

Wesleyne Greer:

players on the team, the sales team marketing team, COO? How

Wesleyne Greer:

did you get everyone in alignment in that role?

Brent Keltner:

Yeah, I mean, now we call them value plays, and

Brent Keltner:

content pathways around your value plays. But I think what I

Brent Keltner:

realized early on, and success stories are your most important

Brent Keltner:

type of content. But there are others. I mean, blog posts, and

Brent Keltner:

you know, white papers that we write, or even webinars. And I

Brent Keltner:

think what I realized early on, and we now do consulting around

Brent Keltner:

this is you got to get cross go to market team alignment on

Brent Keltner:

those value plays. Right. So let's take a example of a

Brent Keltner:

company called agility that I just got a nice email from Chris

Brent Keltner:

code is their VP of Customer development, and they have a

Brent Keltner:

sequel analytics platform that now allows you to manage from

Brent Keltner:

the same sequel codebase, across the entire enterprise, right, so

Brent Keltner:

people can have their versions within share to save library. So

Brent Keltner:

analytics at scale now becomes a lot more doable. And so they

Brent Keltner:

were selling that right as they were selling kind of features of

Brent Keltner:

hey, when you would like to have a code library, and when you'd

Brent Keltner:

like to, you know, be able to share that code, etc. And then

Brent Keltner:

they sort of realized, if we roll up, what's the problem that

Brent Keltner:

solves? Well, for a manager, an analytics manager, it makes

Brent Keltner:

their team 30% more productive, right. And they had stats on

Brent Keltner:

that they can do the same amount of coding 30% more time, they

Brent Keltner:

roll up to the chief development officer level, or data officer

Brent Keltner:

or whatever it they've not only make the whole enterprise 30%

Brent Keltner:

more productive, but they can get to business insights, a lot

Brent Keltner:

quicker supply chain insights or whatever it is warehousing. So

Brent Keltner:

as they build their value plays, okay, now, what are our best

Brent Keltner:

stories around each? What are our best insight blogs around

Brent Keltner:

each and so now thinking not content is an individual asset,

Brent Keltner:

but content tells a story about how we help with that buyer?

Brent Keltner:

Why? So what I found is if you just got good at aligning your

Brent Keltner:

content to different buyer, why's that you help with that

Brent Keltner:

could align your go to market team, from marketing, to sales

Brent Keltner:

to customer success through to your product is building value

Brent Keltner:

plays with content aligned to each much easier for people to

Brent Keltner:

understand, are we all talking about the same thing?

Wesleyne Greer:

So how do you shift from being so focused on

Wesleyne Greer:

your product to really thinking about those value plays that the

Wesleyne Greer:

why's that your customer like the reason behind it? What is

Wesleyne Greer:

that paradigm shift that people need to go through to get there?

Wesleyne Greer:

So

Brent Keltner:

technically, you already described it right? As

Brent Keltner:

you start with your win loss analysis, you start with your

Brent Keltner:

customer base. Ways You start with your customer stories

Brent Keltner:

because when you tell customer stories, it's not only not you

Brent Keltner:

and I but us peers, but it also shifts, right? It's like you

Brent Keltner:

talk about your product, how did one of your customers use your

Brent Keltner:

product, it Now very quickly becomes about an outcome,

Brent Keltner:

similar with a win loss analysis, and very, very quickly

Brent Keltner:

becomes did it help with an outcome or not? Somebody else.

Brent Keltner:

So shift to thinking about now your product, but a story around

Brent Keltner:

how a customer use your product. That's the easiest way to do it.

Brent Keltner:

But there's a bigger mindset problem is what I'm coming

Brent Keltner:

deeper, deeper understanding, we like talking about ourselves,

Brent Keltner:

right? We like talking about ourselves, people get

Brent Keltner:

uncomfortable with uncertainty. You know, our brains are often

Brent Keltner:

wired to hear confirmation, not to learn right not to go into it

Brent Keltner:

saying, hey, I need to ask questions, understand, get to a

Brent Keltner:

conclusion before so you need to commit leadership and then as a

Brent Keltner:

team, to I don't know, I got to get the answer out of the

Brent Keltner:

conversation. And that means I got to shift to a learner

Brent Keltner:

mindset. Not a knowing mindset, but a learner mindset, every

Brent Keltner:

conversation, I'm probably going to need to learn new things

Brent Keltner:

about my buyers and prospects. And I need to commit to that and

Brent Keltner:

build that behavior. And I'll stop for some questions before I

Brent Keltner:

keep going on this topic. Because it's a big one. You

Brent Keltner:

know,

Wesleyne Greer:

when I, what I kind of equivocate that to is a

Wesleyne Greer:

lot of times when a salesperson or even a sales manager, they

Wesleyne Greer:

show up to the meeting with their list of questions, and

Wesleyne Greer:

they're like, these are all the five things that I want to know.

Wesleyne Greer:

And I always tell people, I'm Rachael, I do nothing like the

Wesleyne Greer:

books I do. When you go to a discovery call, you have one

Wesleyne Greer:

question? And that is your opening question. And this

Wesleyne Greer:

actually comes from Deb Calvert, she calls it the command

Wesleyne Greer:

question, you have one strong question, you open your

Wesleyne Greer:

discovery with open the meeting with and you listen, you focus

Wesleyne Greer:

on the person, right and listen to what they're saying. And when

Wesleyne Greer:

you listen to what they're saying. And you get in their

Wesleyne Greer:

world, they're more willing to go on that journey with you.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because like you said, it's hard to change. It's like hardwired

Wesleyne Greer:

in us to think about ourselves to do what we want to do. But if

Wesleyne Greer:

you step into that buyers world, that's when those wheels start

Wesleyne Greer:

turning.

Brent Keltner:

Yeah, I love that. And I assume in this, your

Brent Keltner:

command question you listen, and then probably do a little bit of

Brent Keltner:

recapping and then ask more questions.

Wesleyne Greer:

Absolutely. Just like I do my podcast, anyone

Wesleyne Greer:

who's ever been on this podcast, some podcasts give you a list of

Wesleyne Greer:

questions. I used to do that, because that's what you know,

Wesleyne Greer:

they teach you to do, yeah, you send the questions. But I don't

Wesleyne Greer:

do that. Because like, every single person, their story is so

Wesleyne Greer:

interesting. And I want to learn about them. I don't want it to

Wesleyne Greer:

be self serving, and only ask you a prescribed question. So I

Wesleyne Greer:

literally asked that one question. I start with same

Wesleyne Greer:

question every time, guys. You know, tell me about your

Wesleyne Greer:

journey. And based on the journey, I'm asking you

Wesleyne Greer:

questions.

Brent Keltner:

Yep. So I love that. And I think what's most

Brent Keltner:

important, and what you said is our whole goal is to get into

Brent Keltner:

our buyers world and understand their why for the call, we often

Brent Keltner:

think about and understand the goal of discovery is to get to a

Brent Keltner:

buyer success statement, how can we make them more successful and

Brent Keltner:

seeing that future together? And you can do that with one

Brent Keltner:

question and then follow on questions. But at the end of the

Brent Keltner:

day, they have to be excited about doing something with us,

Brent Keltner:

or it's gonna go absolutely

Wesleyne Greer:

nowhere. Absolutely. Building a learner

Wesleyne Greer:

mindset

Brent Keltner:

is not an individual pursuit. Because we

Brent Keltner:

individually, you know, you and I have a certain disposition and

Brent Keltner:

that practice these skills over and over again, I can be pulled

Brent Keltner:

into product pitching, it's hard. I do do it sometimes. But

Brent Keltner:

I built that mindset for years and years and years and years

Brent Keltner:

and years. A lot of new teams, when you think about making this

Brent Keltner:

shift, if you think individually, it's not going to

Brent Keltner:

happen. What you need to do is we also encourage you get into a

Brent Keltner:

team based mindset, where you're coming together as a team every

Brent Keltner:

two weeks, and you're asking questions about your buyer and

Brent Keltner:

your use case and your success stories could be sharing deals,

Brent Keltner:

but you're intentionally saying we need to learn from each other

Brent Keltner:

because the market out there is so challenging that we need to

Brent Keltner:

learn about a buyers quicker. And we actually encourage an off

Brent Keltner:

week where you have coaching with individually in pairs with

Brent Keltner:

a peer or your your manager and then a team call. So it's 3% of

Brent Keltner:

your time 3% of your time a week is basically like I'm going to

Brent Keltner:

be an active learner. The other awesome thing about the CTU call

Brent Keltner:

is that bi weekly call their CEO joins us and Kenny sets up their

Brent Keltner:

CEO joins to basically says it's important that you all show up

Brent Keltner:

to be active learners and is that kind of commitment that

Brent Keltner:

puts companies on a different growth trajectory. What we hear

Brent Keltner:

way too often so we have experienced salespeople, and I

Brent Keltner:

say that means they're good at product pitching because your

Brent Keltner:

experience is backward looking forward looking is how do I get

Brent Keltner:

better at selling to each buyer and I can all I learned that

Brent Keltner:

from my buyers and my peers

Wesleyne Greer:

Hmm. So if you just wanted to scratch this

Wesleyne Greer:

little nugget that you know I love to talk about is that no

Wesleyne Greer:

matter the initiative that your company is going after, or

Wesleyne Greer:

trying to implement, whether it's sales training, Google ad,

Wesleyne Greer:

whatever it is, if leadership is not involved and invested, it's

Wesleyne Greer:

never going to work. And so a lot of times, what we see is I

Wesleyne Greer:

say, companies are throwing money at the problem. They're

Wesleyne Greer:

like, Oh, yeah, more sales, training, more sales training,

Wesleyne Greer:

oh, let's do this. Or let's do that. And what happens to the

Wesleyne Greer:

manager, the leaders, they're in the back of the room, or they're

Wesleyne Greer:

declining calls, because they're not invested. And so for them

Wesleyne Greer:

showing up show this is important to me. And not only is

Wesleyne Greer:

it important to me, but I'm your manager, I'm your leader, I'm

Wesleyne Greer:

the CEO, but I'm still showing up to this call, right? Because

Wesleyne Greer:

I want to learn and having that lifelong learning, right, are

Wesleyne Greer:

really understanding that we're not like a finite being or a

Wesleyne Greer:

finite person in our development, that we continually

Wesleyne Greer:

have to learn new skills. And as a team, we're good because when

Wesleyne Greer:

one person on the team does wrong, or when one person on the

Wesleyne Greer:

team goes in vomits product knowledge that one person

Wesleyne Greer:

they're talking to tells what 10 of their friends, but the one

Wesleyne Greer:

that's doing it, right, they tell one person and it stays

Wesleyne Greer:

there. So as a unit as a company, we have to get

Wesleyne Greer:

stronger.

Brent Keltner:

Yeah. And I love that it starts with leadership,

Brent Keltner:

setting a direction. And I just want to add one thing to what

Brent Keltner:

you said is this is not about I mean, look, I was raised an

Brent Keltner:

academic I love to learn. As a revenue leader, I don't spend

Brent Keltner:

time learning about my buyers, because I just want to be touchy

Brent Keltner:

feely, right? I spend time learning about my buyers because

Brent Keltner:

I close more quicker and higher dollar values, and I expand

Brent Keltner:

quicker. And I've written a whole book with 20 case studies

Brent Keltner:

about how this works. But the reason to be authentic, is we

Brent Keltner:

will win a lot faster. When we as you said the whole goal of

Brent Keltner:

discovery is why are they on that call? What problem can I

Brent Keltner:

solve for them continually bringing them back to that and

Brent Keltner:

so the reason to be authentic, you'll enjoy your work more, but

Brent Keltner:

you will win faster.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yeah. And I think you get a faster Yes, and

Wesleyne Greer:

you get a faster No, because there are also times that it's

Wesleyne Greer:

not a good fit this past month or two clients, I'm like this is

Wesleyne Greer:

just this is not a good fit for us. For you, it's not going to

Wesleyne Greer:

be beneficial, you're not going to achieve your goals. And this

Wesleyne Greer:

isn't a good fit for us. And again, when you have that

Wesleyne Greer:

authenticity and you step into your actual buyers world, like

Wesleyne Greer:

really going not like tiptoeing not sprinkling, but all the way

Wesleyne Greer:

into their world, and you really understand their challenges, and

Wesleyne Greer:

they're like, I need to go on this journey, you're gonna take

Wesleyne Greer:

me I want you to pull me along, I was actually going to ask

Wesleyne Greer:

about your academic background coupled with what you do now.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because I mean, you know, getting a PhD is no small feat,

Wesleyne Greer:

right? You got to be smart, I will say to do that. And you get

Wesleyne Greer:

really good at researching and learning and doing all of those

Wesleyne Greer:

things. And sometimes one of the challenges with academics is, as

Wesleyne Greer:

you said, when you translate over into the corporate realm,

Wesleyne Greer:

it doesn't always go as smoothly as you've gone. So tell us a

Wesleyne Greer:

little bit about that transition you made from the academia into

Wesleyne Greer:

the corporate realm, if you will.

Brent Keltner:

So for me what the academic training taught me

Brent Keltner:

to be really good at from a revenue leader point of view is

Brent Keltner:

pattern recognition. Right? It's just really good at how do I win

Brent Keltner:

by for each buyer, and what's the overall value prop. And so

Brent Keltner:

that's I kind of train my brain to get really good at pattern

Brent Keltner:

recognition, or the academic training wasn't great, was

Brent Keltner:

recognizing some of the things that you alluded to around the

Brent Keltner:

change management, needing to build the coalition of support,

Brent Keltner:

right, needing to get all levels of buy in that this we're going

Brent Keltner:

to shift I just sort of assumed everybody looked at the world

Brent Keltner:

this way. And so I not only one of my first job roles at a major

Brent Keltner:

dustup with the, you know, like the president of the company on

Brent Keltner:

this point, but then through to my work with edgy ventures, Tom

Brent Keltner:

directly who was my CEO there now as the CEO of Charlotte, I

Brent Keltner:

was awesome and authentic conversations externally. One of

Brent Keltner:

my internal colleagues called me the bulldozer. No, this is the

Brent Keltner:

direction we're going. Right. So that was great at the pattern

Brent Keltner:

recognition, not as good at the how do we build the coalition

Brent Keltner:

support, and that's been, you know, I've gotten much better at

Brent Keltner:

that. But that was the good and the bad of being trained as an

Brent Keltner:

academic.

Wesleyne Greer:

Wow, a lot of times, and I don't know if

Wesleyne Greer:

that's a necessarily an academic thing, but I see that a lot with

Wesleyne Greer:

leaders, right. It's like if the customer is important, I care

Wesleyne Greer:

about what the customer thinks. But my colleagues maybe my

Wesleyne Greer:

subordinates and I don't think not that they don't matter as

Wesleyne Greer:

much but you just don't have that in your mind is hey, this

Wesleyne Greer:

is somebody I value in this is actually a customer too, right?

Wesleyne Greer:

Like you're, you're the person, if you're a salesperson, your

Wesleyne Greer:

operations person that is actually a customer, right? You

Wesleyne Greer:

need to treat them like their customer, because guess what, if

Wesleyne Greer:

they don't like you, they will make your life so difficult. And

Wesleyne Greer:

none of your stuff will get executed and all your products

Wesleyne Greer:

will fall through.

Brent Keltner:

Yes. And when I think about authentic

Brent Keltner:

conversations internally, this idea of you can have fed or not

Brent Keltner:

one of the things with our early growth companies, we have three

Brent Keltner:

buckets of segments we work with, and the early growth

Brent Keltner:

companies would be kind of, you know, call it two to seven, 8

Brent Keltner:

million in revenue, more and more of the work I do at CES is

Brent Keltner:

like you got to set the Vision for growth. And if people aren't

Brent Keltner:

a good fit at that stage, that's okay, their Y has to align with

Brent Keltner:

your y too often I'd see people can just focus on consensus

Brent Keltner:

building, which kind of mutes the message. And so I think even

Brent Keltner:

internally, you have to listen, get people's buy into the

Brent Keltner:

message, but you have to start with a direction.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yeah. And when you think about the message and

Wesleyne Greer:

the people that you have on the boat, if you will, a lot of

Wesleyne Greer:

times people are trying to shift that why or shift the vision to

Wesleyne Greer:

the actual people that you have and like know, what is the

Wesleyne Greer:

person you need in this position? What do you need them

Wesleyne Greer:

to do? And then you figure out, Is this the right person for

Wesleyne Greer:

this position? It doesn't mean that they won't be with the

Wesleyne Greer:

company, maybe there'll be in a different position? Because what

Wesleyne Greer:

you need at this point in the company, this is not aligned.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yeah, I love that. So tell me, you mentioned that you wrote a

Wesleyne Greer:

book. Talk to us about your book.

Brent Keltner:

Yeah, the book is called the revenue acceleration

Brent Keltner:

playbook. The subtitle is creating an authentic buyer

Brent Keltner:

journey across sales, marketing and customer success. And so it

Brent Keltner:

really was 20 years in the making, because I was 13 years

Brent Keltner:

as a revenue leader. And seven years as a consultant, it was

Brent Keltner:

the first time I actually wrote down what I had been doing as a

Brent Keltner:

revenue leader and consultant. And so it's very much a playbook

Brent Keltner:

focus, right, this idea of how do you get organizational

Brent Keltner:

alignment, you start with value plays and content pathways, but

Brent Keltner:

then the book kind of goes through team by team, how does

Brent Keltner:

this apply to our prospecting team? How does it apply to the

Brent Keltner:

sales team? How does it apply to the land and expand motion,

Brent Keltner:

which cuts across a couple of teams? How does it expand to the

Brent Keltner:

customer success organization? And now it's really about how do

Brent Keltner:

you take those value plays and in every buyer and customer

Brent Keltner:

interaction really anchor on their why bringing it back to,

Brent Keltner:

you know, as you did in the proposal, bringing it back to

Brent Keltner:

why they're talking to you why they're doing a first call, why

Brent Keltner:

they're doing a second call, why they're talking about closing

Brent Keltner:

with you, what they might be talking about doing next with

Brent Keltner:

you. And so we think we are talking more and more about

Brent Keltner:

don't focus on sales skills, focus on sales skills in the

Brent Keltner:

context of go to market skills, because we should all be running

Brent Keltner:

authentic conversations at different depths. But even your

Brent Keltner:

prospectors, good prospectors invite a conversation, right?

Brent Keltner:

They ask questions, they share success stories, good

Brent Keltner:

salespeople, you know, deepen that conversation, get to an

Brent Keltner:

initial close, good sauce, customer success, people they're

Brent Keltner:

not selling, but they're surfacing new ways to work

Brent Keltner:

together through a habit of discovery. What else could we be

Brent Keltner:

worth? This is our initial success. So we're having success

Brent Keltner:

with are there these are other problems we solve for there are

Brent Keltner:

other areas we can be working on. So your idea of there's an

Brent Keltner:

initial proposal there's follow on but it all comes back to why

Brent Keltner:

are you on the phone with me? What am I helping you

Brent Keltner:

accomplish? How am I making your future more successful?

Wesleyne Greer:

So I really like what your your whole basis of

Wesleyne Greer:

your book because it brings me back to? I think it's Simon

Wesleyne Greer:

Sinek? Yeah, start with why the book Start With Why right. And I

Wesleyne Greer:

remember when I read that book, I was like, Ah, this is good.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because a lot of times some people start with the how or the

Wesleyne Greer:

what, but if you start with the why the why helps you understand

Wesleyne Greer:

from all phases of the organization, again, to the

Wesleyne Greer:

person answering the phone to the person fulfilling the order

Wesleyne Greer:

to the person making sure that they're collecting payments,

Wesleyne Greer:

that we are aligned as a company. And when you have

Wesleyne Greer:

alignment as the company that helps like you said, it just

Wesleyne Greer:

accelerates your revenue to 1020, a hundredfold.

Brent Keltner:

Yep, start and continue on the why every

Brent Keltner:

conversation and you will have that outcome. There's another

Brent Keltner:

way of saying when you said that I was fortunate to have David

Brent Keltner:

Meerman Scott as my book coach for this book. And you know,

Brent Keltner:

he's been saying for years, nobody cares about your product.

Brent Keltner:

Nobody cares about your product, and then we still show up and

Brent Keltner:

vomit our product, what they care about is what does your

Brent Keltner:

product do for them? So to your point, I mean, that's the whole

Brent Keltner:

point of the book is if you come back to your buyer, why in every

Brent Keltner:

interaction you will grow faster.

Wesleyne Greer:

So I take that nobody cares about your price

Wesleyne Greer:

and nobody cares about you. I actually say that we care about

Wesleyne Greer:

you, your parents care about you, your spouse, your kids,

Wesleyne Greer:

your auntie your cousins, but your customer, your buyer, they

Wesleyne Greer:

don't care about you, they care about themselves, and they hear

Wesleyne Greer:

about the problem that they have and how you can help them

Wesleyne Greer:

achieve that success. 100%. So question for you tell me about

Wesleyne Greer:

something in your life that you are most excited about

Wesleyne Greer:

accomplishing, either personally or professionally?

Brent Keltner:

And can that be future looking in the next six

Brent Keltner:

months? Absolutely. So I have been doing karate with my kids

Brent Keltner:

now for probably eight years, seven or eight years. And my son

Brent Keltner:

and I, this fall we'll test for he will test for his first

Brent Keltner:

degree adult black belt, and I'll test for my second degree,

Brent Keltner:

adult black belt. And so training with him and the idea

Brent Keltner:

of testing with him is feels awesome. It's been a great

Brent Keltner:

journey for all of us.

Wesleyne Greer:

That's amazing. That's amazing fatherhood. And

Wesleyne Greer:

not just, you know, being a parent, but actually being

Wesleyne Greer:

present and doing something that your kids enjoy. Right? So going

Wesleyne Greer:

into their world.

Brent Keltner:

They do karate, because I asked them to, but I

Brent Keltner:

don't know that they would do it otherwise. But I do. I think

Brent Keltner:

your point is really well taken as they've gotten older. I've

Brent Keltner:

tried to figure out what their interests are, and how can I can

Brent Keltner:

align to it. So we just had a great family trip to Ireland and

Brent Keltner:

Scotland and my son loves hiking. So went on a couple of

Brent Keltner:

hikes with him. And that was just awesome time because he was

Brent Keltner:

in his own. And so I love that it's a great site direction, you

Brent Keltner:

know, figure out what they care about and be supportive of that.

Wesleyne Greer:

That's awesome. That's awesome. Brent, this has

Wesleyne Greer:

been a wonderful conversation, I really enjoyed you know,

Wesleyne Greer:

connecting on that authentic conversation and surrounding

Wesleyne Greer:

yourself with the why, right, the company's why and stepping

Wesleyne Greer:

into the buyers world.

Brent Keltner:

Ya know, I love that it's always awesome

Brent Keltner:

Wesleyan to talk with like minded revenue leaders. There's

Brent Keltner:

more and more of us that think this way. But we're still the

Brent Keltner:

minority, a growing minority, which is a good thing. So I

Brent Keltner:

really appreciated the conversation.

Wesleyne Greer:

And if people want to get in contact with you,

Wesleyne Greer:

what is the one best way

Brent Keltner:

they could just go to the website authenticity

Brent Keltner:

wins.com which will bring them right to our book landing page

Brent Keltner:

on our homepage, or they can email me at be Keltner. And when

Brent Keltner:

a linux.com I'm happy to take questions and often do after

Brent Keltner:

podcasts.

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. Well, thank you so much, again for

Wesleyne Greer:

sharing your time, your talent and your expertise with our

Wesleyne Greer:

audience.

Brent Keltner:

Thank you. Aslan, really enjoyed the conversation.

Brent Keltner:

And that

Wesleyne Greer:

was another episode of the science of

Wesleyne Greer:

selling stem and remember and all that you do transform your

Wesleyne Greer:

sales until next time.

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