Human Relationships, The Art of Persuasion, Going from Sales Rep to Sales Manager

Dive into the ninth issue of Hacking the Sale

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Humans > Bots

How are you building and nurturing relationships with prospects? Are you approaching relationships as an actual human being, or are you hiding behind automation, bots, and ‘touchpoints’?

There are a lot of buzzwords being lobbed back and forth right now in the sales, marketing, and customer success space. Bots, automated sequences, and templates can be helpful tools when it comes to connecting and engaging with people, but they alone won’t get the job done for you. They won’t close deals for you. They aren’t meant to be a replacement for real, authentic, meaningful human interaction.

To help the people your product or service is intended to help, to serve your audience, to build trust, you have to be able to listen and communicate, learn from what is being said, and react accordingly in ways that only humans can.

Making the sale isn’t about shoving people down your funnel as quickly as possible. It’s about building human relationships based on trust and a genuine desire to help solve problems.

What do you think? Would love to read your thoughts on this!

Mastering the Art of Persuasion

How persuasive are you in your personal and professional life? Is it easy for you to sell other people on your ideas and successfully convince them to buy in? 

Persuasion is a skill that can be learned and refined and a habit that can be adopted and put into practice to get what you want at work and in life. That’s the message presented in an article about mastering the art of influence from First Round Review and Tyler Odean, a former Google employee and now director of product at Reddit. 

The article covers a lot of ground, but the most interesting takeaway for me was the introduction and explanation of five biases that you should know about and consider when presenting an idea to someone else. 

Here are three of the five biases covered in the article:

1. Availability
The availability bias refers to the idea that the longer you are exposed to something, the more receptive to it you’ll likely be. In other words, it refers to “the human tendency to think that examples of things that come readily to mind are more representative than is actually the case.” 

Odean says that salespeople and founders should be aware of this bias when talking to potential customers because, in his words, “If you assume that other people are as familiar with your ideas as you are, you’ll assume they’ll be far more receptive than they actually will be”. He also explains that you can use availability bias to your advantage in sales by investing in brand awareness strategies—i.e. make people think that your product is familiar and trustworthy by showing up everywhere. You can do this by participating on social media, writing guest blog posts on other sites, launching ads, etc. 
 
2. Anchoring
Anchoring occurs “when individuals use an initial piece of information to make a subsequent judgment. Once an anchor is set, other judgments are made by adjusting away from that anchor, and there is a bias toward interpreting other information around the anchor.” Knowing what anchoring is will help you when it comes to talking to prospects about price or other values that you use when trying to get the sale.

In the First Round article, Odean illustrates anchoring bias in this way: “If I initially throw out a valuation of $10M, but then I want to move it to $15M, I have to basically convince you that it’s worth all those values in between individually. Why is it worth $11M, $12M, etc.? Make sure you respect your own anchor points when making these types of arguments.”
 
3. Representation
Representation bias refers to the idea that people generally take one point away from conversations or one picture from an experience and refer back to that one point or one image when trying to make future decisions. In the article, Odean stresses how damaging this can be in sales conversations. He says, “people pack meetings with every selling point they can think of. But that’s actually the worst thing to do.”

Odean goes on to say that salespeople need to be very careful when crafting their pitches and messages for potential customers. He says, “because they’ll remember random parts, you want to construct a message that — when sampled at any point — reinforces your argument and remains persuasive. Keep it to the highlight reel and stick to a very short, simple message that you repeat in different ways again and again.” He adds later in the article, “if you give them an image that involves negative elements — in which anything that’s not utterly awesome is negative — that can be more damaging than it should be.”

The last two biases mentioned in the article are Coherence and Framing. If you’re interested in reading about the final two, click here to read the full article from First Round. 

Leading From a Distance

In the Arena is a podcast hosted by Anthony Iannarino that covers a wide range of sales topics.

In episode #112, Anthony talks with Kevin Eikenberry, a leadership expert and author of The Long-Distance Leaderabout how leaders can effectively lead teams when they don’t physically “go to work” anymore. 

Here are some of the topics that are discussed throughout the podcast episode:

  • The key differences between being a leader and being a manager
  • How to create the type of culture that empowers effective distributed teams
  • What leaders need to do in order to foster the right culture for their remote team
  • How to avoid communication friction when managing or working on a remote sales team
  • How leaders can assure that their goals are being pursued by a remote team

It’s a good episode to listen to if you’ve started hiring sales reps who work from home or in another area away from your office headquarters. 

LISTEN TIME: 40 MIN

How to Go From Sales Rep to Sales Manager

Are you interested in becoming a sales manager at some point in your career? If so, these tips on how to go from sales rep to sales manager might help:

  1. FIND A MENTOR – Finding a mentor is one of the first steps you should take on your path toward becoming a manager. A mentor can help you understand if management is even the right move for you, they can help you identify which gaps you might need to fill or skills you need to still acquire, and they can use their experience to help you better understand what it actually takes to be successful in a management role. 
  2. TAKE ON MORE RESPONSIBILITY – Taking on more informal responsibilities will help you get a feel for what a future management position might be like. It will also show your managers that you’re willing, ready, and able to go above and beyond for the good of the team and the company. 
  3. MASTER THE NUMBERS – Becoming more familiar—even obsessive about—the numbers associated with team and company success will help prepare you for some of the tasks, reporting, and ongoing conversations you’ll be responsible for once you become a manager. 
  4. KNOW WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE – Knowing what makes your team tick and what makes them go above and beyond in their roles will help you better understand how to motivate and reward them when in a future position of leadership. 
  5. LEAD BY EXAMPLE – Setting a good example for your team members will not only show your superiors that you’re ready for a management position, it will also help you gain the respect and trust of your co-workers—some of whom could end up reporting to you in the near future if you do become a manager. 
  6. SET CLEAR GOALS – Establishing clear goals that relate to your performance and your move upward will make it easier to keep yourself accountable along the way. 

To learn more about what you need to do to become a successful manager of salespeople, check out these resources:

News Stories Worth Reading

How This Company Grew by 30% with Fewer Salespeople
This article from Inc shares how Jason Walker, VP of Sales at GPS Insight, was able to drive top-line growth by 30% with fewer salespeople and lower expenses than what the company was used to. The three key areas he focused on optimizing were positioning and education, CRM data collection and entry, and weekly practice with his reps. 

Want Higher Response Rates? Start Treating Your Sales Prospects Like People
This article from Entrepreneur offers readers tips on how to improve your communication with prospects. The author focuses on three key areas that should be considered when selling to people: connecting, listening, and solving. 

Share your feedback!

We hope you enjoyed the ninth issue of Hacking the Sale

If you have any feedback on this edition or want to send article or topics ideas our way, just reply to this email. Your feedback is greatly appreciated! 

// Rob Wormley and the team at Rambl

Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

Rob has nearly a decade of experience as a successful growth and product marketer. His specialty is working with early-stage startups to create brand awareness, boost traffic, drive conversions, and build customer loyalty.
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