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Demolishing stigma by building trust

You’ve heard it time and time again and you may even know it from experience: there is a stigma around sales. So how do you handle it? What’s your mindset when you pick up the phone to dial a prospect? Do you expect to get chewed out or do you treat each call as an opportunity to chip away at that wall that stands between buyer and seller?

“We are here to do the right thing by this customer even if that means not upselling them on a package that’s far too expensive for them or not upselling them on a package because it’s not a good fit.”

In this Future of Sales podcast, Garrett Leigh, Director of Sales at Springbot, discusses how the arguably oldest profession in the world is completely changing and how he acts on his belief that every single call and meeting is an opportunity to demolish the stigma of sales.

The “No Bullshit” Takeaways:

  • Learn Garrett’s strategic communication style and how it benefits his customers.

  • Find out how Garrett developed key selling skills through his experience in unexpected industries.

  • Discover how building your personal brand helps build trust.


If you prefer to watch, here's the full video version of the episode

You can find to The Future of Sales on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and YouTube.




Sahil Mansuri: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Future of Sales. I’m your host, Sahil Mansuri, CEO of Bravado. And with me today is another guest from the booming Atlanta tech scene Garrett Leigh who is the Director of Sales at Springbot. Garrett, thanks for joining us. Welcome to The Future of Sales.


Garrett Leigh: Yeah. Thanks a lot for having me on, Sahil.


Sahil: Yeah, I’m really excited, man. So just for the benefit of those listeners who are not as familiar with Springbot, perhaps you could give us a little brief overview?


Garrett: Yeah, so we started as more of like a data and analytics company letting customers take actionable, you know, getting actual insights from their data and actually taking data-driven actions that make sense, and we’ve come full circle. We’ve promote a much longer way than just providing interesting data. Now, we give you the ability to, you know, automate a lot of their actions and, you know, make much more informed decisions and we kind of pride ourselves on having this all in one concept, which is something that was missing from the market.


Sahil: Yeah. No, that makes a lot of sense. And so, you know, one of the things that we found on hosting these shows is everyone has got a very unique story into how they ended up in sales, what their first sales job was when they first discovered they were going to be a salesperson. We’d love to hear your origin story.


Garrett: Yeah. So, I was a hockey player for a while and my mom was always in sales. She was a C-level in several different like large corporate organizations and so, I always heard about a lot of what went on in sales and different models. And when I was done playing hockey, I played before college, during and after a little bit, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I got involved in the first medical marijuana business in Boulder County oddly enough. And so, that, you know, kind of propelled me into the workforce in the opposite way that most people do, like I was a co-founder. We made a lot of mistakes and eventually we sold the business we acquired after like three and a half years and I was like, “what am I going to do?”

And I was in Florida in West Palm at a time and I met a recruiter at a friend’s bar and she was like, “You know, I recruit for this Japanese holding company, it’s plastic surgery,” and she didn’t really tell me like a lot about exactly what it was. She was like, “But you would do great, you should get in sales, you also have great hair.” And I was like, “Okay, thank you.” And I found out it was for Aderan, it was hair club for men, it was the opportunity that she had. And it was so strange to me and so foreign like I grew up in a hockey locker room. I had no real sales experience. I have more of an operational background and that’s what I was kind of pursuing, but I wanted to reason to leave Florida and I never really lived anywhere from more than two or three years. I was like, “I’ll go to Atlanta for a couple of years, do this and see what happens and then, leave.”

And I love the sales aspect, I got trained to run the business essentially from more of an operational standpoint, but I still have to sell when someone wasn’t available. And I used to travel to the different markets to do this from time to time. And I learned so much about sales in an environment that I never thought I would be in in a mode of sales that was just abnormal to me. You know, it’s such an emotional psychological sale, any kind of like plastic surgery. And it was so far out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t super passionate, to be honest about what I was doing. It was just kind of like something to build my resume and make money.

And I decided, okay, I wanted to be a part of building an organization and doing something I’m passionate about like I had done in the past, but not be the one responsible for signing paychecks and those kinds of things and kind of avoiding any kind of added responsibility beyond my role. And so, I got in touch with Springbot very early stages and I had a really interesting conversation with my now VP of sales and our CTO, Joe Rigor, around his interest in me stemming from my psychology background mixed with the type of emotional sales that I was involved in.

Like, I think that Springbot is going in this direction to where we’re really going to need to understand people and because their businesses are essentially just as an extension of who they are as a person, and we really need people that connect with them, understand their problems and, you know, kind of build them back up and build trust and that sales relationship. And he’s like, right now I think we’re just doing a lot of value dropping and we’re just, you know, reading the first in lines about why our product is great and we need people that can do this. So, I was so excited.

We really need people that connect with [customers], understand their problems ... and build trust and that sales relationship.

And what I came on, we had like nine people on the sales side, now, you know, we’re approaching like 75, so it’s been a very fun experience building up this team and watching the company grow and getting to kind of work cohesively with all the different departments and, you know, that’s the short version of how I got into sales or why I was excited for this opportunity, which I’ve learned a lot from.


Sahil: And how long have you been with Springbot?


Garrett: It’s almost four years, which I tell everybody that’s like it’s like eight years at a lot of other places, blood, sweat, and tears that we’ve all had to pour in for a lot of people who have been here for the last like three to four years.


Sahil: Yeah, that makes sense. So, you know, one of the main reasons that we got in touch was because, you know, we’ve been doing some research around the stigma of salespeople and, you know, both for those entering the profession, for those that are in the profession, you know, dealing with customers, I think you have some thoughts around, you know, kind of the general ethos and culture of sales as an industry, as a profession and then, specific to your role. I would love to dive into that because I think that’s something that, you know, we don’t discuss nearly enough.


Garrett: Yeah. You know, the stigma of sales I think for a lot of people especially newer reps that haven’t, you know, seen a lot of different types of sales models and seen a lot of different industries, you start to get that feeling that you’re unwanted or that you’re a pest or that, you know, people inherently don’t want to talk to you. One of the things that I always remind people is like this is how business has been done for hundreds if not thousands of years, people getting together and sharing ideas around how they can help each other, right.

And, you know, so one of the questions I was asked by Ashley when I first started speaking with you guys was around like have you ever been embarrassed to be a salesperson, I was like absolutely not, you know. I take this approach, like, I sort of take what I would consider like the eastern medicine approach to sales versus what I think has kind of shoved down everybody’s throats the last 20 plus years or something since I’ve been alive around, you know, crushing your number and being the best and influencing to people to do things that maybe aren’t good for them just to help yourself. And I don’t think that that’s what salespeople should be doing and that’s how they should think.

I think you need to have this very methodical psychological approach to who is the person that I’m talking to, right, while we’re looking at an enterprise level sale we’re selling not to a company, we are on paper, but we’re selling to a person and typically, you know, not a stakeholder in the business. We’re selling to someone on the premise of how am I going to make their life better and why should they even care about a change of process or a switch of software, right. We have to understand what motivates that individual in order to speak to them.

And when we’re selling to a stakeholder, let’s say it’s, you know, small to midsize market e-commerce and we’re selling to a proprietor and owner of the business, we need to understand similar things, you know, what motivates this person, who are they, how do they speak, what kind of inflection do they use when they talk to you? What type of questions are they asking me? You know, there are so many key indicators around how someone communicates with you that should tell you how should I be communicating back with them, you know.

And once you start to display yourself in whatever you do and not by dropping, you know, knowledge and statistics around whatever product you have because at the end of the day no one really cares, right, before they trust you there’s this wall. And I think that wall is really representative of the stigma of sales and it’s just the constant game of chipping away at that wall and getting them to trust you and see, I am a person, I have rational thought, I care about whatever it is that you care about and I’m going to display that in the way that I talk to you.

And so, I think every single call or meeting is an opportunity to demolish the stigma of sales if you believe that there is one or if you believe it has a negative connotation or if you’re low on your confidence because people have been hanging up on you when you call or people haven’t been showing up to your follow-ups. It’s not a matter of sales being bad, it’s a matter of what am I not doing the right way because this is just a human to human interaction and it’s one that’s been going on for hundreds, again if not thousands of years.

I think every single call or meeting is an opportunity to demolish the stigma of sales.

And I think we’re getting to this point, it’s very interesting with what Bravado does, but we’re getting at this point where user-generated content is at the epicenter of trust with the internet and globalization. And the more your brand is built on trust and being responsible and holding yourself accountable to what you tell people and there’s a measurement of that and you can measure that success tangibly in some way, it’s so much easier to eliminate that stigma of sales. And that’s one of the things I think it’s so exciting about the environment that we’re in 2018.


Sahil: You know, there was a lot there that I -- and found myself just like shaking my head and agreeing with you on, you know, the two most salient points that I would like to dive into are one that wall that you mentioned, which I think is really interesting and the second half of it is around user-generated content. And so, why don’t we start with the wall because I think that’s, you know, the outset of the experience from those salespeople, which is when you start in sales, especially in tech sales, you typically start as an SDR, right, that’s the standard, like the first role out of school sort of thing.

And when you start as an SDR you end up very quickly realizing that the, you know, you need to bring your battering ram to work with you every day. You know, people view things like it’s a number’s game and people is saying like, you know, if someone doesn’t answer after five calls, what should you do, well make a sixth, you know, there’s a lot of that sort of vernacular that permeates it’s way throughout sales. I would have to say that I think there’s something misguided about that, notably the fact that trying to coerce -- I mean, look, I think we’ve all had the experience of walking through a mall, not that people go to malls anymore, but at least us old people used to go to malls Garrett and I distinctly recall you know, they’d be these like kiosk or carts in the middle and some would be selling like Dead Sea salt or --


Garrett: I cannot believe that you’re using this example. I literally use this in my training model for new BDRs when I talk about how good you can be at -- but anyway, keep going. Sorry, that’s crazy.


Sahil: I don’t know why I’ve never really mentioned this specific thing before, but it was just relevant for everyone. I went to Israel recently, I guess, I actually do the Dead Sea floats, so maybe that was part of it. But we, you know, you have these people and they’re coming up to and they’re trying to convince you to apply some of their scrub on their hands and then, you go and, I mean, you just -- it’s just like very heavy push, right, it’s just like aggressive sort of model of like trying to pluck someone out of their day and like, you know, kind of co -- no, I’m not going to say coerce, but it’s like kind of shove them into your, you know, kind of ask me into the experience and I distinctly remember every time I would see that, I would just like take two steps of a left away from that person and would try to like avoid interacting with that person just because it’s uncomfortable to be like, no, ma’am, or no, sir, I don’t want your like sea scrub salt.


Garrett: And they know this.


Sahil: And they know that and I know that and we both know that we both know that and yet we’re doing it. And so, you know, to me, there’s something inherently wrong psychologically, and I have a background in psych as well, so I really appreciate your take on that. There’s something really wrong psychologically with trying to shove someone or force someone to do something they don’t want to do when our ethos as salespeople is to serve customers and put them first.


Garrett: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that’s -- it’s -- again, it’s so funny, like that you’re using this as an example. I like to pull people in and I tell this story, I was in high school, they used to let us leave for lunch, and I don’t know if that’s a thing now. And we’d go to this mall and I usually get like pizza or whatever and I remember like walking down and this woman grabbed me and she grabbed my arm, she started massaging my arm right away, that was just like, “Oh, what’s going on?” And she starts selling me immediately on this Dead Sea soap. And I had like $20 to my name and she got it from me.

And I always talk to people about this example, I’m like, we don’t want to influence someone to do something they don’t want to do. That’s not going to help our business at the end of the day. We are here to do the right thing by this customer and if that means not upselling them on a package, that’s far too expansive for them or if that means not upselling them on a package at all because it’s not a good fit or maybe they need to do more work before they’re actually in a position to see the benefit from what we do.

It maybe hurts at that moment, but that’s your brand and that’s the book of business that you’re building for yourself and if you want to build it on misinformation or I think coercion is a great word, like influence is so powerful. And I’ve seen a lot of great salespeople that aren’t even aware of how powerful their influencing skills are and they’re able to get people to do things that other people can’t and that maybe aren’t in their best interest and they’re sometimes not even aware of it. And I think that’s where, you know, as leadership and any sales organization like you have to be focused on doing the right thing.

And a colleague of mine, you know, mentioned something to me last week that was so profound and we talked about the customer success end of the business so much. You know, we’re so focused on sales, we’re so focused on hitting a number, but at the same time, we also are so focused on customer success because that is what’s going to give our business longevity and that’s what’s going to give ultimately it’s like a baton handoff in a relay. That’s what’s going to continue this customer’s excitement and their experience in terms of onboarding with a new product. And you know, one of the things that we’ve been talking about in terms of our ethos and our messaging to, you know, our newer reps and the people that we’re training is do not be aggressive in the sale.

We will be extraordinarily aggressive in the onboarding process because that is a point where the customer is vulnerable, they’re wondering, did I make the right choice, did I overspend, you know, is this really going to make me the money that so and so promised. And it’s such an important part of sales, you know, you have to be so aligned in terms of selling someone on what they need with the right idea, but also having that handoff be just as an impactful and just as personalized. And we don’t -- and I think we like -- wherever I am, like I don’t want reps having that mentality around do whatever it takes to get the sale.

If it’s the right thing, sure, go above and beyond. But, if it’s crossing out of that gray area where, you know, maybe this isn’t the right thing or this is what I’m telling them does not make sense and this isn’t the truth. That’s where I think sales again, going back to the stigma, that’s where it stems from. It’s people not doing the right thing. And again, user-generated content, this is a form for people to see, wow, there are other people in my position or whatever it is, whether they’re just consumers or if they’re buying B2B or whatever the case may be. This company took care of them or this product worked the way they said it would and this person actually stood by their words, whatever it is. And I think that’s helping to destroy the stigma of sales in a lot of facets. So, retail distribution, you know, you look at how important reviews are on e-commerce retail sites. And now, I think you’re starting to see that in the tech world, which is really cool.


Sahil: Yeah, I mean, you know, speaking to that, one of a kind of moments in which we thought, okay, there might be a play with helping salespeople build their reputation. It came from my experience at Glassdoor, so when I started at Glassdoor now over seven years ago, it’s just kind of crazy to say, you know, I was one of the first like 20 employees of the company and I recall very distinctly that when I first started, we would get on the phone with HR leaders and they were either unfamiliar with Glassdoor or they had like loosely heard of it, but at the time, it was a very small company and very small endeavor.

And we would get on the phone with them and we would show them that there were these reviews that their employees had left on their -- on the company page detailing both salary information and as well interview questions, as well as reviews and what it’s actually like to work at the company. And what I found fascinating from that was the amount of vitriol that came from it. It was -- yes, there were those exceptions notably, I think of Facebook, I think of Microsoft, I think of Goldman Sachs, I think of Bain, you know, there were handfuls of companies that were -- they were like, this is amazing, you know, what a great concept, you know, this thing is going to be a huge one and like we need to invest in making this a place that really reflects our employment brand.

But the vast majority of the people that we spoke to were horrified and they were horrified for two reasons, one, they said, wait a minute, this is a just a bunch of people that are disgruntled employees or, you know, basically, for every hundred happy employees we have, we have one person who’s pissed off and that person is going and this is just a run site and this is extortion or racketeering where, you know, you want us to pay money in order to take reviews down and none of which is true, by the way. Our store had a firm divide as to this day a firm divide between, you know, sales side and the customer review the beaded seaside that was never crossed.

But Yelp pages gotten in trouble, this is not 2010. Yelp pages gotten in trouble because their sales reps had been promising the small business owners that they would like, you know, promote positive reviews and stuff. And so, like there’s a lot of distrust around this user-generated content. The second big objection was who the fuck cares, like who cares with some random person on the internet has to say. Like, if people are going to come to the source of truth and the source of truth is our recruiter, but the source of truth is, you know, in meeting with our employees or a company.

And people summarily dismissed Glassdoor as an idea because they’re like, you know, no one is going to trust what some random person says online, that’s not how people make decisions. Now, let’s fast forward to 2018. Now, let’s fast forward to 2018. I -- my wife and I just took a trip throughout Europe and every city we went to, there are two websites that I use most prevalently, one was TripAdvisor, right, and the second one was and because Yelp is not as big there.

And every time, all I did was type in like “seafood restaurant” and then, go to TripAdvisor and then, see what was the highest rated seafood restaurants and read the reviews and see what it’s like because as a tourist that’s someone who’s coming into a foreign country or into a foreign city, even in your home city, really, all you want to do is say, well, other people have been in the exact same position as me, I want to know what happened with those people before I make the same commitment and I’m talking about like a $25 piece of fish, right, we’re not talking about -- we’re not talking about a $25,000 or a $250,000 piece of software.

So, if I’m a sales a person and if I’m trying to convince someone to spend tens over hundreds of thousands of dollars with my company, it would prove me to be able to say, “Well, hey, there had been other buyers who had been in the exact same situation as you, let me show you what they’ve had to say” and be able to use, you know, you say user-generated content, you know, we very specifically here say, it’s customer content, it’s customer testimonials and being able to use those as a way to, you know, in some way give comfort, give trust, you know, build a foundation that lets them say, “Well, yes, I trust you, Garrett, and of course, I like you, and of course, like, you know, I’m excited to work with you. But I guess it’d be even more reassurance to know that like your customers feel the same way that I’m feeling right now.


Garrett: Yeah. No, a 100% and I, you know, it’s -- the TripAdvisor example is perfect. We can do so much, you know, building trust and building rapport, but at the end of the day, it’s not one person that’s responsible for an entire sales process, like there are so many different avenues in a company of marketing, customer success channel. And we use a lot of these different avenues to get to prospects and to help us build rapport, help chip away at the realm of beginning stages. But when you’re getting out in the later stages of a sales cycle, you know, and again, I believe that if it’s not like a dollars and cents deal and it’s actually something that’s going to be impactful and has meaning and there’s high risk involved for a lot of prospects especially in the enterprise space.

There’s typically a lot of perceived risk from the consumers' end and so, it’s our role to again chip away that wall. You know, in my experience subconsciously overcome that perceived risk without even needing to really address it just by demonstrating like we understand what that risk is without them even needing to say it. But once we kind of get to that point where they trust and they know that we do understand, there’s still that big kind of gap between, “Okay, I trust this person and I believe him. I am excited. He’s got me excited about this product.”

And I don’t think that people inherently think these things. I think these are just subconscious thoughts that kind of shoot through the synapses, but there is always that wonder of who else out there has done this and what was their experience like because there’s been a lot of beating switch that’s gone on again for hundreds of years and in any market. And you know, I still have people that think somehow, you know, at the end of the sales conversation, “is this a scam?” And it’s like, no, we have a hundred and, you know, 60 plus employees, like we have a reputation, we have a lot of customers, like we’re not -- no, no, it’s not.

And I think reviews and testimonials, you know, they help in that and they’re invaluable in that part of the sales process because there’s really no other way to say just take my word for it, people shouldn’t have to take anyone’s word for anything. They should have a forum, again, whether it’s something like Glassdoor when they’re looking at different companies and they’re researching in the interview process or whether it’s buying a pair of jeans or whether it’s going to a restaurant or anything.

There should be transparency and I think that’s what globalization has brought is a tremendous amount of transparency through the internet and specific to sales, like, of course, it’s going to drip down to sales and sale process at some point. Here we are in a somewhat early stage but relatively mature compared to 2010. And you know, now, talking to companies like Bravado that are offering these kinds of forums for people to make better informed decisions, which is what we all want to do at the end of the day.


Sahil: That’s right. And I appreciate the kind words about, you know, the Bravado platform, but I think, you know, what -- you really hit the nail on the head, which is in every sales cycle, there is that moment in which we see the buyer, the prospect have a little bit of doubt and that doubt typically comes when you’re most excited, not when you’re least excited, and it’s like, “Wait a minute, you know, I know you’re a salesperson and I know that you’re trying to sell me something and yes, everything you just said sounds really good, sir or ma’am, but am I falling for something here.”

And that fear of if I’m -- am I falling for something here is a really, really -- I think it’s a human instinct, I think it’s because not only have we seen it in pop culture and not only have we all just like personally experienced in some way, but it’s just like a part of the human condition. And so, you know, that’s the moment when they usually ask for a reference and that’s the moment when they usually want to talk to somebody else, or that’s the moment when they try to go online and try to find somebody else that they can, or reach out to their network or whatever it is and try to get a little bit of social validation in order to ensure that they’re not making the mistake.

And the problem is most companies at that moment think the right move is to send the prospect a case study or to direct them to their website. And I compare this again back to because I’ve long been a belief that B2B is just a 10 laggard of B2C and whatever it is that happens in B2C, B2B follows it but it just takes a while for us to get there. You know, when I look at something like, you know, Netflix as I see like, you know, you’re going to Netflix’s homepages like 699 a month, no credit card required, one month free trial, click here to sign up, right, or I go to Amazon and I see, you know, one click to buy, and then, I go to any B2B company’s website and it’s like contact sales and there’s all these like barriers to actually purchasing.

But in this specific example, you know, on the B2C side, imagine if you are trying to decide between two restaurants that you wanted to go, imagine you were trying to decide between two hotels that you wanted to book, nobody goes to the hotel’s website and like tries to figure out based on the website of the hotel which one --


Garrett: And look at the rooms.


Sahil: Right. Nobody, yeah, nobody looks at -- nobody goes to a restaurant’s website and like looks at like the content on like their website in order to make a decision. Sure, you’ll go check out the menu, right. If the menu is on there, you’re going to check it out, but that’s not how you make the decision. The way you make the decision is you look at what other people had to say on some sort of an aggregator site like Yelp or TripAdvisor or or whatever, right.? And so, I think that this is one of the fundamental flaws in the sales process is that all of the content that you have around customer testimonials is all bottled up on your own personal website.

And what we’re trying to do at Bravado is give a platform that’s a third-party representation, validated customer testimonials that you could use in order to say, “Hey, go check on my page, you know, I’ve worked with many other customers that have been in the exact same position as you and you can check out what they’ve had to say about working with me.” And, you know, one of the interesting things that we’ve seen as a result of that and, you know, we do a lot of tracking and measurements around this because, you know, that’s the way in the world that we’re into.

We’ve seen that over 65% of customers who have gotten to the reference stage and been showing a Bravado profile have not then followed up that request where they need to speak to somebody. So, two and three reference request are met digitally for Bravado members and I always use to call this the two-week delay in sales, which is, they want a reference, now, you go to scramble through a CS team to find someone who’s going to get on the phone with them. And you hit that person and no, you can’t hit up the same person over and over again because they’re like at a certain point, they’re like, “Dude, I’m not on your payroll, right.”

And so, you know, there’s like some sort of a level of like, you know, maybe once a quarter I can ask you to do this or something and then, you find the person, you email them to ask if they’re willing to do it, they agreed to do it, then you email the prospect and the customer, get them on the phone, then they play calendar tag for a while and then, eventually, hopefully, they go on the phone and they have a conversation. And sometimes our process can take a couple of days if you’re really lucky. Most of the time it takes a week and usually, it takes like two to three weeks.

And so, you know, where you end up with is like a complete stagnation of the sales cycle for something that can easily be solved using a digital medium. And so, that I think has been one of the prevalent used cases of Bravado for sales reps has been, hey, this is a way for me to accelerate my deal cycle and to be able to leverage digital credibility as a way of swaging a customer who’s like right in that moment and like, yeah, I’m not sure if I should do this or not by giving them comfort that, hey, others have been in your shoes and they’ve walked away happy.


Garrett: Yeah. No, I mean you nailed it on the head, I mean that lag time in the sales process, not only does it -- can it kill deals, but it’s also this mad scramble to find someone that can speak basically to everything that you’ve already talked about that’s just a different voice, that’s not a salesperson. And again, yeah, that’s why it’s so important. I mean, you know, we placed tremendous importance on company reviews and those things in certain areas that we are. And I think like channel and partnerships that realm of any business and speaking, you know, to the software space; channel and partnerships is such an important part of developing an identity for company because, you know, you kind of have this friend that has insight into people that you want to talk to and you can use that friend in order to get to certain points in a conversation and that’s great.

You know, and that gives credibility sometimes to smaller companies that are up and coming when you have a bigger better-known partner in whatever space that you’re in. And on the flipside to that, yeah, it’s being able to showcase other people that have had a positive experience and also showcase why, you know, so that they know it’s not bullshit, which a lot of people, especially today, people are -- I feel like so much more inherently skeptical. Like, you were talking about there’s just innate drive that people have to be skeptical when something seems great. I don’t know if it comes to like basic self-preservation, you know, and not that -- I don’t think anyone thinks they’re going to die if they make the wrong choice, but that desire to not want to get into something that is not going to be good for them or that they could be judged harshly on or could adversely affect them.

And you know, setting up the deal the right way you have to counter them. So, without that type of, you know, something like broad offers really, you know, I just try to counter that on a psychological level before, like, during the sales process. I think that’s how a lot of salespeople have had to do it, like you already have to go in knowing -- they’re going to be sketched out, I mean, at some point no matter how well I represent myself and how intelligent I sound about this space and this product, like you have to know they’re going to try to probably back out, they’re going to talk themselves out of this at some point, and they’re never going to tell you and you have to know that.

I know firsthand that if you have the ability to showcase your book of work in a positive light, that will also alleviate a lot of the burden that mad scramble to overcome that mental process that all buyers will have at some point.

And this is -- I think you still have to have that approach to some degree, but you know, I also -- I know firsthand that if you have the ability to showcase your book of work in a positive light that will also alleviate a lot of the burden of that mad scramble to kind of overcome that mental process that all buyers will go through at some point. I mean I go through it when I buy, order food at a restaurant. I’m like, “Should I have gotten the chicken, should have I gotten the salmon, I don’t know,” you know, and that’s a much --


Sahil: That’s completely inconsequential. I mean, like at the end of the day, like, do you really eat like a million, million meals in your life and it’s just like a one -- and ultimately, the difference between the chicken and the salmon is going to be negligible in your life and yet we ruminate over and as if like we’re deciding on a life partner or something.


Garrett: Yeah.


Sahil: This mentality that we as human beings have which is we always want to have the most optimal outcome regardless of, you know, whether the incremental gains is worth the burden of consideration. And then, I think that psychologically has a massive impact in the way that sales is done, but at the same time it is -- you’re right, like, you have to play defense as a salesperson knowing the fact that this will happen or come up at some point. And your ability to, you know, to counter is you’re really one of the keys, I would say defining characteristics between a great and a good salesperson where a good person does all the right things, but it’s -- maybe a better way of looking at this is like a great salesperson is like a great chess player, in the sense that -- I don’t know if you play chess, Garrett, but, you know, it’s a passion of mine.


Garrett: Yeah


Sahil: And great salesperson is somebody that makes a move knowing that this move could lead to one of two or three possible outcomes and then, no matter the next move is they’re already ready for it. And so, at no point are they caught, you know, flat on their feet, always just like ready and comfortable and willing to make the next move. And I find that, you know, a lot of that comes from being able to deeply connect with a buyer on that psychological level to, you know, you mentioned I love what you said about at the very beginning about the inflection of their voice. I used to do this thing when I was on the phone with my prospects and to this day I still do it unconsciously when I’m speaking people. I visualize their face and I close my eyes when I’m speaking to them and I pretend as if I’m -- I conjure up an image of that person like right in front of me and so when they’re speaking, when they’re breathing, when they’re typing, when they’re -- I try to channel what that person must be thinking or feeling at that moment more so even than like necessarily taking at surface level what they’re saying and trying to react to that which always suit you really well in sales.


Garrett: Yeah. No, I mean, it’s kind of what you have to do. Again, if you want to be able to go above and beyond and not, you know, I love to tell people. If you’re behind and you need to work late or you want to get it done or you want to go overboard like that’s great but I love to see people get it done in eight or nine hours in a day. I love to see people hitting their numbers, hitting the metrics that they want to be at so that they know they’re on track. And I think if they’re part of that for a lot of salespeople with very aggressive goals is doing the little things the right way to give yourself the best chance with every single opportunity you have.

And you know, I talk a lot in training around, like, you know, once I have a BDR that moves into like EA role and, you know, going for the ask or you know, closing the deal. You know, it all obviously starts in that first call, right. It starts with a cold call. It starts with how we’re presenting ourselves. And then, we have the demo where we’re displaying a product and relaying value to their business and their goals and their market, everything like that. But a lot of what people say it’s all bullshit and you have to know that as well, like the reasoning that someone is not signing up, I mean, I would love to know the statistics, there’s no Google analytics for this, but I’d love to know the statistics for everyone who has said they were going to move forward with the deal and has backed out, what percentage of those people actually told the truth about why that is.

When you ask someone, you know, does this all make sense, like what percentage of people actually understands or are retaining half of what you’re saying. I truly believe there’s a lot of sales reps out there that think that people are telling them the truth what they’re speaking even if it’s nothing important, you know, they’re just having a conversation. Still, you have to see through everything they’re saying, you have to understand what would prompt them to say something like this, you know, what are -- what fears would they have, somebody in this position with this type of business and this model and this budget.

You have to know that most of what you’re getting is just -- it’s a language and it’s a form of interaction, but it’s not real. And you have to see through that, you have to connect with them, again, on that psychological level, but knowing first and foremost, whatever reasoning they’re giving me for not wanting to do something, it means something else and I’ll have to figure that out and I really have to bring myself outside of this linear conversation about their business and their sales model and go way deeper than that, you know.

And again, it all comes back to trust and connecting and understanding, but, yeah, I would really love to know, you know, how truthful are people in this buying process? And we -- I think we’ve all been there at some point like there have definitely been times where I have said something that wasn’t the truth to get out of a scenario. And you were all very similar; no, yeah, everyone is different and unique, that’s great. But we’re all very similar as humans in the way, it means like different scenarios that we find ourselves and we react similarly to one another.

And so once you understand that it’s like you have to know we got to go deeper than the surface level kind of bullshit that gets discussed in a lot of these -- in different points in the sales process. And then, maybe it’s not something that you start with outright like in the initial cold call if that’s how you’re prospecting on the initial email. But a certain point, you have to kind of get real and get on the same page as far as what we’re both here to do and that’s to grow in a positive way regardless of what the product is, what’s your selling like, reams of paper, you know.


Sahil: That’s right, that’s right. And I think that’s a great point for us to add on because I, you know, you have twice used the term bullshit in this conversation and I think that whether that’s on the side of the buyer or on the side of the seller, there is a lot of bullshit in sales.


Garrett: Yeah.


Sahil: And it’s, you know, one of our mottos here in Bravado is “No Bullshit.” We have a fun T-shirt that I’ll be shipping your way that encapsulates that motto. But, you know, Garrett, the thing that really strikes me about this conversation and I hope for, you know, all of the sellers who are listening to this, you know, it’s the fact that you can’t take things on surface value, you know, you just can’t. Like, and if you ask someone the question, oh “Does this all make sense?”

They’re going to say yes, nobody is ever going to say no because what would ever prompt to you to admit that you didn’t understand something, like that would be, you know, most of the time the buyer is just trying to get through the demo, they’re trying to get to the pitch, they’re waiting for you to get to pricing. Like, they’re not going to sit there and ask you to restate a value prop that you went through or go through a flow again, I mean, there’s just no way. And so, you as a salesperson have to be smart about what types of questions you ask. And, you know, one of the things I used to do a lot in sales is if I was suspicious with someone who was no longer listening is that I would just stop talking. Like, in the middle of a sentence I just completely stop talking and just be quiet.

And what happened is, you know, a second, two seconds, three seconds, and it’s hard, it’s hard as they’re saying because you want to feel the voice, four seconds, five seconds, and eventually, a person would be like, “Hello?” And I’d be like, “Oh, hey, hey, are you there?” And then, they’re like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, I lost you for a second.” And it just brings them back, you know, and it’s like these little tricks that you learn in sales on how to keep someone’s attention. And then, you know, like, okay, this person is not actually paying to attention to me because it took them six seconds to realize that I stopped talking. And that’s uncommon -- I mean six seconds is a very long time to be on the phone with somebody with no sound coming on either end.

And you know, there’s - or you’ll hear someone typing in the background, right, and you’re like unsure if they’re taking notes or if they’re writing emails. And again, stop talking and when -- if the clicking stops, then I know that they’re actually taking notes and the clicking keeps going for a while and I know they’re not writing anything on sale. And it’s like just being able to understand that I think is really fun.

Garrett, I really appreciate your time here today. You know, one last question for you, which is I’m sure that there’s going to be listeners of ours who want to follow-up with you or would have further questions, what’s the best way to get a hold of you?


Garrett: Email and email.


Sahil: Cool. So here’s what we’ll do, we’ll take your email address and it will post as an attachment to this show. So, if someone wants to reach out, they can do so by email. But, Garrett, thank you so much for your time. You clearly have put a lot of thought into the realm of sales. I would love to pick this back up and do a version 2 of this with you in some point.


Garrett: That would be awesome.


Sahil: Because you’re great man, I love your thoughts and I really, really appreciate your time. This had been a fantastic conversation, one of the best ones we’ve ever done.


Garrett: Cool. Thanks so much for having me. It’s like eerie how you would start to say something and I would like identify with exactly what you’re saying at certain points, but, no, I’d love to do a round two at some point. And yeah, again, thank you so much for your time and having -- I love sharing ideas in this trade that we have, which I think is something that hasn’t gone on enough in sales, so I think it’s awesome.


Sahil: Cool, man. And I look forward to seeing you on Bravado. Have a good one. Cheers. Bye.

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