In Discovery Meeting, Value

Tim Sanders, Donald Kelly, Dealstorming, The Sales Evangelist PodcastAt various points in our sales cycle, we could encounter really tough challenges to the point that we feel stuck or the deal is stuck. And more often than not, we resort to giving up. But how do you get yourself out of the rabbit hole?

Today’s guest is Tim Sanders and he’s going to share with us some insights gleaned from his new book, Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges so the next time you get yourself stuck in a deal, you’d know how to storm through your way out and get that deal that you want!

Tim has been selling since high school which led him to build a skill set in creating value and urgency, limited to direct selling opportunities. But eventually, as the sales world evolved, the way things are being done also had to change. Tim worked for Mark Cuban in the early part of his career and he’s also sharing with us the lessons he got from that experience.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Tim:

His experience working for Mark Cuban:

  • They were selling video and audio streaming for businesses.
  • From smaller deals, they pursued 7-figure opportunities, being aware that the bigger it gets, the harder it is.
  • When you become ambitious, you’re going to get stuck because the sale is not about one thing but a bunch of problems. And when you get stuck, don’t go down alone.
  • Grab somebody who cares about you winning. Create a team and make it reign.
  • Make unlikely alliances (with the engineering group or finance, customer support, etc) and make complexity a competitive advantage.

This resulted to Mark landing some very complicated, high-value deals like the Victoria Secret Fashion Show in 1998 which broke the Internet. Then he worked at Yahoo! as a Chief Solutions Officer looking at the biggest deals after the dot-com crash.

And this was the time he refined the dealstorming approach. Since he left Yahoo!, Tim has written a bunch of books and has worked with a lot of startups and entrepreneurs, teaching them that no matter how small you are, you can build a team and help them think about their challenges and making that leap, bringing out teamwork in groups operating in silos.

The Great Lie of Small to Big

There is this lie we tell ourselves in sales that you just need to close this sale, only $500 and then we’re going to scale that $500 deal to be $5 million over the course of four years. This never happens.

The reality is when you go in small, you have no barriers to entry. Understand that when you book a small deal, it stays a small deal. If you’re going to focus on that, then you need to add a zero to the number of deals you’re going to book this year for you to scale your own personal production. If you go small, you have to be a very high-velocity salesperson in the kind of market where you can do a one or two-call close.

The difference between B2B and B2C: The number of addressable decision-makers.

B2C has a smaller number of decision-makers that are highly addressable. You have a chance to make your case for change and for you being the one to every one of the decision-makers in almost every B2C marketing/sales situation. There are usually 1-2 decision-makers or even 3 if there is an influence.

B2B has around 6 decision-makers for every quality sales. And research suggests this is going up 20% a year and most of them are not addressable. Most of the time, you get access to one or two decision-maker/influencers and then they have to sell to the other six. You can’t round them up and sell them all. That is the biggest collaboration challenge we face as sellers. At the end of the day, you’ve got to teach your mobilizers inside your accounts to sell the others and do it quickly since time is not on your side.

Unteaching People and Storytelling

Customers do their own research and oftentimes, the research contradicts everything you say. In B2B is usually 2/3 through their decision-making process before you actually get in front of them. So our challenge is to learn how to respectfully unteach people that have incorrect insights they’re about to make a decision based on.

Here is where the power of storytelling comes in. You have to develop stories and illustrations demonstrating the urgency to change and why you’re the only choice to make. You have to move beyond just trying to sell price or features, facts, and figures. This is why you need to collaborate with other people when you get stuck.

Collaboration and Diversity

Diversify the way you think about solving the problem. You have to have 2-4 perspectives in a room to have a creative group. Sales have a way of seeing the world and so does customer service, marketing, engineering, and suppliers. SO when you best practices become obsolete, diversity solves that.

Whatever it is you’re trying to do, when you get stuck, grab somebody that has a different way of seeing the world, a different set of constraints and a different set of greatest hits and they will complete your weaknesses.

“Products and companies do not become obsolete but the constraints by which we live by, they become obsolete. The best practices by which we live by, they become obsolete. And that’s why it’s important to have diversity.”

Questions to Ask When Building Your Team:

  1. Who has a stake in the outcome or the sales process?

Who really cares if we win or lose? Who really cares about the promises we make? These are the ones who care about being in your team. They are your tacklers.

  1. Who’s an expert about my problem?

That is your skill player or two.

Other keys to great team-building:

  • Create relationships across the company.
  • Discover other people’s concerns about sales.
  • When you get stuck, find the root cause of the problem.

“Great salespeople of today are not problem-solvers, but problem-finders. They know the reason their deal is really stuck.”

Tim’s Major Takeaway:

Get up every morning and live every day to build value. What Tim learned from Mark is that if you feed your mind, you can trust your gut in the moment. Read books. Get up every day and build your personal value that you can give away to your customers.

This is the only way you can become an essential partner in their life. Being a good option is a bad strategy in our world today. Be a voracious reader. Be a student of the game because that’s the only thing that’s going to make you truly different than anybody else your customer takes a meeting with this week.

Episode Resources:

Visit and www.timsanders.com/salesevan and get access to a chapter from his book. The chapter is called Sales Genius is a Team Sport.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

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