Doug Davidoff: Coaching Sales Reps To Coach Themselves

Do you want to understand how to turn good sales reps into great sales reps? Wondering if the sales problems you are facing are normal or caused because of your process?

We answer these questions and more as we talk with Doug Davidoff from Imagine Business Development. https://www.imaginellc.com Does shares how to get your sales reps to coach themselves, understand what they need, and figure out what to ask along the way. Heck, we even talk about what makes for an amazing sales rep and the hiring process.

Audio

About the Expert

Doug Davidoff

Doug is the founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development. He’s directly advised more than a dozen companies who have successfully sold for a combined value of more than $1 billion.

For more than 20 years, Doug has been advising small and mid-market companies that are committed to serious growth who want to hear the truth about achieving it. Doug’s worked, firsthand, with more than 1,500 companies (and seen their financial statements), so he knows the difference between what works, and what sounds good and doesn’t work.

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Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:00
Hey sprockets ears. It's your boy George B. Thomas. And we're back with another inbound interview where we go and try to collect inbound speakers that had well great inbound sessions, and learn from them because God knows you can't make it to all the sessions on inbound or in inbound. There's too many. So we're bringing them to you through the interwebs. Today, I have got a friend, a coach, an amazing sales genius, if you will. Doug, why don't you tell the folks who you are, what you do and where you do that?

Doug Davidoff 0:32
Well, my name is Doug Davidoff. I am the founder of imagine business development founder and CEO. I forgot that I've only said it like a million times and I just dropped it. Holy cow. Yes, I'm the founder and CEO at imagine business development. As you kind of referenced, we started a new network this year called the sales Genius Network. So we work with companies, primarily b2b. We look at customer acquisition primary Customer Success to a secondary degree. And our thing is really looking at it from a holistic standpoint, where marketing and demand generation and sales come together to create predictable, sustainable and scalable outcomes. We like to call it smart growth.

George Thomas 1:18
Yeah, I love being smart and smart growth is amazing. You know what else was amazing Doug is your inbound title, and topic and talk. And so at inbound, you did the ultimate sales manager, coaching your reps to coach themselves. Now this sounds like it came from a problem of manager saying coaching our reps is unscalable. I could be totally wrong, but maybe lay down the groundwork the foundation that the sprockets ears need to know about this topic and kind of where you went with your inbound talk.

Doug Davidoff 1:54
Sales is a really interesting pursuit. It's different than anything else that happens. In a business, from the standpoint of its process, but especially if you take a look at it from a manager's perspective, you know, at the end of the day, you know, having management coach reps for decades, I've always said that, you know, the most frustrating part for me as a manager or as a coach is, at the end of the day, I have no control over what happens, you know, even if I'm doing a ride along, even if I'm doing, you know, as a manager, I'm out on the road with my reps or things like that I can't be or should I be on every call. And the reality is, you know, every conversation is different, every situation is different. You know, it's more the same than it's different. But in the end, the rep is going to do what the rep is going to do. Now, I think everybody in an organization should be self managing self coaching, if you will. But but in sales, all this tech and all this problem with us process guy, but all this tech, all this process, we're turning reps into robots, if you will, we're so focused on do the right thing that we forget doing the right things 10% of the puzzle I'm sorry, dude do things right. So I got that backwards. See, I'm so used to say that the right way we're so focused on, on how to do something, what's the right way to do it? That's 10% of the game doing things right 90% of the game is doing the right things. And so really, no matter how much of a culture and coaching culture you have, whether you're just thinking about it all the way to you feel like you've mastered it. At the end of the day sales is a performance game. And what I mean by that is it happens, you know, in the ring in the box in whatever you want to you want to refer to it, and the salesperson has to be able to read a situation, make decisions and act and so if a rep. If a rep isn't self coaching, then then Frankly, you'll never get more than, you know, at best, a third of the impact out of what you're doing. And so some of this came from, I've, I'm seeing so many people working so hard to control what reps are doing, that they come into a situation that's, you know, it's 95% the same as another situation, but because it is 5% different, they either don't know what to do, or they sing from a script, it becomes frustrating, you know, it ends up leading to a whole lot of friction for everybody involved. And so that's kind of where the whole thought came from. You know, at the end of the day, I always say if you've got a sales rep, and that sales rep needs to be managed, then you've got the wrong sales. And and

George Thomas 4:45
that leads me to my third question, by the way, Doug, I have a ton of questions after that little segment that we just got done listening to. My first question is it sounds like winning this problem almost starts at the hiring process, and I don't know if He talked about that during your inbound talk or not. But let's just dive there over there for a hot second. Are there certain traits? Is there like a checklist? Is there things that a manager should be paying attention to when they're trying to hire the sales reps that eventually will be

Doug Davidoff 5:19
self coaching reps? So I actually think it begins before the sales, I'm sorry, before the hiring process. So So yes, absolutely. the hiring process is crucial. It starts with the decision of, of what type of sales methodology? What type of sales approach Are you taking on? You know, in essence, I always like to say, you know, I think this is true in any business. The first question you got to answer is, what's the game that we're playing? And then when you choose the game, what style of that game are we playing? So if you think about it, you know, if I'm running a football team, you know, I want to control the line of scrimmage, I want to control time of possession. I play outdoors in Chicago. So it's going to be cold, it's going to be raining. We're going to capitalize on crappy weather, my definition my hiring profile for a quarterback or running back alignment, you know, every position that I'm going to hire, that profile is going to change. Then if say, I'm in San Francisco, and I'm running a light, soft, you know, West Coast offense, I'm looking to, to outspeed you, we're going to be really agile and flexible. You know, those things all come about, and you know, a wide receiver as a wide receiver as a wide receiver, but their success is going to be really based upon, you know, does the system match the player? Does the player match the system? And so, who are you as a company? What are you selling? Who are your customers? What game do you need to play? What style of game are you playing? That begins to you know, win really gets into what's your sales structure that begins to define what is your, you know, what is your your hiring model going to look like? What's the hiring profile gonna look like? What's your economic model? Right? I've seen, you know, with with SAS as big, you know, the problem today is SAS sales and marketing is probably about 5% of the world. And it's about 85% of the oxygen. You know, if you look up sales strategies, marketing strategies, you're gonna be dominated today by, you know, high tech cloud base, application oriented sales and marketing strategies, typically that come from funded companies, they're playing one style of game, their average sale value is actually relatively low. And all of a sudden, I'm seeing industrial companies that sell you know, multimillion dollar solutions. Their their reps may make three sales in a year. And, and you see them trying to copy the quote unquote best practices, that the, you know, $500 per month software application has said, this is the way to do it, you know, those types of things will mess you up. If you're if you're selling a low sale value, and someone's talking about this, you know, defined specialized sales process, well, you'll go broke with that you won't be able to make money with that. And so you know, all those things need to be figured out. That's going to determine who you need, what type of person you need, what role they're going to play, how to how to put them in a position to win, and how to judge and measure their success.

George Thomas 8:41
So Doug, I want to keep digging here because, again, unlocking a ton of questions. So you use the sports analogy, you know, football, and I know it's all good, it's all good. I know that there's football. I know that there's baseball, I know that there's soccer. I know that there's basketball. Right, like these are the typical games that can be played. And I even understand how like if it's cold weather or if it's warm weather if we want to be agile or if we just want to be a tank and you know move in small yards I get that. But as a sales manager or a CEO, small medium sized company or enterprise company is listening this watching this if they haven't determined already what game they should be playing or what style of that then game once they start to play it. How the heck do you get started in wrapping your mind around Whoa, shoot, we've been playing football when we should have been playing basketball like how what's the landscape look like? And how the heck do you go about trying to figure out and choose and decipher from there

Doug Davidoff 9:43
you know the beautiful thing is I think there's an old Chinese proverb that says you know the best time to plant a tree was 100 years ago the second best time is now know the best time to have defined what game are you playing was when you started the business. The second best time is now Oh, by the way, if you're not constantly asking that question, then then you're very Soon gonna be out of alignment. So in many ways, it's a question that's never answered. So, if you're just starting out, it's, you know, in some ways, it's, it can be easier, because you're not subject to all the preconceptions, and this is the way we've done it. That leads into that, but, you know, it's it starts off and you say, you know, who are what, what are we about, you know, what, what's our value proposition? So, you know, I see a lot of people that talk about a value proposition of, you know, they'll talk about superiority, they'll talk about great insight, or, or we're faster. Well, you know, if your value proposition is based on faster, then then you're, you're going to be playing a speed game in some fashion, right? I talked about different games and we think we think football or, or, or basketball or whatever, you know, it's not as it's not as big as shift of that. It's, it really, you know, I mean, if you take a look at Football, there's 1000 variations of football, there's 1000 variations of basketball, the likelihood, you know, certainly if you're listening to this session, you're, you've had some success or you've thought about your business in some fashion, you're probably not in the absolute wrong country code. But you know, zip code, if you will. The question is, who are you? Who are your customers What? What type of sales organization do you have? Do you have full funnel reps? meaning they're, they're responsible for prospecting, they're responsible for selling and then they're reselling to an existing customer base that that's one type of situation what what's the average sale value? Are you you know, are you talking to hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars? You know, another way to think about it about that is how many sales does a good salesperson make? Right there are some people if they're not making two sales a day they're in trouble. There are some people I got, I got I know one guy. He makes a sale. sale every two years, right? If he makes a sale every two years, he's in really good shape. Now he sells multi year contracts that are typically worth 50 to $100 million. Right? He works on, he might be working on four to six deals at one time. And a deal is going to take two years from the time of first real, you know, meaningful, true conversation where the customer is even saying, Hey, we may do something, but that's one extreme. Right? The other extreme is I'm the salesperson who, who you know, every day I get 50 leads, I'm supposed to work those 50 leads and and if they don't close within the next month, then they're probably not going to do anything. I mean, I'm sure there are exceptions that go further out. But you know, you can think of that as as two ends of the extreme. What level of person are you selling to? Right? If you're selling to that you're truly selling to the C suite that's going to look like one year at one type of person. There's going to be one person Experience type of experience base your there's going to be certain structures that work better with that type than if, yeah, the C suite needs to, you know, before it but but the sales happening, you know, somewhere else it's happening lower down, you know, all those variants come around, that will really determine whether you're, you know, whether you're aligned or not. You know, an example of this, by the way is a small mid market company, actually give you a great example, I had a client before they became a client, the CEO called me up because he was really excited. He was a mid market travel management company, and he had just hired two reps from Amex. And he was like, dude, these are two top wrecks from Amex, man I am. I got him, you know, and I was like, No, and I you know, luckily for him, I gave him a warning of some key things to look at. Well, these were two great reps and next one, when I call you up and say American Express, if you're especially back then if you're in the corporate travel business, You know who I am, there's no, there's no confusion. They each had, you know, they were parts of full departments, they had sales assistance, they had all these things that were in place that enabled this person to be very successful. But now all of a sudden, they're in a mid market company, they don't have a sales assistant, they have to write their own emails, they have to open their own now, you know, and I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, but but you know, they make a call and it's like, who, you know that that's a place where, you know, I could tell you from the beginning, that was never going to work. Now, if you're if I hire an accountant from American Express, and I bring that accountant into my mid market travel company, yeah, that's gonna rock and roll because accounting is accounting and actually the experience that American Express is going to enable that person to have seen, oh, you know, larger issues, you know, build, build that ramp, etc. But that's a perfect example of how you Yeah, the person might have been great at sales. But they were great at this style of sales, not that style of sales. So those are some examples to get it. I mean, I obviously could talk to you probably for the next three hours about how to define your game.

George Thomas 15:14
Yeah, I love that it's a it was really good section, there's a couple of things in there, it sounded to me. Like you have to figure out your foundational pieces and your foundational expectations of your team. Because without those, they're going to be lost, it's going to be very hard to self manage, because they don't have or know the expectation placed upon them or the foundational pieces of the business to then talk around. But also I love the story about like that, look, those two reps are going to be fish out of water, they're not even gonna know how to act. It's a totally different environment. You've got to pay attention to that and and really figure out that how do I teach these reps? How to manage in a world where brand isn't that Leading power because they come from our brand was a leading power. It's like it's the old it's the old one EF Hutton speaks, everybody listens. Now the younger viewers and listeners won't have any clue what I'm talking about. But it's like brand is everything, and especially to a sales team, which we could totally get on a tangent of sales, individual brands and company brands and all that good stuff. But that's why we're here. So let's go back to kind of we we went through the hiring process, we've got the foundational pieces. And I kind of asked like, what are some traits of the sales reps that we should be looking for? Are there certain things that we should say, Well, you know, if, if Johnny or Susie has this, this and this, those are bonuses if they have this and this that might be a mess and negative and are there are there better positives and worse negatives that we should kind of be paying attention to?

Doug Davidoff 16:52
So I want to do that I actually want to circle back to brain for a second because it's kind of it. It will connect to what we're talking about. I think people get lost Sometimes when they hear brand because they hear they hear Oh brand is big and they look. So it probably the greatest brand in b2b sales in the history of the world was IBM in their heyday. Right and and IBM brand was so powerful that there was there was a slogan that was created around that that IBM had nothing to do with creating. And that was, no one ever got fired buying from IBM. So So here's the thing. in virtually every situation, when you become the brand play from a sales perspective, the underlying value proposition is where the safe choice, right it's not that American Express was the super brand and corporate travel because by the way, American Express has a lot of issues in corporate travel. It's not quite the same brand as it is for the corporate car. But But at the end of the day, if I buy from American Express, they're safe. Where if American Express screws up well, American Express screwed up when you're the midmarket company when you're the ABC when you're the, you know, Davidoff travel, which, you know, thankfully, that was not the name of the company. You are by definition, whether you realize it or not, you're the challenger brand. Right? You're not the safe brand. Now, we run out there we talk best all the time. But what we forget is every decision is made on the basis of best and safest difficulty is best and safest, often conflict. And when we talk best too much, especially as the challenger brand, what we don't realize is we're actually creating fear, oftentimes in the mind of who we're talking to. Because best means change. So best is all about eliminating the pain. Safe is all about eliminating the fear. Right? And here's the thing, fear Trump's pain. And so it wasn't just that, hey, I'm I'm American Express so I can get in. It's that At the end of the day, you want the decision to be commoditized. You want it to come down to, you know, let me boil this down, which is set, you know that that that's what you're playing to. So that that's, that's the place where the game not only were they a fish out of water, but it was a very, very different game. So that brings us to your question, right? So who are you selling to if you're selling to earlier stage if you're if your sale represents more change, if you're not, you know, if your challenge, if you're a challenger brand, either that you're not the leader or you know, as the leader, you're out there saying, Do things very different. What are you looking for? One of the big things you're looking for there is business accurate. Now, by the way, I would tell you that business acumen is the number two item across sales and it's actually missing. It's actually the number one missing ingredient in sales and marketing today, I'm sadly disappointed with the level of business acumen as it continues to degrade. business acumen is understanding how a business works, being able to connect the dots and things like that. So, if I'm challenger oriented, and I don't just mean from the from the research, if those of your listeners are familiar with the work that he did, though I'm a huge proponent of it. If I'm if I'm selling change, then I need to be able to understand your business. And so business acumen is a big big, the ability to I'm going to say listen, but but listen with translation. And what I mean by that is, Can you can you hear process and then dig it deeper? We know we talk about getting from level one information, which is all about product transaction to level three information which is about impact and consequences. Level twos about Dennis, can you get from level one to level three? Can I handle actually one of the things I want to know When I'm hiring a salesperson is I want to know where and what situations make you uncomfortable. And and how do you do you know, how much time do you spend in those situations? Now? I don't mean, that's not the same question, as you know, did you jump out of a plane because you were scared of doing it. This is not about comfort zone. If I'm trying to get you to adopt a new approach, if I'm trying to get you to think about doing something differently, which, you know, unless you're the low cost provider, right, even moreso, the low price provider, unless you're doing that, there's some level where that's involved, then what I have to do, the number one sale I'm making is actually not my product. It's that you need to change. Right change needs to happen. Where do most sales people go wrong? Well, we've been taught that people buy from people they like, so you, your first job is to get them to like you. Right? You got to be likable, you got to make it or we say things like you've got to make it easy to buy. But But we don't fully explain that. So what you find is, you have a lot of relationship focused salespeople, where they sense when you get uncomfortable when the prospect or the customer gets uncomfortable, they get uncomfortable, they view their job as making the customer comfortable, right? So if I make you, you know, if I keep being told, you gotta like me, you gotta like me, you gotta like me. I'm not gonna ask that question that causes you to go, Whoa, wait. You know, like I went. Last week I went to I had a doctor's appointment, my doctor asked me a question. That question made me feel bad, right, because it really impacted us a place that I know. That is not a strength of mine. Right? That doctor would not be good if that doctor was uncomfortable, asking me that. So. So if you're in that type of sale, you're you're looking for people that are comfortable when someone else is uncomfortable. Now, here's the thing. If you're coming Trouble in situations where others are uncomfortable. You don't only do that when you're on the clock. So one of the things I'll tell people by the way this applies to everything is when you interview the salesperson, here's what you need to, here's what you need to know. Unless you're hiring, just absolute fresh, absolute first, close to sales job they've ever had before that interview is the best you'll ever be in your employment. It's the best leverage. So if you're looking at that, and you're saying, they've got the potential to ask really good questions, guess what if they didn't ask you a question, they made you uncomfortable. They're not going to ask a prospect. If they didn't ask you a question that caused you to clarify what you're saying. They're not going to ask a prospect that question, right. There's no product they know better than themselves. And so the way they behave in that interview, is how they're going to behave. salespeople are hard to hire because if they're not really good in an interview, they get kicked out a lot. They don't stay in sales. Right. So mastering the interview, that's easy. For that your interview is an actual roleplay. So, business acumen, curiosity. By the way, curiosity is the number one trait that you're looking for in a salesperson, I would say curiosity, and business acumen, are across any type of sales art, depending upon the structure. How do you like to work? So I like to tell people, Hey, you know what? team works really important here. Now I'm looking for, let's say, an outside salesperson, who, who's going to be, you know, on their own at 18 out of 20 days a month. But you know, teamwork is really important here. We really like to collaborate. I'm curious, what's your, you know? What, what style do you work your best at? What I've just done there? Is I've just baited, right, because I've kind of given them the cue that they're going to tell me that that Oh, yeah. I, you know, if I'm not collaborating, I'm not happy. Guess what I know that they might be great for a position where there's Selling as part of a team, they're working in situation Customer Success might be great. I'm looking for the person who says, You know, I enjoy working with people. And certainly I understand the importance of collaboration. You know, I work my best when I understand what's really important. What's the job that I need to get done. And then I get checked in with, you know, once a week, I work my best when, when I'm left on my own, you know, and I know, you know, sometimes people misunderstand me because they think, you know, I'm not being friendly, but that's the trait that I'm looking for. So what I'm doing, we believe in a strength based culture. So here's something that you can do to figure out if you're hiring the right salespeople, what are the strengths that they need to be successful, but see, people forget that strengths are only half of the puzzle. When you say you're a strengths based culture, what you oftentimes don't realize that you're saying is you're also a weakness based culture. And what I mean by that if we embrace your weakness If you don't embrace my weaknesses, then you do not embrace my strengths. But those people who say we want a strength based, you know, whatever we're strength based, etc. But they don't celebrate somebody weaknesses. Well, they're paying lip service to strengths for them. So here's what I know, I know that this salesperson in this job because they're going to be digging deep on, you know, they're going to be pioneering, they're going to have to climb through, they're going to work through three or four levels of an organization. Well, what's the corresponding weakness to that? You know, they might not be detail oriented, they might make mistakes on their paperwork. And again, I those are some of the trait components that we talked about sales, but I want to match what are their strengths? What are the weaknesses, that person comes, by the way, from a health standpoint, what we always say is, look, here's the weaknesses that we expect. And before you before your first day, we have forgiven you for all of these weaknesses. We're not initially going to tell you you can't, you know, we're not going to tell you that you don't have to do some of the things that connects your weaknesses. But But we accept your weaknesses, because we're embracing your strengths. Now in sales, I think the strengths and weaknesses happened to show themselves in a more acute fashion. Like I want to be careful because I don't want to say if, you know, business acumen, curiosity, intelligence coachability, those are the things that are out there. And I'm not going to say that any of those things are wrong. But but they're right in the right mix in the right situation. Here's one of the things that I want to know, if you tell me you've got a good profile, what are the two elements that you're looking for? That are a typical, don't give me the same thing that you know, don't give me the apple pie. You know, baseball and apple pie answer what what's unique to you? What's a typical? What's dysfunctional here? There's no such sales person on the planet who stays in sales that's not dysfunctional in some active way. What is that dysfunction that you're looking for? What is the thing that's going to make the Person tick that's right for your game. That's how you know you're looking for the right.

George Thomas 28:04
Yeah, I actually love that section, Doug. And it's funny because I keep running these scenarios of like this in that, you know, you said, apple pie and all that stuff. But I was like, Oh yeah, that'd be interesting to find somebody who's Uber curious and really comfortable with people being in discomfort or uncomfortable in the moment. But I think people should rewind that section because there's a plethora of information. But what we figured out thus far is a you have to have your foundational pieces in place, you have to have expection expectations in place. And you've got to have some type of customizable, we'll call it matrix of potential things that the sales reps could have that that could lead to dysfunction, but the dysfunction that you want that makes it very functionable for your sales team in place. Once that's taken Care of once you get to that level, what do managers have to have in place to almost leverage this? Well, now here's how you're going to make your sales reps educate themselves, you have to have this and that or these three things. What does that conversation look like?

Doug Davidoff 29:18
So this is where this is where the structure really comes into place. What? What is your sales process? What's the sales methodology, and you can't, you know, sales process gets a bad name, because we tend to think of process in the same form. And I keep picking on accounting, we think of process in the same form that we think of manufacturing process, right? So if I'm, if I'm building a manufacturing process, I am eliminating variants, I want to produce exactly the same output every single time. So in sales, you can't do that. And by the way, one of the reasons that sales processes fail is because they're too rigid. They're too tightly defined. And so they either make the customer feel process, which is bad, or what really happens is, you have to break the process so frequently that it, it doesn't mean anything anymore. And there really is no process. Here. I cannot, you know, there's only one analogy that I have found that works as well to explain how a sales process works. If you're going to hit a baseball, if you're in a game and you're hitting a baseball, the pitchers don't want to pitch the pitch is different every single time actually, in this case, the pitcher is trying to fool you. It doesn't always feel this way. The customer is not trying to fool you. So at least you have that over this example. But But the point of it is if you're if you play baseball and you hit the ball, you're the way you hit the ball is unique to you. Every batting stance every batting approach is unique to the individual. And by the way, every swing is going to be slightly different because if it's not then you're not going to adjust To the pitches that are coming in, you're not going to be successful. That doesn't mean however, that there's not a repeatable, consistent approach to hitting as a matter of fact, they call it the hitters approach. There's a mechanics to the swing. And in baseball, there's basically three key points in a swing where your hands need to be in relation to the bat and the timing of the ball for you to maximize the probability of success. And everything that gets done in baseball and working with people on hitting is working to get those hands in the right place at the right time, in the context of the situation. So what you're doing is you're building a dynamic, flexible process, that that process embraces different personalities. it embraces different styles and and embraces different situations. So now let's take it to a little bit less of a crazy metaphor, and we're going to talk about sailing. If I want to go from Annapolis to Spain, I am not going to navigate Again, I'm not going to point A is not Annapolis. And point B is Spain. I'm going to have multiple points between Annapolis and Spain. They're called waypoints. Right? I know you guys are familiar that you have wayfinders. That's what Wayfinding is all about. But the way points are important because sea tides change when change situations change, and to be able to get from Annapolis to Spain safely and predictably, I've got to determine if I'm on course midpoints along the way, how am I doing so that I can make the appropriate adjustments, those waypoints. Those are your stages, right? And they're aligned to the journey that's taking place. So if I'm going in in a much safer period of water, a much safer situation, I'm going to need fewer waypoints, right? And so you know, the number of waypoints that you have is highly situational to the game that you're playing. And then what you care about is each waypoint Right. So each way point you want to make sure are you at this point by this time in this situation. Now how you get from point A to point B, as long as it's legal, moral and ethical, preferably not fattening. I'm good with it, B to C, C to D. O. And to really make it crazy. As I'm learning about you, you might be telling me especially in today's internet driven world, the buyer might be telling me things that are all about waypoint D. But if I haven't filled all the things that I need to know about waypoint A to B, I'm still at waypoint a, I'm not at B yet, even though I've already completed Wait, I've got all the information for waypoint D. And so one of the things that's happened with the buyer driven world that we're in is that the seller views the opportunity by these by the stimulus that says you're the furthest along. So uh, so a buyer says, that sounds really interesting to you. Give me a proposal. Unless you've got a system and structure in place, a salesperson is going to go. Yeah. Because what else do you say in that situation? Then you come back and you start working on the proposal and you say, hey, I need some information boss, and I go, well, we'll tell me, how does the company make a decision about these types of things? Oh, I don't know. Tell me, what are they doing currently? I don't know. Um, tell me, where does this rank in their priorities? I think it's pretty important. because let me tell you, this guy was just, I mean, I couldn't even finish my sentence, right? All those things happen. And because we don't have a process and a structure that defines what is that, what is that path, then we have no basis to have a single source of truth. Right? So it's everybody's interpretation. And because every situation is a little bit differently, and oh, by the way, the most important stuff that you ever learn in a sales conversation is what Not set what is not present? The reason that scripting falls apart is once the prospect starts talking, the script disappears. Because I don't know what they're going to say or what they're not going to say. One reason why business acumen is so valuable is with business acumen, you you have the ability to have a complete picture of what, what does 100% building picture look like? So if you're talking to me about this problem or this situation, but I haven't heard you talk about something else. I know, you know, the problem is not what you think it is. And by the way, here's what I know, if the problem or what you thought the problem was, as a prospect, you would have fixed it a long time ago, we wouldn't even be talking. So what I know is whatever you think the problem is, that's probably not the problem. Or there'd be no basis for us to have this conversation. It's very, very hard to teach somebody what's not being said. Unless you define What that whole and complete it. Now we say, salespeople are individuals, they need to embrace their stuff. And I agree with that completely. So you can't throw our process out. Here's the thing, and I've had the opportunity. I've talked to artists, I've talked to comedians. I thought when I talked to improv people that I was going to learn that they were the people. I thought they just made it up in the spot. I learned improv is all about rules. Right? I mean, improv is one of the most process driven forms of comedy that there is free freestyle rap, ballet, improvisational theater. You know, you want to go sports, you want to go team, individual, whatever the case may be. Here's the thing that I learned about everybody that achieves top performance, they follow a process. And and the reason is, the thing that they're doing is difficult enough. That if they spent any brainpower on what they should be doing, or what comes next Next, they don't have the brainpower to unlock the genius to unlock that creativity. So I have seen many, many processes, tie down and bogged down really good to great sales reps. That is not process ties down good reps, that is bad process ties down good reps, good process, turns good reps into great reps, turns great reps into Hall of Fame reps, and turned average reps into Good to Great reps. Oh, by the way, if you're a mid market company, or if you're any company, this is the worst thing that's happening in sales today. We teach everything based on hiring the best Rep. And in fairness, at the risk of sounding arrogant, you could put me in probably just about any company in a sales position. And I do what I would be able to figure out. By the way, what I would do is I would figure out what my process is and I would apply my process whether you realize it or not. If you had a crappy process, I would just not follow your crappy process and my process, because I wouldn't worry about it. But I could, I could probably do that. Let me tell you something, there aren't a lot of knees in the world. And if we are there, we're really, really expensive. We're either not interested in just a sales job anymore, or were really, really expensive or a combination of the two. You do not grow a company by hiring great reps. You hire you, you grow a company by hiring above average reps, and enabling them to perform to a good to great level. Do not design your system for great rats, design your system for average to above average reps, and I'll wrap this up with with uh, with the funniest and most accurate bit ever from the from the satire show Silicon Valley. Richard, a new CEO gets appointed and he's complaining because his great ideas being turned into To a box, and he's talking to the CEO who the new CEO is talking about how he got the best reps. And he says to him, Well, you know, if you got the best reps, you know, then they shouldn't be able to sell something a little bit harder than than what everyone else is selling. And the CEO goes, Oh, no, no, no, no, no. If you have the best reps, you got to give them the easiest stuff to sell. Because if you're the best rep, you can sell anything. And so if you don't give them something easy to sell them, they're gonna find something else that's easy to sell. And they'll sell that because they'll be able to make more money doing that. So if you want the best reps, you got to give them the easiest stuff to sell. And if you don't have the best reps, they didn't say this in the show. And if you don't have the best reps, well, they can only sell the easiest stuff. So the moral of the story is, you got to make it easy to sell, which is all about process and structure, those things that we talked about to attract the greater good Rep. So you the way you build your team, the way you grow your company is by unlocking the genius of those that are above average, not trying to design it for the great,

George Thomas 39:55
so much good stuff there. So what I I'll kind of say what I heard Though as that process is directly rated related to performance, if you want them to have a great performance now, there's usually another metric in there when you start to talk about performance. And I'll use this as my last question kind of in this interview for those sales managers who are trying to get their reps to coach themselves. And that is this. How the heck do you measure this, right? You've got the process in place. You've got the foundation in place, you've got the expectations in place. You understand, oh, this person's a curveball. This person's a fastball. This person's a knuckleball. Okay, so now I go into this variation of how I'm gonna knock this one out the park. This is the process and the slight tweaks kicking my script out of here, by the way, cuz we could do a whole interview on scripts and the fact that I hate scripts. Here's the modified processing I'm going to do to hit this one out the park. But on the other side of it, how is this record? being measured through the sales process and through this kind of coaching themselves making themselves better going from good to great, if you will.

Doug Davidoff 41:09
Yeah. So that's a real fun one. And I'm going to say you're expecting 15 minute answers to every question. So, apologies there. It's all good. It's good interview, visit, imagine llc.com slash sales hyphen, velocity, and you'll get more depth for what I'm talking about right now. Okay, so the score is, the score is the game. At the end of the day, the score is the game. And, and I don't care who your sales rep is, by the way, they are self coaching. The question is, are they self coaching in alignment? Are they self coaching themselves, for good or for bad? And the way they're self coaching is by whatever their scoreboard is. So Problem number one is in most organizations, everyone's got their own scoreboard. The default scoreboard is what's your number for the month how much business you closed this month. By the way, that's why people Frankly, that's what there's a lot of distaste for salespeople today. I firmly, firmly, firmly believe there's this whole school of thought out there that says, You can't trust salespeople because they're paid a commission. So when they tell you something, they're only telling it to you, because it's in their self interest. Now, I say that that's totally untrue. And what I, what I cite to prove that is, we don't say that about business owners, right, as a matter, like we talked about business owners are among the most trustworthy that are out there. And, and by the way, they only eat what they kill. Right? So the problem is, the scoreboard in most places is, what's your number for the month, right? So we got, we basically have two measurements, activity measurements, which we all know are crap. And result metrics which the problem there is that's managing everything by a rearview mirror. And it is as bad as managing a baseball player by what happened at the at bat. Pedro Martinez for any Boston Red Sox fans out there. Pedro Martinez had a horrible year, the year before the year before the Red Sox signed him. And they signed him for a tremendous amount of money. And people ask the question, Whoa, what's going on? Pedro had a bad year. Except if you look at the measurements that were indicative of what was going to happen, he had as good a year as ever. It just happened that more balls that got hit happened to have found places that nobody was rather than, you know, he had an unlucky year. You know, in poker if you only measure yourself by whether you win or lose the hand, professional poker players once you and once you add, they're capable, because they will feast on you. It's called resulting. If you only measure the effectiveness of your decisions or actions by the result of them, you're going to end up making very bad decisions and complex environments. So what you got to do is you've got to identify what What are the key components that lead to sales being made? Right? So when I coach college baseball, we kept track of something that we call we called batted balls. What batted balls were How many times did you hit the ball squarely with face because you had a good at bat. We didn't care whether you were safe or out. Because what we knew was if you have more good at bats over time, then hits will follow. But if you start thinking about hits, then you'll start doing things that will lead to degraded performance. So you've got to figure out what are the key components? What's the score, And oh, by the way, stop giving your reps dashboards, they can have dashboards to you know to track certain things, but if you will, with dashboard without dashboard, you got to understand the score is not a dashboard. The score is one number. Right and the default Number is going to be the number commission, or whatever it is, that makes me happy as an individual. Right? That's where some some craziness comes in. When we give people you know, five key indicators for for a sales rep, you know, maybe 10% of them actually do anything useful with it. Probably 10% do something useful with it. 30% get frozen by it, and the other 60% it doesn't make one difference or the other. But the number is still the number. If you ever want to wonder, what's the importance of score, just watch a group of 12 year olds before and after someone says, Hey, kids, Hey, everybody, you want to keep score. Now, if my score is close business, then what am I going to do? I'm going to try to close that business. Right? If that's where the score is, you know if the scores, how many shots that I you know, how many shots that I think I'm going to take a lot of shots. I'm going to take a lot of bad shots. That's what I do. So when we go will your sales reps do Don't know how to handle leads? well know you've given sales reps leads in a bad structure. Because if there's not a clear score for how to handle that lead beforehand, I actually had a client in this situation, there was a, they have an assessment that they do. It's like the key determinant of whether or not someone's going to ultimately buy from them and how profitable they're going to be. And, you know, the best companies for them, I probably have to work on for six months to get them to understand that there's a different way to think about something. So I talked to the VP of sales, and I said, so I'm working for you. I go out, and I talk to this company, and I get their their head of operations, their plant manager, and their supply chain manager actually get the three of them together. And I have this conversation and in that conversation, I learned how they're managing their existing process. I said to him, I said, How valuable is that acted? Like, Oh, my God, that's the game. That's everything. I said. Cool. Now Show me where in the CRM wearing your KPI. We're in this Tell me where that shows up. Well, well, that's gonna lead to a sales. No, no, no, no, no, I get it. But by the way, when will that become a sale? Well, if you're lucky 12 to 18 months from now, I said oh, so. So it's not having an impact my number this year. Right? So tell me where it shows up. Tell me where I'm number one for that. Right, and it doesn't show up. And then we go, Well, why aren't people right? What's every sales manager say? You need to spend more time upfront, you need to spend more time on Discovery. You spend more time doing better discovery. Where does good discovery show up? Where does where does fit show up? What what I've learned is as a rep, if I take bad shots and good shots, based on the numbers, meaning high fat or low fat customers, if I just keep throwing it at them, then you know My number all things being equal, my number goes up. Because you haven't given me that clear picture of what else should I be shooting for to know that I'm on course, that's where the default positioning is. Right? And then you know, and then your systems that are set up to that and so forth. Those are the things that unlock your self coaching Rep. So, the real secret of the program is your reps are self coaching themselves anyways, so the real secret was, how do you get them to self coach in alignment with the actions that you're looking for to produce the best?

George Thomas 48:34
Yeah, I love that my brain here is measuring the micros along with but maybe even more importantly than the macro like sure closed one close last but when you step to the plate, did you dig your right foot three times did you you know play with your cross. Did you tap the bat twice? Did you make sure your elbow was up where your hands turned in like all of those Micro pieces did knock it out the park to use the baseball analogy one last time before we head out of this interview. Doug, if people have questions about this topic about getting, you know more granular measuring the right things, getting a process in place, making sure they got the right foundation. Where do you want to send them?

Doug Davidoff 49:21
Visit? Imagine llc.com Check out our blog at blog. Imagine LLC com. Join the sales Genius Network. We share a lot of resources there. And you can always grab me at Twitter at Doug Davidoff

George Thomas 49:34
Doug, thanks for taking time for this interview.

Doug Davidoff 49:36
Thank you, George.