Due to today’s digital world, prospecting and marketing is a woven chain that is linked together. Even more, it’s critical that anybody in sales, learn how to market this woven chain by building relationships from the sales and prospecting side.
There are two aspects to sales;
- Transactional and;
Transactional sales are still relational, but it happens in a quicker time frame. Let’s take door-to-door sales as an example. The process with transactional sales is building rapport quickly enough to get to the point of purchase.
Relational sales are made by meeting people where they’re at in their life. The bulk of salespeople fit into the Relational Sales category. Which is understanding your prospects “familiarity bubble.”
Mostly, the “familiarity bubble” and beginning of the relationship start along this woven chain. For instance, every time you touch your potential customer through;
- Phone call
- Social Media messaging or;
- Sending a card
You move into their familiarity bubble.
For this reason, you simply take the focus off of yourself by answering these five key questions, that your potential customer is asking themselves at the beginning of, and during the prospecting process;
- Do I like you
- Do you listen to me
- Do I feel important or significant
- Do you understand me
- Do I trust you & believe you
Furthermore, this is where they begin to become comfortable in knowing, liking, and trusting you. At this time, you can move into sales and ask for commitments.
Consequently, this creates longevity and loyalty with customers that stick around for a long time.
I wish you a Happy & Prosperous 2019 and wanted to help you get your New Year business goals started off with a bang, by sharing this interview with Jeb Blount.
Jeb Blount is CEO and founder of Sales Gravy, and the bestselling Author of ten books and among the world’s most respected thought leaders on sales, leadership, and customer experience.
He transforms organizations by optimizing talent, leveraging training to cultivate a high-performance sales culture, developing leadership and coaching skills, and applying more effective organizational design.
Jeb is the most downloaded sales podcaster in iTunes history.
Learn how to implement these valuable nuggets, as he discusses Sales Acceleration and peak performance, built through honoring the needs of prospects and customers.
Kody Bateman: Hello everybody. Welcome to Relationship Marketing with Kody B. I’ve got a very, very special guest on our show today. We’re going to get started here in just a second.
I’m honored, actually very honored to have this gentleman on with us today and we’re going to jump right in because we want to give as much time as possible to listen to the golden nuggets from none other than Jeb Blount. Now Jeb is a best-selling author and speaker on the subject of sales.
My favorite book that Jeb has is called Fanatical Prospecting and Jeb has done some incredible work in prospecting. I am going to kind of go against my normal nature. I am going to read some stuff here to introduce Jeb because there are some significant accomplishments that I think is real important for all of us to understand before we – you need to know who you’re talking to or listening to today.
Jeb Blount is the author of 10 books including Fanatical Prospecting, Objections, Sales EQ and People Buy You. He’s among the world’s most respected speakers, trainers and thought leaders on sales leadership and customer experience.
He spends more than 250 days on the road, each year delivering keynote speeches and training programs to high performing teams and leaders across the globe.
He delivers training to thousands of participants in both public and private forums. As a business leader, Jeb has more than 25 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-sized businesses and startups. His flagship website is SalesGravy.com. Jeb, welcome to Relationship Marketing with Kody B. How are you doing today?
Jeb Blount: I’m doing great, Kody. Thank you for having me on and the – it’s my honor. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with your book and the work that you do and there’s a lot of synchronicity between the things that you talk about and teach to the people that you touch and what we teach and I’m truly honored that you would have me on and give me an opportunity to spend some time with you and your audience.
Kody Bateman: Well, thank you. I want to jump right into that. It’s kind of interesting. I teach the Relationship Marketing Summit Courses around the world and of course a lot of people that are in those classes are familiar with your work. They’re salespeople from all over the world and different industries that attend there.
So a lot of people are familiar with your work and it’s interesting because I really talk a lot about you but I also talk in – my content is more about the relationship side than the marketing side. In fact one of the things I talk a lot about is relationship marketing is about relationship 80 percent of the time and you sprinkle in some marketing 20 percent of the time.
When people see books like yours, Fanatical Prospecting, I mean that’s pretty – fanatical prospecting, the mindset is well, this guy is all about marketing and he’s all about closing the deal. You know, getting a bunch of prospects and closing the deal and the whole bit and Kody is more about relationship.
But as you study both of us, you will learn we’re both actually saying the same thing. But you come more from the marketing and sales side of it. I come more from the relationship side of it. Talk to us a little bit about how important relationships are today in the prospecting process.
Jeb Blount: Well, if you – let’s take a look at what prospecting is and sales is first. So prospecting is asking for time and sales is asking for commitment. The key is asking for time at the right time with the right prospect.
So the worst thing that a salesperson can do – in fact the biggest waste of time is spending it on the wrong prospect. So where we – as you described, prospecting is getting as much in the funnel as possible. But really if you start thinking about prospecting, about 80 percent of prospecting is gathering information and creating familiarity.
This is where the relationship starts plugging into prospecting. We are asking for time and we want to ask for time when a buying window is open at the right time with the right prospect.
But we want to gather information so we’re qualifying when those buying windows are and we’re creating familiarity. What I mean by that is every human being lives in a familiarity model. So inside that bubble, there are things that we are comfortable with and that includes people. It includes places. It includes your favorite restaurant that you go to or around your town.
When it comes to selling and relationship marketing, it’s about people and what we know about familiarity – and this is the similarity bias that we feel as human beings. It’s that we are more likely to trust and believe and do business with people that are inside of our familiarity bubble.
Now there are a couple of ways that you can get inside a familiarity bubble. One is that you can get a referral. So if someone gives me a referral, I’m able to use that person’s familiarity with the person I’m talking to in order to shortcut the process.
The other way is through the process of starting to talk to them or market to them or sell to them. We say relationship marketing and prospecting. In today’s world, prospecting and marketing have kind of come together and they’re woven together in – really in an inextricable way. You can’t pull them apart anymore.
Now there’s true marketing and advertising and there is true prospecting alone. But most of what we are doing is pull together so that along this chain, along the prospecting chain, every time you make a phone call, every time you send a card to someone, every time you meet them, every time you send them an email, every time you touch them on social, you’re starting to move a little bit into their familiarity bubble.
This is the beginning of the relationship and as they become more familiar with you, then they’re more likely to engage with you at the right time. Then that’s when the real relationship begins, right? That’s when we start asking for commitments. That’s when we start developing relationships with customers that last for a long time and accounts that we hold on for a lifetime and – but the whole beginning starts with a place where they feel comfortable enough when you make that initial call, right? To get them into your funnel, that they’re willing to have a conversation with you and that takes a lot of work, especially with your highest value prospects. I think that’s where you and I kind of come together in this process of marketing, the relationship marketing and pure prospecting.
Kody Bateman: So is prospecting about creating a relationship or is it about getting a sale?
Jeb Blount: It’s about getting time, right? So that you can create the relationship. So if prospecting is purely about creating a sale, then you’re in a totally transactional process. So think – you know, I’m going door to door and selling pest control services or I’m going door to door and I’m selling, I don’t known, lawn care.
In a lot of those cases, it’s a one-call clause. Yes, a relationship can be made in that moment but your purpose and focus of that prospecting touch is to convert that into a sale.
Well, there’s a thin slice of salespeople who work in that space. Most of us work in longer term, more complex sales where we’re building relationships with prospects who turn into customers who turn into long term revenue streams.
So prospecting is asking for time, right? So that I can then build the relationship. But if we go back to that familiarity bubble, if people aren’t familiar with you, the first time you call, they just say, “I’m not interested. I’m happy. I don’t want to work with you.”
But as they become familiar with you, this is that whole relationship marketing piece is as we begin to create that familiarity, they’re more likely to give you time.
If they give you time, right? Then you have the opportunity to ask for small commitments that lead you into a sale or a long term relationship or in some cases allow you to disqualify the opportunity and move on to someone who’s in the buying window at the right time.
Kody Bateman: I think what you’re saying – this is interesting because I think what you’re saying is – it’s a high level of common sense to you and I and I think a lot of times we get desensitized because we’re teaching this and preaching this and we’re around people that teach it and live it.
So we become desensitized thinking that the whole world thinks this way, that the whole sales world, let’s say, thinks the way you just said because when you say it – it’s like how can you argue with what you just said? I mean that’s all common sense.
So we get this idea that the whole world thinks that way. But you soon realize, especially as you go out and teach these courses and you get out in the public, the whole world doesn’t think this way. In fact the majority of the world still thinks that prospecting and the sales process is about going for the close maybe, getting – let’s go make some sales and that’s what the focus is.
How do we help people transition to what seems to be common sense thinking to this?
Jeb Blount: I think that the – I always begin with the five questions that any prospect is asking of you or any customer is asking of you as a salesperson and it begins with, “Do I like you?” So the first question that they’re asking is, “Do I like you?”
So when we start thinking Kody about relationship marketing, one of the questions that through your process, the process that you teach is, is teaching the salesperson or the person who’s selling to be able to answer the question for the prospect. I’m likable. I like you. Because if they will like you, they will go into business with you.
The second question they’re asking is, “Do you listen to me?” and if you don’t listen to them, they’re not going to like you. The third question is, “Do you make me feel important or significant?” which is important because significance, there’s a need for significance. It’s the singularity of all human behavior. It is the most insatiable human need, the need to feel important and appreciated.
The easiest way to make someone feel important is to listen to them. Then they’re asking, “Do you get me and my problems? Do you understand me?” and that’s a basic human thing. I want the person who’s working with me to understand me and understand my problems and issues and concerns. Then finally, do I trust and believe you? Do I like you? Do you listen to me? Do you make me feel important? Do you get me and my problems and do I trust and believe you? This is how we build relationships.
So when we go back to prospecting, the reason I’m asking for time is so that I can get in front of someone, either by phone or in person and to demonstrate to them that I am willing to listen, that I am likable, that I am someone who will make them feel important, I am someone that can understand their problems.
By the way, if I can understand their problems, I can bridge the solutions that solve those problems and when I bridge the solutions and demonstrate that I truly get them, they’re more likely to trust me.
But we can’t have that conversation. We can’t even begin to have that conversation if we start off the way most salespeople begin relationships and that’s with a pitch slap. They’re pitch slapping their customer.
So if you think about it, when you enter a relationship, the first question that the prospect is asking is, “Do I like you?” Right? So if you’re in their familiarity bubble, you’ve already earned a little bit of like. But if you think about the way most salespeople approach the conversation – and by the way, this is why salespeople have such a bad reputation and why people who prospect, who try to sell on a prospecting call end up crashing and burning is because the prospect starts up here. They start up. Do I like you?
This is the base question that every human being asks before they enter a relationship. But the salesperson starts with logic and rationale. They start pitching their product. Well, if you just think about it for a second, the most unlikable human being in your life is the person who is standing in front of you, talking about themselves and that’s how most salespeople begin the conversation.
So what happens is across this process of small micro commitments, the process of building relationship, the process of understanding the customer, we’re completely and totally out of sync emotionally with the person that we’re dealing with.
So what you teach and what I teach are so much the same and that is look, you’ve got to demonstrate first that you’re safe, secure, that you’re someone that’s likable and you’re someone that’s worth spending time with and then you have to take it to the next level and then you have to take it to the next level.
This is the nuance and the art of selling, right?
Kody Bateman: So you talk in, I don’t know, one of your books about assessing needs versus presenting. So if I’m assessing your needs versus – when I assess, I’m assessing your need. When I present, I’m presenting my need. You talked about assessing and going through the questioning process. Assessing somebody’s needs prior to any kind of presentation and you spend a lot of time on that.
Again I think traditional sales has been – like you just said, pitch slapped, pitch slapped. By the way, Jeb has got a whole bunch of one-liners like that throughout his books and I love it. I mean you’ve come up with some great ones.
Bit pitch slapping is definitely a traditional way. How do we get people more in the mindset of assessment? I think assessment is a big word here in building rapport even. You know, making somebody feel like you’re genuinely interested in what their need is and I teach this all the time.
I teach that you want to go into assessment and assess somebody’s need and you may discover that their need is not your product or service. Traditional sales says well, you get past it and you get past their objections and you go for the close anyway.
Relationship marketing says no, you refer them out. Now why would a salesperson refer themselves out of the sales channel? In other words, talk to us a little bit about this assessment of need and why it’s so important.
Jeb Blount: So if we think about selling, this is – I love what you said. Traditional selling is I’ve just – I would go for the jugular and in truth is, if we go back to those five questions, “Do I like you? Do you listen to me?” what assessing is or discovery is, is listening, right? It’s asking questions and listening. It’s not pitching. It’s not offering solutions or presenting. It’s building a case.
What I’m doing is I’m asking questions and the questions that I ask are both strategic questions. They’re questions that are outcome-driven. So I can move to the next step and sales is a process. But they’re also artful questions that provoke self-awareness in the person that I’m working with, that they have a problem and that there’s a reason for them to change.
So my questions are really about getting the person to think. They’re about getting them to sit back in their chair and I know you’ve experienced this before. You’ve asked the question and the person sitting across the desk from you goes, “Wow, that is a really good question, Kody.”
As soon as they say that, you know that they’re thinking. Eighty percent of sales is in assessment, is in discovery, 80 percent, and in fact what great salespeople understand is that most deals are closed in the assessment process of asking questions. I’m not saying that the person says – leans across the desk and says, “OK. Where do I sign?” But they start making a decision for you there because your questions are provocative. Your questions pull them in and because you’re listening to them, you make them feel important.
We should never forget how critical this is. The need to feel significant is the most insatiable human need. It drives almost all of our behavior. So when I’m asking questions of you, when I’m assessing your situation and I’m sincerely listening to you, I make you feel important, which is the greatest gift that you can give any other human being.
When you give someone a gift, you tap into something called the rule of the law of reciprocity, which is obligation. That obligation that they feel even at the subconscious level compels them to continue to move to the next step.
Now what you said is absolutely true. I’m also looking for fit. I sell because I like helping people and I believe in my profession and I will never sell you anything that you don’t need. When people ask me – when especially they read my book, like Sales EQ, they go, “A lot of these tactics in here, these are psychological things. You could really manipulate people. How do you keep from manipulating people?”
My answer is because I want to help them. If what I have doesn’t work for them, I’m going to tell them that and refer them out. This happened to me just yesterday. We were on a call with a really large company who was looking at Sales Gravy to provide sales training and a curriculum for their sales team.
As we were going through the process with them, I realized that what they were looking for – there was another company, one of my competitors, that just does this better than we do. It’s in their wheelhouse. So I recommended. I said, you know, if it were me, what I would do is I would go work with them.
Now here’s what’s crazy about that. As soon as I step back and said, “They’re a better fit for you,” my prospect leaned forward and said, “No, but we want to work with you. How can we make this work together?”
This taps into a basic human need but – I guess our want. But we want what we can’t have and we’re more attracted to people who are willing to move away from us versus who are willing to chase us. Another way of looking at that is human beings have this funny way of running from things that chase them, right? And moving towards things that move away from them.
So our willingness to do the right thing in that moment and say this is what we think cause this prospect to instead shift their stance and say, “But how can we work together on this project? Because we want to work with you.”
In that moment, we went from “I’m selling something and you’re buying something” to “We’re collaborating together to create a solution that’s the right fit for your company and do that together.” It doesn’t necessarily have to be a zero sum game either. It doesn’t have to be my competitor and me. It’s the right thing for the customer.
I believe in that in my heart. I believe that if you are always selling with integrity, you’re always doing the right thing for your customer. The universe has a really weird and wicked way of rewarding your integrity and rewarding the way you approach your clients, even if in that particular moment you’re not winning.
But let me drive this back to prospecting because all of what we’re talking about Kody requires a deep amount of emotional control. You have to control your urge to talk. You have to control your urge to sell. You have to control your urge to get what you want to pitch what you want, right? You have to control that.
In order to have emotional control, you have to be good at prospecting and relationship marketing so that you have a big enough pipeline, so that no single deal matters so much, that you skip all of this like you said simple common sense that you and I are talking about. You skip all over that emotionally and you start pitch slapping and pushing and driving and you should never forget that when you’re doing that, people move away from you versus are attracted to you.
Kody Bateman: Well, I think there’s no question. The more people in your pipeline, the more likely you are to be genuinely interested in the process with somebody because if you’re desperate yet the fewer you have in your pipe – and you talk about this in all your books. But the fewer you have in the pipeline, the more desperate you feel to close a sale. So you have a tendency to drive yourself over more to the sales close side of things versus the assessment-build relationship side of things.
So filling the pipeline is really important which like you said does go back to the importance of the prospecting process, the importance of focusing on that.
One of the takeaways from your book, there’s – typically when you read really good books, there are several takeaways. But there always seems to be a one dominant takeaway and my one dominant takeaway in one of your books – I think it’s Fanatical Prospecting. But my one takeaway – and I use it all the time and I knew about it before I read it. I did it to some level before I read it. But the way you presented this was just transformational for me and it’s where you talk about time-blocking.
You talk about time-blocking in your book and time-blocking for prospecting. You know, how do you get your pipeline full? You have to time block for prospecting.
Now people all the time ask me, “Kody, how do you get all the stuff you do done? You’re the CEO of a big corporation. You write your own books.” I don’t use ghost writers. I write all my own stuff. How do you do it all?
My answer is I time block. So talk to us about time-blocking, what it is, why it’s so important especially in all the stuff we’re talking about here.
Jeb Blount: I’m glad you used the word “transformational” because time-blocking is transformational and all time-blocking is, is a really simple process. It’s putting a concentrated amount of work in a set amount of time and then turning everything off and focusing on one thing at a time.
So when I time-block, I had my time blocked off this morning and one of my time blocks ran a little bit over, which is where I was running just a little bit late. But I had a series of tasks that I had to do and when I woke up, I focused my – and concentrated my time in each of those blocks and I accomplished more this morning I think than most people do in an entire week because I’m able to do.
Just like you, I write my own books. I got a time block for that. I do a lot of prospecting on my team. I have to time block for that. The way we – we demonstrate to salespeople how powerful this is and I will give you a great example.
One of my trainers is out with a client this week and yesterday, they were – he was onsite and with their sales team and they were doing outbound prospecting calls.
Now he’s working with a team that all they do is prospect. So all they do is do prospecting calls on the telephone to set up appointments so that an account executive can then sit down and do an assessment and discovery with the client.
What he discovered is that the average salesperson whose only job it is to pick up the phone and call was making about 68 prospecting calls in an entire eight-hour period.
Kody Bateman: Wow.
Jeb Blount: This is something called Parkinson’s Law. What Parkinson’s Law describes is how work tends to expand into the time allotted for it. So what he did was he put them together and they did four prospecting blocks, four 15-minute prospecting blocks across the day and this is the entire day.
They did four prospecting blocks of 15 minutes at a time. Now inside those prospecting blocks, he gave them one directive. Your goal is to make 15 outbound prospecting calls and set one appointment.
Now most of the people averaged between 10 and 18 calls during that period of time. Now imagine that this is a group of people that on average every day is doing six to eight in eight hours. In 15 minutes, they were doing more than they were doing an entire day.
Those four 15-minute blocks, they were able to create enough opportunities in the pipeline so that the company could confidently say that they produced $30,000 in business in an hour, in an hour doing that. That’s the power of time-blocking, 15 minutes, $15, one appointment. That’s it.
But here’s the key. In that 15-minute block, they weren’t watching cat videos. They weren’t on Facebook. They weren’t on their phones. They weren’t on email. They didn’t have anything going ding or boom or any of those things. They were focused on one thing at a time and just like you, I’m the CEO of a company and we’re growing fast and I do – I travel all around the world and the only way that I can get things done is I set small blocks of time, really tight blocks.
I focus my attention in those blocks. I rarely run over. Sometimes I do and usually it’s a client that runs me over and then I move on to the next block, the next block and that’s how you build out your calendar. Our buddy Bard who got this set up, he walked in – I’m lucky I have an assistant and if you go into her office, the whole thing, like her – every wall has a calendar and she has got everything set up and blocked out for the entire team.
But what most do people Kody as their begin they day, they come into the morning. They’re on email. They’re over here. They’re drinking coffee. They’re watching the cat video. They’re on YouTube. This dings. That dings. This moves. That moves and they end the day and they don’t feel like they got anything done and so they have to do some more work at night. Then they complain that they don’t have any time with their family and they don’t have a work-life balance.
But most of work-life balance issue they have is self-inflicted because they wasted almost their entire day and I would argue that most salespeople, just pure salespeople, if they’re time-blocking, most salespeople could get their work done in a day and be at the top of the ranking list in about six hours of time – of work a day every day.
Now that’s not true for CEOs and it’s certainly not true for business owners. But it’s certainly true for individual contributors at the sales level if they’re doing – if they’re blocking their time and they’re concentrating their focus and they’re really getting a lot done.
Kody Bateman: No question. I’m going to do a little something right now. It goes along with what you’re saying that’s real important of time-blocking and I actually was on a coaching call yesterday and I talked about one of the most important things to do when you start to time-block like this and I’m actually going to do it.
So those that watch this on YouTube will actually see me do this. Before we started this podcast, I failed to do what I normally do. So I’ve got my smartphone right here and while you were talking, if somebody on YouTube may have picked on it, my phone started ringing because what I had failed to do prior to this podcast starting is – and this is what I usually always do. I’m just going to do it in front of everybody.
Go to my settings. The best thing on this smartphone is this thing called airplane mode. So you click airplane mode because a lot of people say, well, there’s – I got to refer to my phone. I have notes on my phone. I got this and that on my phone. So I can’t turn the phone off.
Yeah. But you can certainly turn airplane mode on. So when you time-block, to me, at least what has helped me personally the most – like when I wrote my last book, Power of Human Connection, I would time-block like three-hour time blocks and then I would go on a one-hour break. Then I would do another three-hour time block and during those time blocks, I would airplane mode and keep my phone on sight. That way you don’t hear the ding and you don’t hear any of the stuff and nothing pops up and you’re not interrupted.
I think those kinds of tactics are really important. So let’s kind of move on here. I talk a lot about this process called “thanking people through the process”. Really important to thank people through the process and we’ve done a lot of statistics about thank-yous and how powerful thank-yous are.
In fact a thank-you, a written thank-you card is the number one source of communication that generates referral business for people. I always say smart people have done studies and they have on this. By far the most important interaction is a thank-you and yet less than three percent of salespeople ever sent a physical thank-you card and we go a step beyond that.
We say, you know, best – what’s better than a thank-you are several thank-yous. It’s thanking people through the process. So when you say prospecting and you get on and you assess and there’s no sale made, chances are there never will be. No matter what, you always thank through the process.
Talk to us about the importance of that. You know, sharing a thank-you through the process of things.
Jeb Blount: Early in my sales career, I – to carry your briefcase outside feels so professional and I broke every record in my company’s history and I worked for a Fortune 200 company, thousands of salespeople on the field and I did that several years in a row and one of the practices that I used back then – and this was before modern technology – was that I carried – on the front seat next to me, there was always a stack of thank-you notes and each of those thank-you notes – there was an envelope that already had a stamp on it.
Now in my non-golden or my platinum hour time, I would stamp all my envelopes and I had the thank-you cards. When I walked out of a meeting, the first thing I did was scribbled out a nice thank-you card in my handwriting, which is awful and I would say something about whatever it was, whether it was a good meeting or a bad meeting. I always did that. I put a stamp on it and then on my way home, there was a post office and I would just drop the cards in the office.
Today, we’ve got modern technology. I’m holding out the SendOutCards app on my phone, which is just awesome because now I can just push my cards. I can go to my contact list and I can send it. But the same thing applies, right?
You have to have a workflow for this and by the way, this isn’t easy. I wouldn’t – I’m not the person in the world that would tell you that this is super easy because I’m working with everybody on my team to do exactly what you said, which is create a workflow around this. But my workflow back then was I had gotten my car and before I turn the car on, thank-you card was written, stamped and done.
Now, you get into your car. You press “My Cards” and you build a card and then you send it before you leave. What’s cool is you probably have the person’s business card. You have their address right there on the spot. There’s something that you just did that you remember that you can reference and you could just build the card right there and you press “Send” and then you move to your next appointment.
By the way, you can do the same thing if you’re selling over the phone. But it’s all about being intentional. The process, you’ve made it super easy. SendOutCards, this is the greatest thing – truly this is the greatest thing ever invented. This is so easy and then if you build it into a cadence, so every single time you thank them or you bring it – you know, build it into something that becomes – if it’s a prospect, a pursuit plan. If it’s your meeting with different stakeholders, making sure that you send out every single time.
But we go back to that familiarity bubble, right? Every time they see your name, every time they see a thank-you, it pulls them towards you. They feel more comfortable with you. You answer the question, “Do I like you?” and by the way, if your card is personal and it references them and – you know, one of the things I teach my people now because I learned this from our buddy Bart is take a selfie with somebody that you’re meeting with. Snap a selfie with them and send them the selfie of you and your face. Then they see you again. More familiarity.
I refer to this as the Katy Perry paradigm, right? But it’s basically – if you’ve ever heard the song, right? And I’m not – that was a Katy Perry song that I just hated and then I heard the song over and over and over again on the radio and one day, I’m driving down the interstate and I’m singing the song that I told my wife that I hated at the top of my lungs, right?
Katy Perry and it was because I had heard the song so many times that I began to like it. Familiarity breeds liking. So the thank-you card, thanking people all the way through the process builds that familiarity. It builds that liking and it starts to build trust.
When you demonstrate that you paid attention by referencing something that you talked about in the meeting that was important or emotional to your customer, going back to assessment and discovery with their talking, not you talking.
Then you answer the question, “Do you listen to me? Do you get me? Do you understand me and are you paying attention?” As you do that, you start to build these deep emotional connections. You also start tapping into the law of reciprocity where you create an obligation even at the subconscious level to meet with you again and to continue to move down the process and by the way, if they’re not the right fit or didn’t go well and you send a thank-you note, you create an obligation for them to give something back to you and that’s more likely to be a referral or send you a friend or do something for you or at least say something nice to you in the marketplace, which builds your brand.
Kody Bateman: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s talk about – you talk a lot about various forms of communication as ways to stay in touch and using all the mediums. You know, email is important. Social media is important. There are numerous digital ways to reach out and digital communication is easy. It’s fast. It’s easy. You could do it. There’s a lot of mediums. They’re effective and you talk about that process.
But what I want to talk to you about is the difference between digital communication and tangible communication. I’ve got a card right here and I have a stack – well, it’s Christmastime. So I have a stack of Christmas cards here. Here’s one right here that was sent to me by Dan and Linda Cinco from Cedar Park, Ontario, Canada and inside – so it’s a physical card.
It says “believe” and the inside it has a picture of their family and it says “Merry Christmas” to me on the inside. What’s the difference between receiving this?
I wish I would have had a thank-you card to show. But the difference between receiving this and receiving a digital form of communication and why is this important today.
Jeb Blount: Well, I think people recognize that digital is easy. That it’s a throw-away, that you can just push a button and I said this to – gosh, I don’t know. One of the people on my team just recently – because I get these digital Christmas cards. I don’t even open them up. I just delete them and I know – if you’ve sent me one, don’t feel bad. It just drives me crazy. You didn’t even take the time.
I would rather you not even send me a card than send me a digital communication – because I know that you didn’t have to work at it. I know that you probably sent one to many and that’s not to say that digital communication is not a good idea. Certainly email and text messaging done the right way is a fantastic way to build familiarity, to get into the right times, to sometimes tell your story. Just like a voicemail. You can send voicemails and leave a 30-second commercial.
But this is why – for example, I’m working with my team and your team is working with my team to help my people develop this and be intentional in their workflow. If my trainer is onsite and takes a picture with my customer’s people and then sends them a card with their logo on it and they had a great experience with them and he takes the time to do that, first of all, it’s an investment. They recognize that. It took some effort. They recognize that. But their picture is on the card and you’re not going to throw your picture away. You’re going to keep it and all of my cards that I send from SendOutCards, my brand, Sales Gravy, you can see it here on my – I have it everywhere. It’s right on the back.
So if they turn it over, it has got my name on it. It has got my address. It has got my website. It has got all of that. But they’re more likely to hold on to it. It’s the same thing we do with all cards. I will give you a great example.
This morning, I was cleaning up my sink in my bathroom over in my – you come in. I came off the road, dumped a bunch of stuff off of it and on my sink is a card that my wife gave me for my birthday and it has got little Dachshund on it and it – you know, walking down the road together and it was just such a thoughtful thing that she did and it’s my wife. I see her every single day that I’m in town.
But the card itself, the way she did it and the way she signed it meant so much to me that I’ve been hold on to it for months and I’m not throwing it away. In fact, I think I’m going to frame it because I like it so much.
So from a tangible standpoint, it’s a person who invests in you and let’s go back to the question. Do you make me feel important? Do you make me feel significant? When you make another person feel significant and a card, a tangible demonstration of that is so powerful. You give them the greatest gift that you can give another human being.
When you give them that gift of importance and significance, they feel an obligation to do something back for you. It doesn’t mean that they always will and walking into any relationship, expecting that people are going to give back to you is called “premeditated resentment”.
But you improve the probability that they will respond in kind, either by doing business with you, advancing to the next step, giving you more information, introducing you to other people in their organization or sending you a referral, connecting you with someone, making an introduction or at least saying something nice about you and your brand in the marketplace.
Kody Bateman: Absolutely. Well Jeb, I tell you, I just – I’ve learned so much from you through your books. I’m a reader. I like to read more than anything else. I just have gained so much from reading your books and I know you have a lot of different ways that you can share your wisdom with others.
I want to make sure that our listeners know how they can get to you. So this is plug time. But I just think it’s really important. You have – here’s the deal. There are a lot of – I don’t mean any disrespect to anybody that’s out there. But in today’s social media world, there is a lot of self-proclaimed guru trainers and presenters.
You see them on social media all the time. There’s a new five-step plan every five minutes. It’s like you go through your news feed and there’s just – one of the things that I’ve found is that the reason there’s so many and the reason that people spend so much time looking at the new five-step plan or the new three-step plan or whatever is because they don’t stick to the plan that they studied.
You know what I mean? One of the things we talk about is taking what you learn and you always learn steps and principles and fundamentals that you should do in a sales process. But the single most important thing is to take whatever that is and get it to level where it’s a habit.
So we talked today about time-blocking. Time-blocking needs to get to where it is a habit, like it is – it’s habitual. Thanking through the process needs to not just be a rule. It needs to be a habit. Talk to us a little bit about habits and how you help your clients to get to the level of habit with this stuff.
Jeb Blount: You’re exactly right. So when I work with clients and we talk about – especially clients who say they want to have a learning culture. Most of the clients that I work with have had this long string of flavor of the day.
So they come up with a process. They teach the process. Then they come up with another process. They teach that process, then another one, then another one or they switch from guru or expert or trainer to trainer to trainer. What I explained to them is companies – and it doesn’t make a difference what process you pick as long as it works for you and it fits.
So it can be my process or someone else’s process. The companies who I find to have the greatest learning cultures are the ones that have the courage to pick a process that works and then train it over and over and over again until it’s rote, until it’s baked into the culture, until everybody gets it at a basic level.
There are a lot of companies out there that do it very, very well. But most of the companies out there, most of the organizations that are trying to build training or doing it and then switching from thing to thing to thing. By the way, individuals are no different. The problem for individuals – and this is just human, right? So we have this bad tendency to quit doing the things that work and then we complain that the things that we aren’t doing aren’t working anymore. It’s weird how we do that.
So what you said is exactly that. It is pick something and then learn to be intentional about it and then practice it and practice it and practice it. I had an opportunity to see John Smoltz. He was one of the pitchers for the Atlanta Braves, one of the most famous baseball players of all time, at least in Georgia for sure.
He was giving a talk about how these MLB baseball players, the elite baseball players, the people who have gone to the show and they’re at the top of the top. How they gets into these slumps and he says the problem when they get into a slump is they start trying all these different stuff rather than going back to the basics, back to the things that brought them to the show to begin with. They think that there’s some magic pill out there that’s going to somehow make it easier.
They said when they get back to the basics, when they start doing the things that always work for them, then they start getting out of their slump. They start hitting again. They start pitching. They start catching. They start hitting their numbers and I don’t think it’s any different from people. But I do think that as human beings, we have this bad tendency to move away from the basic, move away from the repetition because those things are painful, because those things required discipline, because they’re often hard work, they’re often challenging and there’s always like you said some pseudo-guru expert out there who has spent five minutes learning something.
Most of the time, they’re teaching you something that they can’t do who says, “I have an easy button that you can push,” and you’re going to – everything is going to be OK and I can tell you this. I know you say the same thing. Success is paid for in advance and it’s paid for in advance with sacrifice and hard work and repetition and discipline and that will never change.
The one thing that you can be assured of is that when we talk about discipline, discipline is giving up what you want now, the easy button, for what you want most, your goals, your dreams, your desires. If you can keep your focus on what you want the most, you will always come back and do the hard things, the challenging things, the tough things, the difficult things, the intentional things that move you to the future state that you want so much.
Kody Bateman: Well, I will tell you, great stuff. We could go on all day long. I just feel like we could listen to you for a long time. In fact, I’m going to put it out there. We’ve got a – what we call a Relationship Marketing Grand Summit coming up in Salt Lake City next August and I know your schedule is crazy.
But somehow I’m going to get you here to speak at that. So I think it would be really good to have you there. Now let’s talk a little bit about how people can get more exposed to you, SalesGravy.com. Can you just share a little bit of some of the different ways that we can listen to some of your content?
Jeb Blount: Absolutely. Well, SalesGravy.com is a fantastic place to go. If you come to Sales Gravy and click on the little articles icon on the top bar, there are videos, articles, podcasts. It’s not just me. It’s from experts from all over the place who write articles for Sales Gravy.
If you like podcasts – and I love podcasts because podcasts are free. My podcast is called Sales Gravy or you can type in my name, Jeb Blount, and you can go to iTunes, to Spotify, Stitcher, any place that you get – Podbay, Overcast. Any place that you get podcasts and I put up new podcasts. It’s about every single week. You can go to my YouTube channel, which is YouTube.com/salesgravy. I’ve got several hundred videos on there. I put up new videos several times a week and then you can connect with me on Twitter. I’m @SalesGravy. On Instagram, I’m at Sales Gravy. At Facebook, I’m at Sales Gravy or you can go to my page Jeb on Demand or connect with me on LinkedIn.
In all of those channels, I’m posting different content and different ways and trying to consistently and constantly invest back into my audience and the people that consume my books and of course my brand new book Objections is up here on the screen and you will love this book and you can go to Amazon right now and grab it for yourself.
Kody Bateman: All right. That’s one I have not read yet but I have it right here. Here it is and that’s going to be my next read. So I’m excited. In fact I have a long plane ride tomorrow to do and this is what I’m going to have with me.
So I appreciate your time today Jeb. It has been wonderful and I would like to invite you back on at a later time.
I always like to close the show by just asking a couple of quick questions. I’m always interested in this because I love to read and I like to know what other thought leaders are reading.
So what is your favorite book of all time and why?
Jeb Blount: My favorite book of all time is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s an all-time classic and it’s a book that I recommend that every human being on earth read every single year.
I think that we have to be reminded of those basic principles. I know that I fail at them often because I’m a person, I’m a human and I’m running so hard all the time.
It’s important that you get reminded of those things and no one wrote a better book about this than Dale Carnegie. It is a classic and I think it’s a classic that will never age. It’s always true.
Kody Bateman: That was the first personal development book that I read at the age of 15. I had an older person give me that book, gave me the advice to keep a pen with me and underline things I liked in that book and that was my first experience with personal development studying and I’m about 4000 books later now in my library.
So I have that person to thank for that. But that was the beginning was that book. Ironically, I’ve asked this question to several people on several of the show formats I’ve had and that book comes up more than any other book. So it definitely is powerful.
Closing question. If you could be remembered for one thing, what is it?
Jeb Blount: I would like to be remembered for – as a person that truly believes in the profession of selling and work tirelessly to advance sales as a profession and not just a fly-by-night person but just – it’s so important to me. I love the profession of sales. I love what we do and I hope that when I’m gone, that people look back and say, “This was a person who genuinely cared about salespeople and people who had to sell for a living and did everything in his power to give them the tools that they needed to be successful and achieve their dreams.”
Kody Bateman: Well, there you have it everybody, my good friend Jeb Blount. I appreciate all that you do and just wish you the very best in everything. Looking forward to getting to meet you soon in hand.
We had never actually met face to face. So I’m looking forward to that opportunity and I will keep studying your work. It’s wonderful stuff.
So thanks everybody. I appreciate you being here at Kody Bateman – I got to keep remembering what these things I do. I have so many shows now. I’m trying to remember what show I’m on. I’m on Relationship Marketing with Kody B. That’s it. That’s the podcast, the new podcast we’re doing. So it’s kind of fun. It’s fun to be out there and try to do as much as we possibly can to share a message of positivity. But I appreciate all of our listeners and we will see you on another episode. Take care everybody.
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If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate a Relationship Marketing Strategy in your business, feel free to call or text me at 206-406-8782. I Will answer all your questions and help you build relationships, increase referrals, and make an amazing impression on all your clients, friends and family!
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