How to Understand the Future of Professional Selling – In Just 7 Minutes with Tony Hughes

Check out episode
  • Find out the three reasons why business owners struggle with pipeline
  • Hear from Tony how dating is linked to business
  • The importance of being buyer centered

 
Resources/Links:

Summary
 
Tony is an international keynote speaker, best-selling author, leading professional selling educator, award-winning blogger and the most read LinkedIn Author globally on the topic of sales leadership. As an experienced CEO and company director with 35 years of sales and business leadership experience, he is ranked by Top Sales Magazine as the most influential person in professional selling in Asia-Pacific.

In this episode of Marketing the Invisible, Tony discussed the future of professional selling, the reason why people struggle with their pipeline and how buyer behavior has impacted the transformation of sales especially from CEO’s point and the rest of the business ladder.

Check out these episode highlights:

  • 00:45 – Tony Hughes professional background as a coach
  • 01:19 – the ideal client that Tony serves: large B2B sales organization people who have got a top line revenue problem that they need to solve.
  • 01:41 – symptoms his clients experience when trying to solve their revenue problems
  • 02:11 – what ‘missing numbers’ is all about, the outcome not the root cause, suffering from a higher turnover of salespeople in their own organization. They’ll be struggling with diminishing customer loyalty.
  • 00:07:54 – What to do to sell more? Just amp up what you’re doing. Most people are just way too passive. You need to be driving combinations of outreach at the right targeted people. Know what would an ideal customer looks like, how that organization profiles up, targeting the right organizations, and then understand buyer personas and what matters to them.

    Tweetable Takeaway from this Episode:

    “The reality is if you're struggling with pipeline you've actually got a sales problem. It's a giant mistake to separate the creation of pipeline from the process of actually driving a sale.” -@TonyHughesAU Click To Tweet “People have gone hyper passive in this social and digital world in how they try and build a pipeline. They expect people to come and find their website where they do a whole lot of soft things in Linked In or digital outbound. And at the end of… Click To Tweet “Don’t mistake someone ignoring us as someone rejecting us.” -@TonyHughesAU Click To Tweet “Selling is the skill that everybody in life needs. But it's the skill that nobody seems to want.” -@TonyHughesAU Click To Tweet

    Transcript
    (Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)

    Tom Poland: Hello everyone. A very warm welcome to another edition of Marketing the Invisible.

    My name is Tom Poland, beaming out to you from on the sand of Little Castaways Beach in Queensland, Australia. Joined today by Tony Hughes. Who is not that far away.

    Tony, where you’re beaming in from?

    Tony Hughes: I’m in Sydney today.

    Tom Poland: Sydney. The Big Smoke, the New York of Australia.

    For those of you don’t know Ton, you must have been living under a rock or in a cave. Because he’s got 35 years sales leadership experience.

    He is a bestselling author, is the number one blogger globally on B2B sales. He is so much in demand that he told me before the interview that he really does not want any more clients. Please don’t promote me too heavily.

    So I think if you want evidence of the fact that Tony’s stuff actually work you need not look no further than that Tony himself.

    He is the most read person in LinkedIn on the topic of B2B sales.

    Tom Poland: Our title today. And Tony thank you so much for giving up your time especially given that you don’t actually need or want more clients. Very generous of you to donate to some of the time to help folks.

    The title is “How to Understand the Future of Professional Selling” as usual we will do that in 7 minutes.

    Tony, your timer starts now. Question number one is who is your ideal client?

    Tony Hughes: So my ideal client is a large B2B sales organization. People who have got a top line revenue problem that they need to solve.

    Tom Poland: Thank you.

    And that is the problem you solve so therefore that’s question number two. Do you want to elaborate on that anymore? The problem or do we talk about number three the symptoms?

    Tony Hughes: Well typically in business to business selling, depending on the organization up to 70% that’s an insane number. That up to 70% of the sales people are actually missing their number. So it’s a serious problem for most organizations and they really struggle to identify why.

    Tom Poland: So the question number three, six and a half minutes left, we’ve got this large B2B organization, 70% of the sales team are not reaching objective. And this is happening year in, year out. So other than missing revenue targets are there any other symptoms of that organization or the head of sales or the salespeople, what are they going to be experiencing other than disappointment?

    Tony Hughes: Yes. So other than missing numbers which is really the outcome not the root cause. They’ll be suffering from higher turnover of sales people in their own organization. They’ll be struggling with diminishing customer loyalty.

    The big thing I see is people struggle with pipeline. People commonly say to me, “I’m really good at my particular domain. I’ve got great IP, I’ve got really good clients. I know how to go and pursue an opportunity when I’ve got one. The only problem I’ve got is I just don’t have enough pipeline.”

    Tony Hughes: The reality is if you’re struggling with pipeline you’ve actually got a sales problem. It’s a giant mistake to separate the creation of pipeline from the process of actually driving a sale.

    The reason people struggle with pipeline is couple of things.

    The first is they don’t have the right narrative.

    A lot of people are just really rubbish at explaining to people why a conversation with them wouldn’t really matter.

    And then the other thing is people have gone hyper passive in this social and digital world in how they try and build pipeline.

    They expect people to come and find their website, where they do a whole lot of soft things in LinkedIn or digital outbound.

    And at the end of the day, they tend to treat the phone as if it’s covered with spiders. The truth is we need to re-embrace the phone. We need to create conversations with people so really important to nail your narrative up the level of activity.

    And don’t mistake someone ignoring us as someone rejecting us.

    Tom Poland: Wise words and so succinctly put. I love the phrase you used about having a narrative and it was something about that that’s magnetic or compelling people to listen. Because I can imagine if sales people get that and the fear of prospecting disappears.

    Tony Hughes: Well, I think most people listening to this. Are really consultants with their own IP and consulting services that they’re taking to market? And I think an example we can all relate to is this.

    You think back, earlier in your life, to when you were dating.

    The thing we all just intuitively knew is that if there was someone else that we were really interested in, the way to push them away is to go up to them and start talking about our self.

    The way to attract somebody is to talk about them.

    Make the conversation about them. If we take a genuine interest in other people, if we’re really good at listening if we ask great open insightful questions the person becomes attracted to us.

    The moment we started pushing ourselves talking about our success under somebody else’s like would be munching on an onion. It just gives us it just gives a sales breath and repels people away from us.

    So you know the whole law of reciprocity, and the law of attraction is to be interested in the other person, in their personal life. If you want good friends, being a great friend are really important things to do so.

    So lead with ‘Why Conversations’ now about really taking interest in other people.

    Tom Poland: The other thing that I found that doesn’t work with dating a stalking people following up.

    Tony Hughes: There’s a lot of stalking goes on in LinkedIn, right? So let’s address this. So I think some people think if they narcissistic gazing into their linked in profile and continually groom it, just sort of connect with people that will magically make something happen and it doesn’t.

    Tom Poland: I love me. Why don’t other people love me? Like I love me. Therein lies the problem.

    Tom Poland: Question number 4.What are some of the common mistakes. Two minutes 40 seconds left. What are some of the common mistakes that people make?

    They’ve got a sales problem. What are the things that they’re trying that just they shouldn’t even be trying?

    Tony Hughes: So the first thing is an old wood consultants know. Don’t confuse symptoms with causes.

    Really important to talk the language of leaders. So the problem is selling, and we all sell.

    The thing I say often is that selling is the skill that everybody in life needs. But it’s the skill that nobody seems to want.

    You know it just seems to have some kind of baggage around it.

    But selling is really just influencing.

    So the really important thing is that as we go to market and actually seek to influence people that we make it all about them.

    So we need to first of all make sure that they were well researched, that we’re good at storytelling that’s actually relevant to them.

    That we’ve done our research, we plan to ask really good open questions.

    And that we understand that from their world they pose some problem that they need to solve.

    So we all need to talk the language of leaders.

    One of the problems in selling is we get delegated down to who it sounds like we deserve to be talking to.

    So if we want to talk with the CEO, the owner of the business. Talk about the outcomes that they’re seeking to achieve and where they see their risks.

    And then immediately the next level under they are under that we need to underpin the conversation by talking about dollar and percentage impacts to their PNL and balance sheet and then also those key result areas.

    There’s a big difference between KPIs.

    Which are typically lower in an organization. An example of this would be you know some organizations measure for example, net promoter score in their interactions with customers and yet you know that’s really a KPI metric.

    The key result area is customer retention or customer churn.

    They’re talking the language of leader’s means to talk about better retaining customers and reducing customer churn rather than something like a net promoter score or NPS. You know when you’re having conversations with people.

    So talk the language of leaders. Anchor conversations in a really strong business case.

    And then the last thing is to understand that they need to achieve consensus inside their organization if they’re going to drive any form of change. So help them do that understand the politics and agendas in the organization.

    Tom Poland: So much wisdom there.

    I’m going to skip a couple of questions because we don’t have time but I think you’ve really over delivered I want to thank you for that.

    Tony, any final words. 10 seconds left.

    Tony Hughes: Just amp up what you’re doing. Most people are just way too passive.

    You need to be driving combinations of outreach at the right targeted people. Know what an ideal customer looks like. How that organization profiles up, do you targeting the right organizations and then understand those buyer personas and what matters to them.

    The KPI’s to drive them in their role.

    Tom Poland: Tony Hughes you’re a scholar and a gentleman. Thank you so much.

    Tony Hughes: Thank you. Thanks Tom. It was great to be on.

    Tom Poland: Thanks for checking out our Marketing of the Invisible podcast. If you like what we’re doing here, please head over to iTunes to subscribe, rate us and leave us a review. It’s very much appreciated.

    And if you want to generate five fresh leads in just five hours then check out www.FiveHourChallenge.com.