The Transparent Sale Leader – In Just 7 Minutes with Todd Caponi

Check out episode
  • Discover why you shouldn’t diss the bad reviews you get and how it helps you sell better
  • Find out why perfection isn’t always the best answer in sales
  • Learn how you can bring transparency and imperfections into your sales

Resources/Links:

  • Want more tips on how to apply transparency in your selling? Click here: toddcaponi.com

Summary

Do you always feel like your product reviews need to be top-notch and perfect? Do you want to know how to convince prospects to buy your products with transparency?

Perfection doesn’t always mean wins; it also means losses. Switch from perfection to authenticity. Transparency plays a key role in turning leads into long-time sales.

Todd Caponi is the Author of The Transparency Sale and the Transparent Sales Leader. He is a multi-time revenue leader, a behavioral science nerd, and has successfully guided two companies to successful exits.

Dive into Todd’s tips and tricks on how to lead with your flaws and embrace the truth to ensure you’ll get more sales and leads!

Check out these episode highlights:

  • 04:46 – Todd’s ideal client: I work with revenue leaders that are looking to upskill their teams, and they like a pod that everybody knew. But there have been tremendous revelations in our understanding of how human beings engage, prioritize, decide and buy.
  • 05:26 – The problem he helps solve: I think you mentioned at the beginning that so many of your listeners think that sales mean “I got to get a plaid jacket and some gold chains. And like, off I go.” As it turns out, transparency sells better than perfection, right?
  • 08:17 – The symptoms of the problem: Well, yeah, I mean, I think first of all where companies or individuals go wrong is they feel like, “Wow, that would be really bold to lead with my flaws. Like, are you crazy? How did you do it, Todd?” I actually believe it’s bold not to.
  • 09:44 – Todd’s Valuable Free Resource (VFR): Want more tips on how to apply transparency in your selling? Click here: toddcaponi.com
  • 10:27 – Todd’s Valuable Free Action (VFA): Well, just google your company name and then write reviews. Right, what’s there to come up? Know that your buyers are going to do that homework. If there’s anything like, empathize with the person that you’re selling to, right?
  • 11:11 – A: Well, we talked about sales history. And we talked about that idea that like when cool people are doing cool things on the weekends, I’m reading an old 1905 magazine on sales. And, so- exactly! My wife makes fun of me all the time.

Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:

“Transparency sells better than perfection.” -Todd Caponi Share on X

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

Tom Poland 00:10
Welcome, everyone, to another edition of Marketing the Invisible. I’m Tom Poland beaming out to you from the little sunshine coast in Australia, joined today by Todd Caponi. Todd, good day. A very warm welcome from Down Under. Where are you based?

Todd Caponi 00:22
I am in the heart of the Midwest of the US in Chicago.

Tom Poland 00:26
And you’re- Chicago! So, you’re flipping from winter too, what are you in, autumn, right now?

Todd Caponi 00:32
We are in the random, every day you wake up to a different season. Today, it’s summer. Thursday, it will be freezing cold.

Tom Poland 00:41
All right. Well, enjoy the journey, whatever it is. Folks, really, this is going to be very interesting. Todd has got a certain way of presenting sales. And I have to say I just love it because it has a let me let you in, straight off the bat, and I’ll explain why I love it. So, it’s all about the transparent sale. And as soon as I heard transparency in sales, I think this could help so many people because it’s kind of a load off, you know. It’s, “I’m going to put my cards on the table. I don’t have to have any hidden agendas. I don’t have to try and manipulate people. I can be myself.” There’s a whole lot that unpacks from transparency. And so, I can’t wait! So let me tell you a little about Todd. He’s the author of The Transparency Sale, and The Transparent Sales Leader, recently released. He’s a multi-time revenue leader in his own right. He’s a behavioral science nerd. I happen to know also, he’s a sales history buff. we might touch on that a little later. And he’s successfully guided two companies to successful exits, and in doing so, no doubt has potentialized their sales revenue. So, the title today is, “The Transparent Sales Leader”. But before we start, I want to do something I’ve never done before. Because I think the subject is so interesting, I want to give- before we start the countdown timer, Todd, I want to give you, invite you, to give us a 30-40 second heads up on what is the transparency sale thing.

Todd Caponi 02:11
Yeah, I mean, it started and I’ll try to keep it brief, but there was a story. In my last company, we were in the ratings and reviews space, meaning we helped retailers and brands collect and display ratings and reviews on their websites. We did a research study that looked at how consumers engage when they’re buying something on a website. What we found were three data points. Number one, we all read reviews today, no surprise. But number two, 85% of us go to the negative reviews first. And then number three was that a product with an average review score between a 4.2 and a 4.5, was optimal for purchase conversion, meaning a product that had negative reviews right under it helped it sell more. Now those last two data points together, I realized, well that’s what a website is acting as a salesperson. But I found very quickly being the behavioral science nerd that I am, that it actually has the same impact in human-to-human or B2B selling. When we lead with the negatives and present our solutions is the truth. They’re not perfect. Magic happens! Sales cycles speed up. Win rates go up. We qualify better and faster. We qualify out faster and we make it really hard for our competitors to message against us, and it feels good, to be honest too.

Tom Poland 03:28
Why? Do you think it’s just a matter of believability? Boosts believability? Is this person real? Are they actually prepared to tell me their awards before they give me the bouquet of flowers?

Todd Caponi 03:39
Well, I’ll tell you. There are a couple of things. Number one is we as human beings, don’t buy when we’re convinced. Well, if we do, we’re probably pissed about it a few hours later. We buy when we can predict. Like we’re prediction machines, and we know subconsciously that perfection doesn’t exist. And until we can understand, whether is the juice going to be worth the squeeze, I got to know what that squeeze is before I can even assess the nutritional value and the taste of the juice. I can’t trigger a decision. So that’s why companies like Amazon, you may have heard of them. They were the first to list negative reviews right under the products they sold them. They did pretty well. Right?

Tom Poland 04:16
All right. And for those of us over in Australia, being pissed a few hours later, in this case, does not mean you’re drunk. It means you’re angry. Okay? In North America, it means you’re angry. Down here, it means you’re drunk as a skunk. So just to clarify that little cultural nuance up. So, our title today, folks, is, “The Transparent Leader”. And Todd, our seven minutes is going to start any second, just as soon as I find that HIT button. There we go! So, question number one, tell us more about your ideal client, please.

Todd Caponi 04:46
Well, yeah, I mean, I’m looking- I work with revenue leaders that are looking to upskill their teams, and they like a pod that’s everybody who knew. But there have been tremendous revelations in our understanding of how human beings engage, prioritize, decide and buy. And those organizations that want to leverage that for good, not evil, are really my ideal clients. And it’s typically revenue organizations mid to larger size.

Tom Poland 05:11
Fascinating! So, folks, if you’re a leader of a sales team or a team, that a company where you want more sales, whether you’re an individual and you are the company or it’s pretty big, you need to listen up. Question two, sir, just under six and a half left. What is the problem you solve for these folks?

Todd Caponi 05:26
Well, I think you mentioned at the beginning that so many of your listeners, think that sales mean “I got to get a plaid jacket and some gold chains. And like, off I go.” As it turns out, transparency sells better than perfection, right? And when we present our solutions as perfect, the sales cycle slows down, win rates go down, we lose slowly, and we arm our competitors to message against us. And really, those are the four things that we’re looking to fix by leading with your flaws, leading with transparency.

Tom Poland 05:56
Fantastic! I have to put in a little sub-question in there. Can you go overboard with this? Can you have too much leading with your flaws?

Todd Caponi 06:05
Well, yeah, the 4.2 to 4.5 data point is really important. I’m not advocating that anybody goes into their next sales engagement with, “Hey, this is why we suck like-“. You know what Tyra Banks, the supermodel, she’s got a term, a word called “flawsome”. And like, it’s to embrace your flaws, but know that you’re flawsome. I’d encourage all of you to think about your own flawsome messaging and positioning.

Tom Poland 06:30
Very clever! What were the 4.2, and 4.5? What was that thing you just said?

Todd Caponi 06:34
That was a product on a website that’s got an average review score between 4.2 to 4.5. That’s optimal, but that’s also the way our brains work.

Tom Poland 06:41
I mean, we’ve all seen the new book that’s come out, and it’s got five-star reviews. And we all go, “Yeah, that’s his mother, brother, sister, and best friend who he owes a living.”: Thank you for that! Just under five minutes left. The problem you solve, real quick. How would you define that?

Todd Caponi 06:58
Well, I think, first of all, it’s this idea that, for the most part, sales cycle lengths extend. We keep losing to the status quo, over and over again. And when we do lose, we lose slowly. That’s actually- there’s a huge opportunity to fix that. It’s not a foregone conclusion. And so, at its core, when you actually lead with transparency, you’re helping the buying brain predict, and you’re triggering, and speeding up all of that. Some of the best brands in the world embrace what they give up to be great at their core, like think IKEA, or any of the warehouse shopping clubs that you might go to, or some of the airlines that are like, “We’re just going to hurley on here, and you’re not going to get anything. You’re lucky you’re going to get there.” They give that up to be great at their core, and they’re flourishing doing that. You’ve got an opportunity in B2B or human-to-human selling to do the same sort of thing.

Tom Poland 07:51
Flawsome, absolutely flawsome! Just four minutes left. Well, what do you say are the typical symptoms that sales teams leaders and salespeople are going to be experiencing? I guess one of them is they just feel they don’t want to stick to the sales script because it’s manipulative, and it doesn’t feel like them. So, what else would be going on in their lives or their businesses that they could go, “Yeah, I need to find out more about the transparency thing”?

Todd Caponi 08:17
Well, yeah, I mean, I think first of all where companies or individuals go wrong is they feel like, “Wow, that would be really bold to lead with my flaws. Like, are you crazy? How did you do it, Todd?” I actually believe it’s bold not to. There’s a quote from an author in 1919. His name is Arthur Dunn. It’s my favorite sales quote of all time, but it is, “If the truth won’t sell it, don’t sell it”. And my take is, would you rather that that flaw come from you or a competitor? Would you rather that flaw come from you now? Or come after you’ve invested three months in this opportunity? Would you rather arm your competitor with trust? Or would you rather build trust right from the get-go? I think that it’s bold not to embrace the truth because you know, that’s how you make decisions for all of you. Don’t trust anything but five-star reviews. All of you read the negative reviews first. I know you do. Why would you think human-to-human selling would be?

Tom Poland 09:18
Yeah, it just flat-out makes sense, but it didn’t make sense until you told me about it. That’s the interesting thing! I didn’t figure this out myself. You figured it out. So now folks, Todd is giving it to you on a silver platter with the red carpet between you and him. We have two minutes left. Let’s get- I want to get people to your website. What’s your website where- I know there’s stuff there. There’s a podcast. There’s a blog. What’s the website that people can go to, Todd?

Todd Caponi 09:44
Yeah, it’s just toddcaponi.com. But just do a Google search. There are all kinds of stuff out there available for you. I’ve been on a bunch of podcasts but yeah.

Tom Poland 09:53
Todd, T-O, double D, Caponi, C-O-P-O-N-I, .com. There are resources, folks. Pardon me.

Todd Caponi 10:01
It’s C-A-P-O-N-I, like, it’s Al Capone but with an I instead of an E.

Tom Poland 10:05
I don’t know what I said. But yeah, what he said is better. C-A-P-O-N-I, .com. Thank you, Todd. Let’s go flip back. I’m missing you a bit here, but give people a top tip. It’s question five. What’s a top tip that someone could, you know, it’s not going to solve the whole problem, but it might take them a step in the right direction? Something like identifying a small floor and leading with that. What’s your top tip?

Todd Caponi 10:27
Well, just google your company name and then write reviews. Right, what’s there to come up? Know that your buyers are going to do that homework. If there’s anything like, empathize with the person that you’re selling to, right? They’re going to do the homework. If there’s something about your solution, that’s not a perfect fit, lead with it, right? Something that a competitor does better, maybe your higher price. Maybe when they do the Google search, they’re going to find a story about something you royally screwed up. Lead with it, embrace the truth, and you’d be amazed that the whole dynamic of all of your sales engagements changes immediately.

Tom Poland 11:03
It totally makes sense! 35 seconds left, sir. I’m going to give you a minute because I’m sidetracked by you. What’s the one question I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Todd Caponi 11:11
Well, we talked about sales history. And we talked about that idea that like when cool people are doing cool things on the weekends, I’m reading an old 1905 magazine on sales. And, so- exactly! My wife makes fun of me all the time. But for anybody who’s interested, just a hobby, just for fun, I do a podcast called The Sales History Podcast where I riff on different topics from 100 plus years ago, and I post daily on Twitter and Instagram at @saleshistorian just quotes and different facts from back then that a lot of people are getting a lot of pleasure and joy from. But I’ll tell you, we as professionals, step on the same rake over and over again. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the past that we’ve seemingly forgotten about.

Tom Poland 11:58
Todd Caponi, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a blast and all the very best with the new book!

Todd Caponi 12:03
Well, thank you! Thanks for having me on.

Tom Poland 12:06
Thanks for checking out our Marketing 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.

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