Jun 5, 2023 • Podcast

What is Do It! Selling? With David Newman

In Paul’s interview with David Newman, they provide valuable insight into some of the most common challenges salespeople face, including connecting with those top prospects.

Show Notes

What do you like about sales? “We get to talk to people about solving their problems or getting their outcomes. We’re on the same side of the table. We’re on the same team… I think it’s a wonderful, collaborative process and at the end of it, you make money.” David Newman

“If we reframe the entire front-end of the sales process as simply a series of invitations to a conversation, I think all the mystery and all the drama starts to go away.” David Newman

Have one of your top executives read your prospecting message and ask, “Would you meet with me based on how this looks?” Be ready for an open and honest answer, but it will make you better.

“The best of the best are the ones who invest.” David Newman (Look at the “Best Of” lists.)

Tune in to find out just what “value-rich follow-up” means. 

Find out more about David Newman and his new book Do It! Selling, at doitmarketing.com.

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What is Do It! Selling? With David Newman

(Transcribed from podcast interview)

“I was a fierce student of sales. And one day he says to me, ‘David, you know, you’re so concerned about being a better salesperson. Don’t worry about that. Be a better person, and more sales will happen.’” David Newman

Paul VO: Hello everyone. We’ve got a very special guest joining us today. David Newman is going to be joining us. Now, David Newman is a professional services/sales expert. He’s also a jalapeno fan, a dog lover, and an Atari gamer. David brings tremendous value wherever he goes, whether that’s on stage as a certified speaking professional. He’s also a member of the National Speakers Association Million Dollar Speakers group. He helps salespeople in so many ways. And on today’s episode, David is going to help us overcome some of the most common challenges salespeople face. Number one, how do we connect with those top prospects? I love David’s insight on this key area, this challenge that salespeople face.

Then also, how do we secure more appointments? What does that look like? And, also, David shares some insight on what executives, what buyers are thinking about, and you can use that information to help create more value for that prospect. And then finally, what is the secret to great follow up? This is something David shares right at the end of our interview. All of this content today, it can be a game changer if you apply it. So, I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed getting together with David.

Before we get into the interview, his new book, Do it! Selling is available at the book’s website, so make sure you check that out. We’re going to have all the links available on the show notes of this episode.

And while you’re picking up books, just a reminder, Selling Through Tough Times is available wherever you get your books, whether it’s Amazon, Barnes & Noble, you name it, you can find it there. If we do dip into a recession, now is the time to get prepared. Without any further ado—on to the show.

Paul: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Q and A Sales Podcast. And I’m thrilled today to have David Newman on the show today. David’s new book is Do It! Selling. David, thanks for being here.

David: It is great to be here, Paul. Thank you.

Paul: You know, I read the title, love the title, by the way, thumbed through the book, and I’m going to dive into that in just a moment. But, you know, one thing I love to do when I have a guest like you on the show is to really get a deeper understanding of what it is that you love about selling. So, David, maybe just kick us off with that.

David: Yeah. Well it’s funny. Sales was such a mystery to me early on in my entrepreneurial career. What I love about it now is that we get to talk to people about solving their problems or getting their outcomes. We are on the same side of the table, we’re on the same team. I’m not a big believer in this adversarial sales targets, overcome objections, beat them up over the head. That’s like old school sales training, old school selling. I think it’s a wonderful collaborative process, and at the end of it, you make money. So there’s nothing wrong with that.

Paul: Absolutely right. Solving problems and making money. Excellent. Love it. One thing that I am curious about is many salespeople, they view selling as a mystery, and in some ways, they tend to paralyze their efforts before they even start selling. Let’s unpack that a little bit. What are your thoughts on that?

David: Yeah. Well, initially, that’s what I mentioned a moment ago that I didn’t know anything about prospecting, selling, initial conversation. Where are these prospects? Where are they? Who are they? How do I even get to talk to one? And it turns out that sitting in your office, waiting for the phone to ring is not a great prospecting strategy. So proactively sending out invitations to a conversation about how you can help them, based on research, based on relevance, and based on relationship first—relationship before commerce. So what I lay out in the Do it! Selling book is that this is a little bit harder than it looks, but it’s way easier than you’ve been making it.

So literally, doing a little bit of research—research before the reach out—figuring out what that company or what that executive wants, needs, what they’re working on, what their problems are likely to be but we don’t know from the outside, what outcomes they want. Again, we can do some detective work, but we don’t know for sure until we invite them to a conversation.

So even just breaking that part down, Paul, I had no idea that this could be fun. Because, think about those two parts: invitation, conversation. No one’s afraid of an invitation. You’re not afraid of sending one. You’re not afraid of getting one. On the other end of an invitation is usually something good: party, cake, bourbon, puppies, who knows?

No one’s afraid of a conversation either. You go to a cocktail party, you go to a networking event, you have conversations, you meet new people, you get different perspectives. Perhaps you start a new friendship. Maybe that friend becomes a referral source or a strategic introducer. Maybe they become a client. Maybe they become a personal friend. Maybe they become your realtor and you’re buying a new house. It could be anything. So, people are generally not afraid of conversation. If we reframe the entire front end of the sales process as simply a series of invitations to a conversation, I think all the mystery and all the drama starts to go away.

Paul: Yeah. Oh, that’s great. I love how you word that—just an invitation, Because there’s so many possibilities that come along with an invitation, as you mentioned, could be bourbons, puppies. Love it. Absolutely love it. And then hopefully those good conversations can turn into a conversion of some sort. So, I do think, when we think about salespeople and how they initiate contact, oftentimes it’s from a seller-focused approach: I need to sell this, I need to do this, I need to hit my quota. And I love what you mentioned about really making it about that individual, their objectives, make it relevant to them.

And David, if you’re anything like me, I get bombarded with messages, all day, of people trying to sell me one thing or another. And I’m amazed the messages that I actually open are the ones that are more relevant to me. It’s very specific to my business or something that I’m trying to achieve. And so, from personal experience, anecdotally I can say what you just said works. It works on me. And that.

David: Absolutely. Absolutely right. And I think that’s another key indicator, Paul, is that think about, because every seller is also a buyer. Every seller is also a prospect. Whether it’s the connect-and-spam people on LinkedIn, whether it’s random cold emails that we get that are totally templatized and not personalized and not tailored in any way. You can tell they’ve done no research and you’re one of tens-of-thousands of people receiving these messages.

Think every piece of marketing and sales and prospecting content. A very simple test that will help you do better immediately: If I was on the receiving end of this, would I respond? And you have to, you have to really take off your salesperson hat and you have to put on your human-being-a-prospect hat. And you look at it, you’re like, “You know what? This is exactly the kind of thing that I wouldn’t respond to either.” So, then the question becomes, “Why are you sending it?”


Paul: Great point. You have to read it through the eyes of the prospect, hear it through their ears and see what your reaction would be. One thing I to build on that, I encourage salespeople when reaching out to top prospects—you have to, you have to read it through their eyes—but send it to your company’s executive. If you’re reaching out to an executive, talk to your company’s executive and say, “Hey, would you meet with me based on how this looks?” And be ready for an open and honest answer, but it’s going to help make you better.

David: Wow, that is a huge shortcut and a brilliant time saver. I’ve never heard of that strategy, but I love that, Paul. That’s genius.

Paul: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, one thing I hear from salespeople all the time is, “Man, I have trouble getting in front of my best prospects,” or “The best prospects I’m going after are everyone else’s best prospects.” So, it’s noisy. I’d love to hear your take on, okay, what’s a simple, repeatable process for getting in front of those top prospects. If we could build on that a little and just share your thoughts there.

David: Sure. So one of the mantras that I have in the Do it! Selling book is that the best of the best are the ones who invest. So, looking at, literally, the best companies to work for across all these different industries. There are Best Companies lists that are gold mines, and if you’re not looking at them, there’s Best Companies in every conceivable industry: banking, insurance, pharmaceutical, healthcare, accounting, professional services, whatever it is. There are regional/local/national lists. There are also lists like 40 under 40, 30 under 30, CEO of the year, CFO of the year, CIO of the year. And all of these people are recognized for being at the top of their profession or the top of their industry, or the top of their competitive marketplace.

When we try and sell to people who are starving, meaning they really, really, really have big problems and they desperately need what we do, I think a lot of the seasoned sellers listening to us, Paul, would agree that people that need us the most rarely buy. The people who buy first are the ones who are already on top of the game. And here’s the three magic phrases. When you reach out to them, they want to get ahead, stay ahead, and move ahead faster. So they’re already the market leaders; they’re already doing great. Now, I’m not saying go after the big, giant Fortune-500 companies. There are companies of every size and every demographic that are in that best of the best.

So let’s say you’re after small-to-medium-size manufacturers, small-to-medium-size wholesalers, small-to-medium-size distributors, whatever it might be. Look for the Best Of lists. Look for the 40 under 40, the 30 under 30 in those industry associations, those peer groups that they already belong to, and start intentionally building relationships with them. Whether that is personal outreach, whether that is finding the blogs, portals, forums, communities that they belong to, both online and offline. I sometimes encourage my clients, I say, “Well, you should accidentally on purpose bump into them at your local industry chapter event.” If it’s CPA’s—AICPA. If it’s manufacturers, it’s the local Manufacturer’s association. If it’s distributors, it’s the local Distributor’s association. So, whatever those trade and professional groups are, they have forums, they have blogs, they have Facebook groups, they have LinkedIn groups. If you suddenly start becoming a presence in those areas, both online and offline, you start adding value, you start answering questions. Then you take the online conversation offline with a very simple little note: Hey Paul, I noticed your comment in that LinkedIn group. Is that still a challenge for you? Is that still something that you’re working on? I have a couple of ideas that might help, and then we go from the group—the public—to the private.

One of the mantras that I also share is add value in public, invite the conversation in private. So don’t go to the blog, don’t go to the forum, don’t go to the community and say, “Hey, you wanna book a call?” Say, “Hey, I saw your post, I saw your question. Is this still something you’re working on? I have a couple of ideas that might be helpful. Would that be worth a chat?” And you will have more people to connect with than you ever imagined possible.

Paul: David, I love that. So many great nuggets there. Especially the first piece you mentioned, prospects that want to…

David: Get ahead. Stay ahead. Move ahead faster.

Paul: Absolutely. And that, you know, that’s the one thing I’ve seen as well, is that number two or three company on that list, they’re hungry to get to that number-one spot. That number-one spot is scared of losing that spot. And so they want to, they want to get there. In fact, there’s a guy at the gym right next to me. In his locker, he has his second place metal from finishing in racquetball last year. And I asked him, “Why do you keep that there?” He said, “It’s motivation to get better every time.” Companies are the same way. So, I love that. Great, great nuggets, great insight. Especially on, you know, building that familiarity. And, in some sense, when you can, accidentally/intentionally meet with those individuals at the forums, the events, as you mentioned, you’re building a level of familiarity with that prospect. That way it’s no longer a stranger that’s working out. You are making those connections within industries, adding value, and then making the request in private to meet it. Great ideas, great ideas. So this has never happened to me personally as a salesperson. My emails always get a response—NOT! Let’s be honest here. Everyone has been ignored via email, and that’s one thing. I tell salespeople, gosh, I’m still in sales. I would rather hear a quick no than a long silence any day of the week.

Let’s talk about that. I know in your book you talk about how to get those emails. How do you get a response? How do you prevent ’em from ignoring ’em? Maybe you could share a little bit with the audience on that.

David: Yeah, so I call this the dreaded disease of DPS: Disappearing Prospect Syndrome. And Paul, I’m sure you’ve seen this research. They have these big studies, buyer studies like buyer corporate executives who are buyers of products and services and industrial and B2B and B2C and all these different things. They asked, “What makes you want to meet with a salesperson?” The series of answers is “to learn something new about my industry,” “to find out what competitors are doing that I might not be aware of,” “to pick up on trends that might affect our future,” and “just to learn more about what’s going on in our space.” That was question number one.

Question number two in these far-reaching surveys is, “When do you stop engaging?” So in other words, when do you disappear? When do you stop engaging with a salesperson? Number one answer, no big surprise given question number one. Number one answer: “When I stop learning.” “When I stop learning anything, I figure, hey, I’m not going to go further with this person because I’ve sort of squeezed the juice out of what I want to find out.” And that’s it. So what does that say for our follow-up process? It needs to be valuable; it needs to be insightful, and it needs to have a strong education component. So, every single step, when you map out your follow-up process, have an arsenal of links, resources, eBooks, worksheets, quizzes, informational articles.

Some of these might come from your company. It’s better if they don’t all come from your company. So have some industry research, some industry assets, some industry resources that your prospect is likely to already be reading, recognizing, and respecting. So, trade publications, industry research, industry studies. All of these, Paul, all of these are available freely online because they’re gigantic consulting firms like McKinsey and Accenture and Bain and KPMG that do these industry reports all the time. CEO surveys, industry research, trend reports, all available for free at your fingertips.

Now, if your company also has some intellectual property, I would send a couple company links. I would send a couple of this outside research and say, “Hey Barbara, it was so great meeting with you last week. I just came across this industry research that reminded me of our conversation. Have a look at it and feel free to share it with the team.” And that’s your follow up. You’re not even saying, “Hey, can we get back on a call?” “Hey, circling back,” “Hey, just wanted to follow up.” “Hey, have you made a decision yet?” That is what I mean by they stop learning, and it’s a value-free follow up. You want value-rich follow up. And the reason you want value-rich follow up is because it keeps adding value even before money has changed hands. So when you act as a trusted advisor—regardless of your industry, whatever product or service you’re selling—when you act as a trusted advisor, you immediately stand head and shoulders above every other salesperson that they’ve ever contacted because now you’re no longer a salesperson. Now you’re an industry expert helping them solve an urgent problem or helping them get to an important outcome.

Paul: Powerful. David. That, I mean, that is just wonderful hearing about what they care about—trends. It’s educating. It is educating the entire way. Every follow up, every interaction. It’s not about selling, it’s really about providing insights. It’s about telling them something they didn’t know. It’s giving them some information that they can then share with their team. And it’s not about selling. It’s not about saying, “Hey, did you look at that proposal?” “Hey, do you have time to meet next week to follow up on our previous conversation?” It’s about educating. I love that. Excellent.

Speaking of, of education, adding value, you’ve done that quite extensively here today on just this short episode. Great insights from the beginning all the way to the end. But I did want to leave you just with one, I guess, one last question. You know, if we could take just one big concept away from all the great ideas you shared today, what would that be? What would be that big takeaway for the group?

David: An early sales mentor of mine, because I was so eager, I was, I had no clue about any of this. That, of course, now I’ve been enlightened. I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, but I had no idea about any of this. So I was a fierce student of sales. And one day he says to me, “David, you know, you’re so concerned about being a better salesperson. Don’t worry about that. Be a better person, and more sales will happen.” So that is a mantra that I have totally embraced, and that really runs through every strategy, every tactic, every framework that’s in the Do it! Selling book. Be a better person. In other words, be more curious, be more giving, be more caring, be more valuable. Be more relevant to your prospects and more sales will happen.

Paul: Love it. Great advice. Be a better person. I don’t think anyone could argue with that. David, it’s been a real pleasure having you on the show here today. If the Q and A Sales Podcast community wanted to reach out to you and connect with you and learn more about what you have to offer, how do they do that?

David: Sure. So a couple of resources. The Do It! Selling book is online at doitselling.com. And there’s also a whole bunch of free resources, worksheets, companion tools, training videos that come with that. We also have some free online training at doitmarketing.com/webinar, and we have a free 37 page PDF manifesto at duetmarketing.com/manifesto.

Paul: Excellent. Hey, well, thanks again for joining us on the show.

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