#75: Listen as Andy Paul, host of the “Sales Enablement Podcast” and author of the upcoming book, “Sell Without Selling Out,” discusses the human side of selling in Part 2 of our interview. He covers what training works best for new hires and why starting with a humanistic approach is ideal.
Listen to the episode by clicking play below OR search “the sales lift” wherever you get podcasts.
Check out the full transcript of this episode below:
The Sales Lift Podcast
How to Sell Without Selling Out (Part 2) w/ Andy Paul
Hosted by: Tyler Lindley
[00:00:00] Tyler Lindley: Hey Sales Lift Nation it's your host, Tyler Lindley. Today, we have part two of my interview with Andy Paul. If you haven't already checked out part one, please go back to episode 74 that we released last week. And this is part two of our episode, episode 75. So let's pick up where Andy Paul and I left off and talking about his brand new book "Sell Without Selling Out.".
[00:00:23] Andy Paul: I told the story, it was my first sales job out of college. I was. Roomful of computer equipment to companies in the construction business, all for accounting applications. When going out and talking to these very successful CEOs and entrepreneurs that started these construction companies, trying to sell them an accounting system, basically for their business, computerized their accounting operations.
I knew nothing about business, but I wanted to learn and they could sense that I wanted to learn the questions I asked. And indication of that. In retrospect, I look at it and say, okay, at the time I was 21, I looked 16. I was talking to these very successful business people. I was like, why did they invest time in me?
Why did they give me their attention? Why do they end up buying from me? And it really came down from and making this connection and being absolutely sincere and being interested in learning about them, deploying my curiosity, making sure that I really understood what was most important to them and then see how I could help them get it.
It was no more complex than. And your
[00:01:18] Tyler Lindley: mind, how do you pivot from that connection to the curiosity? Are they intertwined? Are they the same thing basically? Or what's the distinction between the two?
[00:01:26] Andy Paul: The curiosity is more about questioning. You're just, you're learning. You're trying to gather information.
You're going to use questions obviously to connect with people. Cause you're gonna be asked questions about them and what they're interested in, where you might find some common ground. With them that forms the basis for further interaction. But there's also a question in there that the buyers ask you and it's never asked out loud or rarely asked out loud.
Sometimes it is, but the buyer's wondering why you, why should I invest my time in you? Why should I trust you? Why should I believe you? And not a list of questions. I have that in the book. I have a list of questions that I'll start with the word, why and end with the word you. Say look, just take the middle words out.
And the fact is that every day in every walk of life, we're being asked this question, why you, and this is where the first question we have to answer for the buyer. And we answered that through operating with integrity, make sure our motivations are abundantly clear to the buyer that we act in alignment with those motivations actions are alignment with those motivations that demonstrate our competence and are willing to live up to our commitments.
You can do that then to build that trust is really you're given permission by the buyer. Really stick your nose into their business. That's a way to think about, I can ask you questions or I want to really stick my nose into your business and that's permission that your buyers I'm going to, I answer every question just cause you're asking,
[00:02:46] Tyler Lindley: it sounds like though that questions are at the heart of this entire philosophy, this selling in the strata.
It's all about the questions that we ask and the way in which we layer those questions. There are questions that we need to connect. There are questions that we need to be curious to understand, and then to be generous, we need to be asking the right questions throughout the entire process. And it's basically, if.
Better questions, the right question at the right time, that can prove why you to answer that. Why you question our questions can be why you, if we're asking the right one. So some
[00:03:17] Andy Paul: large degree, that's absolutely true because yeah, you never stop asking questions right. Throughout the entire process. And again, I get asked about this a fair amount, and I said, let me just tell you why this is important is too many, because we have these call them archaic linear stage based sales processes that we follow, which are fundamentally unchanged for.
50 60, 70 years as we put things in the boxes in the way that they don't, it's not the way the human works, not the way people work. If you assume that your prospect is a static target, meaning that when you have your first conversation with them about what they think their requirements are and what they think their desired outcomes are.
And if you are selling to that static target, then that's going to be problematic. If instead you understand that as they go through their buying. The buyer gets educated and gets, I won't say smarter, but it will use the word smarter about what the problem really is, what the ramifications, so not solving it is.
And it gets smarter about, oh, what can we actually achieve? Then you need to keep they evolve their needs change. You need to keep asking questions to make sure you're aligned with where they're going. And this is a common failing. I said, we're not training the sellers that look, this is what you ask at the biggest.
Can we be different as later on, because you need to keep uncovering what's happening. And so Gardner addressed this and had the study that a few years ago, by our enablement and the classic, they called their spaghetti diagram, showing the buyer typical buyer journey B to B buyer journey. And it was a complex flow chart, but one of the key features as it would recur because as they learn something new, they might go back and reevaluate the requirements.
Yes, we establish our requirements, but oh, we learned something new or we talked to a new vendor, we had a new stakeholder get involved. That gives a new perspective. We're back at the beginning, but if you're just plugging ahead, punching your head, you're thinking, okay, I know what they want. It's like, no, they've changed.
They have to be alert to that. Um, do you
[00:04:59] Tyler Lindley: think that happens often, Andy, where buyers change throughout the process where they will look something. And it will force you to go back and reevaluate the buyers, going back and reevaluating. And if you're not, then you've missed an opportunity to uncover and understand, and your competition might be doing that while you're over here in stage four of the process thinking, man, this one looks great, probably going to close this quarter, 75% chance.
Exactly. We're into the closing stages here. It's in proposal. That means 80%, right? 70%. Whereas your competitor might be. Like you mentioned earlier. One thing that stuck with me earlier, you said is we should never stop doing discovery. If you don't look at discovery as a box, you check. And then I move on to the next stage of the sales process.
But as something that is basically overlaying on the entire sales process, then you might. Those opportunities to go back and revisit and understand more about their situation when things change based on new information they have. If
[00:05:53] Andy Paul: there's this belief, I think on some people's part partner, we hear a lot about insight selling.
We're selling with insights, this pre-packaged commercial insights as like sure. But we tend to throw those into the front of the sales cycle, or actually I think it's the spontaneous insight that you collectively arrive at together later in the sales process. That are the most impactful and they're not going to happen.
If you stop asking questions, you have these, Epiphanes the aha moments as you're working with the customer and you keep inquiring and keep digging and you keep trying to understand better than suddenly. It's like, oh no, we haven't thought of that. I can't tell you how many times that happened in my career.
I was like, Oh, yeah. Yeah. I was like, ah,
[00:06:31] Tyler Lindley: yeah, versus trying to put almost a pre-canned insight, inserting that at the beginning of the process and thinking, okay, we're insight selling now. And now let me move on and check my boxes throughout the
[00:06:41] Andy Paul: process. Now they understand how smart we are because we gave them this insight right at the beginning.
[00:06:46] Tyler Lindley: smart. It wasn't that insight. And so insightful. Wasn't that insightful?
[00:06:49] Andy Paul: Yes.
[00:06:51] Tyler Lindley: Aren't you ready to buy from me?
[00:06:54] Andy Paul: And you're nailing it on the head. And I talked about this in the book to us, the best insights you're going to get are the ones based on the questions. You ask questions that trigger insights on the part of the buyer from not having to think about it are infinitely more powerful and impactful than the prepackage ones you deliver at the beginning, because that's just human nature.
It's like, oh yeah. We always think about the power coming through your question. So if you're. I have questions that you ask. I call these insight questions, not surprisingly that forced the buyer to think about the business. There are things about their buyers business that they reasonably should be expected to know, but possibly don't, those are much more powerful than asking a, providing an insight because then you're coming up with this thing together.
It's the buyer like? Oh, got it. Wow. That's a great question. You're really smart for asking that we like these people. It's bad way of building value because you're helping them uncover so many of these things. Cause you don't know the answer. Right. This is circus back to the heart of the matter is that every customer is unique and different.
Yes. They fit certain personas. They're in certain industries, but if you treat them as they're just like the other people, and when you asked me this question, I'm going to give you this answer. And you're not really making an effort to really understand. Um, you're going to miss an opportunity.
[00:08:09] Tyler Lindley: I think that's a trap that a lot of sellers fall into because we do harp a lot on the ICP and the buyer persona.
And how does this person fit? Which I think those are great exercises for our organization to go through. But I think as sellers, we sometimes fall into the trap that, oh, I've heard that one. I understand exactly what they mean. Oh, I heard that last week. I don't need to understand anymore because I already know.
I know, versus. Asking the follow-up questions to beta, better understand how is it specific to this individual? How are they different from that prospect last week? How is this going to blow up? How is this fundamentally different? Cause it always is. Every situation
[00:08:43] Andy Paul: is unique. My definition of business acumen for sellers is not understanding how one situation.
Just like another, it's understanding how this situation is different than the others. Understanding that difference is an opportunity. This is the thing that I think sellers don't understand this, this seems like more work. If you have to keep asking questions, but the more understanding you have the buyer.
It's an opportunity for you. It's an opportunity to spot ways, opportunities to help the buyer that you may have not recognized before. And if you gave up too soon, you're just in the transactional commodity sale because let's face it. Most of us deal in industries increasingly these days where our products aren't a lot different than anybody else's as much as we think they're great products, the differences between them are pretty narrow.
And what are the points of differentiation it's you as a seller and it's how you help the buyer identify their most important. And how you help them get it.
[00:09:34] Tyler Lindley: I'm glad you brought a business acumen too, because I hear that question posed a lot in sales is I need more business acumen. I need to have more business acumen in order to be a successful seller.
It sounds like it's how you sell. Can almost reveal that business acumen, the understanding part of your four core attributes that is business acumen. It's just understanding
[00:09:54] Andy Paul: the whole understanding. I think too many sellers think I need to have all the answers. And when you think of all the answers.
Then selling becomes more of a zero sum game because I'm going to persuade you. I understand the answers. I'm going to persuade you to buy my product. And at the heart of persuasion is like sensor of the zero sum game. I'm right. You're wrong because I'm going to persuade you to change your mind about that.
Not a very productive way to go about things it's never the case. You shouldn't feel compelled to have the answers, which should feel compelled. As of the curiosity to ask the question. And buyers' value of the questions more than the value of your answers, just to feel comfortable, that you feel comfortable, that you can ask questions.
And as long as you're sincerely interested, people can sense that as long as I don't think you're just going through the motions, but you really want to learn about them. Yeah. You don't need to have all the answers. You're learning through experience. The more you sell you'll gather more information so that your baseline level of understanding and acumen goes up.
I think for many sellers, I would say as a precursor, is that invest time, just learning about business independent of your selling is learn about business. Learn how to read financial statements, learn how to Republic filings for public companies, learn how a company operates. What does basic functions like company and what does receivables and payables do under operations do?
And if you're manufacturing company, what does a manufacturing manager do? All the functions, educate yourself about that, and just educate yourself about how a company makes. Including your own company, your employer, and learn how you can ask the questions to help you to surface that when you're talking to your buyers, then you start giving yourself a better base on which to build your Ackman.
Cause you understand business. I think this is a shortcoming that exists in sales is we bring tons and tons of college, new grads in every year. They don't understand business. Why should they? I love
[00:11:31] Tyler Lindley: it. When a new seller like that, like you mentioned, the college grads. I love it. When they asked the question, how does this company make money?
Cause you can feel the wheels turning. As to, they're trying to understand that question is truly, I need to understand how we get from point a to point B. Exactly. Because it's not always clear. How does Amazon make money? Obviously they sell a lot of things, but they have their hands in a lot of cookie jars, or just unorthodox business models.
How do these new business models that are cropping up all the time? How do you make money? If you don't truly understand that? How can you ask any of these questions? How can you seek to understand. But I don't dress
[00:12:03] Andy Paul: this specifically in the book, but I've written a fair amount about it. As you deal with companies, you work with the SDR world in your professional life is how many employers are enabling their new sellers with just pure business education.
Very few are razor thin layer companies are doing it, and we wonder why the job is hard. Being an SDR. That's tough job. Any entry-level sales job is a tough job. It's tough for a number of reasons. One is that job would be a lot easier for 40 year old, with 20 years of experience and greater maturity in life.
And that's why I urge companies to hire old SDRs because they might do a better job at it and find another entry-level role for new sellers. But given that's not gonna happen. Let's do a better job of finding SDRs, just as basics in business. And we're going to throw them into a sales world. Or an addition I advocate is we think that new sellers coming into the business world know how to connect with another human being.
And we're asking them to do it in a way in sales, that SIM person to person synchronously, oftentimes where a lot of our sellers coming into the world on the sales world now have subsisted largely on asynchronous message. With their friends and the way that people they know it's through social it's through texting it's through and they just don't know.
Right. That's okay.
[00:13:16] Tyler Lindley: It's a different language.
[00:13:17] Andy Paul: It's a different language. I'd say let's teach them to be human before we try to teach them how to be sellers.
[00:13:23] Tyler Lindley: I totally agree.
[00:13:24] Andy Paul: Yeah, it's a part that's missing and we wonder why they struggle. We wonder why I have high churn. Because they're doing an SDR role now, or I started 600 years ago and selling is for the first year I was out making in-person 30 to 40 cold calls a day, drive to an office park and park my car and go door to door, to door, to door, to door.
It's hard. It's just hard work. Many people abandon it. We're not going to get rid of the hard part, but we can make it easier to some degree by giving people the tools. And we're just not doing it. That's great. Wants, almost train them of sellers. Give them the basic human skills first, understand how to make a connection.
Do you understand how to deploy your curiosity? Do you understand what it means to reach this level of understanding? Do you understand business just basic business, as we talked about before at a month onto your onboarding program, two months into your onboarding program will be worth it. It'll be worth it.
I hate that. I say that because we're not getting payback in 12 weeks. We need to get rid of these people. No, invest a little bit more people stick around. You'll more likely earn your investment back. They've made it in these people because they're
[00:14:26] Tyler Lindley: going to stick around. I totally agree. Andy really appreciate the conversation.
If my listeners want to find out more about you and the book, how can they do so?
[00:14:35] Andy Paul: Go to Andy paul.com and we have bonuses for people on a pre-order the book or in pre-order mode. We'll start delivering the book on February 22nd, 20, 20 soon. And meantime, come to Andy paul.com and you can download a free chapter.
And if you liked that, then pre-order the book. And we have bonuses for people. The pre-order we're also in January, starting our launch team for. Really interested in supporting the message of the book and want to help us get the word out stuff on that. So you can contact me through LinkedIn the best way I'm all over there.
[00:15:04] Tyler Lindley: Perfect. Okay. So we'll link to your LinkedIn, Andy paul.com and then look out for these sell without selling out book coming out in February of 22. Thank you so much for coming on. I had a blast learned a lot myself and I look forward to having you on at some point in the future. I'd love
[00:15:18] Andy Paul: do that. And you did a great job.
Thank you for having me. Thanks Sandy.
[00:15:24] Tyler Lindley: Thank you so much for listening to today's show, you can find all the links discussed and the show firstname.lastname@example.org. That's the T H E sales, S a L E S. Lift L I F T. Dot com have questions for me, email email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you back here next week, and we hope today's show brings you the sales lift.
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Don’t feel like listening? Read the Episode Cliff Notes instead below:
Demonstrating Expertise and Integrity (0:22)
Starting strong comes down to making a connection, being sincere, and having a genuine interest in learning about them.
Make sure you understand what is most important to them and see how you can help them get it.
Curiosity is more about questioning; you’re learning and gathering information. But there’s also a question the buyers ask, and it’s rarely asked aloud.
We answer it through operating with integrity, making sure our motivations are abundantly clear to the buyer that we act in alignment with those motivations and demonstrate our competence.
Then you need to keep them by evolving as their needs change.
Understanding Uniqueness (5:45)
Look for opportunities to go back, revisit, and understand more about your buyer’s situation when things change based on new information.
The spontaneous insight that we collectively arrive at later in the sales process is the most impactful.
Now the buyer understands how smart we are because we gave them insight right at the beginning and evolved it to meet their needs.
Questions that trigger insights on the buyer’s part are infinitely more powerful and impactful than the pre-packaged ones we deliver at the beginning.
The heart of the matter is that every customer is unique and different, so their answers and needs will all be different.
Andy’s definition of business acumen for sellers is not understanding how one situation is different from another. Understanding that difference is an opportunity.
New Hires and Training (9:46)
Too many sellers think they need to have all the answers right away. And when you think of all the answers, selling becomes more of a zero-sum game because you will persuade people to buy.
That’s not a very productive way to go about things, and you shouldn’t feel compelled to have the answers.
For many sellers, learning about business independent of your selling is learning about business. Learn how to read financial statements, Republic filings for public companies, and how a company operates.
Being an SDR or any entry-level sales job is a tough job. Andy urges companies to hire old SDRs because they might do a better job and find another entry-level role for new sellers.
It’s a different language, so teach your new hires to be human before you try to teach them how to be sellers.
Andy’s hit “Accelerate Your Sales” podcast was acquired by ringDNA in 2020. Since re-named “Sales Enablement with Andy Paul”, the show continues to inspire thousands of sales professionals each week. Andy has also written two award-winning sales books, “Zero-Time Selling” and “Amp Up Your Sales”.
He is ranked #8 on LinkedIn’s list of Top 50 Global Sales Experts. And he has consulted with some of the biggest businesses in the world including Square, Philips, Grubhub, and more, making him one of the leading voices in the sales industry today.