embrace the early “no” in your deals 😱

Transparent sales process - working together
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Hey there 👋

Currently writing from sunny SF, where I’ve had a blast checking out SaaStr and meeting up with customers & old friends!

Remote work is amazing, but IRL energy can’t be beat. It always feels easier to communicate and gauge feelings, interest, etc in person vs Zoom… my back & neck are also thanking me.

...Which reminds me of another sales communication breakdown I’ve been thinking about lately: You & your buyer might both speak English, but you could still have a language barrier problem. 🙊

Skip Miller (one of my fav sales coaches) explains it like this – imagine your buyers are divided into 3 groups, and each speak a totally different language:

🇪🇸 1st level decision makers (managers) speak Spanish

🇷🇺 2nd level (VPs) speak Russian

🇬🇷 3rd level (C-level execs) speak Greek

They all want to solve a key problem that your product could help with… but each group’s “why”, the things they care about, and the value they’re looking for is completely different.

And if you’re speaking Spanish to someone who actually speaks Greek, you’re going to miss a required stakeholder group. 🙅

That’s why effective discovery throughout the ENTIRE sales process, with EVERYONE involved – not just the first call with your champion – is so crucial.

Your job as a seller is to be a consultant, see the big picture, and make sure the value you’re communicating is in the same language as the people you’re talking to:

🔍 Ask each stakeholder new questions about what they uniquely care about

❌ Stop replaying what you heard on that first call

👂 Sit back and listen!

In the end, you should be able to describe the problem better than anyone else at their company, because you’ve heard all the perspectives objectively.

- Ross

Pictured: meeting old & new friends (and some very good pups) at SaaStr 🐶

newsletter pic 091522

PS – I’m digging into how to do great discovery & up-level your sales execution TODAY with sales leaders from Navattic, Nayya, & Harmonic Labs.

Missed your chance to sign up? No worries – register & I’ll share the replay. :)

In this newsletter:

  • How to scale the success of your top reps
  • Embracing the early “no” in your deals (with the help of MAPs)
  • 2 must-read books for every sales leader

💪 Get every rep on your team performing like your best rep

One of the hardest parts of scaling sales at startups?

Building a 10/10 team – and maintaining that 10/10 standard as you grow. 🥇

Every rep has their strengths and their areas to improve on. The key is identifying those strengths and successes, and building processes around them so the rest of your team can easily replicate.

Join me for a masterclass next week on how to identify, standardize, and scale the success of your top reps! 🚀

I’ll chat with the one & only Pete Kazanjy (CRO & Co-Founder at Atrium) and Todd Busler (Co-Founder at Champify) and answer your questions about how to get every rep performing like your best rep.

RSVP to join us live or get the replay!

🙅 Embrace the early “no” in your sales cycle

The #1 reason sales leaders say their AEs don’t use mutual action plans?

They’re afraid of getting a “no”. 😱

Many reps are worried about having direct conversations with buyers about timeline, stakeholders, and what it actually takes to make a decision about their product – in fear of rejection and a closed-lost deal.

But every successful seller knows that the early “no” is the second best thing to a “yes" and one of the key benefits of using MAPs!

Plus – qualified, ICP buyers who are serious about using your solution will APPRECIATE the heck out of the guidance & clarity that MAPs provide. 😇

So how can sellers get past this fear?

Here are a few best practices for introducing Mutual Action Plans:

Tip 1 👉 Share your MAP once you have a stakeholder/champion who’s bought in and wants to move forward with exploring your solution.

Don’t share your MAP too late in the process – or too early.

After your champion agrees to move forward, the MAP will help you both stay on track and see everything that needs to happen before a purchase decision.

Tip 2 👉 Introduce the MAP when you’re on a live call with your buyer (NOT via email!)

Context is key here. If you just email a link to your MAP, your buyer is much less likely to understand the benefits or engage with it.

That’s why it’s critical to walk through it together, so you can explain what it is and why it’ll be helpful (and get their feedback live).

Tip 3 👉 Be flexible!

If you’re worried about your buyer pushing back, remember this:

MAPs aren’t supposed to be about imposing YOUR process on buyers – it’s meant to open things up and help you understand your BUYER’S process & requirements.

Share the typical steps you see buyers go through, then ask for their input. Add, remove, & edit steps as needed.

Get more Mutual Action Plan tips here (plus a replay of our recent MAP masterclass with 30MPC’s Nick Cegelski!) 💥

📚 What we’re reading

📕 The Transparency Sale by Todd Caponi

Honestly, I’ve probably recommended this a bunch of times. 😅 But it’s one of my all-time favs and something I believe EVERY sales rep & leader needs to read. To sum up: honesty with buyers → closed-won deals.

📗 Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive & Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Not entirely sales-focused, but definitely valuable for sales. This book helps you transform the way you communicate – making the ideas and messages you share with prospects, customers, colleagues, etc become “stickier” and more successful. 🌟

Thanks for reading From Vendorship → Partnership 👋  How are you liking this newsletter? Any changes you’d like to see? Hit reply to let me know!

Ross Rich (CEO and Co-founder)

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