The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

3 Destructive Sales Mistakes and Ways to Avoid Them w/ Amy Volas

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

You’ve mastered your pitch but what about active listening or taking the focus off yourself?

We’ve all experienced cringeworthy sales behavior. And many, if we’re honest, have practiced it.

Cringe-inducing tactics make prospects want to get away. And the salespeople who practice them get burned out. Why? Well for one, they don’t understand their why.

And as Amy Volas joined me on this episode of the Sales Engagement Podcast to point out, they display 3 highly destructive sales mistakes.

Amy is the Founder and CEO of Avenue Talent Partners a zero-cringe recruiting company dedicated to helping businesses hire proven sales performers.

Sales has always been Amy’s first love, and there is no one better to highlight the traits that make the meaningful connections needed to close deals.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought to you by outreach dot ioh, the leading sales engagement platform helping companies, sellers and customer success engaged with buyers and customers in the modern sales era. Check out sales engagementcom for new episodes, resources and the book on sales engagement coming soon. Now let's get into today's episode. Hey everyone, thanks for joining us again on these sales engagement podcast. I'm your host, Joe Vignolo, senior content managing editor over at outreach, and we have a fantastic moment on the show today. We have ammy Volas, CEO and founder of Avenue Talent partners. She's going to be talking about some of the mistakes or errors salespeople make that blow deals, just make them implode right right there on the spot. She's gonna lay down the law for us. But before we get into that, I'm going to toss it on over to you, amy, who can't introduce ourselves, tell us a little bit about her background and what she doing over at how a new talent partners amy, they should be on the show today. Thank you, Joe, and thanks for the opportunity. Like we're just talking about you and I go way back before outreach days, so it's lovely to be able to talk about this stuff. So for me, I like to say this because it's the easiest way to describe it. Sales is my first business love. I've been doing it since I started working, always enterprise sales. I go way back, act before the segmentation of sales happened. So I've been my own Syar, I've been my own account manager, I have led teams and mostly enter price sales, and that led me into the startup world, which is my second business love, and I've been part of startups where I've always been the Guinea pig or the first enterprise sell or the first person to do whatever. And through that I have been part of startups that did something really big, that Unicorn status, and some that didn't go so well. And so all of that, spent a lot of my time in...

...the HR tech and recruitment industry and lots of common themes about quantity versus quality, if I'm a hiring manager, and how do I get it right and how do I spend my time wisely, and that was always a common theme, regardless of industry. Or startup or big company or whatever it was that had a major impression on me. And then the flip side of that is really around candidate experience and me being personally approached by a key recruiters, internal and external, mind you. And if I was going to do something that it would need to fix something or make it better, and that was really my mission for when I started this three years ago. So I work with startups, Duh, shockingly, to help build their sales teams. And Yeah, that's that's our mission here at ATP. That's awesome that you've been on both sides right. So you've been the seller and now you're helping hire good sales people for companies, especially startups, and so I think that's a fantastic life mission of yours and I can, I'm sure that our listeners can agree to both of your first and second loves, because that's kind of our wheelhouse audience here. So you said something about the kind of pricked my interest or piqued my interest about Ikey, ikey recruiters. What are some of like the really terrible things you've seen recruiters do? Some of like the just like, Oh, you want to take a shower? After you get a message from them. It's funny. I see it all the time one of my clients, I've been working with him for a year and a half. He will forward me all their messages. He's like please, don't ever leave me just the same stuff that we see in sales of just pitching, of just like this a key. It doesn't eat. I see that your hiring engineers and my guy is over sales, right, because like this has nothing to do with me, or sending blind resumes of people that have nothing to do with their business or their early stage start up in this person has worked at Oracle...

...their entire career. Just the things that don't make sense and it's like if I throw enough at something, it's a numbers game and something will stick. That's really the just ikey behavior of it's like it's all about me, it's what I want. I'm just looking at this as a quick fix, commission check, and I act that way very similarly to what I see in terms of what we're going to talk about, the bad sales behavior that happens. So it's very synonymous to both both buckets. Well, let's hop in to those bad sales behaviors that you've seen. We've talked previously and you have three kind of core things that you've seen sales people do that just destroy ideals. Can you walk us through those? Yes, and since I think we talked about it, there's so there's just so many. So top of mind for me. I think I'm a big believer of what you put into something is what you get out of it. And it's very, very obvious to a buyer when you have not done any work up front to understand why you're coming down their street and you're just pitching or you're just emailing or you're just talking at them. So first and foremost it's understanding who is your buyer? Why are you going down their street doing some of that homework and being able to connect the dots. That's one. The other is it's all about you and nothing about them, and it's very clear that when you're communicating with them, you could care less about anything that they have going on because you just want to get them through your own process. And I think the third is you don't listen everything that they're telling you. Right it just sort of goes in one year and out the other and you're so hell bent on getting through what your pitch is, what your script is, what you're there to do, that you've lost this amazing opportunity to really make a meaningful connection. Well, let's talk about that first one about can you doing your homework and finding that relevant research to kind of improve the chances of making connection? What are some...

...of the things you see are very successful that really build that bond quickly? And then where can you find the information? How can you apply it? Yeah, so I don't think it has to be that you have to have a full annual report on the person that you know like the back of your hand. But the best sellers that I see stay on top of the overall market place. So they've done a really good job before they even get into the tactical outreach. No Pun intended of things, but they know who their buyer is, they know the market place that they live and they know what's happening in that market place and it's just sort of second nature because they're curious about what's happening in their world. So most sales teams have things segmented out, whether it be by vertical or by whatever the case may be, and that helps you really be able to be prepared in a better way of staying on top of things. How you can do that linkedin navigator. Big Fan of it. You can set up all sorts of things with save leads. They've saved accounts and get notifications on what's happening. I'm a huge fan of nudge. I have lists set up where, for the people that I'm really trying to pay attention to the most, it helps me, what, understand what's happening in their social feeds, what's happening with their companies. There's other tools out there, like with discover organ such, where you can really map out an organization and get notifications on if they get fonding, if something's happening, if there's a move, if there's leadership changes. All of those triggers are what the best sellers look for in terms of is there an event that's happening that inspires conversation? That, coupled with for your key accounts that you want to go after, the people that you're trying to engage with, what are they talking about? What's the content that they're consuming and sharing? Is Their content that they may not even be thinking about, that maybe their biggest competitor that you're doing business with is simming and talking about and being able to share that in a really meaningful way that's about them, to help them, not about you. I think that's great way. We did something similar. I wasn't always a content marketer. I was in journalism for a long time...

...and you know, you always there's always this massive story of the day, the big headline, and then you find kind of little answillary you news Jack on the on the national story, you find like a local angle on stuff like that. So I think it's very similar. It's you kind of having the pulse of the industry that you're trying to sell into, just being knowledgeable and finding ways to kind of connect the dots. So I think that's that's a great advice. How much does empathy play a role in avoiding some of these mistakes? I know you have a strong opinion on can we're empathy plays in the selling process. Empathy plays a huge part in it right. So I think it's about making human connections and as much as I love technology and as much as I think that it's here to enable us to create efficiency it, it's not there to replace the human connection and the best way to do that is to have empathy is to realize that I'm dealing with a human that I really want to do business with. And I think it goes back foundationally, Joe, to the fact of the matter of why am I working for this company right, like, do I really believe in what I'm doing, because if I do, I'm going to be able to exude that sort of human connection of I care, like what I'm doing actually can help you. But before you even get to that point, what's important to you? I really want to get to know you own appeal back those layers. I want to understand the how's, the why is, the what's of what. It's not always the pain, but it's what's important to you. Right, what's going on in your world? I think when you lead with that foot of genuine curiosity of what do you care about? What is happening? What is on your task list? What are your priorities? What are you charged with? Where is the visibility in the Organization for you? If I can pinpoint those things back to you, then really talk about that, like so, Hey, active listening. I heard that you said this and it's funny because, you know what, I just had that conversation five minutes ago and here's how they're solving for it. What do you think about that? And then you shut up, you listen and then you really hear what they're going through...

...and be able to acknowledge that in embrace that and have that is fuel for your fire as you go through the buyer journey. That's gold. That's like when it it's as good as it'll ever be. So yes, empathy like number one. Check, check, check, check, check. Love it. So I love it too. I love the fact that you're advising the people make these real meaningful connections and find things that are actually relevant to talk about. But then the other side of me is like, okay, this sounds like it would work pretty well and you could scale it somewhat for enterprise sales. You know where you are going, after these massive whales that you know it's going to take a long time to land, and you really want to get in and build relationships with these people. What about these smaller startups, maybe Sass, that just want need to like turn and burn? How can they kind of balance that that time commitment, that that is needed to build a meaningful connection with kind of their numbers that they just have to hit yeah, so I think that that goes back to a different element of when you're setting up your sales team and you're incentivising them. Right, I'm a big fan of whatever it is that you're trying to do in the way that you pay somebody's to incentivize the behavior that you want to see. I think that we're getting it wrong, a little bit of putting the pressure cooker on for activities that promotes a lot of that just bicky stuff. And I don't care if it's a start up or if it's a huge ender price company. And yes, I skewed to enterprise, so people are going to give me flak for this. Bring it on. You can still do this in a much more transactional SMB way. Maybe it's not the super high touch. I read this thing, you said, this thing, you did, this thing, you're doing this thing. It could be much more about what's happening in their market place and these are the things that are going on, and is this keeping you up at night? So less about just we're awesome and we have this accolate and we are on the magic heart quadrant for Gartner, whatever it might be, it can be a simple is this a priority for you...

...because this is what's happening in the market place and here's how we're helping solve this. Should be a chat, as simple as that. You can put that into a cadence and you can personalize it a little bit more than that, but it's not the heavy lifting that maybe I do in my enterprise sales career that you have to do to really stand out. You can still do it, and so if you kind of nail down some good messaging that applies to an industry as a whole, you can probably reuse that that for multiple contact within an account. You can. Yeah, absolutely, you just need to make sure that it's sticky. It's like content right, like let's let's reverse it around, the content that does the best, that has the most reach, where you see thousands of likes and it goes viral. That's reaching the masses, but it pulls on the strings internally of what speaks to me, of what I can identify with. And so if you're reversing that and thinking about because an emails content, right, it's just a different kind of content. If you're thinking about it that way, it's like, what are the things if I were receiving this email. Would it pull me? Would it moved me? Would it make me want to take some sort of action, or is it the slimy, snoozefest right to spam? Here's who I am, my name is this. How are you to day like all that just fluffy, gross stuff, get to the heart of the matter of what's happening in their world? If you think about it, less mean more them. That's a really good guide as you're writing an email of why they would take action, to be compelling to them, and this kind of seguages nicely. And do my next question. You also talked a lot about integrity. Yes, how does that play a role in all of this? Well, I think you either have a moral compass or you don't. Write. There are lots of people that take lots of shortcuts and it ultimately if you want to do things in a shady, bad way. I'm a big believer that it always comes back and it'll bite you. It's like a boomerang. So...

I think if you're really trying to be in sales for the long haul and you don't want just to burn out, as they say, it's the golden rule and I live by that everything that I do. When I go to bed at night, I feel good about what I've done. Maybe I push the envelope, maybe I have a tough conversation. I did a podcast with someone that I know personally really, really well and he described me as your really hardcore and it as you see it, and I'm like I do. But I always disclaim that and it comes from a loving place and I think anybody that knows me knows that I really care. And then I will never cut corners to take a short cut for my own benefit, just to pad my wallet. I've been incredibly successful in my own sales career and even at ATP because I want to do the right thing and I lead with that foot in the success will always follow. And so I think it's about reverse engineering. If I were on the other side of things, how would I want to be treated? What would I like? What would I gravitate towards? What would turn me off? I mean I always think about what what makes me of that cringe factor where I'm like, I don't want to be that person. So I think when it comes to integrity, ask yourself those questions. Do you want to be that person? What does that person look like when it's happened to you. What did you like, what didn't you like, and model yourself after that. And obviously this is a trait that you do find in successful sales people that you place a companies. What are some of the other things that tail people can work on the make them stand out, that make them good candidates for sales jobs? Just high level, just a few things people can be like. All right, if I work on that today, I make myself more marketable. Yep, I think being able to tell your own story and a very succinct and specific way. Lots of sales people, even the most season people, people that I've worked with that kill it, don't know how to tell their story. They don't know how to connect the dots, they don't know the specifics of their numbers and that...

...it's not just about the numbers, it's how did you do that right? So you've got to think about the how's, the wise the W's and be able to sound bite that in a really dynamic way. So that's one. The other is if you really pay attention to the person that's interviewing you and it's a good interview in terms of it's a person that cares about what's happening and they're telling you about their business and you just lays over. You don't do anything with that information to weave it in through the interview of why you're interested, what you can do. You're doing yourself a disservice and chances are you're not going to get the job. And the other thing is it is every single this is the number one piece of advice that I cannot emphasize enough to anybody that's listening to this. Please everyone, listen up. This is important and every single step of the interview, phone, video, in person, email, whatever it may be, the number one thing that my clients think of. There's two things behind the scenes. Do I like this person? Do I want them on the team? And two, can I put them in front of my customer and whether they disarm you, make you feel super comfortable or whatever the case may be. They're always thinking that and people get really comfortable and they say and do things that are crazy that you've never do in front of a client. You've got to remember that. They're always evaluating how you're writing your follow up emails, what you're doing to prepare for that presentation, how you're preparing for the interview in general and if you just skate it and wing it and just sort of like do it without any sort of thought or paying attention to the details, it comes through and you'll get yourself knocked right out of the process there. And that's a masterful takeaway there, and it maybe me immediately start thinking about people that I've worked with in the past. Mean, like, I don't know how this person ever got hired, you know, like they do something crazy in the office but then like, you know, somehow put on a mask and become like this model employee, but but like the that integrity is missing. You know, they're...

...just winging it essentially. So I think that's that's a fantastic takeaway. Ay, if people wanted to get a hold you learn more about you or ATP how can they do that? Best for do that my website, so avenue Tom Partnerscom. I am also all over Linkedin, as you know, Joe, all the time look up Amy Bullis. I think I'm the only one, and all my contact information is there as well. Fantastic. Thank you so much for me on the show today. Amy. Welcome. Thanks, Joe. This was awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in once again, and we will see you next time on the sales engagement podcast. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes, resources and the book on sales engagement coming soon. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out outreach die I oh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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