My good friend Mark Hunter (AKA “The Sales Hunter”) stops in for a phenomenal conversation about his new book, A Mind for Sales. Listen and learn why Mark thinks mindset is the biggest difference between an average salesperson and a peak performer, and why you should never allow the past to impact how you feel about you next sales activity.
Andy Paul: Mark, welcome back to the show.
Mark Hunter: Thank you for having me on. It’s always great to talk with you.
Andy Paul: It’s always a pleasure to talk with you. And I know you, you’re probably high on the leaderboard in terms of repeat appearances on the show. So not quite like Saturday Night Live, where we bring out the custom made blazer for you, but, uh, we’ll come up with something
Mark Hunter: Can I at least stop by the gift shop and pick up something for free or what?
Andy Paul: Next time you’re in New York, swing on by.
Mark Hunter: You got it. Okay.
Andy Paul: Alright. So, uh, you’ve got a new book coming out.
Mark Hunter: Yeah. Yeah.
Andy Paul: Called A Mind for Sales. So first question has to be is, do you have a mind for sales?
Mark Hunter: Well, wait a minute. Hold on, hold on. Wait a minute. That’s not a question. Yeah. You Know what’s funny is I never actually come out and answer that very specific question, but I define sales: sales is helping others see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible.
Andy Paul: Right. You do that in the book? Yes.
Mark Hunter: And if you’re not willing to do that, then you can’t even begin to think that you have a mind for sales. Um, so anyway, but, um, but yeah, I mean, yeah,
Andy Paul: Isn’t that one of the disconnects in sales is that, that people really perhaps have the wrong sense of mission. And so when we look at performance issues sort of more broadly across the sales profession, is that uh, you know, you’d define sales as a service, which I do as well is a, are people aiming at the wrong target?
Mark Hunter: Oh, I think they are. Yeah, you just opened up Pandora’s box there with that, because it’s not what we sell. You know, I talk about this in the book. It’s not what we sell. It’s not even how we sell. It’s why we sell to really steal a line from Simon Sinek. And it’s the outcome. It’s the outcome we create. And this is what you have to get focused on.
This is what sales is. Sales is about creating outcomes. You know, when I hear salespeople say, well, I couldn’t go to work for that company because that company, you know, doesn’t make anything decent that dah, dah, dah. I go hold it, it’s the outcomes. When you focus on the outcomes and how you are helping people. Well, we don’t sell B2C where B2B business to business, excuse me but every business is comprised people. So any way you look at it, we’re dealing with people. So really this comes back to another piece that really, what is sales? It’s about creating relationships to understand what your needs are and how best I can help them, how best I can help you. And right now, especially, wow. Is that a relevant topic?
Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, we’re recording this obviously in the midst of a Corona crisis and yeah, I agree with you. I was just having this conversation with somebody right before we started recording, which is that they’d asked me what I thought the impact of this was, one of the impacts of the virus crisis would be the pandemic, would be that things are naturally are going to slow down. Right? There’s a ripple effect of yeah. Cause people are affected at so many levels throughout the chain, if you will, the economic chain on this and the value chain, but the way you connect with people at this point is through service.
Mark Hunter: That is so key and the service begins with a relationship. And, and if we think right now, I think so many people are having sales redefined for them. What does this, what does the sales process look like? And I always say, I have to be willing to hear each customer’s backstory each customer’s backstory.
Everybody’s got a backstory. And right now, like you said, we’re recording this in the, in the midst of COVID and everybody’s got a personal backstory and a business backstory. And just as we were talking before we began, we were both sharing our respective backstories. And what does that do that allows you to connect the two of you to connect more?
And this is where I think trust and authenticity and integrity matter more than ever. I mean, I’ve always said that those are three pillars of sales, but wow are they important now?
Andy Paul: Yeah. And so let’s, let’s go back and deconstruct that a little bit. I mean, so people get really uneasy with this term relationship and, and yeah, I think it’s just a matter of semantics or most people. Um, I don’t know, I think it was Aristotle, I think was one that came up with this is that, you know, there are different types of, of relationships and friendships and he, he termed one a friendship of utility. Isn’t that really what you’re trying to do with your buyers. It’s it’s a, it’s a functional utilitarian connection you’re making with a person. There’s not a personal feelings that are involved and so on, but I think people get so confused. I think they’re making friends with, with their prospects and it’s not about making friends. It’s about making this human connection.
Mark Hunter: I think that definition of Aristotle’s is spot on. I am going to create a relationship with you, but I’m not going to invite you over for the holidays. Sorry. It’s just not going to happen. And don’t expect me to send you a cheesy birthday card. Ain’t going to happen. But I’m going to create a relationship with you to understand where you’re coming from right now. You know, it may materialize down the road, but I ain’t banking on it.
Andy Paul: No and business doesn’t bank on it. And isn’t the same thing true with trust, right? As is I think again, I think we go a little too far with the trust thing is people just have to trust you enough. Really, you have to demonstrate your trustworthiness more than anything else, but they’re going to trust you enough and to the point of example you gave before you, you’re not going to invite somebody over for dinner. I say, yeah, your buyer will trust you enough to make the purchase decision, but they’re not gonna invite you to come babysit their kids.
Mark Hunter: Right, right. See, yeah. You see now for instance, trust let’s, let’s use Target as an example. I can go to a target store and I can buy things because I trust Target well enough to have the right item. I’m not going to go to target and trust them for open heart surgery. That’s not the same level of trust. I have to trust you to the degree of the purchase, but here’s what I’ve found. Trust is a undefinable target between two parties.
Andy Paul: And that’s why-
Mark Hunter: Because your level of trust is going to be different than my level of trust.
Andy Paul: Right. So I wonder if the conversation’s better suited. I’ve been thinking about this, actually going to have a conversation with Charlie green about this coming up is, is, are we better, really better suited talking about trustworthiness,
Mark Hunter: Oh, well, and Charlie green has his built his career around that. Yeah. Charlie’s
Andy Paul: You’re really trying to do with your, your buyers? You’re trying to demonstrate that you’re worthy of their trust.
Mark Hunter: Yeah. That’s it. That’s it. Right, right. Right. I, like I said, I’m not asking to babysit your kids. Right. I I’m just asking them that I’m trust that there’s enough trustworthiness here. And, uh, but here’s what I found. Somebody asked me the other day, he said, so what’s the definition of trust. And I said, trust is not what you say. It’s what you do. Anybody can say anything, but it’s what you do. That’s how, that’s how people are going to define trust.
Andy Paul: Well, let’s we can break that down even a little bit too, because if people read Stephen MR Covey’s book The Speed of Trust. He’s got great definition of trust. There has got four trust pillars, and first and foremost, among those are motivations. Are your motivations transparent to your buyer? Think this an Adam Grant talks about this in his book, give and take is that it’s okay to be a giver with an agenda, right? As long as you’re transparent about it, right? upfront Mr. Prospect we’re here to help you. And if I’m successful in helping you, I benefit as well.
Mark Hunter: Right, right,
Andy Paul: You’re up front. You’re being transparent. Unfortunately, too often in sales, though, what happens is we’re here to serve you. We’re here to serve you. We’re here to serve you. It’s the last day of the month. Like we get your order, we’ll give you a 10% discount. What
Mark Hunter: I know, see that too. Oh yeah.
Andy Paul: you’ve submarined the whole trust issue.
Mark Hunter: Suddenly trust is now based, purely on economics.
Andy Paul: Right. It doesn’t mean they won’t do business with you, but from that point forward, your conversation’s always about the next discount.
Mark Hunter: Right, right. That’s where we totally lose it right there. Yeah. And, and I, and, and boy, do we see that far too often? I mean, why is it that people don’t trust car dealers, because you know that you go in at the end of the month, you’re going to get a much better deal than you would have at the beginning of the month again,
Andy Paul: do we continue to perpetuate this, this, this behavior in sales?
Mark Hunter: We know we’re going to get a better deal at the end of the month. In the beginning of the month, we’re willing to play the game. I mean, it’s the same, it’s the same thing with department stores.
Andy Paul: But change the compensation structure for sellers that, Hey, you get paid higher commission rate for orders that closed in the first week of the month versus those closing the last week of the month.
Mark Hunter: But at the end of the day, the dealership is driven by the manufacturer wanting to hit their monthly numbers.
Andy Paul: Right. But I’m talking about B2B company, right?
Mark Hunter: Right? Yeah. I mean, so again, I mean they’re there. Yeah.
Andy Paul: If you’re a Saas company you hae control over it. Change your compensation structure. You can affect that. But you see all these behaviors that come up- I was asking this guys once, uh, you know, “Hey, have you, can you determine the ROI on a discount that you give to a buyer at the last week of the month?” If you’re going to get the order on Friday, as opposed to waiting till the next Monday, even though it’s a new month, is the ROI worth it? And it’s like, they’ve never thought about it.
Mark Hunter: No all they’ve thought about is does it put more commission in their pocket right now.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, and really starts with the managers, the managers are the ones that encourage that behavior.
Mark Hunter: Oh, Oh, Oh, I had a customer share with me one time. Uh, this was when I was in the consumer packaged goods industry and she made the comment and she was a buyer for a major national retailer. And she said, I know when every one of my vendors, when their end of the quarter and end of the year is. And what I do is I stop buying X number of weeks ahead of time. Because I know the deal is going to get better. And what I’ll do is I won’t buy anything until I finally hear from like the VP of Sales, because when I finally get a call from the VP of Sales on the last day of the quarter, you know, or, you know, whatever, I know I’ve got the best deal. I mean, give me a break, give me, you know, and, and I’m sure the VP of Sales thinks he’s like, Oh, he or she is so cool because wow, look at this. I just closed this big deal. No. You’ve trained your customers to behave that way.
Andy Paul: Absolutely. All right, let’s get back to your book. Because-
Mark Hunter: Okay. Let’s get back to the book.
Andy Paul: Thre’s parts of the book that I thought were very interesting that I want to get to. And one of the first ones, and we sort of just talked about it, but I’m curious whether your, you wrote that, that, um, early in your sales career, you had this experience, as you say, by the third time around, I began to see sales as being about the customer and quickly the results followed. The more I focused on the customer, the more success I had. So what triggered that?
Mark Hunter: Well, what triggered it was. I mean, A, I got fired from my first two sales jobs, because what happened was I was closing sales and creating expectations with customers that we couldn’t deliver on. Now, there are a lot of other issues as to why I got fired, but, but yeah, I got fired. The third job I was with and it was a meeting I had with my boss’s boss.
My boss’s boss wanted to work with me. And he pulled me aside and he really pushed me hard. Cause I, in fact, I thought I was going to get fired. I remember this. I remember this day to the tee. I can tell you exactly what I was wearing. Um, if I described it well-
Andy Paul: Well dark suit, white shirt-
Mark Hunter: No, no, no, no, no. It was, it was, it was a Brown plaid polyester suit.
Andy Paul: I would have fired you too.
Mark Hunter: Thank you. Thank you. But Hey, it was the eighties, man. It was the eighties. Okay. Anyway, anyway. Okay. So anyway, um, and he challenged me, he said, he said, do you really think you’re making a difference with your customers? And it was he, I mean, he really pushed down hard on me.
Andy Paul: Great question.
Mark Hunter: He said, I don’t think you really understand why you’re selling. And that’s simple 15 minute conversation. Turned my whole career around. I mean, it was, it was, it was one of those, cause I I’m sitting there thinking the whole time I’m getting fired and, and I’m, I’m like I’m toast and all he was doing was he was saying, cause I mean he knew I could, he knew I could sell, but he had to. And that’s when the light really began to go on.
Andy Paul: That’s the why you’re selling.
Mark Hunter: That’s the why? That’s the why? That’s the why? Yeah.
Andy Paul: So this, this customer centricity we’ll call it is certainly something books have been written about it and, you know, customer centric, selling solutions, selling all these. You know why do you think such a hard time still? It’s our inculcating, this, this, I don’t know. Is it a behavior or mindset into sellers?
Mark Hunter: I think, I think it’s a mindset that drives behavior. Here’s all things we know we can help you. And we’re on a mission to try to close this deal as rapidly as possible. And so we forget the whole reasons as to why you’re buying. We forget the whole reasons we, we fail to understand and we failed to create the value.
One of the things that drives me nuts is that the majority of nos that we hear are really knows because the customer decides to make no decision, right. The customer just makes no decision. What does that mean? That’s a real indictment on us because we haven’t created in sales, we haven’t created enough value for you to say yes, because you know what? We were too busy talking product when we didn’t really understand why. Why do you need this? Why does this mean so much to you? Let me give you a very quick example. And it comes out of kind of in the COVID environment. Company sells some manufacturing equipment that will help you reduce the number of employees you need. It’s it’s labor saver. Great, great. More efficient everything. Great. Great. Okay. That’s a great outcome, but right now it takes on a different outcome because wait a minute, wait a minute. If this allows me to have my employees spaced out better, if this allows me to have fewer employees, guess what? There’s less likelihood of me having to deal with COVID on my production line.
So really it allows me to keep the production line, see, so the, the, the tools the same, but the outcome and the benefit now has an exponential value. Because now I’m thinking, and this came up in a conversation I was having yesterday with a CEO of a manufacturing firm. That’s been deemed critical, but he says I have 15 people on one particular line and I’m racing to try to find a way to only have five or six on that line, because I can’t afford to have one of them get it. Cause then I got a self quarantine, the 14 others. And see, so this whole thing is if we listened to the customer, they will tell us, but we fail to take the time to listen to the customer.
Andy Paul: Well, I think that gets back to not teaching sellers what the real mission is.
Mark Hunter: Bingo. Right.
Andy Paul: So I’ll phrase it a different way. So, um, there’s been a lot of work done on decision making and, and there’s one guy’s written extensively about it says look, decisions basically happen in two steps. First step is we determine, we define what our options are for solving whatever problem we’re trying to solve. Right.
The second phase is we decide who we’re going to solve it with. Yeah. What happens is too often, sellers just focused on the, who they’re going to solve it with part and not on influencing the buyer’s decisions and choices about how they need to solve it. And as long as we’re focused on competing on the product and the price, you know, just trying to be the vendor as opposed to trying to be, well, I call it the choice, right? I’m trying to be the choice. You’ve got multiple choices about how to solve this problem. I want to influence how you make that choice and be the choice.
Mark Hunter: I think that’s so spot on because we’ve been taught focused on the ICP. You know, the ideal customer profile, a lot of books have been written on that. And so we think once we have this perfect person, once we have this perfect person, they fit this profile, then they’re ready to buy. And we failed to realize in there, no, they just fit the profile of somebody who is likely to buy it doesn’t necessarily mean they align up with the outcome of why they will buy. And that’s a big difference and, and we have to be willing to sit there and listen. And there’s a piece in the book where I sit there and I talk about it in my other book, High Profit Prospecting.
And that is the whole deal of, of asking questions. And what I always say is when I’ve reached a level of confidence with you, and you’ve reached a level of conference with me, I’ll know that when I can ask you a question that you can’t answer and I can’t answer, but what does that do? Well, that creates a real deep conversation. That’s cool. That’s neat. That’s where I really get to what the, where, where the outcomes are.
Andy Paul: I agree. A hundred percent. And it’s it’s again. It’s it’s. I think an artifact of how we sell these days that we say, look discoveries in this box. We do discovery in this box. And then we stop asking questions. And instead, which your sort of think about is that on every interaction with the buyer, I’m trying to do four things. I’m trying to deepen the connection, deepen my discovery, deepen my understanding and deepen the value that I give them. And if you do that, then you’re saying, look, every time to your point, we haven’t asked enough questions to get to the point where we, neither of us knows the answer, but are you going to keep asking questions to get that doesn’t all happen just in one call and then you’d check the box and say, we move on.
Mark Hunter: I think, I think that that is so spot on, but see what it comes back to it because we’ve been so ingrained the process, the process, the process, the process, and the process is driven by the, by the, by our sales stack. You know, the tools that we have in the sales stack. And we forget that the most important tool we have is our mind.
That’s a pretty darn good tool. It really is good if we use it occasionally, you know, Steve Jobs had a great line, you know, why is it that we hire really brilliant people that are smarter than us? And then we tell them what to do.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I hadn’t heard that a long time, but that’s, that’s a great, a
Mark Hunter: Yeah. I mean, you really
Andy Paul: that’s endemic to sales, right?
Mark Hunter: it’s well, it’s not just endemic to sales.
I think it’s endemic to business and everything.
Andy Paul: but we’re talking about sales here, right? This is what we do as actually just having this conversation on another show before you and I started talking today is like, Everything’s so compliance oriented these days.
Right. We got this process and we have, we have our tech stack and, and there’s nothing wrong with the technology. I mean, I use it, but it’s like, it doesn’t control how I sell. Right. It supports how I use it in a way that supports how I sell. Um, but you know, for so many of our young reps, you know, they reach out to me, they listen to the show frustrated because. They feel like they’re better than they’re performing, but they’re being forced to perform within a box.
Mark Hunter: Right. Right, right. And, and again, Following compliance in your sales stack is not going to help you win the president’s award. And it gets you to the trip to Hawaii. It’s achieving the results.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, cause the top sellers break the rules.
Mark Hunter: And, and I find so many people, what they do is they just, they just, I know several sales people right now that are absolutely struggling in what they do, because they’re trying to follow the process. Step by step by step by step. And they wonder why they’re not successful. Well, because the process was driven as if everything is a blanket statement. If I say this, they say this, they say this, those are blanket statements.
Now those will really work if you’re selling blankets. I don’t know about you. I don’t know about me, but I’ve never sold blankets. So I can’t deal with blanket statements. But this is what happens. We create this blanket process and we over systematize the process. I mean, I will never forget at a Dreamforce event, a number of years ago, where somebody had created an, an app that when you’re getting ready for the presentation, it will automatically tell you when to call for Uber.
Andy Paul: Yeah,
Mark Hunter: Okay. Excuse me. Do I really need an app for that, but I mean, think about this. I mean, it, it, it, it’s over. I want to have a conversation with you. I want to have a conversation with you and that conversation is not going to be driven by say it by a sales stack, tech stack, whatever you want to call it. It’s a conversation. Cause when I have a conversation with you, because this is a whole thing, lot of people say, well B2B decisions are not emotional. Garbage. They are. They are emotional supported by fact.
Andy Paul: Yeah. It’s been established beyod a doubt. We shouldn’t even be having that argument anymore. Yeah.
Mark Hunter: I know we shouldn’t, but we do it. It just, it, it does. Oh, no, it’s just, it’s just, here’s the criteria and, Oh man, I don’t even government contracts. You know, Oh, it’s low cost providers, low cost provider. There is still so much emotion written into how the contract was even written to begin with. What’s the RFP look like? So let’s not kid ourselves, the individual person, I think, in today’s environment plays an even more important role than ever
Andy Paul: On the buying side.
Mark Hunter: On the buying side. Well, but also, but also on the sell also on the selling side too. Yeah. I’m going to use a, you know, I’m going to use artificial intelligence. I’m gonna use every tool I can to help me. But at the end of the day, those tools are there to help me. I’m not there to help them.
Andy Paul: Right. I think the buyers think the same thing. I mean, there’s certainly examples of, of artificial intelligent, driven technology that on the side of the buyers or the buyers, when it comes to the ultimate decision, say no, I want to talk to a person
Mark Hunter: Right, right. I mean, you know,
Andy Paul: That’s not going to go away anytime soon.
Mark Hunter: yeah. And, and artificial intelligence, let’s say it’s been around, I mean, demand, forecasting, demand forecasting models. I remember those 30 years ago, you know, they’d been around for years and that’s basically artificial intelligence. I mean, it’s gotten way more sophisticated, but I mean, these tools have been, you know, they just keep getting better and better and that, what does that mean? We have to be continually upping our game as individuals.
Andy Paul: Right. As humans.
Mark Hunter: As humans. right.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I really think that’s the, the key is I think that and Geoffrey Colvin wrote about this in his book Humans Sre Underrated, is that, you know, one of the biggest impacts based on the research he did and writes about in the book is of this technological age, we’re in the AI driven age we’re in is that we have to become, he used the term more intensively human. And, and I think that’s really the case, right? That’s when you’re gonna stand apart. I mean, you could have, you know, a guided buying system, a guided selling system that’s driven by AI, but at some point the person who makes the decision, if it’s not a machine making a decision on the other end, if it’s a person making the buy decision, they’ve got something at stake in that decision. And As long as they have something at stake, then I believe certainly for the foreseeable future, they’re going to talk to a person about that
Mark Hunter: Right. And let’s not kid ourselves in a lot of industries. It is machine talking to machine to, to place the order to buy, to do all that. Fine. Fine. That’s routine order officer shop, but there’s still humans behind that.
Andy Paul: Oh yeah. At some level humands are making the decision. What, what parts get put on the real they get put into
Mark Hunter: You got it. You got it. Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Andy Paul: So I’ve got a question, sir, if you write a book about seven metrics that matter in the book, and so if you have one metric in your mind that you could use that you think that is the best indication of individual sales performance, what do you think that is?
Mark Hunter: Well, that’s, that’s very, that’s a loaded question. Thank you. Here’s the metric that I think matters the most. What is the percentage of my business is coming from repeat sales. Now here’s let me, let me run down. Let me run down this road. The only good sale is one that leads to the next sale. This is what got me into trouble early on my sales career.
I wasn’t creating repeat sales because I wasn’t creating loyal customers. What makes Apple successful? Because they’ve created an ecosystem that you get sucked in and you were there for life. So a metric that I look to is as a sales person is what I’m selling our customers coming back and referring me to other people, are they engaged with me? Am I creating additional revenue off of you longterm? That’s a key metric. That’s a longterm metric, but that is a very valuable metric as to a salesperson’s performance. I don’t care what the industry is that you’re in. It’s going to come into play.
Andy Paul: So what about a scenario though? Just challenge that for a second and not challenge, but you know, another spin on it is, you know, take SaasS business, right. Inside sales driven, highly specialized sales role account executive closes the order, hands it off to customer success. So for that account exec, then what’s the metric you would look at.
Mark Hunter: Well, the metric is going to be, the metric is going to be is, is have I delivered to sales success a client, a customer who’s ex patients are going to be met or have I delivered them a client that is going to argue for this, this, this, and that, because I oversold the expectations. So what I look for is what is the speed of the implementation? What is the speed of the execution? We have all seen salespeople who are notorious at closing by delivering expectations that sales success can’t deliver on. And what does that do? That creates customer churn. That is a huge, huge, huge piece. So that is one metric. Another metric that I look for is what is the, what is the sales that are I get now? And what is the sell potential down the road? Now there’s two ways to look at this, because again, this comes back to AE compensation, especially in a SaaS world. Many times, what happens is the AE gets compensated on that initial order. Okay, but the problem is, so what does that do? That automatically says the AE doesn’t want to close the order until we get to maximum. And I think now I’m going down a side path here, but this creates a problem. This creates a problem because then what happens is the AE will not try to close the deal until he gets 100 seats or 200 seats. When really what he should be doing is saying, Hey, let me get 10 seats, prove this and then we’ll, we’ll expand out.
You know, you’ve been a champion, you were championed very early on of selling fast. You know, speed, speed, speed sells, and very, very critical, but see the compensation models in a lot of SaaS companies works against that, which is, which is really wrong, I think. I just want to get you in and then I’ll scale you up. I will scale you up from there. I’m sorry. I went, I went down a tangent-
Andy Paul: No, no, it does raise, no, it does raise the question though, which is, we know we can talk about it or not, which is. Yeah. I mean, we’ve, we’ve have a certain structure and a lot of these companies inside sales companies with specialized sales roles and yeah, I think an argument could be made that you should be keeping, um, the account execs involved longer. Um, but I have another question I want to ask you though, instead of that one.
So maybe if we have time we’ll come back to that one? Cause it triggered a thought and I’ve had the slot reading your book about the metrics that matter and so on is, is, um, Is it time to get rid of quota as a measure of performance?
Mark Hunter: Run that run that past again, there was actually a motorcycle that ran past me. I apologize.
Andy Paul: Is it time to get rid of sales quota as a measure of performance?
Mark Hunter: You’re not going to. You’re never going to. Because we are a publicly traded world that we live in and you have quarterly earnings. So I think you’re going to have a hard time getting rid of quota. I’ll give you an example. I was working with a company about a year ago and they did not have quotas. In fact, they did not pay commission. Everybody had a base pay. Let me tell you something. They changed things around. They put in place quota. And a bonus incentive commission. Sales went through the roof. Hmm. Very interesting. What happened? Well, now salespeople could see why they were working, what they were working for and let’s not kid ourselves, I do believe in the scoreboard and I talk about it in the book, in terms of the scoreboard, should you unplug the scoreboard? Because the scoreboard creates a lot of wonky, wonky things, and I get it creates distortions. How many times do we sit there and make sales calls just for the sake of well, my boss wants me to make umpteen sales calls per day. I guess I better do it. Wrong. I could care less, especially if you have a manager who’s a spreadsheet jockey or the dashboard junkie. Um, I call them Dashboard Dan, who just looks at the dashboard and says this, this is just where the team sucks. So there’s some arguments there to unplug the scoreboard.
And I do. And I talk about unplugging the scoreboard. But I don’t believe that you can take away quotas initially, completely. Here’s what I find. Top performing people, and again, I talk about it in the book, top performing people don’t use the quota as their number. They said something even higher. And if I look at top performing people, they always set their own metrics. They always set their own measurements and that’s why they’re top performers. And that goal that objective they’re my number for the quarter is purely I’m just going to be passing through that because my goal is to get even farther. See, so the whole thing is what are the goals that I’m setting as an individual and how am I allocating my time to achieve them?
Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, I mean, you didn’t really, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have a target. I just don’t think quota is the right target.
Mark Hunter: Oh, no, I totally agree. I mean, I would love to see us not have quotas, but-
Andy Paul: Well, I think that, I think having a let’s set a target, I mean, there’s, you know, people might be sick of me talking about this. You know, there’s Godharts Law, which says that when a measure becomes a target, it lose all value as a measure. So when we take something we think is a measure like performance quota performance, and make it a target what happens is people optimize their processes to achieve that end result and artificially perform at lower levels.
Whereas we took something like what I advocate, which is how many dollars of revenue do you generate per hour of selling time. Now there’s something that, yeah, it’s a measure and we can incent people based on that measure to become more effective in their selling. And I bet you on, on balance teams would perform at much higher levels across the board if they had that type of, of measure and accountability than quota. So, um, I’m a big advocate, time to deep six quotas.
Mark Hunter: I think, you know, uh, but probably the advocate that would have, no, I don’t even think Jack Welch would have been in favor. You know, again, I mean, we are so ingrained in the quarterly earnings and so forth, but I know, I know myself that one of the.
Andy Paul: That’s because management’s lazy. That’s why
Mark Hunter: Well, management is lazy. I’m not, I’m not, I mean, believe me there were, I mean, I would hit quota at the end of week 11 and it was amazing how I shut down. I could easily drive past it. I could have easily driven past it.
Andy Paul: I’m saying management is lazy because. For the reasons you talked about is, you know, we’ve got these systems in place and yet at the execution level, at the individual contributor level, certainly in inside sales, we’ve adopted these models over the last 10, 15 years, highly specialized sales roles, which, which I’m a big advocate for.
I think it makes a ton of sense and we continue to evolve those. And we look at the way we structure management in the way the management is set up and it hasn’t fundamentally changed in the last hundred years. So, so we’re using these, why are we using this, this measure quota that came up with a hundred years ago when we’ve completely transformed the way we’re executing sales on the other end, it just makes no sense.
And, and so again, I, I think it’s just pure laziness. This is the way it’s been. Well, we’re changing how we’re executing sales. Why don’t we change how we actually manage and measure what constitutes performance. Should I get off my soapbox now?
Mark Hunter: I’ll let you stand up in a publicly traded company, Fortune 500 company and have that discussion with the CEO and the board of directors.
Andy Paul: Well, there are companies that are doing that though. That are publicly traded. Yeah.
Mark Hunter: Yeah. Um, but it’s, it’s, it’s still an not, it’s more of an outlier behavior. I think over time it will become more adopted, but.
Andy Paul: if they get serious about performance, that’s the thing is they’re not really serious about performance. Mean most management teams are just serious about the status quo.
Mark Hunter: They are, that’s what it comes down to bingo it’s said.
Andy Paul: If you really gave a crap about enhancing performance of your sales team, yeah, you would tear up your playbook as far as how you manage it and start from scratch,
Mark Hunter: Yeah.
Andy Paul: but you didn’t write about that, but that was, that’s a topic that’s
Mark Hunter: But you know what? That would be. That would be a cool next book. Say, there you go. You’ve given me an idea for the next book.
Andy Paul: okay. Good. Good.
Mark Hunter: And I’ll even let you write the forward for it. How’s that sound?
Andy Paul: Ah, better yet. I’ll co-write it with you.
Mark Hunter: There you go. Okay.
Andy Paul: Perfect. All right. Putting it in my calendar. So the other thing that was interesting, not the only other thing you talked about. There’s a lot of interesting things in the book. People should definitely pick it up and read it is, um, You talked about the best sales are the ones where the need to negotiate, never enters the conversation. And I agree. I’m not sure where you and I arrive at that point via the same route, but I agree. So how do you avoid it?
Mark Hunter: Well, this is where I say sell first and negotiate second. Because if I’ve done such a great job of selling and selling is, is, is the dialogue, that’s the discussion. I understand your needs. So I understand your need your outcome so well, and, you know, the critical need as to why you need to work with me that there’s no need negotiate. It, it just, it just becomes such a no brainer because there’s also a level of trust that exists. Trust for that transaction. Like I said, not trust to take, to babysit your kids as we were talking about, but all of those comfort pieces are there. They just say, yeah, this just make this just make sense. Um, yesterday I bought a major software package for my company. And, um, I might have been able to negotiate a deal in light of the economy and everything, but it was spot on. It was right on. We had developed such a level of trust. It was there. Fine. Done. Boom. Done. No arguments.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And I think there’s, and I think when you talk about things more complex that, cause I just said, I agree at the same point, I think sales should never be in negotiating because first of all, they’re horrible negotiators
Mark Hunter: Oh yeah.
Andy Paul: Is that when you’re doing something a little more complex, if you’re in there really helping the customer define what it is they need to do to solve the price is they’ve, you’ve reached agreement on what this.
Solution looks like draw the analogy. It’s like a, a Jenga tire tower that you built. Is it, if you want to move this block, it’s like, well, yeah, you can, you can do that. I mean, yeah, you don’t want, you know, this level of service fine. You can take that out, but that’s gonna affect this other part. So it becomes this finely constructed, integral tower, if you will, that, if you just remove one piece, the whole thing’s going to collapse and I found that that’s the way you sell. That obviates the need for negotiation.
Mark Hunter: Yeah. I love it.
Andy Paul: Right? So I know you need to run. Um, so tell people where they can find the book.
Mark Hunter: Well, you can find the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, anywhere books are sold, and of course it’s online. For the video viewers, I’m holding it up A Mind for Sales and yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s out in Kindle, Audible, hard copy. And as a gentleman in the UK told me, he said, did you just write this book? Because right now this book is so appropriate for the period we are in, because it really is. The message applies to right now, 2020.
Andy Paul: Check it out people. Mark, thank you. And we’ll make sure to have you back again before too long.
Mark Hunter: And I should mention my website, thesaleshunter.com, because that’s where I’m at.
Andy Paul: The world’s best sales name.
Mark Hunter: Hey, you know what? And it’s trademarked, so don’t steal it. Okay. There you go.
Andy Paul: Oh, shoot. I have to change my new website.
Mark Hunter: I know it’s a bummer,
Andy Paul: Mark. Talk to you soon.