Belal Batrawy, founder of Death2Fluff, and I are going to talk about why he believes it’s time to elevate the sales profession. What I really enjoyed about this episode is having the opportunity to talk with a bright young voice in sales, a person still at the beginning of his sales career (at least compared with me!) who is taking the time to think deeply about sales. There is way too much fluff in all the sales advice put out and I respect the way Belal is willing to put his beliefs out there. Today we dive into a wide range of topics including the major influences on how sellers learn how to sell and what sales management needs to learn in order to better help sellers improve their performance.
Andy Paul: Hello. Welcome to the show.
Belal Batrawy: Thank you for having me, Andy. It’s a, it’s an honor.
Andy Paul: Oh, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Pleasure to have you here. where have you been hiding out the last few months?
Belal Batrawy: I’ve been in Atlanta. My wife works at Grady Hospital, so she’s like seeing all the horror. So we were like, we weren’t even playing around in the beginning. We knew. Cause we’re just seeing what was happening. The hospital were like, no, this is some real stuff.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I know it was same thing. My wife is a professor and Dean at NYU school of medicine and the right there at the major medical center in lower Manhattan and yeah, it was, no question. It was real, very real, so well, so here’s the question I like to ask people is what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?
Belal Batrawy: Ooh. That’s a great question. what’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned about myself? I have grown to be extremely patient with my childrenthrough this pandemic. I got three year old and a one-year-old, both of them boys, anything that can fall, they will make sure it tries to
And all that kind of stuff that you would expect, if they look at the wall, it seems to get a mark, Like they just have a knack for certain things and I’ve just now I’m just so mellow. Like they’ll just be chaos. And I could just close my eyes and relax. My wife was like, how are you… I’m like, I don’t know. I’ve just, I have developed a superpower now where I’m just I’m cool with it.
Andy Paul: Is your wife able to develop the same level of equanimity?
Belal Batrawy: No. Which makes her, she just hates me for it, but I’m like, one of us had to, and it was me.
Andy Paul: Okay, there you go. Yeah. Yeah. so you’ve got this thing on Bravado – people should check out Bravado if they haven’t or aren’t aware of it – but it’s called Death to Fluff. And so what is Death to Fluff?
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. I, it’s, it was just born out of a joke between some friends of mine that I was annoying every single day in they early days, when I started posting on LinkedIn and it was just like, yeah. Death to fluff. Let’s like no more fluff. And it took a life of its own and people started using it back.
That’s when I knew it was cool. I was like, okay. It’s not just like a, it’s not just in my head. Like people actually think this might be a cool thing to say. Cause some people started hashtagging it back in the comments of my posts and I just ran with it. I was like, all right, let’s make this the slogan. Let’s unite.
Andy Paul: Alright. So what is the fluff though?
Belal Batrawy: The fluff is all this nonsense today that people just in general talk about in sales. You can find yourself endlessly scrolling on LinkedIn, and occasionally there might be one or two very meaningful conversations, but it’s let’s talk about even just recently, there’s just like overflow of screenshots of people’s team meetings on Zoom, a picture of your work from home desk.
Some sort of fluffy thing about be courageous and be empathetic or cold calling is dead or it’s alive or it’s somewhere in between. And I’m like, what? Like none of this is worth even posting. There should be like a limit on how much you can post it. This,
Andy Paul: Well, LinkedIn has become Facebook.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah, that’s what people say. I don’t disagree there. I don’t disagree.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I agree with you. There’s a dearth of insight. So when we make the transition to making it more social, yeah, it becomes a little less serious. One thing that I’ve noticed, and I don’t know if you’ve seen this as is, first of all, there’s been over the last 90 days, what seemingly exponential growth in the number of experts on LinkedIn-
So saying that, no, I’m not pointing at you. It’s saying that one of my favorite phrases is cause I get messages, direct messages from people saying, they identify some problem and they’re saying, “e’ve been in some vague solutions and the phrases that just drive me nuts is we’ve been doing a lot of this these days with companies like yours, it’s like a lot of this. Okay. What is this? This is unspecified. And this is the most common pitches, I guess, I’m receiving these days.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. Yeah, that sounds about right. Nice and lazy.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah. And again and don’t know what you, but I’m getting, I’ve spent 12 years on LinkedIn and never once getting a solicitation from a financial planner or insurance sales person. Any sort of financial related products and now it’s yeah. Daily activity.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah, it really is. And it’s so noisy and people, what drives me crazy, Andy is like, how, I just don’t see how these people don’t realize that your message is in a sea of messages. And if it’s boring and dull and has nothing to say in it and it’s not important, why do you think sending it a thousand times is going to do it any better than sending it 10 times?
It’s not, nobody cares. It’s going to get deleted. It’s not working yet. Somehow everybody’s still trying the same formula recipe. And am I the one taking crazy pills? Does nobody understand the importance of being original here? You got it. I just stand out just in any way, shape or form, just to find the way.
And sometimes I’d like laugh at my own advice cause I’m like, it’s so stupid. But then I go back to my messages in my inbox. I’m like, no people need to hear it.
Andy Paul: But you’ve referred to that, and recently on, I think LinkedIn is, you’re saying that you’re calling for it’s time to elevate the thinking and understanding of how sales should be done. Tell me about that. I like it. I think you and I talked beforehand about how much I’m in agreement with that.
So what aspect of it do you think we need to elevate in understanding? There’s been so little actual research done on sales and what works and so on is it is, this is a business that’s still fundamentally, and I know it’s a lot of people don’t like this as is, it’s still fundamentally an apprenticeship. This is how people learn. It’s not like there’s one way of doing it, but works across the board.
Belal Batrawy: No, there’s not. It’s very true. I say that myself, it’s a trade skill. If I want to be a master carpenter, I don’t pick up Carpentry for Dummies. That’s not how it works. I go study under master carpenter. And I will learn their techniques and then I can go and apply it and build on that. Sales is the same way. It’s not some haphazard thing or you’re not born with it. And, because you were, a former ex-jock and you’re hungry or whatever, you’re going to just crush it out there. That’s not how it works. That’s just simply not how it works. The modern day seller has to be part psychologist, part tech enabled, and totally process driven, has to be a master of content marketing. There’s so many demands now that a seller needs to be that just didn’t even exist like 10 years ago.
Andy Paul: But at the same time, there’s these conflicting interests or motivations, if you will. And you’ve referred to this in things that you’ve written as well, that we’ve mechanized, automated, sales behaviors that have been going on forever and somehow think now they’re new. It’s so just by the fact that we’ve enabled them with technology, we somehow think that they’re their higher order evolved sales motions when it’s just the same old crap we’ve been doing for 50, 70, 80, 100 years. this is why I think when we think, okay, somebody that’s just talking to us saying, Oh, it’s time for a revolution. 3.0 Sales. And I was like, when was the first revolution? Just the fact we automated things didn’t mean that we changed. it’s it’s yeah, there’s a lot of demands on sellers these days, but by the same token, I’m interested in your opinion on this is I feel like more than ever sales is about being compliant to a process, as opposed to saying, how do I enable my people to become the best version of themselves?
Belal Batrawy: Ooh, that’s interesting way. Okay. Let me repeat that. So more being compliant to the process than being the best people they can be. I get that right?
Andy Paul: Yeah.
Belal Batrawy: Wow.
Andy Paul: In your own writing about, Hey, I’m writing up, I’m writing somebody up because they don’t hit their call metrics. I was like, screw the call metrics is, yeah. You want to have a certain number of conversations. If somebody could do the, get the right number of conversations with half the calls, that should be good.
Belal Batrawy: Rejoice and cherish the moment and figure out why. I agree. Yeah. Yeah.
Andy Paul: Because sales has become, in the parlance of what people like to try and contrast themselves and set aside this sort of current wave as quote unquote modern sellers, which I always get amused at, is there just doing the same old things. And it’s all about efficiency as opposed to effectiveness. So I’m not as concerned about- the perfect example I give people is, we talk about win rates. Okay what percentage of your qualified opportunities are you closing? And using that as a win rate metric. And in Saas in general, it’s relatively low from my perspective, certainly in my career coming up through sales, But no one ever talks about how do we increase that?
It’s always about if we want to sell more, given that we have this win rate, we put more stuff into the top of the funnel and we know what our conversion rates are throughout our various stages that will help us drive more revenue, rather than saying, we’ve got a certain amount of stuff in the pipeline. What if we could double the number of deals that we close
Belal Batrawy: Or let’s even flip it for a second. This was so frustrating for me. And my first entry into the sales world, our close rate, my manager was a wizard, Andy, at metrics. He just had them left right and center. And that was a great person to be around early in my sales career to really master that.
And our call to close rate was 2%. And the amount of money the company threw to turn that 2% into a three was insane. And I just kept thinking to myself, 98% of what I’m going to do is pointless. Like what?? I couldn’t get over that. I’m like, who cares about the 2%? What about the 98%? Why don’t we take that down?
10 percentage points. Like why would that not be the obsession of the company to be like, Oh my God, you fool spend 98% of your time with no success. Gracious. Who, what are you doing? What are you doing?
Andy Paul: Yeah. I gave a keynote at a conference last year and, to a Saas audience and said, okay, if we’ve got a 20% close rate, or win rate, excuse me, off of your most qualified opportunities. the ones you’re working actively in your pipeline, what are you training your sellers to do? I’m practicing this when 82% of my time losing. So what’s the habit I’m developing. I’m developing the habit of losing, so we’re not going to win every one. but. Yeah, there’s this great quote that I love from, Edwards Deming, who was, if you’re familiar with him, but he was famous business thinker back in the fifties and sixties is American guy that basically went to you got ignored by the car companies in the United States, and took his theory of total quality management, Japan, and revolutionized the Japanese auto indsutry.
Belal Batrawy: Oh, yup. Yup. I know you’re going with this.
Andy Paul: and then came back. Vut he has this famous quote that he says and the quotas. Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.
Belal Batrawy: Yes. I love that.
Andy Paul: You think about your example about, or my example, about 20% win rate or 2% call to win rate, that’s what your system set up. Of course, you’re gonna get that.
Belal Batrawy: yep.
Andy Paul: You’ve designed it that way. so I have this question for CROs and CEOs that I’ve consulted with and so on and says, let’s do it differently.
What’s the win rate you want? And then let’s work backwards and say, how do we get there? How do we engineer a process to get there?
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. Yeah. But you know what, they, don’t, that’s really taxing on the modern day sales leader. Look, I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw out some shots. I’m gonna throw some shots,
Andy Paul: I was gonna say before you do it, cause I would say the problem with a lot of them is that they don’t know how to sell.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. Yeah, it’s true. It’s true. And I’m of the opinion. Maybe I’m being a little bit glass half-empty or whatever, but I’m like, I’ve given up on today’s sales leaders. I’d rather try to influence the SDRs and AEs of today. That will be, the directors and VPs in five to six years. And just give up on this lost generation. Because I’m just like, I’m like, I can’t tolerate anymore- I’ll give you a small example. Today I read a great article that was back in 2005 in the Harvard business review around, a gentleman that was using Six Sigma, applied to sales pricing, brilliant. A brilliant article. And then I’m like, that’s wonderful. 2005 gracious. 15 years ago. yeah. What’s happened since? And so I wanted to Google search. Can I find a course that’s, sales oriented, puts on the floaties for me a little bit, but Six Sigma still, and can give me that core principles of understanding so that I can apply thaS cutting waste mentality to my process and pipeline, it doesn’t exist. We’re in 2020. And if you Google search, sales and Six Sigma and sales, you’ll find a bunch of just, bottom feeder stuff on the first page of Google. And it’s shocking to me, right? That today’s modern sales leaders haven’t been chiming for that. Aren’t just eager to jump all in on that and master those concepts to the benefit of their own businesses and their own careers. Because again, they’re hammering away at a incremental improvement instead of exponential efficiency.
Andy Paul: Or exponential effect on us. but you’re absolute, I think that one example I love to give, when I talk with audiences is, I assume you’re a member of Modern Sales Pros, okay. So yeah, I took for the audience, a screenshot of Oh, don’t know, maybe the 25 most current threads that were in my distant Gmail inbox.
And yeah, we just looked at the title, the threads. And so I put it up on screen and said, I write, take a minute. some modern sales pros, take a minute, look at these and tell me what’s missing.
And I haven’t done this for a year, but I’m going to presume it’s still current this test is when you go through the titles of the discussion threads, none of them are about sales. They’re all about comp, process, technology, so on, but I would drop over dead if someone posted something on there that said, look, I’m having a problem with this customer. we’re trying to sell this. Here’s the problem we’re getting this objection. Has anyone else run into something like this? So how can you have a community that’s devoted to sales that doesn’t talk about sales?
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. Yeah, that’s deep right there. That’s the truth too. It’s the truth, I think about all the psychology that had never got taught in six different sales trainings, nobody explained to me the universal buyer’s journey. Nobody bothered to explain to me social paradigms. None of them bothered to train me on using cognitive dissonance, how to create that compelling persuasion using universal principles of influence, none of these things that like psychologists and economists and, counselors have been doing for decades, right? Decades.
So you think about something like CBT cognitive, behavioral therapy. It’s every seller should be trained in CBT. It’s literally how to persuade others, How to get to the core, understanding of, and that’s what Chris Voss hacked. That’s all, when you listen to Chris Voss and he’s just saying yeah, it’s just basic psychology. We just dumbed it down as far as we could and then use it for negotiations. It turns out it’s as useful for buying a used car as it is for freeing hostages.
Andy Paul: Yeah, that’s an example right, of how sellers learn. So if I were to ask you, how did you learn how to sell? Who taught you how to sell? We all have influence? In that, assume the baseline is we all have experience, right? And we’re all out there in the market. We’re learning some from experience, but on top of your experience, the influences that taught you how to sell; if you had to divide between coaches, peers, customers, a company provided training and your own self development – books podcasts, online trainings doing on your own. If you had to total those up so they all equal to a hundred percent, what would they be for you?
Belal Batrawy: That’s a good one. Peers, for sure, myself. A little bit of the managers, very little bit. And then some of the courses they’re sorta at the end and that’s a, the stack ranking.
Andy Paul: So take that, cause this is not unusual, they have been asking this question of guests is, and this is obviously about as scientific as anything else that anybody done about sales, but is yeah, the employer provided training always comes in the last. Not always, but almost always that’s coming last in terms of, and I think of my own cases, been in sales for four decades. I had eight weeks of classroom training my first year and that’s been it. And I’ve sold two thirds of a billion dollars myself.
So it’s like, what I learned. I learned from my coaches and mentors, I learned from my customers. I learned. Reading books and listening to tapes in my car. Earl Nightingale, Zig Ziglar, old names back when I was driving between sales calls before flying around the world to sales calls, but it’s in the company provided training was last. And yet here’s an industry that’s a, it’s a $20 billion a year industry in United States sales training. Holy cow, we’re spending all this money on it, but anecdotally, granted, but talking to a broad spectrum of people, people always think, gosh, I get the least out of the company provided training. Most people actually, you’re unusual so far in the answer I’ve gotten that most people have, they’re a coach or a mentor sort of are the primary influence on that. It certainly was for me in my development, but yeah, the trainings always last.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. Yeah. I mean that I’m with you and the thing about it is this it’s I think about the curse of knowledge and how much I was cursed by every company that I started with and how they tainted my ability to actually connect to the buyer. They would just, they would day one, just throw me right into the product and all this stuff about the company history and this and that.
And then guess what the next thing I wanted to do, talk about everything I just learned. Here’s our company history and what our product does, and this is our roadmap. And I’m like, guess what? Nobody cares. And we just, we’ve got the whole set up wrong to talk about. if the process is just producing, what it should, The outcomes are perfectly aligned to what the process creates. So if we’re seeing that people don’t want to talk to salespeople and salespeople don’t want to call themselves salespeople. And, and buyers will do anything they can to get as much information they can before they get on the phone with that salesperson, if they have to at all right. That’s just the process producing those outcomes .
Andy Paul: Yeah. It’s perfectly designed to produce the results it gets. so you talk about connecting with the customers is certainly the foundation of sales. And yet the way we set up our model, at least for inside sales is we have some dedicated employees calling prospects, potential buyers, with the express purpose of getting a meeting for someone else. We talk about these people to be come proficient at having good conversations with buyers, but it’s for most of its serve a one and done type thing.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah,
Andy Paul: How can they connect?
Belal Batrawy: Yep. Yeah, it’s true. Yeah. And, I go back to, cause you mentioned I had a weird number one there, which was my peers. The reason why is because that’s how I learned to combat the cursive knowledge. I would stop. I would learn from what my peers were teaching their buyers. Cause then I wouldn’t be seated as a buyer. And, if the product or the manager or the sales trainer, whoever was, would tell me about something I’m like, I didn’t see that any of the demos, I didn’t see a single prospect asking about that. And I didn’t see that included in any followup emails. So therefore it doesn’t exist because to the prospect that doesn’t exist, the more I can align myself to that viewpoint. The better I can manipulate the social paradigm when I’m actually on a call with a prospect. And when I do that, I immediately beat the curve. Cause that’s all I need to do. I don’t need to be a sales genius. I just need to be better than the average boring, horrible LinkedIn message slash email slash phone call that prospect gets. That’s a good thing. And good news is it’s a low bar.
Andy Paul: very low and
Belal Batrawy: Bar’s low.
Andy Paul: I’ve written this before, so you just have to be smarter than what’s on your website
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. Yeah.
Andy Paul: Now that’s really it for a sales person.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah.
Andy Paul: That is a very low bar.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah.
Andy Paul: Well, yeah, and I think this gets back to the conversation about how people, where are you learn sales from and so on is, we underestimate, even though we talk a lot about it, we underestimate the importance of that connection. Because to your point is you just have to be a little bit better. If I were to ask you, if you reflect back on one of your sales opportunities, that one, that you’re proud of, that you won it and asked you, how much did you win by? What would you tell me?
Belal Batrawy: Just enough.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Can you quantify that as 5% better as 10% better? I was, it’s not about price, right? It’s so how much better were you?
Belal Batrawy: Yeah.
Andy Paul: So how much better do you need to be in order to win? I say 1% And that 1%, that 1% could be how I initially connect with someone. Could be that initial conversation back would carry through that 1%.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. I tell this to new sellers. Any of the SDRs that have had Andy, I always saw them as some, like you don’t, we’ve all had that feeling where we thought somebody was looking at us, we turned around and sure enough, we catch a pair of eyes that were looking at us.
And it’s like, how on earth did we know to look, 180 degrees behind us and see those pair of eyes. But we got that feeling, that somebody was looking at us, that same idea, the conscious vibe comes off and your phone calls comes off in your emails, comes off in whatever, all the communication you’re going to do with that person.
And those nonverbal cues are going to be paramount to the outcome. They’re going to be paramount to the outcome. your ability to get reciprocity from them, your ability to get genuineness from them, your ability to get, whatever it is that you want out of them is going to be completely predicated on you being the first one to make the social bid, to start it, to start the relationship.
Which means you’re going to have to be open. You’re going to have to be provocative. You’re going to have to be unexpected. You’re going to have to be delightful. All things that we don’t, we’re not comfortable doing. Cause that’s, it’s what opens us up for rejection, but that’s great sales.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And that’s, I think even to some degree though, it’s great. Yeah. Provocative and so on. But you know, the bar is so low, right? that it’s, people tend to put more in that than what it really is. Provocative could just be a really good first question you ask. That’s based on some degree of insight into the customer’s business and what generally they’re trying to accomplish.
And, but I think one of the problems we’ll get into is that we generalize that as opposed to making it more specific. So I think that sales tends to get a little bit lazy cause marketing saying, Hey, here are these personas, which is good information to have, but a lot of sellers don’t realize that there’s actually a person.
At the end of that persona. So we sell to people not personas. So how do you take that sort of generalized cue set of cues you’re getting and hints and then make it human
Belal Batrawy: absolutely.
Andy Paul: It could just be a great question that gets somebody to think in a way that perhaps they hadn’t been thinking before we can do that. In fact, we should be arming SDRs. We should be arming AEs with these questions that they can customize tailored to their own situation, to their own personal strengths.
Cause not everybody’s going to ask all questions as effectively. but we start put them out there on their own.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah, absolutely. what, if we take a step back and we look at- This is interesting because everything you’re saying complete sentence. And then let’s like jump to the reality of what we see in sales today. Let’s go to any job description, an average top prescription for a sales role, like on Indeed or Monster, any major job board.
And let’s look, if they are trying to find people who think this way, who are critical thinkers, who, understand great listening. Skills or no, right there. We’re not going to find any of those things listed. We’re going to look, we’re going to find words like hungry, expert aggressive,
Andy Paul: I said X extroverts, not
Belal Batrawy: extroverts because yeah, actually, yeah, extroverts aggressive, outspoken personalities, AA type personalities.
We see that, just complete nonsense.
Andy Paul: nonsense on two fronts. First is yeah. you write your job description like that. You automatically exclude 51% of the population who are female, who look at that language and think, I don’t want to work in that culture. And yet those are the people you want to have selling your product. Yeah. that one is that’s perhaps the biggest mistake right there. But the second part is that you should be writing job descriptions based on taking a piece of paper and saying, what does the buyer need from us in order to make a decision? That’s our job. Yeah. I love this quote I have from Jeffrey Bezos.
I put it in one of my books is, your job is sales is to help your customer make a purchase decision. Not to buy your product. Your job is to help them make a purchase decision. If you do it right, they’ll buy your product. but if that’s the case, take that as your baseline. Okay. what do we need in our salespeople?
What qualities? What attributes, what experience, what capabilities do we need in our salespeople in order to help the buyers make a purchase decision? Start there.
Belal Batrawy: I agree. and what that land, which that we see that has somehow transcended space and time, and is like crept into every job description of sales across the world. that to me is a sign of culture. Cause language is a sign of culture. The words that we use, the mentality that we have half, and for me like the death to fluffy victory, right?
the day we can re lay down death to fluff and its own deathbed and I call it a day. A good fight. One is the day that language is no longer considered the standard, the norm, the accepted language of a sales job description. Cause that means we’ve changed. The mentality and culture of the hiring managers of HR, of the trainers of the company on what they think their Salesforce can and should be doing.
Andy Paul: Yeah. it means that shocking where suddenly became truly buyer oriented as opposed to sales oriented and things. These are not new lessons. Yeah. Go back 40 years, 50 years, 70 years, No, the lesson has been the same, read the books, they all talk. the same thing and yeah, it’s we’re having to reinvent this with every generation.
Is this idea that let’s start with the customer? What do they need? How can we help them make a decision? And if we can do that, then Hey. that’s 90% of the battle. it’s not about selling our features on our price and our delivery. And, the tangible things it’s like, this is what do we do before they get that point where they’re considering those things, how do we influence the choices they’re gonna make in terms of how they want to solve their problem?
Not who do they wanna solve it with? And most, all sellers are focused on the who part, who are they gonna choose to solve the problem, as opposed to saying, how are we working with the buyer to help them decide how to solve that problem? And if I’m that person I win that deal.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. I’m with you. I, we can even look at it like this. Here’s a, here’s like a tactical example of exactly what you’re describing on how far sales teams are removed. And, the common GoTo, generic vanilla, stages in the CRM for a seller include things like demo, purchase negotiation, words like that, Those are the sort of stages. None of those are the buyers, right? Those are the sellers. we don’t say things like they’re interested. They’re aware of our product. They’re currently evaluating options in the market. We happen to be one of them, right? Imagine if we put the buyers, the stages as the actual stages that a seller had to, to describe their pipeline and the empathy, the tactical empathy that would create.
And then thinking about the buyer’s journey and obsessing over it, but you would be hard pressed to find a single company that doesn’t have those generic, vanilla cookie cutter things in their CRM.
Andy Paul: Despite the fact that nearly two years ago, Gartner published their buyer enablement research study that said, now, if you saw the flow chart of how the buying journey, it. It’s not a linear stage driven process. Like you just described it’s this, they call it. In fact Gardner calls it their spaghetti diagram.
It’s like you took a handful of cooks and threw it against the wall. That’s what the flowchart looked like, but they sat us at the heart of it. There are four jobs that buyers have to do four jobs to be done. Identify the problem research. Potential solutions build your specification or your requirements, document, choose a vendor, that’s it for jobs.
And so in sales, unfortunately, everybody’s focused on job for, you can’t go a day on LinkedIn without reading somebody talking about, ah, how do you deal with companies? Got RFPs? it’s yeah, that’s the end of their process. They’ve been in that process for awhile. You missed. You’re so focused on being the vendor selected.
You missed the whole three jobs before that. So a perspective for buyers or sellers to have is to say, when I’m engaging with a buyer, they’re hiring me to help them make a decision on this. Think about it that way. That’s a job they have to be done. They’ve actually got four jobs to be done. They’re hiring me to help them get those jobs done.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah, I love that. I love that. That’s exactly the right mentality. And this is a funny thing, Andy, if we brought on a smattering of sales leaders here, they’d all nod their heads and agree, right? We’d get this big, I heads going up and down and some applause and this and that. Then they go back to their sales floor and there’s a big dashboard of all the metrics that they track half of which are useless.
they are constantly reminding their sellers and stack, ranking them exactly where they are. And they are talking about crushing quota and killing this and hunting that. It’s so you’re like, where was it? I thought we were in agreement. Like I thought we were all saying this made sense.
And then, but you don’t operationalize or manifest any of that in your processes. and going back to your you’re spot on quote, right? The system is just producing the precise. It’s a precise outcome of what the system should produce. Cause it’s none of it’s operationalized. and to me, it’s it’s not hard to.
It, again, I’m the, I’m no sales genius, but I’ve already, advise a couple of startups to put the buyer’s journey as their stages in their CRM. And it worked and sellers liked it. Cause then I was getting accurate pipelines. Cause sellers were like, it feels like it could be a deal, but the buyer’s clearly just aware, but not interested right now.
I’m like great. Then put them in the aware stage. They’re not interested. And therefore we don’t forecast that pipeline and they’re like, Oh, that’s easy now I don’t have to fluff my pipeline. No, you don’t. You get to be honest, just tell me the truth. Wild. but that seemed like revolutionary
Andy Paul: But I think that highlights an interesting point though, which is that why don’t sales managers operationalize some of that, these ideas that we talked about. And I think it’s because the operating from primarily from a position of fear, So I think this is the driving factor in so many, sales manager’s lives is, yeah, that sounds like a good idea, but see, it’s hard to be blamed too badly if we fail using the prescribed process.
But if I recommend that we do something completely different, then it fails. Oh man, I’m really exposed. I think this is, this operates for sellers as well. So not being encouraged by the managers to take chances to become the best version of themselves as a seller, because any of the managers nervous that they do that they might not hit their metrics. They don’t hit their metrics. Oh my gosh. In either our targets, as opposed to letting people give people the freedom to.
To become demonic, maximize and optimize their own skills to become the best version of themselves. and I think we’ve got, the spheres are operating up and down and it’s why we’re not changing anything.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. That’s I love that point because I think about Google’s project oxygen and how. They identified psychological safety as the common denominator to all world-class teams that they had regardless of sales. And I think about myself as somebody who is, I’m a practicing Muslim. I have, moral code that I follow as part of my faith.
And that has always been a driving factor in how I behaved on the sales floor. I truly wanted to compete with myself. I, wasn’t not concerned with the affairs of others because I, I. I believe there’s, everybody’s going to get there, right? The thing enough, everybody can get there, then I could still get mine, but there’s enough to go around, I believe the infiniteness of God.
So there’s no constraints, right? There’s no resource constraint in my mind. and, but unfortunately right there, like you pointed out there’s a going to be a huge swath of leadership that don’t. I understand that don’t practice, that don’t have that in their own personal lives.
So it doesn’t show up in the professional scenario, either the professional environment and it’s going to hamstring even the best of talent.
Andy Paul: Yeah, you’re talking about, and we’ll close with this. we’re here talking about values and character, and I can maybe count on one hand personal experience working with companies that actually incorporate screening for values and characters and character in the people they hire.
And so we go back to the question I asked you before, who taught you how to sell? It was actually a sixth category. and I say one of the, one of the biggest causes of poor sales craft and at the beginning level, in terms of connecting and at a human level of people’s as bad parenting. Yeah, people just aren’t brought up to learning the right values and not right.
Mean there’s one set, but at that value other human beings, that start from a position of respect with someone else that they’re working with that understand that. Yeah. If I’m dealing with a prospect they’ve, they’re giving me some of their time. I need to give them something of value in return from that time.
Otherwise they’re gonna stop giving me my third time. Or, so I need to have that level of respect or level of respect that I was taught. My parents is to, yeah. If you want as a kid, if you meet a grownup, ask them a question, Be interested in them, have a conversation. these things I think are inculcated early ages and it’s like I’m somewhat facetious about bad parenting being the cause of bad sales, but not entirely.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah. Yeah. You’re making me reflect now. You can’t see me, but I’m like deep reflection. Guess it’s true. I think about all the times my parents told me, speak good or remain silent, which is like a prophetic saying that was often repeated in my household and how much that probably helped me in my sales career, because I.
I didn’t leave that with me. that was carried through on the cold call. It was carried through on the emails, carry through on the demo. and maybe that was enough of a subtle change, going back to what we talked about earlier, too, for people to see something different in me, that 1% difference,
Andy Paul: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. All right. We can go on forever. We’ll have you come back. We’ll do we’ll talk more. This has been a lot of fun.
Belal Batrawy: Like I appreciate it. it’s an honor and a privilege. I’m so glad. Thanks for having me, Andy.
Andy Paul: good. I think the audience is going to get a lot out of this, so appreciate joint. So if people want to connect with you and follow you on death, the fluff and so on is tell them how to do that.
Belal Batrawy: Yeah, the best. So obviously, LinkedIn, if you’re lazy, I’m there, I’ll be posting almost every day. if it gets fluffy, you have full license to call me out on it. That’s that’s the target I put on my back. then we have a community of sellers. I think we’re over 900 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I really view that as a safe place, same tribe, same language for people to talk about this sort of stuff. Because what I’ve learned is that people like bad sales management. Was has like transcended space and time. It’s just everywhere. and everybody knows that feeling of faking dials and getting their commission check played with and all the kind of shared misery of sales.
So it helps to know you’re not alone. It helps to know you’re not crazy for feeling that stuff is wrong and that’s a community to find some likeminded people.
Andy Paul: Perfect. All right. thank you for doing it again shortly.
Belal Batrawy: Thank you.