How to Generate Additional Business with Existing Customers, with Dan Englander [Episode 334]

Joining me on this episode is Dan Englander, Founder of Sales Schema and the author of The B2B Sales Blueprint, and more recently, Mastering Account Management: 102 Steps for Increasing Sales, Serving Your Customers Better, and Working Less. Among the many topics that Dan and I discuss are how to keep your customers engaged and involved beyond the initial sale, how to unify sales and customer success around common goals; and how to build on the customer experience to generate repeat business.

Key Takeaways

  • On Dan’s first sales job, he was given training, he studied books, and he networked. However, he never had enough time both to sell and manage accounts. He started qualifying accounts by focusing on best targets for repeat business.
  • Dan calls existing customers the most neglected element of the sales ‘food pyramid’, because salespeople get friendly with their customers, and stop selling to them.
  • Andy explains why you must always be in discovery mode with an existing customer. There will always be another need or objective the customer has.
  • Dan shares why sales management teams become siloed into order taking and project management, and don’t know how to look for new opportunities, or to recognize them if they find them.
  • Unifying sales with account management means full communication and goal setting between the teams, in a process that continues beyond the sale.
  • Dan recommends a planned debriefing to make sure the customer receives the best result from the product or service.
  • Andy tells how he learned the importance of responsiveness when he was working in sales and account management in the same job.
  • Dan counsels that an apology won’t do when something goes wrong. You should offer the customer options — A, B, or C of how to make it right — with your recommendation.
  • Dan explains the Likelihood Legend: a benchmark of each prospect in the pipeline.
  • Dan suggests the Take Home Guide: material with information about the deal, and tips to help the customer get the best results from it.

More About Dan Englander

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

Helpfulness — adding and context to the decision.

Who is your sales role model?

Neil Rackham, author of Spin Selling.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

The Signal and The Noise: Why so Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t, by Nate Silver.

What music is on your playlist right now?

Early Funkadelic, Clutch, Link Wray, and Dick Dale.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: It’s time to accelerate. Hi, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing, sales automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe can help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business, and most importantly, you. Hello and welcome to Accelerate. I’m excited to talk with my guest today. Joining me is Dan Englander, founder of Sales Schema. They help business owners, salespeople, and account managers generate more business with existing customers. He’s also the author of a couple books, The B2B Sales Blueprint, and more recently, Mastering Account Management: 102 Steps For Increasing Sales. Dan, welcome to Accelerate.

 

Dan Englander: Hey. Thanks for having me Andy.

 

Andy Paul: My pleasure. So take a minute, introduce yourself, maybe tell us how you got your start in sales.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, absolutely. So you know, I kind of stumbled into sales and landed this job as an account manager at an animation studio called Idea Rocket. So I was basically the first hire there.

 

Andy Paul: Now, where was that?

 

Dan Englander: This was here in New York City.

 

Andy Paul: In New York City, okay.

 

Dan Englander: New York City, big city. Yeah. So the idea, the differentiator they were going for in a nutshell was basically to bring high-quality, broadcast style animation to explainer videos. Which, if you don’t know, these are the videos that you’ll see on a startups page or a company’s page that describe what they do. So, I had heard a lot of trash about sales. Like a lot of people, I thought it was something for characters in Glengarry Glen Ross, and I kind of fashion myself as a creative of some sort. So, eventually we hit a low point and I was basically just an order taker doing proposals for people that would never get back to me. The owner was like, “Hey, are you interested in getting sales training?” I was like,” Yeah, I probably probably should at this point.” So I got training, I ended up really hitting it hard, networking, meeting lots of people, reading lots of books. Then, I kind of turned things around and learned all the best practices that you talk about on the show so much from different people. But the problem was that I was wearing a lot of hats. So it started out with just two of us in the company, and then it scaled up to eventually 10, but still, I was just always doing too much. I had to also serve clients at the same time, manage projects and whatnot, which is something common. I think a lot of business owners also have to sell. So even when I did set up this process for protecting my sales time and doing it everyday as this continuous everyday effort, I still just never had enough time. So what I started doing was just being more vigilant about qualification, and moreover, really focusing on account management. That can vary a little bit between organizations and in terms of what that definition is. But, basically what I mean by that is trying to get more business out of existing clients. Trying to win the customers that are more likely to lend themselves to repeat business in the first place and really putting full force into those as opposed to giving people equal time in terms of the sales process.

 

Andy Paul: Okay. It’s a choice that a lot of salespeople are confronted with: how do they allocate their time?

 

Dan Englander: Right.

 

Andy Paul: Part of that, I think, obviously is driven by businesses’ growth goals, right? Because you really can’t completely grow and attain your growth goals purely through repeat business from existing customers.

 

Dan Englander: No, no, not at all. But what I’ve observed is that often it’s the most neglected element of the sales food pyramid, as it were. And I always wonder about that, because I’ve worked with lots of sales people and met lots of people networking, and what tends to happen is that people feel awkward about re-approaching old customers and asking them to buy. There’s sort of an irony, because early on most sales people’s fears are with cold calls or with new prospects, but quickly that becomes easy to deal with. What becomes more awkward is approaching somebody you’ve developed these collegial bonds with and trying to get them to repurchase in some way. I think that becomes a little bit more cryptic of a process.

 

Andy Paul: Really? So why do you think that? Because I think that’s sort of counterintuitive for most people, because they think, “Hey, it’s just easier.” Even a prior customer that’s no longer doing business with you, there’s an opportunity to go back and approach that. It seems like that would always be easier than somebody cold.

 

Dan Englander: Right, I think it’s awkward because you have developed that relationship at this point. You’ve already gone through the sort of trial by fire to persuade them to buy, and then it’s sort of like they’ve now become customers, right? They’re almost like your friend. It’s sort of like if you had to go ask your friend to buy from you, you would feel more awkward than if you had to ask a stranger a lot of the time. But, I think some other salespeople might not have that problem. Another problem that people deal with is just lacking a process for doing it, and they’re left with nothing else to say to their own customers, but “Hey, you know, what’s new? Did you see the Jets game? Are you ready to buy again?” That is tough, because you’re not in the same process that you had originally with the customer, basically. You’re in something else, and you’re trying, and you’re just suggesting things, but you don’t really know what they’re dealing with again. So you have to find a way to kind of reinitiate the original process.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah. So I think really, the point is, and we’ll get to that as we continue to go through this discussion today, well really two things. One is you can’t ever really fall out of discovery mode with an existing customer.

 

Dan Englander: Sure. That’s a huge part of it.

 

Andy Paul: So as an account manager or customer success manager, whatever label you want to put on yourself or is put on you, you can never rest on the laurels of “Hey, we’ve made this customer successful.” There’s always some other need, some other requirement, some other objective that they’re trying to achieve. As account manager, you really have to constantly be set in that discovery mode. Which brings up an interesting dynamic, because you talked about seeing account reps maybe get too friendly with customers. Where do you tell people to draw that line? Because I know where I would draw it, and I know where I tell people to draw it. Which is, the customer is never your friend, they’re your acquaintance. But, you know, it doesn’t go past that.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, I guess for me personally, it’s less about trying to find the line between friend and salesperson, or friend and prospect rather, as it is about making sure that account managers are trained in sales. I think that that’s often something that is neglected. I think if you are making sure that your account managers are keeping their sales muscles strong and they’re incentivized, then the rest will follow. That’s a huge part of it, because I think a lot of the time, account management becomes kind of siloed. So you have this salesperson that does what they’re supposed to do, and they persuade, and they win the business. Then all of a sudden, it just turns into order taking and project management mode. So when account managers do come across opportunities, they don’t really know how to pursue them, and they also don’t know how to look for them in the first place. So I almost think of it as how flight attendants, and police officers sometimes, or whoever are trained in first aid. It’s sort of the same idea, except it’s definitely going to come up more than a health emergency at a baseball game or something.

 

Andy Paul: Trained in first aid, meaning they’re not full EMT’s but they can Band Aid until somebody shows up.

 

Dan Englander: Exactly, yeah. And they’ve learned a lot, and they’ve practiced it a lot, and they are definitely incentivized to use those skills when things arise.

 

Andy Paul: So I mean, it raises a bigger question about the sales culture within a company, and how, as you said, the customer success or account management is relatively siloed. But many companies I see are migrating to saying, “Hey, this is an integral part of our overall revenue plan.” Thus, there are metrics, there are goals, there are expectations that are laid on them that are just as stringent as they would be for salespeople.

 

Dan Englander: Right, right, exactly. I think though it obviously is going to depend on the nature of the product. If you have a product that is more about retention and making sure that people don’t drop off, maybe it’s an SAAS product or something. Then account management is going to be treated differently than if it’s a project based model like I’m used to in my previous life. So I think if it’s the latter then it’s almost like you have to be involved. You have to focus on staying involved and being helpful as opposed to making sure that they are getting results from the product directly. So I think there is a differentiator between those two different models. Yeah, and beyond that, I think kind of unifying sales and account management involves making sure that the account manager knows exactly how things played out on the sales call, and exactly what people are expecting, and that the process that is laid out is unified between the two parties.

 

Andy Paul: You mean, the handoff.

 

Dan Englander: The handoff is a big part of it. But I think even beyond that, a lot of the time, especially with project based products, the account managers work really hard to get everybody results. Then you have people implementing it via a website or video, and then everybody waves goodbye at the end because of all the hard work that was just done. Maybe there were high and low points in the engagement. But instead you really have to kind of build in the prospect of repeat business from, I think, the first call. There are different ways to do that, but to get specific, one way that I think is really valuable is for that SDR, for that account executive to lay out a debrief call at the end, or some other session. You can give it a much sexier name, but basically it’s a chance for the account manager and the other salespeople to come back into the picture and make sure that the customer is getting the best results from the product or service, basically.

 

Andy Paul: So this is a debrief call at the end of implementation.

 

Dan Englander: Exactly, yeah, a follow up. Instead of making that an afterthought, where you’re forced to call people up and see if you can get them. What that does is it kind of implies to them that you’re just looking for more business, as opposed to setting it up at the beginning, which lets them know, “Hey, this is part of what we do, and we don’t separate it, because we want to make sure you get results.”

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, so I guess that raises a question I was going to ask. Because we’re talking about, again, more distinct, discrete project work as opposed to an ongoing software, SAAS-type relationship with a customer and account management in this environment. Yeah, there is a certain need. Every company should be looking at ways to have an aspect of recurring revenue in there. You don’t want to bring that prospect of recurring revenue up at the beginning of the sales process?

 

Dan Englander: I think you can just as long as it is solving a challenge that your prospects have now or are likely to have by the end of the engagement.

 

Andy Paul: Okay. Yeah, I’m trying to think of various examples. You know, if you have a website, certainly there’s some sort of ongoing engagement.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, for a website, it’s the most natural thing. This kind of brings me to the next point, which I think a lot of the time is that people think of it as a zero sum thing. Either they purchase our flagship offering or it’s all for naught. But I think it helps if you are focused on involvement as opposed to repurchase of your main offering. So to give some examples, that might be an upsell or ancillary offering. If you’re selling websites, it could be SEO services. It also could be staying involved by building case studies and getting them involved with your marketing people. Because that kind of becomes a two birds with one stone thing, because then they’re also getting some coverage on your site and with your marketing materials. You’re kind of tied at the hip with their success at that point. And another thing is just introductions to other service providers in your world, because then all of a sudden, they enter your network of people that you work with. When other needs arise, they are going to be more likely to come back to you, and your partners are going to be able to sell for you. So I think being open minded about these opportunities and being creative is much better than just focusing on this one thing: repurchase.

 

Andy Paul: Okay. So in your book, you divide your 102 Steps For Increasing Sales, your account management book, into nine different sections. So the first section is “Time”. I’m just going to go through a few of the points that I thought were kind of interesting or worth discussing. So under time you say limit emails and limit phones. Now what do you mean by that?

 

Dan Englander: Well, basically this was drawn from my experience and the experience of many people that are, what I like to call for lack of a better word, utility sales players. So those are the people that are tasked with serving clients and doing sales at the same time.  So the problem is if you let something go, you can probably move heaven and earth to fix that. You can delegate things, you can get help and so on. But you can’t make a sale happen out of thin air, usually it’s more unpredictable than that. So it has to be this continuous everyday effort. So to limit email and limit phones, I basically lay out specific ways to limit those distractions, so that when you do devote time to sales, you’re not having clients hit you up. When you are devoting time to clients, you’re not having prospects set you up. But basically just kind of systematizing these things so that you don’t let one of them fall by the wayside.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, there’s a phrase in there I thought I would take issue with. You talked about how deferring prospects to the end of the day probably wouldn’t lose business. I say that because I come from the 180 degree perspective, which is that responsiveness is the single most important habit you can develop as a sales rep.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, I mean, I think it depends on the situation a lot. I guess my feeling is that with prospects that you’ve already spoken with, and you do have the specific situation I’m talking about where you have the heavy weight of projects on your shoulders, it’s good to carve out some time to get back to the prospects, even if it is at the end of the day. I think if you’re a full time salesperson, you’re in a completely different boat than this section right now. So I think that’s the context.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, I’ve operated in that environment for a good chunk of my career before I started my own company, before running sales teams. So earlier in my career, that was the mode I was operating in as account manager and account executive. That’s really how I came to the understanding of how important responsiveness was.

 

Dan Englander: I never disagree with the importance of responsiveness. I guess what I was trying to get at there is to really batch up your tasks and make sure that you are not having one thing pull you away from another. So to get people to stop freaking out as much about what might be coming into the inbox, that is kind of what I was going for there. But yes, I will not argue that responsiveness is something trivial.

 

Andy Paul: Okay, now, your second section “Serving Your Customers,” you have an interesting one, you put out fires by offering options. So what did you mean by that?

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, what I meant there is oftentimes when something goes wrong, people will just apologize profusely and not really offer any specifics about what can be done. So, what I like to do there is just make the decision making process as easy for your client as possible. Mechanically that often means just kind of laying things out in A, B, or C format with a recommendation. That’s definitely more on the client services side of things. But I think these things end up being tied together obviously because it’s hard to get a repurchase if you can’t put out these fires.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, yeah. Inevitably, there’s fire in every relationship at some point or another. Nothing ever goes 100% smoothly. So I thought that was interesting. You’re saying you can make a recommendation for the customer or what the best option is, but you’re saying it’s probably better to involve them in the decision making about what should be done by offering multiple options.

 

Dan Englander: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s good. But you don’t want to create decision fatigue, but you do often want to give them things to choose from, so that they can take ownership over what happens as well.

 

Andy Paul: Okay.

 

Dan Englander: So it’s a fine line.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, yeah, but I think it’s a good option to offer people. So in your next section, you had talked about your account management dashboard. I like your use of the term the “likelihood legend”. So I want you to tell people what that is and how you put that to use.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, the likelihood legend is basically just a benchmarking system. So there’s all sorts of tools that you can use, all sorts of CRM that will lay out your pipeline in different ways.

 

Andy Paul: Well, lay it out by stages with probabilities associated with it, right?

 

Dan Englander: Yeah. So what I was trying to get across was that it’s basically a benchmark system, so that you have a consistent way to rate where prospects are in your pipeline so that you’re not guessing at each and every stage. So it’s going to vary depending on the nature of the offering, but basically you want consistency based on actions as opposed to trusting your gut, or things that people have said, or whatnot. So it becomes just a way to rate your leads. What I was trying to do is give account managers, and utility sales players, and business owners a lot of the time, just an easy way to conceptualize how to rate their leads without going too far into the CRM rabbit hole and getting overwhelmed with it.

 

Andy Paul: Right, but I think the thing that you point out, which is interesting for people to think about, the one you lay out as an example is not based on some actions you take. So almost all forecasts I see, all the companies I deal with it’s 50% probability because we did a demo. Suddenly it becomes 50% probability and at 75% probability, we submit a proposal. And to me those are worthless benchmarks and stage marked markers, demarcations. Whereas you have examples where you’ve got an agreement that the budgets are acceptable, they notify that you’re on their shortlist.

 

Dan Englander: Right.

 

Andy Paul: You know, there’s things you have that are more precise based on information that you receive from the customer. I think that’s really the key thing for people. But what I liked about the way you express that is that when you build your forecast pipeline or your pipeline forecast, the stages have to be determined and defined by what the customer tells you not by what you think is going on.

 

Dan Englander: Right, exactly, and thank you for that. I think that a lot of the time people will prioritize activity over actual reality or results. So it becomes easy to say, “Well, I’ve gone through this stage and therefore the process is here.” So yeah, it definitely does have to be on the customer’s or prospect’s side in terms of how they’re thinking and what they’ve done.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, and I talked about this in my most recent book, Amp Up Your Sales. If you have four competitors, if there are four competitors on the deal and you’re one of them, you all have the same forecasting system, which says that submitting a proposal means you have a 75% probability of winning the deal. All four of you can’t have the 75% chance of winning the deal if you’ve all submitted a proposal. So there’s a huge, huge fallacy and flaw built into those forecasting methodologies.

 

Dan Englander: Unless you know for a fact who else is involved in the deal and you have really done some hard qualification and stuff, but even then it involves guesswork.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, and like I said not everybody can have the same probability, right? So when you base your probability on the distance into the deal that you’ve traveled, I say you can’t measure probability with a yardstick, right? That’s basically what you’re trying to do, which is a much better way that you put forward, which is good. Oh gosh, in your section on “The Sales Process”, you talk about making your pitch focus on the ‘why?’ We have books written about focusing on your ‘why’, Simon Sinek and so on, but tell people what you mean about focusing on the ‘why’.

 

Dan Englander: I think it just creates an emotional connection more than other things. You know, I don’t claim to be the first one to say “Focus on the why.” But it definitely was helpful for me to start doing that. Actually, what it does is it creates understanding about what makes you different without making people feel like they’re being sold. I think that’s the key to it. You can say our differentiators for us at Idea Rocket were we focus on high quality animation, we do all this, that, and the third. You know, you can’t actually say that specifically, or rather I didn’t. But I think when I started saying “I got started at Idea Rocket because we realized that if you have a complex message, people need to understand it quickly and it needs to speak well of your brand. So that’s why we take this particular approach to animation.” So I think when I just started phrasing it in that way, I could just sense much more of an emotional reaction to what I was saying. So that’s sort of where I was coming from with that section.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, I mean, it does help to in one form, whether it’s through a story or a metaphor or something, explain the ‘why’ behind your product, and your service, and your offering.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, exactly. I think that there are different ways to get that across, but I think it’s the fastest way to kind of create that sort of reaction by phrasing things like that.

 

Andy Paul: Okay. Yeah, you have another interesting phrase that I like that you used in your “Tips and Tools” section. You said prevent sales atrophy. So again, tell people what you meant by that, and we’ll talk about this some because it’s an important lesson.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, as with anything, I think it’s really just easy to kind of get stuck going through the motions. Making assumptions about prospects is one of the most common things I observe. You know, you’ve dealt with what is seemingly the same situation over and over again, and you start assuming things are a certain way. You start cutting corners. You might not explain things in the right way. You might not send this or that follow up that you would normally send. I think it’s kind of like a glass of water that keeps spilling out. You have to keep refilling it. It takes some stamina to ask these tough questions, and I think that that can kind of start to drain out of people after a while. Where they’re like “I could ask how they’re going to be making the decision,” or “I think I have kind of a good idea because I’ve dealt with other prospects like this in the IT space, so I’ll just leave that be for now.” And that’s kind of what I mean by A) being conscious that that is a thing that will probably happen and B) staying on top of your game. Making sure that you’re getting on enough calls and that you’re not sort of allowing yourself to stagnate and being aware of it.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, well I think people listening probably heard me say this but every prospect, without sounding too trite, is like a snowflake. Each one is individual. The way they process information and gather information is unique. It may seem like you’re getting the same questions but that’s not the same person asking it.

 

Dan Englander: Right exactly.

 

Andy Paul: I mean I’ve had guests on the show, we’ve talked about mindfulness within selling. You really need to be present. You need to eliminate distractions, listen without your bias filters up, and listen without judgment.

 

Dan Englander: Right. And I think it’s worth pointing out that when you say the same thing over and over again, you become your own biggest critic, you become your own heckler in your head. But you have to remember that your prospect has never heard this before. Each and every prospect has not heard this before. So you have to just keep up the energy and keep going through it.

 

Andy Paul: Well actually, to me it’s almost the opposite, right? Chances are the customers have heard pretty much the same thing from your competitors. So you really need to be mindful. For me, you know, every time I have an opportunity to present to a prospect, it’s like, yeah, they’ve heard this. So what am I going to say that’s different?

 

Dan Englander: Right. That’s important too. It depends on the situation, I think if you aren’t dealing with the competitive situation as much, then it is about making them feel the pain of not working with you or not getting the solution as much too. But yeah, I think you’re right. That’s why I like going back to the ‘why?’ I think it sort of verbally separates you from the noise that they’re going through on the other half dozen people they’ve researched in Google, you know?

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, and the last point on this one, there’s always competition, right? Because they can always make the decision to do nothing. So that is, to me, the biggest competitor. That’s the one that you have to really be selling against more than your competitors.

 

Dan Englander: Right. Exactly.

 

Andy Paul: All right. Yeah, interesting point in your section on “Farming” about providing a take home guide. So I think I know what you meant by that, having read through it. Because I had something similar, at least I think it was similar, that I did. But why don’t you tell people what you meant when you say you’ve got a customer you’ve sold to and closed the deal. What is the take home guide?

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, it’s basically some sort of useful tool or material that is going to help your customers get the best results from your product or service, even if they never choose to work with you again. So I think that it’s sort of differentiated from just general content marketing, because it’s a little bit more special. It’s a little bit more tailored to the person that actually now has your product or has, you know, undergone your services. So it’s something that can keep you in front of your prospects and your customers in a way that a Christmas card really can’t. That’s sort of the idea, and since I wrote this book, I think that there’s a lot more tools that have become mainstays. There’s different ways to deliver a take home guide, it doesn’t necessarily have to just be a PDF. It could be an autoresponder series or an email or it could be a video series or something else like that. But the idea is that it’s something that is actually valuable that you can present to your existing customers.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, I like that. I mean, one thing I would add to it is at the beginning. Again, I talk about this in one of my books, but especially in certain project work and in competitive situations, it’s really important that when the customer has given you the order, the first thing you want to do as a sales representative, and you can do this with the account manager, is pick up the phone or in person meet with them and do a decision review. Say, “Look, this is why you contacted us in the first place, or we contacted you. This is what your requirements were, this is why we bid what we bid. This is why you accepted our bid. This is what we’re delivering and when.”

 

Dan Englander: Right, right. I think that’s good.

 

Andy Paul: If you put that into the take home guide, as sort of the first chapter, I think that starts becoming really powerful. Because then they can always reference back, because in any sort of competitive situation, what happens when the customer makes the decision? Let’s say they’re talking to four vendors, in their mind, what they bought was the ‘best of’ each of the four vendors. Not that they’re confused, but it’s just the way the mind works, right?

 

Dan Englander: Yeah.

 

Andy Paul: This is what was attractive to me, and I’ve seen it so many times. Then when you actually deliver the project, you deliver the work, you deliver the product, there’s this little bit of disappointment. It’s like, “Wait, didn’t we order…? Doesn’t this come with…?” Think about your own experience buying a car, there’s some feature you thought was available that maybe didn’t show. So have that call, or put it in the take home guide, do both. So that when the customer has a reference about their relationship with you, there is the history.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And I’ll keep it in mind for the second edition because that’s really solid. The only thing that I would add to that is sometimes it’s good if you can get a third party to do that interview, I think, because it’s often easier to give more candid answers and to figure out where you stand when it’s not the same person that took them through the process.

 

Andy Paul: Well as long as they have the knowledge.

 

Dan Englander: Right, as long as they know what’s going on.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah, if they didn’t have the background or the knowledge then, yeah. Because doing buyer experience surveys is an important part of that as well. So we’re good. Okay, we’re going into the last segment of my show, where I’ve got some hypotheticals, one hypothetical question, and some real questions I ask my guests. So, Dan, this first question is a hypothetical scenario in which you, Dan, have just been hired as vice president of sales at a startup whose sales have stalled out. The CEO is anxious to get sales unstuck and back on track. Sales turnaround has to start somewhere, so what two things would you do your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?

 

Dan Englander: That’s a very good question. I think the first thing would be to learn, figure out what’s going on, talk to salespeople, and talk to a representative group of prospects. But I think that’s kind of a given, that’s just the best practice. Then chances are from that thinking, the heuristic that I would use would be a big dumb idea, sort of thing. So if I was, you know, twice as greedy and half as smart, what would I do to turn things around, because it sounds like it’s a short timeframe sort of situation. Chances are that thing would be contacting the most valuable customers and doing something that will be helpful to restart the conversations with them and finding out from the research that I’ve done some other ancillary offering we could sell to them. Because that tends to be the lowest hanging fruit.

 

Andy Paul: Okay. All right, good. So some rapid fire questions, you give me one word answers or you can elaborate a little, if you wish. So when you, Dan, are out selling your services, what is your most powerful sales attribute?

 

Dan Englander: I’m sure it’s not an original one, but I think helpfulness. I think you have to go beyond just pitching, and you actually have to add a lot of value and context to the decision making process. I know this is something that you deal with a lot on the show, so I know it’s not the freshest answer. But I think that that’s the most important thing now, is letting them know what sort of landscape they’re making their buying decision in and where you guys fit into it.

 

Andy Paul: Hey, this is a safe space. There are no wrong answers here. So who’s your sales role model?

 

Dan Englander: Good question. I’m a big Neil Rackham fan. I just really like SPIN Selling. I think it was just kind of prophetic, based on when it came out. And it was the first book, maybe there are others, but it was the first one that I read that was just really driven in data and then got across the idea that it’s really about understanding things, qualifying, building rapport, as opposed to the older books that I read that were just about pitching. I think it almost anticipated where we would be now in terms of informational parity between buyers and sellers.

 

Andy Paul: Okay. One book, other than your own, that every salesperson should read?

 

Dan Englander: Well, I guess I kind of led into SPIN Selling, so that’s a great one. Another one that I’ve really enjoyed recently is Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise. I really like to read books that aren’t directly related to sales to get sales takeaways sometimes, and vice versa. Yeah, and I guess the main takeaway there is being a fox and not a hedgehog. If you haven’t read the book, foxes are sort of drawing from all sorts of different areas. They’re not ideologically inclined. They see everything through a different lens depending on the situation and hedgehogs are kind of set in their ways. They are either communists, or libertarians, or republicans, or whatever. No matter how much data they get to the contrary of the way they think, they just zoom in on that one way of thinking. So I think you can almost apply that to sales and sort of borrow different strategies for different situations as opposed to having one overarching approach for everything.

 

Andy Paul: No, I like that. Okay, last question. What music is on your playlist these days?

 

Dan Englander: Aw, my favorite question. I’m listening to a lot of early funkadelic. I’ve been listening to Clutch, which is this metal band I like. Yeah, what else? Some surf rock, I’ve been listening like Link Wray and Dick Dale.

 

Andy Paul: Dick Dale, classic.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, yeah. Well, I play guitar. So I love the style.

 

Andy Paul: Oh, you love to do those surf riffs?

 

Dan Englander: I try, yeah.

 

Andy Paul: And so funkadelic, you mean like Grand Funk Railroad, those guys?

 

Dan Englander: Not so much of that, but it’s more like Parliament-Funkadelic.

 

Andy Paul: Oh, Parliament, okay. Got it. Wow, very diverse, good.

 

Dan Englander: Thank you, I try.

 

Andy Paul: Yeah. You got some stuff in there for a young guy. Good stuff. All right. Well, Dan, thanks for being my guest today and maybe tell folks how they can find out more about you.

 

Dan Englander: Yeah, they can find me at salesschema.com, and if they go to sales schema.com/accelerate, there will be a special surprise treat that may or may not be one of my books.

 

Andy Paul: Perfect. There you go. All right. Well, Dan, again thanks for being on the show.

 

Dan Englander: Thank you Andy, I appreciate it.

 

Andy Paul: And remember friends, make it a part of your day everyday to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. One easy way to do that is to make this podcast, Accelerate, a part of your daily routine. Whether you listen on your commute, in the gym, or make it part of your morning sales meeting. That way you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Dan Englander, who shared his expertise on how to accelerate the growth of your business. So thanks for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone. Thanks for listening to the show. If you liked what you heard and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at AndyPaul.com.