How to Use Lean Methods to Grow Sales, with Brant Cooper [Episode 328]

Joining me on this episode is Brant Cooper. Brant is the New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate With New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets. Among the many topics that Brant and I discuss are how he came to write his book, how he joined the ‘Lean’ movement, some of his practices for helping organizations grow with their customers, and how your organization can grow ‘Lean.’

Key Takeaways

  • How you inspire organizations to break down silos.
  • How to use the lean methodology to challenge the status quo of customer relationships.
  • If you don’t inspire your customer to change the status quo, someone else will, and you will lose the account.
  • How to identify early adopters among customers.
  • How evidence-informed decision-making drives ‘lean innovation.’
  • The steps sales reps should take to understand their customers (from the customers’ point of view.)
  • How do you flip the conversation on a sales call?
  • What is a ‘learning organization’?
  • How you should use testing and data to drive your sales growth.
  • Great advice about how growth is what occurs between bottlenecks.

More About Brant Cooper

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

Empathy.

Who is your sales role model?

My early boss, Janice Spampinato.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries, also, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nicholas Taleb

What music is on your playlist right now?

Local Natives, Industrial Revelation, and Anders Osborne.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul 0:35

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 to help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you. 

Hello, and welcome to Accelerate. I’m really looking forward to talk with my guest today. Joining me is Brant Cooper, New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate With New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets. He’s the founder CEO of Moves the Needle, a keynote speaker. Brant, welcome to Accelerate.

 

Brant Cooper 1:18

Andy, thank you for having me. Excited to be here. 

 

Andy Paul 1:21

Oh, my pleasure. So maybe take a minute, introduce yourself. How’d you get into business initially, but then how’d you get into the whole lean entrepreneur side of things?

 

Brant Cooper 1:30

Yeah, sure. I have a background in startups. So I lived through the dotcom boom and bust and lived through some successes and some mediocre startups, through some massive failures even.

 

Andy Paul 1:47

Me, too. We’ll compare stories on the massive failures.

 

Brant Cooper 1:51

Right. So there was a bunch of independent efforts after the bust where people were questioning, why are we building startups as if they’re like big businesses. Which is the whole concept of write a business plan, plan what you’re going to do, and then simply execute on that business plan. And voila, you’re gonna have all of this success. And, of course, all of those that went through the best part of it learned pretty quickly that the business plan, as Steve Blank likes to say, is a great work of fiction. 

And so I launched a marketing service called Sales and Marketing R&D. And it was to try to bring the engineering rigor over to the sales and marketing side of the house. So instead of just believing that we know what products to build, what features to add, how to market and how to sell, we should go out and learn first and take an iterative approach towards all of the functions inside of a business, across the business, throughout the business model. And so I was blogging about that in the mid 2000s, 2007, I guess, 2008. And somebody turned me on to Steve Blank who had compiled a bunch of lecture notes called The Four Steps to the Epiphany

And he laid out what he thought the practices were of successful startups, those that had achieved scale and went public or were acquired, but achieved the scale based upon this method of learning first and then executing. And that was right when Eric Ries was blogging about the lean startup. And so there was, again, a small group of us that were working on this stuff, and trying it out, and practicing, and trying to do it with startups. 

And I wrote the book The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development that summarized these practices. And that took off, and suddenly I was in this lean startup world. And Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup,really took it mainstream. So corporate america started reading about this stuff. So ironically, now it’s not only do we not teach startups how to act like big businesses, we are teaching big businesses how to act more like startups in particular parts of their business so that they can also learn before they execute when trying new endeavors. And so that’s what Moves the Needle does. And that’s where I find myself.

 

Andy Paul 4:21

Right. So Moves the Needle from an innovation standpoint.

 

Brant Cooper 4:25

Actually, more than innovation. So if we define innovation as something new that creates new value and forget for a moment the, is it sustaining and incremental versus disruptive or breakthrough. But just trying to create something new that creates value, that being innovation, we teach that all across the company. So all people should be learning these entrepreneurial skill sets. Because everybody has a customer. 

And so we don’t really know where innovation is going to come from, so you’re better off rather than choosing a few, hey, you go be our innovators, teach everybody these practices. And you’ll find new ways to invent processes inside your business or new parts of the business model that might lead to new markets or new growth, rather than just relying on oh, I’m gonna go create some disruptive technology in some lab somewhere.

 

Andy Paul 5:19

What I think is a really critical distinction is that people tend to think about innovation from a product or a service standpoint and not about a process or a business model standpoint.

 

Brant Cooper 5:30

Right. So if you look at successful startups, if you go back as far as Amazon for example, you can see that innovation actually has happened in distribution. Or innovation can be in marketing itself. Or as you’re very familiar with, innovation can be in how you go and sell to a company. And so if the salesperson is creating new value for the client, then you have launched a new marketing channel or new channel in getting to the customer that may result in revenue that’s independent of the utility of the product that you’re selling.

 

Andy Paul 6:12

And it could be a huge extension to it, right? 

 

Brant Cooper

Exactly. 

 

Andy Paul

So let’s talk about innovation in the context of business to business sales. Because a lot of what you’ve written about, your book and content I’ve read on your website, even though not specifically addressing sales, certainly it does speak to it. And it seems like things you’re talking about, like see urgent opportunities and take it upon yourself to make things happen. Now, it seems like that would logically be something every sales rep should aspire to, right? That we see an urgent opportunity, and we take it upon ourselves to make it happen. But they seem to be constrained, it seems like, in so many organizations. I presume you see this at the enterprise level.

 

Brant Cooper 6:53

So this is true across all of the silos inside the large enterprise. And so inevitably when we talk to large organizations about this, the ones that we work with are the ones that are willing to really, from a C suite down, actively break down silos and actively look at even structuring teams in a different way. And so from my perspective, if you look at all of the individual silos, many of them have become more customer focused. 

So a good salesperson, whether you call them a renaissance salesperson or a consultative salesperson, has to look at things from the customer’s perspective. You have to be creating value or you have no relationship. And the same thing goes with marketing content and positioning and all of that sort of thing. And of course, the same thing goes with developing a product. And there’s a lot of customer journey mapping and the rise of user experience design. 

But the problem is, as long as those things still exist in the silo, you’re still missing opportunities for growth. You’re maybe even missing where the customer is missed, where the customer is the most frustrated. And so I try to look at it as what, holistically, is the customer journey from them first becoming aware of a product all the way to becoming passionate about the product. 

And inevitably, if that’s that one journey that needs to be connected, it doesn’t work very well if different aspects of that journey have to go up and down the hierarchy of silos and across the whole company to be accomplished. And so you start getting into things like structure around cross functional teams and really getting sales to work with marketing, with product, with distribution, with support. That’s the way that people need to look at their relationship with their customers, this holistic journey.

 

Andy Paul 8:53

So one of the issues obviously when you start talking about that, I imagine as you get into it, is that sales likes to be in charge. They like to own that relationship. And what you’re talking about is something that really challenges that in a fundamental way.

 

Brant Cooper 9:09

So one of the barriers to our innovation work inside a large enterprise in the B2B environment is typically the salespeople say, no, you can’t go and talk to the customers. You can’t run experiments. You can’t do this or that, because I own the relationship. And so they’re fearful that that relationship will be hurt. 

And it’s a valid concern, right? If you’re a large successful enterprise, that sales rep is responsible for significant amounts of revenue to the company. And they have very aggressive numbers that they must hit. And so part of it is that the innovators have to recognize that the core assets of the existing company must be protected. And so that’s, to me, ground rule number one. And can I put the salespeople, the account managers at ease if that’s the first thing I say? It’s like, no, your core assets must be protected fundamentally. 

So then we get into the process of, so how do we get to yes? How do we get to the point where you will allow us to contact some of your accounts in order to ensure that what we’re creating in the future is going to provide value. And that it’s going to provide such significant value that you as the sales rep, you as the account manager, are going to be happy about it, and are going to be tickled, are going to benefit, themselves, from it.

 

Andy Paul 10:35

Or alternatively, if we don’t provide it, you’re gonna lose the account. To your point, if you don’t inspire the customer to change their status quo, someone else is gonna come along and do it.

 

Brant Cooper 10:47

Exactly right. And I’ll add that inevitably, the high quality salespeople that I am working with, I can ask a simple question. Who are your early adopters? Who are the ones that want to know what’s being worked on? Who are the ones that want to see behind the curtain about what’s going on? 

And so those early adopters that the account people are well aware of who they are, then they can actually plant the seed and form those relationships with the innovation team or the product team or whatever. So now those customers are the ones that get to see the behind the scenes.They get to be involved, get to co-develop the new products. And then that, again, it strengthens the relationship.

 

Andy Paul 11:38

Yeah, that whole co-creation of value is, I think, really one of the driving trends in business to business sales. And you spoke to it directly, right? I mean, if you’re not working hand in glove with the customer to say what their needs are and we’re going to do some experiments and learn together to see what’s the best approach or the best solution for you, then someone else is gonna swoop in and get that business. Because they’re gonna work with the customer that way. Because that’s the way the customers want to work.

 

Brant Cooper 12:06

It’s the way that customers want to work. And it’s certainly just the way the world operates now. And one of the things I talk about often is increased competition. And it’s not just from very well funded startups. It’s from other enterprise companies that are looking for new markets. It’s the fact that we’re global now. So these competitors could be coming in internationally. 

And it’s even these scary last generation tech companies. I mean, do we really know what Amazon’s gonna do next, or what Google’s gonna do next, or what markets Apple is going to go into or Amazon? Where we have Uber for cars, obviously, but we have Uber for helicopters, Uber for food. What’s next? Uber for life insurance? I mean, why not? 

We don’t know where the competition is coming from. So the relationship that we have with our existing clients needs to be tighter. And it needs to be that we’re co-creating and understanding deeply all of the concerns and aspirations that our customers have.

 

Andy Paul 13:06

Well, let’s talk about your three E’s of innovation and create a context and then come back in and talk about some of this stuff.

 

Brant Cooper 13:15

Sure. Three E’s of lean innovation. Empathy, understanding our customers deeply. Experiments, so we’re going to run purpose built experiments based upon hypotheses in order to either validate or invalidate our riskiest assumptions. And evidence. So evidence informed decision making. I really don’t like the phrase evidence based, as if the data is the only thing.

 

Andy Paul 13:41

Or it’s conclusive, right?

 

Brant Cooper 13:42

Exactly. Right. And so our knowledge, our experience, our intuition is super important. But you want to look at the data, you want to learn insights. So that’s part of my evidence, too, is that you’re getting insights from the market. And so that what we’re trying to do is not make decisions based upon the highest paid person in the room, or our own egos, or our own emotions, our own fears. And that’s how the data helps inform those decisions. But those are the three E’s: empathy, experiments and evidence.

 

Andy Paul 14:13

So empathy, let’s start with that. Does building a relationship with your customer where you’re really– we hate to say you’re customer centric because that’s a term that’s been around for so long. But so few people really do it well. You’re spending time with them, really understanding what it is that’s important to them. You’re not selling, right?

 

Brant Cooper 14:40

Right. You’re not selling, you’re not hugging them either. So empathy doesn’t mean that you have to go hug all your customers unless that’s where the relationship goes. That’s fine. But it’s really not doing what the customer says. So that’s a key component. It’s understanding why the customers are saying what they’re saying. 

So when people are creating and trying to sell new products, we know often that the customer doesn’t understand why they need the product or they don’t understand the context or the new technology. And so it’s not simply going and doing what the customer says, but understanding why they say what they say. One of the companies that we worked with had a manufacturing monitoring tool that they assumed that the customer was installing it properly. As a matter of fact, they did interviews where the customers would say, 9 out of 10 said, yeah, we’re installing this in our factory floor correctly. 

But it wasn’t until a combination of sales and engineering went out to the factories and looked and watched the installation that they realized that their customers were in fact installing it wrong. And that’s why they were not getting all of the benefit that they hoped from the product. So that’s not the customer’s responsibility to know that or to understand that or make the product simple enough to install. It’s the company’s responsibility. 

And so the company revamped the software to start with just big lights. It’s green, yellow, red.,It’s green when it’s installed correctly. But it’s one of those things that you only can understand when you’re out there on the factory floor and you’re seeing people trying to interact with your product. And so that’s an example of empathy. It’s understanding them, and their situation, and their environment deeply. 

And it’s also understanding what their aspirations are. I used to try to sell product into IT organizations where there was an 800 pound gorilla. And the 800 pound gorilla could simply go to the client and say, really, you’re going to let this startup forklift these products out of your IT center and put in this new stuff? And the IT manager’s going, holy crap, there’s no way. I’ll lose my job if something goes wrong, right?

 

Andy Paul 17:00

Let’s guess who was doing that. Fear and uncertainty . Okay. Well, I think one of the things when you’re talking about the empathy, a phrase I like salespeople in the audience really listening in to hear is that you need to learn how to listen without judgment. If you’re a salesperson, even take your manufacturing floor example, how many interactions had the sales rep had with the customer when this was going on, but they had their filters up, right? Or they were thinking about what their own agenda was and not what the customer’s was. And so instead of asking the question, instead they’re bringing their biases down and their filters down, just listening completely, being present, a little mindfulness we’re talking about here, really essential in developing that empathy.

 

Brant Cooper 17:41

Right. And I think that there’s, frankly, different modes that a person can be in. There are times when it’s right to be– you’re overcoming objections. And you’re providing the technical specs. And you’re doing these other things that need to be done in that sales moment. And so I guess I think that part of it is to be able to distinguish when am I in selling mode and when am I in relationship mode? And maybe you’ll correct me, maybe that’s not the right way to look at it. But when are you in listening? 

 

Andy Paul

Always.

 

Brant Cooper

Yeah, you’re always in listening.

 

Andy Paul 18:20

Yeah, to me, one of the issues in innovation that I keep trying to push is that talk less, listen more. Because if you really are asking the right questions, and you’re listening without thinking about the next thing you’re gonna say, the customer’s gonna tell you something really important. But you have to hear it. You’ve got to be in a mode to hear it.

 

Brant Cooper 18:40

So I’m sure you and most of your audience has heard the flipping the conversation method. And I talk about this a lot in my books, and it’s mostly because everybody inside the company needs to be able to learn this. But it’s basically introducing yourself and then stating two or three problems that you think that your client has. And then you just toss it to them, do you have these problems? And to me, it’s a great way to get going with these open ended questions. 

And what is the client going to say? Yes, I have those problems. You nailed them exactly. Let’s talk about it. Yes, I kind of have these problems. But my main problem is over here. And maybe it’s something that you can address or maybe not. But it’s going to tell you what the priority of your client is with what you do have. Or nope, I don’t really have those problems. And really, that’s a big fat no. I’d rather hear that than the maybe. So it’s a great way to get into the listening mode, in my opinion.

 

Andy Paul 19:41

Yeah. No, I think it’s a great, great way to start. So experiments. I love this because I’m a huge advocate that– and this is a problem again. For some salespeople, they have their eye on the prize, right? The big number. And there’s lots of ways to get to a big number. Oftentimes, the best way is to start very small and work your way up to the big number. 

And you find by doing the experimenting that you’re talking about, if you start relatively small with prospects, the way small engagements, small relationship start, then you get a chance to learn. Because they start integrating it into their processes, your solution into their processes. And you get this evidence back that you talked about,

 

Brant Cooper 20:21

Right. So I was helping an entrepreneur one day in Wisconsin. And I asked him, what do you need most? He said, 1,000 customers. And I said, how many do you have? And he said, zero. And I said, you don’t need 1,000, you need one. And so it’s exactly what you’re saying. When you’re trying to learn, you can’t learn 100 at a time. You can’t learn 1,000 at a time. You really have to go back. And it’s ideally if you have existing customers, it’s your early adopters, you really have to narrow down and try to figure out what’s the value that I can create for one, and then for a handful, and then with larger groups before you start to figure out if there’s a larger play here. 

And so the idea around the experiments is exactly that. You’re going back down to the small numbers of clients. One of my riskiest assumptions of the process that we run clients through is really around brainstorming. What has to be true from the client’s perspective for my solution to fix their problem? And what is known, and what is unknown? You don’t really have to run experiments on the known if there’s analogies in the market already. In other words, there’s other products, competitors, your own products, knowledge inside the company that makes things known. You don’t have to run experiments. That’s execution territory. 

But what is unknown? What are we assuming about the customer’s environment that it will allow this solution to work? And so our process, we go through, we prioritize those, we get to the riskiest assumption. And the riskiest assumption is if this is not true, this solution will not work for my client. And now I can try to run what we call an experiment. If I do x, this customer will behave in way z, and I’m going to measure z. And I’m going to put a stake in the ground that says 10 customers are going to behave this way. And I’m going to go talk to 15 and see what the percentage is. 

And so everything we’re talking about there in that unknown section is hypothesis driven. We put a stake in the ground, because it’s the only way that we can get a feeling after we run the experiment whether we were successful or not. If one just goes out and throws stuff against the wall and tries to feel how things are going, typically the last call that you did on a client affects how you feel about the whole day. 

 

Andy Paul 22:54

Absolutely. People are that way. Natural human nature, right?

 

Brant Cooper 22:56

Right. And so put a stake in the ground. I’m gonna go talk to 10. 7 out of 10 are going to behave in this way that indicates whether my assumption is true or not true. And there I’ve got a set of evidence. It’s evidence that I can share with other people. It’s evidence I can share with the marketing team, with the product team, with senior leaders, with managers, that says, hey, this is something that we should look at. Here’s an insight here. I understand why they behaved the way they did, because I asked them why. 

So we’ve got this data, and we have these insights. And we should run some more experiments and expand that pool and try to figure out if there’s something here in fact. But I think we’ve got this insight that we can capitalize on. And I truly believe that the companies that are the most successful are the ones that gain customer insights before competition and act quickly to capitalize on them.

 

Andy Paul 23:49

Right. As you talked about in one of your pieces, you want to think big but start small. And these experiments and evidence, this loop that’s the three E’s, I’ll say, leads to the, what you said, a learning organization. And people tend to think about it being book learning. But we’re talking about learning lessons.

 

Brant Cooper 24:14

Learning works as opposed to simply executing on the way we’ve always done it or on the marketing the way we’ve always done it. Or we’ll go after a new market segment and try to sell the same way as we sold to the old market segment. And if you execute while you’re in the unknown, you’re essentially saying, okay, I’m going to give this one shot. Whereas if you start smaller and iterate and run experiments, what you’re going to say is, well, I have all of these loops that the more loops I get through, the closer I’m going to get to the final answer about what works. 

And so that’s the idea. Continuously learning is separating out the known from the unknown. The known, we know how to execute on it. We have a process that has been determined and continues to be successful. So we execute on that. What is uncertainty? Where is uncertainty? What is unknown? Now we have to tackle that with this iterative learning approach.

 

Andy Paul 25:11

And when you think about that in a sales context, that may seem a little daunting. Because again, I’ve got a quota. How can I afford to go do these experiments? And especially in the more complex B2B product, you really don’t have an alternative. Otherwise, you’re really rolling the dice in a big time way that is so binary. And so why put yourself in a position where what you’re doing, the outcome could be a one or a zero.

 

Brant Cooper 25:36

And then I think that that is what the large enterprises are seeing. And they spend 10, 20, 30, 40 million dollars rolling out a new product initiative. And wow, the assumptions that are baked into that are really extraordinary. Not only are we solving a real problem, did we build the right features? Are we using the right messaging? Is it even the right market segment? Do we know how to sell to these people? 

There’s all these assumptions baked into it. And somehow it should be no surprise that that $40 million gets wasted on a failed product. And so again, it’s not to pin anything on one group, marketing sales product. It’s that everybody has all of these assumptions. And we need this process oriented way for us to validate and invalidate the incorrect assumptions so we can get to the right hypothesis.

 

Andy Paul 26:25

And last question on this front is how do you keep this going when you begin to scale? Let’s say you’re an entrepreneurial organization, you start small. You’ve got a certain number of salespeople. How do you resist the temptation for process to overwhelm this innovation?

 

Brant Cooper 26:42

Yeah, it depends on stages in the companies, and there’s a variety of ways of doing it. So in my company, I’m trying to scale– what we try to do is we go into the unknown. We run some experiments. We have somebody who’s in charge of running the experiments and generating the evidence. And as they learn, what they’re doing is putting together the process of execution within that domain. 

And as the process of execution is determined, we give that to people that are hired specifically because of their skill set, or their seniority, or their experience or whatever. Their skill set is execution. And so what we believe is it’s mostly personality based. There’s people that are entrepreneurial and feel comfortable not knowing and feel comfortable in chaos. And there’s people that want to know how to execute. Give me my process and I’m gonna go and knock this out of the park. And so we separate those two elements, those that are in learning mode, and that’s usually led by me and/or my co-founder. And in specific salespeople that also are what was called in the past the Renaissance salesperson.AP

 

Andy Paul 27:57

I think that’s coming back actually. There’s a renaissance of that term.

 

Brant Cooper 28:00

So those people that are comfortable about it’s not known and I’m the one that’s responsible for developing the process of known and then passing that over to the executions arm.

 

Andy Paul 28:13

Yeah, I remember one startup I worked at was starting a new vision. I was brought in as head of that division. And the CEO said, we have no products. And the other division that had some technology said, do whatever you want as long as the customer pays for the development costs. 

 

Brant Cooper

There you go. 

 

Andy Paul

It’s like, yeah, that’s the renaissance. That’s the cool stuff. But that is you start experimenting. You start experimenting small. And I think for people listening, as what Brant just said, you have to have people on your team who are those people with a large tolerance of ambiguity, the people that are the innovators who are willing to be a little more experimental to have the ability to develop this empathy and relationships with customer. And they’re not necessarily experimenters, but you need both.

 

Brant Cooper 29:00

Right. I think the terminology, again, is a lexicon that we’ve created that describes how successful people have been doing it for ages. So certainly, the first startup I was at in the 90s, we started out with a handful of customers, two or three. And there was a lot of bespoke customization that was going on in order to get it to work inside of the environment. 

And so all of that is learning, right? What does the architecture need to be so we can continue to customize the front end? What does the back end need to be so it fits inside these enterprise financial services, IT? Boy, there was a lot to learn. And so you just took a handful of customers, and that was the whole process. Nobody had coined the term lean startup yet or experiments. That was just the normal process for a company that was successful. You had to have that mindset. 

 

Andy Paul 29:54

Exactly. Yeah, you make the 90s seem so far away.

 

Brant Cooper 29:58

Some days it feels like a long time ago. 

 

Andy Paul 30:03

So now we move into the last segment of the show. I’ve got some standard questions I ask all my guests. And the first one is really a hypothetical scenario. Where you, Brant, have just been hired as VP of Sales at a company whose sales have stalled out. And CEO and Board are anxious to get things back on track. And Rome’s not gonna be built in a day, but a turnaround’s got to start somewhere. So what two things would you do your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?

 

Brant Cooper 30:29

First thing I would do is call all of my existing customers. Depending on the size, I would think what we considered the key customers and then probably a subset of those that we don’t consider key. So that would be job one. 

Job two is what I would want to put together is some sort of a task force or a Navy SEAL squad for sales. And it would be a cross functional team. I would want a salesperson, a marketing person, a product manager, and an engineer, and maybe a support person. Before I was hired, I would have gotten the commitment that I get to do this. 

But what we’re gonna do is take that team, and we’re going to work in a cross functional way to figure out where the bottlenecks are, what is the problem inside our organization, how the customers are feeling. And we would start running experiments to break through whatever the bottleneck is. So to me, inside any company growth is what happens in between bottlenecks. And so I want a cross functional team that’s going to find the

 

Andy Paul 31:51

I love that. Great expression. Growth is what happens between bottlenecks. Excellent. All right. I’m writing that down. Some rapid fire questions for you. You can give me one word answers or you can elaborate if you wish. The first one is when you, Brant, are out selling your services, what’s your most powerful sales attribute? 

 

Brant Cooper

Empathy. 

 

Andy Paul

I knew you were gonna say that. Who’s your sales role model?

 

Brant Cooper 32:16

Wow, great question. Probably Janice Spampinato who was my boss for a while at a startup I worked at WildPackets. And then I elevated up to VP of Marketing, and biz dev, and product management. But I think that she taught me a lot when I was younger of the basics of selling. 

 

Andy Paul 32:43

I like that. All right, besides your own, one book every salesperson should read.

 

Brant Cooper 32:50

Lean Startup.

 

Andy Paul 32:54

That is yours. Oh, no, that’s Eric Ries.

 

Brant Cooper 32:56

Yeah. Did I cheat? I could go for another one.

 

Andy Paul 33:02

Sure, go for another one. 

 

Brant Cooper

Boy, this one’s kind of heavy. But maybe Black Swan.

 

Andy Paul 33:06

Oh, interesting. Why?

 

Brant Cooper 33:08

To me, it just teaches the fallacy of a lot of our modern thinking when it comes to assumptions, and statistics, and the whole thing that we were talking about earlier about starting small. The biggest objection I get to that is, well, but that’s not statistically significant. And I really think it was Nicholas Taleb that taught me, in The Black Swan, how to respond to that. Which is, well, that’s because we’re not going after a random audience. 

And so you put a bell curve only on top of a random population. When you’re going out and trying to develop or sell a new product or service, you don’t want 1 out of 100 with a standard deviation of whatever. What you want is 9 out of 10 saying, yeah, you’ve nailed it. So, again, it’s not about that statistical significance. It’s about finding the right market segment, and then you should be blowing your numbers out.

 

Andy Paul 34:05

Yeah, that’s also not the book the movie was based on. 

 

Brant Cooper 34:08

Yeah. It’s not the ballet.

 

Andy Paul 34:11

Just in case people are wondering. And last question for you, what music’s on your playlist these days?

 

Brant Cooper 34:21

Local Natives. I just went to the High Sierra Music Festival, and I was blown away by a number of bands. Industrial Revelation, and boy, Andres Osbourne. So there’s some ones that people maybe haven’t thought of, but some pretty amazing music.

 

Andy Paul 34:52

Yeah, okay. I’ve heard of Local Natives. I haven’t heard of the other two. I’m writing those down as well. So, gosh, I’ve learned a lot today. Brant, thanks for being on the show. Tell folks how they can find out more about you.

 

Brant Cooper 35:02

Andy, thank you for having me. Great, as always, talking with you. So I’m brant@brantcooper.com. My company’s website is MovesTheNeedle.com. And we have lots of tools and free downloads and great blog posts that discuss a lot of what we were talking about today. And my book, The Lean Entrepreneur,is available at all your favorite bookstores, online and offline. And all of the social media @Brant Cooper. So please feel free to reach out to me. I respond to everything I can.

 

Andy Paul 35:38

Excellent. Well, thanks again. And remember, friends, make it a part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. And one easy way to do that is make this podcast, Accelerate, a part of your daily routine. 

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, Brant Cooper, who shared his expertise about 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 like 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 guest, visit my website at AndyPaul.com.