How WFH Changes the Buying Process, with Tom Williams [Episode 815]

On today’s episode, Tom Williams the CEO of DealPoint and I discuss what the impact of WFH is on the buying group, the stakeholders, if the informal collaboration that existed in the office is gone? How does that affect each stage of the buying process? Then we’ll dig into when changes in buying behaviors should impact how you sell.

Episode Transcript

AP: Tom Williams. Welcome back to the show.

TW: Hello, sir. Very nice to be on here. Thanks for having me.

AP: It’s nice to have you back. So where have you been sheltering in place?

TW: I am in the secret hidden underground location of Dealpoint Headquarters

AP: Which is not, which is not where it used to be I believe.

TW: No, no. We used to have this. It was a gorgeous office where we were wall to wall, to ceiling windows, uh, an atrium, plants, the works. And, uh, the irony here is that so myself and my co founder, we have families. So we’re both in our respective basements. Uh, our team is on the younger side, so they’re all chilling on patios at their houses. I suspect drinking margaritas and. Yeah, we were going crazy. Cause, uh, we’re underground.

AP: So you’re saying they’re there at mom and dad’s house or they’re their own

TW: No, no, they’re, they’re their own houses. They, you know, they’re not that young. They they’re in, they’re in their twenties and, um, a couple of 30 something, but yeah, they’ve got their apartments and they’ve got a patio on the apartment and yeah, it looks nice. It looks real nice.

AP: Now, before we started recording this, we were looking at each other on zoom and you have quite a collection of guitars on your wall. So you said that you used to be a rock star.

TW: I used to be a rock star in waiting. How about that?

AP: Rockstar in your own mind.

TW: Yes. Yeah, I got paid for at least one gig, but I think it was at a pub in England. And I do remember the, the, uh, the landlord looked resentful as he gave me the 40 pounds.

AP: Alright. So what type of music did you play?

TW: Uh, so I have two different styles. I can play nice singing, happy, lots of harmonies, acoustic guitar or I can, uh, get all angsty and turn the drum machine on and grunt. So it really depends what kind of day you catch me on. But I do feel more catharticly cleared after the grunting, then after the happy singing.

AP: Okay. So it could either be Coldplay or it could be the Sex Pistols.

TW: Yes. As a matter of fact. Yeah. You absolutely nailed it. Yeah,

AP: Perfect. That’s a good range.

TW: well, yeah. You know, it, all humans are like that. There’s there’s good and bad in everyone. I, I think somebody said.

AP: Yeah. Well, you should be posting this stuff out on LinkedIn. You know, like Gaetano Dinardi

TW: Uh, so he, I don’t know if I’m giving away any secrets here, but he has a secret Facebook group for musicians who also do sales.

AP: Oh, really? You may be giving that away.

TW: I’ve maybe sorry about that.

AP: All right. But I want, I w so I want to see a Tom Williams music video on LinkedIn.

TW: You know, what we have been talking about doing a company song. Cause I used to work in international sales and I loved it when the Korean companies would raise a flag and they would do calisthenics and they would all sing together.

AP: In the morning,

TW: So yeah, in the morning. Yeah. Unfortunately my cofounder is from East Germany, so he kind of frowns on the early morning flag salutes.

AP: Yeah. Yeah, probably probably dredges up bad memories for him. I can imagine. So, um, Well, yeah, one of the things we’re gonna talk about today is, um, you know, we’re trying not to focus on the pandemic. It’s hard to avoid, but, uh, it has brought about. Some changes in buying behaviors that may not be temporary, maybe longer lasting than we think.

And, and you’d raise some of these questions when we spoke previously so I thought it’d be interesting to get into that. So just generally, how are you seeing a sort of buying from home affecting buyer behavior?

TW: There’s some really interesting aspects of it. Um, the, the big one is that they don’t have an organizational structure around them. So just think about it. Does your buyer have a printer at home? Because if you just send them a proposal or a deck or something, I bet you a lot of the time they’d have printed out and stuck it on their desk.

Maybe they’d have stuck a sticky on it and put it on their boss’s desk, but that’s gone now. And they also don’t have the political where with all of what’s happening. So there are two aspects of that one. They can’t read that boss’s body language. Which makes it a lot riskier for them to say, I think we should bring this vendor in and to a lot of decision making, uh, consensus building is not done in formal meetings is done in the lunchroom or it’s done in the parking lot whenever we were there having a cigarette and that’s gone as well.

AP: Yeah, which I mean, you’re just thinking about that from a sales perspective then is, is you can still be thinking you’re doing a good job touching bases with the stakeholders and trying to move them forward. But the fact is that the potential exists as you described as is yeah, they haven’t coalesced on their side.

TW: Yeah, it’s a lot harder to build that consensus. It’s a lot harder for them to get your Intel because oftentimes your champion will tell you what Bob’s, you know, both really against this, and you can kind of work on them. Uh, through side channels. So that’s just a lot harder, but I think also the, the, as a friend of mine, Jeanette Rancho, she had the point that normally when you do it, so you’re either you’re in person or.

You are doing a zoom call into a company you’ll zooming into their conference room, and then you do your whole spiel. And then after you hang up, they say, so what do you think? And they’re talking about you is all top of mind and probably a fair amount of the decision is made right there at that point.

But Jeanette’s point was, uh, now that everyone’s joining my zoom from their respective houses, when I hang up the zoom. Everybody gets hung up on. And so they go back to whatever they were doing and they don’t have that critical moment of, of coalescence and your mind group Mindshare being unified that they would normally have in their conference.

So you need to be really mindful of that. So what Jeanette does is, and I think this is genius. She hands out a little cheat sheet. In advance. So she emails them out and evaluation sheet of here’s what I’m going to be talking about. And here’s a way for you guys to organize it. And so, in a sense, she’s creating a, a summary matrix for them, which first of all, completely locks out the competition because now she’s controlling the dialogue and the next steps that.

I just love it cause she’s actually calling it out and she’s like, you guys, aren’t gonna be able to talk about this afterwards. So his here’s a place for you to capture your notes so that you can, uh, collaborate later.

AP: Yeah. I mean,  it’s basically an informative meeting agenda, but more detailed perhaps in terms of very being very specific about what you’re gonna discuss and what the next steps are.

TW: We are and she calls out the next step is for you guys to talk about this after I’m gone. Because you won’t have a chance to do it in the conference room. So I love that she’s calling it out and helping the buyer realize that there’s going to have to be a change in behavior. If they, if they want to get to where they want to be

AP: Alright. So one thing just sprung to mind is that I love that idea. Uh, Janelia said

TW: a Jeanette, Jeanette Renshaw.

AP: To add to that is to say, you know, to the point you made is so don’t do it on your resume. Have the buyer. Do it on their zoom and then she could have on her or she could have on her, her cheat sheet. The last point was I’ll hang up first and then you guys have the opportunity to discuss this amongst yourselves.

TW: I love that. Yeah. Uh, Andy, take the rest of the day off. I think

AP: Okay. Thanks for joining us today. Folks. We’re out of here.

TW: mic drop.

AP: That’s right. Mic drop. But that seems like that would work right.

TW: Yeah. Um, it, it often, so the only concern I’d have there is that, you know, you hate to ask somebody to do work. So I don’t, I don’t like asking people, can you call me please? Uh, I always, you know, try to get their phone number, but it is a little bit different. Cause it’s like your visiting their office.

AP: Right. But she’s going to spell out why she’s doing it, right. Because I want to make sure you have the opportunity to discuss it right afterwards. So everybody’s fresh. They’re not gonna say no, they’re gonna say, well, that sounds like a good idea.

TW: Yeah, I love it. Absolutely love it.

AP: Okay,

TW: If you’re listening, you can, you can bump up your game right there.

AP: There you go. Well, Jeanette, we’ll have to bring you on the conversation and talk through that cause I love her idea. That’s a great idea in this world is to do that type of thing. Just don’t go into it cold or not even cold. Even when you set expectations. If you’ve just done it verbally, it’s no, let’s, let’s give them this cheat sheet. I think that’s a fantastic idea.

TW: Well, and I think actually it applies at a, at a longer term as well that having a, a plan and a process will give them some security because they don’t have that printer, the office, they don’t have the political awareness of the team. So having more structure I think is more important than ever.

Uh, you used to be able to go over there and truly be charming. You could take him out for drinks. You can have dinner, you can make your case, uh, with a lot more reliance on personal rapport. Uh, yeah. And you have a fantastic radio voice. So people listen to you day long, but it’s, it’s different than being there in person.

AP: Oh, absolutely.

TW: I think, I think a key step is to have, uh, well well-written support materials. That are going to be shared because they’re not going to be able to get your body language or listen to you as often. They’re not gonna be able to share that kind of perspective. So having well-written materials, uh, cloud native sales tools so that they can share stuff, cause they’re not going to print it out and, and a strong plan so that they feel more in control and less chaotic.

AP: Yeah, I think that this, I mean, this is not something that’s specific to this work from home period. This is anything from a virtual sales standpoint, which is increasingly what we’re doing or have been doing anyway is yeah, you want to do this. I mean, you could have a situation. Where even pre pandemic, where you were doing a zoom call with multiple stakeholders that could be geographically remote from each other and this process, but Jeanette’s laid out with my addition. I think it would be very powerful.


TW: Um, you know, I think the big difference is where we’re used to working from home as salespeople. I I’ve conducted many, a sales call from many, a hotel bed, and it’s totally normal, but the buyers are, are less used to it. And I think you have a good point that the buying team is six months ago it was also somewhat likely to be dispersed. Typically, when I was calling in, I was calling into headquarters in the kind of business I do. So my decision makers tended to all be at HQ, but there’s very much the case that everybody can be remote. So I think a lot of these things apply. It’s like a, you had Anthony Iannarino on the other day. He said, uh, The right thing to do now is there’s always the right thing to do. So very much the, if you follow best practices, then you’re probably going to be okay. It just becomes a lot more important during a down economy because there’s less wiggle room. There’s less room for mistakes.

AP: Well, but also it gets back to a point that you made before. Is that. If you can make this less work on the part of the buyer, that’s going to work to your advantage. Been saying this for years to sellers, is that, what is your buyer really trying to do? What’s the job they’re trying to accomplish? And everybody says, when I ask that question, Oh, they’re, you know, they’re, they’re trying to get a desired outcome out of buying this product services. Like no, no, no. It’s, let’s start more basic. What they’re trying to do is trying to quickly gather information to make a good decision with the least investment of time and money possible. And this process you’ve described that helps, that helps, right. It makes it simpler for them to evaluate what you’ve been talking about, what the next steps are going to be, how to discuss it amongst themselves, what they should to be discussing amongst themselves that saves them time and money. And that has value to a buyer.

TW: Well, and also I’m putting a, putting a roadmap in front of them also boosts your, um, your expertise and your trust level. Yeah. Your credibility goes through the roof because it shows, Oh, this guy has done this before. This isn’t a whole new world for him. He’s he’s fielded this question before. So by being able to offer that infrastructure and that roadmap to that, you know, the solution to that problem. You’re again, making it easier for them. And ideally you’re making it so easy that they don’t need to go to the competition because you’re spelling out a path from here all the way to the end of their, end of their problem, which is what ultimately they’re looking for that less work thing. They’re looking for someone just to just solve my problem. Jeez, let me get back to work.

AP: Right. I come from the school of thought that based on research that other people have done Nobel prize winners and so on is that people want to make a good decision, in most parts. So not out most of the, most of your customers, aren’t trying to make the best decision. You know, Herbert Simon talked about satisfisers and maximizers.

Yeah. Most people are satisfisers because they want to, they want to do what they need to do to satisfy that they can meet the requirements, achieve their outcomes. And beyond that, I’ve got everything I need to, to make the decision. So to your point is, is one thing just, we think about when you’re selling is how can I reduce the buyer’s motivation to go talk to a competitor? And when you lay out the roadmap, when you’re complete, um, you start doing that.

TW: So, and more, more in a down economy than any other time I think part of that matrix is risk reduction. So I don’t think you can, I don’t think you can overemphasize risk reduction right now. They have, they have this job. I, I was, I was thinking about this the other day. So if you’re selling a solution, you’re, you’re literally selling change at the same time, if in a down economy and you just, you just, I just want to keep my job. I don’t want to lose my job. I don’t want to stick my head out. Uh, I don’t want to make a big fuss. I don’t want to change anything. So you’re literally, I don’t want risk. You’re literally, as a sales person asking your buyer to do the thing they least want to do, which has changed something. Cause they just, they don’t want to be a squeaky wheel or muddy the waters or any of that.

AP: At least the thing they at least want to do is be exposed to risk, right?

TW: Yeah. Yeah. So what you have to do is you have to say actually doing nothing is the risky thing and you have this objective and priority. And of course the hard part is finding out what their priority is. What are they really focused on? Why did they not get. Why did they not get, let go last month? What are they doing that’s so crucial and how can you help them do that better? Once you found that out, either through research or by asking them, then you want to be able to show that the I’m the I’m the safe path to your continued success. Not doing anything, has the following risks. Doing this action in a, in a really discreet set of safe motions is the safe thing to do.

Now, you you’ve provided them both with the information they need to solve their problem and a reduction of risk and, and the cool thing where you can push the competitors out is if you identify their objections up front and say, well, we’ve thought of that, then they’re not going to need to go elsewhere because you’ve you’ve, you can address all that concerns in the roadmap.

AP: Yeah, no, I agree. So we started talking about how do you, how do you identify opportunities, sales opportunities in a downturn, and also looking from the buyers’ perspectives, how can you help a buyer make necessary change during, during a downturn? Right. And I think that. Sellers want to throw up their hands and say, yeah, yeah, things are tough out there I just, yeah, there’s nothing we can do, which. It’s the age old excuse. Yeah. Things are going to change and have changed, but there are opportunities to your point is. You know, sometimes there are challenges, there are things that need to be changed, that just can’t wait. But oftentimes they’re what I find is that often times hidden in bigger projects that the vendor was, or not the vendor the customers was exploring prior to the shutdown or prior to the recession hitting, but in there to your point is this person, this person you’re talking to is buyer they’re responsible for something that may be the specific pain point that absolutely needs to be resolved. It can’t wait.

TW: Well, and. Oh, you, you might have an insight to, uh, you know, everything has changed right now. So, so my insight, the thing that a deal point, that the changes that everybody’s working from home. And so we, we thought real hard. We, we stopped talking about proactive disqualification cause people aren’t really disqualifying as often as they used to.

Um, and we’ve changed our tag. Every seller should be doing that too. And I, I personally am really not on the. I really don’t like the COVID carpet baggers, where I just have a, I have a ethical ms. Um, ms. Um, I don’t like it. I don’t like it, but

AP: Comes down. It comes down to this. Yeah. Let me look, as I talked about this, let me show you how empathetic I am. Right? That’s the general, the general charm turn of events for most sellers is now. It’s like, they’ve been told they gotta be gotta be empathetic. You gotta demonstrate your empathy. I’m sure the people in receiving and of sales calls are like, Oh boy.

TW: Yeah. If I know you, I’m happy to hear it. Yeah, I’d have to, but, but what is definitely happening and I think it is perfectly reasonable to talk about is a down economy. Because we definitely have a quarter, two quarters, three quarters of not roaring growth. And so presumably you’re calling into a specific industry and so you’ve done your research and you know, some of the trends they’re going to happen. So how does your solution help with those trends? And that’s a call that they’re looking for because they’re wondering how do we deal with this change as well. So the fact is that whether they like change or not change is coming, and if you can help them weather that storm, that’s a message that I would listen to. When I’m taking calls I’m listening to you, not, I hope your shelter, you know, I hope you’re doing okay too. I bet the following is happening in your industry. Uh, have you thought about this way to fix it?

AP: Yeah. And I think from a, I look at it just from the perspective of it’s over the next few months, it’s going to be less about transformation and more about change. Yeah. If I can distinguish change being more as you point before, more focused, more discreet. Transformation being something that touches every part of the organization. Yeah. And, and what you’re looking at is force change. You know, there’s things that need to change that are, you know, aligned with the strategic imperatives of the organization. And you can identify something that will have a relatively quick payback. I call it speed the outcome. And to your point that it’s perceived as being less risky going forward and mitigating risk by staying in place.

TW: Yeah. Yeah. And showing, showing what the costs are, have not changed. I think opportunity costs and, uh, inertia. Yeah. Have everyone, every cast, every sales person I’ve ever talked to. When you say who’s their biggest competitor, it’s do nothing. So you got to show that that do nothing competitor is real risky right now, and that they better change because the environment has changed. So they better evolve along with it. Cause we all know what happens when the environment changes and you don’t evolve.

AP: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. You talk about, you know, sales people say that’s their biggest competitor to doing nothing, but, you know, fundamentally, if somebody has a need and they decided to do nothing, it’s a sales failure to be able to present a compelling vision for why they should change.

TW: And that’s always the hardest part, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s so easy as a, as a counselor or a consultant to say, well, first of all, you just find the compelling event. And then what you do is, and it’s. I find that the hardest part is to, is to nail down a thing, especially with a date, you can find a, a raw emotion or an objection relatively easily.

You know, I call them the salespeople. So salespeople have happy to talk. I used to not call him to tell his people and it was harder, but still it is difficult to actually stick an actual date on a compelling event. Once you’ve got that, then it’s easy to work back from where we have to do X, Y, and Z to get there. And you’re off to the races. Uh, I’d ask you, Andy, how, how, what are some of your techniques for nailing down a compelling event and have those techniques changed in, in a time of, in a time of change?

AP: It’s more about, wasn’t a compelling event, as a compelling vision. Right? So, what’s it going to be like, cause you sort of start with that story. That’s this customer story, right. I want to build a story so that they see themselves in that story as sort of a before and an after.

TW: Yeah, yeah,

AP: If I can’t, if I can’t create that, that vision, that they picture themselves, you know, taking this mental test drive of the solution that I’m, that I’m trying to help them adopt then yeah, that’s what I was talking about is I, if I can’t get them to put themselves into the picture frame, you’re never going to get change, especially in a down economy or a time when times are tough and people are more risk averse than they might be otherwise, but that’s sort of where we start.

And then the second thing is for me is always, this is, I want to get them to the point where they actually quantify, you know, what, what the value of the outcome is that we’re proposing, right? That we’re, that we’re trying to help them adopt. And until they actually quantify it to me, it’s, it’s never real.

TW: Yeah, you put some dollars on it and then actually you have your compelling event. Cause you can say, well, if we don’t do it next quarter, then you lose $50,000.

AP: right. And this is, they can’t get internal agreement. I mean, you’re not gonna get the executive team or the buying team to all stand up and salute this, or a buying team to make a recommendation to a CEO to approve. If you can quantify what the value is going to be of the outcome that you’re going to achieve.

And so if you haven’t gotten to that point for me, that’s, that’s always the mark. I know if I can’t, if I can’t get the buyer to take that step and help them do that, but get to that step and it’s not just, you know, ROI calculations, you know, everybody brings their calculators and so on, but it’s something that they have to buy into internally. Right.

TW: Yeah, then you, that needs to be an emotional vision in that as well. Then with some dollar signs behind it.

AP: Right. So the emotional vision with dollar signs behind, if you get to that point, then chances are they’re gonna move forward.

TW: Well, and actually that, that is the cool part about a time of change because you, now you can come in as an expert and you can say, Hey man, there is a, there’s a time of change in this next couple of quarters. Many people are not going to go back to the office. For example, I think there’s, there’s going to be a change in retail for example, but there’s going to be change that touches-

Like I used to work in the audio test business and those guys are having just a world of difference because the labs are less populated than they used to be. The audio engineers are doing a lot of work at home, so a great opportunity for more less expensive audio analyzers. Tougher opportunity for the super expensive ones that tend to live in a lab. Uh, but you have this chance now to present this time of change as a catalyst to that new vision. So here’s something that’s changing, but here’s how you could ride that wave and it would be a hundred thousand dollars a day. Based on my calculations and based on what I know, why don’t we dive into that a little bit and see what you could make of this wave? I would take that call. In fact, I’m changing my pitch right now. I’m writing this down. I’m changing the pitch. You’ll be hearing different things from the SDR team later on this week.

AP: All right, good. We’ll have him have him reach out to me and we’ll, I’ll I’ll judge it.

TW: See if you can see if you can buy it.

AP: But yeah, I think that this is you always, I have, I’m old enough to have sold through many of these economic turmoils, uh, periods of economic turmoil and you’re gonna have some companies that are gonna think the only way to approach it is the knee jerk reaction is let’s cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. And so this other layer to it, as well as when you’re doing your outreach when you need to get a sense pretty quickly of how are they approaching this as a company? If it’s a organization that said, look, you know, it’s tough, but what we’ve done is everybody in the company is taking on a 20% pay cut in order to preserve jobs. I think that’s a prospect, right? That’s somebody that’s, that’s probably open to hearing what I have to say. They’re thoughtful. They’re looking out for the team. They’re, they’re preserving the resources to be able to grow as quickly as possible once things, you know, start improving if you’re calling into a company that’s yeah. You know, John’s not here anymore because he got laid off and this next level got laid off and are furloughed, whatever. And then say, yeah, that’s probably not worth your time at that point in time to keep exploring.

TW: So, so I do have a technique there. Uh, one of the things that we do that is really successful is, so we sell it, I guess you could in the, in the horror, in the, in the broadest category as a sales enablement tool. And, but, but nobody wants to buy sales tools. Everyone says, Oh, we already have a full stack, our budget’s frozen. So what we say is we actually, we sell a buying enablement tool and it immediately opens up the mind of our prospects to being Oh, okay, I could see that. Yeah. I want to invest in tools to help the buyer, but I think everybody can do that if you can recategorize which budget you come into to be a, we’re not, we’re not a tool for your team we’re a tool for your customers, everybody wants to help their customers. So if you can, if you can find a way of putting your, your budget, your cost into it, different area. Now it’s going to be harder if you’re selling HR software, that might be harder. But if you’re in any way, if you’re selling something that could be considered an enablement tool, don’t don’t think of it as enabling your immediate customer. Think of it as enabling their buyer.

AP: Which fundamentally is what sales enablement is about.

TW: It’s supposed to be, yeah, it’s supposed to be.

AP: Yes. I mean, you’re trying to think of why we define it as, as anything or everything that enables the seller to have knowledge based interest sales interactions that the buyers find to be a value. Okay. So, you know, if you’re not meeting that bar, what are you doing? So you should be able to say, yeah, what we’re doing is, is, uh, enabling our buyer, helping our buyer make a change.

TW: But I think more than anything, if you can try to redefine the category. You might get an automatic no if they’re able to box you in real quick. So if you’re able to spark their curiosity and be in a different bucket than you, you might be better off.

AP: Yeah, no, I agree. I agree. Well, I mean, this is a time that requires creativity anytime you’re, you know, we’re in economic crisis is if you’ve, haven’t looked at shaping, reshaping, your messaging. Fine tuning your messaging, being more precise in the accounts that you’re calling on or the types of businesses that you’re calling on there that comprise your ICP. You’re crazy.

TW: Well, and, and re revisiting the, the research that you’d already done. I had my team, so we, you know, we have our ICP, but I had us do a  reevaluation of it because some companies are doing really well. Like the people who are selling the virtual whiteboards, killing it, the people selling holidays, not so hot.

And so you can cast a new eye on your ICP and see which of your key accounts or key target accounts are really still in a growth mode. And, but if you just kind of do ad hoc, then you’re, you’re going to miss something. Take, take a whole look at who your account based strategy people are and what your ICP is in light of that who’s going to do well in this thing.

And do you, do you maybe go after, do you go up market a bit because better capitalized companies are less worried about two bad quarters than startups. Startups are definitely in a cash hoarding mode right now because they don’t have any revenues. So they, they really, they just got to survive the downturn, but big companies always have to go.

In fact, big companies are loving it because they’re snapping up their little competitors. So the task of. I mean, you should be looking at your ICP regularly anyway, but right now you should definitely be doing it.

AP: Yeah. And I mean, there are some companies out there that you can buy information from. Well, you know, help you identify companies that have increased their ad spend or are spending more on paid ads or are still hiring salespeople. For instance, I mean, there are sources of information out there. There are companies that sell this information, firmographic information and so on, but that can give you some idea about. Yeah, what their intent is as an organization, not specifically buying intent, but that information is also available that you can get because you know where people are looking online, what sort of technologies are they evaluating?

And so on depend what you’re selling that’s there. So. If anything now is the time as sellers where yeah. It may cost a little bit extra, but there is that information out there that enable you to more precisely target the people who are still active and forward looking.

TW: Well, I think of this too. We had that we’ve been having this conversation. I’ve certainly heard from other sales orgs that, that their sellers are shrugging their shoulders. They, no one’s buying. So as sellers, there’s a competitive space in the market as well. Where if you don’t give up, you can grab the market share right now and keep your, keep your talons sharp by not giving up.

And by trying new stuff, a bit. The people who, the people who do well out of this will come out sharper and better. And those who give up will obviously will. Not that you can, it’s the time to think there’s is it time to think really carefully and, and be proactive. Don’t just react to everything.

One thing that we did as a company was we spent some time, just a game changing game playing what could happen. Now we did not predict we did not predict everything. We definitely missed a couple of key events. Um, But at least, yeah. I found even the, even the exercise of, of scenario playing helped calm both my nerves as a, as a leader and helped calm my team and reduce that feeling of panic and uncertainty. Cause just thinking like that, we’ve poked her head out of the cave and we looked around and we’ve talked about different scenarios of what could be. It, it made me feel more confident that it was okay to, to head out of the cave and it made the team feel better that it’s not all panic doom and gloom.

And it was just the simple act, which we just took an afternoon and talked through the different scenarios. And it’s amazing how much, when you, when you write down a plan and think about something, then what I found is. Now your brain, isn’t just totally circling around on that, on that what if panic scenario over and over again because you can, you can cut it short. So we already thought about that and we wrote it down. Now you can focus on the action plan again, what we’re actually doing, which actually ties back to the original idea of providing such a plan to your customer because they too are spinning and circling and dwelling and all my God, I’m a God on my God.

I’m a God give them a written plans of, they start to freak out and again, they can look, Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be doing milestone one right now. And I know when I get stressed out I either go dig holes  in the garden cause it’s something I can control or I go clean my closet. It’s something that I can control. By giving people a plan. And this applies both to your customers and to your sales team and to yourself, by having a plan in place, you’re able to calm the panic instincts that we have as humans when big change comes along and say, We’ve we thought of that, here’s the plan. Just focus on step number two, focus on that. Make that happen when that’s done focus on step number three, by all means come up every now and again, to make sure that the plan is headed in the right direction. But that’s what makes humans great is that we are able to look into the future even just a little bit and make a plan, communicat it and stick to it. And then the, you kind of, you beat the chaos by having a plan. So give because they give your buyers a plan, let them know how you’re going to help them get through whatever, whatever their crisis is. You know, your solution of course, solves a crisis, give them the plan to make it happen. And they will thank you for it.

Cause they’re not going to have had anymore and they can share it with their colleagues that, Hey guys, we were panicking and freaking out, but luckily, Joe Blow Inc has this fantastic plan that gets us through the windstorm to the other side. Let’s all cling on to that. And now you’re the hero with the plan and the lifeboat.

AP: Right. And I think to a point you made earlier is this translates down to you as an individual. It’s, it’s great to hear your, your leaders express this, you know, Hey, look, here’s a plan, here’s what we’re thinking, but then you need to take it and break it down further as an individual. Because I think that the, if I look at critical milestones in my own career, they came out of periods of uncertainty and crisis, where I had a plan, I stayed the course I didn’t panic, um, or didn’t panic a lot, but, you know, and, and was, was patient and saw it through. And I think this is a huge lesson for, for sellers. Because to your point is there’s so much uncertainty. It’s easy to have a lot of anxiety about what’s going on, but if you have this vision of it’s yeah.

Maybe starts with your leaders, but then you break down what your own vision is, but things you can do, then it becomes much more manageable. I’ve written about this with, uh, there’s a coach. Uh, you know, he was on a bicycle and the coache was helping me climb up this big hill and was, you know, saying it seemed insurmountable, but I said, you know, control your breathing, calm your chaos. Control your breathing, calm your chaos.

And that’s, you know, that was the insight because yeah, getting my breathing right. And then the idea about while never gonna make it stop at this mountain, start dissipating. Cause it seemed like I had more control over it. And this is, this is what we’re confronting as sellers is it seems like there’s this insurmountable obstacle in front of us, but with a plan you can control your chaos.

TW: And, and here’s, here’s the, here’s the mind blown, Andy. Your buyer is feeling that same chaos and concern about her own job and her own prospects, her own family, all that stuff. You can, you can give this, this calm and mentor to her as a, as a seller, you can say, Hey, you know, I’ve been that I’ve I have seen this in another company. I know what to do. I am the way, follow me. They will follow you because if they’re panicked, they’re looking for a solution and now’s the perfect time to say, Hey man, I got you. Do you, do you remember the, do you remember the Obama picture? It was a picture of Obama and he’s like, I got this one. I love that. Uh, you, you, can you replace it, replace your picture here? Uh, that is now’s the time for trusted advisors to shine and I think it’s important that part of the trusted advisor thing isn’t Hey, you got to buy my thing right now. For God sake, buy my thing because they may not have budget right now. They may genuinely not, but you can still create that position of trusted advisor and you can still give them plans. You can still help them. Uh, they, they will come to you. My favorite book in the world is the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

AP: Yeah. I haven’t read that forever. Yeah.

TW: Oh, it’s it’s well worth reading at least once every 10 years go back and read it. Uh, but it’s written in large friendly letters on the front. Don’t panic.

AP: Alright. Well, Tom, we’ve run out of time, but it’s been fantastic talking to you again. And so how, if people want to connect with you, how could they do that?

TW: is a good spot. Um, Uh, also cause I’m, I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. Look for DealPoint though. Uh, there are a lot of Tom Williams is so to put Tom Williams Dealpoint and you’ll find a, not, not the best Tom Williams, but, but one of the top Tom Williams’s.

AP: There we go. All right, Tom. Thank you.

TW: Thank you very much, Andy. It was a pleasure.