March 22

David Masover on Building an Effective Sales Process


David Masover is an author, speaker, and thought leader in the B2B sales space. For over 30 years he has worked in large and small sales organizations in positions from sales rep to executive, and this has allowed him to refine and perfect the innovative and effective B2B sales and sales management techniques and strategies he teaches today.

David was one of the co-founders of Branders.com in 1999 (acquired by Bel USA), the world's first and at one time largest online platform for customized promotional products. David now works as a private practice sales consultant.

David is the author of three books on sales process, a prolific content creator on LinkedIn, the host of The Sales Team Success Formula™ podcast, and is a self described sales and sales process geek.

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on the No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let's get started.

Umar Hameed 0:40
Hello everybody! Welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast. And today, we're beaming all the way to Budapest. And I just want to welcome David Masover to the program. David, welcome to the program.

David Masover 0:54
Thanks, Umar. Happy to be here.

Umar Hameed 0:55
You know, that's been one of the cities that I really wanted to go to, because every spy movie has a scene there and it just looks amazing and lovely.

David Masover 1:04
Yup. It is amazing and lovely. And actually, there's a very big industry of film production here. There's a lot of companies or a lot of film production companies that come and so there's a whole infrastructure set up. I don't, I think those two reasons are the reasons you see it in a lot of movies. But yeah, come on over, I'll buy you a Pollenca, which is our local brandy.

Umar Hameed 1:23
I love it. So let's talk about sales and we're going to talk about sales since we started down the movie path. You gotta love this is what the producers have such a short attention span. And basically the pitch is, "Hey, it's King Kong and The Wedding Singer combined," and they go, "Oh, my God, I get it. It's genius," so it's really honing your message. And the end part of the self is you know, where you're talking to the customer but getting to that place where you can get them to do the ask, that takes skill and a process to do. So why don't you talk about process and why so few salespeople use one effectively?

David Masover 2:01
Yeah, I mean, pretty wide open question but I think, I think a lot of salespeople have had a bad experience with process and that comes from a lot of different places in my experience. I think other people have told me that the things that make a salesperson great are very different from the things that make someone process-oriented. So either I'm a freak of nature, or I'm hobbling on one leg, I'm not really sure but I kind of stumbled into this whole process orientation very organically. My first sales job was very typical, that was a long time ago, 1991. And I got no training, I was selling pure commodities, discs and ribbons and toner cartridges, oh, wow, I got no training whatsoever. My boss sat me down for a day and, and disassemble the three and a half inch floppy disk and showed me what was inside as if that would help me to sell the darn thing. And then he showed me my desk and my phone and the list from the person he just fired and said, "Okay, good luck. There's Mary, give me your orders when you're done," that was it, I had no idea what to do. And the way I tell the story today, 30 some years later, is I invented the sales process. I later learned that someone else had done that a long time before I did.

Umar Hameed 3:16

David Masover 3:16
But you know, I didn't know how to do sales. So instead, I just asked kind of the little questions, "Who should I be talking to?" and, "Where can I find them?" and, "What should I say to them when we first start talking?" and, "If they let me continue, what should I say to get them interested in what it is I'm trying to sell them." So I have a very different experience than a lot of people who, who embrace sales process. I think a lot of people have a sales process imposed on to them, it doesn't necessarily fit the work that they're doing. Maybe their their company got a CRM, and it had a pipeline and so the manager decided to label the columns and declare...

Umar Hameed 3:57
Oh, yeah.

David Masover 3:57
...that the sales process and there's no agreement around it. So I think you know, when you when you ask, why don't salespeople use or embrace sales process? I don't think the problem is sales process. I think the problem is how a lot of companies attempt to use this vehicle, they use it badly. And therefore it's not a really useful thing or a very good experience to try to use it.

Umar Hameed 4:19
All of that is true. And I think also sometimes they impose a process but don't explain why. I had a friend of mine, they had a webcam like we're using right now in this interview. And they had it positioned looking at the salespeople, and each thing they didn't know the keyboard, and what they were doing was being recorded. And also, you know, how did this call turnout was they kind of got to designate it. And every single salesperson turned the camera up looking at the ceiling. And then they realized they had made a mistake. They imposed this process this technology without explaining it. And then they finally explained and said, "Look, what this is designed to do is not a big brother looking at you is that we're capturing everything you're doing because at the end of the week, what you should do, when you sit down with your manager is talk about a call that went really badly. And then you can see what was going on and listening to that call, and also one that went really well. So you get direct coaching on what happened. This is designed to make you better not to monitor what you're doing." And then all of a sudden salespeople were like, "Okay," and when they started using it, the sales improved, because they could get real coaching, not in real time but you know, at the end of the week, they got coaching, specific to what had happened. And I think sometimes when the sales process is rolled out, we're doing this and you have to do it, and not explaining that this is designed to make you better and make you more money. And then we can discuss what's not working and make it better.

David Masover 5:43
I think that's absolutely right. I mean, leadership is really about communication and clarity. What I found to be really effective, you know, because my humble beginnings were process-oriented, that orientation is really carried me through my 30 years, in sales, and certainly into my time as a consultant. And what I find really effective is above and beyond clarity, is is what I call co-created clarity. And what that means is that, you know, you could have your manager or your boss or a committee or whoever sitting in an office or a conference room or you know, retreat, and come up with a sales process, and then run back and you know, show it to the salespeople in all of its brilliance and glory or you could actually involve the salespeople in the process. When I work with teams, I like to do that. I go through what I call, I can never remember if it's an archeological or anthropological kind of a process, but it's really about uncovering, you know, what's happening here, like, what are we doing now? And let's just let's just lock that down. And, you know, you're on the right track when everybody nods their head and says, Yeah, that's a that's a reflection of what we're all kind of collectively doing. And even though we have different styles and different ways of doing it, that's the framework. And then you're able to say, "Okay, is there a way that we can collectively make this better." And by going through that process with the team, you get clarity, you get agreement, you get buy in, you make sure that all the best practices are captured. And it's not really a one and done thing, once you have it down, then you're able to have these kinds of review meetings that you discussed. But instead of looking at a call or a deal, or a pipeline in isolation, you're looking at it in the context of, "Well, here's this thing that you did on this call. And here's the agreement that we all made together about what a good call looks like, let's bridge the gap.' And so it can be very powerful...

Umar Hameed 7:45

David Masover 7:45
...when you, when you approach process from a more collaborative perspective. And in my experience, you get a whole lot farther with that, then, you know, we've used the word impose a few times already in this conversation, I think that's what typically happens. And I think that's a big part of where the problems with sales process typically begin.

Umar Hameed 8:05
Absolutely. I think part of it is, you know, bringing someone in like you to help with the process, certainly making it collaborative, but then you get to bring your wisdom in and say, you know, this has worked really well for other clients. And here's why would you guys like to try it for two weeks and see how it impacts your sales and that buying I think is so important. And the other aspect is trust, and I think one of the things you described was as you do this collaborative effort, you're doing something really weird, and you know, you're listening to people and most people are not heard. And it's just even in like when they go home, they don't hear the spouse, the spouse doesn't hear them. So when you actually attend someone, it's a huge connection and it builds a lot of trust and that trust allows them to go on a journey with you. So David, one of the hardest things for salespeople to do is to get enough at bats. So it's like, "David, when I'm in front of a client, you know, 'Hey, it's fantastic,' but getting those appointments." So can you help us with best practices from a cold, "I don't know, David," how do we get that conversation started? What process do you recommend that you found that works quite effectively?

David Masover 9:10
Yeah, I think there's there's a lot of different ways to approach the question. The two most obvious is, you know, tactics and tools.

Umar Hameed 9:19

David Masover 9:19
But I think before getting there, the place where most organizations that I'm seeing fall off the wagon or never, maybe never get on the wagon in the first place is it's about messaging and communication. It's, it's shocking to me, it really is it shocking to me, the extent to which focusing on customer problems and solutions is spoken about in places like LinkedIn and, you know, books and podcasts. And I mean, this is not a secret. And yet,

Umar Hameed 9:53

David Masover 9:53
when I go into most organizations, the vast majority of conversations that are happening are very product-focused. Just very feature and benefit-focused, demos, if a demo was appropriate for a particular company, are very much kind of one way monologues with some, you know, standard questions sprinkled in. And you know, at the end of the day customers don't care customers, prospects, prospects don't care about your stuff, what they care about is I got a, you know, I have something to do is the thing you're trying to offer me something that can help. And if the conversation is oriented on you and your stuff, as opposed to your prospect, and what's important to them, it doesn't really matter what tactics or tools or templates you use, you're not going to get very far, in my opinion and in my experience.

Umar Hameed 10:42
You sell to, I guess, VPs of sales, or Chief Sales Officers would be your target audience?

David Masover 10:49
In my work, I'm typically working with full sales teams. And I tend to work with smaller organizations, because it's hard to get, you know, a 500 person sales team to do something collaborative.

Umar Hameed 10:59
Oh, yeah.

David Masover 11:00
So I enjoy working with smaller teams, because you can get everybody on the table, around the table and included in the conversation. And typically, in an organization like that, and working with a CEO or an owner.

Umar Hameed 11:12
You have a good guess, of what their pain points are going to be because it's like, you know, customer pain points are more important than your product, it's no secret. So when you're doing a call reach out to, let's say, you're reaching out to you had a list of 20 CEOs that you want to reach out to, or how does that process begin? Like, what research do you do? What's the first touch point? Walk us through that because I think that would help a lot of our listeners go, "Okay, David's a man, I need to call David, come work with my company." So walk us through that?

David Masover 11:43
Well, you know, listen, I'm gonna be full disclosure here, I don't do a lot of cold outreach, because I've been working on my content as an inbound mechanism

Umar Hameed 11:54

David Masover 11:55
... about five years, and it's working really well. But I do work with a lot of companies that do cold outreach. So this wouldn't be directly from my experience, but it would be from my experience working with, with clients.

Umar Hameed 11:55

David Masover 12:07
And the place where that starts is, again, it's that messaging, you know, you need to, to really take your time and think through collaboratively co created with your team about what are the pain points that this particular target client profile is experiencing? And depending on the outreach method, I think that has to be the core. So whether it's email, or whether it's phone, or whether it's...

Umar Hameed 12:32
or LinkedIn?

David Masover 12:33
...content. Yeah, it doesn't matter. It has to be oriented on those problems. So if it's a cold call, it could be something as simple as, you know, "Hi you, this is me, the reason I'm calling is we've had a lot of success, helping people just like you with with issues like A, B and C, are those things that are resonating with you right now." You know, obviously, I just kind of knock that off the top of my head, and you would want to polish that and refine it. But that's the basic structure, "Hey, I work with people like this and these are the problems, does that resonate with you?" "Great, let me tell you, what we've done with some other folks and then you can decide if this is a good fit for you." But the structure itself is important. The fact that it's it's centered around the right problems for the right audience, that's what's really gonna make the difference.

Umar Hameed 13:20
So what you just described is like a, quote unquote, perfect cold outreach by a phone. So once again, not rocket science but we make such a big deal out of it. And it's better to get someone say, "Nope, not interested and I'm out of here." So the same thing is true for process. So how do you get a leader to go, because I suspect you probably hear this a lot, "Our salespeople don't do that, or it's been really difficult." So how do you overcome that, that hurdle of, "This is going to be different, we're going to transform the team." What does that conversation look like? And what strategies do you use to actually make that a reality?

David Masover 13:58
That's an excellent question, Umar, I love that. When I think about sales, in the most simple format, it really breaks down to three things, you got to get into a conversation with the right people, you got to have a conversation with the right people, and you got to close out the conversation with those people. All of the magic happens in the middle. And in my business, when I'm talking about process, it's no different than anybody else's. You're going to be successful at the end, based on what happens in the middle. And in my particular case, when we're talking about sales process, I could come in and say sales process is the greatest thing since sliced bread and perforated toilet paper, which is what a lot of salespeople do, they talk about their product, that's not terribly effective. What's terribly effective is to have an informed conversation with a sales leader or a company leader about the frustrations they're experiencing. Not make it a list of stock questions where you ask, "Get your answer and move on to the next," but really have a conversation really understand where they're coming from. And then because I know my business, and hopefully salespeople know their business, they're able to take what they learned in that conversation and provide some insights and some observations based on what they've done with other clients, and probe into whether or not the kinds of things that have worked between the seller and other clients or things that might work for the client or the prospect you're talking to in their business. That's the way I think a professional salesperson should take the opportunity to speak with someone who might do business with you, and discover whether or not they will. So it's not about convincing someone, that process is the most awesome thing known to man. It's about helping people understand how it's a vehicle that might help them get from where they are to where they want to go but you can't have that conversation until you understand where they are. And they know that you understand that because of the way that you've, you've carried yourself in that dialogue.

Umar Hameed 16:04
I'm not sure if you've had this experience, David, but going into a restaurant, and host or hostess greet you, they bring you to the table and they get you situated, you can have one person do it and you're like, "That person doesn't give a shit about me." The next person comes says the exact same words, and you can just feel the caring, and the attention. So the words were the same, but the intent is totally different. One is to just hurry up and get you seated so you can go back. The other one is to make sure you're a welcome guest in their home. So talk to me about how you recommend salespeople make that connection with people so that it feels like the ladder where it's like, "Oh, this salesperson cares, I want to spend time to salesperson as opposed to, I'm asking the stock questions and I'm going to pretend that I care but I really don't."

David Masover 16:55
I think it's a great question and I think you could answer that a lot of different ways. From the most practical perspective, I think this comes back to what we were talking about earlier, I think when a salesperson thinks of themselves as somebody who sells a product that is made up of features and benefits and attributes and accolades and whatnot, I think you kind of have one certain demeanor coming across. On the other hand, when you have a salesperson who deeply understands the kinds of things that they help people with and how their solution solves the problem. And how they should effectively conduct themselves in you know, this, this total conversation in a similar way to what I described with the discovery conversation, then, then the salesperson kind of, you know, to go to Simon Sinek work, they kind of have a different why. My why isn't,

Umar Hameed 17:54

David Masover 17:54
I need you to buy my product, my why is, let's figure out if this makes sense for you. And I think that when when a salesperson really internalizes that, and you can help him do that, by creating this messaging and understanding these these conversation frameworks, they just come from a different place. And at the end of the day, like your restaurant example, you know, the host or hostess might be saying the exact same words, but it's really where they're coming from. That that gives you that different experience. And this is what I've found to make the difference with salespeople. And the other thing is, they get a lot more confident when they find...

Umar Hameed 18:31

David Masover 18:31
...like they know what they're doing. And they they feel like they're really providing value and solving problems and not just trying to ram something down somebody's throat. And that confidence also comes through in a very positive way with respect to these conversations.

Umar Hameed 18:46
Brilliant. So I'm not sure you know, David, that I happen to be single ladies. And I happen to be a salesperson and I want to date so I saw this book that you've got, the "Salespersons Guide to Dating" and tell us about the book. Am I reading it wrong? Am I going to get chicks out of this? Like what's going on?

David Masover 19:03
Well, you know, I, so I've written three books, all three of them are about sales process and "Salesman's Guide to Dating" is certainly about sales process as well. I came up with the idea back in, gosh, when was it maybe 1998. I was sitting it, I was working at a startup in Web 1.0 in Silicon Valley. And I was crazy busy working 18 hour days, like a founder of a startup often does. And I remember sitting on my desk one night is about nine o'clock and I was thinking, you know, it'd be really nice to have a girlfriend like I just have, it's...

Umar Hameed 19:36

David Masover 19:36
...nice to have a girlfriend right? And, but I'm thinking to myself, I have no time. How am I gonna find a girlfriend when I have no time to go out and look for a girlfriend? And of course I didn't spend my whole day working on sales stuff. So the light bulb went on over my head and I said you know what, I need a good lead source. That thought just came to me organically and the whole book just kind of unfolded in front of me.

Umar Hameed 20:02

David Masover 20:02
And the salesman's Guide to Dating is really just using something that we're familiar with dating, as an analogy for the sales process. So for example, when you want to have a girlfriend or a boyfriend or you know, whatever kind of romantic partner you're looking for, first, you need to find a place where you might find somebody who qualifies, that's a leads, yes. And then you can't just do nothing, you have to find a way to engage this person so we call that prospecting. And then once you're engaged with them, and some but not engaged in the, you know, relationship format, but engaged in terms of a conversation, right? let's not put the cart before the horse here, you're gonna want to figure out in the first couple of minutes, you know, "Was this a good idea to get into the conversation with this person or not?" I have always said about dating that saying no, quickly is very easily, saying yes, takes time. But you can usually...

Umar Hameed 20:58

David Masover 20:58
...say no, pretty quickly. And and I think that's also true with dating. And then once you decide it's yes, not, you know, this is Mr. Right or Mrs. Wrong or whatever, but, but we're...

Umar Hameed 20:59

David Masover 21:06
...gonna continue the conversation and learn more about each other. Now you're into kind of a discovery process, you're going on a couple of dates, you're learning more about each other, you know, and then you get, you know, when you start getting into objections and proposals and negotiations, the analogy gets a little bit more thin. But but certainly on the front end, finding a lead source, reaching out to to initiate a conversation, finding out if this is qualified, learning more about each other. There's just a whole lot of parallels between what you do when you're looking for a romantic partner, and what you're doing when you are trying to execute a sales process. And that was the idea behind the book.

Umar Hameed 21:49
So I heard this, so I come back to the book just in a second, I promise, but it's not going to feel like it when I go on this tangent, when I heard a long time ago, is there was saying, you know, is what you're about to say, racist or not kosher? And so let's say we're talking about authors or people that are have Alzheimer's, you know, should they be allowed to do this kind of job and is like, "Well, I'm not sure it's a very kind of murky thing." They said, "Just change it to African-Americans." African-Americans can't work, you go, "Holy shit, that's wrong." And immediately if it was like a shady thing, you get clarity on that situation. And the reason I like the dating analogy is this is oftentimes salespeople meet a prospect. And this is where they get to really quickly, would you like to come home and meet my parents? Like, you'd never do that on a date? And you kind of work your way there to that. And it's, so I love that dating analogy. You're on your best behavior, you're getting to know the person and you're slowly moving this thing towards, is this the right person? Do we get to the next level? So I think it is a fundamental framework we all understand. And sometimes in sales, we forget, and we kind of jump ahead, and it's like, "Well, they said, No", it's like, well, you went too far before you figured out what's going on for that person.

David Masover 23:02

Umar Hameed 23:02
So David, for our listeners, and viewers, could you share one mind hack, like a trick that you used to be more effective or happier or more successful that they could find useful?

David Masover 23:14
Gosh, there's a bunch of things that come to mind. Just this morning, I, my my odometer rolled over so it's kind of top of mind for me. I started meditating some time ago, and I use an app, it's 10 minutes a day, you know, I'm not a Buddhist monk, I'm not in an orange robe. I just listen to my app, you know, not every day, but I try. But I just hit 10,000 minutes and brought like...

Umar Hameed 23:42
Oh, thank you.

David Masover 23:43
I used to do martial arts when I was younger, and I didn't meditate then and I wish I did. Because what I what I thought meditation was is very different than than what it's turned into, for me. And I'm sure it's not the same for everybody. But what it's really helped me with professionally, is an idea that Stephen Covey articulated in the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." And in that epic book, which if you haven't read it, I strongly encourage you to do so. He talked about how life really happens in that moment, between stimulus and response. And so often...

Umar Hameed 24:22

David Masover 24:22
...we are so quick to just respond, that we sometimes don't take the time to be more deliberate about that moment of choice. And what I really like about meditation in the way that I'm practicing it, and in the way that it's, it's, it's been evolving for me, which again, not sure if it's the same for everybody else, not an expert on this, just do it myself, is that it makes it makes me more conscious of my thoughts. And so sometimes,

Umar Hameed 24:50

David Masover 24:50
a thought will cross my mind. And initially, there'll be like this visceral knee jerk reaction. And then I catch myself and I'm like, "Ah, this is a thought," it's only a thought, maybe it's a good thought maybe it's a bad thought maybe it's something I should do something about, maybe not but it's a thought. So instead of just reacting to it, I'm able to take a moment and just say, "Okay, I recognize you, what am I going to do with you." And I think in sales, there's so much intensity and psychological pressure and head trash and mind games. And people do all kinds of crazy things to themselves for all kinds of reasons that we may or may not get to, I'm not sure how much time you have. But to be able to take a moment in the midst of your your, your executing your sales work, to be able to recognize the thoughts that are coming through your mind during these very intense situations, and make more conscious choices about some of them, because it's not going to work all the time. I found that to be very useful for me and the clients who I've recommended this to almost all of them come back to me who've stuck with it for a while and said, "Yeah, this is something that really helped them."

Umar Hameed 25:58
Because ultimately, at the end of the day, the person I want people to fall in love with is themselves, and you can't do that until you quiet in the mind. And you get to see who you actually are. Because most of the time we're pretending to be someone smarter than we are or funnier than we are or once we get that quietness, we get to connect with us. And when we connect with us in authentic way, when we connect with others through that, they're like deep connections very, very quick that happened. And that is trust is the underlying framework that allows sales to happen. David, this is the first of many conversations. Thank you so much for being on the show. I took a lot of notes and thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.

David Masover 26:40
It was really a pleasure Umar. Thank you for having me.

Umar Hameed 26:48
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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