Sam Johnson is a sales trainer at PayTrace, a SaaS payment gateway focused on making merchants happy. His training expertise empowers sales agents to develop knowledge and use influential tools throughout the B2B marketplace.
Prior to working with PayTrace, Sam was a sales leader in the NBA and Arena Football League. He serves as an advocate with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, volunteers at Partners for Pets in Spokane, Wash.
[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 Limit 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, everyone. Today I have the pleasure of having Sam Johnson here with me today. He's a sales trainer at PayTrace. And you know, that's where the rubber meets the road is you know, when we get people, this is how you sell better. And you're talking to veterans, newbies. Sam, welcome to the program.
Sam Johnson 0:57
Hi, Umar, thanks for having me.
Umar Hameed 0:59
So it's an interesting relationship, right? So you could have like a sales trainer, I'm a sales trainer, and individuals come over to see me and they hire me and they give me money. And they value what I do because it's their money. And that's one relationship. Second relationship is I'm the sales trainer for this company. And all these people that are coming to me are employees, and they have to be there and listen to me are all smack on one. And then the third one, which is probably the most challenging is what you're doing, which is you are providing sales training to your channel partners. So those people do not work for you. But you need to influence them to sell better. So tell me how that differs from your point of view?
Sam Johnson 1:36
Yeah, that's a great question. And in my role, I have a lot of, you know, experience under sales trainers myself, so I'm used to going through hearing people and on how to have these conversations on how to sell better just in general, right how to prospect how to have meetings, but when it comes to selling through channel partnerships, it's a little bit different, because as you said, we're really trying to influence these sales reps, that have so many different solutions and, and products that they can sell to their customers. For us, it's really trying to get some mindshare, it's really trying to get them bought into what we're doing to what we're trying to sell and make that clear to them that this is what they should be doing. So it's really selling to the salespeople.
Umar Hameed 2:29
Absolutely. Like I used to be in the IT industry, many moons ago. And we'd come into channel partners, like a distributor, DNH distributing is just down the street, maybe 60 miles away, and they've got you know, 40 sales reps, and they sell all kinds of stuff. And then we'd come in and basically have spiffs, with, hey, anytime you sell, what are our things, we'll give you a $20 bill or and then you know, this is why you are stuffing out their stuff. So it was an interesting education in creating influence and creating bonds and getting people to buy into what we were doing. So tell me about the reactions you get from the people that you're training from different folks like they probably fall into different food groups. So give me an idea of what are the food groups that they fall into?
Sam Johnson 3:13
Yeah, as far as you know, who we're talking to in, at least in my role, right? Our customer is going to be these resellers, these wholesalers, you have these people that are going to be using the end product of our solution of PayTrace. But really, we're talking to anybody that's really involved in the selling process. And the most obvious is going to be more of your, you know, your sales agents, which could be entry-level sales agents, it could be I've been around for a while and have different knowledge bases. So when you're educating them, right, there's there's different levels that people have an understanding of. So you have to be able to talk to right, their intelligence, their experience. And some things that you're going to be discussing are going to have different reservations amongst these different sales agents. And then you get up to, you know, different levels, you get up to management, and then upper management, right, the C level executives, and those are going to be very different conversations, because, from the bottom right, you want them to start hitting the pavement and really start talking about your product. But when you start talking to more of the management level, then you're trying to get them bought in on why this is going to be the best impact overall for the business. Right. So there's the individual side of things, and then there's really the more high-level outlook on how this is going to impact their company.
Umar Hameed 4:37
So let's break down you get a lot of industry veterans that have been selling for a while know how to sell plus or minus. And so sometimes you get people that are entrenched this and sudden this the way I've always done it, and then you get other people that are looking to learn. So tell me how you handle the people that just the way we've always done it. Well, that won't work. We've tried that in 1942 son and it didn't work then.
Sam Johnson 5:00
It's interesting. I mean, if you look at my photo, I'm a millennial, right? You look at me, I'm a young guy, I haven't been in the industry as long as some of these other guys. So my, it's kind of an uphill battle a lot of the times, but really, we have a very interesting product that really tailors to its own niche, right, we have a lot of competitors out there. But what I find is that a lot of these guys that are set in their ways, which isn't a bad thing, right, if they found success in their ways, why change it, but the industry is evolves, right? There's going to be emerging trends, new things coming out. So when I get in front of them, it's my goal to show them something brand new, I want them to have that lightbulb moment, and you can see it in their face, right? You say something, and it's there, their eyes change. And that's what I'm trying to accomplish with these industry veterans is really trying to get them to experience that, wow, this is something that I need to do. And to be honest, our product makes that more or less a little bit easier. So I have, you know, I have that going in my favor. But it's trying to get them to adopt new ideas is really what it comes down to.
Umar Hameed 6:18
So tell me about when people go into sell to incumbents because a lot of these salespeople going to places that already have that solution in place, and they need to kind of show them a new way of doing things. How do you train them to unseat the incumbent?
Sam Johnson 6:36
Well, my industry in particular in the payment space in the credit card industry space, it's, it's diluted, there's a lot of different credit card processors out there, there's so many different solutions. And when it comes to prospecting, and having these conversations with folks, is that the end consumer is getting calls all the time, right? Sometimes on a daily basis, depending on what type of business it is. So it's really trying to uncover a lot of new opportunity, kind of some virgin land, if you will, trying to get off of more of the Main Street, right, let's try to get creative and who our customer base is going to be and not focus on these guys that are getting called up every single day. Because it's the same conversation is really a race to the bottom as far as, as cost goes, right? What we're trying to do is we're trying to find those, merge those businesses, those merchants that see the value, and maybe they're not necessarily a main street, they're going to be more industrial types of businesses and right, so you have to get a little bit more savvy about who you're talking to. And then just, you know, consulting, it all comes down to consulting, you're not trying to position yourself as the low-cost leader, but you're trying to position yourself as I can add this more this much more value to your business.
Umar Hameed 8:05
So take me through, you're doing the training, and a lot of those credit card processing guys are very transactional. So tell me how you walk them through changing, being transactional to being more consultative. So how do you train them to do that?
Sam Johnson 8:21
I think that's my biggest challenge is it's, there's always going to be a cost factor, people are always going to sell on price. And in some spaces and some industries, especially payments, right, that works. Often, you want to be that low-cost leader, but when you have a solution, like the software that I'm positioning, we're not the low-cost leader, we position ourselves more as the our team sometimes uses the terms were the Cadillac or their Mercedes of our industry. We're not trying to go sell a, you know, a low level, Ford or Honda or, you know, not to bash on any of those vehicles, but just to compare, make a comparison. And there are different ways to do that. Right? It's talking about creating, again, going back to the value, what is the value what is going to be most important to the end consumer, right? It's not always cost. They might be struggling with a lot of other types of pains, efficiency, pains, reporting pains, you know, with regards to payments, reconciliation, pains, transparency, right. A lot of these businesses that are out there aren't exactly transparent. So it's really uncovering, right trying to teach them how to uncover some of these pains. And I'm not gonna lie pain isn't always negative. In some of my trainings, I like to lay that pain is really the gap between where you are now to where you need to be And a lot of consumers, a lot of customers don't necessarily know that there's right there's better things out there, they could they could operate more effectively. So it's really teaching these sales reps on how to have those dialogues how to have those conversations and uncover that pain, right? That's what a consultant is being about is finding the best possible solution for your customer.
Umar Hameed 10:24
So walk me through walk the viewers through how you get someone from the Hi, Sam, I'm Umar, to get to a place where you can actually go down that consultative path.
Sam Johnson 10:36
Oh, that's a tough one, we're got, you know, there's a lot of learning, there's a lot of discovery that goes into it. It's not just going in there and you're having your, your checklist of things, I need to ask a, b and c, I need to really get into, you know, whether you're talking to in my position, a sales agent, or whether you're talking, you're the sales agent talking to the customer, but for me, I'm trying to learn everything about this person, right? I want to know, where they're finding success, I want to know how they got to the point where they're having this conversation with me, right? There's a reason that they're having this conversation with me. And I want to see what exactly that is. It's very randomly that they're just curious. Right? It's oftentimes they, they heard about us from a colleague, they've seen others with success. With the pandemic, specifically, a lot of people that don't have a diversified portfolio of consumers have clients that have really heavily, you know, focused on areas like restaurant and retail, they're losing their livelihoods out there. And that's why they need to pivot and they need to find some different solutions, right, they need to change what they're doing. So for me, it's really finding what that is, and then catering to that, right getting them depending on what they're struggling with, how to buy in? And how am I How is my solution? How is my training going to better? Better affect them?
Umar Hameed 12:07
So is this a one-and-done training? do you have? Is it voluntary? Or do people keep on coming back? Like how does that work?
Sam Johnson 12:15
Well, there's a few different ways that I conduct training, right, there's there's kind of the typical one on one or group settings where it's it's more of a private engaging sessions. But for a kind of a nimble mid-sized software company, which is what PayTrace is, we have to be creative in the ways that we're engaging our partners. So you know, there's, there's definitely those more traditional training settings. But now with, you know, advancements in technology, especially with, you know, a lot of people going virtual right now working from home, we're trying to figure out other ways to get in front of them and create dialogues create engagement. So, you know, we'll do recurring trainings, trying to build on their knowledge base and trying to get them more and more bought into our gateway. But then there's other mediums out there like YouTube, right? YouTube is huge right now and trying to create content, right, putting your space and taking up that market share on a platform like YouTube, creating webinars, right on a consistent basis, we almost call them university courses, just to get them that foundational education. Right? So there's a lot of different ways that you know, different people are going to consume these types of trainings.
Umar Hameed 13:36
Sam tell me about a mind hack that you use to help you become more efficient at what you do, do you have like a one of those simple little tricks that you find useful?
Sam Johnson 13:47
Ahm, you know, I'm not big on just the simple little tricks I'm more geared towards processes, right? You want to have consistency, you want to create processes. So you know, it's, for me, I like to have a developed agenda. I want to have consistency in the trainings that I'm producing, I want to have them on more of a fixed schedule than anything.
Umar Hameed 14:13
Sam Johnson 14:14
And I want to be able to talk to my peers, my colleagues, my customers and find out what they need. Right? So that's always an ever-changing landscape.
Umar Hameed 14:25
So how do you get that feedback? How do you get that feedback loop with your, your constituents?
Sam Johnson 14:32
A lot of the feedbacks in the data, I'm not going to lie, right? If you have a successful training, hopefully in the next weeks months, you'll be able to see that increase right there. They're having success out there. They're having sales. You know, constant check-ins. This is when you're selling through channel sales. It's much like selling directly and that it's not just a one-and-done conversation with your customer. You want to have follow up so you want to have conversations and continue dialogue, right. Not only because it's going to just reinforce your relationship with them, right? Selling is strongly relationship-based. But it's also going to, again, provide that feedback, just like you said, it's creating that feedback loop and you can learn, you know, as they're going out there and selling where are some of the gaps that are coming up? And how can we how can we fill those gaps?
Umar Hameed 15:25
And so how do you get that feedback? Is it phone calls? Do you have surveys? Like, how do you get that feedback loop to know what you need to be teaching?
Sam Johnson 15:33
Not gonna lie, I need to play around with surveys a little bit more of something that we've tried in the in the past. And I think that's one of the really good ways that you can get critical feedback, especially in formats like webinars, settings, right. There's a lot of programs out there that have that technology built right into it. But for right now, it's still a little bit more traditional. It's following up email. I'm a big proponent of LinkedIn. So I always like to put feelers out on LinkedIn, you know, gathering feedback messaging directly, all the people I've worked with and just managing a good CRM with, you know, strong notes, right, and keeping up with.
Umar Hameed 16:12
Sam Johnson 16:12
You know, when there's follow up, do.
Umar Hameed 16:14
And how big is the sales team? at your company? PayTrace?
Sam Johnson 16:19
Yeah, our sales team, we have a sales team of about six of us. I'll be the I'm the only sales trainer. But then we also have a team of account managers, account executives that are out there managing, right the relationships with all of these different clients.
Umar Hameed 16:36
Brilliant. So Sam, is there any piece of advice you'd give salespeople before we end this episode?
Sam Johnson 16:44
Yeah. You know, being persistent. It's pretty common practice, but be persistent. in your conversations, but really, overall, I think going back to the previous theme that we talked about is uncovering that pain, I think is really important. And again, it's not just the negatives, it really comes down to what's going to be the best tools that you need that you're that you have to offer. And how can we help fill those gaps, whether it's knowledge gap, whether it's an efficiency gap, whether it's a cost gap, right, depending on what we're selling, and who we're selling to, we want to be able to mold, right that conversation and get them to where they feel happy.
Umar Hameed 17:34
Brilliant, it's all about happiness. Sam, thanks so much for being on the program.
Sam Johnson 17:38
Umar, I really appreciate it man. Thanks for having me.
Umar Hameed 17:46
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.