June 18

Shawn Finder


Shawn Finder has always been an entrepreneur at heart. At age 24, Shawn entered the entrepreneurial world after competing as one of Canada's top-ranked tennis players. He started out importing packaging from the Orient and selling to top retailers in North America.

However, knowing he always loved selling and list building, he founded ExchangeLeads in 2013 which helps his company build quality lists for outreaching new prospects. This was followed by his new venture Autoklose in 2017 that combines both sales engagement and list building all-in-one platform.

Podcast Highlights:

  • It takes 6 - 8 touches to win a call with your prospect
  • 72% of emails are viewed on mobile phones so the first 3 words of your email subject better count
  • CEOs respond to email on weekends more than on weekdays

Contact Shawn:

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[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the no limit selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster, get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:34
Today I have the privilege of having Shawn Finder the CEO of Autoklose. Shawn, you're helping salespeople and companies close more business. Welcome to the program.

Shawn Finder 0:45
Thank you so much for having me. Umar. It's great to be here and I can't wait to talk to you about sales and how to fill the top of your sales funnel.

Umar Hameed 0:52
You know, what's gonna intrigues me is that 2500 BC, there's a dude selling camels and there's another dude across the the walkway that selling camels to and one guy's killing it and the other guys struggling, they have to be people going, how does Ahmed do that? So sales has to be, you know, a really ancient craft, but I can't find any sales training manuals older than like, the late 1800s.

Shawn Finder 1:23
That's so funny. Yeah, you know, as a salespeople, um, there's, there's different ways that salespeople sell it. I think there is a big difference between why somebody is really good at selling. And also, I guess why someone's, you know, doesn't get the same results. And especially in for SDRs. And, and sales reps, I think it comes down to follow ups and persistence, to be honest with you.

Umar Hameed 1:46
And I think that, so just for people listening SDRs are?

Shawn Finder 1:50
Sales Development Representatives.

Umar Hameed 1:52
Right. So bizdev, guys. So yeah, I think it's that persistent piece is the thing that separates great salespeople from people that don't do as well. And I think that's the magic sauce. And you guys are doing some pretty interesting stuff with Autoklose. Tell me about that. Because that helps kind of bridge that gap a little bit, right with technology.

Shawn Finder 2:14
Exactly. So what we found, I don't like to say the word but you know, salespeople sometimes are a little bit lazy. And, you know, they try and follow up one to two times with a prospect. And they just give up and think oh, that prospects no longer interested, or I called them one to left, a voicemail never replied, but the bottom line is, nowadays, everyone is so busy. So that follow ups and the number of fobs is what's going to come is going to differentiate how how you hit your quota, or if you don't hit your quota. So what we do is Autoklose allows you to automate those faults, you can schedule, say, six 810 faults over 45 days. And then what you get to do is, basically automate everything so that you know, within the one click of the button, you could automate your outreach to all those salespeople, or all those VP of operations with one click.

Umar Hameed 3:01
So that makes sense. Let's go back a little bit. For salespeople, they're trying to get a hold of an account and do that, and they desperately want that account. But after one or two tries, they give up and I think part of them is disappointed. And part of them is kind of relieved that Oh, my God. That was a close one. Kind of your thoughts on that statement?

Shawn Finder 3:22
Yeah. So I think people you know, they give up because they just don't believe that prospects interest, but the honest truth is, everyone's very busy. Umar, you're gonna you're busy, I'm busy, everyone's very busy. And when you get that first email, especially when it's a cold email, you know, people are gonna be hesitant to reply, but when you send those four to six emails in the same thread, and that person, sometimes you'll even get a reply saying, you know, I'm not interested, but thanks for your persistence. So I think that the key is being persistent and not trying to be so salesy, but try and talk about that prospects challenges and and what value you can bring to try and really bridge that gap. And then get them on the call, because you're not going to, you know, sell on the email, but you want to get them on that 15 minute, 20 minute call to make your pitch.

Umar Hameed 4:05
Absolutely. And so why don't we start off right at the beginning with just targeting. Tell me where salespeople have challenges targeting not so much with your solution, because we're going to talk about that a little later on, but just general sales, sometimes I find that salespeople aren't going after the right target, your thoughts on that?

Shawn Finder 4:24
Oh I cannot. And actually, that's something we did internally, we had a meeting in our boardroom about three weeks ago. And the key is, people don't know what who their buyers persona are. Now, when you're selling a product or service, every person you sell to your message has to be different. If you're sending an email, you should know if you're sending it to an introvert versus an extrovert. It could be an IT person versus a salesperson. But one of the things that we found was, you know, CEOs, for example, have different interests or challenges than a Sales Manager or a Sales Development Representative. So you have to make sure that when you're targeting those CEOs Where they care about making more money, or where you're talking to a national sales manager than might be trying to have the regional sales managers headquarters. So make sure you map out your buyers persona and sell it and spend like time on it. Because once you can nail down your buyers persona, you will know who your prospect is that's actually buying your product or service.

Umar Hameed 5:20
Absolutely. And I think for some salespeople, that's a difficult thing to do. But if they invest the time in that they're going to maximize their time, when they're actually going after these prospects.

Shawn Finder 5:32
Yeah, if funny enough, you know, we sat in the boardroom, and one of my sales reps, like before we did it, like, you know, we're spending seven hours in the boardroom discussing our buyers persona, where I can be on the calls, like making money. But at the end of the day, after we did the exercise, they said, You know what, he had a whole new vision of when he talks to somebody, email somebody of what that person's challenges are, what are their pain points, and his sales actually increased the next month, because now when he's on the call with the CEO, he's not talking about booking more demos, he's talking about how I'm gonna bring you more money. So making sure that you spend that time at the forefront, I think it's very important if you really want to, you know, expedite some of the sales that you're currently working on.

Umar Hameed 6:12
So whether you're in business or romance, you have to be relevant to your audience. If you're not relevant to your audience, things aren't going to go anywhere, anytime soon. And so I think doing that targeting forces you to have that relevance for your different segments.

Shawn Finder 6:30
Yeah, a 100, you know, it's talking about romance, it would be like, you know, if you're on a date with a girl, and she only enjoys football, but he hates baseball, and you're talking about baseball the entire time, she's probably not going to be into the conversation. So you want to definitely know that audience know what's gonna, what's gonna make them excited, and what they can actually communicate with you and talk to you about.

Umar Hameed 6:49
One of the things I hear from salespeople is, Umar, if I can just get that conversation with the prospect, my hit ratio is really awesome. But I can't get people to have that conversation. And I think there's an epidemic of that. And that's what Autoklose does, when you walk me through, what made you develop the software? And then how, what are the steps that people actually, what steps do they use to start actually, using Autoklose to have those conversations?

Shawn Finder 7:20
Yeah. So originally, what we did, we had a data company called exchange leads. And what we had was we had a lot of people that were using the data, they love the data, but they come to me and say, Shawn, you're providing me the data, but I don't know where to email the people you're giving me the data for. So what we said was, okay, well, we want to build an all in one platform, which I think one of the new things with all sales leaders right now, Umar is consolidation, everyone wants to consolidate the different CRM is marketing, sales, you know, dialing all those tools in one. So we built Autoklose to solve that problem that the all in one solution that you can actually go in, you can automate those campaigns. But you can also go into our into our software and target people, buy your buyers persona, therefore, if your buyer's persona is a VP of sales in the manufacturing industry, between you know, 10, to 100, that's your sweet spot, you can do all that targeting inside the platform. And we found that a lot of people got really high and great results by a higher click rate by really identifying using our database, who the person is. And now we know one thing I'll add to that is, you might want to look at your existing client list and build a buyer's persona around that client list. Because if you have a lot of clients that might be from, you know, Toronto, Canada that are CMOS, well, you might want to go after more CMOS in Toronto, Canada.

Umar Hameed 8:35
Yeah, kind of makes common sense. So once people kind of get that persona, get the targeting, right, they can go into your software. And basically, I want to look for these people. And it's going to generate a list of let's say, let's say 1000 people from that, what's the next step?

Shawn Finder 8:52
So next step is to build your four step campaign. So one is just create the campaign on the days of the week, you want to send the email, if you're reaching out to a C level person, this is my tip, I always say is do not exclude Saturdays and Sundays, because C level people reply more on a Saturday and Sunday, than Monday to Friday. So that's one thing I would say. So you create your campaign. And the second step would be you choose who you want to email. And then the third step is where you build out your cadence. Now you guys were you know, you can have a whole conversation on subject line and body paragraph, but you want to build out that sequence of Is it a cold prospect that might be five to seven emails, or, or sorry, cold prospect six to eight emails, or as a warmer prospect might be three to five emails, but you want to do that and then just press start. And then you can track all your opens, clicks, replies all inside the platform.

Umar Hameed 9:41
And let's say you had somebody using your platform. And after two months, they come back to you and say, "Okay, things are going okay". They could, could be going better. How do you diagnose the problem? Because you have data at that point, right? You know, what the emails are, what the cadence is who target is, and I'm sure you can go in and tweak some things to make the response rate better. Have you done that for a client? And if so, can you walk us through one of those experiences.

Shawn Finder 10:10
Yeah, it's something we actually been doing a lot of lately. It's funny enough, we built the software, we have the software, and we're trying to figure out the salespeople that are writing content, they're not the content can be a lot better, like a few examples that we found is I had a client reach out to me said, Shawn, I'm really upset, we have a zero percent click rate. And when we analyze the template he was using, there was actually nothing on the email to click. So if you have nothing to click, you're gonna have a bad click rate, but you might have a better reply rate. One other thing we saw was a lot of people talk about themselves. When you're writing out an email to somebody, and a prospect if they already know your name, and your email, by your and your company, by your email. So you want to make sure that first lines not, you know, Hi, I'm Shawn fine, you're CEO of Autoklose, I'm reaching out to you, because they they already know, I'm Shawn, fine, they already know I'm the CEO of Autoklose. So you want to make sure you that first line is the challenge. And that's one thing that we've we've been finding a lot of our clients and they're trying to introduce himself, but don't introduce yourself, go into what the challenges are, go into a pain point that client will be feeling, and then they'll actually be more likely to read your whole email and actually engage with you.

Umar Hameed 11:17
So two things, number one, be relevant. And number two, if you don't capture them with the subject line, no one's going to open your email. And if they open your email, if the first line does not continue that romance with them, they're not going to read the paragraph for the rest of it. So it's a constant challenge to the end of your first paragraph should be setting the person up to say, "Oh, my God, I can't wait till I get to the second paragraph", which takes a lot of work to do. It's not easy, but I think well worth the effort doing especially with your system, because once you figure out the process and all the emails, then you can sit back and just watch the appointments come in. And if you don't, then you're going to be struggling for a long time.

Shawn Finder 11:58
Exactly. And one thing I'll say about other things, when we're talking about subject line is and and your first line of your email is nowadays 72% of people are actually opening their emails on their phones. So if people are opening emails on their phones, how much of that email are they actually gonna be able to see, once they click on that email, they actually only see the first three words of your subject line and the first seven words of your email. So you want to make sure those three and seven words are the most important words of your entire email, because you can't get them to open on those three or those seven. They're not even open. If so you want to make sure that you talk with those challenges in seven words, and you keep your subject lines to three four words.

Umar Hameed 12:38
Absolutely. It kind of reminds me of, if you're a magician, it takes a long time to to make something look like, trickery looks like magic. And the same thing is true here. If you want to get magical results you need to put in the time and the dedication to take all that into account.

Shawn Finder 13:00
Yeah, I mean, you know, everyone says practice makes perfect. But the cool thing about emails is, you know, and we were actually implementing in two weeks is like an A B testing thing. You know, always you should never stop testing your subject lines or body paragraphs, because you will always find if you practice and do different ones, you will, you will always find other ones that work. So even though you might have a 60% open rate, try another subject line, you might get a 70 so always continue to test and always continue to adjust.

Umar Hameed 13:26
Shawn, can I share with you the subject line that gets a 100% open?

Shawn Finder 13:31

Umar Hameed 13:34
I know where your children go to school. You might get a call from the RCMP if you do that, but it will get a response.

Shawn Finder 13:41
You know what, its quite funny you say that. One of my best, let me tell you a quick story. One of my best cold calls ever was I called the CEO of a company I was trying a big, big huge company where they have you know, the administrator in the front that you have to get by and I called them up they answer the phone I go "Hi, it's Shawn find your cost motto" or no I said "Hi, it's um, it's the CRA calling in Canada Canada Revenue Agency. It's a CRA calling I need to speak to XY and Z the CEO. And the CEO came on the phone and said you know what, I'm not the CRA. But this was the only way to get five minutes your call of your of your time. Can I just pitch you something real quick. And he actually appreciated my way of getting a hold of them. But pretending this right? And it actually got me to five minutes if I didn't do that I would never have got by the gatekeeper.

Umar Hameed 14:22
Yeah, it takes bravery and to sometimes get stuff done.

Shawn Finder 14:27
Yeah, exactly.

Umar Hameed 14:28
So Shawn, you've been selling for a while and you're the CEO of the company. And even you have challenges. Can you share like one of your challenges and it could have been a leadership challenge getting your people together? Or it could have been the sales challenge to really get the the messaging, right, share one of those so you know, people that are out there, mere mortals can go okay. Doesn't matter how far you go. In terms of accomplishment. There's always challenges there.

Shawn Finder 14:53
Yeah, so I think in sales, especially, I would say more when hiring sales. There's always different challenges. I look at like, yes, you know, when you're hiring a salesperson, and we've had issues we're hiring a few right now is you can hire somebody who's really, really experienced, for example, when you hire me really experienced, they don't want to try new things. So you know, things that worked 15 years ago in sales, you know, the cold calling, the emailing, etc. Nowadays, it's all about, you know, social selling and implementing thing on CRM. And, you know, one sales guy said, You want me to be like a full time CRM input or, but nowadays, you need to use a CRM you can't be using, well, you could be but you shouldn't be using, you know, your Excel spreadsheet to mark down everything. So getting experienced people to try new things, and then trying to get inexperienced people to, to get accustom and trained on the new tools, it takes a lot of time. So I think it's a catch 22, you know, to try and find somebody also with motivation. So I, we've had a lot of challenges, finding really good sales people we're currently interviewing right now. And we're seeing the same sort of, you can find juniors that don't have the experience but willing to learn, or you have the experience, people that don't want to learn.

Umar Hameed 16:04
I had this woman that I know here in Baltimore, she was telling me a story about when she first started working for this architect. And her job was to call CEOs and tell them about the firm and get appointments. And when she started, she was calling and landing appointments and people around her were saying, CEOs are too busy. They don't want to talk to you and all that negativity from a co workers about how impossible that is to do. She said, After two months, I couldn't pick up the phone and do it. But when I was young and stupid and didn't know any better, I could actually just land appointments really consistently. And it says a lot about mindset. If you've got the right mindset, you can do amazing things and don't let other people dissuade you from excellence.

Shawn Finder 16:48
So if people want to get a hold of me, the best way to get a hold of me would be by email shawn@autoklose.com. You can also add me on LinkedIn. I'm very active on LinkedIn always doing posting stuff, posting blogs, posting videos, posting, engaging content, you can come to our website and check out Autoklose at www.autoklose.com. But yeah, feel free to let me know if you have any sales questions or there's any challenges your company might be facing, and I can lead you in the right direction. Thanks so much Umar for having me on the show today. I really appreciate it and I hope I provided some value to the audience.

Umar Hameed 17:26
You definitely did Shawn. Thanks so much.

Umar Hameed 17:29
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 nolimitselling.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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