July 12

Tom Hoelderle on How A Better Sales Process Increases Your Sales


“The Sales Fixer”

I build and fix sales teams:

I am a sales leader with 30 years of expertise in improving actions that impact profitability. Adept at identifying organizational risk and cost reductions and facilitating strategic sales planning. I am committed to driving exponential growth and motivating people through dynamic strategy, execution, relationship management, and leadership. I have experience building rapport with multi-state private equity, public and global businesses, sales teams, and finance to drive market awareness and generate leads. I can strengthen relationships with clients and influence decisions with C-Suite leaders. I am a trusted advisor who delivers solutions. I specialize in B2B consultative selling and business development.

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[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 0:39
Hello everyone! Welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast. And today we have Tom Hoelderle with us today. He's with Sales Xceleration, you can tell about the sign right behind him. Tom, welcome to the program.

Tom Hoelderle 0:52
Thank you, Umar. My pleasure to be here.

Umar Hameed 0:54
When sales managers will likely, "Little Tykes," they thought how can I increase sales? And that is easier said than done. Because a lot of times getting the team that you're leading is like herding cats, because salespeople are so awesome at excuses. So what do you think the first lesson of sales leadership is?

Tom Hoelderle 1:12
Well, one of the areas that I see opportunity for a sales leader is to make sure that they have a defined sales process in place that can go so far in so many different directions. You know, for example, if you don't have a defined sales process, it makes it very difficult to scale your sales team. It also makes it very difficult for training and trainees another area I'm just...

Umar Hameed 1:40
I'm gonna, I'm gonna I'm gonna cut in here, Tom, because you know, come on, Tom, do you want me to sell or do you want to follow a stupid process? You make up your mind, which of course sales process is absolutely important, because you don't know what's not working? And what is working without one but salespeople push back. It's like, "Hey, dude, do you want me to sell or do you want me to follow process it? Tell me what you want to do so we need it," but how you get the salespeople to buy into it?

Tom Hoelderle 2:03
Well, that's I mean, sale sales is a process, you know, rather, or that process is in your head, or if it's defined and repeatable and trainable. Even even sales reps that that wing it, they have a process to wing it.

Umar Hameed 2:19

Tom Hoelderle 2:20
So you know, it's very, this not not to overcomplicate it but sales is very basic. I mean, it's a process, you follow that process. The way, to reward that and to enhance that is to provide tools and things that follow that process, and help salespeople gain value from that process.

Umar Hameed 2:44
Absolutely. And if you let your salespeople have all have a different process, then you can't diagnose what's going on, or you have to be like a therapist for your 20 sales reps. But if you have a defined process, or what I find is on step number three, whatever it happens to be, you've got one salesperson that is doing something slightly different, and they're killing it. And it's like, "Oh, what are you doing differently? Let's make that part of the process for everybody and everybody improves," whereas when there's like 10, different processes, it's hard to figure out what's going on.

Tom Hoelderle 3:13
Absolutely. And then, you know, then as you move into, what types of tools are you going to use to manage that process, that becomes almost impossible if you don't have a defined sales process. You can't tailor your tools to manage it, if you've got people all kind of doing things differently.

Umar Hameed 3:33
Absolutely. So I'm gonna give you like a generic sales process. And then we'll kind of go down each path of it and take a look at best practices. So word according to Umar, "Get the appointment." So that's cold calling,prospecting, whatever we need to do to get that first conversation. And number two is doing the presentation. And during that presentation, figuring out what's going on the customer and what we're doing handle objections, close the deal, and then go deeper into the account and referral. So that's five steps. Let's take a deeper look at the first step. How do you get into a conversation with a total stranger? What would be the best practices to get a stranger on the phone or on Zoom or on Tinder?

Tom Hoelderle 4:15
Well, first of all, I think even before you start that, you I would, I would back up even further and say step one is have a plan. Step two might be even to define who your target audience needs to be before you start cold calling because that you know, the first step is going to be to target that audience. Make sure you're getting the right appointments with the right people, you know, before you continue in that process. And there's there's so many tools, you know, as far as how do you find those people. Networking, networking is huge networking is bigger than it's ever been. Tools like on LinkedIn Navigator, things like that, where you can do more targeted searches to find that, right?

Umar Hameed 5:00
Okay. So, so let's talk about, let's make it very specific. You and I are both in the business of talking to VPs of sales to get them to hire us to make their sales forces better. So we say, "Okay, we are looking for VPs in the tech space." So we get a list of those, how we get it. So give me an outline of a plan to get in front of VPS and then let's take a look at the first step of getting appointments.

Tom Hoelderle 5:24
Okay. One thing also is that, and this is a weakness I see in many sales forces, is not being able to articulate your value prop. So that kind of goes into that pre-work, make sure that you fully understand and can fully articulate your value prop, because that's definitely going to be something you're going to need once you get that appointment. So as far as getting that appointment, depending on you know what, let's say you're using a tool such as LinkedIn Navigator to find people, I typically when I'm using Navigator, I limit it to no further out than second level connections.

Umar Hameed 6:02
Which is still like 300 million. So yeah...

Tom Hoelderle 6:05

Umar Hameed 6:05
...a lot.

Tom Hoelderle 6:06
So that that helps you because that means that you know, somebody who knows this person that you're trying to get into, so that that can help you as far as maybe getting a referral in that, "Hey, I know this person who knows that person, so I'm going to use that connection to help get that appointment." The other thing too, is that features and benefits selling is gone, okay? You need to make sure that you fully understand the customer's business, the customers issues. So that's gonna require some research quite a bit of research actually, before that first phone call, you know, you want to make sure that you have an understanding. And and the key thing is to have specific questions and things that you want to ask. But listen, another mistake that many salespeople make, is they talk too much.

Umar Hameed 6:59
All right. Absolutely.

Tom Hoelderle 7:00
Ask the question and listen. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 7:02
So let's say, "Okay, we've defined a company, they're called ABC company, we know that they're looking to expand on the west coast so they need their salespeople to do better. And we know who the person is, how do we get them on the phone or get them on email?" What's the process you would recommend to get them to engage with us?

Tom Hoelderle 7:21
There's a lot of different ways to go about it, I probably would start with, you know, an email or a snippet if it's a second level connection, start with a LinkedIn connection, to build that rapport. And then follow up with phone calls from there. You know it most people, it takes about seven times of reaching out to somebody before you're going to get an opportunity or you're going to get any sort of response. So be persistent.

Umar Hameed 7:52
So pop quiz, after how many times do most salespeople give up, because they don't stick around for seven or eight times?

Tom Hoelderle 7:58
I would say probably about three.

Umar Hameed 8:00
Turns out two.

Tom Hoelderle 8:01

Umar Hameed 8:01
44% of salespeople give up after two attempts and that's why they remain B players. And the A players are like frickin' animals. I was at a real estate company and one of the realtors actually got a deal from this guy. And the leader of the team said, "How long have you been trying to reach get this guy?" says a while? "How many times did you send him a message?" He goes, "I sent him 21 texts." The 21st text hit him at the right time when he was doing it and he forgot about the other 20. He wasn't mad at me, it was just like, "Oh, I'm glad you reached out." So dear salesperson, do not frickin' give up and you think you're being annoying, they don't remember you. They don't care about you.

Tom Hoelderle 8:38

Umar Hameed 8:38
Till they do.

Tom Hoelderle 8:39
Yep. Well, one other tip I would throw out there is that if you're, if you're reaching out via phone, the ideal time is, is within 10 to 15 minutes of the top of the hour. Because that's when people are most meetings start on the hour. So most people are at their desk and they're preparing quarter till 10 till that's the your best shot to keep...

Umar Hameed 9:04

Tom Hoelderle 9:04
...somebody alive. And Fridays, a lot of sales reps or a lot of want to bother somebody on a Friday. You know, because they're trying to get out of the office early or whatever. Fridays are a good time to catch people.

Umar Hameed 9:17
Also, I find Thursday afternoons for me are like phenomenal because people are trying to clear the decks for Friday. And they're at the desk actually working. And the other tip is this is that you've been trying to get a hold of Tom for like three weeks is not there, I call Tom up and Tom answers. Soon as he answers, the other three people I've been trying to get that have not been answering, whatever time I got Tom usually and get one or two of them on the phone at that time, I'm not sure how the universe works. But once you get hard to find person, get the other people on the phone immediately and magically more times than not they happen to be there at that time.

Tom Hoelderle 9:52

Umar Hameed 9:53
All right. So we've got the conversation with the person and they say "Okay, Tom, I'll do a meeting with you." So when you're doing the presentation on that meeting, whether it's let's say, Zoom, that's what we're doing, that's what the New World Order looks like. So what are your goals, when you go into do the presentation on Zoom, when you're talking to a customer, step two of the process?

Tom Hoelderle 10:13
So for for an initial face to face, one on one, whatever the goal is going to be to learn more about their business, learn what, what challenges they may be facing. And one area that we miss is, how do they try to get a better handle on how do they feel about that? You know what it's not, it may not be enough anymore to talk about, well, what happens if you if you miss this goal, or what happens if you hit this goal, but, but personally, how, how would that make you feel if you hit this goal? Try and try to evoke that emotion, and draw that out. And once again, listen, ask good questions and listen.

Umar Hameed 10:55
And one of the ways to listen, here's a tip is to watch the person's lips when they're talking. Because it gives your mind something to do your mind is so powerful and so fast, that the person you're talking to is talking at 120 words a minute, and your brain processing power is 80,000 words a minute. And one of the ways to keep you focused and grounded is to watch the person's lips. And it just gives you something to do and you pay attention. And the other person can feel is like, "Oh my God, nobody listens to me. My kids know, my wife, certainly not my salespeople," and then also builds a connection. So let's say you gather information, you find out that, you know, I've got a $50,000 problem, Tom, you uncover and now you're in the sales presentation side. How do you do the ask?

Tom Hoelderle 11:37
That's a tough one. So me as far as asking for the order or...

Umar Hameed 11:42
Or so it would be like this. So let's say you're a VP of sales. Is it Tom, earlier in the conversation, you were telling me that you've got two star players on your team that are like walking on water, but you got eight salespeople that could be doing so much better? And you estimated that if they could actually get more appointments, that would add another $7 million to your bottom line? Did I hear that right? You of course say, yes. So what have you done in the past to fix that problem? Because obviously not fixed, and then we go into the pain process and it's like, "Hey, this is what we do best. That's exactly why we should be working together, Tom, because we can solve that for you in the next 60 days."

Tom Hoelderle 12:17
Absolutely. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 12:18
What would you like to do?

Tom Hoelderle 12:19
Yes. [Garbled]. Absolutely. Statistics are good, asking that person once again, if you could get those other players up to speed, what does that mean to you? What does that mean to the team? What happens if you if we don't? How much longer can you endure, endure the status quo? And once again, try to evoke those pain points. Find out, you know, how, how big is this, you know, for some smaller companies, I've asked, "What happens if you miss your goal?" You kind of get it, it's not that big of a deal, because we all were privately held others it's like, "Well, if we don't get this goal, you know, the we're gonna run up against some of our covenants," and things like that. And it's a disaster. There's a different level of urgency, and trying to draw that out and fully understand that helps, because then you can you can sell to that.

Umar Hameed 13:08
Absolutely, I think the first step that we didn't talk about that was just assumed by most people is that initial phase where you build rapport and you build trust, the more trust you build up front, the more they're going to reveal their cards to you. And the more honest their answers are going to be. But if it's just like, "Hi, I'm a sales guy, how are you doing what's going on here," and there's not that trust built up, and people are going to hold their cards to their best. So what are the...Sorry, go ahead, Tom, you're about to say something?

Tom Hoelderle 13:33
Another tactic is in your example of where you've got, you know, several performers, you know, and several non-performers. You know, it's more of a consultative, more of a, you might say, a doctor-patient relationship. Yeah. "I've seen this before. I can help here. You know, here's what I've done in the past, to help fix this problem. And here's the outcome." And here's how those clients felt after we got this thing solved. So taking that dynamic, once again, to your point helps build trust, it opens the door for further conversation, and it's definitely more engaging.

Umar Hameed 14:14
So tell me, Tom, in your world, as you see the world, what are the three biggest objections salespeople get?

Tom Hoelderle 14:21
Price is always up there.

Umar Hameed 14:22
And price, absolutely.

Tom Hoelderle 14:24
Yeah. You know, "We don't have the budget, whatever." You know, some, sometimes it's a lot of times, though, price is just a it's an easy out.

Umar Hameed 14:34
It's a red herring, of course. So price is one what are the other two do you think?

Tom Hoelderle 14:39
Other two is, you know, we're not ready to do that right now.

Umar Hameed 14:44
Yeah. Not the right time.

Tom Hoelderle 14:46
Yep. Another objection is, well, "I need to go to seek approval from others in the organization."

Umar Hameed 14:54
I'll add the fourth one in, "We already got somebody doing that. We already work with a consultant that's doing that." So how do you teach people to handle those objections. So let's do the price one. So I'm gonna be the customer, you're gonna be the sales guy, you're selling me sales training, it's like, "Tom, we just don't have the budget for that right now."

Tom Hoelderle 15:10
Exactly. So, so once again, going back to your non-performers, if we're able to bring your non-performers up to speed, and grow the company by whatever, you know, $5-8 million, whatever that number might be, you know, what, what is that worth? You know, if you're looking at if you're gonna spend whatever your spend, you know, X number for sales training, but that small amount is going to equate to X millions and top line revenue

Umar Hameed 15:39
10 X, baby. Yeah.

Tom Hoelderle 15:40
Exactly. You know, that's, that's, that's pretty cheap. If not, now, when? How, how much longer can you go with, with the status quo? You know, if you don't invest now, when is the ideal time to invest?

Umar Hameed 15:54
So let me understand this, clearly, Tom, you said that, you know, in six months, you want to do it, and you're saying you're losing $10,000 each month on lost revenue. So you want to go 60,000 like your competition to have 60,000 of your dollars, and we're just going to charge you 5000 to fix it. That doesn't make sense to me, helped me understand that, Tom. Something like that, if you don't have the trust, they're gonna say, "FU, you get the hell out of here," but if you got the trust, they have to kind of go, "Yeah, I guess we don't want to do that," so...

Tom Hoelderle 16:24
It's going through all this crashing, or the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.

Umar Hameed 16:28

Tom Hoelderle 16:29
The second best time to plant a tree is today.

Umar Hameed 16:31
It was just like, really famous British guy in India and he's talking to the gardener. He wants to plant this olive tree. And the gardener says, "You know, I can plant it, [garbled], but it'll take 100 years before it bears fruit," the boss guy goes, "Then we don't have a moment to lose," [Garbled]. Alright, so we handle objections. So go ahead, Tom, you were saying?

Tom Hoelderle 16:51
Well, I was gonna say speaking of sales, you know, of, you know, bringing sales teams up to speed sales training. One, one thing that I've run across in my past quite a bit it it's a, it's a catch 22. Many organizations when times are good, and they're selling pretty much anything that they can, their response is, well, we don't need sales training.

Umar Hameed 17:13
Of course.

Tom Hoelderle 17:14
And then you know, the market turns and things are in the tank. And then the response is, "Well, now I don't have the budget for sales training," and then they live in this constant, vicious circle. And as a result, they never ever get to any sales training.

Umar Hameed 17:30
Yeah, it's always feast and famine, especially when you got a one person show. But even if you have five sales reps, if you're training them that, you know, in good times everybody eats. And what we need to do is really, what it comes down to is the discipline of sales. I think sales has a level of creativity to it. But the basic, basic stuff you need to do, like I know some of the most successful realtors in North America and these people still do open houses. It's like, "I love open houses, because I get new clients from open houses and I just do those." And younger realtors like, "I don't want to open houses, there's no business there. I'm just wasting my time. Why do they make me do it? It's like the masters." Any sports team in the history of humanity, when they're failing, they fire the managers Iike, "Get the hell out of you bomb," and a new guy comes in what does the new guys say on the first interview, "Yep, we're going to be going back to the basics," because that's what frickin' counts is those basics. So we took the process from, who's the target, doing the research, getting the appointment, doing the presentation, handling the objections, how do we ask for the sale? Because that's like an important step. And the reason I mentioned it is that it is mind blowing, how many salespeople will talk around it, but won't fricking ask, "Tom, cut me a check, baby, let's make this happen." So how do you coach people to ask them [garbled]?

Umar Hameed 18:48
Well, there's a lot of, a lot of different ways to do that. Some are very, very direct and over, you know, "Is this something you want to move forward with right now?" A question like that, or, you know, something about, "I just lost my train of thought." Other, other questions about, you know, when would you like to start? What other information do you need for me to make the decision? There were questions like that, but there's, there's kind of the soft closes, there's the hard close. There's the people that had been dragging on and on where you come back and say, you know, "I'm not ready to kind of close the file. And you know, so if you if you want to, if you want to continue to conversation and move forward, please let me know. Otherwise, I'm kind of closing the file and moving on here." They had that fear of missing out element to it.

Umar Hameed 19:43
Oh yeah, absolutely. Say get them to say yes.

Tom Hoelderle 19:47

Umar Hameed 19:47
The last step is the number of salespeople that have a tough time asking for referrals...

Tom Hoelderle 19:54

Umar Hameed 19:55
...because this they feel like they're going to be desperate or some kind of bullshit like that. So how do you coach people to ask for referrals because the people that ask for referrals are actually for axing their counterparts in sales, which is huge. And that's a super easy sale, because that customer trust Tom. And when Tom says, "Hire Umar, all I need to do is show up and not screw it up."

Tom Hoelderle 20:15
Right, exactly. So, you know, been in the consulting business, asking for referrals if you have to. And same thing with your real estate example. So as I engage with the client, I'll ask right off the bat, you know, hey, if you are satisfied with how this process is going with the results, I would, I would appreciate a referral, you know, different to a couple different kinds of referrals. One, would you write me, write a referral for me on my LinkedIn page. Two, you know, who else do you know, that could benefit from the services that I've just delivered to you. Another way, that's not really a direct referral, but it's a way to broaden your pipeline is ask, "Who are your who are your top competitors?"

Umar Hameed 21:04
Right. Why is that?

Tom Hoelderle 21:07
Well as that because obviously, you know, if you've solved the problem, in, let's say, like banking, any given vertical, if you've solved the problem for for one bank, and you it's easy entree to go to other banks and say, "Hey, I fix this, you know, for Old National down the road, and I think, I think there's an opportunity to fix this for you too."

Umar Hameed 21:31
Brilliant. So that's in a nutshell, the sales process, get the appointment, do the presentation, handle objections, ask for the sale, ask for referrals. So Tom, before we part company, I've got a few questions for you. Number one, Tom, what makes you happy?

Tom Hoelderle 21:47
I like helping people. And I like seeing, I like seeing the results, the tangible results of, you know, like we talked about, somebody has a problem, we work together, we fix it, and we see the better lifestyle come out as a result of it.

Umar Hameed 22:02
Brilliant. Last question, what is one technique, mind hack that you use to be more effective, more productive, happier, better closer. What's one tip you could leave people with, that they could implement right away?

Tom Hoelderle 22:17
I would say I have become much better at using some of the tools that are available. Rather, it's I live off my calendar off of my phone. I didn't used to be like that, but it's like any little meeting any conversation I've got set up, it's got to be on my calendar. Without that, you know, I lose track of appointments, things of that nature, but just the organization and and part of that is spend, spend 15 minutes at the at the end of each day. Recap get what you get done today, what do you need to get done. And then build that plan for tomorrow. Do it was fresh in your mind do at the end of the day. And at the beginning of the day, take another 15 minutes and plan what what is the most important thing for me to accomplish today, and you're and you adjust your plan accordingly. But spending a lot of people are just too busy, they're running around. They don't just take that quiet time at the end of the day and at the beginning of the day to...

Umar Hameed 23:19

Tom Hoelderle 23:20
...critique and and develop their plan.

Umar Hameed 23:22
Brilliant. Tom, thanks so much for being on the show, really appreciate it. And I'm looking forward to our next conversation.

Tom Hoelderle 23:28
Sounds good. My pleasure.

Umar Hameed 23:34
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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