This episode of the Sales Transformation Podcast with Collin Mitchell features François Bourdeau, a Senior Account Executive and Founder of 5 on Friday, a venue where sellers practice the art of selling.
François shares that, more than just practicing the pitch, salespeople need to also practice the skills of giving and receiving feedback. This back and forth from mentors provides fresh perspectives on your sales process that you can apply and assess immediately.
Another vital skill is listening. As sellers, we need to refrain from simply waiting for the chance to blurt out your pitch and instead listen to what the client is saying. Be patient and be intentional with the frequency of your follow-ups.
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01:39 Entering sales in tech pre-Y2K and starting a place to practice the craft
05:33 Giving feedback is a skill that needs to be practiced too
10:27 Patience as a seller: Learn to listen and aim to educate
17:33 5 on Friday: Receiving feedback provides actionable improvement ideas
20:06 Connect with François and sign up with 5 on Friday
02:51 "I still fundamentally believe (sales) is one of the jobs that allows you the highest earning potential with the lowest barrier to entry. And I mean that in a good way. Anybody, really, can sell and I think it is an admirable trait."
11:30 "Your job really is just to wait, not to send that email every two days and check in or call and check in. They have a whole process internally... but waiting and being patient is probably one of the hardest things."
16:14 "You're coming there and there's got to be a consultative component. There's got to be some background. They're looking you to educate them, and if you can't, you're dead in the water."
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[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell. And this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.
[00:00:24] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation. Today. I've got Francoise Bordeaux. He is, uh, a senior account executive. Uh, he's worked in tech for over 20 years, half of that time in a sales role, and he started five on Friday in 2022 as a place for sellers to practice. Their pitch France.
[00:00:46] Thanks for coming on the show. How the heck are you doing awesome. Colin, thanks for the intro. Thanks for the invite. Um, yeah, I, I, uh, you know, if you want to, you want to get right into the origin story. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, grade me on the name that I, on a scale of one to 10, how bad did I, um, you did pretty good, man.
[00:01:04] Um, I mean, most people, like I said, growing up in, in the prairies, uh, you know, Frank is pretty common. I've been, I've been yelled at, um, in the distances as Frenchie and my kids are like, who are they yelling? And I'm like, that's somebody from high school. I know it will, before we went on here. If you told me if I messed it up too much, I could just go with Frank.
[00:01:23] So, yeah. Awesome. So yeah, just tell us, where did, uh, where did your sales career start and then, uh, you know, give us kind of that short version of that. And then let's, let's spend some time talking about the things that you love talking about moms. Yeah, it's really interesting. I, um, you know, I started in, in tech in 99, like pre Y2K.
[00:01:46] I was on a health. Um, just answering phone calls and, and I always was kind of like eyeing sales positions. I think I always assumed, you know, that that personality fit, which I'll talk about a bit later, I think is kind of a misconception. Um, then I got into some different roles and eventually I wound up in a sales position.
[00:02:06] But what I think is really interesting, what I've learned over my career, as well as I've met so many people who've come from different backgrounds. Cause I find salespeople are almost like misfit. We don't have like right there. Isn't and there are SAS academies and you, you know, all about those great places, but right.
[00:02:23] You don't go to like certain university or college to be a sales person and there's. Like a lot of negative stigma. Let's be honest, even today. Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's some people doing some good work to try to help with that, but we got a big hole to, to, uh, dig ourselves out of from just the black eyes and bloody noses that, uh, a lot of the, you know, stigma, ways of selling have given you.
[00:02:51] But, but, but I still fundamentally believe it's like one of the most, it's one of the jobs that allows you the highest earning potential with the lowest barrier to entry. And I mean that in a good way, um, like anybody really can say. And I think it, it is an admirable trait. And I, I tell my wife, I tell my kids, we all sell every day.
[00:03:11] We sell ourselves dating. My wife's a teacher. She sells the curriculum to her kids, everybody's selling. Um, and so then if I fast forward to, uh, the beginning of, of COVID and we're talking to her to talking about. Um, I connected with a couple other sales folks on, um, LinkedIn shout out to Amy and Patrick.
[00:03:31] We were just randomly, I think we were choking through a thread or something and we DMD each other and said, Hey, you know, we got our sales kickoff coming. Wouldn't be great to get like, just totally different eyes on our like presentation. And we're like, yeah. So we did it. And then we're like men, more people are gonna want, like people would, would love to have this.
[00:03:50] So we just opened it up to the world. We, we said, let's get five people together on a Friday. It's five o'clock somewhere. So five on Friday is still a confusing name, but that's really the name, put up a landing page and got people to sign up and, you know, I'll drag you on there one day. Really it's one person presents.
[00:04:08] There's no cost. It's just kind of putting out into the universe some good and usually, you know, getting a lot of good back five or four people giving feedback. But I think like the secret sauce Colin's been like the serendipity of random people, like strangers giving a stranger feedback because they have, you know, they don't have blinders on they're like, I don't know who calling is.
[00:04:30] I don't know what he's selling, but this is what I think. And that person's probably never had that type of feedback. Yeah. Yeah. And even just on the other side of that, right. As a seller, even just getting more comfortable with getting that type of feedback. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, and we were talking about this right before we started recording.
[00:04:50] Right. I mean, the one thing I've really learned in the last couple of years, um, you know, if, if I, if I dare say like the silver lining to COVID. Meeting people like yourself and other people in the sales communities online that I probably wouldn't have connected with, um, because it was more, you know, physically connected, but you know, people in sales, I think don't often have a really good place to practice.
[00:05:13] Um, you know, talking to your colleague or your peers, sometimes it's a bit intimidating. There's a competitive element there. Or, you know, they're looking at it with certain lenses that you're like, I don't want that lens. I want an outsider's perspective. So, you know, we've seen, I'm sure you've talked to how many coaches out there now there's so many of these coaches, which is, which is fine.
[00:05:31] But I think people really are, um, like we've had a lot of people come on to present, but I think a lot of people like to come on as a participant because they want to practice like giving feedback as well, because they know that's, that's something they don't even get to practice. Um, I didn't think about that, but yeah, I see that side of the people, the experience of going on and being able to see somebody present and get comfortable giving feedback, because, you know, even just like say in normal, you know, world non, you know, B2B sales, a lot of people struggle with, you know, having uncomfortable conversations with people or, you know, telling them something that they know.
[00:06:09] They're not gonna like to hear that. That's a skill that can be a superpower in, in a lot of ways, leading a team, um, guiding your prospects through the buying journey. Um, that's a skill that I think a lot of people don't get to practice as often, especially if they're. You know, in a leadership role and that's kind of the career path that they're trying to.
[00:06:27] Yeah. And, and, and, you know, like, like you said, if you've, if you're trying to maybe move into that role where you're going to have to give feedback, but you've never done it, how do you go do that? Right. If the company doesn't have some like leadership track, so going in here and just doing the reps, it can give you some, you know, you can, you can literally point to and say, here's, here's me giving feedback to somebody, go watch it.
[00:06:47] And, uh, and you can also say, Hey, I'm actually pretty good at this. I'm actually a bit uncomfortable. So I think it's been a fun, safe space. This isn't some Dragon's den where we're trying to tear people down. Um, it is a safe place, but you know, you get other people sometimes often more senior than you giving feedback.
[00:07:03] And so I think it's, it's like this mix of like learning people, giving feedback, people get. Um, the opportunity to kind of see a different way of, of positioning something sometimes we'll end up role-playing. Um, so it's, it's been pretty interesting and it's not just SAS sales. Right? We had somebody come on who had, uh, like a lighter and a cigar shop in Manhattan.
[00:07:25] And he was like, I don't know what to do. And most of the people giving feedback were SAS sellers, and it was phenomenal. It was great feedback. It's problem solving, right? I mean, you're trying to move something, whether it's software. Lighters in Manhattan, you know, high, high end ones that you know, selling is selling, right?
[00:07:43] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of, I think a lot of time B2B or SAS think that like their way of selling is so unique. And, uh, I hate to break it to you, but there's a lot of really just common, uh, foundations to selling that are applicable, even selling lighters in Manhattan. Well, and I think, you know, uh, it's, it's probably, uh, like a touchy subject, but I think in the SAS world, AI, I've heard it from a lot of people that there's kind of this like arrogance of like, oh, you can't sell SAS.
[00:08:16] It's like, it's a subscription service. Like. You don't need to be an expert in the technology. And I think there's a lot of Kool-Aid drinking because there's all these tools and tech stacks and vernacular that we all get like wound up in and it's like, okay guys, we're just drinking our own. Kool-Aid like other people are selling things around the world that they just don't have 18 different tools.
[00:08:37] And honestly, I hear some of these sellers, especially these junior junior STRs coming in, and they've got like eight tools they've got to work with throughout the day. And it's, it's crazy. Like how many tools do you need to be a successful. Yeah. Yeah. I, um, and I hate to say this cause I think people are going to not like me for it, but I'm going to say in any way, I almost have a little more respect for the people that don't have all the fancy tools that are just selling large deals without all that extra help.
[00:09:10] I, I know a fellow, he is incredible on the phones. He's tenacious. He does his homework and he has a binder with color colored tabs. Um, there is no software. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I might be a little biased because when I first started in sales, uh, teas 11 years ago, uh, we didn't w we had a CRM, but we didn't use it because it was a piece of crap.
[00:09:38] And so we used, I think it's, you know, three by six index cards, lecture. That's what our leads were on and our notes and our callback dates. And like, it worked, man. I mean, You know? Um, so yeah, I mean sometimes I mean, technology is great. It's there to, you know, make your, your, your, your job a little bit easier if you're using it.
[00:09:57] Right. Um, but there's still some, you know, basic principles of, of selling or, you know, asking good questions or bearing being curious, or really, you know, qualifying people properly or identifying, like, do they have a problem? Do they care about solving it? Am I the right. To solve that problem for them that's applicable, regardless of.
[00:10:17] Yeah. And, and, you know, like kind of almost coming full circle. I mean, I sell, uh, a CRM product in the portfolio of products that I sell and, um, I think one thing that unfortunately, a lot of sellers sometimes aren't great at is just listening. Like they're, they're sitting there and they're nodding maybe, but they're just really waiting for their next cue to jump in and tell you about how amazing the product is.
[00:10:41] And it's like, are you actually paying attention to what they're saying? And you know, back to your earlier point, like this company might think they need this product, but like, what is their route? Like what is the real problem? And. Solution, just like another coat of paint on top of something that's broken, you know, are you talking to someone who they're just kind of going, Hey, if I think if I bring this thing in all, I'll win this arm wrestling match.
[00:11:09] And you know, now you have like two products competing and. But fundamentally, you know, we're all driven by whatever it's a quarter or some quota. And so you're just, it's the patient's component that I think is really tough for a lot of salespeople. And I can't remember who posted this the other day, but it's sometimes that's the toughest part is you, you pass the ball back over and then you got to wait and your job really is just to wait not to send that email every two days and check in or call and check in it.
[00:11:35] They have a whole process internally. And you know, when you've got lots of deals, that's easier. Waiting and being patient is probably the, one of the hardest things I think. Yeah. I think a lot of sellers get over anxious and, and kill deals by, by not being patient. Patience is something that doesn't come easy for me.
[00:11:55] And I've had to learn the hard way for sure. Um, by getting feedback from prospects or like you just follow up too damn much. I mean, tenacity is okay. And I think there's like this fine line. Th this customer, you know, that they need this product or solution or service. And it's just a matter of being there when they're available.
[00:12:15] And so how your outreach or cadence following up with them, but to your point, right? If, if you're like, I don't think they got the budget, or I don't think they really need this, then like park it man. Or, or put them in nurture or whatever your nomenclature is. Um, yeah. And yeah, I dunno. I mean, we're all hungry.
[00:12:34] I get it. That's selling, but you know, w we can tell. The whole, you know, I've met so many introverts that are excellent because they're so process-driven and the follow through. And they're not that gregarious, golfing steak buying stereotype. Yeah. I mean, I think the key is really matching and people don't like to, this is not a popular opinion is matching your sales process with their buying process.
[00:12:59] Right. And everybody's, there's no. Cookie cutter buying process. There's some, you know, kind of some Constance and a lot of organizations, um, but you know, kind of matching what your next steps look like based on, you know, who you're interacting with, who that committee is. Because on the flip side there's been people that are like, Hey, I bought from you, you know, I've gotten feedback where it's like, We bought with you because you were so persistent and we knew that like you're the right fit to get this job done.
[00:13:29] Right. So there's kind of both sides of the spectrum, but, you know, being able to like read that properly, um, and adjust. Uh, rather than just being like, I need to hit quota, I need to hit quota. So I'm going to follow up. I need to hit quota. Like, what is your intention? Are you following up, you know, for a good reason, because you knew that it was the right reason and that you were the right fit and they were highly motivated to solve that problem.
[00:13:50] Yeah. I mean, you nailed it there. I mean, if, if it's a very sales driven sales culture organization, they're going to respect that and they're going to probably want to see that, right? Yeah. That's just not the pace they move at. I agree that that, that mirroring is, is super critical. Um, but I think, you know, back to the, that gregarious, I don't know why I have John candy in my mind, but you know, like the, the happy clappy, but I think COVID kind of, I don't want to say level that playing field.
[00:14:14] You know that steak dinner now is not an option and it may not be for another year. And the other thing I've noticed is, and I still remember when I was on the tech side wanting to get into sales and we had a great sales person, but I remember she delivered these brochures. And I remember thinking, man, I could do that, but now like the information my customers or prospects can find before they even find me.
[00:14:39] It's like the bar is so high. So they're looking for like when they get on the phone or through email with me, the Delta of information I now need to provide. And so I think the bar is quite a bit higher now in terms of in a selling role, because they don't want to hear what is on the brochure. They're like, I already read this.
[00:14:56] Like tell me what differentiates you. Yeah. If you're just regurgitating what they've already read on your website. Yeah. That shows a huge, you know, lack, lack of confidence, you know, and it's going to be a uphill battle to build proper trust and rapport with that prospect. And like the amount of research we can do through LinkedIn.
[00:15:17] Like, so if I'm prospecting you, I could be like, okay, Collins worked here. I'm pretty sure he's used this software. Like, so the level of preparedness I can have, and, you know, I guess if you, if I'm kind of checking boxes or talking about things, I think that maybe are under appreciated. You know, people talk about that meeting or that presentation.
[00:15:35] But I see that as like the very tip of this iceberg of the work you should be doing before you are in front of that customer, because you've done all your research, you know, this is something they're likely going to buy because it came up in their, their investor report or use, you know, all these people have worked in the organization and they're not a fan of your product.
[00:15:54] So you're prepared for that. Or you've seen the, you know, what I'm getting at. Like there, all that preparedness where. You know, I've been on the calls and sometimes I'm like, why are we having this conversation, man? Like, you don't even know why, why we're here together. And you know, I think that order taker that, you know, th th that, that position is few and far between now, right?
[00:16:14] Like you're coming in there and there's gotta be a consultative component. There's gotta be some background they're looking you to, to educate them. And if you can't, you're dead in the water. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, don't ask, don't ask stupid questions that you could already have, that you should already have the answers to if you were prepared for the meeting a hundred percent.
[00:16:33] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and that you see that a lot too in the handoff, right? Where like the SDR to AEU handoff, there's a lot that can go wrong in that in, you know, sometimes it's just as. You know, the, the AEs, you know, interpretation of the notes, you know, uh, are a little bit slightly different from, you know, the notes that were taken that maybe weren't properly validated with the person that they had the conversation with, you know, uh, th they didn't ask for any clarity on particular things, go back to, you know, Uncomfortable asking questions, things like that.
[00:17:07] So, um, I want to go back to, I know we've talked about a lot now I'm really enjoying this, this conversation, but I definitely want to go back to five on Friday. Like just, you know, kind of walk me through, like, you know, when you guys started that. What's, you know, what ha what are some, you know, big moments that have happened there?
[00:17:26] Uh, what's like the feedback that you're getting from people and then like, kind of what's new and exciting with what you're doing with five on Friday. Yeah, totally. So, w you know, what's been super interesting is, um, we started, I think in the February of, I think that would be 2020, um, and. So we basically put up a landing page and we had at first, a big influx of presenters signing up, um, and then less participants.
[00:17:49] But I think the tables flipped because some people realized, oh, wait a minute. I'm on stage. I'm being recorded. I don't know if I want to be like in the spotlight. And so we're totally cool with that. We've had, I'd say a small percentage that say, you know, not comfortable being recorded because maybe there's some IP, um, or something.
[00:18:04] Right. But what's. Like to me, you've been super humbling. Collin is, you know, we did this very consistently for about a year. So we had, you know, 55 presenters come on over like 300 strangers. I'll call them, give an hour of their time to another stranger to help them just get better. Now, the, the common thread was, they were all in Salesforce.
[00:18:24] Like in, in, especially during COVID I was like, man, this is like this great glimmer of hope, right? Like everything's negative, negative. These people are willing to carve an hour out of their day to help, you know, they've never met Colin and they're going to sit here for an hour, listen to them and then give them feedback.
[00:18:39] And there's no transaction. There's no cost to this. And what's been awesome is there's like, you know, 90% customer or 95% customer satisfaction. And I'm not saying an episode's gone bad, but like half of the time the presenter will email the group back and say, Hey, what you actually provided as feedback I implemented.
[00:19:01] And like, it's done something like I moved to deal ahead or I, and that's like, dude, like the, the good feeling you get from that, I don't even know how to describe it. So amazing. Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then, you know, the people giving the feedback feel good that people are actually taking action on the feedback.
[00:19:21] That was awesome. I love that. Yeah. I w how do I do more? Right. And the presenters, I think often even learn from, sorry, the participants, like I've been sitting in the background often just moderating. Cause I'm like, man, all the people in this room have way more experienced than me. They don't need to hear from me.
[00:19:36] I'm listening to people that sometimes have like a decade more of selling experience. It's like a masterclass for free. Yeah, right. It's like these people are, and I'm just sitting in the background going, man, this is great. I've never thought of using it. So, I mean, I've learned a ton just sitting back.
[00:19:52] It's amazing. Yeah. Yeah. And so walk me through, like, you know, how can people find out about five on Friday? How can they be a presenter? How can they be a person that gives feedback? Talk me through all that. So, uh, our website's five on Friday. One word.live. So you can go there, sign up forum. Um, find me on LinkedIn and just shoot me a DM too, if that's easier.
[00:20:16] And then it's, it's, you know, pretty Emmanuel. I will, I'll say, you know, we just find a Friday that works for you. We find a time that works for you. It's five o'clock somewhere. And then I'll typically just pull in people who've said they'd like to participate. And so there's, there's just a little bit of like, scheduling is really what it comes down to, but it could be, you know, three Fridays from now.
[00:20:36] It could be next Friday. And then you come on, there's not a lot of prep, you know, you tell us, I'd like some feedback on my cold call. I'd like some feedback on my demo script, my outreach, my presentation. And then, you know, we can do real-time feedback. We can do role play. It's it's super flexible. So, um, you just gotta be willing to, if you want to present kind of be in the spotlight.
[00:20:56] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, and so, and then what about people who want to give feedback? They're like, Hey, I can give feedback in these areas. Yeah. So again, participants, they can go and sign up on the webpages as well, or just a DM and, you know, I found I've actually brought a lot of participants back cause some really like just giving feedback and they really enjoy that.
[00:21:20] And so, you know, we talked about Jordanna earlier, she's been on quite a few times because she's great. And, um, participant I'd say presenters are, you know, they typically only present once, but sometimes we have had one fellow who's one of our first and he came on and then he came on like a year later.
[00:21:35] So we were thinking like, we need to do like a series, like the bachelor at like, you know, what's it like a year. Like go and check in on, on this presenter after we gave them the feedback. Um, so yeah, it's fun. Everybody usually walks away feeling like they've helped the presenters feel like they've learned something.
[00:21:52] Um, and you know, it's, for me, it's just like good karma. Just put in some good into the world and. Yeah. Yeah, I love it. So, I mean, any, any final thoughts, I'm definitely going to drop the link there so that everybody can, you know, sign up, find out what it's all about, but any other final thoughts? Well, I know when we were talking about like something hit me a little earlier when we were talking about just, you know, people not being prepared and, um, you know, maybe people.
[00:22:23] When we were talking, when you were talking about that SDR, hand-off it, it was th there was a light bulb moment for me, and I'm just trying to collect that specific thought. And it's not coming back to me now around like, kind of just being prepared and, you know, I, I th I'd say, I think where it was coming from is, you know, those clients are giving you half an hour, 30 minutes an hour of time.
[00:22:45] Don't waste it, just put yourself in their shoes and go, man. Like if I was here, how would I want to walk away from this and go, wow, that was actually useful. Or just be upfront with them. Like I'm a big fan of Todd Kaposi and the transparency sale. I really like to like right out of the gate, tell them, Hey, this is going to be our process.
[00:23:00] We're going to do this and this and this. And hopefully get you to here in terms of like, not so much of you even buying, but in your decision making process. And if that doesn't work, Hey, we've just saved each other half an hour. Amazing. It's no, it's nothing personal. Yeah, yeah. Set, set the expectation on, you know, early on, uh, for that, so that they know what they're signing up for.
[00:23:21] And then if there's anything that you're like unsure about or unclear that you, you know, have some questions around in your research, like call that out right away. Like, Hey, it was, you know, I came across this particular thing. I was hoping you can explain a little bit more, you know, to me about that.
[00:23:35] Right. Um, because. You know, those are the best questions they show that you are prepared. And that you're curious about learning more about that particular thing. That's, you know, if you came across it, it's likely it's something that's important to them. Yup. Yup. And it builds some trust. Right? Hey, we're going to do this.
[00:23:50] We do this. Well, we can offer this, but we can't do that. And you're just upfront, really transparent with them upfront. I think it just builds a lot of credibility. Yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, we will drop the link for five on Friday so that people can get access to that. Appreciate you coming on. If you, if you enjoyed today's episode, please write us a review, share the show with your friends.
[00:24:11] It really does help us out. And then you can always leave us a voice diem with your feedback at sales transformation, that FM, and we will get back. Hey, you stuck around that tells me you're serious about your own sales transformation. If you're tired of doing things the old way and want to get started in your journey with other people on the same path, head over to sales, cast.community, and crush your numbers on your leaderboard.
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