Luigi Prestinenzi, co-founder and Head of Growth of Sales IQ, will be joining Collin and he will be discussing mindset, prospecting, his own personal journey, and of course, some fire tactical tips, here in the latest episode of Sales Transformation. Luigi talks about the Art of Selling and how it can help you in sales.
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Luigi: “I think, for every seller out there, right, the reality is rejection, being ghosted, not achieving an outcome is part of the process. And we can't be defined by the fact that things go wrong. And those are the moments which make us who we are.”
Luigi: “I think the reality is we need to be thinking about the buyer, we need to be thinking about there is an art there is a buyer going through a buying journey, and how to create an experience that's unique for them. And that's the art of the sale. That's the art of being creative. That's the art of thinking outside the box.”
Collin: “You can as a seller, you can do everything right, and you can still lose.”
Luigi: “92% of decisions are made with emotion, and then justify with logic.”
Collin: “The key is focusing on the things that you can control.”
Luigi: “I've still got so much opportunity for growth. This is what I love about the profession of selling. Because every step forward I take, there are still another 50 or 60 positive steps that I can take, that will help me be the best I can be.”
Learn more about Luigi in the link below:
Learn more about Collin in the link below:
Also, you can join our community by checking out @salescast.community. If you're a sales professional looking to take your career to greater heights, please visit us at https://salescast.co/ and set a call with Collin and Chris.
[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.
[00:00:29] Hey, before we start today's episode, I wanted to bring you in on the best kept secret in B2B sales. If you're serious about social selling and your only strategy is cold, the M's through LinkedIn. You're missing the mark big time. Learn how I fully manage revenue generating podcast can change your life and your email@example.com.
[00:00:55] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation. Very excited to have Luigi Preston NZ on today. He is the co-founder and head of growth over at sales IQ. We're going to talk about mindset, probably going to talk about prospecting. We're going to learn a little bit about his story and we're definitely going to have some fun bringing you some fire tactical tips.
[00:01:16] Uh, so Luigi, thanks so much for coming on the show again for a second. Yeah, thanks for having me Colin, really looking forward to, uh, having a chat to you today. Yeah, thanks. I know, uh, the first time you came on, the show is before we changed the name. So it's somewhat the same, but a little bit different.
[00:01:32] Uh, but just for a refresher, for anybody who hasn't maybe tuned into the first episode that we did together, um, just give us a little bit of your sales story. Yeah, man. So I'm a Korea cells. Professional man been, uh, been working. I've been selling since I was kind of a at high school. Um, I was pretty fortunate that, um, I found my way into sales because I couldn't, I couldn't.
[00:01:55] I wasn't really good at school. I struggled. Um, so the minute I found myself working in sales, working in a call center, um, old school boiler room type call center, right. This was over 20 years ago, the old, when I say that I between these. Um, but yeah, uh, I didn't really understand what sales is all about until kind of, you know, later in my mid twenties, um, after, um, and I remember going for a job with an organization.
[00:02:22] Trying to become a sales rep. Right. I was working in the call center, but wanting to move outside of that, move outside. So. I was told kind of after three interviews. So three times going for the job, I was told, look, you can't sell. Um, and that kind of slapped me in the face, thinking like, what am I going to do, man?
[00:02:43] It's all I know what to do. I dunno. I can't really do anything else. Um, and that's when I made it. Um, that's what I made a decision to, to, to focus on the craft and the art of selling, um, and you know, fast forward that story, you know, seven years later, I did a deal with that same company that rejected me and I signed them up into a $4 million contract, um, to buy the services that we were selling from the company I was working for.
[00:03:09] So there was a bit of, uh, you know, kind of a. It's a roundabout sort of story of why you should never give up. And, um, and that kind of propelled my career and, and here I am today. Yeah. I love that story by the way. Um, yeah. Yeah. I mean, to, to going for a job at a company that tells you, you can't sell the, sell them a $4 million contract or whatever, what a 180, right?
[00:03:37] Yeah, absolutely. It actually leads me to my biggest Solomon says I will a bigger organization, massive organization here in APAC and, uh, ended up tying up the. I think in total, maybe just under 20 mill, um, biggest deal of my career at the time. Um, and so, you know, it wouldn't have, it wouldn't have happened without that.
[00:03:55] And that's why I think every seller out there, right, the reality is rejection being ghosted, not achieving an outcome is part of the process. And we can't be defined by the fact that she'd go. And, you know, those are the moments which make us who we are and, you know, that's that whole, you know, Carol Dweck's growth mindset.
[00:04:18] It's saying I could have gone down a path. I've could've been angry. I've could've, you know, and I was angry at who we are still remember her name today, man. You know, I'll never forget, you know, how I felt after being told, you know, you can't sell them, blah, blah, blah. But it might've been exactly. Well, it's funny to hear.
[00:04:34] Yeah, absolutely bad. Um, so I lived down a path of reading books and trying to find ways to improve my skillset and become a lifelong learner. So, one thing I'm interested in is, so you mentioned after you were told you can't sell, you started to study the art of selling. For those that maybe don't understand the difference between the art and maybe the science of selling, you know, explain that, like, what things did you study to then get so much better at the craft of sales to then close a 4 million, then it close a $20 million deal with the company that told you you can't sell.
[00:05:12] Yeah, I think, and this is a good debate around this, right? The art versus the science. And I think the science is great with the science. The science tells you how many emails, how long an email should be. You know, I have many touches in a sequence to get somebody to engage. How many buys are on, you know, Gartner saying, I live in 0.2 people in a buying decision or a buying committee when you're selling it to enterprise, you know, that's all the science, right?
[00:05:34] Yeah. The OD is understanding that, you know, there are things that we do intuitively there are things that we need to be doing in order to progress an opportunity. You know, there is it's, it's about understanding. Your pace. It's about understanding, you know, what a strategy, what, how you could maybe change your stress.
[00:05:56] Um, depending on who you talking to, the type of questions that we ask, um, there's a whole range of that's the art of selling, right? It's about reflecting and thinking, you know, how to, why? Because the science is there. And as we know the science, isn't always correct. You can say, well, a let email should be 50 words.
[00:06:16] Mobile friendly takes the live in seconds to read code. But I've sent one's 150 words completely goes against what the sciences. And I'm getting a meeting with a C level decision maker. Right. So I think the reality is we need to be thinking about the buyer. We need to be thinking about the reason are there is there is a buyer going through a binder.
[00:06:39] And how to create an experience that's unique for them. And that's the art of the south. That's the art of being creative. That's the art of thinking outside the box. Right. Um, and, and, you know, there's some great books that I read. I remember one of my first books was relationship selling by Jim Cathcart.
[00:06:56] Um, the guy's a legend of the professional development space and personal development space. You know, the sales Bible from, um, Jeffrey Gilmore and Miller Heiman. I mean, there's so many great books out there. But I think one thing is not every book has the perfect blueprint, right? The art is taking all the different concepts that you're learning and making them yeah.
[00:07:17] Right. Yeah. Executing them, trying to see what works, doesn't work, um, and use every interaction as the opportunity to learn. Yeah. I mean, I think that a lot of sellers, especially early on in their career, and I know that this was definitely applied for me, is we're all looking for like those silver bullets.
[00:07:35] Right? Give me the perfect script. Give me the perfect email. Give me the perfect list, you know, and I'll just work it right. And yes, to a certain extent. It is a numbers game, but if you're only playing the numbers game, you're going to lose every time. Yeah, absolutely. And I think, I mean, that's important, right?
[00:07:52] Look, there are different matrix that support what we need. Like you reverse engineer your pipeline for any sales professional out there. And this is a difference between a sales rep and a sales professional, right? If you're a professional, you're very clear on the path to six days you started, right. If my target to me, box 10 me, doesn't matter what the target is.
[00:08:10] I know what my average opportunity size. I know, I should know where my conversions are. I should have a bit of a plan of attack to say, well, this is how many people I need to talk to. You know, meetings opportunities created proposals, sent deals closed, like it's fundamentally what your pipeline looks like.
[00:08:27] Your top of funnel progression, advancing the close. Now that's all great. And I think the numbers are absolutely critical because it gives you a path of knowing what you need to do to achieve it. Yeah. But he signed that. That's not the, my focus, because if we are poorly executing components of the sales process, we're never going to achieve those outcomes.
[00:08:47] Oh, we might achieve it. But you know what? The, the, the numbers that we need could be incredibly high versus, you know, great selling. You might not need as much opportunities because you're closing more based on the experience you're creating for your. Um, and so, uh, one thing I want to touch on right is, so you talked about the buyer's journey, the buyer's experience, right?
[00:09:09] Which if you're just, if you're not, if you're not mastering the art of selling or practicing to get better or studying the craft, that becomes very difficult, right? Because you rely on just skill or playing the numbers game. So, but the problem is, is you can, as a seller, you can do. Everything right. And you can still lose.
[00:09:33] That's the thing, that's, that's what I love about, you know, why I hide it and I love it, man. I mean, it's the emotional journey that comes with selling, you know, that you're absolutely right. You can follow a particular playbook or a particular blueprint that, you know, will deliver success. Most of the time.
[00:09:51] And then you take a prospect through your nurturing them through different stages. You're educating them, you've elevated the process. You've showed it. You've differentiated your service to the competition. And then you come to the decision and they choose somebody else and you're left scratching your head going, man, I could not have played this better.
[00:10:09] The business case was strong. Multiple consents with consensus with an organization, felt committed to change. You know, they, they show engagement through the process. Like I've done everything right. Done. I didn't get the outcome I wanted or even worse. Right. They do not and maintain the status quo to somebody else, but they didn't do, and you scratch your head or they start ghosting you.
[00:10:37] And you're like, what's going on? Like, what have I done wrong? And I think this is the, this is, this is a challenge, but it's also the opportunity. And this is why we can't be defined by just one outcome from one side, but we have to type the learning from it. You know, last week I lost the deal to somebody that you to an organization that don't understand how I lost it.
[00:11:00] Right. But I did reflect last week when I got the feedback, I'm thinking to myself, they don't even provide what. What are identified after reflecting on the sale is what I thought the problem was, what they told me the problem was versus what the actual problem was. Two different things. I didn't seek enough problem alignment because I was, I was kind of, I didn't facilitate the process in my usual way.
[00:11:24] Right. They had a lot of momentum. They wanted to progress forward. And then in the end they chose another provider who provided something completely different because. You know, they, as an organization had a different need to what they first told me. Yeah. And, and you're sitting there as you said that the momentum, right.
[00:11:44] And so sometimes you got to slow things down a little bit, which is so hard for sellers. Yeah, absolutely. You know, you got to follow look, even though there's a buying journey and we need to make the buyer in the journey, the deer out. We've also got to appreciate that. We need to make sure we're not selling a widget for transaction widget online, we're selling transformation.
[00:12:04] And when you selling something of significance, something that requires them to go through a process, to arrive at a point of decision and lock you up, your whole podcast is around transformation. We need to understand that there needs to be a process in place to help them arrive at that point in time.
[00:12:21] Because if not, then potentially we're not putting forward something that's aligning to their needs and their goals and objectives because you know, selling people don't buy what you do. They buy the outcome, you help them achieve. That's fundamentally what selling's all about, right? They're not buying a current state, they're going in a future state to buying an improvement from where they're at today, to where they're going tomorrow.
[00:12:43] This is it. Everything. Even in transactional products, you know, I'm buying a piece of clothing on blind. Cause I'm going to look in the mirror and I'm going to have a feeling of how I look right. Which is where the science comes into it. 92% of decisions are made with emotion and then justify with logic.
[00:12:58] Yeah. We know that that's where the science of selling comes into it. Yeah. Yeah. So how do you build up the mental toughness? Right? Or show up every day as a seller with the right mindset to deal with, you know, getting your teeth kicked in, you know, dealing with, uh, rejection, dealing with doing everything right.
[00:13:20] And still losing, but, you know, I had this early in my career, a coin, this sort of structure in my, in my day, which was image, pipeline sales, right? The three key components that I needed to focus on. And when, I mean, image, I'm not talking about the way I dress. Um, absolutely. You know, the way you kind of present yourself as really important if you, if you're selling to and this is just my opinion.
[00:13:48] I need to be showing up in a certain way. Yeah. But image, when it goes far beyond what you're wearing, it's about, you know, how my conditioning, my mindset every day to be the best version of myself I can be. Right. What's my positive input. And I made an early decision to turn off the news and turn off negative things that could impact my mind.
[00:14:10] Yeah. And focus on the negative versus the what's possible. So in each for me is all about, I need to show up and I need to bring the best version of myself. I can energy. You know, Brian, Tracy talks about sales is a transference transference of enthusiasm. I need to bring energy to the table. I need to bring myself in the most positive way that I can.
[00:14:33] So making sure that I'm, I'm starting my day and yeah, there's all these things about the 5:00 AM club, cuddle that out and. How do I just feel good when I come to the table? What routine do I need to instill? That's going to allow me to create that level of ADG. You can get up the IPM of, sorry. I am far, it doesn't matter what time, as long as you've got some form of routine that allows you to bring that in EG second pots.
[00:15:02] One, if I've, if I know what my plotline metrics are and I'm focused on what I can control prosperity. Managing, you know, my middle stage of the pipeline and trying to close in a key three key revenue raising activities. I need to focus on creating, progressing, closing as long as I'm focusing on my pipeline and I'm making sure my pipeline health, this is healthy pipeline.
[00:15:26] There's no deals writing. You know, there's a lot of rhythm in there. Ultimately the cycle will come. It's like. I can't focus on the decisions that people make. I just can't, I can't full Cintas on a contract or click that, that sign, you know, that link to sign when you send them a digital contract, see that most people think they can.
[00:15:48] You can't. And when our realized that early in my career, I found a different rhythm to the way that I performed. I can only control the first two buckets. I can't control this. So why should I focus on the result when the result is a byproduct of all the other things that I focus on? And so that's been my relentless pursuit focusing on my mindset, focusing on my pipeline and ultimately the results will come.
[00:16:16] No, sometimes they don't come, but that's okay. Because then it allows me to go, okay, what's what's maybe not worked or what. So I have to do a little bit differently to achieve that result. What didn't I do? So when a review, a style, like I write, you know what, I didn't nurture them. But didn't gain consensus, but didn't understand the true objection behind, you know, what was concerning them in the sales process.
[00:16:37] Okay. I need to adjust. This is the art of selling. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, do I have days where I feel shit, I don't want to like to absolutely. It's a constant, it's a constant battle to maintain that enthusiasm and energy and motivation. And there are some days I just don't like. But I'll get the credits in the bank because I know that I've just got to get it done because it gives me credit in the bank.
[00:17:01] Right. Positive credits. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so there's a lot of things to break down there. Right? Number one is taking care of yourself. So you can show up as the best version of you in your selling role. Right. Probably the most important thing that most people often overlook. Right. And maybe it does mean 5:00 AM club, maybe doesn't right.
[00:17:23] Like, whatever that looks like for you, isn't necessarily what it might look like for me. Yeah. I mean, what's right for you to show up in that way. Um, and, and then the key is focusing on the things that you can control. And I think a lot of people get caught on focusing that, that third bucket that they can't control.
[00:17:43] And then you're exerting all this energy spinning reels, stressing yourself out, getting frustrated, trying to control something that you can't, and then the things that you can control you don't put as much effort into those. Right? Absolutely. You mentioned pipeline a lot. Right? So, I mean, if you're putting those positive credits in, if you're doing that work, you know, you're filling up the pipeline, it's a little bit easier to show up with confidence that if, Hey, if a dealer two or however many, you know, don't work out, even though you did everything right.
[00:18:13] That's okay. Absolutely. Think about it, right. There is a, we know that there is a trust gap between buyers and sellers. Um, some recent reports showed that some reports are saying 80% of buyers don't trust sellers. Yeah. So we know there's a trust gap there. And we know the behaviors that create that, that, that barrier from a trust perspective, that sellers a focused on them commission.
[00:18:38] Um, they try to rush the sale. They selling features. They're not focusing on the outcome. That's important to the client or helping them, helping them build consensus and build a business case for change. Right now, obviously, sellers who have to achieve a target, they have to because that's, that's what we that's, that's what we're governed by.
[00:18:57] Right? We are there to produce a result when we're not producing that result. When we don't have enough plots one activity, or we don't have enough deals in our pipeline, of course. You know, we've only got one or two deals. We're going to act with the level of desperation. Yeah. We're going to maybe skip steps.
[00:19:14] We're going to maybe not worry about their needs and worry about our needs. And that creates a barrier. And I can, I can totally get it. It's I don't, I don't, you know, I get why people do it because it's not a nice feeling going shit. I'm going to get to the end of the month. I'm not going to have my target.
[00:19:30] I could worry about my job. I've got a family to go home to. I'm stressed. It's causing me to be a little bit emotional at home. I'm not engaging. My family looked at domino affecting the negative is massive. Now, how do we fix that? Like you said, we've got to have more opportunities so that we don't have distress.
[00:19:49] If a deal goes wrong and was 250 K in deals last month, I'm like shaking. I hurts. We've got some learning there, but that's okay because I've got a full pipeline sitting behind it. I'm still an individual contributor, right? I've still got a full pipeline of opportunities since. So I, okay. If I knew, actually I know I'm going to lose deals, I've never met anyone.
[00:20:10] That's converted a hundred percent of their pipeline. So now even the best sellers lose more than they win. So literally mad. Right? So now I'm going to lose deals. It's a part of the process, but if I don't have enough deals, when I do lose them, I'm going to freak out. It's going to, it's going to ignite certain behaviors and I'm going to have certain, you don't take certain actions.
[00:20:30] They're going to cause some tension with my prospects. So, this is one of the reasons why pipeline health is absolutely fundamental to my success. That's what I can control. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's a, it's a vicious cycle, right? If you focus on trying to control those things, you can, or, you know, you don't have a healthy pipeline.
[00:20:51] So when you lose a deal, it really affects you in a negative way. You're taking that energy into. It advanced timelines on other deals for, you know, trying to rush or skip steps in your prospecting or you name it. That's where all the mistakes happen. Um, when you don't have a healthy pipeline. And I mean, I don't know, you've seen the numbers.
[00:21:15] I'm sure. I, I think it's the last thing I saw was 30 something percent of reps are actually hitting quota on a regular. It's ma I mean, it's, it's, it's, you know, to, to massive issue for many and some could argue, well, maybe they're targeted to higher, but again, I think, I think, I think the reality is if you're taking it.
[00:21:35] You're accepting the target that comes through that job. And you're focusing on achieving that target and yes, we are results driven. And I think, you know, again, I can't control the targets that my bosses have set for me previously. And I was always, you know, because I was always a high performer in the organizations that I work for every year.
[00:21:55] My target went up because I smashed my time and then go raise the bar again, or I'd be like, oh fuck, here we go again. But I can't control that, but, you know, and there was elements that I, that, that I needed to focus on. I think that's, you know, for field listeners today, Colin, that's, that's one of my biggest takeaways is that I've got a lot of, I've got a lot of growth still, you know, I'm turning 40 next month have achieved some pretty cool outcomes in my career so far, but I've still got so much opportunity for growth.
[00:22:21] This is what I love about the profession of selling because every step forward. There are still another 50 to 60 positive steps that I can take that will help me be the best I can be. Right. And this is what I'm loving about the whole evolution of the last two years in a world that was very difficult to work through a world of, you know, we had to lock the longest lockdowns here in Melbourne, in it, of all the world.
[00:22:44] Um, there are so many positives that come from them. The fact that now I can record every single one of my discovery calls I can re I can review. I can look at the transcription. I can see how many quick, how long did I talk? How long did I tool? What were the questions that were. Like you couldn't do that.
[00:23:04] I mean, it was pre pandemic, but prepaid data who can go into a face-to-face meeting in an office and go, Hey, do you mind if my cameraman comes and recalls so I can review a light? Right. So I think, yeah, counts how many questions I ask and how long I speak. This is, this is, this is like, this is the acceptance of the evolution of selling is if we, if we accept that things are changing.
[00:23:28] Let me own that change. Let me take advantage of that change and help me bring the best version of myself to the next call. Right. Um, and, and again, this is what I'm loving about. What's happened in the last couple of years and you know, we're going to go through another evolution of selling over the next two.
[00:23:47] I mean, the whole premise of your podcast or in the transformation, this is going to be a continuation and, you know, sellers who decide to okay. To embrace it. Other ones that are going to continue to elevate them to themselves. And I am going to have more opportunities than anyone else. The abundance mindset will be strong for them.
[00:24:08] And those who choose to stay current, not embrace change, sort of go, this is how I've always done. It are going to find it very difficult. To move forward in the next two to five years, right? Yeah. Yep. So, I mean, here's a question I've just thought of what you're saying, that there you've obviously seen sales change a lot in the time that you've been, uh, carrying a quota.
[00:24:32] Um, what do you think is coming in the next two to five years? Or what do you think sellers should be thinking about that maybe are not. Yeah, I think we've heard this term before, right? Like, I mean, I've got, this is a great book, you know, challenger sale, Miller Heiman, I mean, consultative selling. These are not new concepts.
[00:24:53] They've been around for decades. Okay. Now I've only been saying. For just over 20 years. So this many books from the seventies and the sixties, et cetera, that there are some great books out there, but I think what's going to be vital for most sellers now. I mean the biggest change is the fact that we have to move away from the premise of, you know, I know this product led growth and the buying journey and all that stuff, but selfish need to truly master the art of consulting.
[00:25:24] For me, that's going to be the key differentiation is sell. Truly must be thinking beyond the fact that Alma on the person, that's here to deliver same information versus on the person here to create value in the process. If I create value with my prospects will buyers, even my current accounts as an account director.
[00:25:45] Cause I coach a lot of account managers. If I'm not creating value on redundant. I don't have a purpose anymore in the sales process. Right. That's for me, the biggest change that we're going to see, especially what we've seen in the last couple of years is that buyers are busier now than ever before.
[00:26:06] Right? They don't have time for chit-chat if in relationships absolutely matter, but relationships come, you know, it's secondary to the value that you create. Right. You zest the case. We have to be constantly finding ways to create value, to help them see things that aren't, they don't see the unrecognized need and become the real partner.
[00:26:31] And we have to elevate the experience. And if we can flip that focus as a sales professional, We are. Oh, I okay. But if we can't like to said the process will just be stripped out because the bar is like saying I don't see any value in having any interaction with you because I can get everything I need elsewhere.
[00:26:54] Right. So for me, that's the biggest change that we're going to see in the next two to five years? Yeah. Or, you know, there might just be, they'd rather just purchase it without interacting with. Absolutely. And we're saying that now, right? We are seen that, but I do believe sales professionals are very important because there are people out there that don't actually know exactly what the problem is.
[00:27:17] I don't know, like, you know, there is an unrecognized need. If they had all the answers, they wouldn't be online looking for fees. Right. Or they don't have all the answers. That's the reality. Yeah. Interesting. Well, Luigi, thanks so much for coming on. This was a, this was a fun topic digging into this.
[00:27:38] Where's the best place for people to get in touch with you? Yeah, well, I, I do try to talk about some of these topics, uh, and a few others. I got some incredible guests as well. Sales IQ podcast. Um, Is this, the place that, uh, I'd love for you to come and hear some of the content that I'm sharing around all this stuff.
[00:27:58] I try to bring it from a, a contribution place. Like I'm an individual contributor I'm in the field, um, doing the things that you know, most of the guests were talking about. Um, and I try some of the techniques and strategies that they, they share with us on the show. So I'd love for you to come and hear us out there, um, and engage with me on the.
[00:28:19] Awesome. We'll drop a link in the show notes so you can, uh, check out the podcast and see all the work that Luigi is doing. If you enjoyed today's episode, please write us a review. Share the show with your friends. We're also listening for your feedback. You can go to sales, transformation.fm, drop us a voice DM, and we will get back to you.
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