Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
July 19, 2021

Episode #121 How to Take Your Company to the Next Level Through Radical Customer Centricity with Mark Boundy

Joining Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast is Mark Boundy. Let’s hear from Mark as he shares one of the things he is passionate about: selling value. He also shares some insights on his book called Radical Value.


Mark Boundy is a Business builder, Sales leader, author, coach, consultant, teacher, Chief Clarity Officer. Mark Boundy has grown businesses in a variety of industries by virtue of his relentless focus on uncovering customer value and delivering high-value results.

While at W.L. Gore & Associates, Mark began weaving a focus on customer value into Miller Heiman’s complex selling methodologies. This combination grew one of that company’s most competition-threatened products by twenty percent/year every year while increasing margins and profits.

Then, at Lucent Technologies, Mark applied his customer-value approach; pivoting the world’s first carrier-class VoIP product away from a cost-saving to a platform for delivering applications which had never existed: virtual call centers, virtual office presence — even the first product roadmap for Unified Communications platforms, and being awarded a patent for a multimedia conferencing.

Switching to Commercial Finance, he ultimately found his way to GE Capital.  Instead of simply selling money–the ultimate commodity, Mark learned each customer’s business, in order to deliver unique value to each, with decidedly non-commodity pricing. Mark’s client portfolio was in the top 5% in top-line revenue, while also in the top 5% for profitability.

You can learn more and reach out to Mark Boundy on his website at https://boundyconsulting.com/.

You can also get a copy of Mark's book called the Radical Value at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733996303/.

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Transcript

Episode 121 - Mark Boundy

Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real raw uncut experiences from sales makers across various industries. The only place where you can get what you're looking for. Uh, your sales game today's episode is brought to you by sales cast sales cast helps sales professionals transform the relationship building process and win their dream clients.

[00:00:30] I'm your host, Colin. What is happening? Sales hustlers. Welcome to another episode today. I've got mark bounty here and we're going to be talking about a topic that I know he is passionate about. Uh, he's got a book called radical value and we're going to be talking, selling value. What does that mean and how to price things accordingly and not just discount to get the deal.

[00:00:56] Mark, welcome to sales hustle con man. Thanks for having. Yeah, I appreciate it. Um, you know, I think this is a topic we have not covered, so I'm excited to dig into it. I know it's something that you're pretty passionate about. So you're definitely qualified to talk about this topic. Uh, and before we jump in, just give us the short version of yourself.

[00:01:16] Well, I'll give you this version, but all these podcast episodes, and we haven't talked about value. I think that missing the fact that we haven't talked about it in that many hours. Says something. So, all right. Here's my story. Uh, I started out as a business leader, product manager, so I've, maybe I've had an upside down career.

[00:01:37] I started out as a product manager with PNL responsibility, uh, then went, uh, for other product management, then some sales leadership and sales jobs, and then sales leadership, uh, was a sales performance consultant with the biggest B2B sales screening company forever. I had some having had that P and L experience back in my past and understanding value in my past, really colored how I, I looked at sales training, sales management, um, sales coaching, when I was a sales performance consultant.

[00:02:14] And. We used to, there was maybe 275 consultants like me around the world. During the nine years, I was a consultant for this company and each of them had probably done over a thousand deal reviews with different salespeople at their clients. So think about that. There's over a quarter million deals and everybody, every single one said the overwhelming error, the overwhelming area where salespeople do worst is understanding.

[00:02:42] What the customer wants to accomplish in value is, is the desirability of what the customer wants to accomplish. So remember, Eric customers don't buy your product or service. They buy their own outcomes, how badly they want. Those outcomes is the value of your product or service. So if you don't know the outcomes, you don't know what the customer's results you can't sell that.

[00:03:13] Mm. Now, why do you think that? I think that a lot of salespeople have their own interpretation of what their value is or what their product's value is and, and assume make a lot of assumptions that the prospect is going to value it the same way. You're absolutely right. And that's fatal error, number three.

[00:03:38] Um, Salt think about salt, salt. It's right. It might be a low value thing if you live near the coast. But if in ancient times, if you lived inland salt was invaluable, right? It was necessary for life salt. As a food ingredient has a different value than salt as an industrial product. Equipment. And so salt, just salt, something as simple as an common assault has different values to different people at different times when I'm in an endurance, a long distance mountain bike ride, that same salt.

[00:04:19] When I start getting dehydrated, that salt keep me alive. And how much is it? How much value is it to me? The same person at different times of the day in different times in different points in my life. Yeah. At that point right there. I mean, you're willing to give up an arm for some salt,

[00:04:40] so yeah, no kidding. Yeah. Okay. So, and so why, why do you think that, um, salespeople, you know, struggle so much with understanding, you know, Value it is to their prospect of what they do or what problem they're. Yeah. You know, I think it's a huge problem, but so many salespeople come by that failure. Honestly, when you get hired in an onboarded to a company, you spent weeks learning the company's product, the company's solutions, the specs that speeds and feed and all that stuff.

[00:05:20] And then you go out on your first couple of sales calls and you're not listening to what the customer says because you're still so self-conscious, but you're spewing out all that stuff you learn. During your product training, not because you think the customer needs it necessarily, but because you're so proud of what you know.

[00:05:38] Right. And yeah. And, and then you make a couple of sales and you don't know that you don't see the result. And when people say, well, follow this senior guy around to do it. Well, you don't know which parts of what a great sales person does just by viewing, which parts are their personal style and which parts are the actual things that are the magic that are making them successful.

[00:06:03] And if you don't have anybody telling you. You see that, that conversation right there, where they were talking to the customer about how the customer's going to use it and how many dollars they want that, that, you know, that's not personal style. That's the elite selling behavior. And it looks like personal style and it is threatening to a lot of rookie salespeople to talk to the customer and have the customer estimate how many dollars that problem is for them.

[00:06:33] Um, we get, we get scared of asking the customer right. That's right. The elite people do. Right, right. It's more of a consultive, you know, Hey, we're in this together approach. And I think that a lot of salespeople, you know, want to have all the answers, right. So they're scared to, out of just lack of confidence, they're scared to ask those types of questions.

[00:07:01] You know, there is a another book. I certainly recognize re recommend my book, but there's another book called by, um, author named Patrick Lensioni, it's called getting naked and the it's written as a business novel as an album. And the idea is this really successful consultant. Um, he didn't do all the preparation.

[00:07:23] He just went in and asked some stupid yet insight. And then some insightful question. Yeah. And got the customer talking about their world and what they wanted to accomplish and how they perceived their world. And suddenly he was solving a little problems for free, and then suddenly he was, uh, they said, you know, it's time to hire you and get your wisdom on a paid basis.

[00:07:47] So that's, that's the book in the TLDR version aspects, nimble questions being vulnerable and being innocent. Um, remember 2% of Gartner said that 2% of salespeople are viewed as trusted 16% or 83%. Don't unders of customers think that salespeople don't understand their business. So think about how much better than 83% of your competitors you can get.

[00:08:23] If you just display a little bit. Open and vulnerable and ask some questions because that's what customers really want you to do. They want you to know them. They want you to get them. Wow. I I'm, I'm blown away. 2%. 2% of salespeople are trusted, maybe three, right? Give us an extra point. There I'm magic. Two or 3% of salespeople are viewed as trusted advisors.

[00:08:54] Now. The here's the thing, right? When you sell a relationship, think you're trusted, but you're liked and there's no like, and trust, it's fine to be liked. It's fine to be known, but it's gold to be trusted. And when you know, the old saw, you know, like when somebody buys from you, what are they buying? Oh, they're buying me.

[00:09:18] Well, no, I'm sorry. That's not true. Slavery is illegal. They aren't buying you. They believe you they're buying their own results for their own reasons. And because they like and trust you, they believe in the results you tell them about. Yeah. That's a little bit different. So relationship is important.

[00:09:41] Trust is important, but that's not what customers buy. They buy their outcomes. So once they trust you, that is permission to talk about what they're really buying. That's not what they want. Right. Because even if they know like, and trust you, that's not enough to, that's not enough to get the deal it's there.

[00:10:01] It's nice. And I would say even if, even if they don't like you, but you can provide a significant amount of value and they trust you can deliver that. It's still a good chance. You're going to get that business. Yeah. Colin, you're absolutely right. I think we've all worked with a really great. High performing president's club sales person who was a cold fish or kind of a prickly individual that nobody liked, but everybody trusted.

[00:10:29] So if you think about relationship as kind of two chunks, two halves, and you break really good. I have a good relationship. Into two chunks. One is personal affinity. Do we like each other? Do I know their kids' birthdays? Um, do I know that they like, you know, what sports they like, have we gone out to a game together?

[00:10:51] That's a personal affinity and that's nice to have, but we also, we know that they're salespeople who don't have any of that, but they're still successful. So that's really great to have, and it helps in a lot of circumstances, but it's not the critical. Deal killer. The other part of, I have a great relationship is credibility there.

[00:11:12] They believe what I say. And I, I, I do what I say I'm going to do. They know it. They trust me. They trust me to tell them the truth, that credibility that's non-negotiable and that credibility comes from the fact that you don't just know your stuff, you know, their work. Yeah, you are the only person in the world who can't is capable of knowing their business and they're your business, excuse me, and their product, your customers.

[00:11:46] You know, we've done a huge disservice. When we tell salespeople all the customer has self informed on the internet. So just ask them what they want and learn about the pain points they know about. That's a huge disservice because your customers will never know as much about your product or services you do.

[00:12:03] That's why you spent so much time in your product training. You can't replicate that with some online web searches. You just can't. So your customer can't know everything about your stuff. Which means the only person who can know how well your stuff delivers a customer, their outcomes is the salesperson.

[00:12:26] It's your responsibility then to know about their business, their world, their situation, and how your stuff affects their world. That's your job. As a sales rep. Right, right. And now there's a certain level of things that you need to know about the roles that you sell into the industries that you sell into.

[00:12:48] But when you say no, like you need to be curious enough to, you know, back to that example, right. To ask the right question. To get informed about all of that information to then, you know, build that trust in. And then if we go back to the other example, you're talking about where a lot of people, you know, are very product centric and, and they just kind of say yes to a lot of things, and aren't willing to ask those questions that hurts them significantly because.

[00:13:15] You actually are building trust and rapport and credibility by maybe challenging your prospect's thinking, making them consider something that they haven't thought of, or maybe telling them that their line of thinking is not right. No, you're absolutely the right column. I love exposing the customer to the idea of outcomes they hadn't envisioned.

[00:13:38] Right? When we ask a customer, tell me about your pains. When we're uncovering pain, the only ones they can tell us are the ones that they already know as a, as a result of that simple unimpressive self informing that they've done, right. If we know their business, we can open their eyes to new out. Here's a simple story, right?

[00:13:58] One client of mine sold commercial carpeting. So the carpeting that goes on the office floor yeah. And their carpet wears longer than a competitor. And so customers were used to buying and sales were used to selling on what I call dollars per year. If the carpet last 20% longer, you can sell it for 19% more and the customer should buy.

[00:14:22] And if a, you sell it for 15% more, that customers should really want to buy it. And until, you know, a competitor to drop their price by 6%. And so that value, it was easy to understand by the customer, easy to sell. And that was what everybody bought and sold by, without exposing the customer to the different kinds of outcomes.

[00:14:46] And so what we taught them to do was say, what's this carpet sitting on. And if the answer was, Hey, it's underneath our 24 by 30 by 24 by seven by 365 customer service department. Then the questions began. Okay. So what happens when you replace a carpet underneath that customer service? Well, it's a two day minimum interruption where we move all the furniture out, peel the carpet, clean the floors, replaced the carpet, put the furniture back, and then we have to listen to my, you know, my internet doesn't work.

[00:15:19] You computer hook my computer up wrong picture of my daughter's broken. Where's my university of Syracuse mob, blah, blah, blah. Right? The bigness, the option and the cost of that business disruption underneath the customer service department, those costs are worth four or five, six times as much as the entire price of the carpet.

[00:15:42] So carpet that last 20% longer is worth infinitely more. Then the carpet that doesn't, and that was opening your customer's eyes up to the outcomes that they weren't envisioning when they were self informing. And that seems really simple. To think about business disruption, but customers don't do it without being guided and salespeople don't guide customers through it without being told how.

[00:16:11] And it's it's that simple, but we do that over and over for different clients. I help my clients find those kinds of additional questions that help open the customer's eyes to different sets of outcomes that the same product provides. Yeah. I don't think there's a lot of people selling carpets, asking those type of questions.

[00:16:30] You know, it's more just what color do you want? We have, I mean, even, even if you, even, if you think about like, if you don't replace the carpet and it looks like crap, you know, what experience are you delivering to the, to the, to the customers that are in there, if your, your, your place looks like a bit of a crap hole.

[00:16:48] So you're, you're now you're starting to go through all the other ideas. Think about that because the carpet is normally sold. Uh, maybe the designer, uh, somebody in HR and a facilities person. But now if you go to the head of marketing and say, what happens when the carpet looks crappy and we have people in for marketing visits, you go to the manager of that 24 by seven, you know, the customer service manager and you see.

[00:17:15] We can give your carpet fewer replacement cycles. What's that worth to you? So you're, we are taught to sell our products in B2B to a certain sets of personas, right? Certain the buying committee, but my product happens to have this higher wear. So I need to add people to the buying committee. I need to add the customer service manager to the buying committee because as soon as he catches wind of the fact that he's got 20% fewer replacements, That person is gonna make it game over for the entire buying committee.

[00:17:51] But they won't get it unless that customer service manager's in the room with them. So we've got to add that person to the buying committee. Wow. Wow. That's a, that's a great example because right there, not only is the sales person in that example, asking some really deep questioning and having the prospect think about something that they probably had not considered or thought about and probably no other sales person at a competitor.

[00:18:18] Even, you know, touch the surface of that. Also asking a level of questioning that brings a higher level of executive into the buying committee that other, you know, sellers from other, you know, competitors are, are not getting, uh, getting done. I mean, that separates you from the pack significantly. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:18:39] And now this carpet manufacturer often sold against a company. That sold to the installers and the contractors and what the value proposition they sold on is installed costs were going to drop ship that carpet on the minute you are ready to use it at your work site. So you're not going to have to handle that carpet.

[00:19:00] We'll drop, ship it for you exactly at the right time. So, and we've got a installation instructions and we're going to have the, you know, the adhesive and everything right there for you to reduce your cost of instance. A great competitive value proposition that was hard to sell against and imagine you're the seller of that.

[00:19:21] And you think you got the deal locked up until somebody comes from this longer wear and says, you know what? Customer service agent took it out of my hands. I never sold to that customer service agent, the customer service manager. I didn't think that was important. I sell the contractors and the installers and suddenly.

[00:19:43] If you're the other guy, you feel like you had this deal one and you're cruising and you're feeling good. You're already thinking about how you're going to spend the commission and the deal, or you already spent it, right. You already spent the deal under your feet and you don't know what happened because what the customer service manager killed my deal.

[00:20:04] I, I'm not supposed to talk to customer service managers. That's not in my sales process. That's what's happening. Yeah. Yeah. So, so think about that sales hustlers. How can you be curious enough to ask the right questions, to get your prospects, to, you know, significantly value, whatever you do at a, at a level that requires bringing somebody else into the buying process.

[00:20:30] And, and that's how you can really separate yourself from other people, you know, that are, that are selling in that that would not even think to ask those types of questions. Think, you know, um, I call, you know, asking for pain points. That's all of the expected pains and gains. But if you operate outside of that, when, when every seller.

[00:20:54] Is only selling to those same customer articulated pains and gains. You're doing something. I call fist fighting in a phone booth. Now for the sales hustlers who are too young to remember phone booth, it's a small building, two feet by two feet and about seven feet tall. And it's your fist fighting somebody in it.

[00:21:11] It's too small to wind up and land a punch that actually hurts anybody. You don't have the room to maneuver, to fight. And so when everybody is competing on the same things and the same criteria, you're fist fighting in a phone booth, nobody can land a blow. And the only thing that happens is the biggest discounter wins and that's evil.

[00:21:36] Yeah. Yeah. And there's even if we even take a step back, there there's even people that aren't here. Skilled enough to be focusing on pain, pain points. They're still focused on, you know, uh, selling based on what they learned in their product training barfing features. Yeah. So there's the barfing features, you know, maybe you're you level up a little bit and your fist fighting in a phone booth and you think you're improving.

[00:22:07] Yeah. And I suppose. Yeah, well, you're improving from, from, from a not so great place, you know? And so then the next level up is, is, is, is what we're talking about here. Uh, mark. So, I mean, let's talk, let's, let's switch gears here a little bit here. We talked about selling on value in asking these types of questions that, I mean, most people would never think of.

[00:22:31] Um, but discounting, right? So. I mean, are you fully opposed to discounting wind? Does it make sense to discount and why let's let's dig into that? Yeah. You know, every dollar you discount your cost didn't change. So that dollar was a profit dollar. So when you're discounting, you're donating your profit dollars to your customers and there's, there are good reasons to give your customer your profit.

[00:23:01] But not nearly as many as most sales people do. Um, well sometimes in a lot of cases, those profit dollars are given for, for no reason at all. Like none. Under your mattress, just when you're, you're absolutely right. Um, because you don't know any better. And we actually took an econ class that says when the price goes down, the amount demand, it goes up.

[00:23:24] And that might be true in the global, but not for a given sale when you sell you're either worth your value or not. The price is, you know, the old scale that lady justice has the two pans that you kind of thought old miners think of that inside your customer's head. And on one pan is your price or your price premium.

[00:23:48] And on the other side is your value or the value that you have that your competitors don't. So in the carpet example, your price is the 20% price premium and your value is the 20%. Wait were differential. And so we wanted to, it's not just the dollars per year, but it's that business disruption. It's the crappy looking carpet, you know, right near the end.

[00:24:14] And it's having our, our offices look bad. How much is that worth? How much is that worth? And when you have that same value, but you walk the customer through all kinds of things. Aspects of that wearing premium suddenly there's more and more stuff in that pan. And that 20% price premium becomes unimportant when it was only dollars per year that the customer was thinking about.

[00:24:40] Now, my competitor can change that what's in the pan by discounting by one or 2%. But when I've added all that stuff about the business disruption, there's nothing the competitor can do anymore. So now you don't have to discount because you sold so much value that the customer no longer cares about price.

[00:25:01] Right? Right. Yeah. And, and honestly, I mean, I've, I've read things and I just know from experience, I mean, Dis buying decisions are rarely made on, on lowest price. You're no, you're absolutely right. Um, you know, going back to the carpet example, now, if you discovered that the carpet is just in a conference, right.

[00:25:25] Well, now that business disruption is really not very meaningful because I'm going to just change the carpet in the conference room over the weekend. I'm going to work. I'm going to ask my people to work a little overtime. So that value to that particular customer at that moment in that instance was negligible.

[00:25:42] So maybe there is a reason to discount when it's going into only conference rooms. So. But if you discount every single deal as if it's always conference rooms, that's where I start to get heartburn. Yeah, yeah. Or, or even, you know, more to the point there, if, if that's the value that you bring, then you shouldn't be selling deals that are, you know, focused on conference rooms.

[00:26:08] Mostly you should be trying to find more deals that, you know, have a 24, 7, 365 customer service that. Be willing to pay for the value that you bring. Yeah, absolutely. You're going to start selling, you're going to start a whole marketing campaign towards call centers, right. And maybe hotels. Right. I was taking a hotel room out of services can be a big profit thing, but certainly, um, and then maybe, um, high-end tech offices, because they want to have a really great environment for their workers and shabby carpet in those spaces.

[00:26:47] Costs them something, you know, their cost them some ego or something. So again, you've you look for the customers that value yours, starting with cost with call centers, and then you're seeing who else cares. What else do I, right, right, right. Where most people would just think, Hey, we sell carpet. Everybody needs carpet.

[00:27:06] Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Hey mark. This has been fantastic. I really enjoyed this topic. And having you come on any final thoughts, uh, anything that you want us to share in the show notes, any links or anything like that, working that we're going to include, that we can let the sales hustlers know about. You know, I am always happy to help anybody with a deal.

[00:27:26] Um, Give me a call. So the show, you know, my contact information will be in the show notes, uh, CA or market boundary, consulting.com. I am happy to help. I love helping people become more successful. That's why I became a consultant. I don't know. Awesome. Thank you so much, mark. We'll include all that in the show notes.

[00:27:45] And if you enjoyed today's episode, please, please write us a review. Share the show with your friends and as always we're listening for your feedback. Thank you for tuning in into this episode of sales hustle. Are you a sales profession? Looking to take your sales career to the next level. If the answer is yes, then I want you to go over to sales, cast.com, check us out.

[00:28:09] And if you feel that you are ready, set up a time to talk with me and my co-founder Chris, I'm your host collum Mitchell. And if you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave us a review and share the podcast with your friends.