Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Jan. 11, 2021

Episode #44 S1-EP44 Driving Ideal-Fit Demo Requests & Conversation-Ready Opportunities with Mikey Henninger

Joining Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast is Mikey Henninger. Mikey shares some exciting tactical sales tips for sales folks listeners. More importantly, he shares his ideas around sales and building relationships.

Mikey Henninger is the Director of Growth at Accelity. At Accelity, they use a mixture of proven inbound strategies to promote brand awareness, generate perfect-fit leads, and grow your business as a whole. Mikey consults with growth-minded B2B SaaS companies looking to fill their pipeline with their ideal client’s replicas.

You can connect with Mikey Henninger on LinkedIn at

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Sales Hustle - Episode 44 - Mikey Henninger

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

[00:00:30] I'm your host, Colin Mitchell. All right. What is happening is sales hustlers. Welcome to another episode. I've got Mikey Henninger. He is the director of growth over at XLT. And as always, we're going to talk about sales, sales and more sales, and we're going to try to keep it as tactical as possible so that you can walk away and feel like you learned something today to up your sales game.

[00:00:53] Mikey, thanks for coming on. How you doing Colin? What's up, man. It's really good news. And how have you been? Yeah. Yeah, very good. Uh, excited to dig in and learn, you know, how you got into sales and, and, uh, just kind of talk about some of your ideas around sales and building relationships. I know you do things a little bit differently and you put out some content that kind of caught my eye.

[00:01:15] And I said, I got to get them on the show. Cool man. Yeah, I appreciate it. Where, uh, where do you want to, where do you want to begin with this thing? Yeah. So give us the short version. How did you get into sales? Why did you get into sales? You know, give us the cliff notes, man. How, why did I get into sales?

[00:01:34] So complete accident. That's the, that's the God's honest answer. So, um, Yeah. Yeah. My, uh, my first gig out of college was actually, I was hired as a content writer, which was kind of my plan all along. I wanted to, I grew up wanting to be a sports writer, as you can see in my background, I'm a big sports nerd, sports geek over here.

[00:01:56] Uh, it turns out writing about 401k rings and insurance is nowhere near as exciting, uh, as writing about sports is so I quickly realized content. Writing's not the thing. Um, I kind of accidentally fell into. Uh, sales because I was looking for anything else to do. And like I knew what I was competitive. My sister had been in sales for a long time and always talked up earnings potential and, and how she loved it.

[00:02:20] So I was like, and to be completely honest with you, dude, I, uh, I actually was kind of turned off to the idea of sales early on because I, I always had this image in my head of that, like greasy, dirty, like. Dishonest nipple sales guy. And I kind of like went into it reluctant and I'm glad I did because, uh, I, I, it was definitely my calling and like spin.

[00:02:44] Uh, haven't been the same ever since. Mm. Okay. So that's a, that's a very common, um, idea of, of what your, you know, people like say used car salesman or whatever the case is, right? Sales is a dirty word, or, you know, in sales is someone who buys and manipulates and tricks people into doing things. And that is the case with some people.

[00:03:04] Um, and, and sometimes people have had some sort of experience that makes them think about that, which they have that relaxant reluctance to get into sales. And you, you know, very typical of stories. People, you know, fall back plan got into sales, something that they wanted to do. Wasn't what they thought it was similar to your story.

[00:03:22] Then they got into sales. And so what made you stick with it? Like, you know, if that was your idea and you reluctantly got into it, um, did you find out that it wasn't what you thought it was. No, uh, yeah, that, I think that's a really good way to put it. So I think you're absolutely right, man. I think a lot of people, unfortunately, there are a lot of salespeople out there that give it that, give it that warranted, you know, definition and description of what sales is like.

[00:03:48] So much to the point where I literally approached our founder and CEO recently, uh, Jackie Hermis about changing my title from director of sales, to director of growth, which is obviously a much more like. Fluffy way of saying it, but I think just that word sales gives people this kind of gross feeling a lot of times.

[00:04:06] So I'm right there with you. But yeah, man, once I got into it, I, it definitely wasn't anything at all. Um, what I thought it was, and I think a big part of that too, might be the B2B space versus the C space. Um, right. Cause you're not, you're not necessarily taking money out of people's wallets. You're actually working with the company's bank account.

[00:04:26] So it might shift that mindset a little bit. But uh, to me, I mean, what kept me in it was, um, I mean, just to product bumbling, I, I realized that I was good at it. So I started out in a very BDR inside sales role, right. 80 cold calls a day. Um, I went through a pretty extensive training program. And when I came out of it and I was fired up, I was ready to pound the phones.

[00:04:47] And I, you know, I found some printing, immediate success, which was great. And as you know, in sales, if you're successful and you're doing your job well, you know, that starts to pay the bills and then some, so it just, um, you know, the money is obviously one thing, but also just the competition portion of it.

[00:05:02] And knowing that you're doing something that you're, you're particularly good at, it's the sort of thing that kind of keeps me around, at least in my experience. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, a lot of great salespeople are very competitive people by nature, which is why I think they love, you know, being in sales so much.

[00:05:19] Um, what are some things that you learned early on in that, that, that role, um, that still stick with you today? Oh, man. Um, great question. So number one for me and I'll, I'll pound the table on this all day. Getting away from scripts. That was my biggest downfall, my biggest light bulb moment in my entire sales career to this day, like this was back in 2012 and I was, I'm one of these guys.

[00:05:45] So I'm a pretty chronic like overthinker. Like I, I overthink pretty much everything. Um, and I came out of, we call it bootcamp where I did my sales training yet. And I came out of bootcamp and I was like, okay, I have my scripts. Or if they say X, Y, Z, I'm going one, two, three, Problem is when you get thrown off of that script.

[00:06:03] And you're an over-thinker you go into like panic mode. You're like this isn't on the script, this isn't, you know what to do. Uh, so for me though, I had this one light bulb moment, this one moment of realization where somebody completely threw me for my script and I had no idea what to do. I felt myself getting just like hot and warm because I'm like, I'm starting to panic a little bit.

[00:06:23] I literally, Collin, I took a deep breath. I like. Pulled back, pulled away from the table a little bit. And I, I literally just kinda like put my head down in my lap like this and just say, just kind of like out loud to myself, I said, do you trust, like trust yourself, you know, the answers to this, you've done the training, you know what this is?

[00:06:42] And it just, from there, it became a conversation. It was me asking questions, answering questions, positioning our product in a way that made sense for them. And ever since then, To this day, regardless if I'm putting together a proposal, if I'm putting together a sales presentation, I don't want it to be scripted.

[00:07:01] I go into a sales call. I won't say not prepared I'm of course prepared, but I don't necessarily have a okay. Here's five things that we have to walk through in this meeting. I want it to be very much a consultation, very much a conversation. So getting away from, from scripts and just having more of like a loosely bulleted.

[00:07:21] Plan is a, is a big thing for me. All right. That's that's interesting. Um, something that I liked that you said that stood out to me, um, and listen up sales alerts is asking questions, right? So, so you talked about how you, you talked about how you had that moment, where somebody threw you off and there's no script for that.

[00:07:45] Now, what. Um, and you kind of collected yourself and then started asking some good questions and seeing a script is for me, I think scripts are important. Um, but they're a guide, right? And you can call them whatever you want, stripped bullet points, agenda, whatever, whatever works for you. Right. And everybody's different.

[00:08:04] And I'm not one of those people that thinks like, Hey, it's gotta be done in this way. Right? Like the script, isn't a bit of a guide, but if you only rely on the script, you're not going to be successful. Um, and you know, when you're first getting started, a script is very helpful, but what's gonna really make a big difference is knowing your product, knowing your asparagus, knowing your value, knowing what problems that you solve.

[00:08:28] Right. So that you can be curing it's enough to ask the right questions to lead the conversation in more collaborative way. Like you mentioned, um, to get to whatever that desired result is. Yup. Right there when you man, I, and that's a, that's a big piece of that common theme is like, Trusting yourself and knowing the things that you need to know, if you've done the work you've done the research, you know, your product, do you know your company, your differentiators, what you're good at, what you're not, you know, what problems you solve.

[00:08:56] So you know what questions to ask or why to ask those questions. So it's just a matter of, for me, at least it was a matter of trusting myself and not like following a piece of paper, but just following what I intuitively knew to be true about. Okay. The names of the problems that they're trying to solve.

[00:09:12] These are reasons that they're asking me whatever questions that they're asking. Can I turn that around and ask them a question? And yeah, man, absolutely. It's it's taking what you learn. And I think what you said is true, right? Having a script and having a starting place is great, especially as you're starting a new spot, but at some point you start trusting yourself and knowing, okay, I need to start weaving my knowledge into this script as the conversation, as the conversation goes, if you will.

[00:09:37] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And so, you know, the thing is, is knowing the right questions to ask, right? And because a prospect can tell if you're totally following a script, or if you're, you know, throwing up a message that marketing has said, you know, your platform, or, you know, your sales team has says, Hey, here's the script that we follow.

[00:09:58] Here's what we say. Here's the awards that we won. Here's the features of the app. Here's why we're the best. Just throwing all that crap at people. They know that. Right. But if you actually care and you're asking questions to try to help them and have more of a collaborative conversation, that's totally different than what they're used to a hundred percent.

[00:10:18] And I, a big part of that too, at least in my experience, Collin is clarifying questions. Right. Like, um, you know, when they there's times where a prospect might be asking you a question, or they might be saying something that's important to them or saying something that they're looking for. And a lot of times they don't necessarily know what they're looking for and what the problem is.

[00:10:36] So asking those clarifying questions that shows and you know, your stuff, but B we actually care about the things that they're saying. It shows that you're listening. And the other part of it too, is that you're getting a better. Explanation of what they're searching for. So I'll give you a quick example of what, what I mean when I'm saying that we work in a marketing firm, uh, and a lot of the companies that we sell, we sell to like B2B SAS companies.

[00:10:58] Right. And a lot of times they get on the phone and it's the CEO, or it's the founder. It's not necessarily a marketing person and they get on and they're asking the same things. Like we need more leads. And that that's a very, that's actually a very broad state. Like, what does that mean to you? What is a lead?

[00:11:14] Is that a website visitor? Is that somebody who comes to the website and clicks requests, a consultation request a demo, like what exactly does lead mean to you? So asking those. Clarifying questions shows that you're, you're there to help them. You're not there to sell or read a script or give the pitch you were told to pitch you're, you're there to help them solve their problems, which is the entire point of sales, right.

[00:11:35] Being that consultant, um, and positioning your product as it makes sense. Yeah. And I even I'm even a fan of even challenging what they say too, because it showed that you actually care, give them your honest opinion. So what that looks like it. Well, you can, you've said, you know, a very broad statement is.

[00:11:52] Okay. We need more leads. Okay. Do you need more needed leads or do you need more revenue? And maybe you don't need more leads, but maybe you need more of the right leads or you need more qualified leads or leads that have higher value. Like what is the goal and what is really right for you to get there.

[00:12:10] And it may not always be, you don't want to just be a yes man, and agree with everything that they stay and tell them what you think they want to hear, because they're going to see right through that. Yep. Totally. I think a big part of that, Tim Collins to your point is, um, doing it in a tactful way. And this is that's actually something that I struggled with in the early part of my career was challenging.

[00:12:30] Right? I want to be the nice guy. I don't want to be pushing it. I want to challenge. And it was a very difficult thing for me to do. One of my former bosses. He's currently, he's still a good friend. He's still a mentor of mine, but he actually worked really hard with me on figuring out a good way to like challenge in a way that suits my personality.

[00:12:48] So for me, it's like challenging is a big part of it, but how can I do it in a way that's not over threatening? It's not pushy. It's not trying to like threaten everything that they've been doing for the last 20, 30 years. So I, I try and use my personality. Uh, um, I'm typically in genuinely very like goofy.

[00:13:06] I make fun of myself a lot. That's just kind of part of my game. So when I'm pushing, when I'm pushing somebody, I might actually say something like, Hey, nine minute with 15 to 20 B2B SAS companies every single week. And a lot of them tell me this. Sometimes they mean. The other thing, and I'm not saying this is even, maybe it's not, what do I know?

[00:13:23] I'm not running a successful business like you are, but I'm just curious, you know, like you said, Collin, is it that you need more leads or is it that you need better quality leads? Like what filming and then what your thinking is there. So yeah, pushing back is a big part of it. And. I think there's a lot of sales reps out there, or, or at least sales reps that are trying to get started.

[00:13:43] And that's a very uncomfortable part of their game. It was for me. So finding a way to do so in a way that's not only tactful, but it actually still suits your personality and you're not coming off as unthreatening. And I think it's totally okay too, be, uh, over the top of it or a little bit aggressive if you will, but if that's not your personality, there's ways to do it without being that person that you're not comfortable being.

[00:14:06] If that makes sense. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Like, I mean, I think that. Having tact. It's definitely important. It's kind of like, you know, having good bedside manner, right? Like you gotta, you gotta, you gotta, you gotta know your audience. Who are you speaking to? What's their personality. What sort of tone are they giving?

[00:14:26] What sort of body language. Right. So you gotta know who you're speaking to and be able to deliver that, that challenge, or maybe that. You know, a little bit of confrontation, you know, about, you know, kind of challenging what they're saying in a way that you feel that they're going to receive it well, but also I like how you kind of explained where you brought your personality into it and delivered it in a way where you still kind of like opened it and asked another question.

[00:14:50] Right? So not just saying like, Hey, you're wrong and this, and I'm right. Right, but having more of a collaborative conversation, giving your feedback and then following it up with a question to allow them to then, you know, put their opinion. And this is a huge way to build trust and rapport early on, because it's a much more collaborative type of conversation where you guys are in this together to try to figure out what's the best thing to move forward.

[00:15:16] And not just me telling them everything that you want to hear. That's on my script to get you to sign the paper. Uh, a hundred percent Collin, a big, a big part of my game is basically, uh, my sales pitches, if you will, isn't necessarily me pitching it's me telling them what other companies in their scenario have told me and what I've learned from them.

[00:15:37] Right? So I start a lot of sentences with, Hey, maybe this is Megan. It is maybe it isn't. But the other 15 SAS companies that I met with this month told me. X Y Z and they want to be doing X, Y, Z. And I do, like you said, I want to put that into a question and get them talking where I say what's been your experience, or does that resonate with you?

[00:15:57] Or do I have the wrong idea about what it is that you're telling me? Um, I don't want them to think. I, in some ways I feel like I go out of my way. To make sure that what I'm saying to them, they're not on the other end of the phone thinking, yeah, this is this guy's trying to sell me. So of course he's saying everything I want to hear.

[00:16:17] I want them thinking, Oh, that other SAS company, that sounds just like me said, this that's actually where my head is at. We should talk a little bit about this. So it's um, yeah, I'm right there with you. It's a way of, of putting it in perspective that they. Understand, because they know there's other companies out there like them.

[00:16:34] It's not me trying to push my product down their throat, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. All right. So, and obviously when you're having these types of conversations, Um, something that I like to talk about and, and, and mentioned as well as, like, you got to take really good notes on all this stuff, right?

[00:16:52] If you're, if you're meeting with 15, 20, you know, SAS companies a week, it's really hard to remember who said, what about what? Um, so taking good notes and really logging all of that stuff. And, and following a process is going to frame every conversation that happens after that initial conversation. 180. I mean, you'd said it better than I can call him.

[00:17:16] So I'm a big, big believer in that. So we use HubSpot as our CRM, um, literally pinned to the top of every single HubSpot record of everybody that I've come in contact is just bullet points at all the go all the way, top to bottom. And one thing that we've actually started doing in our sales presentations as in our previous one, two, three calls, however many before we get to the presentation stage.

[00:17:40] Uh, I would literally write down what a prospect says to me verbatim, like word for word in quotations. They said X, Y, Z. And in our sales presentation, I will pull up a slide that says, you told us you in quotes and put their words right on front of them. I literally just had a prospect the other day that said we've been doing our own marketing.

[00:17:59] We're not marketing people. We suck at it. So I literally on their slide said, we're not marketing people. We suck at it. So it's like, if you can use. And I want to say, use that onwards against them, but it shows and you're listening, but being me like, Hey, you did say this, this is what you said now, you know, it's really easy for me to go through the rest of the, that portion of the presentation and say, you've told us this, here's how we'll fix it.

[00:18:23] And then we usually finish that portion of the presentation with a story of how we've done it for a similar company. Just like, Oh, I love the airport. No, it says what, what makes that whole thing sing? But that's like whole nother next level of stuff, actually, literally taking their word for word, where they did in quotes on your stealth presentation.

[00:18:46] I don't think I've, I've seen or heard of that before. So sales hustlers, if you're listening, write that one down. And, and, and try it, uh, because I think that it can be extremely powerful because I'm a big fenders. We take, we take our notes through our discovery process, right? And then you want to validate everything that they said, because sometimes as a sales person, they might say one thing and you hear another thing.

[00:19:08] And then by the time it actually gets into your notes, it's a little bit different. So validating what you have in your notes and getting their confirmation before moving forward and setting next steps are expectations. Um, and then, you know, People talk about rebuttals or, you know, deals go and stay or deal with go cold.

[00:19:25] And if you did a good job, Job in the beginning, you were curious, and that's all the right questions. And you took the notes. You should have everything that you need right there to remind them of why you're even having this conversation or why they've been engaged with you at this point. Um, but I liked the idea of literally taking the things that you said are the most important things that they said that are going to help remind them of why they need your help or why you're the right fit to help them.

[00:19:52] And, and literally just throwing it out there. And it shows that you actually cared enough to take good notes and pay attention. Yeah. And another big part of that scene was not just the presentation, but the follow-up right. If you're, if you would have a week, two weeks, three weeks between conversations and you need to keep it warm, you can go back through your notes and say, Oh yeah, they told me this, which matches perfectly with an article or a blog that we wrote or some piece of content that we created that we can send to them and try and keep everything warm.

[00:20:20] And the email itself is easy. Hey, in our last conversation, you mentioned XYZ, by the way, here's a blog that we wrote that addresses this very thing. Hope it's helpful. Looking forward to talking to you guys in two weeks, um, you know, just in our experience colony, it makes a lot of sense. If you can put their words right back in front of their faces, uh, especially, and if they say something that's like, Weird or goofy or quirky, and you're unique that he could put back in front of their face and use that.

[00:20:47] Like we had one, uh, prospect, um, that used to use. And I don't know, I dunno if we're supposed to be swearing here, but, uh, so I'll say, go for it, go for it. And he, he was talking about like tracking, right? If you go to. Uh, some store and then you head over to Facebook and how it follows you over there. He's like, we want to be doing the sneaky shit.

[00:21:08] We want to do the sneaky shit and follow people around in our presentation. We said, you told us you wanted to be doing the sneaky shit. Here's how we do the sneaky shit, all that. So yeah, if you can get them saying things that are quirky and clearly stand out and you put that back in front of their face, it goes a long way more often than not.

[00:21:27] Yeah. Yeah. And it's, it's, it's, it's, it's referred to as mirroring, right? So you're hearing what they say, but you're being really bold about it. Um, and, and I think I really, I really think that that's a great idea. Anybody who's not doing that should, should try it. Um, so now tell me, um, when you're, you know, working with, with prospects, um, throughout different stages of the sales process, are you guys using video at any point?

[00:21:54] Oh, yeah. Videoed, um, is usually what we're using. Um, but I've actually, so you mentioned bold just a minute ago. I've actually started getting quite creepy, to be honest, uh, with my video. So I've been dropping, my messaging was in DMS on LinkedIn and to getting even crimping here, I've been sending Vinnie, no text messages to my prospects as well.

[00:22:18] Instead of email, instead of typing. All that. I'll literally just, you know, grab my phone, flip on the camera and I'll, I'll record my 30 minute message and I'll send it to them in a text message. Um, I recognize that that might be creeping and going back to what we were talking about not too long ago, like trying to use my personality and, and just, I'm a big believer in transparency and calling attention to things, even if it's uncomfortable.

[00:22:41] So I'm literally saying in my text message, or I'll say in my video, like, Hey, I recognize that this is creepy, but. You know, most, you know, videos kind of the way to go or whatever. Um, but yeah, video is a big that, um, vaping AR video art itself was a great tool if people are using it. Um, I have no evidence to support this, but I, I always had this hunch that sometimes, maybe video might like get caught in people span.

[00:23:08] So I've kind of gone away from putting it in the email a little bit more and started focusing more on like, LinkedIn direct messages and, and straight to text messages, as weird as that is. Yeah. Uh, I like to use video on all those channels as well, uh, including the email. Um, but you know, and I try to, if you have a point that you're trying to make, or I, you know, I'm a believer, you know, I tell folks that my team, you know, if, if the email is more than a couple sentences, just write it out.

[00:23:36] That's your script, record a video, then delete the message and send it off. Oh, totally. I couldn't agree more with the in 20, 21 everybody's inpatient. Right. You open up an email and you see it's like three blocks of paragraphs. They're like, ah, no, I have funny other emails to get to I'll I'll either delete that or I'll get to it later, which nobody gets to it later, right?

[00:24:00] Absolutely. All right, Mikey, thanks for coming on today. Really appreciate it. Uh, before I let you go, why don't you tell folks where they can connect with you or anything that you have for them? Oh man. Yeah, man, um, would love to connect with anybody. So yeah, I might on LinkedIn excelling, marker, uh, miking hand injury I'm with XLT marketing.

[00:24:19] Um, other than that, if you want, I'm having a lot of fun over at Twitter at binging FF, Mikey, but that's a very fantasy football plug cause I have a fantasy football website, but yeah, man, that's, that's pretty much it. I think I'm pretty easy to find on LinkedIn, which is where I know most of us. Uh, most of us spend our time.

[00:24:36] Yeah. Awesome. Thanks for coming on today. If you're listening to the podcast, please subscribe. Write us a review and share with your friends and we're listening for your feedback. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of sales hustle. Are you a sales professional looking to take your sales career to the next level?

[00:24:54] If the answer is yes, then I want you to go over to sales, check us out. 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. If you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave us a review and share the podcast with your friends.