Joining Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast is Ian Koniak. Ian shares with us a short version of his sales story. He also shares some of his coaching insights on “how to sell,” which is helpful to all sales folks out there.
Ian Koniak is the Strategic Account Director at Salesforce. He manages several of Salesforce's largest Enterprise accounts, setting the strategy and quarterbacking sales efforts for a 20M ARR territory. As a Strategic Account Director, he is responsible for the growth of all Salesforce products and services, including coordinating a unified account strategy for 30+ internal sales resources across our portfolio.
Ian Koniak is also passionate about creating sales videos and content that inspires Sales Professionals to perform at the highest level and un-tap their full potential. He also makes frequent appearances as a guest speaker on Top Business Podcasts and sales conferences as a Sales Thought Leader.
To know more about Ian Koniak, please visit his website at https://iankoniak.com/.
If you’re listening to the Sales Hustle podcast, please subscribe, share, and we’re listening for your feedback. If you are a sales professional looking to take your sales career to the next level, please visit us at https://salescast.co/ and set a time with Collin and co-founder Chris.
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Episode 58 - Ian Koniak
[00:00:00] Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real raw uncut experiences from sales change makers across various industries. The only place where you can get what you're looking for too. 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.
I'm your host, Colin Mitchell. All right. What is happening is sales hustlers. Welcome to another episode. I've got a fantastic guest for you today. This is my second time interviewing Ian. Ian Coniac is one of the top enterprise sales executives at Salesforce has been a top performer for eight plus years, and is now teaching others how to sell through his coaching and consulting business in thanks so much for joining us today.
[00:01:00] Good to see you and Colin and thanks for putting this together. Yeah. Yeah, man, I've been wanting to get you on here for a while. I know you have a super busy schedule and, uh, you are joining us from vacation, so we're going to make it a quick one and keep it as tactical as possible. But before we jump into the good stuff, just, you know, kind of set the table a little bit and give people the short version of your sales story.
Yeah, no, no worries. Um, so I spent my first 10 years in sales, working at a company called Rico, which was very much transactional selling and I was selling copiers and printers and really got, got my feet wet and really cut my teeth, selling copiers in a very difficult, uh, industry dealt with a lot of rejection, had to do a ton of cold calling door to door.
My territory initially was Korea towns, every which way. Possible optical every which way I was going on, just from a perspective of, um, like the [00:02:00] activity, cadence, the, what it means to actually, um, set, you know, activity goals and, um, activity, yielding pipeline yielding, um, You know, sales and kind of that science of selling spent 10 years doing that and then got into leadership, ended up running a team of 80 sales reps was about a 60 million ARR business, uh, at Rico.
And then, uh, decided I was playing in the wrong. Um, you know, the wrong sport altogether within, within it's being an athlete in the sport itself is, is software is kind of the NFL, I guess, of, of, of athletics, right? So I decided to go into Salesforce at that point. And that was, um, where I spent the past eight years.
And it was a big transition. It was really going from that. More transactional role to strategic selling, where we're changing, how business operates, we're changing, how they work. We're changing, um, culture in many [00:03:00] cases. And so it's really been, I kind of had to learn all over again and I, I did well the first then struggled, you know, struggled a few years after that and then really kind of doubled down.
With my own learning. And the past five years have been really, really good. I finished number one a few years ago, followed it by top five and then hit my plan. Um, you know, the past couple of years as well. So it's really been, um, a long journey of 18 years selling to get to this point. But it's gotten to the point now where.
I'm so comfortable with it that I'm teaching and helping other people learn how to sell and sometimes make that transition as well to a more strategic type of sale versus just grinding and grinding in getting off that rollercoaster. If you will, that that sales can often be for many people. Yeah, no.
Awesome. All right. So I want to kind of unpack a little bit of that transition, right? So you said the first year it was a little bit tough, right? And then you saw a lot of success in, in year, two of transitioning from that more transactional to that more kind of [00:04:00] strategic kind of consulting sort of sell.
Right. Um, what, what made the big difference for you in, in, in, from, you know, having a year where you're maybe struggling a little bit to then, you know, finishing as number one in a huge company. Yeah, actually, I had a really good first year out of Salesforce. I ended up hitting my number my first year, and then I struggled for three years after that.
Oh, okay. So my I've been there eight years, so three of the years, I actually didn't hit plan and then I've hit it, you know, the past four years in a row. And I did hit it my first year, my first year, you know, I was just doing what I did in what I knew best to do, which is grind really actually. You know, call a lot of people.
I really didn't know better. I was making a lot of cold calls. I was calling CIO C-suite executives and I, you know, opportunity. That was a million dollar opportunity, very large hospital. And I brought in my team, I brought in leadership and they kind of closed everything for me. They ran the sales cadence.
So there is [00:05:00] a lesson there. And you know, when you put yourself out there, sometimes you get lucky, you find things, but not necessarily. Strategic manner. I was very much just grinding and trying to hustle like I did at Ricoh. And so I continued that the three years after that, and I didn't hit my plan. And the difficult thing was that I thought, you know, simply making a lot of cold calls would yield.
A lot of appointments would yield a lot of. Uh, opportunities would yield a lot of sales and I followed this model of, um, numbers. It doesn't work like that in strategic selling. It does not. Right. What makes a difference in, in what I've really learned over the years is what's more important than doing a lot of activity is doing more.
Focused activity and making sure you're solving a problem that is very important to executives. And once they know, and they've established trust with you and they believe you actually can help them, then they'll open up the entire doors of the company that, you know, do the diligence and discovery. And I wasn't really thinking [00:06:00] about that when I started, I didn't know.
I thought it was just like, okay, I'm going to pitch Salesforce and CRM and you know, the VPs of sales and try and share what I want.
Company you work for and how is interact with executives? And so it took me a long time. Uh, and then, uh, after three years struggling, I was in a place, you know, most of my self worth and my esteem. Rooted in being a top performer. I, I, you know, made a lot of money and been number one at my previous company for many years.
And then I got into Salesforce and I, I hit my number and I was like, you know, thought it was like the hottest shit in the world. And then all of a sudden I miss it three years in a row and it was like, Oh, maybe, I don't know everything. Maybe I don't know anything. And so. Hiring a coach. I got into a sales mastermind group.
I spent $50,000 on my own development to train, take a step back. And in the [00:07:00] development that I did was not necessarily teaching me how to sell at the enterprise level. What it was teaching me is how to actually. Focus on being of service to others. And that was the big shift that I made is I really now I step into a meeting and it's like, how can I support you?
What are you struggling with? And if I truly can't help them and it's a fit, then we'll go all in and we'll, we'll bring the team in and we'll make sure that, that we're focused and we're really delivering value to our clients. And if I can't, I'm fine walking w you know, walking away and I'll tell them, look, if you don't need help, you don't want help.
There's plenty of other clients that. You know, I can spend my time with my time is extremely valuable, extremely so I'm, you know, not, I'm not attached to any outcomes. Now what I'm doing is making sure every day I show up and I focused on the right types of conversations with the right people that can open doors and in terms of, um, creating large pipeline.
So I just wasn't doing that before. I wasn't thinking about the, who I was targeting. [00:08:00] But the messaging was what problems we were solving. I was just trying to cold call and get in front of a bunch of people and figured the rest would work itself out. And it didn't so, or, um, a much more focused and targeted with, with my outreach, my messaging.
And I do a lot more research going in as far as like who I'm trying to serve and you know, what can we really help them in the key areas that they're, they're trying to achieve as an organization? Um, all right, so there's a couple things I want to unpack there. So number one is, is, is it really took some working on yourself a little bit to be able to perform better at, you know, in your sales role?
A hundred percent. I mean, I think arrogance is the enemy of growth and when you think, you know, everything you're done, I'm sorry to say, but I'm always growing every day. I'm listening to podcasts every damn right. Know, my health, my mental health, my physical health, my development. It's just, it's just ingrained in me now, but it wasn't back then back then I thought I knew everything.
I thought it was the [00:09:00] shit. Like I said, I thought, you know, I was, you know, God's gift to the sales world and I wasn't, I wasn't, and, you know, having humility to realize I needed help and to raise my hand and actually ask for help was, was the first step in, in actually. Getting better. And that goes for a lot of areas in life, but yeah.
Yeah. I mean, that's, that's for marriage, that's for addiction. That's for like everything in my life where I know I don't have the answers. And I think that's really, really important is just, you know, if you're trying to do on your own and it's not working, you know, it's time to get a mentor. It's time to get a coach.
It's time to really, um, seek help from the outside. Cause clearly what you're doing is not working. And I fortunately had the, um, The humility to say, you know what? I don't know what I don't know. And I'm willing to invest in myself. Yeah, no, that's huge sales hustlers. So, you know, if you're struggling or something and you're having a hard time or whatever you're doing in your role is not working, that's something to consider.
Um, now I want to talk a little bit about maybe [00:10:00] the seller that was, is maybe stuck in that cycle of, of. The activity-based stuff. Right. And kind of switching to more of a strategic approach, which is what you talk a lot about. Um, and being more intentional about what you're doing and, and, and doing the research and making sure are people that you can actually help.
How are those two different types of sellers or how can a seller that's not used to that approach, transition to that? Like where do they start? Yeah, I think, um, it is two types of types of sellers, for sure. I think part of it has to do with what you sell. Okay. If you sell a. Uh, a hammer. You're going to be looking for nails.
Okay. If you sell one product, that's very specific. For example, I coach somebody who, um, sells automation for testing, for application testing. So she's going to the heads of. Testing and software development companies or large organizations that have software divisions that are building products and [00:11:00] helping talk to their head of testings that their CIO, she's not going to go to the head of sales.
She's not going to go to the service. She's going very specific to the leaders that, um, are, are buying what you selling. So I think the, the nature of what you sell can impact how strategic you have to be with that being said, she still needs to be strategic with her. Surging to make sure doing business today, whether it's manual or whether there's a competitor.
She is able to get in the door and be able to, um, you know, have, have an impactful, um, discussion with, with an executive that prompts the executive, start thinking twice and to start questioning what they're doing today. So there's a lot of ways to do that. But for me, I work at a company that has a massive bag.
So we, we sell. You know, sales automation, we sell collaboration. We just bought, uh, Slack. We sell BI tools like Tableau. I carry it all. So any single product that gets sold into any of my [00:12:00] enterprise, I get credit for it. So my job isn't to be a, um, You know, necessarily a product or a subject matter expert.
My job is to have really, really powerful business conversations with executives that are focused on what they want to accomplish. And I promise you most of the time we have a tool, not a hundred percent, but I would say nine out of 10 times we have a tool or a solution that can help address those problems.
And so getting really good, having. Powerful executive conversations is definitely different. Um, it's a different cadence at different motion than getting really good at and cold calls and getting a lot of opportunities. Because when you find an opportunity, a lot of times they're in the market already, or they're thinking ready?
My job is to put people in the market. My job is to take what they're doing today and show them, this is not the fastest path to what you want to be doing tomorrow. So for people that. Um, you know, are new to this and they kind of want to get in the more strategic selling. There's a few. So I would go, number one is I would [00:13:00] look at my YouTube channel.
I post a lot of videos on how to, um, you know, get more strategic, how to craft your message, how to, um, write, you know, the, the best kind of, um, tailored, personalized outreach, how to do research. Right? So I have some content you can reach out for me on LinkedIn, but there's also books out there that are very good at.
Helping one of the ones that I like is, is, uh, called gap selling right. And gap selling is, is, uh, by Keenan. And it's probably one of the closest ones that I've, I've seen to this spin selling is another one that is, is, um, similar in terms of the approach. So I would check that out and kind of try some of the techniques in those, in those books.
Cause it's really about understanding how they're doing things today. Where they want to go tomorrow and then basically showing them, Hey, the way you're doing things today is not the fastest path to get you to success. Right. And that's completely universal regardless of what you sell. Right? [00:14:00] So in the case of the woman who I coached that is selling testing automation, Um, what she needs to do is look at how they're testing today.
How long does it take to test? What does that do to the product development life cycle? How fast do they want to get products to the market? And how long is that bottleneck in that testing section that she solves for us? So she's going after the executives to have conversations about speed to market for products.
And what do you want to deliver? The key? The key to the strategic selling is making sure you understand where. A client is trying to go, what is their future state? And then doing diligent discovery to understand how they're doing things today. So you can go back up and say, Hey, you told me you were trying to do these things.
I did my discovery and found out that you're doing things today that are very manual that are very liberal labor. Some that take a lot of time [00:15:00] with our software, with. With our solution, we're going to help eliminate these manual processes that take five people a week, a month at a cost of X and in doing so you're also going to accelerate your testing cycle from, you know, three weeks today.
To now one week, cause you'll still need some people that double-check the automations, but instead, um, you know, you're not going to be writing all these manual scripts. Right. So again, I don't know anything about scripting. I don't know anything about the testing software she's selling, but I do know. The business conversation she needs to speak in the business conversation is how fast you want to get products out to market.
How fast you do it today. And would you mind if I take a look at your current process and make some recommendations and see if we can help you speed that up? And if I can't help you, I'll be the first one to tell you we're doing things great. But most of my clients, when we've gone through this exercise have actually found improvements the tune of 30% faster speed to market [00:16:00] by automating testing, which has done manually today.
So that's an example. You can give me a hundred products and I can in in 10 minutes, 15 minutes tell you the same for your specific product, how you would get that message. So it's not about what the product does. It's about what it does for the business. It's about. Helping people achieve their goals through eliminating things that they didn't know or problems half the time.
That's what strategic selling is. And in transactional selling it doesn't work like that. Transactional selling. You're looking for people that are already aware of your product that already have a need that already are thinking about this. Well, those are very few and far between. So what I do is I put people in the market and I help my clients put people in the market so that they can basically.
Um, add value and show businesses a better way of doing things. Cause all business owners or executives know is what they've been doing up to that point. They don't, you don't know until you are doing things differently, you don't know until you actually start and take the [00:17:00] leap. Right. And so a lot of times people are our biggest competitor is status quo by in my business.
And so I'm focused on how do I understand the status quo and reveal it to be very, very dangerous. Path, if they continue down that road. Yeah, no, I love gap selling and I love a couple of things that you said there, right? So number one, you need to know your, you need to know your product, but you need to know what problems your product solves for people to be able to be curious enough, to ask the right questions, to help those prospects identify problems that they didn't know exists.
And then you need to be able to be collaborative enough. To tie that into like, well, here's, here's the problem. If you don't solve this so that they actually are willing to go on that journey of your sales process, you've got to get them to admit it's not working today. Okay. And. If you've got someone who thinks they're doing [00:18:00] great, doesn't want help.
Bye-bye I'm not going to spend a minute with you, but if you have someone who is humble and who's smart enough to realize that maybe they don't have all the answers to what I was saying earlier for their own business. And they want outside help. That's really what you want to go after. You want to go after change agents, you want to go for executives and roles that can actually, you know, make things happen.
Right. If I have a good not being a good executive, they're bringing me. Into other people, they're basically introducing me to their department heads to their, um, you know, uh, peers so that, you know, they basically can get collective buy-in for whatever it is that we're going to propose, but I'm not selling the product I'm selling the process.
That's a key. I want everyone to take away. You're not selling the product. The product is the end outcome and output. The process is discovery. The process is getting their permission to go into their organization and look under the hood of how they're doing things today. Okay. [00:19:00] And the way that you sell the process is you establish credibility by having powerful executive conversations, by being able to connect by being able to share.
Customer stories of where you've helped similar customers that they might be, um, you know, going through to be by doing research and showing them you come prepare it. And you have a point of view on where you may be able to help. Right? Yeah. That's what lets executives say. Well, this person seems to know what they're talking about.
They seems to know our business and I'm going to give them a shot for nothing else. From the fact that they came prepared and they seem to know where I'm focused. So that, that's what I do. I think whether you're talking about spin or gap or bat or any of these, you know, challenger, any of these sales techniques, I get this question all the time, all the time.
Like what sales technique or process should I follow? And my answer is really simple. It's none. None of them. Okay. It's not about following a process. [00:20:00] Okay. It's about giving a damn about their success and I call this the Ian process. Okay. I'm going to do a bow, uh, like people ask me like, well, how are you?
How do you get it done? Okay. And there's three things that I do. I do. With all of my clients, it's not the way you're selling. Okay. In terms of like the, the, the actual, um, you know, the, the technique or the methodology you're following. Okay. You pick one pick gap, selling, pick, spin, pick challenge. I don't care.
That's not what matters. Okay. They're all good. They're all good. Keenan's great. Every everyone's great that teaches this stuff, but that's not what makes a person great at sales? All right. So give it to us. What does, what makes a person great at sales is being authentic and truly taking an interest in their business and [00:21:00] instead of worrying about yourself.
So I call this Ian seller. So keeping it really unprofessional and simple, I stands for interest. Okay. That means be interested in them. Not interesting too many people are showing up and trying to be interesting. And when you're interesting, you know, because it's a repellent to people because it's like, Oh, this person wants to do is.
Talk about themselves. You ever had that family with their product or their features or their benefits or their logos, or that just tells you all about their stuff. And doesn't even ask about you, like, how do you deal with that person? You want to run out, get out of Dodge. So, and they're telling you the same stuff they said last time you saw him a hundred percent.
Exactly. It's always the same shit. So that's comes across to clients as you know, when you, when you're going, showing up and throwing up. Okay. And it's commissioned breath. Instead of worrying about being interesting and how you're perceived take an interest in them, show up and [00:22:00] literally throw the deck out, throw the first call deck and just ask them, you know, why'd you take the meeting.
My goal is to help serve you. I want to know what you're focused on. What are your biggest challenges? What are your biggest priorities for the next six months to a year? And if I ask you what good looks like in a year, you know, what does that, what does that look like? And then shut up. Just that simple interest of hearing what they care about.
Then I could start to think about, okay, can I help? Can I not, you know where where's the best area? And I think so many people are uncomfortable. They just pigeon themselves into, I have this product, I can solve this problem. And, you know, that's where I'm going to go. After when the reality is. That clients don't care about that clients care about their business.
They care about their goals. And if you don't take the time to understand what their business is, how they make money, what products they sell and what their goals are. Good luck trying to squeeze your product. And it's going to be very difficult. It's going to feel like friction. So that's what the interest is.
Status quo is going to win every talk. The, a stands for authentic. [00:23:00] Okay is authentic. That means being yourself. Okay. I used to think a suit and tie for years I wore and I memorized scripts and I try and that's the problem with trying to follow a sales methodology is you're not being yourself. You're trying to focus so much on the method that you're not necessarily going and truly showing up authentically in service of other people.
So being authentic means like being real with them, right? Yeah. Taking a, you might not be, you might not be everybody's flavor and that's fine. Exactly. I know I'm not everyone's flavor. I can be a little bit rough around the edges. I can, you know, I got a lot of people dressing up on the zooms and I'm always dressed.
Like I am now. I got to maybe a button down and a hat. You know what? I don't care. I don't care if I've run a 20 million AR business, or if I'm talking to my best friend, I'm going to be me. So. Authenticity means being you, regardless of where you are being aligned, knowing who you are and showing up as your best self and your true self every day for your clients, the same way you would show up for your family and your friends.
You want to show up for your clients. And if you show up bad for [00:24:00] your family and friends, you're gonna show up bad for your clients too. So there's a big gap disconnect there. So being your whole self in all aspects of that, that's online and offline. A hundred percent, right? Because you're always online.
You're never offline. Okay. You're always online. If you're living life the right way, you're always, you're always activated. You're always fired. You're not trying to escape and I've battled with addiction and I've gone through my share of offline. And I used to be all in. Or all out for many, many years, and it's not the way to go, right?
Because truly there's a disconnect there. You want to be the same person, all aspects of life. That's where true happiness, joy, and fulfillment comes from the same way you show up for you on this podcast. That same way. I'm going to show up for my clients and we're going to show up for my family, right?
I'm here, I'm present. I'm committed to your success. So that's what the authenticity means is being yourself, being your true self, not being what you want you think or want others, or you perceive that others want you to be. And then the last and the aunt is just need right need. Right. So make sure that [00:25:00] you uncover their need.
Right. And that's being very specific with your discovery questions to very quickly ascertain whether or not. You can be a fit for solving the problem. So the questions I just gave you about their goals, their priorities, right? You want to listen, you want to dig deeper. You want to find out why it's not working.
You want to find out, you know, what specifically, you know, challenges, what's the impact of their challenges. How are you thinking about going about solving those challenges? And if what they're faced with them and they're struggling with is something you can help with. Boom, you got the need. So if you're interested, you're authentic and there's a need, the rest will take care of itself.
The rest is just execution, making sure you leverage your team, making sure you put together the right type of proposal, making sure you have a good business case that the demo is very specific to their needs. Right? Need is something that goes. Along the entire way, but the real need is like, what do they need to accomplish to be successful in their role?
Right? You want to get to that human need, right? We [00:26:00] all have needs. Right? So uncovering what their needs are, both at the individual level. And at the business level is. Massive cause then the rest of their entire sales cycle, you could always go back to that need is like, this is helping, you told me you need to hit the skull.
You told me to go. You need to go live by this date. You told me you need to grow sales by 30%. You told me you need to. Act Nita's goals, right? That's really what it is. It's like, what are your top level goals that you need to hit this year to be successful and then show how your product or service can map to that specific knee.
And that's it, if you do those three things, if you practice your and selling your you're going to be golden. Yeah. And I think to just add to the need, right? Like as being everybody has needs, but forcing your product to meet their needs is where you get yourself in a lot of trouble. So being confident enough and honest enough to be like, okay, here's your needs, but.
Maybe my product doesn't fit those needs or of your priorities right now. And that's okay. And, and also to that point, like, [00:27:00] don't jump to that conclusion too quickly. You might like jump to that. After discovery, don't jump to that after the first meeting. Right? So first meeting, if, if I I'll give you one more example, we're doing a big, um, it's called an ignite.
It's a strategic engagement where we bring in a whole team of thought leaders and architects and engineers and designers. And we basically. It's to drive digital transformation. It's our most strategic initiative and investment that we can make an a, in a discovery process. It's called ignite, and I'm doing one right now.
And the night is around the delivery organization. When you think delivery, you think like software development and getting products up to market. So a lot of the tools that they have that delivery organization are not tools that Salesforce necessarily provides. Things like JIRA for managing, um, product development and bugs, and that kind of thing.
Things like service now for ticket management. But I said, you know, maybe we're going to help in some areas. Maybe we won't, but I promise you let's, let's do the discovery and I'll be, I'll be [00:28:00] honest with you early on. I'll tell you if it's down a road that we're not able to help and sure enough. Um, I found that the biggest challenge that this client is having is actually, there's a lot of tools, but the tools don't talk to each other and there's not a lot of visibility across globally, what everyone's doing.
So they're trying to standardize processes is trying to standardize systems. Well, sure enough, we have a. A platform called MuleSoft and MuleSoft can take data from all these different disparate systems and surface it to one layer where the executives can get visibility through Tableau or through Salesforce dashboards as to the activities, what with what's going on.
There's also things that, you know, when there's requests, we have a ticketing engine that can get the requests centrally pooled and acted upon improved visibility. So. Yes. We're not replacing every little tool that they're using today, but we definitely have some, uh, platforms that can help them with minimizing the amount of handoffs across this organization.
With improving visibility, with collaboration, they can get on Slack. There's so much you can do so. Just, you know, [00:29:00] don't go in with a set idea that you can only help in one area. So my biggest deals have been the most creative where I was selling, you know, some things that other people hadn't thought of because it's easy to put yourself in a box and say, Oh, we only do these things.
But the reality is that, um, sometimes by doing deep discovery, you'll find areas that you can impact, even if they're not necessarily visible, you know, on the surface initially. Um, all right. So much good stuff in there. I didn't want to interrupt the flow that you're on, but there's one question I've been dying to ask you.
Sure. So we talked a lot about the strategic selling and the types of conversations and the Ian method. Which, um, I'm guessing one day there'll be a book on the Ian method. I just made a joke because everyone keeps asking me what method do you want? And, and it's, it's so important. Cause my success has not been based on a method it's been showing up and actually caring and being myself and the getting my team.
And like when clients see commitment, they see passion, they see energy. That's that's my. Method is like show up [00:30:00] and care and, you know, help them focus on helping them and being of service. It's not going to be called the or nothing, but I just throw yes, there will be some, I'll put some structure around how I sell it at some point that's more digestible, but that's it right?
It's it's, it's not like the best performers are not going and necessarily, um, following a method what they're doing or a script or playbook or so much focus on sales enablement. I think it's all fine. But yeah. That misses the point. If you're following a script, you're not being authentic, right? If you're trying to follow an exact method, you're not in the moment where you can listen and be present and ask questions.
So just like really having, like that's what I teach is executive conversations and how to be in that moment. Just the way you and I are talking is where I'm going to talk with an executive. It's no different right now without mine. You do want to prepare your questions. Right in terms of what you want to get out of the meeting, what discovery want to ask you?
Do you want to come with a point of view on where you think you can help, you want to do your research, knowing what you care about and invalidating with them. Hey, I saw you were [00:31:00] caring about these things, these still important, or is there something else that shows preparation that gets the credibility, but then once you do that, you're in the moment and you're having the conversation, right?
So. There is pre-work it doesn't mean just show up and Hey, how you doing? Let's chat. Let's be back. Yeah. Tell me more about your business is not prepared. That's not what I mean by being authentic at all. Right. But once you're in that conversation, you know, that's where. Like that presence in that ability to listen and ask questions and take an interest shines through it.
I think that's where people really struggle in. There's just not a lot of content or teaching around that. So that's what I'm trying to do with some of my impactful executive conversations content. And some of my podcast episodes is kind of emphasized like that method of like, cause people buy from people.
People buy from people. And when people believe that you can help them and that you're interested in them, your odds of getting a sale are just so much greater regardless of what method you use. So, [00:32:00] yeah, and the way I can think of an example of this as like, When you're, when you're interviewing people, right.
You lead a team, right. And you're interviewing people. You can tell the people that came, did their research, did their homework and came prepared versus the ones that didn't that's right. That's right. All right. So the question I wanted to ask you is this, so, so we talked about the in method, we talk about having these conversations.
How do people get more of these conversations? Like, let's go back a little bit for pre discovery. How do you reach out? To these executives to get more of these comments. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, There's a few things. You first, you need to, you identify what executives you're going after. That may seem basic, but that, that takes time, right?
So who are the executives at the companies that you want to target? And you should have, I have a list of, you know, three to five people per company. So you don't want to just like. Let's just say, um, I'm selling, uh, sales software, for [00:33:00] example, just keep it simple. There's a chief revenue officer might be hard to get to, but there's also a VP of sales office, uh, operations.
There's an SVP of sales. There's a president of sales just at Salesforce. Those are titles that we all have in other companies. There's going to be a VP of sales. There's going to be multiple on sales ops folks. So getting all of those people actually identified. Is step one. Okay. The second thing you need to do, which is really important.
And, and, and people don't do this because they're afraid. They're afraid that they're not going to add value. They're afraid that, you know, um, Hey, what can I do? This is a senior executive, what are they going to take a meeting from me for? And they don't do it. And that's the number one thing, like I said, that first year in sales, right?
I ended up hating my planet Salesforce simply because I reached out over and over and over again to a CIO because I didn't know any better because that was the cadence I was used to doing. So just literally, I mean, I wasn't great at the messaging, but I did enough of it where I finally, he hated Microsoft and happening.
You don't want to replace SharePoint. So I got lucky in that sense, but that was kind of a one-off situation, [00:34:00] but it proves the point, like just actually making the calls, sending the emails. Being there being present, following up does yield rewards a lot of the times. So with that being said, once you've had your, your list of who you're targeting, then what you wanna do is you want to.
Do your research on those individuals before you ever reach out? So you want to, you know, what I do is, is, um, really a four, four prong research. So I want to research their LinkedIn profile. Right. And see where they've worked, who are, who they're connected with that I might know, I want to research, you know, if anyone else at our company has worked with them in the past and try and get a warm intro, if I can, right.
I'm always going to try and get a warm intro via text message. Um, There, there's a guy, Justin Welsh. Do you know who that is? He's he's on LinkedIn and I wanted to connect with him just cause I have my personal brand and business. I like what he's doing with some of his course creation and I wanted to connect with him.
So I went and looked at him and I found out actually one of the, um, clients that he's coaching is, is one of the clients that I actually coach [00:35:00] myself. Right. So he's doing some consulting there and I'm like reach out to the CEO. I said, make an intro to Justin. He's like, great. And now we're connected and we're going to meet.
Um, next week. So it's literally, that's the first order. If you don't have this connections, there's no common bond where you want to do is number two is look at what they're posting, look at what they're posting on LinkedIn. Look what they're commenting on and, you know, see, um, kind of get, get a start to build a little bit of, of, uh, idea of what's important to them.
Do not look where they went to college or what sports seems. They like what their interests are. That's that's that's. Like rookie shit. That's rookie like that. It's so rookie that it actually hurts you more than it helps you because you're faking. You're faking, giving a shit. Yes, I agree. So I don't care about that.
That's like the small talk stuff and it doesn't matter. Right. I don't care if they went to Cal. I don't care if they live in Alsigando. What I care about is what they're trying to do with their business. So what I look at is like, what are they posting on? I always will Google [00:36:00] them always to basically see, um, what, what.
News articles they've appeared on because remember, these are executives, a lot of times they're startups or larger companies and they're going to be public. Right. So I always will Google them and I'll look in the video section or I'll look in the new section to see, you know, what they've, what they've talked about.
And for the most part, if you're talking about a C-suite at a decent sized company, they're going to have a lot of stuff. So the here's the step three, which no one does. Right. So people might do their research for five minutes and CS connect and they stop there. So the Googling them. I will take the time to watch the videos they've been in.
If they'd been on a podcast, I will listen to the pockets that that's the big deal. And then I'll take notes and I'll extract, what are they talking about that I can help with? Right. So I I've done this, you know, many times and my success rate and setting meetings, it's probably. 75% with the C-suite doing it this way.
Right? So if someone's on a podcast, I'll say, Hey, I listened to your podcast. Thanks for going on this. I also like to go on podcasts myself and I appreciate it. You [00:37:00] know, you're sharing your guests with other, other people. So I'll build that connection right there. I'll build something in comments. So you want to give a sincere compliment.
Then you want to do a link right. With why you want to get a meeting. So, um, I'll say in the podcast you shared that, you know, one of the keys to your success. Has been goal setting and that every year you reset your goals. Um, I run. Strategic sales for Salesforce. And, you know, we, um, are focused on helping our customers better connect with your customers.
And I'd love to spend, you know, 15 minutes, um, really trying to understand what are your top goals and see if we can help you with some of these things. Cause you didn't get into that on the podcast. And I believe we can help. Here's some other clients that we've worked with already, and by the way, where you're using us in these, in these departments, can we set up some time to me?
And, you know, then I'll give a link to Calendly or I'll give a link to Salesforce inbox where they, it makes it really easy for them to schedule. And if they don't write back, I'll follow up again, just to surface on the top of their inbox. But most of the time they do write back. So that's kinda, [00:38:00] my, my method is I make it all about them.
You know, I took the time to listen. Here's what you said. Here's how I think we can help you. I'd love to meet, to learn a little bit more. Would you be interested in setting up some time? Right. So I have a script. I won't say a script. It's a template that I use for kind of plugging in those key components, but giving a sincere compliment, right.
Going through and giving your point of view and then making a call to action is kind of the, the, the, you know, the structure, the framework that I use to book these meetings, but the key where most people fail is like, literally they're doing some company research and like, Hey, you know, here's your website.
They're not doing that individual research. The individual, someone writes me. Or even if they do it, they're doing it in a more general way. Hey, I loved your article on Forbes rather than actually really taking the time to read the article and extract something that you can tie into your message. That's the key, right?
So you want to link it. So you're going to say in this article, you said X, Y, and Z. I believe we can help you here in this specific [00:39:00] area. And here's another company that we've also helped similar. I'd love to set up some time to learn a little bit more about how you're doing things. Today and see if there's an opportunity to help you accelerate some of these goals that you share.
So I'm talking literally, you know, just freeform with you right now, but this is exactly how I would approach it in that same type of format with a client. And then I'm going to, then I'm going to stock them right. Then it, then it becomes following up. It becomes phone getting cell texting. And it's like eventually like, okay.
Yeah. Yeah. Cause, cause if your message is good, most people will be interested, but that doesn't mean they're not busy. They're still gonna be super busy. They're still going to be. You know, focused on other things. So you really do need to make sure that you respect people's time and that you realize, look just because you're falling up.
Doesn't mean you're annoying. You're pestering. I think most people give up. I read, I don't know if it was gong or another study, but most people give up after three outreaches when on average six, about seven touchpoints to get this meeting. And that's been my experience. So even after you met with them the first time, then you have to keep following up to get that discovery.
[00:40:00] And if you, if you've done that level of research, I would hope you're going to follow up at least eight times. This is my philosophy on it, right. Just because they didn't get back to you doesn't mean they're not interested. It just means they're busy. If you've done your diligence and you know, you can help someone it's your obligation to keep following up and let them tell you, no, we can't help you until proven wrong.
Right. So just because they're not responding doesn't mean anything. And I just it's so basic, but people. Get like this stupid story. They tell themselves that they're bothering someone when that's not the real at all. Like, I can't tell you how many times, even today when I call there's a, there's a head, he's the chief architect at a big company I support and I'll like, send him four or five emails, nothing.
And everyone's freaking out, like, why does he get back to us with a sale? And then I'll call a cell phone. They'll pick up. He's like, yes, yes. I need this. I need it yesterday. I've been slammed. Sorry about that. I. More often than not. Executives are apologizing to me. True story apologizing about not getting back because they see the message and they want to respond, [00:41:00] but they're busy.
Their calendars are slammed day in and day out. It takes weeks sometimes to get on. So you just got to be there. You just gotta be there, um, constantly so that when you do get them, they can say, yes, let's, let's get some time. So that's kind of. I think a real thing, even if you have the best message, even if you have the right outreach and the most personalized tailor thing, even if your PR problem, your product can solve the biggest problem they have, they still might not get back to you just cause they're busy.
So that's an important point. The followup is key. The persistence is key and that's really, for me, how I've been able to be successful, you know, for, for many years in a row. Yeah. Awesome. Ian, thanks so much. I know we went a little bit over, uh, really appreciate you hopping on here on your vacation, telling us about the Ian method.
Let's let's close it out. Let folks know where they can find more of your videos, the resources that you put out and anything else you want to promote? Well, this is the sales hustle. Podcast, right. [00:42:00] And the importance of hustle in making it happen and having that will to win. I cannot overstate the importance of that.
Right. People give up, they get rejected, they stop, they doubt themselves. Sometimes that will the, when that hustle, that grind, that grit is what it takes. And that's been, I've hit, I've been selling 18 years and I hit my quarter 15 of those 18 years. Okay. And the ones I didn't, I already explained why I didn't cause it was strategic and I didn't know how to do strategic selling, but now it's been again.
Yeah. You know, four years in a row. So I now on a mission to teach this stuff to folks, right? If you're feel like you're in a grind, if you feel like you're on that rollercoaster, if you're, you know, trying to make improvements to yourself, so you can really get to that next level. In sales, I'm committed to serving and helping.
I put out videos every single week on YouTube, their sales training videos, just go to youtube.com/in Kodiak. I also. Best way to get me is LinkedIn. Right? Um, LinkedIn, uh, just, just request a connection with me or shoot me a DM [00:43:00] and I'll point you to my YouTube channel and also point you to my newsletter.
So every week I send out a new newsletter with those same videos of sales training content, which is, um, Now it's almost to 700 people, so it's grown quite a bit organically and people are getting a lot of value. That's the easiest, fastest way to kind of receive the coaching and training. If you want more hands on training and more, you know, consulting for your business or for your own, um, you know, for your own career.
Um, just go to my website is WW dot Ian kodiak.com/contact as little contact form. Get on my wait list. I'm backed up by 50 people. It's about a six month wait list, but get on there. I do get back to everyone. It's a long wait list cause I am at Salesforce and that is my main focus, but I do do offer one-on-one training and consulting when time allows.
So get on there and you'll get in the queue and I'll help you as soon as I'm able to on a more personalized level, if that's what you feel called or need to have. Awesome. We will drop all those links in the show notes for you. Sales hustlers. If you're listening to today's [00:44:00] episode and you enjoyed it, write us a review, share with your friends and we're listening for your feet.
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. If the answer is yes, then I want you to go over to sales, cast.com, 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.
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