On this episode, Josh speaks with Jeff Brandeis, Founder of Brandeis Training Solutions. They discuss the fact that sales are everywhere, in every aspect of your life. They also talk about why many business owners may resist thinking of themselves as sales people.
Jeff Brandeis is a sales trainer, sales coach and author with over 25 years of experience who has successfully helped and lead professionals to increase their sales while working for Wolters Kluwer, QuickFee and averQ by focusing on specific problems within companies and creating repeatable sales processes while increasing revenue even in a difficult economy.
In addition, Brandeis is the Founder and CEO of Brandeis Training Solutions and author of the recently released book, Becoming a Rainmaker A Guide for Accountants and CPA’s, with two more in the works.
In today’s episode you will learn about:
- Why people like to say “I’m not in sales”?
- What is the most important thing in sales?
- How to hold a conversation and ask questions?
- How to know where are you on the road to getting a sale?
Narrator: Welcome to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where you’ll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You’ll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when emergency strikes, fully fund the growth program, and fund your retirement program. When you do this, you will have a sale‑ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want, in the way you want.
In Cracking the Cash Flow Code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning, and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.
Josh Patrick: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick and you’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code.
And today my guest today is Jeff Brandeis. And Jeff is the CEO of Brandeis Training Solutions. And if you’re watching this on Facebook, or YouTube, you just saw his contact information wander up on your screen.
But before I bring Jeff on, I’ve been forgetting to do this on a pretty regular basis, and I want to make sure I don’t forget to do this this time which is, if you’re listening to this podcast, which I assume you’re doing at some point, I hope you go to wherever you listen your podcast and give us an honest rating and review. It’s a really important thing to do, so I hope you do it. And I say thank you in advance. So now that I’ve given you the ad for doing our rating and review, let’s bring Jeff in and start the conversation.
Hey, Jeff how are you today?
Jeff: I’m doing great, Josh. Thank you so much for having me.
Josh: Oh, it’s my pleasure. And you’re a sales training guy who is a recovering CPA?
Jeff: Yes. I made a huge transition of a career from going accounting and moved into sales. You don’t find too many accountants that actually make that kind of transition.
Josh: Well, actually, if you’re a partner at one of those big A firmsthat you started at and you can’t sell you don’t make partner, unless you’re a technical wizard.
Jeff: That’s very true. You need to be able to go through the ranks. And these days, like you just said, to make honor. The term that they use right now is called a rainmaker–
Jeff: –that you need to become a rainmaker in the firm which is basically bring revenue in the in the door to become a partner. So, yes, very true.
Josh: Yes. The fact that we think that– and one of the biggest misnomers in the world is people say, “Well, I’m not in sales.” Let’s start there because, you know, it really kind of is an interesting thing is that I like everyone to think they’re in sales.
Jeff: I agree.
Josh: So, why is it, do you think, people like to say, “I’m not in sales”?
Jeff: Sales seems to have this negativity term because people think of sales and they think of– no offense, this industry, like the used car sales guy that basically a salesman. You know, they’re typically commission based. They’re usually pushy personalities. And, again, I’m not trying to stereotype any industry or any person, but I think it’s just from the connotation of “I’m in sales” it means, Uh-oh. If I’m a customer, my barrier goes up, my wall goes up because I don’t want to get sold to.
Josh: The truth is, you know, if you want to get a job, you’re in sales. If you want someone to do something, you’re in sales. And where I stand, sales is sort of around influencing.
Jeff: It definitely is influencing and you just even go it one step farther, you know, you’re, candidly, you’re back in the– a year ago, you’re at a bar, you’re meeting somebody, you’re trying to date somebody, you’re trying to ask someone to go out – you’re selling. You’re selling yourself. You’re selling your personality. There’s an offer, there’s an acceptance, or there’s a rejection. So, yes, sales is always around us.
Josh: So, when you coach people on sales, what’s the first thing you start off with?
Jeff: First thing I start off with, when I coach people, is to build rapport. At the end of the day, I think most people will agree, people will buy from people who they like and trust. And the best way to build that trust is to build rapport. So, ask questions to get that person speaking. Tell them about themselves. Ask them about their business. Ask them about what their challenges are. And get them to come out and have them speak. The less you talk, when you’re first meeting somebody, candidly, I feel, the better off you you’re going to be in the long run.
Josh: So, how important is it to let the person know that you’re speaking with that you understand their problems through the questions you’re asking?
Jeff: It is important to recognize their challenges, their problems, and be able to– you know, candidly, you don’t know the answer and you don’t understand the problem, you just ask another question to dig a little deeper.
Sometimes, a lot of times, people will give you an answer but it’s really to really find out how much do you really know about them, how much homework you’ve done, and will you actually ask that next question to dig a little deeper? And I think that’s a challenge where I see a lot of sales folks stop. They ask that superficial question. They get kind of a superficial answer, if you would. And they don’t follow it up with a, “Can you explain more about that challenge? Help me understand deeper, really, where you get stuck or what objections do you hear from your clients when you’re trying to sell them your products?” And I think it’s those follow‑up questions that really, you know, separates the, you know, salespeople, in general.
Josh: How many follow‑up questions do you coach your folks to ask?
Jeff: I don’t really have a set number. I think, candidly, part of it is really depending upon how that person is responding to you. You know, I think you should have– you don’t want to come at them like a rapid‑fire question where they feel like they’re now on the hot seat and you’re just going to hit them with 10 to 20 questions because that makes them feel very uncomfortable. So, I think two or three, try to understand really what their challenges are. And then, move on to a little different area and maybe pick up another area of concern.
And I try to make these my discovery calls where I can discover maybe two, three, or four different things that are going on with that company, with that individual, that they’re challenged with as opposed to just, you know, opening one wound, if you would, and digging deeper and digging that knife in and making it more painful.
So, in my mind, you’ve got to step back and then take them on to another course. And there’s always good things going on also. And you also should be able to get some of their goods. So, “What’s working?” and get them comfortable about speaking about their business.
Josh: Yeah, I’m a big fan of what I call conversational questions–
Josh: Meaning that, in my first meeting with somebody, which usually goes for somewhere around an hour to two hours because we do a thing called the alignment conversation, for the first two‑thirds of the conversation, all I do is ask questions. And I have a format for doing it. And it gets people really to have an understanding that I get a deep understanding of where they’re from because I know the questions to ask.
Yeah. I like the idea of having scripts, quite candidly, where you understand where you want to go, where you want to wind up. I think, also, you probably see this in some sales folks too, and they, with all due respect, they wing it. And, you know, your prospect knows when you’re winging it and you’re making stuff up, too. So, I think, it’s, you know, having a cadence and having that script.
I have one as well, when I speak to my prospects. So, I think it keeps you on track. And that’s very important as well when you’re go running a sales call.
Josh: You know, mine’s not so much a script as it is a framework because I basically want to know four things. I use those four things I want to find out as a framework and we have a conversation around that so I can figure out what those four things are. And then, I go there.
So, I’m a big fan of systems and processes. Not that I like doing them myself, but I know how important they are for business success. And one of the biggest mistakes and we mostly are talking to blue collar businesses here where they probably don’t have a salesperson and the owner goes out and does some selling in between jobs. What would you say to that person about why they need to develop a sales process to know where they are on the road to getting a sale?
Jeff: You hit a great point there. Sales process is so important in every company no matter what you’re selling, quite candidly. You need to be able to have a process that will generally be able to predict when revenue is going to be coming in the door. You need to know what stage a potential customer is in so you can have that forecastable revenue.
Now, as you mentioned, you know, I was in public accounting for five years and one thing I learned is, is process. You know, CPA firms have a process to getting a tax return out the door, or doing a write up, or doing an audit. And just like this entrepreneur has a process probably for, you know, getting their products in the door or inventory control, you know, their billing functions. They need that same control process in sales. They need to have, to know how the marketing is working. What kind of lead conversions are they getting from their marketing? What’s their close ratios percentages and even the average days that it takes them to close a sale? These are all statistics that make them better entrepreneurs and better owners. And, as I said earlier, it gives them that ability, as they learn their sales cycle, to know when that revenue is going to come in the door so that they can judge paying bills, judge other people, and it just makes them much a better owner.
Josh: So, why is it that you think that most private business owners resist having a sales process so hard? I mean, for me, every time I say, “You need a sales process,” I always get a lot of pushback.
Jeff: Yeah, I do, too.
I think there’s no school for sales. You know, you can go to college and you can get a degree in marketing. You can go to college and get a degree in business but there’s no degree in sales. It’s kind of odd but, like you said earlier, we sell every day. Sales is part of us.
So, I think, there’s a reluctance because they don’t know and they don’t believe that sales is actually a craft as well which is another thing I talk about in that you need to learn and you need to get better at sales which, basically, improves your ability to get more sales in the door.
It’s just something that they never really got trained on in college or at a young age, if they went from college and just went straight to be an entrepreneur. It’s just, “I’ll take my product, I’ll do my marketing. And I’ll put my product up on the internet. And I’ll make sales that way.” So, I think there is a reluctance to really, you know, go that other aspect of building that sales process which they really should have – they must have.
Josh: The truth is, most private business owners, especially blue‑collar private business owners, have never been to business school. In fact, many of them had never been to college. So, you know, the fact that they didn’t get training, they’ve got no business training. They just were good at something and they opened the business up doing whatever that something was. And most of those folks never bothered to learn any business skills. They just keep doing what they’re doing and managing to make a little bit of money along the way.
Jeff: That’s true. So, yeah, they either went to school or they didn’t go to school and they just built the business on their own.
And, again, you know, sales training is one of those also things I find seems to be one of those, “Oh, I don’t need sales training. I don’t.” You know, it’s one of those, “I don’t have the money for sales training.” But the return on investment to learning how to properly and correctly do sales is tremendous. And that’s, you know, the part that I find sometimes very frustrating when I do speak to those entrepreneurs is they’ll invest in a program, in a software program or a marketing program, and they yet won’t invest in themselves in making themselves better in sales and to really be able to see if their investment is really paying off from a sales perspective.
Josh: So, why do you think that’s true?
Jeff: It’s a mindset. It really is. And it’s a mindset that I work very hard, obviously, trying to overcome because I think, you know, from a sales training perspective is, I hear all the time, “Oh, I don’t have time to go sit through sales training.” And, candidly, I mean, we offer sales training online. You can watch it. They’re short clips, four to seven minutes a pop.
People think, “If I sit through a sales class, it’s these two‑ to three‑hour sessions and, you know, they sit back, get some popcorn, and they watch the video. It’s not like that. It shouldn’t be like that. The sales training should be interactive. There should be a give and take. There should be workbooks that you’re completing while you’re sitting through the training. There should be short quizzes at the end of the videos, if you’re doing it that way.
And, obviously, nowadays with, you know, virtual training, we can do training in an hour over the web, you know, early in the morning, late at night, and we can accomplish what you need. It will make you better. It will make your stronger.
Josh: Yeah. The challenge is with online courses, and you probably know that statistic as well as anybody, I think it’s something like 7% of people who buy an online course never complete it.
By the way, you just hit the nail on the head on why they don’t get completed. Too many of these online courses have lessons that go for half an hour, 45 minutes, an hour. And my god, nobody is going to sit in front of a computer for an hour watching a video. And the way you’re doing it, with the four to four‑ to seven‑minute clips and then an exercise afterwards, 15 minutes, and you’re done for the day.
Jeff: Yes. You can knock out a chapter very easily in 15 minutes. And they’re great, little, short chapters of videos. You know, again, even if you’re listening to it in your car, while you’re going to work or, you know, you’re having lunch, you can take those 10‑ or 15‑minute breaks and be productive.
Josh: The only online courses I’ve ever come close to completing are the ones that are organized like the way you are. And, frankly, thankfully, many of the online teachers have now figured this out and have stopped the one‑hour dragging on forever that nobody ever finishes because we don’t– I don’t know about you, I don’t have an hour to sit in front of the computer and watch a stupid video.
Jeff: I want to bring one other aspect into this, if I may, Josh–
Jeff: –and it’s another thing we teach. When you’re doing a presentation to somebody, how people learn is how people buy. Well, I’ll repeat that – how people learn is how people buy. The words that they use is so important on how you have to actually switch your presentation to their style of learning. And you take that into your videos where people are visual but auditory type of people.
So, what we do in our training, is we have workbooks that they can print out. We have screens. On the screen, we put the keywords. We ask people to write keywords down into these workbooks.
So, whether you’re a visual learner or you’re an auditory learner, or the other third way is the kinesthetic learner, we cover all three in our courses. And when you switch your presentation to match the people’s learning style, even in today’s world, where you really need to, when we’re doing it virtually, it’s so important to understand how your buyers or how your people learn. And if you can match your presentation to their learning style, you build rapport three times faster, in one‑third the time.
Josh: Yep, no question about that.
I’m also a big fan of stories in selling. And I’m a huge fan of Donald Miller’s StoryBrand. He doesn’t know it, but I’ve been pushing his stuff all over the place because it’s such a good framework for whatever you’re doing. I mean, I actually use the project framework to prepare for meetings because then I know what the problem is, and what I’m trying to solve, and what the person wants that I’m talking with. And I go through their framework and I’m telling them stories that help them understand that I understand and I can challenge them along the way, which brings me to my favorite sales book of all times, the Challenger Sale. I have been selling that way for my entire life. And the Challenger Sale, for those who don’t know, is a book I highly recommend you read. In fact, I think it should be required reading. Is that what their research has shown is that, “Oh yes, you do want to build rapport with a person who’s buying from you but, more importantly, you want to challenge them to think differently about their problem and then have– and this is the important part, and then have a solution for that different thought process that makes you at least appear to be different than all your peers.
Jeff: Agree. Yes, storytelling is so important these days. Especially when you’re talking about communications, and that’s one of the classes that we do teach. The examples I actually speak about, during training, are personal stories of how you can take your business communication skills and bring them into your personal life.
And one of the stories I actually tell and, if I have two minutes, I’d like to tell this is, I have a friend of mine whose son, Adam, went to sixth grade. And he was previously an A student. He got to sixth grade and D’s and F’s. And they want to put him on drugs because he got so disruptive. I’ll make the long story short is, what happened was, in sixth grade, they went to textbooks. In grades one through five, they were workbooks, so he was able to write in the workbook. In sixth grade it wasn’t allowed, and he was a visual learner.
So, when you’re able to– again,especially in today’s world where you have more homeschooling going on, your children need to learn differently as well and you need to communicate with them differently. So, the skill sets that you learn in business definitely can transcend itself and transform itself to your personal life.
Jeff, so give me a book or two that you think would be useful for people to read if they want to become better at sales.
Jeff: Oh, there’s definitely– Challenger Saleis definitely good out there. SPIN Sellingis another one. Actually, I’m about to release a book called The Done Deal of Sales Guy, a Handbook. Actually, it goes back to talking about what you asked me about earlier, is having a sales process. So, this defines really a five‑step process from gaining access, understanding the needs of your prospect, you know, doing a presentation or executing a demo. Then, making sure you’re in agreement with that prospect. And then, it’s time to buy. So, it really is a quick five‑step process. It’s a book that’s about to hit Amazon. So, thank you for that great segue lead in. So, I truly appreciate it.
But I am a Challenger fan as well and I do like SPIN Sellingas well.
Josh: So, what is the thesis of SPIN Selling? I haven’t read it, I’ve heard about it, certainly.
Jeff: Well, it certainly, it’s a similar philosophy of being able to understand your prospect’s needs and be able to give them a different way of thinking of how they should be able to challenge themselves, if you would, and not to just take away from challenge but, you know, the basic concepts of sales still come down to being able to make your person that you speaking to think about what they’re doing, that there are other ways that they should be open to and to have them spin their thoughts, if you would, get their head thinking about alternatives because, as you know, you know, like, I know, if something’s not working, the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And, unfortunately, that seems to happen, you know, a little bit more often than I’d like to see in businesses. So, Spin kind of takes that same concept but puts in a little different, you know, vernacular, if you would, versus the Challenge but both books will complement themselves really well.
So, Jeff, unfortunately, we are out of time. And I’m going to bet that some of the folks listening to this today are going to want to find you. So, since not everybody watches this on YouTube or Facebook, where they can see your information, how would they go about finding you?
Jeff: On the web, they can find me at everybodysellssomething.com. That’s everybodysellssomething.com. Or, if you’d like to make an appointment with me, you’ll have a free consultation, you can go to speakwithjeff, and it’s spelled J‑E‑F‑F, so speakwithjeff.com. My calendar will show up. You can book 15 minutes or a half‑hour appointment. That’s free. Love to have a consultation with you and would look forward on the opportunity to speak with someone.
Josh: Cool. Thank you.
Jeff: Thanks for having me, Josh.
Josh: And I also have an offer. I have an ebook I’ve written on what we call The Sale Ready Company. The sale ready company does not mean– and I want to say does not mean you’re about to go out and sell your company. It just means you’ve got your company in a position that other people would really, really want to own it. And that’s a great place to be.
I’ve written an ebook on the eight steps increating a sale‑ready company. It’s free. It’s easy to get. You go to www.sustainablebusiness.co/saleready. That’s www.sustainablebusiness.co/saleready. You get the free ebook. And, if you’re interested, you can have a 20‑minute phone call with me about what it takes for you to create a sale‑ready company in your world.
So, this Josh Patrick. We’re with Jeff Brandeis. You’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?”
If you’ve liked what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 extension 102, or visit us on our website at www.sustainablebusiness.co, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.