Selling Success Through Persistence
How can you improve your sales success? Persistence! Sounds simple, yet it eludes most professionals. In this transcript of a conversation between marketing guru and author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, Stu Heinecke and business growth strategist, Mark S A Smith, you’ll get insights in to how to make persistence work for you as a competitive differentiator.
You can listen to the original conversation here: Select show 50. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/how-to-get-a-meeting-with-anyone/id1355846130?mt=2
Stu Heinecke: We have got Mark S A Smith on the show today, and Mark is a very, very special guy. Now, I’ve known Mark for a very long time. Some of the people that I have on the show, I’ve just met them on LinkedIn. But that’s not the case with Mark. Mark worked with one of my true, true heroes. That’s Jay Conrad Levinson, the author of the Guerrilla Marketing series, which, by the way, is the best-selling marketing series in history, something like 19 million copies sold. It’s amazing.
Now, when Jay was building his empire, well, he had two young guys who were just brilliant speakers who would go out with him or for him. I mean they spread out all over the country, and they would talk about Guerrilla Marketing. And so, that Mark S A Smith, our guest, is one of those two brilliant, young speakers who … He’s grown up now. He’s still young at heart, but he’s a well-seasoned marketer. He’s here with us, so we’re going to talk about persistence. So, welcome to the show, Mark.
Mark S A Smith: Thanks, Stu. Always a delight to hang out with you, my friend. I appreciate how you think. And, yes, I was an extremely fortunate young man to be introduced to Jay Levinson through Orvel Ray Wilson, and I spent a lot of time doing guerrilla selling, guerrilla marketing presentations and wrote three books with Jay, Guerrilla Trade Show Selling, Guerrilla Teleselling, and then, ultimately, Guerrilla Negotiating. So, it was a real honor to be a part of that.
Stu Heinecke: Wow.
Mark S A Smith: And, yeah, it was a great platform for me. Truly a delight and learned a hell of a lot and loved Jay dearly, and, of course, he’s gone. His widow, Jeannie, I loved dearly, so, yes, a lot of legacy. I’m a truly fortunate human for that. But, yes, let’s talk about persistence.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. But before we do, I’ve got goosebumps just hearing that because-
Mark S A Smith: Aw. Thank you.
Stu Heinecke: I mean Jay, he was just, I don’t know. I didn’t know Jay, and I’ve never met Jay. I’ve spoken with him and interviewed him, and he wrote the forward to How to Get a Meeting with Anyone.
Mark S A Smith: Yes.
Stu Heinecke: So, we had a relationship of sorts, but I never actually got to meet the man. He’s one of my heroes, really, and you probably have a full sense of why he’s everybody’s hero. But the way that he, I don’t know. For example, I’m never going to retire. He didn’t retire.
Mark S A Smith: Never. No.
Stu Heinecke: He went around the world speaking about guerrilla marketing. What a cool thing to be able to do. So, there’s just still many things about his teachings, and it really is his example that I think are just incredibly inspiring. And you got to work with him, so kudos.
Mark S A Smith: I did, and all this is true.
Stu Heinecke: That’s fantastic.
Mark S A Smith: It was an honor. Well, Jay really defined the concept of a lifestyle business. He would only work three days a week, and he wouldn’t start working until 10:00 in the morning. He really was the believer in that you spent more time thinking than you spent doing, and that resulted in not only the quantity of his work but also the quality of his work. I think we have to stop so much doing, and one of the things that I’ve extracted from my work with Jay is this concept of we need more on our to think list than on our to do list.
Stu Heinecke: Really interesting. Well, although I didn’t know him, I think somehow through osmosis at a great distance, I think I’ve probably picked up on a lot of that because that’s what I’m doing.
Mark S A Smith: Absolutely, the thing is that we all need to have and illustrate thought leadership. Otherwise, why would our clients talk to us? There’s only one way to create thought leadership. That’s to think.
Stu Heinecke: That is true because the word thought is the same as think, isn’t it?
Mark S A Smith: Yes, that’s right.
Stu Heinecke: One’s a noun, and one’s a verb. But that’s it.
Mark S A Smith: So, present tense, past tense, right?
Stu Heinecke: Yeah.
Mark S A Smith: And what’s the statute of limitations is on thought leadership? Today so that the reality is that we can’t regurgitate other stuff. We can use it as inspiration, but by golly, we have to come up with our own unique spin on things if we’re going to have the opportunity of being relevant to our clients. And actually, that’s a really great segue, Stu, into the conversation around persistence. Because part of my persistence, and why I’ve been at this for 36 years, and I love every day of it. I don’t plan to retire like Jay never retired.
Stu Heinecke: Good.
Mark S A Smith: And the reason why is because I have so much fricking fun waking up in the morning and go, “I can’t wait to see what comes my way next. I can’t wait to see who I talk with, what I invent, what discovery, what I need to unlearn, where I learned that I’m wrong, where I learned that I’m right, where my crystal ball has nailed it, where my crystal ball was cracked when I made this prediction.” And all of those things are the reasons why we get up in the morning, and, ultimately, it has to lead to that thought leadership.
If we’re repeating the same words over and over and over again every day, your persistence doesn’t pay. It just grinds a bigger hole in the ground. And so, I think this idea of creating thought leadership is the place that we have to start because it makes the persistence worth the while.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. Now, so, okay. So, let’s talk. What is persistence in your mind? Or what comes to mind when the word persistence is mentioned?
Mark S A Smith: I like it. Persistence means staying power. It means literally from a scientific standpoint, when we look at phosphors, which are these things that glow, the old time TV sets that we used to have, it was the thing that you could hit with an electron, and the thing would glow for a while after the electron would continue and would no longer be there. It’s that concept of staying in the battle. It’s that idea of staying with the idea. It’s that idea of just picking a focus point and just putting all your energy in that focus point until the fires start.
Stu Heinecke: Yes. I love that. Until the fire starts. That’s very good. And so, I think that works, certainly. So-
Mark S A Smith: Well, for me, my friend, it works because my intention is to focus on those people I want to do business with until they buy or die because I really want to do business with them because they’re interesting and because they add to my capacity to serve the rest of my clients. And I think as salespeople, as marketeers, it’s that persistence that ultimately breaks through and creates the trust and the familiarity and the connection to our identity that permits them to say, “Yes. Let’s do business.”
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. And I think I have a feeling that, well, I mean I certainly have heard it, but some people they just expect it before they’ll even consider connecting with you. Sometimes, it’s not just sending one thing, or we’re asking once. Sometimes, that works, certainly, but if it doesn’t, then it could be that what you have is someone who, I mean, you’re dealing with someone who says, “No. I don’t do that on the first contact.” I don’t know if they even say that to themselves, but-
Mark S A Smith: Oh, come on.
Stu Heinecke: They want to work with people they know.
Mark S A Smith: What? You don’t kiss on the first date? Is that how this works?
Stu Heinecke: Exactly. Yeah. It is kind of like that, isn’t it?
Mark S A Smith: There’s a huge parallels between dating and business. It’s just massive. When we write a contract, that’s getting married. Because if we have to break up, it’s a divorce. It’s so that said, yes, there’s a lot of people that say, “That’s interesting, but I need to see more because I need a partner that is viable.” And no executive worth their salt is going to talk to an upstart and bet their career on them. They’re going to watch them.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. Yeah. You know-
Mark S A Smith: And when they see sufficient evidence, then they may dig in.
Stu Heinecke: I was just going to say that I think it engenders trust, and it just brought to mind that we could all think of examples right now of people who have persevered versus people who have not been willing to do the work. I was just thinking about this one guy who reached out to me and disparaged someone. A vendor, actually, but someone also who I’ve interviewed. So, they’re a source as well, and I really admire what they’re doing. And his way of introducing himself was to say, “Oh. You’re using them?” And then, he went on to disparage them over and over again, and I thought, “I would have been interested in interviewing this guy because he probably has some interesting insights into one of the things that I’d like to include in my book. But right now, I don’t.” Well, I never did. I just thought, “Okay. I’m not going to contact, I mean, I’m not going to connect with you.” It’s just-
Mark S A Smith: Well, keep in mind, Stu-
Stu Heinecke: … he had a few-
Mark S A Smith: Keep in mind, Stu, that friends come, and friends go, but enemies stack up. And as you experienced, when we disparage somebody, we turn a potential friend into an enemy because there are other people that had great experiences with that person now we’re trying to disparage. Stand on your own merit for crying out loud. You cannot build a reputation by battling everybody that’s already doing a great job in the marketplace.
]Stu Heinecke: Yeah. Yeah.
Mark S A Smith: We’ve really set up a lot of stuff already, and I want to kind of pull it together into a package.
Stu Heinecke: That’s a good idea. Yep.
Mark S A Smith: So, from my viewpoint, I’m a systems thinker. I was trained as an electrical engineer, and I’m a systems thinker. And the reason why I love systems thinking is because it makes perseverance a byproduct. As long as I’m working my system, my perseverance is automatically there. And so, the end result is I look to do three things. One is repetitive relevance. So, I know it’s going to take over and over and over. I’ve got to keep chipping away at the same location for a while until it forms a crack, and I can get through. And that requires repetitive relevance. So, what I am bringing to the conversation every time has meaning and potentially value to the person that I’m trying to trigger a conversation with.
Stu Heinecke: Yes. Yes.
Mark S A Smith: And that’s where the thought leadership comes into play. Now, you don’t have to come up with all the thought leadership. You need to come up with some of it, but we can recycle thought leadership that’s in alignment as well as generating our own.
Then the second piece I need to do is ever expanding value, and what that means is the content becomes more and more and more valuable. I can’t show up the first time with all my value and win. It’s not possible because it’s too much. I’m too risky, so I’ve got to feed it to people over time so they recognize the value and expand the value and the value gets bigger and bigger and bigger. If we go back to an interesting very, very, old piece of advice, “Cast not your pearls before swine lest they turn and rend you,” the sermon on the mount. Literally, you give them a little pearl and see what they do with it. Then, you give them a little bigger pearl and see what they do with it. If you give them all your pearls, then they trample all over them, and your pearls are no longer any value. So, that concept of expanding value to me is really important. I’m always looking for ways of expanding value for my friends, my colleagues, and my clients.
Then the third piece that we have to focus on is unshakable trust. Without that trust, we go nowhere. We can’t do business without trust. Trust is the cornerstone of everything that we possibly do. So, what that means is that whatever I’m doing with repetitive relevance cannot degrade trust, which means I can’t knock somebody else. I can’t, and it means that I can’t not provide value.
And so, the concept of those three help me stay on track in the generation of my system of content, contact, information, conversation. And then, it becomes very easy to stay persistent because I know that I can make a difference, and I just have to find the person in the right state of mind that goes, “There you are. Oh, I’m so glad I met you today. Yes.” Right?
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. Oh, absolutely, yeah.
Mark S A Smith: With that, persistence becomes easy versus being a grind.
Stu Heinecke: So, it’s always about running a process?
Mark S A Smith: Right on.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah?
Mark S A Smith: It’s got to be a process.
Stu Heinecke: And so, you find someone that you say, “Okay. I want to connect with them,” and then you put them into the process. So, how does that, what does that look like? What are you using to do that? And is there a cadence? What do people say?
Mark S A Smith: Absolutely. Yeah. Process implies cadence.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. True.
Mark S A Smith: And the cadence is the important piece of it because if we go back to Cialdini’s work, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion was his landmark book, Robert Cialdini. He talks about the principles of influence, and consistency was the top of the list. So, cadence and consistency create persuasion and influence, so if you’re going to say you’re going to do a podcast every Monday, you better drop the show every Monday. Now, I haven’t always done it every Monday, but I do it the very best I can. But it’s the same thing. You want to show up on a consistent basis.
And from two angles, it’s actually quite interesting. One is there’s a group of people with a psychology that are very much process oriented, and they’re procedurally oriented. And if you show up on a regular basis, over time, you become part of their process and part of their procedure. And so, they become familiar and comfortable and then ultimately confident to choose to do business with you.
And then, on the other side of that consistency is the hallmark of all brands. We go to McDonald’s not because they have great food but because you can expect the same burger and fries from any place you go, so that consistency is part of that persuasion and branding that we need to create over time. And ultimately, the reason why people choose the vendors they do is because they look for the people who can deliver. Your ability to show up consistently before they’ve paid you a penny is a massive indicator of capability of showing up consistently after they write you a large check.
Stu Heinecke: Yes.
Mark S A Smith: We are modeling. We’re modeling our relationship before they do business with us.
Stu Heinecke: Yes. Oh, what a great … Actually, we’re modeling our relationship-
Mark S A Smith: Yes. A sales call is modeling the-
Stu Heinecke: … before we do business.
Mark S A Smith: Yeah. A sales call should be modeling our relationship before we actually get a contract.
Stu Heinecke: What a great line. I mean, what a great thought, actually.
Mark S A Smith: Thank you.
Stu Heinecke: Because that’s really what’s going on. I think, actually-
Mark S A Smith: Yes.
Stu Heinecke: I posted an episode last week about using video, and someone had said, “Well, it’s not automatically a good thing because what if your video stinks? What if it’s awful? What if you did a really terrible job?” And I had to come back and say, “Yeah. You know what? Absolutely true,” because what you’re really doing … And you mentioned, or actually, I don’t know if you mentioned it while we’ve been recording, but certainly during our conversation earlier, that this is a lot, well, it’s analogous to dating.
Mark S A Smith: Yes.
Stu Heinecke: So, in dating, we are demonstrating, or we’re modeling our relationship before we-
Mark S A Smith: Yes.
Stu Heinecke: … do business in a way.
Mark S A Smith: Yes.
Stu Heinecke: But I think what we’re doing is showing how we think and our competence. Not just how we think, but how we deliver.
Mark S A Smith: Yes.
Stu Heinecke: Because what we’re delivering first is the thing that we’re, I guess, kind of doing for ourselves in a way because this is how I’m going to represent myself for my company or my offer to others, and that ought to be done really, really well.
Mark S A Smith: Yes.
Stu Heinecke: Because-
Mark S A Smith: It’s an interesting challenge because the marketing promises one thing. If the sales force can’t show up and deliver an in-person experience that is in alignment with that modeling, there’s a big breakdown. I see that in the consulting work that I do, that the sales experience is out of alignment with the marketing experience, which is out of alignment with the customer service delivery experience. And that’s just an unsustainable situation because you don’t have a consistent brand experience from start to finish, and that’s a problem.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. Yep. Still no consistency, essentially.
Mark S A Smith: Right.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah.
Mark S A Smith: It’s a consistency issue. Right.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah.
Mark S A Smith: Exactly. So, getting back to the topic of persistence, it becomes really easy if you have a goal of what that persistence should be like. And then, for me, it’s actually you asked that a little earlier, and we kind of sidestepped it. You asked, “How do I approach it?” Well, I have two different approaches. I have a direct approach and a general approach because I have to do things. I have to find business today, and I also have to prepare for business tomorrow, and it’s that hedge strategy. Enough cash today, invest for tomorrow.
And so, this I learned from Dawnna St Louis. It’s the concept of you do three activities, and you put a multiplier on that depending on how much you want to move the needle. The first activity is that you create content. You create thought leadership. You research thought leadership along the lines of the people who you wish to attract. I like working with executives who are trying to break through their ceiling. They’re stuck at where their sales are right now. I can help them get out of their way, so I’m writing content around that or researching content around that at all times.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. I was going to say, you have a weekly … Okay. I wanted to call it a webinar, but it’s not that. It’s a podcast.
Mark S A Smith: It’s a podcast. Selling Disruption Show is the name of that. And it’s about disrupting sales and about surviving disruption of sales, and sales is the heart of all businesses. And yours is one of the most popular shows of all time-
Stu Heinecke: Oh, good.
Mark S A Smith: Well, it was a hell of an interview, my friend.
Stu Heinecke: We always have fun, don’t we?
Mark S A Smith: Yep. We do. The ideas-
Stu Heinecke: That’s cool. Oh, man. That’s great.
Mark S A Smith: … fly all over the place. Yeah. You have a thing that I think it’s fun that whenever I hang out with you, I get goosebumps because of the ideas that come up. So, you’re a catalyst as well as a source of ideas.
Stu Heinecke: I like that. I love that. Well, I’m glad I can do that. That’s amazing. That’s what we want to make happen.
Mark S A Smith: Isn’t that what we do for our clients, though?
Stu Heinecke: Yeah.
Mark S A Smith: Is we show up, and they have ideas they didn’t have without us being in the present.
Stu Heinecke: Yes.
Mark S A Smith: So, that’s kind of a cool idea. I like that one. So, content creation. You got to created content. You got to create fresh content, and you need to do that when you’re your very brightest, which for me, is about an hour after opening or becoming conscious in the morning and having a cup of coffee. That’s when I can sit down and sit back and relax and look out the window at the palm trees and stroke the puppy and say, “All right. What idea do my people need to hear from me?” And I just relax, and ideas come flooding in. So, that’s a practice. You have to do it.
Stu Heinecke: Nice.
Mark S A Smith: So, then I look for content I can share. I like to share your content and other content that’s adjacent because we are all better together. It’s not just the Mark Smith show. It’s the Mark Smith tribe.
Stu Heinecke: I’m so glad you said that because I’m finding exactly that same, but I guess all of us should be finding, but I’m seeing exactly that same thing. So, I see there’s two kinds of posters on LinkedIn. I mean these are the ones that really post a lot of content. Some are saying, “Here’s what I noticed about myself today.” Then, the next day, “Here’s something I realized from my past.” Next day, “Here’s something about me that you probably never knew,” and it just keeps going like that.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. The thing there’s not discovery there. You got to go out and talk to people.
Mark S A Smith: Let me see it. Right.
Stu Heinecke: Find out what their … Because a team is always more powerful and valuable than an individual. It just is.
Mark S A Smith: That’s right. Well, let’s balance that. Let’s have a little internal reflection and a little external stimulation.
Stu Heinecke: Something. Yeah.
Mark S A Smith: So, that’s the first thing is we have to create content and cross-create content.
The second thing we have to do is talk to strangers. We must reach out and have conversations with strangers. Otherwise, we’re not going to grow our business. If we talk with friends, or we talk with current clients, it just isn’t going to happen. The magic happens when you talk to people you don’t know. I’ll talk to anybody for 20 minutes. If you’re listening right now and say, “Geez, Mark. I really like the way you think,” well, let’s have a conversation because I’d probably like the way you think, too. I’ll talk to anybody for 20 minutes. Where do you think I get my good stuff from?
Stu Heinecke: I think that’s great.
Mark S A Smith: Talking to people I wouldn’t normally talk with.
Stu Heinecke: Think about all the stimulation that brings to you that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Mark S A Smith: When I’m in an Uber, I talk to the driver.
Stu Heinecke: Oh, I do, too. Yes. Great. Yeah.
Mark S A Smith: I get great stories, great insights, great secrets. I want to talk to everybody because they’ve got something for me. They’re in my life for a reason.
Stu Heinecke: That’s true. You got into their car, and it probably is for a reason. And, God, I’m just going, “Yes,” because I’ve had some of those Uber rides myself and go, “Whoa.” I mean this guy is, I don’t know. He’s a systems, or he’s a customer systems analyst. “Really? Tell me about that,” because you learn something from it. You should always be learning.
Mark S A Smith: Well, everybody who drives an Uber is an entrepreneur at heart. Otherwise, they’d be driving a taxi.
Stu Heinecke: True. Yeah. That’s true. So definitely true.
Mark S A Smith: Either I have something for them, or they have something for me. Or magic happens, and we have something for each other. So, we have to talk to strangers.
Then, the third thing is we have to nudge along deals, and that’s where we go back to the people who we know who have said, “I’m interested, but the time’s not right.” But you got to go out there, and you got to shake the pans. You have to go nudge along deals.
So, create content, talk to strangers, nudge deals. Those are the three activities. That’s all we have to do. That’s it. And-
Stu Heinecke: That’s great. Yeah.
Mark S A Smith: And Dawnna St Louis says, “Just do two of those a day. Two bits of content, two strangers, two deal nudges, and you’ll be as good as you want to be,” and then you can add as many as you want. You do three times or four times or five times a day. Whatever it happens to be, but it’s the daily consistency of waking up in the morning and going, “I need content. I need strangers. I need to nudge deals.” And that creates the system that’s laying on the platform of repetitive relevance, expanding value, unshakable trust, that allows me to be persistent. That system keeps me as busy as I want to be doing cool things with cool people, and I can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what happens.
Stu Heinecke: I love that, and I was going to say there’s one thing that really, really jumps out at me that I’d love to … And we can talk about this, I think, a long, long time.
Mark S A Smith: Oh, sure.
Stu Heinecke: But there’s one thing that really, really jumps out at me which is nudging along those deals. And we’re talking about persistence.
Mark S A Smith: Yes.
Stu Heinecke: So, are there any, I hate to use the word hacks or tricks because I don’t think either one really it’s not really what these are. But you might have methods for, let’s say, unsticking a stalled deal, or is there anything come to mind?
Mark S A Smith: So, let’s just take a look at what stalled deals mean. All that it means is that it’s currently either not a priority, or your customer’s objective has changed since you had a conversation. And as I nudge along deals, that’s what I’m going to look for. “Is this still your same objective? Is this still the same thing that you’re trying to accomplish that you told me you were trying to accomplish?” “No.” Well, great. I’m out of the running because nobody’s in the running. And there’s nothing I can do to change that because their objective has changed, and I have zero control over their objective. If you believe you have control over your customer’s objective, you are narcissistic because the reality is the only person that has control of their objective is their boss.
Stu Heinecke: True. And even if they own the business, there’s a boss sitting on their shoulders. That’s their belief-
Mark S A Smith: Right on.
Stu Heinecke: … and their goals.
Mark S A Smith: Everybody’s a scorekeeper.
Stu Heinecke: Yes.
Mark S A Smith: Everybody.
Stu Heinecke: There’s always a boss.
Mark S A Smith: That’s right. There’s always a scorekeeper.
Stu Heinecke: In some form or another.
Mark S A Smith: And that scorekeeper is what drives a lot of the eager, while the other aspect of that is priority. Priority can also include things such as cash flow. One of the things that salespeople forget is that even though somebody may have a budget of a million dollars, it doesn’t mean they have the cash to spend, and timing of cash flow is a big issue for a lot of companies. So, you have to understand when the cash becomes available, when the budget becomes available to spend. Even though it’s been allocated, doesn’t mean that it’s available for spending. So, when I want to nudge along a deal, the thing I must understand is what is the internal deadline.
And actually, I want to step aside for just a moment. Priorities. Priorities are really what drives people, and I have very little influence over a person’s priorities. There’s four things I want to take a look at when it comes to managing the priorities. Number one is budget. Budget is a good indicator of priority, but it’s not the best. Obviously, we have to have some money in mind to spend to achieve their outcomes, their objectives that they’re looking for. And having a budget is a good indication that it’s a priority. I like to ask people, “How did you come up with that number?” And the answer is very revealing. If they say, “Oh, it was last year’s budget plus 10%,” that tells me there was no thought put into it. It’s not a strategic, important element.
Stu Heinecke: Well, but they are 10% more they were last year, right?
Mark S A Smith: That’s true, but I also want to look at the thought process that went into it because it gives me an indication of the scorekeeper’s opinion of the budget.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. Okay. Okay.
Mark S A Smith: So, it gives me some insight that I don’t have if I don’t ask the question. Because I may want to go in and have a strategic conversation up the food chain and say, “Hey. You may be missing some pieces of information. Perhaps I can fill you in on some insights about the future coming down the road that you’re not aware of, and you may want to rethink your budget.” Magic happens when that happens.
So, the second thing is scorekeepers. Who’s the scorekeeper, and what is the scorekeeper going to judge this by? And if the scorekeeper thinks this is important, it’s going to get done. It’s a high priority. If the scorekeeper doesn’t think it’s a high priority, it’s not getting done. So, I want to take a look at the scorekeeper’s priority not necessarily the person I’m talking to. “How important is this to your boss?” “Not very much important.” Well, okay. It’s not going to move fast until they get the boss fired up.
The third thing I want to look at is commitments. What have they already committed to this? Have they already spent some money? Have they already started an investigation? Who’s going to get pissed off if this thing fails? I want to figure out some of those elements and about the commitments.
And then, the last thing I want to identify is deadline. No deadline, no deal, it’s fundamental. No deadline, no deal.
Stu Heinecke: True.
Mark S A Smith: If there’s not a deadline, it’s not going to happen. Everything has a deadline. The reason why I eat is because I’m starving. That’s a deadline, and I’m dead if I don’t eat, so I should. And so, the reason why most deals stall, Stu, is just the last issue. The deadline slips, or there is no deadline. And so, what happens is it fails, have to attempt to influence the deadline by saying, “I’ll tell you what. If you buy it before the end of the month, I’ll knock off 10%.” That works well if you’re selling a commodity. But don’t do that if you’re selling something that’s mission critical because offering a deadline unasked for the mission-critical sales screws up trust.
Stu Heinecke: Well, now one of the things that I’ve discovered is that I’ve got this one cartoon that I send sometimes. It’s just inevitable that deals will stall at times, and so I have this really nice, I mean it’s this eight by 10 giclée, so a fine art print of one of my cartoons made up. And it’s put into this corrugated outer packaging that I’ve had made up, and there’s cartoon art all over it. It looks like it’s coming from a cartoon gallery, like an art gallery. So, the cartoon shows this guy with the phone cradled on his shoulder, and he’s leafing through some papers on his desk. And he’s saying, “Hey, listen. We got your proposal, and we love everything except having to pay you.” And I send it with a note saying, “Hey. Sorry it didn’t work out this time. Maybe next time.”
So, I’m just saying, “I’m walking away. You’ve walked away, so I’m walking away as well,” or, “You appear to be walking away, so it’s time for me to walk away as well,” and you’d be surprised at how many times that actually wakes them up and go, “Oh, my God. You know what? I’m sorry I didn’t … There’s so many things on my plate, but, yes, we do want to do this. Let’s get going.”
Mark S A Smith: Right. Right. And I said, and that’s the whole point about persistence is you have to keep reminding them that you’re ready when they’re ready.
Stu Heinecke: Yeah. Well, you got to do something. That’s true.
Mark S A Smith: Yeah. In fact, one of the things that I do, I tell people, “I’m ready when you’re ready but not until.”
Stu Heinecke: Okay. Now, I want to just say, as people are listening to this during their commute, they’re probably at the parking lot, so we should let them go.
Mark S A Smith: Yeah.
Stu Heinecke: But I want to thank you so very, very much for being on the show, Mark. And how do people connect with you?
Mark S A Smith: Probably the best way is LinkedIn. Marksonlinkedin.com takes you directly to my profile. There’s a lot of Mark Smiths out there, that’s why I’m Mark S A Smith, but marksonlinkedin.com. Go ahead and shoot me a connect and say, “Hey. I heard you on Stu’s show,” and I will absolutely agree to connecting with you, and let’s set up a conversation.
Stu Heinecke: Excellent.
Mark S A Smith: And when we have conversations, here’s my agenda. Let’s compare objectives. Let’s compare insight, and let’s look for reasons to keep the conversation going. And if you’re up for that, I’m up for 20 minutes of conversation.
Stu Heinecke: Beautiful. Beautiful. And also, I want to remind you to check out Mark’s show, The Selling Disruption Show, and they can find it on iTunes I would imagine.
Mark S A Smith: Sure can. Sellingdisruptionshow.com or Selling Disruption Show on iTunes and check out Stu’s show. It was prior to the release of his book.
Stu Heinecke: It was a long time ago. Man.
Mark S A Smith: Yeah. A couple years ago.
Stu Heinecke: Time is flying. Wow.
Mark S A Smith: I know.
Stu Heinecke: Well, great. Mark, thank you so very, very much for being on the show.
Mark S A Smith: Ah, Stu, it’s always a delight. Anytime, I will always say, “Yes.”
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