Do you have difficulty engaging with your prospects? Would you like to be able to quickly earn their trust? Are face-to-face meetings with your clients really that important?
In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl has the opportunity to chat with brilliant thought leader Alice Heiman, from TradeShowMakeover.com. Darryl and Alice dive right in and discuss best practices for getting face time with your leads, finding ways to meet your prospects where they’re at, and dish solid advice on how to be relational without pitching yourself. All this and a lot more on this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales!
Not in the mood to listen? No problem, you can read the transcriptions below.
Host: Darryl Praill, VanillaSoft
Guest: Alice Heiman, TradeShow Makeover
Darryl Praill: How you doing folks? Darryl Praill here, VanillaSoft, here for another episode of INSIDE Inside Sales. The only podcast in the entire podcast sphere, no, the universe, where we talk just pragmatic, meat and potatoes, just core how-to stuff. Now, if you’ve listened to the show before, you’ve heard me say that almost every other episode. I like to hammer that home, so you know that when you listen to this show, you’re going to understand something that you didn’t know before the show started. If we did our job right, you’re going to go and talk to a colleague or a peer and say, “Hey, I just learned something from INSIDE Inside Sales, and that Darryl guy, and he had that person on and they talked about that thing. And when they did that thing, they shared this whatchamacallit and it’s awesome.” Let me tell it to you. Let me share that knowledge with you. That’s what we want to do here. So every time I get a guest on, you know, a big driver on the selection of the guests is helping me pick an individual that can share something that we’ve never talked about before, and then ideally you’ve never heard before on another show. Because there’s some pretty kick-ass shows out there. I love some of the shows out there. And that’s what I’ve done today.
Darryl Praill: Let me ask you this guys. When was the last time you had a face-to-face conversation with a sales lead? I mean you do a lot of emails, right? That’s not face to face. You might do some phone calls, although rumor has it that phone is dead, which by the way is not true. But when you do that, that’s not face to face. The whole dynamic of face to face used to be the norm. There was a time not too long ago that I would go and I would actually drive or fly and I would have a meeting, and at the table would be sitting all of the executives and I would shake their hands and we would nod and we would break bread and we would draw on whiteboards. In fact, that’s kind of the concept of where the Cloud came from, from all of those whiteboard meetings when we drew, here’s our software and here’s the Cloud, which is symbolic of the Internet. I mean that’s how it used to be. And ironically that is still the case.
Darryl Praill: Let me give you an example. If you’re listening right now, how many of you have ever gone to a trade show? I mean, I know a lot of you have, right? You’ve gone to a trade show. Or, I’ll give you another scenario. How many of you have gone to a networking event? Maybe it’s a LinkedIn Local, maybe it’s a local AA-ISP chapter meeting. Maybe it’s a Modern Sales Pros Salon. Maybe it’s an Enterprise Sales Forum. I don’t know. There’s just so fricking many of them.
Darryl Praill: So whether you’re at a trade show or whether you’re at a network meeting, you were face to face. When you see that individual and you shake their hand, “Hi, I’m Darryl,” and, “Who are you with? What do you do?” “I’m with this company and I do that,” and the bells start going off. Holy smokes, this person’s in my vertical, has the right title, this is somebody that I could sell to. That’s the moment when you now need to engage. What do you do? Do you kind of look and say, “Where’s the bar?” Do you kind of look down at your feet? Do you kind of stammer? Do you look them in the eye? Do you ask them something provocative? Do you make a bad joke? Do you melt into the crowd and let somebody else break the ice for you? Face-to-face conversation is the most personal, intimate, compelling, persuasive form of sales, and it’s probably something that we are the least capable at doing and doing well.
Darryl Praill: So today we’re going to fix that. So when you want to talk about sales and somebody who has the history and the experience and the track record, who comes to mind? Let me tell you who comes to mind for me. Alice Heiman. Now, if you don’t know Alice, Alice has been around forever it seems, even though I swear she’s like 29 years old, and I’ll get bonus points for saying that, just so we know. Miller Heiman is something I grew up with, because I’m only 25 years old, and it is a sales methodology. It was a system built to help people like me, make me better salespeople. Alice has done phenomenal stuff. That’s a chapter in her life.
Darryl Praill: Right now she’s with TradeShow Makeover because it’s the same transferable skills. How do you make sure those who are in your booth are connecting with you? How do you establish a rapport? How do you connect? How do you make sure that trade show generates an ROI by active deals? It’s all in face-to-face conversations. aliceheiman.com, check her out. She was most recently ranked in the top 50 sales influencers. I believe she told me, before we started, she was number 18. If I get that wrong, she will correct me. This woman is incredible. I have a lot of fun with her. She is the most vivacious, energetic individual, and what I love about her is she can smile and she can correct you at the same time and you feel good about it. That is what face-to-face skill is all about. So with no further ado, Alice, welcome to the show.
Alice Heiman: Wow, Darryl, thank you for that lively introduction and the introduction to the topic that we’re going to talk about today. I’m very excited to talk about actually being face-to-face with the people that you could possibly sell to.
Darryl Praill: And the irony of the whole situation is, and this is true story folks, we had some technology hiccups during the recording. Normally this would be an audio recording only, but right now Alice and I are doing this using Zoom, so we actually truly are face to face. We’re staring at each other and I’m kind of intimidated. So I’m looking forward for advice from her on how I should engage with her. How’s that? It’s kind of meta, don’t you think?
Darryl Praill: So talk to me Alice, what is the challenge? What … let’s start with this. How can I even get face to face? A lot of people right now are saying, “I don’t even know where to start. So I can’t even focus on what I would do face to face because I’m not even getting those meetings that are face to face.” What are some of the tactics and tools and tricks we can use to get a face-to-face conversation? And I’ll go even one step further than that. I am sure there’s a segment of our audience who’s going, “Why would I ever want to be face to face? Because that’s going to kill my schedule. I can do the same thing on email or voicemail or a phone call,” or even a Zoom meeting like we’re doing right now, “Why would I ever want to be face to face?” So many conversations, I’ll let you run with the one you want to run with.
Alice Heiman: First of all, I just want to say that in sales we have to build trust. We got to get people to know us, like us and trust us. I’m not the first person on this planet who has ever said that and I’m sure you’ve all heard it before. It is much easier to gain trust and gain credibility in the eyes of the person that you’re talking with when you are face to face, versus sending out emails and connecting blindly on social media or making cold calls. They don’t know who you are. They can’t see your face, they can’t see your smile, your enthusiasm. They just get kind of a spammy or boring email from you. Or maybe you’re better at that, maybe you’re sending them really good emails, but they just don’t have time to read them because they have 500 in their box, or maybe they have 500 LinkedIn connections and they didn’t see yours and they only check once a month anyway.
Alice Heiman: So, I mean, there’s all these ways that we’re using to try to connect with people to make a sale. And we should, we should use the phone, we should use social media. We should use actual mail, believe it or not, is working today. We should use all the methods available to us, texting, if that’s appropriate for your company. But we also need to remember that face to face is something we can do.
[bctt tweet=”We should use the phone, social media, actual mail, text…But we also need to remember that face-to-face is something we can do. ~ @aliceheiman #SalesTips” username=”VanillaSoft”]
Alice Heiman: Now, there could be a challenge with the way your company works. Perhaps you are a salesperson who is told to use the phone, right? And you are not given a budget to fly around or you don’t really have that latitude. I’m still going to tell you how you can get face to face, but you may have some challenges just within your own company structure on that. But some of you also don’t, and you’re just not getting face to face for a variety of different reasons. So I think the first thing is to figure out how can anyone get face to face with people who they could sell to or who could give them referrals? Because I’m always looking for both when I’m out there in the world talking to people. Maybe you can’t buy directly from me, but maybe you can refer me to the person who can, either inside of your company or outside your company. So I always want to look for both, no matter what I’m doing, right Darryl?
Darryl Praill: You’re spot on it. It’s funny, because, you know, we’ve talked about this before, I’ve heard you refer to yourself as a connector. You talk about that referral, that’s one of your strengths. You know, “Oh hey, Darryl, have you met Suzy? You two need to talk because you’re so amazing.” The connecting thing is huge and what people don’t understand about the connecting thing is they often think that the connector, in your example you, Alice, are the ones who get shortchanged here. Because maybe Suzy and I will then conduct business. So what did Alice get out of that? But both Suzy and I will remember, fondly, Alice as the one who connected us and added value. And next time something comes up where Alice is an expert, she will be top of mind because she has given us goodwill, she has taken care of us, she has done us right. We have now established trust with Alice in her judgment in making that introduction.
Darryl Praill: So sometimes that face-to-face meeting, to your point, isn’t necessarily for you right now. It’s for you to build a relationship right now to harvest later. A lot of people, they’ll forget that-
Alice Heiman: That’s right.
Darryl Praill: … they don’t realize that. That’s the beauty of the face to face, is it truly is more of a lifetime relationship as opposed to a transactional relationship. I know for me now, I’m of a certain vintage that when I go to, say, trade shows and I go to booth to booth to booth and I see some of the more senior people who are managing the teams, or representatives of the vendors, I know most of them now because we all began way back when, and so when I have a problem, or I see them, “Oh, you’re at vendor ABC now, didn’t you use to be with XYZ?” “Yeah, I used to be, I changed a year ago.” I instantly trust them and their product because of them. I am more likely to buy their product simply because that individual and I had a face-to-face relationship that goes back over time, which is not as easily said on an email relationship or a phone relationship by any stretch of the imagination.
Darryl Praill: You said one thing that was really powerful, I’m going to kind of paraphrase it. Unlike LinkedIn or email where you can have an overwhelming volume, it’s very digital, face to face is very analog and it’s very one-on-one and immediate and now. I can dodge you for a while, if that’s what I’m trying to do, on an email, and I can, you know, plead ignorance on social because, “Oh, I just didn’t see the notification, oops,” but I can’t do that on face-to-face.
Darryl Praill: The beauty of that, you know, it’s bad of course if you’re trying to dodge that person because maybe you’ve … maybe you’ve ghosted them, maybe gone dark on them, maybe they’re trying to sell you something. But the flip though to that is if you’re trying to track them down, that is the fastest way to connect and get resolution because now we’re in each other’s personal space and we’re looking at each other in the eye. That is how deals get done right there. Because I will know very quickly, do we have a deal or do we not have a deal? So face-to-face is the best, fastest way, in my experience, to close a deal or to move a stuck deal to a strongly forecasted deal. Like huge.
Alice Heiman: Yeah. So let’s talk about a couple of ways that you can get face-to-face regardless of what your company parameters might be, right? And outside of that, you may have to break the mold a little bit. But before I mention those specific things, I want to talk to everyone about being human. So I think in sales sometimes we get some training that steers us the wrong direction. It says, you know, “You’re selling. Tell them about our products and services. Get to the point about as quickly as possible and get them to buy something.” Well, we all know that sales cycles just aren’t that fast in the B2B world. I mean, some of them are faster than others, but most of the clients I work with, there’s sale cycles of six months, eight months, a year long. I think you all are seeing that as well, although some of you might work with a shorter sale cycle. But let’s be human first and figure out what is in this person’s brain? What is in this person’s busy life? What is their work like? What are they like? So that we can actually have a conversation with them and build the relationship before we start pitching or selling them anything. Because honestly we don’t know if they even need it.
[bctt tweet=”Let’s be human first – What is in this person’s brain? What is in this person’s busy life? What is their work like? What are they like? So that we can actually have a conversation. ~ @aliceheiman #SalesTips #SalesEngagement” username=”VanillaSoft”]
Alice Heiman: Now this may go against what you’ve been trained to do, which is dial the phone. “Hi, do you need these kinds of products or services? Do you use them? Can I schedule an appointment?” Seems like it’s contradictory to that, and it is. You may still have to do that too, but if you remember that there’s a human on the other side of that email, on the other side of that LinkedIn or Twitter or whatever, on the other side of the phone, there’s a human being who has lots of other things to do that day. Where do you fit into that? So just let’s get that mindset of being more human and really more understanding of people. They may really want to talk to you, they just might not have time today. So that’s why we have to try to reach out in a multitude of ways and reach out many, many times, because there will be a time when they are ready to talk to you. It just might be further in the future then you would like.
Alice Heiman: Now, getting face-to-face is a very human thing to do, and I love it that Darryl and I actually had to be face to face today versus just, you know, hearing each other’s voices, because it does make it a little bit more fun and interesting as we’re talking to each other, because he can see the reaction on my face, I can see the reaction on his face. He can read my emotions a bit and he can see my hand gestures. Hand gestures are really important to people understanding each other. So that’s why face to face is so important. Many reasons, but that’s one of them.
Alice Heiman: So how can you do it? Well, if you are basically locked in your office and not allowed out, you can start using video. There are tons of great video tools out there. I won’t start naming them, but there are tons of them, and even on your iPhone you can make a short … if it’s less than a minute, you can email it, text it, you know, you can send it some way to somebody. You can make a video and then the person can see your face. They can see your smile, they can see your eyes, which are really important for people gaining trust from you. So make a video. That’s a way to get face to face. You don’t get to see their face, but they get to see your face, and that’s better than the alternative, which is not letting them see your face at all. So I think that that’s a quick something everyone can do.
Alice Heiman: The second thing, and again I know you’re in this box at your office and they’ve kind of got you doing what you’re doing, but you can use an online tool, like Zoom, like Darryl and I are using today. You can ask the person, would they like to get on a video call? Again, there’s a zillion tools that you can use to put them on a video call. Some of them are free, you know, if it’s just one on one, and then some have a small fee but you could even afford that yourself. You don’t need to necessarily have your company pay for that. So think about just getting to see them on video, how much better that might be than not seeing them at all. What do you think about those two, Darryl?
Darryl Praill: I love those ones. Those are the top ones come to mind if you can’t go face to face and go live. The video meeting, the Zoom meetings, GoToMeeting, ReadyTalk, Webex, Skype, whatever you want, Hangouts, et cetera. They all work fantastic. It’s amazing now because so many people don’t have a problem putting video on. You know, I remember when this first came out, and video’s been out for forever, you know, 10, 15 years ago, you know, nobody would go on. It was like taboo. They would just use the audio-only, where now it’s not a big deal and they all do it, for the most part.
Alice Heiman: Yeah, people will say to me, “Oh my gosh, I work out of my home office.” I’m like, “So do I. It’s fine. They’ll turn their video on.”
Darryl Praill: I remember the time when you could even, you would never admit to being at home, right? Heaven forbid.
Alice Heiman: Oh no, never. Never.
Darryl Praill: Where now it’s the norm, right? I mean, I don’t know how many more beds I’ve seen on video than I have in real life. It’s scary. So that is so dynamic, that face to face, it’s just a connection. Now, what I want to do is I want to take a bit a break, when we come back I want to build upon the whole discussion. What if it’s live? What if it’s a trade show? What if it’s a networking event? What do we do?
Alice Heiman: Yes. I want to give them several examples of things they can do even if they’re locked in their office.
Darryl Praill: I love it. All right, so don’t go anywhere. We’ll be back shortly. Stay tuned. Don’t go anywhere.
Darryl Praill: All right. You know, I never told you guys this, but what happens when we go for commercial is there’s Jeopardy theme music, at least it feels like there’s Jeopardy theme music, playing while we’re waiting for the commercial to end. So thank you for coming back, because I can only listen to that song for so long.
Alice Heiman: Yeah, that’s what I heard in my head. Definitely Jeopardy music.
Darryl Praill: Another good Canadian, Alex Trebek, red and white maple leaf. So, Alice, I’m at a trade show or I’m at a networking event and someone comes up to me and says, “What do you do?”
Alice Heiman: Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question, right? So if you are allowed out of your office to go to these events, wonderful. You get the opportunity to meet a lot of great people. One of the things I want to highly recommend is that you pre-plan who you’re going to meet. Make your target list and do try to connect on LinkedIn and email ahead of time, so they’ve at least seen your name, maybe even get an appointment scheduled and that kind of thing if you can. But then there’s going to be lots of opportunities, especially at a trade show or professional development, kind of a networking type of event, that maybe is local or whatever. There’s going to be lots of opportunities to run into people who you’ve never met before. A lot of times they do say, “Oh hey, what do you do?”
Alice Heiman: What you have to do is be prepared to say something instead of, “Uh.” You cannot believe how many people, when I say to them, “What do you do?” they look at me and they go, “Uh,” and then they start. That gives me a good sign that what comes next is something that’s going to be too long, complicated, and I’m not going to be able to figure out what they do. You need to practice answering that question. I would write it down, I would run it past a bunch of people. I would get that down to where you can very succinctly say this is what we do, and be sure that it is result-driven. So the answer to that question should make the other person go, “How do you do that?” So for example, if someone said to me … or, go ahead Darryl.
[bctt tweet=”You need to practice answering the question – What do you do? Get that down to where you can very succinctly say this is what we do, and be sure that it is result-driven. ~ @aliceheiman #networking” username=”VanillaSoft”]
Darryl Praill: I was just about to do that. Hi. How are you, and what do you do?
Alice Heiman: What I do is help companies increase their sales by 30% or more. Tell me, are you in sales?
Darryl Praill: I am not. I’m in marketing.
Alice Heiman: Okay, you’re in marketing. Tell me about your company and what your company does.
Darryl Praill: Well what we do is we do sales engagement and we help sales development reps engage more people, have more conversations and build more deals rapidly. Way faster, three times faster or more, than you can do today.
Alice Heiman: And so your company actually helps the same people that I want to help, because what you’re doing is making sales easier, and so do I. And so the conversation would just start, right? I don’t need to sell anything.
Darryl Praill: And you are bridging there too. You were connecting the dots for me, as well.
Alice Heiman: Yeah. I’m helping connect the dots, but I’m not going to start telling you, so Darryl, you must have some salespeople, so here’s what I could do for your salespeople. I don’t do that. I have a conversation. “Well tell me more about how you do that. That’s so interesting to me because I know a lot of salespeople who would like to have more conversations and would like to have them faster and all those kinds of things.” I have to be genuinely interested in you now. I have to listen.
Darryl Praill: Yeah. You have to listen. And that’s the thing. I’ve had so many people … When I get that, you know, “Who are you and what do you do?” I’ll say, “Hi, I’m Darryl, I run marketing for a software company.” “Software company called VanillaSoft.” The next question, 99% of the time is, “And what does VanillaSoft do?” Right? So they’ve given me permission.
Alice Heiman: Correct.
Darryl Praill: Your point is, I didn’t pitch me, I made it relational. I made it personal. “Hi, I’m Darryl,” I’m not, “Hi, I’m Darryl Praill.” “I run marketing,” as opposed to, “I’m the chief marketing officer.” “I do it for a software company called VanillaSoft.” It’s just me talking to you, it’s not … no airs. I’m not trying to impress you. Let’s connect as people.
Alice Heiman: Exactly. And not really talk about our products and services, as much as maybe how we relate to each other. But here’s the thing. If somebody walks up to me and asks me what do I do? I say a brief sentence, because you have to answer, but then I try to flip it back over to them as quickly as I can. Now, if I’m the one who approaches them and I get to say something, I don’t say, “What do you do?”
Darryl Praill: And why is that?
Alice Heiman: Because I want to start on a more human level and understand them better and not have them afraid of me, you know, trying to do, oh, “What do you do? What company do you work for?” So if I’m in a trade show or a networking event and I see someone, I might ask them, “Have you been here before? Did you hear the keynote speaker? What kinds of things are you looking for at this trade show?” Or if I’m at a networking event, you know, “Are you a member of this organization?” I ask something else to get the conversation started, and then I work into, “Oh, so that’s interesting, so you’ve never been here before, neither have I.” Or, “Oh, you’ve been here, you’ve been coming here for many years, great, can you help me navigate that,” or whatever. And then it works into more chatter about what you do.
Darryl Praill: So again, you keep on probing, you’re asking questions to find some common bonds that you can connect on. In the same breath, by asking those questions that are about them, a little bit, they’re comfortable talking to you, because we’re always comfortable talking about ourselves and what we know. It’s more awkward when we go outside of that comfort zone and that’s when you get the ums and the ahs and it gets awkward.
Darryl Praill: I know, I coached my kids when they were a young age, and I’ve shared this online before with the podcast, I told them, “Always ask people questions. If you meet someone for the first time, ask them a question, and another question and another question and another question and another question, and just keep drilling down about who they are and what they’re about and what do they do,” I said, because it will allow that initial surface tension, I call it, that happens initially, and like, “Will I like this person or not? I’m not sure I want to have this conversation. I like talking about myself and you seem interested, so I’ll talk about myself for a little bit,” and now we get comfortable with each other, and now the conversation can kind of go where you want it to go because I’m relaxed and you seem okay.
Alice Heiman: And when I’m asking the questions, I’m in charge of the conversation, believe it or not.
Darryl Praill: That’s exactly right.
Alice Heiman: The next question I ask gets to steer us in the direction that I want to go because I’m the one who’s asking. Now, there are occasions, and this has happened to all of us, where someone will just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and you can’t get a word in edgewise. Just slowly back away from that person and then go, “It’s been great, enjoy the rest of the show,” or, “Enjoy the networking,” and just back away and get away, because they’re just somebody who’s going to do that. But most people will converse with you once you get them comfortable. So you ask them a couple of questions, and like right now, you know, Women’s World Cup soccer is on and you can ask about if they’re a fan or something like that. So you don’t have to start with, “Who are you and what do you do?” You can get to that a little bit later, but get them comfortable talking about something else first.
Alice Heiman: Typically I use the topics of that trade show or that event and ask them what kinds of things they’re interested, you know, what brought them here this evening? What brought them to the show? Have they been here before? And we get chatting that way. So I think it’s really about the fine art of conversation versus trying to make sure you tell them who you are and what you do or get that back from them. But if you have a good conversation, they’ll want to talk to you again, and you can schedule that before you leave them. You can say, “Well, let’s get out our daybooks, this has been such a great conversation, I’d like to continue it. Let’s go to coffee or let’s get on the phone,” or whatever it is. They’ll give you their card if they have one, and you’ll give yours, or you’ll look each other up on LinkedIn really fast and connect, and then you can continue the conversation. And who knows what may come of it. They might become a customer, they might become a referral. They might be the next person who works side by side with you. Lots of good things could come of it, but if we don’t open our mind to all of that, we go oh, this is not a prospect, move on, then we might miss something really great. So we have to just have those human conversations.
Darryl Praill: So let’s recap. I love what you’re saying here. The whole purpose of face to face is to actually establish, exactly as you said, a human face to face, relational connection. That’s who we are. We want to see the hands moving, we want to see the eyes, we want to see the energy, we want to see the engagement. Know your lines, know how you’re going to introduce yourself. Don’t hesitate, you know, have the confidence, but don’t be doing the pitchy thing. You don’t want to be coming off like a slimy sales rep. You want to be able to be probing them questions to find out more about who they are so they open up and that opens up new conversations and new avenues of conversations that you can explore. Almost like an early discovery call. That also puts you in control of the conversation at the same time.
Darryl Praill: And of course, as the conversation progresses, you want to do that call to action eventually so that you can move on to that next meeting. Not unlike you would on a phone call or anything else. There’s technology out there, but don’t shy away from that face-to-face opportunity, whether it’s a show or a networking event to connect with your audience. Build these skills. These are skills that have been lost over time, that need to be developed. If you do this, you will succeed. Alice, awesome advice. If I want to get ahold of you, I want to learn more about you, I’m going to follow you, where do I go? What’s the best way?
Alice Heiman: Well, you can go to aliceheiman.com, super easy. You can go to my new company, tradeshowmakeover.com, and of course you can find me on pretty much any social media and I’d be happy to have you connect. Just tell me that you met me here with Darryl so I know how you know me, and please send me a connection request. Darryl, I want to just add one more thing, I know we’re almost out of time. For those of you whose companies don’t send you to events, find events in your local area on your own, because most of them will be in the evening, where your prospects might possibly be. So think about who your prospects are and what kinds of organizations they attend and find something in your local area and just go on your own and get that opportunity to be face to face that way, even if your company doesn’t send you to events.
Darryl Praill: It’s always about developing those skills, it never stops. You own your own responsibility for developing your skill. With that, we’re out of time, I hope you enjoyed it. This is Alice Heiman. She is legendary. She’s incredible. Follow her. Don’t make a mistake. Top 50, number 18, most influential salespeople right here. Alice, it’s been wonderful. You have an awesome day, and everybody else, let’s connect online again. You know where to find me. insideinsidesales.com is the show. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter. Don’t be shy. I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, have a great day.