Being Radically Candid and Pitching with Questions - The 411, July 21st
Plus how to nail a video interview.
After three long months of quarantine, my mom finally met her new granddaughter in person this past week.
It was so nice to see them both filled with such joy. My three-month-old, always in need of someone to hold her. My mom, in need of a little one to hold.
Oddly enough, it reminded me of the magic of markets. Of the value that gets created when two parties who need each other meet.
On bad days, sales becomes about the numbers. Discovery calls and demos. Data and dashboards.
On good days, it really is about helping the market function efficiently. Matching buyers and sellers. Helping the people with problems find the solutions they need to run their businesses better.
The best salespeople I’ve ever known have always been genuine and sincere about maximizing that value. They know their job is to help make win-win transactions happen.
I know the joy of buying B2B software isn’t quite the same as the joy of a three-month-old finally being rocked to sleep by her grandma. But it is amazing, the value that can be created, when you find a good fit.
Gong put on a virtual-event clinic this past Thursday.
Magician crushed it. Devin Reed dropped some data (FYI: best time to bring up budget and talk pricing is ¾ through the first call).
You can find the presentation recordings at the link above (I missed the afternoon sessions, but heard they were good).
Some takeaways from Kim Scott’s keynote on radical candor:
- When trying to be direct, repeat: “It’s not mean. It’s clear.”
- “Listen with the intent to understand, not to respond.”
- “Praise publicly. Criticize privately.”
- Embrace discomfort. Reward candor.
- Eliminate “don’t take it personally” from your vocabulary.
- Give feedback humbly, helpfully and immediately. Not about people’s personality.
- When you’re not being heard, that’s your cue to challenge people more directly (something most of us are uncomfortable with). To get your point across, tell them you think you aren’t being heard. Get people to repeat back what you’re saying. State that you’re going to be more direct. Then be more direct. Simple. Just hard.
I’m a classic “Ruinous Empathizer.” I care about people a lot, which is a good thing. But, too often, it tempts me into not stating the truth directly enough.
Yet, things always go better when I’m more open and honest. That’s how strong relationships get built. That’s how trust forms. Such a great reminder. Such a great keynote.
Another week, another useful David Priemer post.
This one’s on how to use questions to pitch your product or service. Just not those bogus, bear-trap questions no one likes to answer.
“Your questions should be simple, invoke a clear enemy that attracts your target buyer, and legitimately repels those who aren’t well suited to your solution.”
Clari recently published some sales data for the first part of the year.
- More emails sent (up 16%)
- Fewer responses (down 8%)
- Meetings still got booked (up 14%)
- Some late stage deals slipped (down 8%)
- But revenue teams had good luck closing other deals earlier than expected and actually booked 25% more business between March 1st and April 30th
All told, even after lowering projections, revenue teams were 24% below their March 1st forecasts.
It’s not news that it’s tough going out there. But always helpful to know the data says so, too.
Just the tips:
- Post on social media about your search
- Reach out directly to former colleagues
- Highlight past performance in high-pressure situations
- Get familiar with the tech platform for the interview ahead of time
- Look up the company’s crisis response and understand how they’ve been affected
- Stay positive (it’s easy for the distance and lack of non-verbal communication to create negative vibes)
- Try to convey warmth and exaggerate your emotions a bit (again, much gets lost through video)
- Remember you’re doing the best you can
One Job Posting
WalkMe is a digital adoption platform that makes software easy to use.
Highly-rated, well-funded company. Amazon, Adobe and Airbnb all use the product.
They’re looking for an experienced Account Executive to crush quota and expand their strategic accounts.
One Quote to Keep You Going
“Writing down a positive affirmation every morning will change the way you operate and execute. Do it for a week and notice the change.” - Morgan J Ingram
I’m big on the power of writing things down.
Whether that’s a few encouraging words, a few things I’m grateful for, or a list of people I’d like to wish well, there’s something to be said for putting pen to paper in the morning.
Now you know,