March 22, 2022

466: Getting Back to the Basics (with Cory Bray)

466: Getting Back to the Basics (with Cory Bray)

No secret sauce or magic pills can substitute the basic fundamentals to sales success.


No secret sauce or magic pills can substitute the basic fundamentals to sales success. 

That's why Cory Bray, renowned sales trainer and Managing Director of ClozeLoop, joins the program today; to outline how getting back to the basics is far more important in advancing your skills as a sales professional versus some top-secret tips or secrets that are pushed on the regular.

 

 

 

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Transcript

Brian Nichols  
Instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, happy Tuesday there, Phil. Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show in thank you for joining us. I am as always your humble host. And today we are in for another fun filled episode for going back into the world of Stanford and we're gonna hopefully get back to basics. Corey Bray is joining us here on the program. Corey, welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Hey, Brian,

Cory Bray  
great to see you. Great to see you too, Corey,

Brian Nichols  
and thank you for joining us on today's episode. I know the audience is looking forward to this because yeah, we're gonna get away from what are the five easy steps to being a good sales pro that the six secret superpowers you can install today. Instead, what we're gonna do, bring it back to basics, we're going to focus on what are some of the basics that your average sales professional, be the entry level or season that they can implement into their routines to help them be more professional and maybe more successful. But before we get there, Cory, let's do a quick introduction to The Brian Nichols Show audience who are you and what got you so prominent in the world of sales.

Cory Bray  
I don't know how prominent I am. But I'm I'm the I'm the co founder of a couple of businesses that are in the sales world. So one of them is closed loop where a 13% sales consulting firm that works with b2b sales organizations to fortify and scale their sales teams. And my more recent venture is Coach CRM or software company that helps managers become more effective coaches and helps executives get visibility and insight into what's going on related to coaching across their teams.

Brian Nichols  
Absolutely necessary, especially right now where everybody's kind of dispersed not everybody's in the office. So being able to have tools that are there to help effectively with coaching and training, I was in the world of sales coaching for I guess, three years or so leading my sales development team. So I know when COVID hit, it was a big shock for a lot of people. And thankfully, my industry was in the greater telecommunications in cybersecurity industry. So I was able to, you know, use the stuff we're actually selling to customers to stay in touch. Yeah, to your point, it's important right now to have effective means of training, not just the teams, but also the leadership. And maybe that's one thing that we can focus on today is where we spend sometimes a little too much of our time, and it's trying to find, you know, what is that that secret ingredient and the secret sauce for the Big Mac? What is that, you know, that one magic pill I can take to make me, you know, have my superpowers. And I think at the end of the day, a lot of the stuff that we focus on, it's just, it's white noise, we have to really go back to the chapter in it was a brand of orientations, sales secrets, back to the basics, which you, you author there. So Corey, let's kind of start things off there. Getting back to the basics for your average sales person, what would you recommend, as we start things off, you know, if your intro into sales, you're brand new, you're starting to learn things. You know, it's a lot you're drinking through a firehose, right. So what would be some of the basics that you would recommend for your entry level sales person to maybe start to look at and learn before they try to digest all the other facets that include the world of sales?

Cory Bray  
Yeah, I'm just gonna give one thing, I think there's one thing that works, and it works for entry level, it works for senior executives, and everybody in between. It's identify where you're going and work backwards, you use the Big Mac analogy, I love that I don't eat Big Macs, because I don't like sauces outside of barbecue, a whole nother story. But the idea is, what what's the end goal of the big nine? Well, for a customer to open it up and be excited about how it looks, how it feels, and then how it tastes. And it's got to have consistency, it's got to align with what they expect. And they've got to feel like they got their money's worth. And the same principles can be applied to sales, where wherever you're at, you're going somewhere. So being able to identify specifically, where am I going, what's that future state look like? And if your entry level might be booking meeting with someone and having them show up, if you're further along in your career, it might be closing a big deal or potentially could be managing a team and then escalating, building a team or even doing m&a And making that successful. So whatever it is, being able to identify specifically, what does that future state and then working backwards through all the steps that are needed to get there all the risks that might come into play, and how you're going to handle those at every step? If you know that and you have a plan might not always work out, but at least you're you're in a better position than if you're just shooting from the head. Hmm.

Brian Nichols  
Yeah, well, and I one of the things I want to you know, turn towards in that regards as well. I hear a lot of entry level sales, and especially in the b2b world, where if you're brand new, you might not be used to having to outline things in such a definitive way like here, this is what I want the outcome to be for the conversation. I think sometimes we almost see the entry level sales pro or in some cases, your seasoned sales pros who they are afraid of setting that standard. This is what we're going to do today, and they sometimes go in more squishy Yeah, I'll see what your problems are, I'll see what your pain points are. But to your point, if you're able to identify where that that end destination is on Google Maps, right? Where where are we actually going to? That makes the conversation a lot easier, because now there is an expectation on behalf of the, the prospect you're speaking to, they understand, okay, this is where we're heading. And this is what we're going to do to get there. And it's not a matter of that, okay, when when are they going to drop the bomb? When when's the AST going to come? So how could you recommend I guess, furbaby, your your, again, it could be the entry level folk. Or it could be, again, the individuals who are more seasoned. How can we get past that hurdle that mental hurdles sometimes that we put in our way where we feel we might be a little too aggressive or too pushy, and push them a wrong way?

Cory Bray  
Well, it's interesting, because when we're talking about entry level salespeople and finding success, there's two individuals I've worked with have come to mind, Amy and reteach and that they'd never been involved in sales before, until they came and worked with with us. And we were helping, and we worked with, I don't know, 10s of 1000s of salespeople over the years. These are the two folks that stick out. reteach went to MIT for a year and dropped out. Amy has a I think she has a master's in engineering from Harvard. What do these two people have in common, they have engineering brains. That's how they think the process oriented. They're reteach calls. This is sales algorithm. And what what we've realized is that the folks that have an engineering background and the process orientation to their their day to day, they pick up how to be a great salesperson very quickly, they know how to execute the base case, they know how to identify the edge case, and they know how to adapt because that's how they've been trained. Now, other folks who might not have been trained that way, that's fine, great people. But they've got a harder time, because maybe what they went through in their education was more about writing a seven page paper with something that was a little more of a squishy rubric. So now it's this idea of oh, I'm talking to people. Well, as we grow up, we don't have a lot of structure on our conversations, you know, your friends don't have they don't have grading rubrics for how good of a friend you are, it's fairly fluid. But coming into sales, if you add more structure and process orientation to your your day to day, you're going to be more successful, you're going to learn the basics faster, execute on those, and then when those edge cases pop up, then you can react to them instead of just drowning, like a lot of people do.

Brian Nichols  
Yep, yeah. Adding the processes, you know, adding the the I look at blocking out times my calendar to say, Okay, I have to I this time block where I have five, you know, and I don't even I can say it's fine. Usually it's like I five calls, maybe I had to do I have to do these five calls. And you know, something like that, it makes it a lot easier versus going into each day and just look at the blank piece of paper. And you're like, Okay, I have no, I have no idea where to start. That can be overwhelming. So I think what you just said there setting the structure, getting the processes in place, not only will that help create the structure that you're looking for, but then it's something that you can go back at the end of the day and say, Yes, I accomplished X, Y, and Z. If you feel better checking off the boxes, I can do that right?

Cory Bray  
Within the day within the deal within different dimensions. Yeah, absolutely. I was I was talking to a manager, that's one of our coach CRM customers yesterday. And he was complaining that one of his reps wasn't doing what they needed to do. And I said, show me their calendar. And he did. And then he solved the problem immediately without without me saying anything. Show me their calendar is my most common phrase that I use. When I'm talking to Coach CRM customers. It's incredible. Because every time someone 100% of the time that someone's not doing what they're supposed to be doing. They show me their calendar and it looks like just a blank ocean.

Brian Nichols  
Yep. So when you're looking at when you're looking at somebody's calendar, it is that that blank ocean, right, and I was writing down, what do you see not just leaving that blank world, but maybe the the calendars that are full, but maybe they're not full? The right things? What are the top things you're identifying are not high return on investment time activities, or, dare I say just wasteful overall?

Cory Bray  
Like meetings with marketing? Okay, I'm joking. Come on. That's funny. Now. That's fine. We need to meet with marketing and give us leads. Marketing is great. But one of the things is that you're not chunking like activities together. So I one manager comes to mind. I was looking at their calendar, and they had one on ones Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. And I'm like, Why do you have one on ones every day? I don't know. That's just how it's been. What do you think the impact of that is like, you get on that line of question and all of a sudden they realize, Oh, gee whiz, I can't do them all at once. But I can do them in two blocks, and then I open up time. For the rest of the things. I think that people are generally good at not putting wasteful things on the calendar but the empty blocks then lead to waste. Or they put things on the calendar that they're going to do. And they just don't do them because they're doing something else.

Brian Nichols  
Yep. Yeah. What about like, what about like the time wasters like? So like going through email, right, I hear that all the time. Oh, I have to go through my email. And that's that shouldn't be in my personal opinion, I shouldn't be a time waster like that should just be one of those things. That's quick. What else do you see when you're looking at calendars that are wasted

Cory Bray  
going through going through mail, people think that they have three emails right away, and you don't, because nobody cares. So look at it every hour, every two hours, it doesn't matter. I remember there was there was a woman named Jackie that worked for me early in my career. And she was getting frustrated that people were coming and telling her I need this. I need this right now. And my my coaching for her was, hey, next time someone tells you, they need it right now, finish what you're doing she smoke cigarettes. So I said go outside and smoke cigarette, come back and then do it. And see if the world changed. See if they're any less happy when the when the results completed? It wasn't there's no difference at all. So I think misapplying urgency to things if you go back to the Eisenhower matrix, about around four quadrants. Is it urgent and is it important and being able to plot out all the things that you do in that that dimension?

Brian Nichols  
Yeah. Is that Stephen Covey? Was that one of his things to Stephen Covey?

Cory Bray  
Yeah, he figured that he could just take President Eisenhower's work and just call it his own.

Brian Nichols  
I was guessing that sounds eerily familiar. Okay, so we're gonna have we have that plagiarism suit on behalf of Eisenhower. So

Cory Bray  
your state highway system and Covey matrix?

Brian Nichols  
There you go. Yeah. Well, we'll take it one right to the the matrix. So how about this, you are an eight time author, Corey, and I was going through some of your books, and one of the books stood out, because just it's a unique name. And I'd love for you to elaborate a little bit more white is the idea of triangle selling.

Cory Bray  
It's selling triangles, who doesn't get a triangle?

Brian Nichols  
Better, better than the rectangle rowhomes that we're used to in Philadelphia?

Cory Bray  
Yeah, no. So the idea of triangle selling is it's a sales methodology that can be decomposed into frameworks. And combined with other sales methodologies. I'll get to why that matters here in a second. But it's it's a complete set of frameworks for sellers in the modern day to use to prospect to close deals and to service customers, the triangle comes from, there's three aspects of any deal. There's the reason that someone would do business with you, pain and b2b. There's the resources that you need to uncover. And this could be things like financial resources, political resources, intellectual resources, which gets into quantifying the pain that you've uncovered. And then the third aspect of the triangle is resistance, the objections that you might run into, or the deal resistance that could exist. So the three aspects of the triangle are then supported by several frameworks, like Plan for structuring meetings and creating velocity share for doing demos help for creating velocity between meetings, we got a bunch of different acronyms that we lay on there. So in one page, you've got your entire set of frameworks that you use from opening a conversation through renewal, common language across teams, so people are executing on the same page managers are able to easily coach and one of the things I joke about people sounds so many acronyms, I say, Do you know what mitochondria is? They know, if you don't photosynthesis, they know. Okay, cool. So you know, 1000 Page biology book, this is a one page document, let's put some energy into it. Let's roll they do. And it's, it's a beautiful thing.

Brian Nichols  
It's exhausting hearing people say I don't have the time to learn this new thing, or I don't have the mental capacity in space to learn this new thing. It's like, you're gonna sit on the couch and watch Netflix for three hours and retain that information. Why can't we use that same time, energy and effort or lack thereof,

Cory Bray  
retain it? That's the that's the other funny thing. This whole concept that videos can train salespeople is just the most asinine thing I've ever heard in my life. It doesn't work. And if in tips and tricks don't work, either you open them with that. So whenever someone says, Hey, do you have any tips for me, I was like, Okay, so here's my thing about tips. Go to a stand up comedy show. And the next day, try to tell the joke that you heard, nobody can do it. I've studied stand up comedy, I struggle to do it. I've done a 20 minute set that I can do, I still can't do it. And that's what that's why we use frameworks and acronyms. And that's why we structured anything that we do with rigorous reinforcement, as rigorous as the client wants. That's what works. It's adult learning. It's not frickin entertainment.

Brian Nichols  
Yep. Well, how badly do we want sometimes? And we, I mean, I'm not trying to bring it to the world of politics by saw somebody who was like, wow, you're surprised that you learned that something bad happened on behalf of the Ukrainians? I'm sorry that war isn't a superhero movie. And I think right there, we sometimes see that we, by and large, want to almost romanticize everything we do in life. It's like, well, that's how it happened in the movies. They were able to go find that secret email that gave them all the little, you know, the 10 Easy Steps. To make your life perfect, and they were able to implement it, why can't I it's like, because that's not real life. That's

Cory Bray  
you don't want any of this stuff. People don't want software. People don't want sales training, people don't want any of these things. They need them. What they want is the outcome. And the things that we're talking about are the inputs that allow them to realize that outcome, plain and simple.

Brian Nichols  
Yet, well, people want outcomes. Let's talk about that. And I forget the expression, I think I'm gonna butcher it. But when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, but rather, you're not selling the hammer, nor are you trying to just put in a nail, but rather you're trying to hang a picture on the wall. And that's maybe where I think we sometimes overanalyze things, we, we try to think okay, how can I best position this hammer? Is it the nicest hammer? Is it stainless steel? Or is it what like, what kind of nail are we going to use? What are you putting the nail into versus what are you trying to accomplish? And I mean, I see this when I'm going through technology sales, and they can be very complex, especially when you're building things with not just unified communications, but now layering in cybersecurity initiatives, business continuity initiatives, bandwidth solutions. Now you have multiple different vendors, multiple different solutions, and you're trying to juggle them all at once. And that by its nature, just in the technology world is complex and confusing. So instead of saying, Okay, we're going to, you know, lay around this advanced call center solution, and we're going to do omni channel integration with your CRM, and we're going to do you know, onto your website, all these little screen pops, like, let's go back to the basics. What are you trying to accomplish? Oh, you're trying to enhance your customer service experience? Well, let's maybe go into what your customers experience when they tried to get in touch with you. And and that I found just in my experience, that's changed the conversation away from, okay, this person is trying to sell me XYZ to instead, oh, this person understands what I'm currently experiencing. And they're trying to offer a real tangible business solution. Or it could be if you're in the b2c world, a solution for an individual, that not only makes sense, but now I can see how I can take this solution and put it into action and make it real. And and now it's it's not so much you're trying to convince them on buying the shiny object, but you're just showing them a way to accomplish the goals that they were looking to accomplish in the first place.

Cory Bray  
Yeah, well, that's why it's so dangerous that so many b2b companies have requested demo on their website, and then you show it to the first meeting, they do a demo in the first 10 minutes. Well, yeah, I guess if you're, if you're doing something that's very transactional, then then maybe that could be okay. If you can do discovery really fast. But with one of the more advanced concepts that we work on with the share framework, is if you're selling something enterprise, or even close to enterprise, have the prospect do a demo of their currency, you touched on this a second ago, have their like, called a reverse demo, have them do their demo of how they currently do things today, then when you do your demo, it's side by side, and they can't unsee that. So when they come back, when the boss comes back, or the CFO comes back and says that's too expensive. Now they can go fight for you instead of you fighting for them, because you're saying oh, look at that. It was cool. You liked it. That doesn't close deals, pain closes deals.

Brian Nichols  
Once they see it, they can't unsee it. That's one of my favorite expressions I used to use with my sales team. Well, Cory, unfortunately, look, the time we're already getting close to when you have a hard stop here. So I want to make sure we take the last five minutes or so the conversation and really focus on the the tangible items and action items that our audience can take today. Because I think you know, they're they're hearing a lot of great first steps that they can take, you know, we're talking about putting structures in place, we're talking about putting processes in place, focusing on the reasons the resources, the resistance, going back to that triangle, but also and no, we're not selling fancy triangles, folks, I know you all got excited out there. But no, we want to make sure that when people are taking this episode today, not only are they going to have some actionable steps that they can take right now. But how can people know that they're they're winning? How can they know that they're getting better besides looking at the sales, right? And especially if you're in a complex b2b world, you know, my sales cycle? Sometimes I'm literally in an account right now. And you're five of building this deal. It's it's just so many moving pieces. But you know, you can have from five weeks to five months to five years, for those individuals, how will they know that they're taking the right steps moving in the right direction? And maybe when they're not seeing that immediate return? They know it's gonna be coming down the road?

Cory Bray  
Well, I think that goes back to having a really strong process where you know, what your stages of your sales cycle are, you know what the exit criteria are, they're required to get to the next stage. You know, what a good deal looks like, you know what a bad deal looks like, and you execute every meeting. Well, you execute it. It's like it's the last meeting you're going to have with that prospect. You go back and review that meeting and you compare that against what what good looks like. That's that's where you can start getting some leading indicators of success or coaching yourself, start getting coached by your manager by your peers. I think that's key because Like Yogi Berra said, If you don't know where you're going, you're gonna end up someplace else.

Brian Nichols  
Yep, Tom Brady will love him or hate him. I was watching an interview he did. And he said that he spends more time in the film room than he does on the field practicing. There's something important there. And I mean, I go through, I listened to all sales calls, it's painful. Sometimes you listen to a call from me, you know, back four or five years ago, who man Brian Brian 1.0 versus Brian 3.0. Big difference. And I think you're gonna see that too. And those are real things you can look at and say, oh, yeah, I have gotten better. And hey, let's encourage people to appreciate those wins. So with that being said, Cory, I appreciate your time today. And obviously, we want folks to go ahead if they enjoy learning from you today, we want them to go ahead and continue learning. Now. I mentioned before you are the author of eight, yes, count them, folks, eight books. So you definitely have a lot of reading ahead of you, folks. So we'll include the links to Corys his links for all the different books you can purchase, but also closed loop, you're the managing director at closed loop, Cory. So my call to action here for the audience is a call to action that is towards closed loop. So what can they do when looking at closed loop? And how can you help them out?

Cory Bray  
Well, here's what they can do is, you know, there's a lot of a lot of folks out there that want to sell big consulting engagements, there's a lot of people that want to sell their content. If you find a book that you like, send me a LinkedIn message and say Brian Nicholson, you and I'll send you a free copy of one of my books anywhere in the US. And we can start with that because I don't sell stuff to people that don't need it. And so we start with discovery. One of the best ways to start with discovery is to see if there's something that we've written about that we've open sourced that aligns with what your needs are, go from there. Plus, I love my clients that put a little effort into it on the front end if they're just looking for me to show up and have a magic wand. I'm all out of magic wands people

Brian Nichols  
they're hard to come by I went to the Disney store I didn't see any extras. I think they're all gone at this point. Well hey, Cory with that being said no magic wands, but we do have some Yes, awesome resources available. And hey, like Corey said you go to LinkedIn shoot him a message Tom Brian Nichols Sanchi got a free book coming your way and you have eight to choose from. So there you go phones if you enjoy the episode, please do me a favor, make sure you go ahead and give it a share. And when you do give yours truly a tag at Bing nickels liberty, enjoy the episode email me Brian at Brian Nichols show.com. And hey, I'll make it easy for you folks to if you want to go ahead and find any links Cory social media, all the books he's gone ahead and written plus, I saw a rumor is there's a couple more books coming out here in the next few years. So we'll make sure we keep that close an eye close there. But with that being said, Folks, click the artwork in your podcast catcher, it'll bring you today's episode of The Brian Nichols show.com You can find all those links, but you can also find the entire transcript of today's episode plus all 460 episodes over at Brian Nichols show.com. With that being said at Cory Bray. Thanks for joining today's episode The Brian Nichols Show. Thanks Brad.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Cory Bray Profile Photo

Cory Bray

Managing Director

Cory Bray – Managing Director, ClozeLoop
Cory has built high-performing sales teams in industries that range from manufacturing to technology. He knows what works in practice, not just in theory. He’s a high-value advisor to multiple accelerators, a bestselling author, and a dynamic keynote speaker who has spoken all over the world. He’s passionate about making sales accessible, actionable, and scalable with FastFrameworks.