Catch Neal Benedict on the #PirateBroadcast™ - russjohns

Catch Neal Benedict on the #PirateBroadcast™

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Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.

Russ Johns: [00:00:10] Morning, everyone. Good day. Good afternoon. Whatever you happen to be watching this. The #PirateBroadcast™ and today we have a special guest because all the pirates are so special. Neal good morning. How are you doing?

Neal Benedict: [00:00:23] I am well, Russ, how are you doing today?

Russ Johns: [00:00:26] I'm doing excellent. The thing that I want to introduce people to is every business we have, every business that runs and operates is based a lot of times on sales. There's so many elements in the sales process and so many things that we can have that we have to think about. And you've been teaching sales for a little bit. So give us a little bit of background on Neal for those that haven't met you yet.

Neal Benedict: [00:00:52] Sure. Yeah. I still consider myself a bit of a recovering head of sales for corporate. I left a corporate role about six years ago. And I'm not sure I fully divorced myself from all the scars and, actually a lot of the fun that I had in corporate, as an individual, I grew up really with a lot of process in my background. I grew up with a lot of focus on metrics and selling. I grew up with a lot of professional sales people, coaching me, being around me, me having the opportunity to coach them. And so when I launched my own consulting business, I took a lot of the things that helped me really be strong in both sales execution and sales development with me and tried to bring those into the private sector. So I started my consulting company about six years ago and it took a little while to actually convince people that I wasn't this corporate guy, Hey, I'm here from corporate and I'm here to help type of mentality. And so I struggled for the first year or so probably a little bit longer of really communicating effectively with a small business owner and being able to be where they needed me to be, again not this corporate suit guy who came in and said, hey, this is the way corporate does it, but really understanding how the small business owner. Deals with their selling activities and some of the challenges that they face. I took that journey over the last six years to become a sales consultant. And  then I really started to understand that part of the overall equation that I was personally missing was the ability to teach in a sales methodology. Now, in the past, I had trained on a variety of methodologies. I had been, through spin selling and I had helped implement solution selling, at previous software companies. And, I had read the challenger sale and been a fan of that, you know, Miller, Heiman. I had taken teams through Miller Heiman, and I came across Sandler back in 2014, got it introduced to the local Sandler trainer here, took a large team of people through that methodology and felt like it was simple, straightforward. The methodology was the right one where it was reinforcement based training, meaning that people are consistently being exposed to the training they're going out and practicing the techniques. And then they're coming back into the organization and debriefing and then learning something new and going back out and trying it. So the methodology was good and I saw a huge impact to my particular sales team at the time when I took them through the Sandler training method. So when my clients started asking me for methodology training, I said what's the one I'm going to pick. What's the one that's easy to implement. That's consistent. That's a reinforcement base and Sandler became a clear methodology. And so I  joined the Sandler network a few years ago, and I've been doing a sales training for both individual contributors and sales managers for the last few years.

Russ Johns: [00:03:31] That's awesome. I want to go back and dig down a little deeper into one of the things you mentioned is the transition from corporate to the entrepreneurial journey, because there's a lot of individuals like myself. In and out of corporate offices, climb the ladder several times, in and out, sometimes it's not always the easiest exit. And one of the things that I've always admired about the sales process are the individuals that really get in and understand and appreciate what the client needs, what the customer wants. And so for your journey, you actually had to take that to heart and say, okay, I'm not in the enterprise. I'm now in the small to medium business and I need to adapt. And relate to the individuals that I'm serving. And as you mentioned, it was a transition, it was a journey. And so as you go through that, what are some things lessons learned that people could watch out for in the future, in their own journey that might accelerate their experience past the bumpy parts?

Neal Benedict: [00:04:42] Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's a lot of it is. Very much specific to the human condition. Very much specific to high-achievers very much specific to people who  us as Americans in particular, where we're told to constantly prove our worth. So when you go in and you talk to business owners, you spend a lot of time, at least I did, initially trying to figure out how I could immediately jump to telling them what they needed to do better, a debt quickly identifying their problems. And then basically creating a lecture for them on how they need to be doing it and how they should have been doing it from the beginning and how they can quickly adjust to the methods that I would bring to them. So instead of really being an active listener, instead of really trying to understand, the journey that they had been through to that point, instead of trying to really understand where they wanted to go, I spent a lot of time again, picking at small, maybe sometimes easy to solve problems, sometimes more complicated ones. And then just coming in with a lot of corporate mentality, a lot of corporate speak, a lot of corporate built tools and procedures and try to again, implement some of those in places where they really weren't fit for purpose. So I think I struggled a lot with the idea that first, seek to listen to what these individuals are going through, all the things that they had tried to that point, why they're even considering doing something different at this point and whether or not what I could bring to the table was truly going to help them. Again I think I've made a lot of assumptions at the very beginning of the process in the very beginning transition that I was smarter, that I knew more,  that I was more experienced. How could they possibly know more about this particular discipline than I did. And that really clouded a lot of my initial judgment, clouded a lot of the initial conversations. Made the clients in a lot of cases feel un okay. In some, in, in certain cases, even condescended. So I think that was clearly one of my challenges coming out of corporate, not stepping back and really trying to understand, putting off everything that I knew, thought that I knew on the table. And then stepping back from that for a minute and seeing what else I could put on the table that was really much more, I think relevant and much more responsive to what the small business owner needed. So I think that was the primary struggle. There were other things as well, but that was a critical one.

Russ Johns: [00:07:10] Yeah.  It fascinates me because there's two camps. There's the camp that where I have the confidence I can go in. I know exactly what needs to be done. And if you're not listening to me, it's like, just follow me. I got this. And then the other camp is that I don't value all have the skills that I have, even though they are incredibly valuable, and somewhere in between,  especially in small business and small business owners, they're looking for a partner, somebody that they can actually relate to and they can actually talk to and say, here's what I'm struggling with. This is what keeps me up at night. And if you can hear what they're saying and if your solution can assist in removing that challenge from their life. Then it's a great business opportunity. It's a great activity. And it's really, one size does not fit all. And I think it's really important for all of us as business owners and entrepreneurs and people growing businesses to really appreciate that and say, how can I help solve your problem? And like you said, when we listened to understand, we really can provide a lot more value.

Neal Benedict: [00:08:21] Yeah, that's absolutely true. And I think, one of the things I've learned, particularly over my consulting career is that nobody really, and I think this is true in general. It doesn't matter if you're engaging in a business conversation, or if you're talking about something uniquely personal people generally don't believe what you tell them. They don't believe what you say to them. If you tell them that, doing this particular exercise is going to help them lose weight, they don't believe it. They'll go back and research it and then they'll try to understand it. And then the only time they believe it is when they say it, so the idea of selling really, even if what you're promoting to the client is the absolute right thing to be promoting. You've really got to bring them into it and have them acknowledge and almost direct them to say, Hey, look, I've got this problem.  This is the types of thing I think that will fix it. And all of a sudden when they say it, it becomes a hundred percent true. So I think in general, what we're trying to do is lead them through this process of understanding and discovery so that they can both identify the problems that they're dealing with, but then they can also identify there's some possible solutions to that problem. And maybe I have one of them, or maybe I have more than one, but generally speaking, they need to come to the conclusion and identify that's both the problem and the potential solution. And again, I think generally speaking, if you talk to people and tell them things, they generally are resistant to that type of thing.

Russ Johns: [00:09:44] Yeah. I really appreciate the fact that if you can give people the example and the reason I do the #PirateBroadcast™ is because I produce shows for other people. And so you experienced what other people could experience, you get up, you show up, you turn on the mic and the camera and everything else is done for you. That's a journey that you can take people on. That's an example of the journey that you can take people on and say here's the process that you could use if you desire it. And here's some of the things, here's an example of how you could actually operate your activity or your business, where it happened, whatever it happens to be. And I always felt that if you could show by example and illustrate some simple methods because a lot of people are resistant to change. A lot of people are resistant to, especially in the software world. You mentioned that you had Dunn software selling solution selling, and it's really, what's the benefit of me taking a forklift and removing all this software that I've invested a lot of time and effort into and replacing it with something else that requires. All of the individuals in the company to change their mindset and their process. It's a huge investment, not only in the software, but the company, all of the people in the organization. So there's a lot of challenges that go along with that. And I think listening to what keeps people up at night is a great way to get through that process.

Neal Benedict: [00:11:14] Yeah, you're absolutely right. I think, in sales we oftentimes think of the investment of only being monetary. What are you willing to invest in order to fix that problem? And financially actually, when you when you're really thinking about selling and if you're good at what you're doing, you're not only looking at the monetary investment that you need to make because that's almost the smaller piece of it. The bigger part is really the investment in resources, right? If you're going to pull software off of a forklift, like you just talked about, there's a certain amount of investment in resources from people hours, for an example that you're going to need to invest in order to make that happen. When you're implementing a new package, let's just take CRM for an example. Not only is it a financial investment in people, it's an investment in your own political capital as a leader, to be able to implement that system and get your sales team to use it for an example. So the investment is not only financial,  it's much broader than that. And usually the more important investment is not the financial piece. It's the other investments that you need to make. In order to make that project or that process successful. So yeah, absolutely.  It's one of the things that we seldom don't focus on enough in selling is what are the other investments that the client needs to make in the product or service to make it successful?

Russ Johns: [00:12:28] I've been on some large rollouts and one of the largest roll-outs I was on was in the advertising industry where you were taking people from literally a three by five cards to software. And it was a cultural change. It was a shift in everything that they were doing, everything that they had done for years. And all of a sudden you're asking them. And another one is medical field doctors. Some doctors love their pencils and some doctors hate their pencils. And you see it over and over again. And it's cultural change. Sales, I think, is an exercise in how to change culture, how to change perspective, how to see a new opportunity, how to plant that seed and nurture that idea. And so I have to imagine that the Sandler method, because I'm not intimately familiar with it as a process. All of my work right now is based on relationships. It's like over time, if, when people need my help, I can help them when it's not, you can offer them introductions and, introduce them to other people's solutions as well. And that helps keep business afloat in certain respect. But the sales process, when you have a sales team and everything, it's a much different model. So maybe you could talk a little bit about how that fits into the Sandler method and what the fundamentals are. So people can get a sense for how that works for your training process as well.

Neal Benedict: [00:14:02] Yeah. Yeah, no, it's a good point. I think if you look at the Sandler methodology in general and some of the  concepts that David Sandler initially taught, I think one of the things you'll see very early on if you enrolled into the Sandler course is that relationships, our belief is that relationships are in sales at least, are highly overrated. Now that doesn't mean we don't believe in relationships. It doesn't mean that we don't want to build relationships, but as far as their impact to the overall ability to sell and to get people engaged in your product or service, the relationship is very much overrated from our point of view. So to your point, what we're trying to see is it's not scalable. And if you think about it, say I'm competing against Russ, right? We're selling a similar product in a similar space. If I had to compete against you in regards to relationships, I'm going to lose every time, right?  How can I beat you in regards to, if all I offer as a relationship, again I have no chance of really being better than you because you're smarter than me. You're funnier than me. You're better looking than me. All of the things that you are that I can't compete against, no matter what I do. So there really needs to be something else built into the process of selling and it's not relationships. And if you think about it, we're moving further and further away from the buyer or the project manager or the business unit manager, wanting to spend long weekends with their sales rep at some hunting lodge. That still happens from time to time, but it's really not that common anymore. And, most organizations actually have put a moratorium on it, so you can't do it even if you want it to, because, again, it's seen as in a lot of organizations as being unethical. And then so again, that type of relationship is,  I think a remnant of the past now, again, yes, it matters who, yes, it matters if you can create relationship, all things being equal, it would be better if I'm liked in a sales environment. However, the more important thing is the trust that you establish with the individual. And how do you establish trust? You don't establish trust by being the funniest or, being the most interesting. You establish trust  in a couple of ways. Being the most honest communicator, right? Calling out what communicating it effectively to the person you're trying to get engaged with. And if you guys are heading down the wrong path, calling time out if the solution doesn't look like it's a fit. Calling a time out if it doesn't look like that there's a, common interest. Being established, calling a time out, you create some level of, honest communication or, with the client that establishes trust consistency. If I say Russ, I'm going to do something and I don't do it once, that damages the trust in the relationship fairly significantly. But if I tell you I'm going to do something once and I do it and I tell you I'm gonna do it twice. And I do it. And I tell you the third time I'm going to do something. I do it. What does that establish? Hey, I'm reliable. I'm consistent. And that is what generates the trust in between two individuals is that I can believe that you're going to do what you say. I don't even have to like you that much, but I do have to trust you and that's the way you establish trust, right? So yes, relationships matter from a trust standpoint. And again, all things being equal, like ability certainly is a good thing, but relationships in general really don't account for much anymore. Because at the end of the day, people will see the business, the business priorities and needs that they have, they're measuring their pain. And they're trying to understand what individual, what product, what service is going to help them alleviate that pain. Most efficiently, most effectively and probably most costs with the most value most cost-effectively. So again, the relationship we teach that you need to learn the systematic approach to selling. You need to do certain things consistently over time, and the relationship is gravy. It isn't the baseline of what it is you need. It becomes the after effect of creating a trusting and honest and open communication between you and that buyer and that's really what  is more important than actually, the relationship.

Russ Johns: [00:17:54] Yeah. And it's showing up and being reliable and I think, I've seen this trend over and over again and I've experienced it myself is that I'll do all my research online. And by the time I go to purchase, a lot of times, I already know, I have a very good, clear idea about what I'm going for in my purchasing decision. And I just really think that there's a lot of people like myself that are there doing their research in advance, and essentially it's becoming more of  a small buying decision. It's not the long extended purchasing decision  that we're used to historically. And I think that's a really important for us to understand as well, because I'm sure you're familiar with Jeffrey Gitomer. People don't like to be sold, but they like to purchase, it's like the whole concept is I want to know when I can purchase and it struck a cord the other day.  I was in target and I was looking for a specific product that very easily I could have just been right at home hopped on Amazon ordered itand thought tomorrow. So there's an investment in time. And I think what sales is really bringing is accelerating the information I need to make a buying decision, making, purchasing decision, and, making sure that what I'm thinking is what is real and what I imagine is accurate. And I think like you said, it doesn't require a relationship to do that. It requires somebody that's transparent. Honest will tell me it's red when it's red and it's blue when it's blue and it's going to work. Or it's not going to work for my scenario. And I think that's important. And I think a lot of people need to understand that it's simple yet, not always easy. Sometimes we got a lot of things on our plate and there's one more thing that has to be completed before the end of the day to fulfill our obligation that we said we would. Deliver, and it's not always easy and it's a challenge. So I want to give a shout out to Darren and a few people here. Darren, good morning, Russ, fellow pirates. Darren's he's a part of the Badge Boys, an amazing podcast and show that happens on a weekly basis here. Mike Baker in from Florida. Thank you, Mike. I haven't seen you for a while. Hope you're good.  Tracie the ever awesome producer of the #PirateBroadcast™ and supporter of the #PirateSyndicate™. Another pirate in the room, Nick Dorsey. Hey Russ, happy pirate in the house? I hope you're having a fabulous week and a fabulous Friday and look forward to a wonderful weekend, Nick. I need to make it down there. We just have to get connected. I keep saying it. We keep saying it. We keep talking about it. Let's make it happen. So Nick is another awesome individual that has a podcast here and has been a pirate on the #PirateBroadcast™. So Neal, we're wrapping up here. We're now we're getting a few ideas and we're really talking about the sales process. So how has your training structured so people can understand  is this for me? Is this something that I should do? Because I believe that if you can get the sales process down and you can scale your business and you understand the principles and the fundamentals. It opens up so many doors, it opens up so many activities and opportunities. Right now we're living in the most amazing time in history where we have an opportunity. You're in Houston, I'm in Arizona, we're still having a conversation. I deal with people all over the world every single day. And it's really important for me to highlight you and say, how can people connect and actually achieve results when they contact Neal.

Neal Benedict: [00:21:39] Yeah, I appreciate that. Yeah. Our methodology is really reinforcement based training. And the things that we do slightly differently is and I always tell people this actually, a lot of what we do is life coaching. However, you're not going to pay me to be your life coach. You're going to pay me to be a sales coach at the end of the day. So you want results, right? So a lot of what we're helping people understand is that there are specific sets of behaviors that are very much needed in order to be successful in any discipline, but particularly related to sales. So one of the big things that we focus on in our training is behaviors, right? What are the behaviors that you need to consistently invest in, in order to be successful? The second thing we really focus on is attitude, right? What attitude do we bring to the world? What attitude do we bring to our clients? What attitude do we talk to ourselves about in our own mind to make sure that we are looking at every situation with. Again, an attitude that's going to help us overcome whatever it is as we're facing. So behavior, attitude, and then technique, which is the reason why most people we'll take training because they want to know what's the best thing to say in this scenario. And what's the best tool to use in this scenario. And, so lot of the times they were thinking that sales training is all about technique, actually technique. On standing on its own is really somewhat worthless, right? So we need to get you into training and help you understand that your behaviors and your attitudes are going to drive everything that you do. And the technique is there to be able to to implement things effectively and help you be better, but it really standing on its own. Isn't going to do anything for you. We really look at attitudes, behaviors, and techniques as the key. Three aspects of being successful in anything in particularly when it comes to sales. So we're constantly in every class that we teach highlighting all three of those aspects, how they interact with one another and how to use them in the right measure to be effective. And we do this weekly, our training is like I said, reinforcement based, just like anything you don't pick up the guitar and you don't learn that guitar in a two week session, right? Some people are seven, eight, 10 years into the guitar and they're still improving every day and most of the times they are right. So same thing with any discipline, you've got to invest in the training. You've got to be able to do it consistently, and you've got to make sure that you're committed to it. And then the other thing about us is we're a bit expensive, right? We're expensive because. We help people achieve their goals, right? We're expensive because it's, we're providing one-on-one coaching, we're doing live training all the time. You're never really watching videos with us. You can get those if you want them. But all of our training is live with an instructor. With live coaching with live role-plays with the things that are going to help you practice to become as good as you need to be. And again, we're not the cheapest training in town, so that's  really the things that Sandler brings to the table. And again why we think we're a bit different than everybody else. Maybe not better, but different than everybody. Yeah.

Russ Johns: [00:24:30] And it's the one key point I always remind people of is that. There's a lot of solutions out there. You just have to pick one that works for you.

Neal Benedict: [00:24:39] Absolutely.

Russ Johns: [00:24:39] Different personalities have different approaches and different approaches have different results and you just have to find the right combination. So it's great that you're not for everyone. And it's great that you're priced at  a place that people can get results. And I love the idea and the opportunity to invite people to get to know you and maybe connect with you and learn more about this process. And you may or may not be familiar with the same standard method. And it's been around for a little while and it's proven out over and over again. And obviously Neal is someone that you should connect with. So Neal, let people know how to connect with you. How do you enjoy and appreciate when people connect with you?

Neal Benedict: [00:25:20] Yeah, one way to stay connected is just look me up on LinkedIn, Neal Benedict. You can find me relatively easily up there. I'm fairly active on LinkedIn, so that's a good place to connect. Certainly you can find my website. I'm at silverbricksolutions.sandler.com. Silver bricks solutions with an S you can always go to my website and see all the things that we're doing on a regular basis. Always  if anybody wants to talk about sales, pick up the phone and call me, I'm always open to talking. You don't have to buy anything. You don't have to commit to going into any of our training. As a matter of fact, I'm probably going to try to talk you out of coming into our training whenever I can, because it really is very much it's really not... you have to be committed to it to it. You got to show up and I'm going to hold you accountable for showing up every week as well. And participating. Some people don't want that level of accountability. They just for whatever reason they can do it themselves or they just don't feel like, it's going to be beneficial to them. So again, I'll probably try to talk you out of it, but if you want to talk about sales and any resources, there's to your point earlier, there's lots of great sales training out there. We have access to more great sales training than we've ever had before. It, particularly if you're a self-paced learner, you've got Anthony's programs and JEVS programs and there's just a lot of good stuff out there.

Russ Johns: [00:26:29] So if you had to pick one thing that a person could do to improve their sales process today, what would you encourage people to consider?

Neal Benedict: [00:26:39] Yeah, that's a good question.  I think one of the things that you'd want to do is think about slowing down, right? Everybody thinks that sales needs to be pushed really fast. I  think about slowing down. And it's hard to do, but if you look at the difference between, great athletes and good athletes, everybody's great in the NFL for an example, right? There is no bad athlete, but the difference between the really good players and the great players is the ability to slow down, right? Slow down the game. They're able to see things in a way that other people are not right mentally, they practice slowing down the game. So I can see if I can slow it down slightly more than you can. Then I'm going to be slightly better than you are, right? And that's, if we win by inches,  in life, in sales, in particular win by inches, we never beating our competition by that much. We're really ever if we win we're winning by that much. So if you can just slow things down, slow the process down, slow yourself down, slow the listening and the conversation down you are going to be very much more successful over time. By doing that to yourself. And again, how do you do that again? There's a whole process to do that, but even if you start, think about, talk to yourself and self-talk slow down, it'll start to resonate and it'll start to happen. So slow your process down. Particularly your conversations with clients down.

Russ Johns: [00:27:53] Wendy says welcome Neal.

Neal Benedict: [00:27:55] Thank you.

Russ Johns: [00:27:56] We love to solve problems with silver bricks. Yes.

Neal Benedict: [00:27:59] Yeah. Better than goldbricker so that was

Russ Johns: [00:28:01] No is fast. Yes, takes longer.

Neal Benedict: [00:28:03] Yeah, absolutely. It sure does.

Russ Johns: [00:28:06] It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much. Have a fabulous day. I look forward to our conversations going forward, and now that you're a pirate, just stay engaged with the pirate community. And if you enjoyed this podcast, this broadcast is live stream, or you're watching the replay, like, comment, share it. I encourage you to share this with people that need to hear it. And we also are on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, all of the platforms and a podcast out there as well. So love to have you share it, engage with the community, stay connected because #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree and I want you to #enjoyyourday. Thanks, Neal.

Neal Benedict: [00:28:52] Thanks Russ. Appreciate it.

Russ Johns: [00:28:53] You bet.

Exit: [00:28:54] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.

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