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Quotable Podcast Episode #85: Build Your Presence, But Know Your Audience, with Will Barron

Host: Kevin Micalizzi
Finding ways to build a professional presence online and add value for customers is a challenge for many in sales. Join Will Barron, host of the Salesman Podcast, as he shares a key insight learned from interviewing hundreds of the greatest minds in sales. Know your target audience. Adding value for your prospects doesn’t mean you need to add value for everyone. If there are 50 people you need to reach, tailor your approach for those 50 people. You don’t need to be a talented writer or create something fancy. Your customers are sharing insights and solutions with you every day. Share them and you’ll build a presence that propels your success.

You are, in the internet age, whoever Google says that you are.”

Will Barron | Host of the Salesman Podcast

Episode Transcript

Kevin Micalizzi: Welcome to the Quotable Podcast. Today we are going to be talking about ways to improve your selling in 2018, and some of the trends you need to look out for.

My guest today is Will Barron. He is the host of the Salesman Podcast. I am Kevin Micalizzi, let's jump into it. Will, welcome to the podcast.

Will Barron: Cheers, Kevin. I am excited to be here.

Micalizzi: I know. This has been a long time in coming.

Barron: For sure. Sure.

Micalizzi: So, Will, you talk to so many sales influencers and so many just brilliant minds in sales, and we are at that point in the year where I think everyone is looking at, "How do I get more out of it this year?"

And I am curious, what kind of trends are you seeing right now?

Barron: From speaking to all the people I do regularly on the Salesman Podcast, and then all the other conversations, as I do with you somewhat regularly as well, Kevin, on the side of all of this there's a couple of things that come to mind.

And with all of this, I always try and distill things down to the 80/20 principle or Plato's Law of, "What's the 20% of things that we can do which is going to give us 80% of the effort?"

And it's not that we are lazy; we just need to be as effective in sales as we can with our time. So I am looking for things that are somewhat scalable, things that build momentum over time, rather than some custom, swanky, awesome email template.

I am talking about things like building somewhat of a personal brand online, so that you do it once, essentially, whether it is a one-page website where it is doubling down on your LinkedIn profile, adding some testimonials on there, and when you do it once, hundreds or thousands of people over the year can see it.

So, I think building some kind of — now you don't have to be a thought leader, you don't have to be writing books — but some kind of online presence, and that I am focused on at the moment for sure.

Micalizzi: Excellent. Yeah, I mean I think it is critical. The assumption is anyone you talk to is going to Google you and try and get a better picture for who you are, in the same way you are researching your customers.

Barron: Of course, and this is where it gets a little bit weird, because I don't know who came up with this, someone more intelligent than myself. But you are in the internet age, whoever Google says that you are.

So if someone Googles you and it comes up with your college pictures from Facebook, which you have not made private, of you going out partying, and you are a B2B sales professional, selling million-dollar medical device equipment, which is what my background is, or you are selling 500 grand a month SAS software, whatever it is, that is the first foot forward you put in front of them.

That is before you've even got on a call. That is before you had the chance to even tell your side of the story, and so, very simply, LinkedIn ranks super high. Google, so you've got to have a great LinkedIn profile. Perhaps even if you are not even going to use them for social selling or anything like that, you perhaps want to have a business linked to your LinkedIn so Google knows that it is all the same person.

Perhaps you want to have somewhat of a business Facebook page, somewhat of a business Twitter handle, maybe you get yourname.com or .net or whatever it is. So that is kind of the fourth or fifth down the page, which is maybe just your CV, maybe just links directly to your LinkedIn.

Whatever it is, because Google is such a beast, and it gets even more complicated if someone in the same industry has a similar name to you, you want to do your best to control those results, because, gosh as you said, especially when you are dealing in the B2B world, if you are dealing with professional buyers, the first thing they are going to do is Google you.

Micalizzi: Right. So, Will, I'm realizing I am super familiar with your work, but I should probably back up for our listeners who don't know you yet. Would you share a little bit about yourself and the work you do?

Barron: Okay. So I did seven years in medical device sales; I was always pretty good. I would always hit target, but I wasn't by any means an exceptional sales professional.

And it struck me as I was looking for ways to improve, as I was looking for some kind of online coaching, books, whatever it was, there wasn't that much content for sales professionals — directly for sales professionals.

There's lots of content for sales leadership. There's lots of content for sales management, CSOs, CFOs, and everything on that kind of level. But there wasn't much for the individual B2B sales professional.

So I launched the Salesman Podcast, where I have interviewed I think 450 now, both sales experts, authors, high-performing salespeople themselves, but then also astronauts, Olympic athletes, and high performers in different facets of both business and life to kind of pull everything together and amalgamate what makes someone a high performer.

Micalizzi: So I want to go back to what you were saying about the personal brand. Do you find that it is more important to create original content, or is it sufficient to find links and kind of curate the best of articles and blog posts and other advice that's out there?

Barron: I think the smart thing to do is both. But to go a step further than that, Kevin, you need to define what you want your personal brand to be. If you're only intending to be in this specific niche, this industry, this vertical in your sales role for the next one, two years, maybe this isn't something that you are going to heavily invest in.

Perhaps you can get that 80/20 principle, that leverage, with just one piece of great content that sits in your email signature. So people when you email them, when that cold email goes out, again, it is scalable, because you are not creating new content for every single person that you are speaking with.

But that one signature piece of content, perhaps it gives a whole bunch of value, perhaps it is your insights from the industry, and it shows your expertise and aligns you as a higher level than just some salesperson who is spamming everyone that they possibly can.

Perhaps you only need that one little bit of content, if you are not planning on being in that vertical for the next two, three, four, five years. However, so I love medical devices. I've worked for some of the biggest companies in space.

Essentially, I was selling endoscopic camera equipment. I was spending most of my time in theaters, coaching and training surgeons on how to use the equipment, as opposed to cold calling or anything like that.

So, if I went back into sales, I would definitely go back into medical devices, and I would choose to do it, I would commit to it for that 10-year period. And so I would then be creating content, curating content, for my customers.

So I am not saying that we need to have — what we are doing is creating a podcast that has 100,000 downloads to have an impact  as sales professionals.

Micalizzi: Right.

Barron: What we need to do is have the Yorkshire, where I live here in the U.K., the Yorkshire Urology Podcast, which 15 urologists listen to, and they all know each other, and I just interview a new one of this group each week and they all download it once a week, listen to it in the car.

Again, you get this 25–50 downloads, and that is a really useful, valuable piece of content that puts you at the center of this hub, allows you to make introductions. You're giving value up front by having people on some kind of interview show, and then you are giving value on the back end by sharing tips and resources from these individuals.

And you only need about 20, 30 people to download it. So when I talk about creative content for sales professionals, I am not on about a blog that millions of people are on each month.

It might be Twitter. It might just be useful facts that you are pulling from one customer that is useful for the rest of the customers that hopefully will follow you.

Micalizzi: Yeah, I think that is phenomenal, and I think too many of us get caught up in what topics are we covering and we tend to forget, "Okay, what is our target audience?"

And I think that is a great point that you raise, that if your audience are those 15 urologists, then you need to be targeting that audience. You don't need to be creating the best urology podcast in the world.

Barron: Of course, no, and it could be even simpler than that. Perhaps the content is you once a week email one of them, ask what have you learned this week, what would you like to share with your peers? And then you are not using any crazy software, you are not using automation, you are not using any of these marketing tools.

Perhaps you just have an email with 10 people cc'd on with Professor X-Y-Zed from whatever hospital suggested we can use this tool to do this, and then you just build a conversation in a mini-community around that.

I think we all want to overcomplicate things. Salespeople stereotypically have somewhat of an ego. They want to be the biggest and the best in their industry, but again, I am always focused on this 80/20 and the 20% of the effort we can have a lot of results with content.

And it could be as simple as — and I did this inadvertently in medical device sales. Two hospitals next to each other — it is public health here in the U.K., so they are not necessarily competing against each other. I went from one hospital that used all our equipment, they were super versed in it, one of the best colorectal surgeons in the world works there.

I got on with him really well. I went next door, where they used our competitors, and just knocked on the door, "Hey, would you like to come for lunch with this colorectal surgeon?" And we just basically documented the lunch. Half documented the conversations that were going on. And that made an email that then went out to all my other colorectal surgeons and just said, "Hey, Mr. X-Y-Zed is doing all these awesome things."

And essentially just from that one lunch from me making somewhat basic notes after three or four pints, became a one-page piece of content that was really valuable then for all the other colorectal surgeons that were in my territory.

Micalizzi: If you are selling well, and you are asking good questions, and you are really listening to the answers, I think there is incredible content that can come out of that.

Barron: And it is totally different to what a marketing team would come out with, because they are setting up some kind of avatar on a higher level that perhaps goes across to two or 300 people. If you can put together — again, it doesn't need to be a fancy PDF, it could just be text on an email of this surgeon said this one thing — I think this could help you. And that is your piece of content.

So we perhaps define content differently in our heads that 100,000 people have got to see. Content is just documenting something. Whatever it is, it's got to be value first. And this is your cold email to get in with that next customer.

That is your cold email if I am dealing with a procurement officer. They found a new unique way to get our products into their system, and it is cost effective for them. I then share that with another procurement officer and say, "Hey, you don't have to go with us for these products, but this person has had great success bringing in a cash-tight NHS trust here in the U.K.. They've brought in a million dollars or a million pounds worth of camera equipment, which is going to lead to better patient outcomes."

You document all this down in a nice easy-to-read email, and you say, "I'm not trying to sell you anything, but I thought you might find this useful." And it is something that only really a salesperson who is speaking with all these individuals — they are the only people that are going to get this information, and they are the only ones with those relationships.

Directly, one-on-one, they can then pass it on to the next person.

Micalizzi: So building your online presence is really half the social-selling equation? What advice are you either hearing or are you sharing around leveraging social for better understanding your prospects, for trying to connect with them?

Barron: So I think there are two levels to this. One is you've got to work out whether your customers are on social. Because I don't get this social selling. The words social selling, or the phrase has been brought up to sell books, sell online courses, to sell consulting fees.

I think social selling is essentially just sales, but now we've got extra platform alongside industry events, alongside knocking on doors, alongside cold calling. It is the same process no matter what we are doing, but now we've got social.

So with that out of the way, because this is a regular thing that we discuss over our show, over what it means and the value of it. But if your customers are on social, you've got a huge advantage, especially if you are a first mover.

If you are the first person out of your competitors — perhaps there are 10 other companies in your industry — their salespeople haven't quite gotten onto this bandwagon yet, you've got access to data that companies would pay research firms millions of dollars for five years ago to try and uncover.

If you find your customer is on Twitter, they love playing golf, maybe you need to get off social and go and have a game of golf with them. If you find they are on LinkedIn and they love, I don't know, what would be really random — they love collecting Pokemon cards — maybe you need to do a little bit of research on Pokemon cards before you go and see them, or you take one in.

You spend $20, $30, whatever it is, and you buy them something as a little treat, and you leave them a note with it: "I'd love to have just a five-minute chat with you, but I thought you would like this."

It's social selling, I feel, and it is split with the people I speak to whether it is a tool that we can use to get in front of people and stay top of mind. That's one angle of it.

But I think the most powerful angle of it — and it is only going to continue to move forward, and get more and more powerful — is the fact that we are all, quite weirdly at this point, sharing so much data, so much personal data about ourselves online that that is a tool that allows you to build better, deeper, higher-level conversations and rapport with people.

But again, to do this in the past you would have to spend millions on a research firm, who would probably be following individuals around and stalking them in less appropriate ways to get the same kind of data.

Micalizzi: Yeah, I think it's been phenomenal in that it gives you so much more information to do that research and to get a better understanding, even if they are not creating their own content.

They're sharing articles, liking articles, and if we take LinkedIn as an example, it gives you a picture of what they consider to be important, which could open doors for you in terms of what kind of content do you share with them and how do you approach them?

Barron: On LinkedIn specifically, I think something that is massively underrated and something that I am starting to use more and more now — especially as I build my personal brand with the Salesman Podcast and the other content that we are doing — is the fact that you can see how you are connected to people.

So it's gone full circle, in that this is how sales, I imagine — obviously I wasn't there — would have been done 200 years ago of, "Can you introduce me to X-Y-Zed person, can you put in a good word, can you speak to this person who could perhaps get me a meeting?"

Now you've got the ability to not have a big binder full of business cards and having to make 50 calls just to make one conversation happen. You can very literally see how we are connected to other people, and that is a tool that salespeople are sorely underleveraging.

Maybe it is because even though we are hyperconnected now, we are not really connected, and we don't have that rapport that it looks like we do when we have 5,000 people following us on Instagram or LinkedIn.

Micalizzi: Right.

Barron: Perhaps they are just arbitrary numbers that don't mean anything. The people in sales who have built legitimate connections and have built a network within a vertical, it's even — it could not be easier to get in front of the right person.

Micalizzi: So we talked about referrals. I am curious, your thoughts on testimonials. To go back to the online presence side of it, how important do you think those things are? Whether it is LinkedIn endorsements or something else, for an individual, versus a company.

Barron: Crazy important, because again, you are using a tool like testimonials to tell your story, and I think it is only a matter of time before we're having LinkedIn do it, whatever newer platform does it, there will be some kind of review sites for B2B sales professionals.

It could be a review site for just people in general, and it ties your job in there as well. So, if you are selling in an inappropriate manner right now, you are spamming people, those emails, those communications, those texts are online forever.

All right, let's be real and not forget this: They are going to come back to bite you in the bum in five years' time when someone Googles kind of you and someone else has published an email that you sent out five years ago.

Again, this never happened in business before.

Micalizzi: Right.

Barron: There's never been a way to track people who are not just selling inappropriately, but perhaps they are new to sales, perhaps they are spamming, perhaps that is what they have been told to do. This is now all tied into your personal band.

So, by having testimonials on a LinkedIn page, by having yourname.com, .net, .org, and having a bunch of testimonials on there from customers that like you, both gives you an opportunity to tell your story first, if there is anything further down the line which you don't want people to see in that Google search results.

Hopefully there isn't. But it also gives that just a hint of know, like, and trust before someone picks up the phone to you. So if you send a cold outreach, someone emails you, they see that their biggest competitor, the CFO, the managing director, whoever it is, the marketing manager, has bought from you in the past.

I just got a one-line comment on the [unintelligible] know, like, and trust built up before you've even gotten on the phone with them. It is again scalable, it is something that takes an afternoon to do; just email your best customers and ask if you can have a one-liner off them, and it is up online forever.

And you know, again, going back to 80/20, it's not a lot of effort to get a reasonable amount of return from that.

Micalizzi: Let's talk more about how you make those connections, how you get that initial contact and get your foot in the door. I mean, to your comment about the emails and how they could live online, I honestly get one a day that is just so far off the mark, not even remotely close to being interesting or even in the right topic area.

And you know, I have thought about actually removing names, but blogging about them, because there are just so many out there. So what are you finding people are doing that is working?

Barron: You've got to get attention and give something before you try and take. So for small-value sales, perhaps it is more scalable. Perhaps there's a window of opportunity now for a year, 18 months, to spam.

So with that off the table, and everything to one side from that, you've got to be personalized, you've got to be top of mind as the email comes in, and we can talk about that if you like, of using different ad platforms and different ways to become omnipresent so that when a prospect is online they're seeing either you or the brand everywhere, so that when they pick up the phone, when they get an email, it's not unexpected.

So we can perhaps touch on that in a second. But you've got to give. It's cliche, I know, and I've had sales managers say to me in the past, "Just give more value."

But they couldn't really define what that meant.

Micalizzi: Right.

Barron: And neither could I, before I had all these conversations, and it was potluck whether I was giving value or sucking it out of a conversation. But if you are using cold email outreach, again, you have got to lead with not, "This is my product. This is what I am going to try to sell you. This is my pitch. It's going to change your life."

You've got to lead with, "Hey, X-Y-Zed surgeon, the hospital next door is doing X-Y-Zed. I would love to just come in and chat with you and see if I can help improve your service."

And then, of course, 20 minutes down the line, after that initial conversation, they are going to ask what products you can provide and how you can double down on the service that hopefully you have added a little value to up front.

That can be a cold call, that can be an email, whatever it is. Again there's two levels to it. There's the "stay in top of mind" through content, through social, so that when the buyer gets that email, that cold call, they know what they are getting. They know that there is a little bit of like and trust already built.

And then there's the just not sending a really selfish might be the best word, just not sending a selfish email or selfish cold call because you are just going to get blocked.  

Micalizzi: Right.

Barron: It is no more complex than that.

Micalizzi: And I think selfish is the right word, because all you are thinking about is yourself and the minimum that you can send and hope. I mean I think many of them think of it as a numbers game. You know, even if I don't do the research, you know if I send a hundred emails and I get one response, then all I need to do is send 10,000 emails.

And I will hopefully get the number that I need, as opposed to trying to do that research, personalize it, and really make it relevant and provide value as they go through.

Barron: Again, let's not overcomplicate it. It doesn't need to be this amazing — we don't need to read. So there's plenty of books that we can read to become better writers, because obviously a lot of time in sales we are sending text over a kind of email.

So On Writing Well is a great book. Bird by Bird is a great book if you want to polish up on your writing skills. Again, just reading one of those will make you a better copy writer writing sales emails than most of your competition, because they will have never read a book on writing.

So there are multiple elements to all of it, but, for an example, with the Salesman Podcast, I still — we've got an ad agency now working for us, selling one half of the ad space.

I still sell the other, just so I can practice and share and kind of share what works with me when I am selling the ad space, and I did 100 emails to companies within the sales industry, cold emails that were somewhat researched, not amazing — probably 10-15 minutes spent on each one.

So 100 emails, and then I did 10 emails which had no text, just a video, which is me in the studio, camera facing forward, and essentially me reading out what I would have written in a text email.

I got 10% reply rate on the 100 cold emails that went out with just text. I got a 10 out of 10 reply rate and five new customers from the video email that went out.

Micalizzi: That's phenomenal.

Barron: So it is not just the research that goes into it. It doesn't need to be the best email. But it needs to get attention, it needs to be different, it needs to separate you from the competition. You need to get someone — everyone is busy. And we are only going to get more and more busy.

There's more and more beeps going off everywhere, so there needs to be a moment of spark, a moment of, "Oh, this is interesting." And then that is where you are going to get the replies.

Micalizzi: Yeah, I've heard people talking about how direct mail is coming back just because so few people do it now that others are starting to do it. Whether it is sending a package with a courier service with something in there to just kind of draw the attention, but really trying to find a new and unique way to stand out from the crowd.

Barron: Sure, and knocking on doors, asking people if you can take them for lunch, it's all old school. I've never taken a customer to a golf course, because I can't play golf, but imagine taking a customer to a golf course and spending three or four hours with them walking around in the rain, chatting about business.

Micalizzi: I actually had a sales rep bring me to a driving range once, which was kind of fun just —

Barron: Yeah.

Micalizzi: You know you are close enough, you are standing close enough to still have conversation and keep it about work, but it was kind of fun to practice that way.

Barron: Of course, and I bet you could tell me what went on in that conversation a lot more so than the 50 cold emails you have had kind of in the past 52 weeks they have just been spamming at you.

Micalizzi: Yeah.

Barron: That immediately get deleted, and then at worst you probably subconsciously, if nothing else, are going, "I probably don't want to deal with this company, because they can't sell me a product without spam email; they're probably desperate.”

Micalizzi: Right.

Barron: And so, they are obviously not having the success that they are claiming that they are having.

Micalizzi: So what would you recommend for our sales reps who are listening who are prepping — beyond just prepping for 2018 — but are looking at the year and how they want to up their game? Like if I want to start creating more content and delivering more value, where should I begin?

Barron: This will be a multi-step plan that I don't think is longer than a weekend of hustling to put together. You need to suss out where your potential customers are. If there's multiple channels, that might be industry events, that might be if you are in the tech space perhaps they are on Twitter; wherever they are, you need to define that and not mess round on the outskirts, not mess around on the fringes.

Play where you again are going to get this 80/20, where you are going to get most of the benefit from your time spent there. It may be email, obviously, if you are dealing with C-level executives that are spending a lot of time in and out of email because they are trying to avoid having lots of meetings with people, which again, racks up more emails on the back of them.

So once you have defined where your potential customers are spending time, where their attention is, then if you've got multiple channels; narrow it down to where is most of their attention and where is very little of your competition.

So for me, and this is more marketing I guess, but for the Salesman Podcast, I look at where I spend my time: It's email, it's podcasts — obviously being a huge podcast supporter and proponent of helping other people grow their shows — and FB Messenger.

So we are building a Facebook Messenger bot that answers sales questions —very easy to do and it is actually free to do — and I can perhaps give you some links to put in the show notes if anyone wants to look into this.

But it's given people a ton of value. It is scalable, because you are not having to — you can jump in and message people, go back and forth if you like — and if your customers, especially in that B2C space, or if you are dealing with people and for whatever reason they spend a lot of time on Facebook and it is appropriate to talk to people on Facebook.

There is so much attention on Facebook Messenger and so little competition from anyone else, because Facebook's ad product is quite new in the messenger space. Facebook bots are quite new, that's 100% where you should be spending your time.

So I realize I am going around in circles, and giving you lots of different little bits of information here, Kevin, but you need to suss out where people are, how you can get in front of them, even for free, cheaply, and then how you can perhaps double down on this through things like Facebook ads, which you can target to C-level executives in a specific industry.

You have 20 people in a custom audience. I think the smallest custom audience you can have on Facebook is 50 people, and you spend literally $2 a day with a piece of content — a sponsored post that goes out to them each day.

And, again, this just keeps you, the company that you work for, and the brands that you are involved with top of mind with them.

Micalizzi: So let's talk a little bit more about that one, because it sounds like you are individually doing account-based marketing. So you're really trying to double down on the message and make sure that they are aware of who you are before they even receive that initial contact.

Barron: For sure, and this is something that is fast moving. It might change in six months' time, but every company for the Salesman Podcast that I want to deal with — you know, Salesforce included, and a number of companies are in this space — I will produce a piece of content that is super relevant, super valuable to them.

And, for example, with Salesforce and the different business that we have done and the kind of promotional work that we have done together, and with Quotable as well, I will then push that out to perhaps the sales team.

So now, my goal is to get Salesforce sales team listening to the Salesman Podcast, sharing that internally, and again it is difficult to track where the money is being spent, who is seeing what, where it is going.

But, again, for $5 to $10 a day it is a huge investment and again you are top of mind, so that when your phone call does come in, when that email does come in, people have again just that slight bit of know, like, and trust, which separates you from all the other cold emails, and you are the one that gets the reply, versus everyone else then.

Or flip side of it, when there is a trigger event that happens, you're the first person that is going to get called because, again, you've been top of mind for the past six months prior.

Micalizzi: Right. Do you see that working well for folks in large organizations, like, let's say you are back selling medical devices?

Barron: So if I was in medical right now, so I would be selling on multiple fronts. I'd be selling the physical products to the surgeons, I'd be selling the financing, essentially, to be able to put the products into place — hence the procurement teams — and I would be using both LinkedIn and Facebook's ads platforms to be top of mind on any geographic location from here in Yorkshire.

I would then be targeting people who have the title on Facebook of Procurement Manager in the NHS, and you know maybe five or six synonyms of that.

And the audience would probably be 100 people, 50 people. I would be getting my face in front of them. I would not be spamming them. I wouldn't be saying, "Call me for the best deal on endoscopes."

Micalizzi: Right.

Barron: I would be giving them a piece of content that I would go and ask. You know I would interview the best relationships I've got in the procurement world, and I would say, "For 2018, what are the five things that procurement officers should be doing?"

I'd make that into a one-page piece of document in medical device sales. I'd be giving all this information to the marketing team; they'd be making it look pretty. They would be branding it appropriately, corporately for the company.

And then I would be spending at first my own money, $5 a day, $10 a day, which would get it in front of all these people over the course of a month. All these people would see it; even if half of them click on it, you've got more attention there for the sake a hundred dollars than the hundred dollars you would spend in petrol driving around trying to knock on their offices and go and speak with them in person.

I would just be doing that top of mind from now, forever. The Facebook platform might change; it might get more expensive. I'd be, again, documenting what I am doing so I can show this to a sales manager so eventually they will give me some budget, and you are going to like — if you do anything like this, in a mature, corporate organization, that is perhaps not quite pushing the limits of the speed versus the startups in your space, you're going to look like a superhero.

You are going to look way forward thinking, you are going to be the sales rep that is standing out by just experimenting with some of these things. So I would document it all, I would show it to management, I would show it to leadership.

I would eventually — for a week or two, for a month or two — get them to be paying for it rather it come out of my own pocket.

And then I'd be doing this forever, so that again, when there is some kind of capital injection, when there is here in the U.K. an election, party changes, it goes from Labor to Conservatives, Conservatives to Labor, they change the NHS budgets, I have given all this value up front — again for very little cash — so that I am the first person that is called that we've got.

And this would happen regularly. I get a call, "Will, we've got 50 grand we need to spend before the end of the quarter because otherwise we're going to lose the budget. Literally, what can you deliver in time?"

Micalizzi: Right.

And you can only do that when they trust that you are not going to rip them off, that you are going to be trusted, that you are going to give them products that are appropriate, that they actually need, that that budget is actually going to be used legitimately.

And I just think being top of mind — I actually discuss this with neuroscientists on the Salesman Podcast, and there is science that shows and backs this up as well — that being top of mind is just as important to building trust as trust-based exercises like doing deals, building rapport, and all that side of things as well.

Micalizzi: Right. So before I ask you our lightning round question, I just want to ask you, we've talked a lot about what reps can be doing. What can managers be doing to support their reps in this?

Barron: They should be open-minded. So I am on the side of the sales rep, forever and ever, and I have had good and bad experiences with sales management.

I have told this tale on the Salesman Podcast many times, of I would literally be doing a medical device podcast, I would have built a huge audience for the last company I worked for, if they would have given me the time, energy and budget to do so.

Essentially they said, "No. We will keep doing things the old way.” And, you know, built the world's largest sales [unintelligible] on the back of it, so it could have easily been million-dollar, million-pound profitable for them to just be slightly more open-minded in experiments.

So my advice to sales managers is when someone comes along, it doesn't matter whether they are old, young, it doesn't matter whether they are using social media or they are applying all of this to industry events, trade shows, and trying to be top of mind there as well.

Just listen and be willing to experiment on things and appreciate that when you were working sales five years ago, things have changed at a crazy pace since then. So perhaps there is opportunity out there that you are not quite grasping at the moment, and just one idea from one sales rep could change an entire organizational sales strategy in a heartbeat.

Micalizzi: I like it. So let me ask you the lightning round question. If you could take all the knowledge and experience you have now, go back to the beginning of your career, and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you tell yourself?

Barron: To build a brand. Sorry, Kevin, it can't be any more complex than that. But, as I said, I love medical devices. It still fascinates me now. I am a huge nerd at heart. I love playing blah, blah, blah.

I would take some of these scopes and camera systems, I would take some of them home and experiment with them, and not on me, clearly. But not on anyone else, either.

But just to hold them, to handle them, to experiment with how surgeons can perhaps use them in more efficient ways, the different handling mechanisms of scissors and forceps and different ways of suturing — I loved all that.

So I would commit to going into a vertical for five, 10 years. I would commit to making sound financial decisions with the cash that I would be earning. I would treat it as a 10-year sprint as opposed to 40-year career, perhaps. And I would build a brand that would support me from day one.

It wouldn't be me pretending that I am an expert at all; it would be me sharing what I am learning with people. You know, I look at it as adding as much value in sharing what you are learning as salespeople, unless you want to become a consultant. I'd be sharing what I am learning so that my audience, my buyers, surgeons, and procurement teams can learn from it.

And I would try and become essentially a thought leader, a mini-celebrity for Yorkshire Urologists. Not for worldwide urologists, but just for people in Yorkshire. I think that in itself you become the number one choice.

You become the go-to person when there's questions about other competitors' products as well. And, again, if you're legitimate in your advice, if you give good advice, of well, perhaps the competitor is the best choice this time, versus what we have on offer.

Or this certain product range is better from the competitors versus what we are doing. You are going to build that know, like, and trust in an industry where urologists are doing the role for 20, 30 years after they become consultants.

They are going to come to you for that period, without question, and I think that makes sales easy. Ten sales from this place where you get your target, you're worrying about what you are going to be able to hit, what accounts you are going to get into; it turns into just a nice conversation with lots of nice men and women, back and forth, over the weeks and months and years.

And it all just works out in your favor.

Micalizzi: That's great advice. And there are so many tools now to help you build that brand.

Barron: Yeah.  For sure. Well, LinkedIn is the obvious one. Anyone who is in B2B, get a LinkeIin profile, start connecting, chatting, adding value, get in conversations with others within your space, with the people around your buyers as well, if you take an account-based selling approach.

So the end decision maker for me would be a surgeon; I'm speaking to the theater managers, I'm speaking to theater staff, because they have a lot of influence on the surgeon, because they are the one handling the instrument. If they can't get it out of the packaging, it just doesn't get used.

The competitor with the easier box to open, as silly as it sounds, gets used. I am speaking with the theater managers, the procurement officers, the CFOs of these accounts if I can get in front of them, and I am just relaying information around and I am being that hub for my customer, the end user, which is the surgeon.

And I am trying my best to make their life a little bit better.

Micalizzi: Love it. This has been fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me, Will.

Barron: I appreciate it, Kevin. I love the show, I love what you are doing. And every success with it, mate.

Micalizzi: Thank you.

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President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.



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