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The Sales Warrior Within | Season 2 Episode 28 – Become a Resource Hound
Andy Olen is a Sales & Leadership Trainer and High-Performance Coach. Andy works with talented salespeople, business teams, and leaders who seek empowerment, improvement, and insight. Andy’s clients strive to be the best in class.
“Good Selling, Good Leading, Good Living.” – Andy Olen
Become a Resource Hound – Here’s How…
- Andy Olen provides insights and his experiences watching great salespeople harness the power of being a Resource Hound
- Top salespeople see the value in bringing in valuable resources from their business to engage with customers
- Consider inviting your top engineers, R&D experts, procurement specialists, lawyers, and financial leads to visit with and exchange value for value with your customers
- Customers enjoy building relationships and connecting with leaders in your business
- Also, consider bringing your sales leaders into key accounts with you
- Sales Executives elevate the salesperson’s credibility, pitch, and negotiation power
- Exercise the Leader’s Voice and link the great resources in your account with your customers
- Become a Resource Hound
Speaker: Andy Olen
| 00:02 | There’s a sales warrior within each of us. My name is Andy Olen, and I’m here to help you discover and empower the sales warrior within. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Sales Warrior Within podcast. This is Andy Olen coming to you from Mequon, Wisconsin, if you don’t know Mequon, Wisconsin, and where it is just north of Milwaukee.
| 00:33 | So it’s a Milwaukee suburb. This is where my office is. I was thinking about all the time spent at home during the pandemic, and with two dogs, it was time, once people started going back to the office, to get my own office. I needed to get out of the house because with my job, I’m talking into this microphone, sharing insights and information and hopefully helping you express the sales warrior within. I’m also doing a lot of zoom training.
| 01:00 | So I would say that over 50% of my training engagements are still over zoom, especially coaching engagements. So when you’re training a group of 100 people or one on one with a senior executive or I do volunteer work at the Honor Foundation and work with special operators. And when I’m coaching them, I don’t want to say over and over again, oh, sorry about the dogs in the background, sorry about the noise. Oh, I’m getting distracted with this or that. So I wanted to get to a place where I could have two things.
| 01:30 | One, I could have quiet and not be distracted, and getting my own office was a really good investment for that. And second, I wanted to have reliable internet because that was the other critical thing. Along with peace and quiet. A really high functioning, always reliable working internet connection is absolutely critical for what I do. It’s probably critical for what you do as well. You don’t want to be on that customer call. All of a sudden, a little lightning hit somewhere and boom, your Internet goes out, your power goes out, and you’re offline for the next many hours.
| 02:03 | It could be the difference between getting a big award or a contract done or not. And so I do have fiber at my office. I pay a silly amount of money for it, but here’s what I get. I get peace of mind that every time I’m in my office and every time I’m logged on and I’m on a really important training, my Internet’s not going to go down. That’s what I get out of that. And that makes me very happy.
| 02:26 | It’s also great as I think about sort of pandemic and now cycling a year and a half or two years past the pandemic, that last couple of weeks were my first back to back to back travel weeks. Had a trip to San Diego excuse me. Actually started in Minneapolis the next week to San Diego, and the week after back to California to the Long Beach area. And so it was fun to be back on the road back to back to back, though.
| 02:55 | I don’t think that I have my travel legs all the way exercised and fully ready to go. When I was traveling almost on a weekly basis, working at either Siemens or Abbott Laboratories or Vera Thon, which is part of Roper Technologies, I’d be traveling around the world. I might have to be in Seattle one week at Vera Thon’s headquarters, and then in Europe the next week, back to Seattle, then to a customer visit in Texas, and then maybe to Australia. I mean, it was some pretty crazy gnarly travel times.
| 03:25 | And when you travel that much, if you’re out there traveling quite a bit, especially airplane travel, you know what you have to do to do that. Well, what do I mean? Your packing schedule looks good. I always have a list of things I had to pack. You had to navigate airports and navigate transfers and transportation and getting to the car rental facility, and you just sort of knew how to do that. But when you don’t travel for a while, you lose some of that perspective.
| 03:54 | I’ve certainly lost a little bit of that perspective since the Pandemic began, but now that travel is ramping back up, I better figure it out pretty quickly. Now, the positive of not traveling is that I get to be home more and probably have a lot more. We’ll call it work life balance, but I’m always thinking about work, so I’m happy with that. Work is my hobby, and so I have fun doing it any time of the day. But my daughter said to me the other day, dad, you don’t work anymore. And I took that as a huge compliment.
| 04:23 | She just doesn’t see it, because in my old job, I’d be gone and have to leave Sunday nights or get back before on a Friday, and they just wouldn’t see me very much in that role. They see me a lot more now, and I’m very present with them. So one of the benefits of being a small business owner is to get complete control over your schedule, and I really do enjoy that. So just some reflections on the Pandemic then and now and definitely have to keep working out my travel legs here. What did I forget?
| 04:52 | I forgot, like, shaving cream. Had to go figure out how to get that. Luckily, the front desk had that. I think I left a pair of some of my favorite dressier jeans in California, which I’m really bummed about, so that’s like, I don’t even know how much that is, but I got to go buy a new pair. It’s like a tax, right? When you travel a lot, there’s a tax associated to it, and for me, that tax is forgetting things. I’ve definitely lost electric toothbrushes before. Not lost. I left them. Earbuds is certainly a good one to go.
| 05:24 | I’m looking at my reading glasses. I’ve definitely left reading glasses behind. So when you don’t travel a lot, at least in my case, I tend to be a little bit more forgetful. So let’s hope I can do a better job with that. Enough about travel. Enough about what’s going on out in the world. Let’s talk about the topic du jour. And that is I want to talk about how great sales people are resource hounds. Yes. I said resource hounds. What do I mean by that? And why are great sales people resource hounds?
| 05:55 | Let’s take an example of someone working in a technology business. Maybe it’s software. Maybe it’s high tech computing and maybe it’s semiconductors. Maybe it’s medical devices, medical technologies. Just take something in high tech. There’s an assumption that I’ll make that most high tech companies have a pretty big research and development department. They have a pretty big engineering department. They have a pretty big sustaining and quality team as well. They have probably some good lawyers that are working on contracts.
| 06:25 | They have sharp finance people working on contract detail and building out income and loss statements. So salespeople in high tech roles, and I would argue in almost any sales role, if you work for a corporation that’s building a product, you have a lot of really skilled resources around you in terms of you have really skilled talent around you. People that are subject matter experts I met recently, one of my clients are doing a leadership development course for this company.
| 06:57 | And one of my clients, or one of the participants in that leadership course is an R Amp D engineer for medical devices. He went to Stanford. He’s probably a world leader in his area of expertise, which is building catheters or long sort of tubes that go into arteries and deploy medical devices to areas that need therapy. And he’s probably a world expert in this. And I also met in that same course, a supply chain expert.
| 07:27 | And hey, this is a time here in the summer of 2022 where supply chain topics are really critical for businesses large and small. Are we going to get the vendors that provide our raw materials to supply on time? And if so, good we can make the products and we can meet demand. If not, we’re going to back order some customers or prices might be going up.
| 07:50 | And so that supply chain procurement expert is really important to salespeople and great sales people recognize that they are surrounded by functional and subject matter experts in their company and they connect them with their customers. And customers love meeting with subject matter experts. I think about folks in the high tech business, they want to meet with the engineers who are building the products for a couple of reasons.
| 08:18 | First reason is it gives them greater confidence in the technology that they’re investing in. So, hey, I met the person who’s building the software, building the hardware, building the product. I know more about it. I’m better off knowing more about it. I feel more comfortable saying yes to this salesperson and yes to this company. It also helps them build relationships with internal stakeholders at a company customers building internal relationships with stakeholders in order to influence product design and product specifications on new technology.
| 08:51 | So in healthcare and med device, when I was working there, every interventional cardiologist or interventional radiologist or vascular surgeon had a really good idea on the kind of tools he or she needed to perform interventional cardiology, interventional therapy on patients. And when they had a chance to meet with and work with some of my company’s engineers, they were able to translate and share with them, hey, if you can build a product that looks like this and does that, then that’s going to be really compelling.
| 09:22 | And so they provide input. Some physicians even would build patents with my companies and then share in the royalties of those patents. So for some people that are highly innovative customers, this can be a really interesting play to get their technology built not only for patient care, but also to potentially monetize. And so customers love being around really cool subject matter experts. So back to the salesperson.
| 09:51 | The salesperson that brings these subject matter experts to the customer is providing incredible value in negotiation terms. One of the power dynamics that I teach on is information power. Well, if you’re able to as a salesperson bring subject matter experts to see your customer and talk about the future product pipeline, to talk about the trends in the business, then you’re portraying a ton of information power. And that makes you a more dynamic salesperson.
| 10:20 | Also makes you a more dynamic negotiator. So great sales people are resource hounds. They gather and aggregate as many people to come out into the field from R and D. The engineers, the finance people, the legal people, whoever they believe would add value or create an interesting connection with a customer. They do that. And think about it too, is that not every customer is the end user customer. There may be finance customers or lawyers, legal customers or procurement customers that you’re dealing with as a salesperson.
| 10:54 | And so by connecting your team and your subject matter experts in those areas with your customers, there can be really good knowledge transfer. There can also be negotiations on terms and conditions. By the way, think about it like this too. If you’re a resource hound as a salesperson, guess what? You don’t have to be a subject matter expert on everything under the hood of your organization. You just bring in the people who are and that makes you a lot more credible. Last and finally, in terms of when you’re a salesperson, you’re a sales leader out there.
| 11:27 | I like to encourage people to exercise the quote leaders voice, unquote. So the leaders voice and what a leader does as a salesperson or the leader’s voice within a salesperson sounds like this. Mr. And Mrs. Customers, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m really glad we talked about all kinds of different things and I hear very clearly your desire to learn more about our future technology pipeline. Let me bring out some of the world’s best engineers that we have working for us and I’d love for you to connect with them and learn more, how does that sound?
| 12:00 | You’re empowering the people on your team, you’re bringing value add resources by exercising the leader’s voice. You’re going to be the hub, you’re going to be the point person that facilitates this transfer of value from the subject matter experts and the functional experts in your business to the customers. You’re demonstrating and exercising the leaders voice. Now finally is also resource hounding to put that into a verb, be a good resource hound that you bring out your sales leaders as well.
| 12:34 | I love bringing sales leaders with me, the people that I work for, I love bringing them into my accounts and there are a lot of salespeople who don’t like to do that. I think they like to protect or they don’t want to be exposed. I think the best salespeople, they bring their sales leaders and sales management into the account to help them sell and it’s very effective. One of the reasons is, again, customers love to meet with folks in your business that have big titles.
| 13:03 | They want to meet with the VP of sales, they want to meet with the Global Sales executive, they want to meet with the chief commercial officer, that’s prestigious, that’s important for them, that means that they’re being heard and they are valuable. Second. When a senior leader is with you. Especially during a negotiation. That senior leader may have the authority to say yes and trade value back and forth of course yes if in their way through the negotiation they may have the ability to do that and bring even more trades to the table.
| 13:34 | You may have approval to go so far. Bring a sales leader with you because he or she may have approval to go that much further and you can build a more dynamic trading list and opportunity to trade value for value back and forth. Set another way, your senior sales leaders may be able to say yes to more things that you can or can’t say yes to and you’re having them there and resource hounding them is really a helpful way to yes if your way through a negotiation, especially with very senior customers.
| 14:09 | So a lot of reasons to be a resource hound, don’t be afraid to bring people and don’t be so protective that you’re going to hold on so tight to your territory. I will nerd myself out a little bit and give a Star Wars analogy here, I’ll paraphrase because I won’t do it word for word, but it’s when Leia is talking to Admiral Tuck who is targeting Tattooing to show the full power and force of the Death Star in Star Wars a new hope. Leah says something along the lines of, the more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
| 14:41 | And I like that analogy, not because tattooing up was it, Alderaan got blown up after that, but because I think that’s true, that if you’re too much of a control freak as a salesperson, you’re holding on. You don’t want to bring other people and you don’t want to, in essence, team sell. With all the valuable resources around you, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. And I don’t want you to do yourself a disservice. I’d rather have you give yourself the service and greatness of all the great resources that are around you.
| 15:12 | So my call to action is, look for the resources in your business that will add value. Connect those resources to your customers. Bring them out. Let them help you co sell, co negotiate, and become a resource hound. Greatness and great salespeople is just on the other side of opening yourself up to becoming a resource hound and asking for help, bringing great people in and accelerating towards a close of the next big deal that you’re working on.
| 15:41 | Those are my thoughts for a sunny summer day. I hope all of you are doing well. I hope you’re enjoying your summer, working hard and also playing hard. This has been the sales warrior within podcast. My name is Andy Olen. It’s been great being with you to and as always, good selling, good leading and good living.