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Kevin W. Grossman: In this CPSA Recruitment and Talent podcast, we’ll talk about “entrepreneurism” and the people skills that help salespeople become successful entrepreneurs.
Every salesperson is the CEO of their own business, but it’s not easy and in fact is quite complex. They have a revenue number to maintain in order to “stay in business” and they have to make smart and calculated decisions in conjunction with the other salespeople (CEO’s) in their company and within the confines of their sales leadership. However, as salespeople work with their customers, they’ll gain an intimate familiarity with their most critical business challenges, how to overcome them and how to measure ultimate success. They’ll also gain technical expertise and learn about their product and product categories and how their own industry works while working with their customers.
Working in sales also helps budding entrepreneurs to be advisers and strategic partners since they’ll be invited to meetings as well as presenting to plenty of C-level executives and other champions and decision makers. This gives salespeople first-hand knowledge of how their buyers see the world and how to adapt to their way of thinking. These can become valuable relationships when helping to build strong bonds with prospects, educating them on industry trends and best practices, and offering solutions to their individual challenges. That’s why connecting with today’s modern buyer needs the mindset of a salesperson first before diving into an entrepreneurial endeavor. Savvy salespeople will map out a sales strategy and who to target and why and how their sales leaders can enable you and support you. They also differentiate by talking up their philosophy instead talking down on their competitors, about how they differ and actually help their buyers benefit and/or grow -- a critical component of entrepreneurism and establishing a new business.
Our guest today is Mario Martinez Jr. Mario is the CEO of M3Jr Growth Strategies, and is a Keynote Speaker, Sales expert and the Social Selling Champion. Counted among some of the top Social Selling leaders in the world, Mario teaches marketers, sales leaders, reps, and business owners how to grow company revenues, develop an engaging personal brand, and attract today’s modern buyer using social networks! He spent the last 75 consecutive quarters in Sales and Leadership, growing and managing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in sales revenue in the Global, Enterprise, Commercial, SMB and Public Sector segments.
As a sought-after Keynote Speaker, he has spoken to crowds of up to 20,000 listeners, has been featured in Forbes, INC., the Examiner.com, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and has been asked to speak by brands such as LinkedIn, SAP, and Cisco to name a few. Most recently he was named as one of the Top 10 Sales Guru’s in the world by Rise Market Insight. Follow him on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter or view his website at m3jr.
Kevin W. Grossman: Mario thank you so much for being on the CPSA Recruitment and Talent Podcast. Before we dine into the rest of show, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do today?
Mario Martinez Jr: Kevin I am so excited to be here with you today. I could not be anymore happier. I'm a tried, true born and raised sales guy for 19 years. My last stop was as the vice president of sales for a SaaS company. I started out actually in software sales, then moved into consulting, info structure as a service, telecoms and my last stop was in the SaaS space. 11 months ago actually, this year, 2016 I had the privilege after being selected by LinkedIn, to speak at their annual user conference. I launched a company called M3Jr Growth Strategies, which happens to be my company.
We are one of the largest personal branding companies for sales and marketers in the US. We also provide sales and social selling training, and secondarily we provide social media strategy developing for small businesses.
Kevin W. Grossman: Mario, that's great, and by the way that's a really great segway because you've also said that every salesperson is the CEO of their own business. We all know that it's not easy, and it can actually be quite complex. What's one of the first things that you recommend to sales professionals who aspire to someday launch their own business?
Mario Martinez Jr: Great question. I would say four words, "Kill it in sales." That's what I would say, that's my best advice. Once you understand, here's my best advice, once you understand how to kill it in sales, you will take those same killer instincts and be able to actually launch your own business. That's what I think some of the most successful entrepreneurs now. Are there entrepreneurs who have killed without having been in sales? Absolutely, I mean you can certainly do that, but once you understand the art of selling, and the art of buying from a customer's perspective. Then you are in the best position, in my opinion, to be able to launch your own company, and launch your own business because you will be laser focused on the most important thing, and that is how does the customer perceive what it is that you are providing to them?
That's a skill that takes time to develop and it takes energy and art to be able to figure out and map to the buyer’s journey. To map the buyer’s mind set, so that you can provide your solutions or services or products, or whatever it might be. Does that make sense?
Kevin W. Grossman: It does make sense, absolutely. In fact along those same lines then, one of the things that I know that there are a whole body of knowledge and research out there that keeps underscoring that fact. That yes, you're right there are definitely individuals who are able to launch their own business and be successful without necessarily having a background in sales. It's actually something that is really important to have, and that's also because, you touched on it a little bit, having to be intimately familiar with the business and the products and the services that you sell.
We are going to hit on customers again in just a little bit too. How do you get that intimately familiar with the business products or services? What do you need to do, and how does that help you spring into be in entrepreneurialism?
Mario Martinez Jr: Yeah, that's a great question. I think once you understand the solution that you sell and when I say solution that you sell, it could be a product, it could be a service, it could be an actual much larger solution. It could be very, very small, it could be very, very large. It doesn't really matter, whatever it is that you provide, once you understand that particular solution. Once you understand the product, you will then map it to how to help a buyer. How you can help a buyer, and once you understand how you can help a buyer, now you begin speaking the language of the buyer. In my opinion 100 percent of your first conversation that you should have with a particular buyer, whether you are an entrepreneur, whether you're a sales person, whatever, the CEO, it should be about what is the business problem they are trying to solve and then how can you solve it?
Once you develop that basis or that understanding of what problem they are trying to solve, and then you speak to how you can possibly solve it. Now that usually leads to a second discussion which is, let's go into greater detail about what your product can do, all the different nuts and bolts, all the different nooks and crannies, etc. if you understand that, then I believe you will be able to succeed as an entrepreneur, because so many people, so many entrepreneurs, so many people try to launch a company and they do not understand what it is that their product or service or solution solves.
They focus in on how great of a piece of technology something is, how awesome their service is, how much it fits a specific niche or need and that's not important. What's important is, do you have somebody who's willing to buy because it will help solve one of their problems?
Kevin W. Grossman: It gets really difficult to sell when you are so focused on only features and functionality. Again, I come from the enterprise software space too, so I know that if you get caught in those weeds it gets really difficult to sell because it becomes a commodity in that sense. Especially when you are in a crowded space like HR and recruiting technology that I am quite familiar with for nearly 18 years.
Mario Martinez Jr: Yeah.
Kevin W. Grossman: You know that more than anything but what also is key, too Mario, is the relationships that you develop with your customers, with those individuals, those advisers, strategic partners to become those advisers and strategic partners when you're presenting to the seat level execs and other champions and decision makers, right? What do you recommend it that regard? How do you get that relationship solidified?
Mario Martinez Jr: This goes back to this theme that I am speaking on. I remember this was a conversation, I was sitting inside the actual board room of the tenth largest company. It was on the 37th floor of a high rise in San Francisco and it was the tenth largest company in the US, the fortune number ten.
Kevin W. Grossman: Wow.
Mario Martinez Jr: I was sitting with the EVP, CIO, and CTO of this company who was a direct report to the CEO of the fortune ten. He became a very, very good friend of mine so much that he actually came to my wedding. This is probably arguably one of the most powerful IT, the most powerful and strongest influences in IT in corporate America, okay? We were having a discussion because he became one of my mentors and I said to him, you know, "How should people come into, what should people do when they come into your office? What do they need to do to be able to get your attention?" He said, I'm going to paraphrase this, "Mario." He said, "People like me we don't care about bits and bites, that is for somebody way down in the organization to figure that out whether it's going to break our systems and tools or processor procedures. What I want you to do is I want you to come into my office, speaking to me about how you can solve one of my headaches. Before you get to my office, you already know what the headache is, and if you don't you better not be sitting here."
Next, he said, "I want to understand how your solution will make me more competitive and that you already understand what it is my competitors are doing, so you can turn around and tell me how I can be better." If you have the conversation about how you are going to help solve one of my challenges, by the way you already know what my challenges are because you've done your homework. Number two, you know how it's going to make me more competitive and you know how well what my competitors are doing, so that you can advise me, "Advise me" is what he said, "Advise me of how to go about being better at my business." Now you are having a conversation that is more of an adviser and a consultant as opposed to a sales person. This was when I was selling telecommunications solutions, and he said to me, "Even when you think your service is a commodity based service, having that type of conversation is what will make you different from your competitors who are walking into this same office."
I thought that was super valuable information, I could not have said it myself better, because it really went on the lines back again, I was talking about how you help solve a business problem, right? Then further more making sure that before you walk into a conversation with a seat level executive that you're not saying, "So tell me, what keeps you up at night." That's the worst thing you could as, you should already know what that is because you've done your homework. You've done the research, you've seen the different trigger events that are online. You've talked with all the different folks within the organization, and you've done your research as to what the competition is doing or not doing so that you can actually apply your solution to help identify how this can make them better.
I think that's fantastic advice and that's how you move a conversation from the sales front, as their sales rep to an actual adviser.
Kevin W. Grossman: Beyond that though one of the things that I kind of, I guess a little asterisk to what you just outlined, that is really, really important and this is part of the video series that I know you share with me that you have online of advice giving to social selling individuals, sales people, marketers in general. One of them is, in the same contexts that you should be networking and developing relationships with your key buyers. With these champions and decision makers, and really talk at the strategic level that they want you to talk at. Don't talk smack about your competitors, differentiate from them, right? There is a difference from doing that, talk a little bit more about that. How do you recommend to rise about that because it's too easy to say what somebody's not, as opposed to what you are, right?
Mario Martinez Jr: Yeah, yeah absolutely. That's a great question, and I think it's an area that most sales people suffer at, because they understand ... they are taught what their competitor does differently and they are taught how to sell against them and then they start regurgitating a bunch of pieces of information. Facts and figures, as well as even potentially talking bad about them. In fact, you referenced the video, I produce a 15 minute video, and it was on the series of how entrepreneurs are like sales people, or how sales people are like entrepreneurs. In that video, one of them was how to be dumb and dumber in sales. The dumb part is when you go into someone's office and you just start talking smack about the competition. You start talking about how they are getting it wrong, how they are doing it wrong, how they are approaching the market wrong, how their product sucks, all these things are incorrect.
The dumber part is when you start talking about some of the buyers who are actually buying these solutions and how dumb those people are. Never do those two things.
Kevin W. Grossman: Right.
Mario Martinez Jr: How do you differentiate yourself? This is a very, very easy one, you talk about the philosophy differences between the two different organizations. I think that one of the things sales people need to go think about, is how actually they can compliment a competitor. They can actually say, "They are a great company because." Start out with that, if you find out a way to actually always compliment somebody, then what immediately what comes next to someone's mind as they are digesting it is that you are actually being very complimentary of an organization. They become much more open and accepted to hearing the differences, then what you do is you turn the things that they do bad, into philosophical discussion. You focus in on that and say something of the effect of, "They are a great organization, and one of the reasons why they are so great is because whatever it might be. We do differ in two areas though, and those two areas are how we approach the marketplace. Our philosophies in terms of how we actually solve a business challenge. Their philosophy is this, our philosophy is this. The reason why our philosophy is this is because empirical data supports blah."
When you go that route now you've set the idea of fear, doubt, and uncertainty. You've identified a particular philosophical difference, and you've identified empirical data that can actually help support and endorse your position. However, here's the thing I want to talk about. What you want to make sure that you are doing, when you do bring up the stats and figures about supporting your position. Make sure that throughout the conversation leading up to that point in time, whether it's one conversation or multiple conversations, make sure that you understand the customer’s view point on your philosophy. If your viewpoints on philosophies are completely different, and you say, "This is what my competitors do, this is what we do, and here's our philosophy." If they think your philosophy sucks, guess what, you better find a different stat or figure or philosophy to be able to talk about, right?
Mario Martinez Jr: You don't want to talk about something that they think is the right philosophy from a competitive standpoint. Does that make sense?
Kevin W. Grossman: It does, absolutely. Right on the money Mario. Listen thank you so much again for being on the CPSA podcast, where can we find out more information about your organization and what you are doing today again?
Mario Martinez Jr: Love it, thanks for asking and thanks for having me. Three things, number one please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Mario Martinez J. R. I'm the CEO of M3Jr Growth Strategies. Second spot,m3jr, and the third thing is absolutely feel free to follow me on twitter at @M_3JR.
Kevin W. Grossman:Excellent Mario, thank you so much. I look forward to meeting you in person some day.
Mario Martinez Jr: Alright, Kevin. Hey, thanks for having me and I appreciate having be a part of the show.
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