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Why Relationships Drive More Revenue Than Rapport With Ian Moyse, Head of Sales at ChAI

In this episode of the Revenue Insights Podcast, host Lee Bierton is joined by Ian Moyse, Head of Sales at ChAI. He shares valuable tips to enhance sales teams’ performance, including why conversations trump communication and the importance of pivoting from building rapport to building relationships. Ian has valuable insights on the piggy bank principle that builds rapport and leads to building client relationships.   

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Time Stamps:

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  • 02:07 – 09:58 – The importance of conversations instead of just communication
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  • 30:33 – 33:36 – Leverage sales tech to accelerate – not to solve your fundamental problems
  • 34:11 – 38:37- Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Selling in a recession is about attacking it with a plan.
  • 38:48 – 40:35 – Ian’s book recommendation – Social Selling by Tim Hughes

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The more you have conversations with people, the more rapport you build. It doesn’t mean you’re going to win the deal, but you’re increasing your opportunity all the time to be better at engagement, know more about the prospect, have more of a relationship, and have a better chance of winning than someone else. Welcome to Revenue Insights.

Every week, we’ll be joined by revenue leaders from some of the most successful and highest growing companies.

Together, we explore how they built their revenue teams, the journeys that they’ve been on, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Revenue Insights is brought to you by Epstor. We’re a revenue intelligence platform designed to help revenue teams to build more pipeline, close more deals, and retain more customers. Hello there. You’re listening to Revenue Insights.

Today, I’m picking the brains of Ian Moyes. He’s the head of sales at Chai. He’s been leading various sales teams through rapid growth over the past 10 years.

So Ian, I’m fascinated to understand today how you’ve done it. Welcome.

Lee, thank you so much. A pleasure to be here. As we can see, we’re recording near Christmas, so the decorations wouldn’t be up.

Yeah, I guess there’s the war and peace version, and there’s the hungry caterpillar version, right?

So I’ll give you the hungry caterpillar version, not war people. So I’ve been in sales a long, long time, many, many years. Always in technology sales, but I think it’s a very transposable skill. And I have a passion for it. I’ve always loved the engagement.

I’m still learning today, which often when I’m leading teams, and I say that, you can see that, right?

And I try and get them into, guys and gals, it’s about continually adjusting and learning to the changing bio dynamic. The bio now is very different than it was five years, 10 years, and certainly 20 years ago. We live in a different world, different information, different influences. Social media wasn’t even around then.

And we have to adjust to sellers, right?

Some of the basic principles apply, but you’ve got to remain relevant to a much more educated, smarter, agile, informed buyer.

And it should be fun, right?

It should be something we engage with. That’s the nature of the beast. And so on that journey, you’ve come to Chai today, and we were kind of talking beforehand about some of the experiences that you’ve had in the past.

So of those, what are the most common, in building a lot of those high growth teams and the successful teams, what are the common trends that you’re looking for?

How do you process it when you’re going into a new role, taking stock of what the situation is like?

Sure. So you said the words there, take stock, or I use a simulate. The first thing is to understand what you’re dealing with and not be a bull in a china shop. Whilst I’ve got a lot of experience doing this, and there’s quite a few things that you can reapply, I don’t assume and come in and on day two indicate, here’s all the things we’re going to change.

We’re going to just change everything to how I’ve done it before, right?

Because it’s a different company, different technology, different customer, ideal customer profile, persona, potential, all this stuff. But there is a common framework. So the first thing is to assimilate and understand what you’re dealing with, including the internal customer, whether you’ve got a team or not, your salespeople, what the dynamic is, and trying to praise what the real challenges are.

What, you know, the stop, start, continue buckets, what needs, what is working or seems to be working?

Well, let’s not change that right now and break things that are already going.

What’s obviously missing and needs to be started?

What do we need to stop doing?

So firstly, I look for the obvious stuff in each of those and address those, right?

Because you’re going to get some early wins from some easy spots. And then as you start to un-pill what’s going on and get more understanding, you can digest to make more further changes. But you don’t want to come in and ruffle the feathers of change everything overnight and be a bull in a china shop. It doesn’t go down well. It doesn’t build rapport with your relationship with the people that are there.

But there’s a set number of principles, right?

And what I see with salespeople, and I have not only have I experienced coming in and transforming sales teams and their revenues, and had the pleasure to do that, but I also have the pleasure to be a judge on a number of sales awards and get involved with different sales associations.

So I get to meet a lot of salespeople, not just from technology, but across sector as well, and get that interaction to gauge and get a feel for what’s going on. And there’s a lot of underlying issues, I believe, that are easily addressed but affect sales performance. They’re not the epiphany of you need to know this about the product or something big. They’re small things.

Maybe we can talk through a few of those, see what you think, and you can question me on them. So let’s pick on one, which is a bugbear of mine. And I’ve been guilty of this as well, but once you start to open your eyes on it, you start catching yourself and think about it. So communication versus conversation.

So any salespeople, any salesperson that I’ve ever asked, they say, well, what’s the optimal selling position to be in?

Well, it’s face-to-face. It’s talking to a human being in person. Great. Because you get more feedback, interaction, can build more rapport, all that stuff. Right. And if you can’t be face-to-face on video like this, great. And if not, then traditionally, it was face-to-face, then it was talking. It was on the phone then.

Well, conversation. OK. No one ever says, oh, the optimal is emailing each other. It was electronic. Right.

And yet, you know where I’m going before I even get there. And I’m sure people listening, Will and any sales leaders thinking about this will be, the penny’s already dropped.

How many times are we resorting to, typically email, but electronic medium?

Right. So I’ll catch a salesperson and say, well, they’ll say, oh, yeah, I called up with XYZ Prospect or I called up with Sally.

And yeah, we chatted yesterday. And I’ve learned to just say, well, just when you say chatted, you spoke on the phone. Simple question.

Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, we exchanged emails four or five times in the day. OK.

Well, that’s not chatted. That’s communicated.

And it has some fundamental flaws, right?

Whether you’re in sales or customer service or support, it’s pretty much the same issue. They’re not the same. OK. They have their place, but they’re not the same.

On email, you can misinterpret what someone intended. Right. You don’t know if they interpreted and responded to what you think they responded to. So it’s very easy to get misunderstanding. There is absolutely no feeling in it and emotion. Although you might think, oh, they put it in bold, they’re angry. There isn’t. It’s black and white. It’s words. And there’s no reaction. There’s no feedback loop. So here’s an easy one.

You’ve emailed them.

How many times do those listening have had someone say, yeah, they’ve emailed you and said, oh, yeah, yeah, could you email me over the pricing or change it for this or whatever?

And you go, yeah, yeah, yeah, brilliant. Keyboard warrior. Great. It’s a buying signal. And we could talk about happy years in a minute if we want. Buying signal, I’ll send it back. Right. You don’t know.

Did they then open that email and go, oh, my gosh, and then turn to their colleague and, hey, George, have you seen this?

What the?

Have they misunderstood what you’ve put?

Have you misunderstood what they’ve looked for?

You can’t handle that because you don’t know what’s going on.

And then do they ghost you or you can’t get hold of them because you didn’t talk it through?

Why couldn’t you have rep… And people say, well, and this will lead me on to the next subject built into this one, I guess, changing the channel. People say, well, I couldn’t just phone them up. And I hear this when I do this at conferences and with audiences and talk about this.

Yeah, but you can’t just pick up the phone when they’ve emailed you and said, can you send something or can you do this or can you answer this question?

OK, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, could you not reply and say, Sally, really value your question?

But there’s a number of things around that that I’m not clear on.

Are you available for a quick call this afternoon or tomorrow morning?

You changed the channel, right, to one that’s appropriate, but you still responded on the same communication method if you didn’t feel comfortable enough just to pick up the phone. Maybe you haven’t got enough rapport with them yet. So it’s understanding what the limitations are. Because and I watch it all the time. I’ll join a business and I’ll see people and I’ll look in the CRM and you can see it.

CRM is the easiest place because you can see the emails going back and forth of historic conversation.

Where was there a phone call in that?

There’s 10 emails being exchanged and look at that what that’s about.

Why wasn’t that conversation?

The easiest example, of course, is customer service, where if someone’s emailed in with a complaint, email them back saying, respect that you feel we’ve let you down.

Are you available at two this afternoon or four tomorrow?

What number would be best reach you on to have a chat about this?

Not send them a standard response back. Because you haven’t engaged.

Are they screaming their head off?

Are they telling all their friends?

Or are they, you know, you complicate them. And I always say to people, guys, think about this, guys and gals, I’ve got to stop being, uh, masculating the phrase there. But salespeople, think about this.

If you humanize it, people deal with you differently, right?

If in the streets, you don’t bump into people on the street or you shuffle, when you shuffle, you both go one way and the other.

You say, oh, but you both say, sorry. If it’s a car, because it’s dehumanized, you look at what happens with people in the car, I’ll get out my way and all this stuff. People default to it. It’s another block of metal. It isn’t another human I’m dealing with. People react differently.

Same PRD email, right?

You’re not getting, um, the response, the emotion, you’re not getting feeling, you’re not earning rapport with that prospective client because you’ve desensitized it into black and white writing.

It’s interesting that, um, in the age of so much technology that it’s, you know, naturally gone in the direction of, okay, how do we automate this?

How do we scale it?

How do we make it so much faster?

And you’re quite right with technology like email, it’s so easy to gravitate towards that and to lean on it. And I think you’re absolutely right.

I mean, from the perspective that I come at it from, you know, absolutely really value the strength of the relationship. It’s not all about how many emails that you’re able to send.

It’s actually, you know, how many meetings have you booked with them?

How many times, okay, yeah, how many times are they replying to your emails?

Are you just bashing them with, you know, with 20 emails a day and then not really engaging with it?

And so I’m interested to know before we kind of move on, why do you think sales teams have kind of gone in that direction of almost being scared to pick up the phone?

You know, it feels to me that it’s just, is it just that it’s easier to send an email if sales teams just got to the point where actually, you know, I can just do my job.

And then I guess second point to that question is when you go in, do you look at it in the sense of the numbers that when you then go that we need to be getting on the phone more often?

Do you see that tangible impact at the bottom of your revenue numbers?

Yeah, so in the first answer, I think it’s a habit. We all fall into it. We do it in our private lives and, you know, look at WhatsApp groups and there’s, you know, people have all these different mediums going on and messages coming in, whether it’s about the kids football in a WhatsApp group, whether it’s arranging something with friends, you know, how much of that now happens electronically.

Whereas in the older days, they’d have picked, they’d have used the home phone to phone someone’s home phone, right?

But now it’s easy because people are transient. So do you want to try phoning them and then you don’t get them and then they phone you back and all this. So it has its place for doing certain things.

You know, if you’re arranging a meeting with a client and you’ve had a conversation, we just agreed, right, let’s sort this meeting out. And there’s five people involved. Right.

Well, I’ll send some proposed dates over. I’ll go through my diary, send them out. Sometimes it fits for doing stuff. Now we’ve had a discussion about the pricing, Lee, and it seems that option one is the one that you want. Let me just reconfirm what that is. That’s more, yeah, yeah, no, I think it is. Okay.

So how would you like me to present?

Do you want me to just raise an order with you?

Or do you want me to give you a pro forma quote?

Oh, well, if you can send it over, laid out in exactly what’s in there, what’s included, I’ll get it double checked. Brilliant. So you’re using it to validate something you’ve already discussed to confirm something. Or if it’s simply, Ian, I can’t make the call at two today.

Can we make it three tomorrow?

I don’t need to phone you about that. I can reply, happily reply something.

Yeah, three tomorrow works for us. I’ll update the diary invite. It has its place. But it doesn’t, it shouldn’t replace the majority of conversation, which unfortunately, in a lot of sales transactions, it ends up doing.

You need to pause and think, should this, is this conversation, is this something that should be a conversation?

Is it about something more robust in what we’re doing?

And so that’s the first, first bit.

And then yes, does it have results?


Does it transform your whole business overnight?

No, of course not. This is one of multiple things that I look to address. But if you’re having more conversations with people, let me talk about one of the impacts it has, because you used a word a second ago, instead of about relationship. That triggered me on another one. So rapport versus relationship.

Similarly, salespeople say, how are you getting on with Sally at XYZ?

How are you getting on with Bob?

Oh, we’ve got a great relationship. Okay.

Is it a relationship, really?

Or do you have good rapport with them?

Because relationship implies something quite strong.

Would the customer say, you have a relationship?

Say, no, I like Dave.

Would they describe it the same way you are?

So here’s an easy example. And then I’ll give you a way of measuring this.

So if, which links back to what we were talking about.

If you’re out on the street, you’re just wandering down, it’s very easy to pause, say, madam, or sir, excuse me, have you got the time?

Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s 10 past three. Great. Okay. Different scenario.

So, so could I get 10 pound off you, please?

You’re gonna get a very different answer. And here’s why. Think about a piggy bank. So I’ve got a piggy bank here. In that second instance, I’m trying to take more out of that piggy bank, more rapport than I’ve put in.

Okay, the first one, I’ve been polite.

If I said, oh, you, what time is it?

I’m probably not gonna get the time. But because I was polite, excuse me, if you wouldn’t mind, you got the time. And I’ve asked for a little thing, the little bit of rapport I’ve just put in the piggy bank, I can pull out and get in the time. Same with sales rights. Think of that piggy bank.

Every time you interact with that prospect, and you do something, whether it be yes, an email communication, you respond quickly, you’re putting levels of coins in that piggy bank of rapport. I would suggest heavily that when you have a conversation with them, there is more coins going in because of the inflection.

And you can go, start the call, right?


Crikey, how are you getting on?

Did you watch the match last night?

Oh, my God.

And you might end up chatting about that, right?

You find, you might have a football in the background. There’s something, you find levels for discussion, where you build rapport, and it feels more tangible.

I’ve just put more coins in the piggy bank, right?

If I meet you in person, if I go out for, you know, we’ve met a couple of times, should we go downstairs and grab a coffee and relax and sit and relax?

Whatever, the more you get into that, the more rapport is going in, the more you can take out, the more you can ask for, the more you can question, the more you can ask for a favor, right?

But if you haven’t put any in, and all you’re doing is email, I would suggest two salespeople prospecting to the same client, the one that’s got the most rapport that’s leading towards a relationship is the one that has the most meaningful interactions. Electronically, yes, you’re putting coins in, but they’re going in at a much lower value denomination every time you have an engagement.

I have a conversation, maybe I put 50p in there. You send an email, maybe you got five or 10p in there. I can build towards a relationship far, far quicker by the type of interaction I have and humanizing it, making it personal, and us chatting, you know, after this call, we’ll have more rapport than just a couple of emails exchanged arranging it.

It’s the nature of how humans work, right?

But how many salespeople are avoiding that?

Well, therefore, you’re not building towards a relationship, but you claim you’ve got a relationship.


Think about it. You’ve got to think about that one as well. Because a combination of these, the more you have conversations with people, which also both of these link to questioning in a minute, which we might talk about, but the more you have conversations with people, the more rapport you build.

It doesn’t mean you’re going to win the deal, but you’re increasing your opportunity all the time to be better at engagement, know more about the prospect, have more of a relationship, and have a better chance of winning than someone else.

Does that make sense?

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it gives you a lot more opportunity as well. You talked about the strength of that relationship, and I think it helps you to, you know, beyond rapport actually to build trust with that person as well. I’ll come at this from a perspective of someone who doesn’t like being cold called.

You know, if I get an email, if it’s not personalized, I will just delete it. Because showing that you care and you’ve gone above and beyond to engage with me makes a big difference. And that’s a catch-22 for a salesperson at the end of the day, I know, because if you’re doing campaigns and you’re trying to do your outbound scale, then the amount of time that goes into it is really difficult.

But from my perspective, when you do have that and you’re building a rapport with someone, that keeps me engaged, that makes me go, when I look at it in my calendar, when it’s 15 minutes in there, if I’ve got a good relationship with them, and that really is the key word here, I’ll happily jump on that call.

And like you say, it may not guarantee that I’m going to buy it, but from the perspective of an introvert that really doesn’t want to take that call, it makes me want to buy it.

You know, ultimately, it will come down to things like pricing, do I really need this?

But it’s such a fantastic point, Ian, that when we like internally at EBSDA, we created a sales benchmarks report, and without going into a launch bill, we will measure the strength of the relationship, right?

And what’s so interesting is that customers that we work with, when they’ve got a good relationship, and we score that between 60 to 80 out of 100, their win rates are somewhere around about the 20, 25% mark, you know, probably a bit below average. And what’s amazing is when they’ve got a great relationship, so categorized by 80 to 100, their win rates are all of a sudden like 40%.

So, you know, it’s still not going to make it 100%. There’s no perfect answer to that. We know that. But I think it really validates the point that you’re making that when you have a great relationship with someone, the odds of it closing significantly increase. And part of that, if I may, is because if you build, the stronger the rapport you build, another fundamental I change with people is the questioning techniques.

And I find salespeople always think they’re good at questioning until they realize they’re not. And I think the more rapport you build, the easier it is to ask and frame questions. And some of it is the rapport, some of it is technique and verbiage of how you ask this.

And this is the bit I always hold in on, and I’m constantly looking to improve my skills on, because it’s so easy to miss.

And I’ve always said to me, if I know 10 or 20 more things about this prospect than you do, do you think I’ve got more chance of making the right decision?

And that doesn’t mean winning the deal necessarily. It might mean extraditing yourself and saying, this isn’t right for us or the customer. We’re not a good fit here. But I found it out earlier because I know those data points, and the competition is going to keep going after whatever and probably end up in the same place, but much more costly sales cycle.

And I think it’s because there are a lot of sales methodologies out there.

And I’m not going to say there’s anything wrong with any of them, right?

There’s bounce, got some spin, has target, medic, keep going. But it’s how they’re applied. And I think often they’re applied to literally. So I have this thing called, I came up with a number of years ago called being Sherlock in sales. So two salespeople, one’s called Sherlock, one’s called Lestrade, Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard, if you know the stories. So there’s a room. Let’s do the scene. There’s the murder room.

And Lestrade’s come in, and he’s looked around, looked at all the different clues and things he can spot. He’s taken six or seven data points, and said, the butler did it, and here’s why. Great. Sherlock comes in and totally contradicts that and says, no, because he spotted 20 other things that Lestrade just didn’t even spot and correlated them and come up with a far more…

How the heck did you do that?

But all the clues were there. All the opportunity was there, but Lestrade wasn’t good at questioning.

Sherlock was, right?

And that’s what you need to be in sales is, how do I find out more about this?

How do I un-pill that onion?

Because, for example, and I’ll pick on Bant because it’s the simplest to talk about, but they’ve all got the same thing. If you implement it this way, what are… And I did this when I interviewed salespeople. One of the things, this will give it away, but anyone listens to this, but well done listening to it, if that’s the case. But it’s very few salespeople past this one.

I’ve had, I remember one young inside salesperson who nailed it, and it was like, I hired them, because, oh my gosh, they were great otherwise, but this just did it for me. The icing on the cake was, okay, so let’s go through a qualification.

Okay, so you’ve asked me, let’s start off.

You’ve asked me, well, what sort of budget you expect?

And I’ve said about 17,000 to 18,000 pounds. Most salespeople then go, okay.

And if we can get that, what sort of period or time scale are you looking to do this in?

And why would you look to do it?

What’s the benefit?

You’ve already missed it, guys, girls, because I said 17 to 18. The obvious question should be, I’m not going horizontally, I’m going vertically. I’m going to say, that’s great, Ian. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing it.

Why is it 17 to 18K?

Because that number’s come from somewhere.

Why is it 17 to 18?

Oh, well, because that’s what we paid for the last solution. We used to use so and so. You’re trying to say so and so. We used to use so and so.

17, 18K. Okay.

But is there anything new you’ve got to buy?

Have you ever bought anything that didn’t just match up to your to your expectation or budget?

Yeah, of course we have.

So if we can show you the value, and we have this conversation, and it was more than that, but it justified it, is that something you can get?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, there’s a pro. And that process is, oh, well, we just go and justify and blah, blah, blah. Okay. There’s loads of other questions you can ask before you then go to, you know, people move laterally, go, tick, I’ve got the bit of information. All the time you’re talking to someone, again, this brings you back to you can’t do it if you communicate, if you do it on email.

I have seen someone try by the way, I did do remember once seeing a list of questions sent to the customer. It was like, that doesn’t work.

What are they going to fill in a form for you?

28 questions for your qualification. It’s got to be a conversation. It’s fluid. It is depending on what they say, is listening to what they’re saying.

And pause, that’s really interesting.

Can I just go back a couple of points?

I heard you say, da, da, da, da, da, da.

Can you help me understand what you meant by that?

So again, why it needs to be a conversation. But questioning is incredibly important skill that most salespeople are not as good at as they think they are or should be. And it’s not difficult.

You just kind of slow down and get into a habit of think what was said, is there a question to ask about this?

And don’t ask them for the sake of question.

But yeah, we like, we want to get a new car and we want to, we really want green.

Okay, let me go and show you a green car then.

Well, no, hold on a sec.

What particularly is making, I’m just curious, what makes you want a green car?

Because I might have a better one over here to sell you that’s blue, but I want to know first what the weighting is of the green, not just go and listen to what you’ve said and go in straightforward. Then find a couple of days later, I see you driving past the blue car you bought.

Well, hang on a minute, you said you wanted green.

Yeah, they asked me about it and then explain that green fades more in the sun, that’s true, or I’m making stuff up. But they explained this and this and this and they had this other car. But it was much more economic and they had this on it.

So I, you know, the color was, it was nice to have it.

Well, oh, but you didn’t ask that. They did. It’s fundamental. And I completely agree with that. You talking about it reminded me a lot of a previous guest I had on Sunny Kumar, who was talking about mental models being applied to sales. And one of those is the five whys. So consistently going why, and then you get the answer.

Yeah, but why?

And to keep digging to really get to the heart of the issue.

And that example was talking about stuff from a leadership level of trying to get to the bottom of it, right?

But I think to your point can absolutely be used as part of that sales process to get to the answers for what you need. It’s interesting. I was at an event the other week and I was listening into one of our sales team speaking to a prospect. And our product kind of does three very distinct things.

And, you know, I listened to the elevator pitch at first. I was like, okay, not bad. And then I was listening to what came afterwards and it completely peaked away.

And I was like, can I just interject here?

I’m just interested to know to the prospect. And I was like, you know, this chap was using Salesforce.

And I was like, what’s the state of your Salesforce like at the minute?

Oh, well, it’s a bit of a mess, to be honest. Great. That’s all of a sudden of interest to me because that’s something that we help with.

Why is that?

Start to dig into it a bit more. And then to my colleague that was, there you go. That’s giving you your answer because you’re asking the questions why to dig into it, to understand the state of play. And it will often amaze you how much information people will give you as long as it’s not about telling them we do this, I can change your life.

You know, our technology is going to, you know, make your day to day so much better. It’s just ask them where they’re having problems, get the information that you need and completely agree with you. It’s such an underrated skill in so many different parts of business. Yeah.

And don’t, yeah, the other trap, I think, and I’m sure in your business, because we’re in that sort of area where this appears, is don’t fall into the trap of ask a few questions and then as fast as you can move to, well, let me show you what I’ve got.

And typically it’s a demo, right?

Let me show the demo.

It’s the devil’s temptation because what I watch and the behavior I see in demos is it, and everyone does this because it’s hard, it’s harder, is people going to show, show, show and tell mode, right?

The questioning virtually stops because you’re thinking, where do I click next?

What do I go next?

And let me, and I know where I’m, what I’m going, let me show how shiny this is. Instead of, right, I’ve understood from the questioning to your point, three key pains you’ve got. Let me first show you that first pain. Let me show you something here succinctly of how this could change that for you. Great.

Dave, how does that look?

Sally, what do you, how would you use that?

Instead of, let me take you through now 40 minute demos as fast as I can, firstly, as fast as I can talk to you and get the minimum I need to get you on to show you something. That’s number one. And then two, once I get into it, I go out of sales mode. I forget to question, I forget to interact and converse and build rapport.

I go into under the talk at you mode and I’ve seen it done, I’m sure you have, you know, nth number of times because it’s a trap that people fall into. If you know how to demo, you don’t know how to demo, if that makes sense. You get drawn into, I’m going to go through the motions because look how whizzy I can demo.

It really is the devil’s temptation in sales, I think. Let me get to a demo as fast as possible and then talk at you.

Yeah, absolutely. And I think probably the last bit to add to that is it’s not only just about asking questions, it’s being able to listen and actively listen as well to actually listen to what they’re saying and what they are giving to you.

And I don’t know whether I’m making a sweeping generalisation or not, but I find that kind of skill set generally lends itself more towards introverted people than extroverted people, but sales naturally seems to attract more extroverted kind of individuals. So it’s finding the balance in between.

Yeah, absolutely.

Maybe that’s, you know, I came probably from an introverted background, being a programmer originally, so maybe that’s what led me down this path, who knows?

Yeah, something that I’m interested to ask, a lot of the principles that you’ve talked about, ring very true. And I’m quite interested to understand from your experience, Ian, you know, go to where you are now, and Charlie, you’re obviously artificial intelligence. So really a very interesting kind of spearhead of the technology market at the minute.

So what’s your opinion on that, like the digital transformation of sales teams?

Because everything that we’ve been talking about in this episode has very much been, I feel, quite qualitative kind of feedback that you’re taking.

So do you find that sales tech tools are beneficial for sales people moving forward?

Yeah, I think absolutely they have their place. But it’s a couple of things. One is not to think, and I’m sure you’ll iterate this with what you do, but not to believe that buying a piece of technology is just going to fix your sales process or execution issues. And I think that’s not right. So these tools are there. Let’s do this one.

If you’ve got a DIY person, they can go and buy the hammers and the chisels and all the tools, but if they’re fundamentally awkward and just don’t know what the hell they’re doing, they’re still going to do a bad job and put the shelf up crooked, right?

They’ve got to know how to use the tools. The tools are there. Use the right tool for the right job to make you more effective, efficient, and productive and more informed. But you’ve still got to have the driver.

Same as you can get the best race car, but if the driver in your Formula One team ain’t the great driver to go with it, the best car in the world is still not going to win the race. So it’s a combination of them. So absolutely I believe in using the right tech tools. We’ve looked at a few recently and I’ve said, look, let’s park that for a second.

We’re not ready in what I’m doing with the sales team to jump and use those at this point, but they absolutely have value and they’re great tools, but I don’t need to do that right now.

Right now, let’s get all these fundamentals lined up and better execution. Then we can look at what we need to do. Let’s make sure we’re utilizing the CRM we’ve got effectively.

Currently, we’re missing this. We’re not doing this effect. Let’s get all those ducks lined up first so that we’re heading in the right direction.

Now, we can look at whether it be phone sentiment analysis tools, all this stuff, but just getting them now is not going to fix the problem at the beginning. There’s the right time and right place for the relevant tools, but yes, they have that place. Of course they do.

If you can take an effective executing sales team and give them the right tools, and it isn’t the same tool for every business and every team and every solution you’re selling because things will vary, but pick the right tools for them. You can therefore make them more productive and effective. I want them to talk the majority of the time, be as effective as possible in talking to a customer.

That’s where their value should be, not doing admin or doing stuff. There’s an element of that needed, but the more efficient I can make them, the more informed I can make them about whether it be market intelligence or how they interacted on certain conversations to be able to coach them. The answer is yes, I think you can’t ignore technology. You can still do well in sales without anything.

If you’re really good at selling and you focus on the basics, but don’t want to take my athlete and bolster them up with the best shoes, the best equipment, training, and all the rest of it.

Yes, I do.

Yeah, 100%. Last thing I wanted to ask you from your experience, we’re obviously, as you pointed out at the beginning, we’re recording this in December coming up to Christmas. We’re heading into what’s going to be, I’m sure, a very unpredictable 2023, economic downturns, a lot of uncertainty.

Having been through the period of 2008 and the downturns that we had then, from your experience, what learnings are you taking from selling in that kind of market and in that kind of ecosystem?

How are you carrying that forward into next year?

Sure. Economic debt, it’s all gloom and doom, and it’s all going to be hard.

Sales, you’ve got to be positive. Not an arrogant or happy-as-approach way, you believe everything, but you’ve got to be pragmatic, but you’ve got to be optimistic rather than pessimistic. If you’re too pessimistic, you’ll bring yourself down of, that’s why we lost.

Oh, we’re going to lose this one as well.

You’ve got to be positive and think, right, what do we do about this?

Yes, we’re in a challenging time. For a lot of people personally, it’s very challenging.

We’ve come through Brexit, right?

We’ve come through COVID. We’ve now got this. Look at how many businesses have pivoted, survived, and figured out how to do things.

Coming into 2023, what would I advise?

Well, number one is be looking at who your ideal customer profile is, what their persona is, and what their persona is, and how they may be affected by this. Understand who are your buyers, customers, people, etc., and how is all this going to affect them because that has a knock-on effect to you.

If they’re going to start holding down on buying or delaying purchasing or whatever, depending on your market or service, what’s the likelihood of that happening?

One of the things you can do there is talk to them.

Again, not on email. Have a conversation with them. If you’ve got good relationships, this ties it all together nicely, actually. If you’ve got good relationships, go and have some conversations at senior level with your customers and get an understanding. Be transparent. We’re trying to understand what the impact of this is going to be.

The best place where you can gain that from of prospective customers is ask your existing customers who are in the same dynamic and market, and how would you feel?

Get some insight, number one, so you get some better understanding, and you can have some forethought of what might be coming.

Then you can start to make planning for where might we need to pivot?

What can we do?

Because look at COVID.

Restaurants were hit incredibly, but they rapidly pivoted to, do you know what?

We’ve still got a kitchen. We still need to do revenue. Let’s do deliveries. Let’s come up with new offers. Let’s come up with new ideas and marketing campaign, all the rest of it. Start figuring out your own one.

What’s the impact like to be?

What’s our mitigation for that over that period?

Do we need to target a different ICP?

Is there anything on the product or service we could tune right now and do a cut down?

What needs to change of anything?

And for your salespeople, you need to be talking to them and communicating and working with them. Because what you don’t want is them on a woe is no on a, well, it’s probably going to be bad and expecting it because you can create your own destiny.

Sales, you’ve got to be passionate. You’ve got to be positively passionate, but also realistic of, okay, it’s going to get harder.

What do we do about it?

Let’s figure out what we do about it now.

Does that mean we need to get a marginal gain on our close rates?

How do we do that?

Do we need to increase our average sales value by 5% or 6%?

You can’t say increase it by 50 or 100. It’s not realistic.

But what metrics can we focus on that will have an impact to mitigate what might come?

And be discussing and thinking about it now, not what it hits you. If it doesn’t come, but you’ve planned stuff out, well, great. But don’t be caught on the hot rate. You can see where we’re heading. COVID hit us all too quick, and everyone had to go remote. We dealt with it.

So we’ll get through this as well, but you’ve got to be thinking about it, working on it together, not just putting your head in your hands, why was us, and certainly not having hope as a strategy.

Oh, we hope it turns out right. We’ll see how it turns out. And sales people, you’ve got to keep them motivated.

What are we going to do about this?

How are we going to do it?

What are we going to focus on and give them guidance?

And that’s got to come from sales leadership. Don’t let them all be figuring out their own little thing and worrying about it.

Because there will be worry, right?

Naturally. Yeah.

Yeah, 100%. That’s my two-penis. Final question.

If you could recommend one book to other sales leaders, revenue leaders, which one would it be and why?

So I’m not going to disrespect any of them and say this is the best one out, but one that I recommend that people often have missed. Have a look at a book called Social Selling by Tim Hughes. Social Selling, a lot of people think they know what it is, but they don’t. What they’re doing is reposting stuff and sharing it. And they’re not doing what’s called what real social selling is.

It has an impact. It is another skill in your tool bag. It doesn’t replace picking up the phone and talking to people.

It is another tool in that kit bag that if you know how to use it, you can use it when you need to use it, right?

And it’s very readable. Tim’s just updated it. There’s a new revised version out from his first edition for 2023. I think it’s on the stores now. That would be my recommendation because you’ll learn something from it. It’s about how the biodynamic has changed and some different things you can do about it. Beautiful. We’ll put a link down to that in the show notes. Cool.

Ian, it’s been great to chat with you. Thank you so much for joining me for this conversation. If the listeners want to connect with you, learn a little bit more about some more of the principles that you take into some of the new businesses. And I know you’re a massive advocate of social selling.

Where can they find you?

Sure. And a byproduct to that is personal branding. And here’s the example of that now. So by all means, thank you for that offer. Go to or And that will take you directly to my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts where you can follow and connect. Awesome. We’ll put that down in the show notes as well. Thank you. Amazing.

Well, let’s conclude there. Thank you again, Ian. And thank you to the listeners. Thank you.