B2B Sales: Create Success with Trust, Credibility, and by Asking Better Questions
This week’s episode is packed with incredible insights and tips that everyone in the sales profession can immediately implement, even if they don’t have many years of experience. We had the opportunity to sit down with Marcus Chan (President & Founder, Venli Consulting Group) to talk about some of the greatest challenges that B2B salespeople face, why they should resist the temptation to automatically “pitch” prospects, and why it’s crucial to be positioned as an expert and ask better questions.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Christian Klepp, Marcus Chan
Christian Klepp 00:08
Hi, and welcome to the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. I’m your host, Christian Klepp, and one of the founders of EINBLICK Consulting. Our goal is to share inspirational stories, tips and insights from b2b marketers, digital entrepreneurs, and industry experts that will help you think differently, succeed and scale your business.
Christian Klepp 00:28
Alright, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. I’m your host, Christian Klepp. And today I have a special guest on the show. That I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through a growing and very dynamic online community called RevGenius. And we of course, have also been corresponding on LinkedIn. He’s a passionate entrepreneur, a talented b2b sales professional. And believe me when I say he puts the P in perseverance. Okay, so drumroll please. Mr. Marcus Chan, welcome to the show.
Marcus Chan 01:01
Hey, happy to be here! That was a legit drumroll. Right? That’s awesome! That’s amazing,
Christian Klepp 01:09
My friend. I’m gonna get a gong for you next time. All right. But in the meantime, a drumroll will have to do. So Um, dude, it is so great to have you on the show.
Christian Klepp 01:18
It’s my absolute pleasure, man. I’m excited to be here.
Christian Klepp 01:21
Fantastic. So um, Let’s get this party started. And you know, just give us a little bit of background, you know, tell us about yourself.
Marcus Chan 01:28
Yeah, man. Absolutely. Right. So I’m based out here in Portland, Oregon, on the west coast of the United States. So, you know, I’ve been in b2b sales for 14+ years, right. So I actually started at the very bottom, outside B2B building a startup from ground zero. I was really fortunate, did quite well, you know, rose the ranks pretty quickly, got promoted multiple times, you know, to the point of leaving that company going somewhere else in which I was in Alaska for 9 years, and had a lot of success there as well, to a point of running a sales org about 100+ employees, doing multiple nine figures a year in revenue, so a lot of fun. And then from that point, I decided to leave corporate America and start my own business.
Marcus Chan 02:14
So now, I’m a founder of Venli Consulting Group, and I work directly with b2b sales professionals, help them sell more and earn more without needing years of experience. And I’ve just got over my one year anniversary, it’s been an absolute incredible journey so far.
Christian Klepp 02:27
Boom, that is quite an incredible background you’ve got there, man. And you know, you’ve undoubtedly gained so much in terms of experience and, you know, built up quite the network over the years. Um, let me ask you, Marcus, like, was there any particular reason why you went into b2b sales?
Marcus Chan 02:41
You know, that’s such a great question, right? And I think, I simply stumbled upon it. And I remember, you know, when I graduated 2007, from University of Oregon, and I was really fortunate to the point of the economy hadn’t quite tanked yet. And, you know, there’s still a good amount of job opportunities out there. And I went to the, you know, the University job fair. And I mean, I treated getting my next job or my job, you know, if you will, after college, like is my job, so I went after pretty hard. And I end up getting five job offers before I graduated, so I was really lucky in that sense. And they were a mixture of roles, right? So I had some of those insurance sales, some was financial services, some was working in banks, and this opportunity.
Marcus Chan 03:23
My first opportunity was for b2b sales, but I didn’t see it as b2b sales. I wasn’t like, I’m gonna go to b2b sales. That wasn’t what I was thinking. what it was, was I interned at that company before for two years, loved it, and they have start-up division. That was b2b sales, in which really, the vision was going out there and building something from scratch as a brand new start-up division. The director was my former area manager when I was on the other part of the business. He painted a vision for me said, Hey, listen, come work for me, you know, and we’re gonna build something from scratch, we’re gonna build operations. It is really Ground Zero, you can be part of something absolutely great. And to me, that was really appealing. And what’s interesting is, that’s also the lowest paying offer, so the base salary is $29,500. And the range of job offers I had was up to 60,000 USD. So I’m like, I remember taking that $29,500 job offer and my parents were like, what is wrong with you? And I tell my parents, I’m like, Hey, listen, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go and build this, build this, this startup, and they’re like, so you can go do what exactly? I’m gonna well I’m gonna go and like, I’m gonna get new clients like, Well, what does that mean? Like, I’m like, Well, I’m gonna, you know, do you know, make calls and knock on doors. Like also cold calling? Uh, yeah, the cold call like they’re like, like businesses and like, Oh, my God, like, Oh, that’s really hard. That was a bad decision. You shouldn’t do this. And they were very much against it, right? Because, you know, given you know, our ethnicity and background, right. I mean, my parents wanted me to be a doctor, engineer, lawyer or an accountant and now I’m gonna go and knock on doors with the lowest base salary. So, you know, it was always like, I was like, dishonoring the family being the only son right? So that’s when you know why dove into it.
Marcus Chan 05:04
That was my first taste, my start in the b2b sales and frankly, to be completely transparent, I straight sucked when I started. I mean, I was the worst rep on the team in the company, I was underperforming very quickly, I was underperforming, not getting any results. And I thought about quitting many times, right? Because I was like, b2b sales is not for me, this is like, you know, I went to school, I got a marketing degree, right. And, you know, like, maybe I should have taken a lot of bank jobs, maybe I should have gone to marketing, maybe I should have done something else, this is not for me. And you know, fortunately, over a period of time, I was able to figure out how to be successful. And I launched my career to get, you know, promoted 10 times in 10 years and build these startups and do millions in revenue as a result, but I never actually want to be b2b sales, it was more about the legacy of building a startup. That’s what attracted me to that role. And b2b sales just happened to be the vehicle to get there.
Christian Klepp 05:58
Wow. I mean, first of all, thanks for sharing that. But like, man, those are some humble beginnings you got there. And I mean, good for you, you know, and that’s why I said at the beginning of this discussion, the capital P and perseverance. Right. So and congratulations, also for the one year anniversary of your company. I mean, that’s awesome.
Marcus Chan 06:16
Christian Klepp 06:17
So tell us a little bit about, you know, something that you’re currently working on that, you know, that’s gotten you really, like excited and motivated. And, you know, that’s kind of like stating the obvious because man, like, you know, from the way that you’re answering the questions, you’re clearly a very positively charged individual. But what are you currently working on that’s like, really got you pumped?
Marcus Chan 06:37
Yeah, so I got a couple of things. I always got irons in the fire. You got to right? So I got two things I’m working on. Some stuffs already kind of partially launched. And I’m excited about that. I haven’t, I’ve already mapped up I haven’t built out yet, which I’m excited about. So the first thing is, um, so one thing is, you know, I’ve been really fortunate I’ve had built up a nice audience on LinkedIn, on Facebook and Instagram. And it’s, you know, I’m really fortunate, I get a lot of DMs and questions about different, you know, how do I do this? How would you … a lot sales questions, and people really struggle, people maybe sometimes need help. A lot of them do. Most companies do not provide the proper training that’s actually effective and works in times, like today or really in general. So I got a lot of questions. So I decided a few weeks back, I’m like, you know what, what if there’s a way I could scale answering questions. And I thought to myself, hmm. I mean, I could just respond to people, I could write blog posts, or whatever. I’m like, you know what, though? Like, you know what, I really want to take advantage of video. So I create a new series called “Coffee and Questions with Chan”.
Christian Klepp 07:43
I’ve seen those. Yeah.
Marcus Chan 07:45
I just officially launched it this past week. So I literally have like, I have a lot of questions on OneNote, from different meetup different, you know, really random people. Yeah. And I’ve been taking these questions and answering them directly on video in these one to two minute clips, video clips, so that way, and I’ve been sharing them now on my LinkedIn, on all my social media feeds, on my blog, and I’ll be dropping these one to two minute video clips, or answer specifically that question.
Marcus Chan 08:16
So for example, one of the question was, like, questions I had this past week was, how do I present? How do I best present a quote to a prospect? Which I never thought that’d be a question. But of course, I’m like, Yes, that’s a great question. Boom. So that was a video I did. So far, it’s I received a ton of amazing feedback so far. And of course, I’m gonna keep doing that. Every week, I’ll be dropping two videos, answering specific questions that anybody has about sales, and which I’m pretty excited about. So first thing I’m pumped about, because I think it doesn’t really help you. Okay, my goal is this. People watch that video in the morning. They’re drinking their coffee with me, if you will, that watches it. Ah, I’m going to do this today. And get a result from there. That’s my goal, right? One, no fluff, straight, tactical actionable tip, they can go get results it’s really important.
Marcus Chan 08:16
And the other reason it does as well is out on LinkedIn, there’s many like kwanko influencers and sales and gurus etc. You know, it’s amazing how many of them have never actually done the job successfully. Maybe they’re average at best, right? You know, maybe they’ve only trained people that never actually did the job, right. But when you have carried the bag, when you’ve done the job, you start learning things about sales psychology, human psychology, the ability to influence persuade to a different level. So you can tell pretty quickly based on people posting what they talk about. So I’m like, that’s why I’m on LinkedIn. All my posts are very direct and tactical. So people actually know this can help them. Right. So they see value in that. So that’s my first thing that I’m really, really pumped about. So I should pause for a second gets you any questions on that before I jump in?
Christian Klepp 09:51
Yeah, no, absolutely. That was definitely incredible. And thanks so much for sharing that but you know, you brought up something that was really, I thought it was really an incredible insight. Because, um, why are these videos working? Or why are they so effective these so called virtual coffee chats? Because it’s user generated content. Right? You’re responding, you’re responding the questions that people are asking you online. So, you know, obviously, it’s going to resonate with them. Because, you know, they’re dropping you these questions, and you’re doing your best to answer them. Right. So, and I have no doubt in my mind that that’s gonna be probably a successful series that you can continue for years to come.
Marcus Chan 10:29
Yeah, man. Yeah, I’m really excited about that too, it’s really gonna help a lot of people. It really is, you know, it’s, um, and then there’s, I mean, at the end of the day, the reason I do what I do is, is to help, to build the legacy, to influence and help people and to help them achieve things that are not possible, right? I mean, not what I believe it’s one of the things where I am super biased. But I believe being in sales is one of the greatest careers you can be in right, whether you do for a short time, or whatever, because it only helps you in every other aspect. I think about and I’m sure we’ll get to this point eventually. But I think about some of the best marketers that I know, majority of them did some sort of sales rotation. Oh, you know, the best salespeople, this is sort of marketing rotation, right.
Marcus Chan 11:15
It’s so vital.
Christian Klepp 11:19
You know, I mean, you definitely hit the nail on the head there, Marcus, because I mean, like, you know, I think of myself as a, you know, I’m the branding guy, but I’m also a marketer, but before all of that I was a salesman.
Marcus Chan 11:29
Christian Klepp 11:30
So that I was on the other side of the spectrum at one point. And even though I was in marketing, I also had to go into the field with the salespeople to understand what they’re going through the process, the objections they’re getting from the customers and so forth. But we’re gonna get to that in a second.
Marcus Chan 11:46
So check it out. So my plan is I’ll probably in the next 12 to 14 months, I’m gonna write a book, right. I’m gonna write a book in the next 14 months. What I’m gonna do first is I’m actually gonna test the concept out and to make sure they really resonate with the audience. Right. So, um, I get a lot of questions from like, you know, people don’t always understand like, they kinda think you have to have large spirits to be great at sales, or you need a grind grinded out to build a territory, which is true, you gotta put the work in. But in 2011, I made the transition, right. So I was at a lot of success, and I signed a contract to a whole new company, completely new industry, took a big pay cut, and it was an outside sales role. And the reason I did that jump was because I saw the potential this other company could create for me, three to four or five years down the road. I knew I wouldn’t see it immediately.
Marcus Chan 12:38
So I took a pay cut at a $43,000 base salary as an outside hunting sales role. It’s brand new b2b sales role, zero pipeline, underperforming territory, no one hit a award like President’s Club, or any award for years. And people didn’t believe it is possible, right. So in my first year in that role, I made $125,000, I made a $82,000 in commissions and bonuses. And, you know, most people were like, I don’t know how you did that, like, did you close one big deal? No, I closed a lot of deals, but nothing really crazy. So what I’m actually doing right now, I kind of saw just the concept I checked with, you know, I checked with, you know, my Facebook group, see if they’d be interested in this concept of me doing a boot camp teaching these principles, because I really tied on eight core principles that allowed me to achieve these results. And the principles anyone can apply to get the results they want to get as well, whether they’re brand new zero experience with zero pipeline.
Marcus Chan 13:39
So the eight principles are really simple right.
So there’s #1, the four stages of reps and how to achieve peak performance.
#2, the perfect non salesy sales process.
#3, the toddler principle to accelerate results.
#4, the perfect income producing routine.
#5, how to reverse engineer your sales process to double conversions.
#6, how to use tough economic times as a method to increase sales ethically.
#7, how to use the belief pyramid to build massive sales confidence.
And the last one, how to use a skill effort scale to ensure you’re not become stagnant income and skills.
Marcus Chan 14:18
So I’m gonna do a boot camp training first, test out those, make sure I vet out how to communicate, illustrate these concepts and teach it. And then of course, I’ll take those, take all that and build it into a book and write that book based off that assuming it’s, you know, an absolute knockout of the part of bootcamp. So that’s what number two project I’m very excited about.
Christian Klepp 14:41
Wow. I mean, you were so pumped talking about it that you got me pumped, listening to you talk about it. Yeah. So just back to what I was saying earlier. I mean, like, you know, the topic of discussion, you know, for today’s conversation is obviously focusing around b2b sales. And, you know, as you’ve told us, in the past couple of minutes, you’ve been an successful and well accomplished sales professional throughout your career. So, you know, we see these happening, pretty much on a daily basis, you talk about it in your videos, and in your master classes, you know, some of these challenges. And these mistakes that salespeople are making, which is the reason why they’re not able to hit their targets, which is why they’re getting these objections from customers.
Christian Klepp 15:28
So tell us, you know, from your own experience, what you believe are some of the greatest challenges that b2b sales professionals are confronted with, and how do you think they should address these challenges proactively?
Marcus Chan 15:41
Yeah, great question. Right. I think the first thing is, you know, when you look at a b2b prospect, you know, high level decision maker, there’s so much noise coming at them at all times, from email, content, marketing, etc. But what’s really interesting in cold calls too… What’s interesting is most was not very good. Okay, like, Most of them are not very good. And the mistake is what I see for a lot of salespeople is, they’re a lot more so focused on like, let’s call it scaling, scaling and scaling. But they’re not scaling what works. Right. So, you know, for example, I’ll get questions like, ‘Hey, what’s the best email sequence to book an appointment?’ You know, and they’ll get so caught up on like, here’s my buyer persona. Here’s my 12 email sequence. And let me just put in their name, they’re gonna book an appointment. Well, if it was that easy, you wouldn’t have a job, like, you know, and that’s where I see. you know, that’s the first mistake. They don’t recognize it. And then the second one that they do on top of that is, then let me just pump up the activity because it’s a numbers game.
Christian Klepp 16:53
We know. It’s the goal of numbers game.
Marcus Chan 16:56
Yeah, it’s a number game to a certain extent, right. And here’s the thing. Emails work, Cold calls work, Content marketing works. Facebook, Ads work, they all work, Direct marketing works, they all work, you just gotta get better at doing them. Okay. You know, it’s literally that simple. And the mistake I think most people make is they have these concepts in mind, but they’re not willing to refine the concept, you know. So I’ll give you a real good example. Right? So LinkedIn DMs are a great example. So I’m sure you get it, I get it, we get, many people get that kind of same DMs. It’s not uncommon we get that connection request, and we get spammed immediately. It’s like a pitch. And then it’s a Calendly link to book a time on the calendar.
Christian Klepp 17:42
You get auto pitch slapped, is what I call it, right?
Marcus Chan 17:45
Yes. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Right. So like, if someone will use automation, right, you know, so you know, and then people are obviously catching all of that, right. So, but you get so many of these non stop, and it just bleeds into the noise, right? And you aren’t standing out. So you got to rise above the noise, you have to find a way to stand out right? in a really good way. So for example, like it’s kind of like this, whatever is hard, probably should be done. Because I mean, most people aren’t going to do it. You know, so, for example, a great example of this: So about a year ago, I just started my business and I got this connection request from this guy. His name was Edward Xia, okay, he’s out in like New Zealand or Australia or somewhere like that. Yeah. connects with me. I’m like, Okay, I’ll accept it. Whatever. After accepting he sends me a video DM. This was my first time ever receiving one. He’s on like, he’s like walking by the ocean.
Marcus Chan 18:42
Hey Marcus, I’m like, wow!
Christian Klepp 18:44
While it’s snowing over on your side,
Marcus Chan 18:46
Yeah, like, I mean, just like, I mean, it was like a very quick video. 20 seconds long. And it made such an impact on me. It really did. I’m like, wow. And that because that’s a pattern interrupt. Okay, it got my attention. And now much more opening to, to liking his stuff, engaging with them. If he’s to pitch me something, I’m more open to listening. And that was a major Aha. Right? Just like that cool guy, no one really had existed. So since then, that’s my go-to for like, you know, for connecting with, you know, with people like in my target market and a personalized video a direct message. And it’s amazing because that’s been around for you know, at least over a year, and people know about but most are unwilling to do it still. They’re unwilling to do it. But when you when you are able to push past it, you will stand out, you know, you’ll stand out, like, it’s kind of like, would you rather send 100 or 50 DMs, I think max like 50 DMs a day templated and get maybe a 1% response rate, or send 25 personalized videos, which is basically the bulk of messages are still same, but the front end, you just say their name, and they know, personalized to them. And you get what’s called a 50% response rate. That’s usually what you get.
Christian Klepp 20:04
Marcus Chan 20:06
Obviously, you’re gonna choose the 25 messages and that 50% response rate, right? And that’s where, you know, sales, we need to focus on that instead. At the end of day, it’s not about how many emails you send, that’s not how many calls you make. It’s a sum of how many DMs you send, it’s what’s the end result are you getting out of it. How can you refine it? how can you make it better? Right, how can you take it next level, how can you stand out a really good way? If it’s hard to do, you probably should do it.
Christian Klepp 20:31
Yeah. Yeah. No, I’m totally with you on that one. I mean, you brought so many great points. I mean, I totally agree with the personalization approach and the video content. I mean, I think it’s, especially in b2b sales. It’s such an untapped potential. And, you know, to your other point about the numbers game. I’m sure you’ve heard this, you’ve heard this argument as well. Like, there’re two schools of thought with automation. You know, one school says that they’re, they’re against it. And the other one, the other one says that they’re all for it. And, you know, I’m kind of like, in between, because I feel like it’s, it’s good to a certain extent, but I think the personalization still needs to go in there somewhere. Because you, as a salesperson, you still need to do your homework. Right? You still need to find out who these people are.
Marcus Chan 21:13
Yeah, hundred percent. Right. I think it’s also depends on where the lead source comes from, as well. Right? So for example, if it’s like, you know, from a marketing perspective, they’re opting into like a lead magnet, right? Yeah, of course, you can have sequences like, you know, that makes sense, right. But it’s completely if you are doing the outreach, you have to change a little bit, right? For example, I’m actually testing out a whole new outreach type right now. I mean, honestly, a whole new, a whole new one. But, I think it’s gonna be much more scalable, and getting better, it’ll convert warmer leads. So for example, like, I’ll send video messages. So before I was doing, anyone that I’m gonna make connection requests, or I connected with that’re in my target market, I would send them a video message with a little bit of text below it. And I’ll have at least 50% response, which is, you know, quite good. That now, the other half was responding. Right? Right. So to me, I’m like, okay, like, I’m taking a lot time doing these video messages, right? Like, you can’t really scale video message, you really can’t, because it’s customized to them. Right? Like, I feel like I wasted my time with the other 40%-45% that didn’t respond. So how could I readjust it? Right, so I’ve been testing it for about a week and a half now, a new method, which is, the first message I sent them is more generic, right? Which is a text message only message is a very low key soft call-to-action. And the message is more so like it’s typed out as like, you know, “Hey, Christian, thanks so much for connecting. If you can tell based on my profile, my number one goal is to help b2b sales reps sell more. If you want some, I got some killer free resources. If you want the resources, just let me know. Anyways, have a great day. See ya.” That’s it. There’s no like, often is nothing. And I’ve been testing it. And I’ve been received faster responses with that, which is really interesting to me. Like, I mean, like, it’s like, I mean, it’s like 60-70%. Now responding back, like, “That would be awesome. Thank you.” And then here’s the kicker, then I do a video message to those people. So I changed the order. And then I give them whatever resource. So that’s been really interesting. I’ve been testing for about a couple weeks now. And it’s interesting, because the one before them, they’re like, holy crap, like, wow, you’re responsive. And you gave me a video personalized to me, and he gave me a free resource. So that’s a new task. Right now. It’s been very, very powerful so far. I’m gonna keep testing another two more weeks before I decide on a fully convert to that. So it’s been great but the point is, is how are you cutting the noise? How are you adjusting and tweaking because you have to, and you have to always A|B test things to make sure you can always improve your results.
Christian Klepp 24:01
Absolutely, man. And you know, like, to your point about like, you know, the things that you’re testing out right now, I mean, I can see it it’s clear as day – value, value, value, win, win, win.
Marcus Chan 24:10
That’s it. Hundred percent, because I’m also asking for permission, right? Like, hey, Do you want them? Like, but it’s not hard to close. It’s like, hey, if you if you don’t, no biggie. It’s not a big deal. I think it’s really important that the tone is written is very intentional. Because if they don’t want, that’s totally fine.
Christian Klepp 24:30
Yeah, yeah. No, that’s absolutely right.
Christian Klepp 24:35
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp. Here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your b2b business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
Christian Klepp 25:03
You know, Marcus, you’ve been talking about it already for a little bit. But one of the many things that you teach to your, your clients, your students is that it’s possible. Yeah, I’ll say it again, it’s possible for b2b sales professionals to become better at what they do, hit or exceed their sales quotas, regardless of whether there’s a recession or not, and make more income from for themselves. Without having many years of experience. Now, you know, maybe at first glance, a couple of people are going to look at that and go, Oh, come on, man. That can’t be right. And I’m sure you’ve had your doubters out there. Right.
Christian Klepp 25:43
So how do you put those doubts to rest? Explain that, you know, walk us through that process? First of all, how you discovered this approach that you’re teaching and, you know, explain that. Tell us a little bit.
Marcus Chan 25:53
Yeah, hundred percent, right. So, you know, when I first started outside sales, I mean, I was the absolute worst. I mean, I was given a manual, that’s like, you know, three inches thick. I don’t know how many centimeters that is, I can’t cover it for you. But you know, it was, you know, manual, written by people who never done the job before. My boss also hadn’t done the job either. And so basically, I remember like, the first day, he gave me a stack of his business cards, but I didn’t have my business cards yet. He said, I want you to go and knock on doors. And I said, Okay, sure. Like, what will I say? Well, just go in there and try to book an appointment or close some, and I’m like, okay, and I took his business cards. I’m like, how many should I go knock on? He’s like, go knock on 30 businesses’ doors. I’m like, Okay, so I’m like, okay, so I walked out. I knocked on 60 doors that day.
Christian Klepp 26:41
Sorry, you’re talking like you’re physically knocking on doors.
Marcus Chan 26:43
Physically knocking on doors, busy walking to 60 businesses that day, and booked zero appointment, closed zero deal, generated zero interest. And I’m like, oh my god. Oh my gosh, this is… okay. I’m gonna try again tomorrow. Next day. I went again, and often over 60 doors again the next day. Again, zero results. I’d start to panic a little bit right. And I knocked on 120 doors businesses. How is it possible not a single one would book an appointment, have interest in. I was like that’s the less than a 1% you know, like ratio. Like this’s crazy. What my boss was a little freakin. Oh, yeah, like, hey, so what should I do? What am I doing wrong. He’s like, oh, now you gotta call them. What is it? call them on the phone. All right. As the next two days calling every single one multiple times, didn’t make a single appointment. Okay, so this is like, pretty much the end of the week at this point. And I’m freaking out. I’m like, how, like, this is like, I haven’t like booked an appointment. I haven’t done anything. This is like, how am I gonna build a business from scratch? So I remember like, literally like that weekend like I was blaming everything just I know that we can look good. The economy was starting to show a lot of sign … I was like because the economy as if you’re telling me… I’m like, it’s because I also have four zip codes that sell delegates because I might remember zip codes because my boss bought some like, I’m not getting training. And I’m blaming everyone. And I’m like, you know, my girlfriend now wife, she’s like, okay, you know, like, what are you gonna do? I have no idea. I don’t know what to do. She’s like, well, you’re pretty like, you’re pretty studious, like you used to read a lot books like launches, go to library, sales books. And I’m like, that’s a brilliant idea. So I went to a library that weekend I got every single sale book I can get. It was Zig Ziglar, Iannarino, Brian Tracy, all the classics. And I read every single sales book, right? And I started reading and kept trying to do what they told me to do on the books. And a lot of those kind of seems a little hazy. Oh, it’s a numbers game. Make more calls, do this, do that. And I tried. I mean tried. I tried for weeks in a row, four weeks in a row to be specific. And I got zero results. I mean, literally and at the end of month one, I was like the worst rep in the company, haven’t a sold single deal. I’m like freaking out. Like other people were closing some deals. I’m like God, like it must be my territory. You know, in my head about everything and really second guessing myself, questioning my business, building my skills to be able to do the job. And, you know, um, it was interesting because at that point, I also went to library reading books every weekend. And I came across a book by Tony Robbins. And the book was awaken the giant within. And in the book, one of the things that really spoke to me when I read it was he says, if you don’t like the answer you’re getting, asked better questions. In a row is a point. I’m like, you know what, like, that’s a lot right there to unpack, just that one statement. I’m like, hum, I’m asking myself really bad questions. Because once something will go sideways, like, you know, like, if I like the bad cold call someone yells at me, right? I’m like, what’s wrong with them? I’m awesome. What can you do differently? How can I learn? How can I improve what I do for the future to eliminate this from happening again? I was asking myself empowering questions. And then I’m like, What have I realized, wow, every single cold calls I was making, every single door knock calls going into, I was just trying to pitch them. Like, I didn’t know, I wasn’t asking any questions. So I started to ask more questions on my cold calls. And even when I walk through the doors, and I started to get a little more interest, I actually booked some appointments, which is really cool. Okay, I’m like, Well, I wasn’t closing anything. Okay? But at least there was progress.
And I remember, um, but fast forward, two more weeks goes by, and I’m like, Hum, I still have not closed a single deal. And my boss says, Hey, come to my office. I’ll talk to you. It was a Friday night. I remember. I’m like, Okay. I was really nervous. He looks a bit unhappy right now. Is he gonna fire me? What’s gonna happen? And he laid in me he laid it is, oh, six weeks, six weeks he laid into me, right? Like, because I was a former intern of the company had done really, really, you know, really cool things. And, you know, like, you know, the director really touted me up and now like, I’m like, the worst performer. He’s like, you know, like, basically tell you tell them I’m gonna, he’s gonna fire me. You know, before it’s playing. I’m freaking out. It’s blowing, right? Because it kind of continue to get worse. And I’m like, you know, I’m not making any money. I’m like, oh my god. I’m gonna lose my I might move out my apartment. I will move back home. My parents. Oh, my God. I can’t afford to get married. You know, like, I won’t get gazers girl, I can’t I can’t do any of these things. Hmm. You know, I was already eating ramen. Oh, God, It’s getting worse. So like, Okay.
I was freaking out. I was like conversation. It was interesting is I’m like, you know, I’m gonna keep trying to do what I do. I’m just gonna keep… I’m having some sort of progress. And later, the next week, it was like a Monday or Tuesday, I had a doctor’s appointment. I would go see a doctor. And it’s interesting. It’s normal doctor’s visit, right? And they can check everything. And after the visit, the doctor said, Hey, listen, like you know, you have the basic change what you’re also eating like, I was like, 17 or 18 year old kid. I was also eating a pretty unhealthy and not really do any cardio. Okay, listen, like you know, you got some signs of like, it’s not gonna be good for you keep this up. You’re still young guys. Make some changes. Okay. So basically do more cardio and eat cleaner. And all the cool, but that sounds fine. And that night… you know, at night Um, I think myself like, hmm, how did doctor convince me of that? Like I had so willingly said sure. Like, I was so willing to just sure to changing how I ate and basically worked out. I’m like, how do they sell me? Like, I had this Aha, like, huh? How did they convince me to change my behaviors? Because I’m trying to convince people to, to change their behaviors and who they use as a vendor.
Yeah. So and I realize I’m like, you know, she really didn’t, she really didn’t sell me at all. She didn’t sell me at all, but how does she do it? I mean, all she did was like, just ask me a lot of questions. Like, you know, and then once you uncover all my questions, and I realized, hold on like, so I went there I filled out my paperwork which says questions. Then the nurse came in or I went to go see the nurse. Then they asked me even more questions. And the doctor came and asked me more questions. And then cover what I was going to work for, you know, what needs, wants and desires and goals were, and then I’ll align a very simple solution. That’s basically what it was. And I’m like, that’s a freakin sales process. Yeah, that’s what they freakin did to me, right? I’m like… they diagnose me and broke it down. But I’m like, huh? I’m like, if it all you need to do is know what my end goal was. So I’m like, so what if, if I if I knew I’m like, I’m like, all I have is a form of questions. What if, if I knew their end goals they want to accomplish? I could just work backwards the questions to get there. And then align my solution.
So literally, I literally like the next day I mapped all my questions, right? Exactly what I thought what you want to get to. I mapped all that questions out. And I was really pumped cause I actually had direction. Okay. And I remember like, the next day I had like two appointments. So maybe that means maybe a few days later, the next day and very soon after, like two appointments. I’m like, okay, what’s the first appointment? And I did my best to not pitch at all. I literally just did my best to just like, reach every question like a robot, like, very transactional, right? And what’s funny about as long as 20 minutes in, the decision makers stops me is like, Marcus, hold on second. Oh, my God. Didn’t work. Okay. He said, Hey, listen, I actually have I have another meeting I had to run to. But I really like our conversation is going, can we set another time? I like what we’re talking about here. And I was like, whoa. And that really blew my mind. Like that. Really. I’m like, holy crap. I’m like, I literally didn’t present a single thing. He literally had no idea of my solution. But based on the question I asked, I just uncovered exactly what he wanted. And he was excited about that. Because actually, I was showing I was listening. So and I, truth be told, I had all the boards I’ve been on, which was not many. I hadn’t gotten some point market present pricing. And this is the first time I actually got in close to that point, right? Yeah. That second appointment that afternoon. I just did exact same thing. I actually closed it. Wasn’t a big deal, but I freaking closed it. Well, I’m like, holy crap. That was amazing.
That week, I ended closing four accounts, which is more than I closed in two months, right? Yeah. And I was like, holy crap, I’m onto something here, right. And I could do to refine, improve, right, within the next month. I was number one. And then I stayed number one for nine months in a row. And it was three months of being number one, I was then asked to go and run another operation from scratch. It was a new operation. Now this Hey, listen, you get zero pipeline. This is this location is underperforming. This is a fake promotion, you don’t change your title, you’re going to same title, same comp. But once you turn the operation on and lead people to success.
Christian Klepp 36:20
Marcus Chan 36:21
So that was awesome, there’s a leadership lesson there. Almost my leadership lesson how I failed terribly at first. But, um, but I took those two people, right, once I got, you know, to believe in me to walk into a plant. But once I got into believing in me, I taught them what I was able to figure out. And I replicate that success, we became number one as an operation. I say, number one, they were number two, number three. And then from there, I got promoted much other times and didn’t maintain that same level of success, because I realized that I could scale that right, I could take people at zero experience, and teach them a methodical process, right? While I realized then, Yes, for sure, you gotta put the work in, right? When you have a systematic blueprint that you know, can work. And also you got to add some tweaks and adjustments to it. But if you know there’s a blueprint to follow, and you have a clear recipe for success, it’s a shortcut to success, but you still gonna want the shortcut, right?
Marcus Chan 37:16
It’s kind of like, right now, you’re in, you know, Eastern Canada, I’m on the West coast of the US. I could just get in my car, and just like not turn on the maps and is blind, and you know, aimlessly start driving. Like, if I just start heading southbound, right, there’s no way I’m gonna get to where you are, no matter how hard I drive, okay. Or I can just drive around aimlessly. And maybe even so I’ll make that make it there. Or I could type into Google Maps, it’ll map me to exactly the fastest path to get there. And I’ll walk that path, I will get there faster than I am with a drive around. Yeah, and that’s how I look at a sales process when you understand that all sales processes follow the same core structure. And if you follow a structure, consistent that recipe for success, that you know it’s like baking a cake. If you follow the recipe, have all them. If you follow the step by step and ingredients, your chances for success really increase drastically, as long as you put the work in. And that’s why the sales process perspective, the same thing. So I’ve been really fortunate now where I’ve taken reps with zero experience, to tons of experience, as long as they are open minded, and they’re coachable. And they’re willing to execute and they put the work in, they’ll have success. And you know, if they have a little bit of sales accurate instinct, they’ll be really, really successful as a result.
Christian Klepp 38:41
Yeah. No, for sure, man, for sure. Man. This was amazing. I think you laid it out so beautifully. And you know, there were a couple of things definitely, that you said that resonated with me. And I think they’re worth repeating. I mean, that definitely, you know, to your point about like that there is a process and you know, it’s, it’s more about the salesperson, being a good listener, and, you know, stopping or just just cutting back on the pitching when it’s not necessary. The second thing, which I think is extremely important, which is something I think that this crisis has taught us, um, we have to unlearn some of our old skills in order to move forward. Right? I mean, learning, learning, learning is one thing, but I’m learning i think is even harder.
Marcus Chan 39:28
Right? Oh, yeah. Well, what’s really interesting, it’s simply this, right, um, and I don’t if you ever studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP. But a really, really core principle of Neuro-Linguistic Programming is behavior modeling. It’s simply this, which is, if there’s someone out there who already has the skills and results you want, if you can mimic and imitate their behavior, you eventually will get, you’ll be very close to achieve those results. Right? if not more, you know, it’s no difference. It’s kind of like, if I want to get like in like if I want to get super cut super buff. Yeah, I go find a personal trainer, I could follow them around for one full week, monitor every single thing they do, from the moment they wake up to when they go to bed, what they eat, what they do every single behavior in action. And then I mimic it. Over time, eventually, I’ll get the same result. It’s no different, right. And that’s the power of process. I mean, at the end of day, you and I, we are a result of our habits and our behaviors and process, and that’s across the board anything. If you follow and mimic that person, you will get a very similar results. If you want to be the best b2b marketer in the world, in whatever is gonna be as it says content marketing, you will find the absolute best person at content marketing, and you follow them around for a week or a month. And you see exactly what they do, what processes, what strategies, understand the why behind it, and then you mimic and if you mimic it well, you’ll eventually get very similar results to it. Yeah, it’s not crazy. It’s simply behavior modeling.
Christian Klepp 41:10
Yeah, no, no, absolutely. Absolutely. Right. So the current crisis, as you well know, it’s obviously disrupted the global economy, it sends shockwaves throughout several industries across the world. It’s also clearly affected the way that b2b sales professionals do things such as reach out, connect with potential prospects, qualify leads, handle objections, close sales, the whole nine yards. Right?
Christian Klepp 41:39
So what type of advice have you been giving the sales professionals to deal with the current disruption? And how can b2b sales professionals pivot and prepare for what’s coming next? Because let’s face it, things are not really going to revert back to the way they were before.
Marcus Chan 41:55
Yeah, hundred percent. What a great question. Right. And simply put one of the things that is overall as a good lesson, then I’ll kind of break some tactical things down. But I think the big thing to understand is the one of the key I mean, there’s, you know, people talk about intelligence levels, right, you know, IQ and EQ are as important, I believe the most important intelligence is AQ adaptability, you know, quotient, right. So your level to be able to adapt to a situation is absolutely vital, right, things are always going to change. I mean, the pandemic simply sped up what’s gonna happen anyways, that’s all.
So, you know, for sales professionals, it becomes crystal clear and transparent, those who simply were to sit back and leads fed to them, versus those who actually know how to do lead generation and market themselves and go get business. And, you know, for sales professionals, what they really need to do is they need look for ways to really stand out and warm their audience up. And there’re so many powerful ways to do it. And this is a word earlier, but this is so key word. The top sales professionals also have a marketing hat that they wear, right?
And here’s what i mean that for example, right? So if you have rep number one, who does this, let’s talk about LinkedIn for example, rep number one is on LinkedIn, their profile says they’re account executive x company. Yeah, they’re sending cold DMs. You know, maybe get some response, maybe not rather. They kinda do template and responses, etc. Okay, they’ll close some business. Then there’s rep number two. Rep. Number two, is posting constant daily, that solves the biggest problems of their target market. Those amavis called and they’re not they’re not posting like, hey, come to my webinar come to this or posting, like I say that they go after, it’s called IT directors, right. And maybe they sell cybersecurity. I was making something up, right. It’s like, Hey, you know, here are three ways to reduce your risk with, you know, malware, making something, whatever is important to IT directors, they’d be posting content for that, and they do every single day. And every single day, in addition to a normal outreach. What they’re also doing as well is they are going into the hashtag in the LinkedIn groups, where IT directors are most likely hanging out and they’re commenting and engaging, and providing value, over and over and over, when someone in their targeted market like an IT director post a piece of content. They’re one of the first people to go on there. And comment thoughtfully, no pitch likening age with it, even share it as well. So now when they send that cold DM, if you will, they’re probably more aware of them. They’ve seen their face around, right? If they weren’t, check out that profile of that sales professional, they see the contents optimize while like wow, this person is someone of value. Yeah. Who do you think Christian they’re gonna more likely have a meeting with, rep 2 or rep 1?
Christian Klepp 44:54
Oh, let me see. Oh, that’s a tough one.
Marcus Chan 45:00
Exactly. Right. So and that’s where it’s like, having that mindset is so vital. Understanding that, you know, doing stuff like that will help you stand out that warms up your target market, right. And then of course, when you add in some nice things such as video, direct messages, right? audio messages, using videos in your email outreach, adding other things, and it becomes very powerful in building the trust and earning the trust of professionals in which you may not get a chance to meet face to face, right. Like, you become position as an expert, as a result, not as a sales professional. And that’s really powerful. Like, at that point. If you do consistently what happens is people start reaching out to that person and Hey, listen, can you help me understand blank?
Marcus Chan 45:44
I’ll give you a good example. Right? There’s a gal, I can’t remember her name, she sells cybersecurity. And so she makes these phenomenal funny. Like one or two minute video clips about cybersecurity just at her house. She films it like on her phone looks like right? But they’re really funny, well done. And man, the engagement is out of control. Right? She’s got big following and following her and her target market in there. So here’s reality, even if that a target market if they’re not one for me, opened for me right now. They’ll get nurtured by her marketing. Yeah, right, they get warmed up. So the timing is right, they’re more likely to buy.
Marcus Chan 46:20
I’ll give you an example, even for my business, like, I’ll have people that will get nurtured directly from me, from an email list, to my content, to my Facebook group or whatever, for over a year, before they even open have a conversation. Right? You know, but having a long game in mind, and for sales professionals is a thing of a same way. You know, if you want to sell it’s not my song today. It’s how do you sell to your property, you want to get in front of 6 to 12 months from now? How do you warm them up? So they are very comfortable with you at that time? You know, and that’s what Mark is all about. So people become comfortable with you, right? And the more you do it, the more effective you’re going to be. So that’s what I understand that so you’re learning to market ahead of the game, but also standing out when doing an outreach. That’s really important. standing out with videos, being personal, being real, and gaining their trust, because it can be all virtual as you probably will be, your ability to basically create that know, like, and trust-ability factor is absolutely vital. Like when people are looking to partner up with someone, what they’re really asked themselves number one, okay, what’s my risk level? And if it goes sideway? Yeah. Yeah. And is this a value to me? You know, if you could solve both of those upfront, that’s a market can help you do.
Christian Klepp 47:47
Yeah. That’s such incredibly useful advice, Marcus, and that, you know, you brought up so many great points. I mean, like, you know, one definitely about playing the long game, which it is for sure. Um, you know, building trust. And, you know, most important of all, I mean, you mentioned so many tactics and approaches that you can use, and it’s really all about being, you know, staying Top of Mind, right.
Marcus Chan 48:09
Yes, yeah, let me give you an example. Right. So, this thing is this or last week, LinkedIn stories became live in the US, okay. And in some people, like, all this is gonna be lame. I’m like, oh, boy, it’s gonna be a killer opportunity for me to continue to provide value in to nurture my target market. Right. So I have a very simple SEO strategy with it, right? So like, in the stories, I mean, think about this. This is how you think. when we think about pivoting adapting what’s coming next. When something like this comes out. Your goal shouldn’t be like ah, somebody else to have to work on. It should be huh. How can I utilize this to help stand out and build trust with my target market?
That’s the key. So for example, and I see some people they’re just posting stuff on their like store like hey, come to attendance my event, do this, do that. No, don’t do that. I have a really simple strategy, right, because part of it. The beautiful part about stories is yes, you can do to market certain things. But really, it’s given to get people to know, like and trust you, and they can see behind the scenes and make sure you are a real person. Because when it’s virtual, there’s always a wall like, Ah, you know, I’m like, does Christian actually look like that is he actually like that? What’s he like, you know?
Christian Klepp 49:25
No, man, I’m a chatbot.
Marcus Chan 49:27
Exactly. So, for stories, I have a simple, you know, simple ABA 45-45-10 strategy. Right? So 45% is kind of fun, just kind of random, behind the scenes stuff. Right? Yeah, personal life a little bit, a little behind the scenes, like, you know, like, I mean, I got a walking treadmill, you know, underneath my desk for a while. So I’ve been like, you know, showing that. It’s pretty fun. I’ve got some pretty funny responses from that, right. And then 45% is like value, value, value, value. Okay, yeah. And then 10% call to action. Like, go get this download, go join this, and go to my webinar, not buy but something of value. So we go, so it’s all free still. And that’s been really effective so far, right. And it’s amazing, because, you know, I get these lurkers, if you will, I didn’t look at my con. They’re responding to my stories, again, and they never comment on my post. But there’s one of my stories and like, interesting. This is really interesting.
Marcus Chan 50:24
And I guarantee you, 6 to 12 months from now, a lot of deals can be done via LinkedIn stories. And if you get into the habit, do it now you’ll be to the forefront of the game. Right? By utilizing it now, learning and get uncomfortable. I always show me like, you know, like, like yesterday, I put something up that has nothing to do with anything. It was about like, little like and look, this is I’m drinking coffee. I put chocolate protein powder in here. I’ve never done it before. I’m excited. It tastes awesome. It tastes awesome. That’s my story. And people always do like lots of like, but people now know you’re a real person, you’re legitimate, etc. All right, you know, and that you’re actually not chatbot you know, hanging out a third world country, like pretending to be a real person.
Christian Klepp 51:10
Yeah. Well, I you know, you’re absolutely right, man. I mean, like, look at my, look at my Mid-Autumn Festival post from yesterday, I bet I think got 500 views. Right.
Marcus Chan 51:19
Right. Right. Exactly. Right. I mean, right now the, I mean, I’m so passionate on LinkedIn, because right now it’s still so organic. Yeah, it’s like, man. Eventually, it’ll get to the point where paid traffic will be will be king. But right now, if you put the work in now, it’ll only help you if you weren’t consistent down the road, even if people change their jobs or whatever. Right. I think I mentioned. I think you mentioned I think, again, Nick Bennett on one year. Yes. interviews. Right, Nixon’s great job. He’s been phenomenal on LinkedIn. And he started his journey six months ago, I think maybe less than that. He’s a lot on LinkedIn. And he recently changed jobs and doesn’t matter where he works. He’s still carrying the expertise with them. wherever he goes.
Christian Klepp 52:05
Yes, that’s absolutely right. And he continues to add value on LinkedIn with his content.
Marcus Chan 52:10
Christian Klepp 52:12
Awesome. Marcus, man, we could have gone on for another couple hours, man, but like, you know, this has been such an excellent session. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing. Um, what’s the best way for people out there to connect with you?
Marcus Chan 52:25
Yeah, well, first off, thanks so much. Christian, it is my absolute pleasure to be on. People can find me on LinkedIn. It’s really easy. You just look up Marcus Chan. It’s the only guy with speedos and a tag on. That’s good marketing right there, right? So ah, another really great place to find me as well as if you people head to marcuschan.io/resources. Inside there. I got free trainings. Free giveaways. I got my Facebook group in there. Ways connected me as well. It’s really a simple place to find me for all things that are all about me.
Christian Klepp 52:59
Fantastic. And you know, folks, take my word for it, because I’ve seen some of these videos. Marcus is phenomenal. Yeah. And keep a lookout for that, you know, the upcoming boot camp at the end of November as well. But you know, Marcus, thank you so much for your time. This has been such a great session. So take care, be safe, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Marcus Chan 53:19
Thanks so much.
Christian Klepp 53:20
All right. Take care.
Christian Klepp 53:23
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK. Please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.
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