Why ‘Sales’ Is Not a Dirty Word

By Michelle Broadbent
on 9 February 2022

Abbie White describes herself as the marriage counsellor for sales and marketing teams. As the CEO and founder of Sales Redefined, Abbie’s superpower is integrating sales and marketing to create lead generation and deliver 2000%+ ROI. Her impressive track record includes delivering more than $500 million in sales, and managing an impressive $100 million portfolio with leading tech giant IBM.

For Abbie, sales is certainly not a dirty word, which is why I had her join me on my podcast, Your Business Boost, to share how she has redefined what it means to do sales and how you can increase your lead generation and deliver on ROI with tried and tested strategies.   

You can listen to the full podcast below, or continue reading the transcript.

Michelle:

So I’m going to dive straight in because the reason I wanted to talk to you is one of the biggest pain points for the women that I support is their aversion to sales. They have these visions of snake oil salesman and think that it’s a bit of a dirty word. And I know that you know it’s not and you’ve helped so many women, myself included, reframe sales. So I would love it if you could share some of your wisdom around how to navigate sales for those who are allergic to sales.

Abbie White:

Yeah, I’m definitely familiar with curing the analogy of sales aversion. It’s actually a lot around why I started the business. The business is called Sales Redefined and I wanted to redefine that perception. When I used to say to people at you know, events or things and people asked what do you do for a living and you say I’m in sales. It’s never been like, Oh, that’s interesting, tell me more. And I think that for me, you know that come from the outdated perception of used car salesman sleazy ripping people off. I often tell the story about being on holiday and someone asking me what I do. And they then said, “Ah, so you rip people off for a living?”

Michelle:

Oh, my God. I can’t believe someone would actually say that.

Abbie White:

I know. And that’s the challenge, the perception. Ultimately sales, for me, it’s like petrol in your car, you can’t choose whether you put petrol in the car or not, sales is the lifeline of your business. So you constantly have to be injecting new sales and proactive sales activities into the mix in order to move forward. So if you do find yourself with an aversion to sales, a couple of things to reframe that for you. The first one is get your favourite client testimonial, printed out or make a little sign, I don’t care, write it and stick it smack bang on your desk, where you can see it. Then think ‘how do I get that outcome for more people?’

Michelle:

That’s such a great reframe. I love it. So, what can small business owners do to keep sales firing when we’ve been impacted by lockdowns as they have been?

Abbie White:

I truly understand this. Because when the first lockdown happened here, as you know, we lost pretty much all of our clients overnight. The business almost came to a standstill. We then pivoted the business and doubled down and we managed to reignite it. And last year, FY 21, we went from two people to six people, we had about 300% growth. And we had a record year. I say that story not to boast, but to say I truly understand what it’s like to have something that you have put your heart and soul and everything into and that crushing feeling of pretty much losing everything. So if that’s where you are at right now, I understand it. And I’m happy to give you a couple of pointers around things that you can do, to pull it around and to move that needle. But you if you are there, it is possible; there is light at the end of the tunnel, it can come good again.

To answer your original question and sort of go back with a few things that small business owners can be doing. I think the first thing is a mindset shift. I think sometimes we buy into “Ah, that’s been delayed,” “Ah, we can’t do that meeting because we can’t do it face to face.” “Ah, we can’t do that event because we can’t do it face to face.” And it’s kind of a mindset shift sometimes not to buy into the ‘it’s all doom and gloom.

Tony Robbins
Read What I learned from Tony Robbins

There’s a quote by Tony Robbins that I’m going to butcher. He talks about the fact that actually some of the best businesses that have ever been built came out of times of extreme financial difficulty and the GFC. And that, actually, if we have the courage to ignore the prophets of doom, that’s where some of the best opportunities exist. So I think the first thing is making a mindset shift.

The second one, I think for me is around the ‘double down’. Like I appreciate people are home-schooling their kids, so you have to use that time really, really, really wisely even if it’s just 15 minutes a day to go “How can I in this 15 minutes achieve the greatest potential? What are the two or three things that I can do in this time that would move the needle?’ And just fiercely, with your life, protect that time to do proactive sales. Because the worst thing right now is when we’re in reactive mode going

Crap, this is falling apart this is falling apart, this is falling apart and it feels like crap. And there’s no way out of it. There’s no way around it. The only way is to get through that.’ And if you can every single day carve out 15 minutes two, three productive things a day, by the end of the week, you’ve done 10, 15 proactive things. By the end of the month, you have done 40, 60 productive things and you cannot tell me, you will not move the needles on your sales. So, I think, yeah, mindset, and then double down with really focused execution on what are the two to three things that could move the needle most in this 15 minutes that I have between homeschooling and everything else?

Abbie White
Abbie White, CEO Redefined

Change your Mindset and Double Down

Abbie White, Sales Redefined, CEO and Founder

Michelle:

So, what are some of the best lead generation strategies for us in lockdown? And what can we actually be doing in that time?

Abbie White:

Number one is how can you add value? And the way to answer that question is “what is burning on fire for your target market right now?” So if I use us as an example, prior to lockdown, we were talking about a million and one things, as soon as we went into lockdown, we’ve changed the sessions that we’re doing for businesses to be ‘how do you keep your sales firing during lockdown? Because that is the number one on fire burning thing. I don’t know anybody in my network who is getting to their nice to have list. The only thing that I know is people surviving on their burning list. The other two lead gen strategies that I’m really, really passionate about is my favourite two, because they’re very effective, they have high conversion, and they’re free.

Number one is speaking, I think that a lot of communities right now are looking for someone to come and speak to their audience and do a webinar or provide some value or an input in a blog or whatever it might be. I personally think speaking has always been one of our highest converting forms of lead generation. It gives us massive exposure; it gives us massive brand awareness. We get leads and opportunities from it. We went out to a million different places and said, “Right, this is what we’re seeing people struggling with, we would like to talk to them about this. We believe we can help your members. Here’s what we can provide to your members, would that be of benefit? And most membership organisations that I know if you’ve stuck to the hot on viral topics are going to go absolutely, yes. So, it’s about where are your audience hanging out?

Number two is think about what strategic partners who are complementary to what you do, offer. They’re non-competitive and the sum of the two parts is greater for your audience. What strategic partners could you jointly do something with?

So this week, we’re doing two webinars with two different strategic partners. They’re getting in front of their database, they’re getting in front of our database, we’re speaking, we’re providing value, we’re educating and the topic is there burning on fire lists. So if you wrap that all together, there’s a really common theme as to what’s working.

Michelle:

So as you know, I’m in the pain prevention business. So I would love to know some of the biggest mistakes you see when it comes to sales so that our listeners can potentially avoid.

Abbie White:

Good question. I think there’s two biggies that I see. One is we spend all of our time in reactive mode. So, responding to those emails, responding to those calls, “Oh, I must do this.” And because doing sales, or proactive sales, kind of comes last on the priority list under going to the dentist. It never happens. And so, if you were to ask people, Hey, how do you get business? most people will tell you, it’s word of mouth, or it’s referrals, which for me is kind of like your destiny is not in your own hands, you’re subject to whether people happen to refer, whether people happen to spread the good word that day. So I think the biggest thing is stop avoiding sales, you know, eat frog and all that. Building on what we said before, you know, 15 minutes a day, to start breaking that pattern and breaking the pattern from reactive to proactive.

I’m a massive fan of James Clear, who wrote Atomic Habits, and he talks about bite size habits. So start with something achievable, block it in your diary, and make it a non-negotiable, you cannot move it. And I think the final thing I’d say on that particular part is have a cheat sheet on your desk, because what will happen is you will get to your desk and you’ll go hmm, ‘what am I going to do?’ Touch base with a dormant account who hasn’t done business with you in X amount of time, or reach out to a prospect and reconnect, add value with a content piece or whatever it might be. Have your cheat sheet so that you’re set up for success.

So that’s the first one. The second one I would say is most people with sales try to get married on the first date and you’ve heard me talk about this a lot. It’s like saying ‘hi I’m Abbie, buy my product or service. We’re great.’ But when I did some speaking once, for Business Chicks, I went around the room and I said, ‘How long did it take you, between coming across Business Chicks and becoming a member? How long did it take you?’ And some people were like, oh straightaway, and then some people were two years. So I think when we’re then speaking to prospects or potential clients, what are opportunities to date you before we get married? Is it that I can have a bit of a demo or a free trial or a workshop or a one month trial? Or, you know, what is it that gives me a flavour of your product or service. Those are the stepping stones that then will give people confidence and faith to then go forward and get married. So jumping straight into bed, unfortunately, in the sales context, it typically doesn’t work. Because statistically, only 3% of your target market are ready to buy now, so nurture, nurture, nurture.

Michelle: 

Another one of my faves of yours too, which I talk about a lot is Follow up Friday. Have you got any other tactics that we could use when we’re lacking that motivation? How can we fire up in a pain free way?

Abbie White: 

I love that. So firstly, explaining the follow up Friday. Statistically, 80% of sales takes five follow ups or more, but 44% of people only follow up once. And I can hear your audience in my head saying, Yeah, but I don’t want to be a pain. I don’t want to be a stalker. I’m not condoning stalking. You follow up by adding value. So I’ll give you an example. Today, we have just launched a new webinar that we’re going to be running. So all day for people who are prospects, I’ve been sending messages going, ‘Hey, how you doing? Hope you guys are doing well, and by the way, we’re running this webinar next week, I thought it might be interesting for you.’ And I try and find ways to add value. So I’m not phoning up going, ‘Hey, have you made a decision yet?’ So having follow up Friday, we’ve worked with businesses that have done it and had their highest order day on record, which blows my mind.

I’m a massive fan of the Pomodoro method. And then going, right. I’ve got X amount of time to do this because none of us do anything unless it’s urgent. So even though it’s small, we actually, as humans respond really, really well to knowing there’s a deadline, and B there’s a reward at the end.

Michelle:

So Abbie, thank you so, so much for joining me today, it’s been a blast.

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