051: Stacey Brown Randall on getting Referrals (without asking)

Stacey Brown Randall has a system for what so many of us rely on to get business: referrals.

She got there as many of us do, through failing after she started her first business, doing HR consulting. She got her clients through networking and “hustle” and had to work too hard. She’s land clients like KPMG, do the work, and then realize she was starting at the beginning again. That’s an OK way to start, but it’s not sustainable, and 4 years later, she was on the same “feast or famine” roller coaster.

I also got brave and did video for this episode, so you can watch that, if you prefer…

In addition, while Stacey knew her stuff and could deliver for clients, she wasn’t a salesperson, even with a corporate background in sales and marketing. Having conversations and turning them into clients wasn’t the problem, it was getting the conversations in the first place.

Looking back on the failed business, she realized that the only referral she got was after she had already shut down the business.

Researching how to get referrals, it all seemed so cheesy and unprofessional. She didn’t want to ask, pay, or be cheesy.

She realized she needed better referrals when she launched her coaching business and got over 100 referrals in the first year (as she has done every since). She had something like 30 referrals sources, some of whom sent double digit referrals. And she did this without any testimonials or case studies.

She also realized that she had to do some business development every day. She didn’t want to do the networking circuit, especially with a young family (tell me about it).

Then people started asking her how she got so many referrals (without asking) and she realized she had something to teach.

Referrals, Introductions, and Word-of-Mouth

What does a “referral” mean, and how is it different from an introduction and word-of-mouth? Referrals have both of these components:

  1. Involve a personal connection that transfers trust. (An introduction.)
  2. Identified need, in other words, the prospect is in buying mode. (Word-of-mouth)

5 Step Process for Referrals

Note– for this to work, you have to do great work which makes you referrable. (This is the subject of Stacey’s second book, Sticky Client Experiences, which she’s working on now.)

To prove this, you must have received a referral (preferably several).

Assuming those are true…

  1. Identify your referral sources. Do it once– it will take a lot of time, but you only have to do it once. (Easy if you have the right CRM.) Who refers you clients. Stacey says that this list is your business’s biggest asset. (I didn’t know Stacey was going to say this when I interviewed her– but you should check out the Referrals screen in the Mimiran CRM.) You’ll probably have a few reactions to this list.
    1. I want more referral sources.
    2. Who are the people I spend a lot of time with who don’t refer me anyone.
    3. Who are the people who refer me business that I don’t talk to enough.
  2. Every time you receive a referral, hand write a thank you note, that is very specific about why you are thanking them– mention which referral you are talking about– even if your handwriting is terrible (ahem!). Take care of your referral sources– they keep you from having to eat rubber chicken dinners!
  3. Have an annual plan for outreach to make your memorable and top-of-mind. Do 4-8 touches per year. This is NOT a newsletter or sending swag. (For example, Stacey realized that most of her referral sources were parents, so she recognized them on Mothers’ Day with a Wonder Woman water bottle.)
  4. Plant referral seeds. Use the right language. Your touch point details will dictate the language, but be authentic.
  5. Create a process that you can execute.

Note that referral sources don’t have to be mutual.

Also note that how many referrals you need will depend on what you sell and your capacity for bringing on clients. For example, if you need 30 new clients per year, and you’re getting 10 referrals from 6 sources, you probably want to double your referral sources. Look at your referrals over the past 3 years (if you have that data).

Never forget that the referral source isn’t doing it for you– they are doing it for their friend, so they can be the hero to them.

The Wine & Beer

I got to enjoy some Sojourn Pinot Noir from Sonoma California (getting a bit fancy with the pandemic and all), and Stacey had one of the 2 remaining Coors Lights in her house. (We could have gone on longer, because this is such a great topic, but I didn’t want her to run out of beer completely.)


Where to find Stacey…

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com, the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”, (Mimiran also makes it easy to track and grow referrals). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.


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050: Michael Greenberg shows us how consultants can use podcasts for sales and marketing

Michael Greenberg comes from a long line of entrepreneurs on both sides of his family. But his parents didn’t want him to be an entrepreneur. He dropped out of college, enrolled in a coding bootcamp and joined a startup, but it didn’t turn into the next big thing.

In this episode, Michael shares some wisdom on staring a consulting practice and how to use podcasts to do guerrilla sales and marketing, including:

  • How to know if you’re ready to start a consulting practice on your own.
  • Why startups and small companies often hit the wall and stop growing.
  • Who to invite on your show to boost your own authority and exposure (and get leads).
  • How to get great guests, either locally (not so feasible right now) or virtually.
  • How to plan a “story arc” across multiple episodes that not only gives your listeners a coherent narrative, it also forms the basis of other forms of content, including e-books and book books. (Hmm, maybe I should I be doing a better job here.)
  • How to have a conversation with guests that doesn’t feel like a sales pitch and doesn’t feel awkward for you or your guest. (The podcast is really about selling you, not your services.)
  • How to prepare questions and segues to keep your interviews flowing smoothly.
  • Why you shouldn’t worry about promoting your podcast too much.
  • How to plan your initial podcast launch, including how many episodes you need, and how to use “Allied Guests” to set you up for success.
  • How much time you need to invest in a podcast-based marketing strategy.
  • Plus, get Michael’s very Sales-for-Nerds-friendly tip for helping nervous CEOs before a VC pitch.

Enjoy, and feel free to suggest how I could use Michael’s advice for Sales for Nerds. 😉

The Wine & Whiskey

I got to enjoy some Cooper Jaxson Pinot Noir from California, and Michael had Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey, which apparently has a distinct, smooth flavor because of the wheat. (Hmmm, I need to try that.)


Where to find Michael…

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Also, if you can get a free “fill in the blank” hero proposal template. Remember, a proposal is a story, not a brochure.


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

049: Damian Thompson on sales mistakes small business owners make

Damian Thompson

Damian Thompson is founder and Chief Training Officer for Salesability, focusing on sales training for small business owners who don’t like sales. Sounds like the kind of guy we need to have on Sales for Nerds!

Damian started out selling newspapers, then did door-to-door sales in college. After college, Damian’s first “real” sales job was in enterprise software security. Then he’s help big companies set up a new sales office in foreign countries. He “burned the suit and tie” in 2011 and started trying to build his own business online. He moved to the Philippines, and started building an outsourced sales business. But it was hard. Then he did some copywriting and lead generation on demand, but was doing sales coaching to pay the bills.

Finally, he realized that he should focus on the sales coaching, with a particular attention to skilled creators who are reluctant sales people. Because they don’t like it, they don’t treat it with respect, so they never get really good about it. Their passion keeps them afloat, but they never build the sales process to grow beyond themselves, then they make the “$100,000 mistake” but hiring a savior salesperson, who then fails, because they were never setup for success. Here’s more of what Damian learned…

Damian’s definition of a real business is having revenue come in that you don’t have to touch.

Damian says there are a lot of charlatans like Grant Cardone. There’s also a lot of noise from SaaS companies like Steli Efti from Close, Aaron Ross from Predictable Revenue (see Aaron’s interviews on Sales for Nerds here and here) that doesn’t necessarily apply to the typical small business. Most sales training is run for big companies selling to other big companies.

Sales is a process– there’s no such thing as a natural born sales person. Once you take it on as a process, engineers can be great at sales.

There’s no such things as multitasking– time management is a huge problem for founders who struggle with sales.

Make sure you do prospecting every day, even when you’re busy with other stuff, or your pipeline will dry up and you’ll be in big trouble.

What you shouldn’t doing?

  • Trying to automate too much. You can’t automate empathy or insight. Mass cold email is terrible.
  • Fear the telephone. Pick up the phone (or Zoom or Skype) and call people. “Email for marketing, the phone is for selling.”
  • Charge too little. Everyone expects to be on time and on budget. Getting the first dollars is always the hardest– because they have to trust you. Note that you’re not selling your time– if you spent a lifetime learning to do something quickly, that’s valuable. It’s about the goal you help them reach.
  • Fail to sell against the status quo– by failing to establish consequences for inaction. Damien uses a personal example– I’m trying to lose 15 pounds– I know how to do it and I even tell myself that I want to do it, but I’m not doing it.
  • Skipping over the early qualification stages to try to speed to the end of the sale. Don’t ask “just enough questions to write a proposal.” Then you end up harassing the wrong prospects, and you’re constantly following up without giving any value, and you decide you hate sales.
  • Not having a system for sales. You are in control– just because someone asks you for something, doesn’t mean you have to give it to them. Don’t be not in control. Don’t let your prospects bully you.
  • Taking time with the wrong prospects. These people are happy to waste your time.
  • Not setting up sales reps for success. Typically when business owners hire operational help, they know how to do the process they’re hiring someone to do. But in sales, they don’t have a process, so they hope that a magical sales person will fix everything, but they’re not set up for success.

You have to “go the gym” every day. Your personal trainer can’t work out for you. You have to spend time on sales.

And you have to ask decisively for the next step. For example, you ask a web lead for a 20 minute call. But what happens at the end of that call? Is it a proposal? If so, do a live proposal review and schedule it on the call. Then what happens when you present? You ask for the business. Sometimes they say yes, sometimes they say no, but have a decisive next step for the “I have to think about” people.

Always ask for a meeting until you get a yes or no. If someone isn’t willing to get on a call with you, will they give you thousands of dollars? There’s nothing you can do with sales skills to sell something to someone who won’t get on the phone with you for a few minutes.

The person who wins is usually the most honest. So if you feel like you’re getting brushed off, make sure they have permission to say “no” without hurting your feelings. (And then ask what you could have done differently.)

Here’s the question to ask: one a scale of 1 to 10, and you can’t say 7, how big a problem is this? If they say a 6 or below, it’s not worth pursuing. If they say 8, 9, or 10, ask for more information on why.

Now go PICK UP THE *$@& PHONE!!! Or Zoom or whatever. (Here are some tips on doing video calls— especially important since face to face meeting are off the menu for now.)

The Wine

I got to enjoy some Chateau Fongaban Bordeaux from Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion. (In the episode, I mistakenly pronounced, or tried to pronounce it with an ‘R’ instead of an ‘F’ and the beginning– you can look at the label and decide if that’s a reasonable mistake.)


Where to find Damian…

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Also, if you can get a free “fill in the blank” hero proposal template. Remember, a proposal is a story, not a brochure.

If you’ve ever struggled with a proposal, check out the “official” Sales for Nerds online course on Sales Proposals the Right Way (coupon link for listeners).


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

048: Amos Schwartzfarb on how to sell more, faster

Amos Schwartzfarb was an English major turned rock climber who accidentally stumbled into entrepreneurship and sales.

Now, with 6 startups under his belt, and with experience advising dozens more as the head of TechStars Austin, he’s distilled major sales lessons into his book: Sell More Faster: the Ultimate Sales Playbook for Startups (which was part of the Sales for Nerds bookshelf giveaway).

In this conversation, we talk about the strange path Amos took to sales (even by the standards of this podcast), and some of his early struggles with sales, and what helped him get much more effective.

We also dig into the W3 framework (who?, what?, why?) that Amos lays out in the book, including:

  • When to narrow or broaden your niche
  • The difference between customer development and sales, and when and how to do each one
  • Why the important part of “what?” is what are they buying, not what are you selling
  • The importance of “digging the hole”– doing the actual work, and what that means


The Wine

We got to enjoy some Qupe Syrah from Santa Barbara county. Highly recommended.


Where to find Amos…

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Also, if you can get a free “fill in the blank” hero proposal template. Remember, a proposal is a story, not a brochure.

If you’ve ever struggled with a proposal, check out the “official” Sales for Nerds online course on Sales Proposals the Right Way (coupon link for listeners).


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

047 Tukan Das on getting your first customers and why you have to sell yourself

Tukan Das, CEO of LeadSift, comes from a computer science background, doing his research on sentiment analysis. He used machine learning to analyze topic-based sentiments, like “I love Steve Jobs’ vision, but I hate the latest iPhone”, which has positive and negative sentiments in the same sentence. (Tukan notes that computers have even more trouble with sarcasm than people.)

Tukan was comfortable writing code, not with sales and marketing. So when he started LeadSift, he hired a sales person. This was a mistake, because he had a “glorified idea”.

At that stage, “it’s almost impossible for an outside salesperson to sell.”

It took almost a year to realize the problem, and then Tukan had to step in, after a lot of developers building custom code based on sales requests that weren’t really the right fit. When Tukan started running sales, he first insisted that they couldn’t give anything away. People had to pay some non-zero fee. Then he switched from month-to-month to 90 day paid pilots. (They picked $99/month, almost out of thin air. One prospect insisted on paying $500. From that point on, they went with $500.)

For the first 2 years, they focused on outbound emails. In 2016, they got about 6 meetings per 100 contacts. 20% of those meetings that were a fit became customers. So they got about 1 customer per 100 contacts.

Tukan emphasizes that each contact required several emails, LinkedIn follow up, and a lot of persistence. About 30% of the emails are personalized, 70% is template. (Note that LeadSift has some capabilities to make this easier.)

They also got rid of their slide deck presentation. (Hallelujah! How much time have we all wasted in PowerPoint hell?) They would tell stories based on the specific needs of the prospect, along the lines of John Livesay’s better selling through storytelling.

Tukan also learned to not take rejection personally. Sometimes people would come back later when the timing was better. Sometimes they don’t. It’s ok.

After a seemingly successful sales meeting with a Fortune 100 prospect, followed by ghosting, one of Tukan’s advisors gave him some great advice:

Customers who do not understand your value proposition don’t owe you anything.

So now Tukan asks people to tell him upfront if there’s not a good fit.

The Wine (and Cider)

Tukan is enjoying some Angry Orchard Hard Cider.

I’ve got some Becker Vineyards Texas Tempranillo.


Where to find Tukan…

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Also, if you can get a free “fill in the blank” hero proposal template. Remember, a proposal is a story, not a brochure.

If you’ve ever struggled with a proposal, check out the “official” Sales for Nerds online course on Sales Proposals the Right Way (coupon link for listeners).


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

046 What I’ve Learned this Decade

Since this episode is coming out in the middle of the holidays, I didn’t want to bury a guest in here. 😉

So here’s a different kind of episode, reflecting on the past decade and some of the things I’ve learned.

The Wine

Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux, 2015. Yum.


listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Also, if you can get a free “fill in the blank” hero proposal template. Remember, a proposal is a story, not a brochure.

If you’ve ever struggled with a proposal, check out the “official” Sales for Nerds online course on Sales Proposals the Right Way (coupon link for listeners).


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

045 Meg Cumby on Client Testimonials

Who’s better at telling the story of what you do for your clients than your clients? Social proof is a huge boost to trust and sales. (Do you want to go to an unknown restaurant, or one recommended by a friend?)

Meg Cumby started out in journalism, worked in government communications, and started freelancing (not on purpose). She realized the need that other consultants had to gather and edit testimonials and case studies. Meg attended a freelancing conference, and was talking to another attendee about the trouble with getting testimonials. Meg wanted to interview, as she did in journalism, not just write. However, initially Meg thought there wasn’t a market here.

The focus on testimonials didn’t happen overnight. Meg knew she had something during a group coaching session with Kai Davis, and another freelancer vented about how hard it was to get testimonials.

Meg tried to just have more conversations and notice when people get really interested and ask a lot of questions.

When she started consulting, her first clients came from past relationships.

When should you ask for a testimonial?

  1. When you’ve wrapped up a project or when they’ve seen results.
  2. After a big win in a long project.

In other words, when the client is going to be enthusiastic and able to talk about how you have helped.

Set the expectation from the beginning that you’ll do a wrap-up call for feedback and if there’s positive feedback, you may want to use some of that in a testimonial.

Meg recommends recording the call (she is a journalist, after all) and using a transcription service. Personally, I just take notes.

Video testimonials are even better– more compelling, but harder for you and the clients. It can get expensive to do this professionally, if that’s the expectation for your prospects. If you’re just getting started with testimonials, start with written testimonials. Don’t make it harder. (Meg has a ton of testimonials on her website, MegCumby.com, and they are all text.)

What makes an effective testimonial?

  1. It’s about the client, not you. (Sound familiar?) What challenges did they face and what results did they get?
  2. What objections or anxieties did they have before they hired you?
  3. Results and impact– why was this worthwhile?

How do you get testimonials?

Meg asks questions based on Sean D’Souza’s book The Brain Audit.

He has 6 questions, and Meg has massaged them for consulting and added some more.

  1. What was the challenge that led you to engage with me?
  2. What hesitations or concerns did you have before engaging with me?
  3. What made your choose to work with me?
  4. What did you find as a result of this project? (And why was that important?)
  5. What specific feature or benefit did you like most about the service you received?
  6. What are 2-3 other benefits?
  7. What could have improved or done better, even with the benefit of hindsight? (Makes it easier for the client to deliver negative feedback.)
  8. Would you recommend me to others?
  9. Why?

Editing Testimonials

The order of the questions should provide a natural flow. Make sure you surface the objection(s) and hesitation(s) to provide a more compelling testimonial. And use real names (and company and title for B2B, location for B2C) and pictures, if you can. Try to get more than one, but any testimonial is better than no testimonials. (Meg notes that she’s working on getting headshots for her testimonials because she’s having technical challenges with her website template.)

Include relevant testimonials in proposals.

Before all else, just get a testimonial up on your site. You can always improve, add more, add video, etc.

Kind of funny– I put this in the notes for John Livesay’s episode on storytelling, and they apply again here. đŸ˜‰

The Wine

Meg is drinking Anciano Gran Reserva – 7 Years Tempranillo 2009.

I was enjoying Cooper Jaxson Pinot Noir from Loring Wine Company..


Where to find Meg…

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Also, if you can get a free “fill in the blank” hero proposal template. Remember, a proposal is a story, not a brochure.

If you’ve ever struggled with a proposal, check out the “official” Sales for Nerds online course on Sales Proposals the Right Way (coupon link for listeners).


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

044 John Livesay on Better Selling through Storytelling

John Livesay

John Livesay becomes the second guest to return to Sales for Nerds (catch his earlier episode on how to pitch here). Now he’s back to talk about “Better Selling through Storytelling”, which of course is the name of his new book.

In this episode, John goes into why storytelling is so important (it’s how we actually learn and communicate, not just by dumping facts on people), and how to do it effectively. In particular, John goes into:

Story Structure

Each story has a framework.

  • Exposition (the who, what, when, where, why)
  • The problem– if there’s no problem, there’s no drama
  • The solution
  • And the resolution– what life is like after the solution

How to Move up the “5 I’s” Ladder (whether in sales or in the dating world)

  • Invisible
  • Insignificant
  • Interesting
  • Intriguing
  • Irresistible

Note that most small business are stuck on the first 2 rungs.

The way to move up the ladder is to tell stories (you may have heard them called “case studies”) about one person so that other people can see themselves in the story. These stories will find their way to your buyers and pull them in if you do a good job.

Of course, this means picking your niche so that your story resonates with the other people in that niche. Don’t worry about going too narrow (this should sound familiar from Aaron Ross’s advice on nailing your niche). Your story will still resonate, just not as powerfully, with nearby niches. This is still better than telling a more generic story that applies to everyone, but resonates with no one.

To all the way to the top of the ladder, John (of course) tells the story of meeting Michael Phelps, and how his coach asked if he was willing to train on Sundays. When Michael said that we he was, the coach said, “great, now we have 52 more training sessions than the other swimmers.” This is John’s way of getting us to think about what we can do or offer that no one else can.

Weaving stories together

The buyer wants to see their story in your story about other buyers. They also need to know your story (although we typically focus too much on this part, and not enough on the others). So how do we weave these stories together?

First consider 3 unspoken questions a prospect has. Not: do I know, like, and trust you? But: do I trust, like, and know you? In other words, do I trust you enough to even listen to anything you have to say? Then, do I like you enough to want to listen? And finally, moving from the gut, to the heart, to the head, do I know you (and that you can do the job)?

If you can do that, you can use the case study to weave the stories together.

In this age of more and more information and technology, storytelling is more important than ever, but in John’s view, everyone can be a good storyteller.

Handling the negatives

Don’t get put off by objections– they are buying signals. And don’t forget that it’s not the job of your prospects, strangers, or even your kids to make you feel good. As John writes, “that’s why they call it self-esteem.”

Side note: some slides I often like to use:

The Wine (& Whisky)

John enjoys some Stag’s Leap Chardonnay.

Earlier that morning, I’d had a wisdom tooth out. They told me to avoid alcohol for a couple of days (not because of any health issues, but because it would hurt). I was tempted to just skip having a drink with John, but that didn’t seem right. I also didn’t want to open a bottle of wine if it was too painful to drink. So I decided to have a sip of whisky as a test. All good. So I had a glass of Caol Ila Islay 12 year old scotch.

(I was trying extra hard to concentrate and felt that I wasn’t doing a great job, but John said it was a good conversation.)

Where to find John…

Better Selling through storytelling cover

Get John’s book: Better Selling through Storytelling

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Also, if you can get a free “fill in the blank” hero proposal template. Remember, a proposal is a story, not a brochure.

If you’ve ever struggled with a proposal, check out the “official” Sales for Nerds online course on Sales Proposals the Right Way (coupon link for listeners).


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

Congratulations to the Sales for Nerds Signed Bookshelf Winners!

Congratulations to our winners– they have a lot of reading to do. (If you’re friends with them, see if you can borrow some of the books they’re not reading.) Here they are about to go into boxes…

Our first place winner is Josh Robbs.

Josh is a website consultant who helps small businesses develop and operate websites focused on meeting real business goals. He said he’s excited about all the books but is especially looking forward to digging into Oatmeal v Bacon and Authority Marketing.

Our second place winner is Marisa Eckberg, who runs Grey Owl HR.

This is so exciting!  Thank you, I’ve never really won anything like this before – maybe I should go get a lottery ticket! From the books and your Sales for Nerds course, I hope to gain some tips and trick as well as develop some better sales skills so I can ultimately help more small business owners with their HR needs.

You can find Grey Owl on Facebook and on LinkedIn.

Our third place winner is Albert Swantner, who’s the CTO of MobileTech Rx, based here in Austin. Mobile Tech RX is a venture-backed software company that helps auto reconditioning professionals make more money and save time.

I’m CTO and co-founder of a startup called MobileTech Rx based in Austin and a big part of what we are working on is our sales and marketing process.  As an engineer I have a lot to learn in this area and so I’m really excited for this set of books to help me set up a process and grow our company.

I’m looking forward to reading those books!

You can also find Albert on LinkedIn.

Thanks to all those who entered and especially thank you to the amazing authors who contributed books.

  • From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue ($18), by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin
  • Sales Success Stories: 60 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals ($16), by Scott Ingram
  • Attention Management: How to Create Success and Gain Productivity — Every Day ($17), the new book from Maura Thomas
  • Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People ($17), by Vanessa Van Edwards
  • Oatmeal v Bacon: How to Differentiate in a Generic World ($15), by Justin Foster
  • Better Selling through Storytelling: The Essential Roadmap ($17) to Becoming a Revenue Rock Star, by John Livesay
  • Visual Models for Software Requirements ($64) and Software Requirements ($30), by Joy Beatty (if you’re wondering if this relates to you if you’re not in software, listen to Joy’s interview where she discusses reverse engineering requirements for the sales and marketing process).
  • Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars of Thought Leadership to Make Competition Irrelevant ($12) by Adam Witty and Rusty Shelton
  • Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business: The Complete Guide to Starting and Scaling from Scratch, by Laura Briggs ($14). This is essential if you’re starting a freelance writing business, but it has great tips for set up, sales, marketing, client management and more for any service business.
  • Deep Listening: Impact Beyond words – Paperback book & Playing cards, ($45) by Oscar Trimboli.
  • Asia Matos new e-book (so it won’t be signed): How to Build a Resilient as F*ck Mindset.
  • Sell More Faster: The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Startups, by Amos Schwarzfarb

Plus, all winners get free enrollment in the Sales for Nerds online course on Sales Proposals the Right Way, which will change the way you think about proposals, sales, and client projects. ($297)





043 Oscar Trimboli on Deep Listening

This is a bit of a different episode, but bear with me. Oscar Trimboli is not a “sales” expert, or a “marketing” expert, or any of the usual experts you’ll find on this podcast. He’s a “deep listening” expert. What does that even mean? And what does it mean for you?

First, consider the time and effort you’ve put into communication. Speaking, writing, presenting. Maybe not as much time and effort as we’d like, but consider how much time and energy have you invested in learning to listen?

Listening is more important that talking, but most of us have no formal training in how to listen. The good news is that you can listen to this episode (no pun intended) and get some great training that will help you be more effective at work and at life.

In this episode, learn:

  • How Oscar learned to be good at cards despite being bad at math.
  • How he decided to focus his career on deep listening.
  • Why deep listening is essential for good sales and marketing
  • How to shorten the sales cycle
  • The 4 listening villains (The Dramatizer, The Interrupter, The Lost Listener, and The Shrewd Listener)
  • The simple reason we have to listen deeply– the rates of speaking (125 words per minute), listening (400 words per minute) and thinking (up to 900 words per minute) are different– so there’s always something unsaid going through the speaker’s mind. You might only be getting 11% of the picture.
  • Listen for code words that show that speaker is getting to thoughts originally unspoken, like “I’ve just realized…” or “what I forgot to mention is…”
  • Deep listening is actually about helping the speaker get their real thoughts out.
  • Why you don’t want to start with “why?” questions, start with “how?” and “what?” (reminiscent of advice Craig Elias gave in Episode 36).
  • Listen to the silence– give your conversation partner time to think
  • The 5 Layers of meaning:
    • Listening to yourself
    • Listening to content (this is where most listening advice starts, forgetting how important it is to get yourself in the right place)
    • Listening for context
    • Listening for what’s unsaid
    • Listening for meaning
  • Simple advice for becoming a better listener: turn off your screens (including mental browser tabs), and take 3 deep breaths so you can slow down and focus on listening.

If you like this episode, check out the Deep Listening podcast and the Deep Listening book (and the box set that includes the cards)

The Wine

I’m enjoying some QupĂ© Syrah from Santa Barbara County. Oscar is the designated driver, both for his wine-loving relatives and on this podcast.

I enjoyed some Loveblock (that does not sound right, does it?) Sauvignon Blank from New Zealand (taste much better than the name). 😉

Where to find Oscar…

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients and would love some help getting more, but hate “selling”). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

If you’ve ever struggled with a proposal, check out the “official” Sales for Nerds online course on Sales Proposals the Right Way (coupon link for listeners).


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