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38 min read

Sales strategy: How to sell like a human (HubHeroes, Ep. 30)


I think it’s safe to say that, for a lot of our listeners out there, one of their primary focuses for this year is to meet (and hopefully exceed) their sales targets. As a business owner myself with my own revenue targets for 2023, I get it!

However, in our rush to hit those numbers, I think we can miss what great selling actually looks like. Yes, you need the tools HubSpot Sales Hub affords you with pipeline management, playbooks, sequences, and more β€” plus video tools like Vidyard or Loom to bring video into your sales process. Then there are the documented tactics and strategies you can use to make your sales team (even if it’s a team of one) more effective throughout your sales process. I could go on!

But much like HubSpot Marketing Hub is only as effective and powerful as the human-centered strategy you build, the same holds true in a way for how you sell.

HubSpot, Vidyard, Loom … they’ve totally got your back when it comes to making your scalable, streamlined sales strategy sing. But it’s the selling soft skills β€” your ability to sell like a human, more specifically β€” that will make the difference for you in how well you crush those revenue goals for the year.

Sadly, Liz has abandoned us this week. But in her place, we’ve got my old pal and former Wild Boy Zach Basner, who is now a digital sales and marketing coach at IMPACT, a HubSpot Elite Partner Agency, joining us! Why? Because we’re going to dig deep and talk about why selling like a human is your pathway to profitability, and how to do it well.

Here's what we cover in this episode ...

  • What tactics and strategies are no longer effective in selling today?
  • What should you be doing more of, from a sales training perspective?
  • Why is role-playing such a powerful practice for sales reps, and how are most getting the idea of role-playing wrong for training?
  • Why is using video in the sales process so effective, and what can it look like for your sales process?
  • What should you want your prospects to say about you after they go through the sales process with you?
  • Why do prospects who are outstanding fits fall off the face of the planet when it comes time to make a decision?
  • Why is getting feedback as a sales rep so important to your ability to crush your targets, and how can you make sure you're getting the right kind of feedback?

And a heck of a lot more! 



Intro: Do you live in a world filled with corporate data? Are you plagued by silo departments? Are your lackluster growth strategies demolishing your chances for success? Are you held captive by the evil menace, Lord Lack? Lack of time, lack of strategy, and lack of the most important and powerful tool in your superhero tool belt, knowledge.

Never fear hub heroes. Get ready to don your cape and mask, move into action, and become the hub hero your organization needs. Tune any tweak to join the league of extraordinary inbound heroes as we help you educate, empower, and execute. Hub heroes, it's time to unite and activate your powers. Before we begin, we need to disclose that both Devin and Max are currently employed by HubSpot at the time of this episode's recording.

This podcast is in no way affiliated with or produced by HubSpot, and the thoughts and opinions expressed by Devin and Max during the show are that of their own and in no way represent those of their employer.

George B. Thomas: Oh, yeah. And I'll tell you what. I can't wait to get those thoughts today because today, we are talking about why selling like a human is the best sales strategy. And, listen, I think it's safe to say that for a lot of our listeners that are out there listening to the podcast, that their primary focus for this year is to meet meet and hopefully exceed their sales targets. As a business owner myself, Max, Devin, Zach, I can tell you that my own revenue targets for 2023, like, I'm trying to achieve those.

I'm trying to exceed those. So I get the listeners that are like, how can we sell more? However, in a rush to hit those numbers, many organizations, I think, can miss what great selling actually looks like. Because you can be great at the thing that right now you might be sitting there thinking, well, I'm not that, which we'll talk about. We'll get into that deeper.

You need the tools, of course. HubSpot Sales Hub affords you with pipeline management, playbook, sequences, and more, plus video tools like Vidyard. Oh, Zach might have some things to say about that. Or Loom to bring video into your sales process, which, by the way, somebody might be listening and be like, Zach, what? We'll get to the fact that Liz abandoned us in a minute and who's on as a special guest.

But there you have to have documented tactics and strategies that you can use to make your sales team, like, more effective throughout your sales process. Right? And we've talked about Sales Hub before. You should go check out the episode of Kyle Jepsen. Much like the marketing hub is only effective and powerful as you, you you know, have the thought of strategy that you develop as humans

Max Cohen: George.

George B. Thomas: Sales is the same way.

Max Cohen: George, can we just address something at the top? Did you say

George B. Thomas: Let's let's address it. Vidyard? Oh. Vidyard.

Zach Basner: Vidyard? Got him.

Max Cohen: Vidyard.

Max Cohen: No. It's Vidyard.

George B. Thomas: Vidyard. Vidyard. Well well, we should probably address that. But but let's address this too since we're addressing things. Yeah, ladies and gentlemen.

I'm doing the intro today because Liz, as you guessed, she has abandoned us this week. I guess she's flying somewhere to do something cool or something.

Max Cohen: Crazy.

Devyn Bellamy: Sheesh.

George B. Thomas: What the heck? But but we do have a special guest because as soon as I knew that we had a 4th slot open, and I knew that we were talking about being human and selling like a human and sales strategies, my brain went to the one, the only, the man, the myth, Zach Basner from Impact Brand and Design. Zach, why don't you give just a hello to the audience and maybe let them know kind of what you do day in and day out, and why you're on the show with us?

Zach Basner: First of all, y'all, I am hyped to be here in the presence of y'all. I have the fortune at Impact to work with many of our clients as a digital sales and marketing coach. We work with about 75 or more companies at any given time. They're working with our various coaches and trainers to bring their sales and marketing in house. In other words, never being reliant on an outsourced marketing agency.

We, of course, use the framework they ask you answer. We train sales teams, marketing teams, leadership teams. It's a wonderful thing, and I'm just I'm really stoked to be here.

George B. Thomas: I am glad that you're here too because conversations are are gonna be good. Max, Devin, Zach, are you guys ready to dig deep and talk about why selling like a human is your pathway to profitability and how to do it well?

Devyn Bellamy: Oh, absolutely. I have my grumpy old man pants on today. Whoo.

George B. Thomas: We're in trouble. He's already starting. We're in trouble. So, gentlemen, when we talk about, selling like a human, what the heck do we even mean by that when we tell people, hey. You need to sell like a human?

Zach Basner: There there's that saying that y'all probably heard this before. Only marketers and, robots say we need to sound more human. I think you could apply that to sales as well. Right?

Max Cohen: Oh, yeah. A 100%.

Zach Basner: At

Devyn Bellamy: least with the LinkedIn messages that I've been getting and can apply that. Oh.

George B. Thomas: Yep. LinkedIn and his grumpy pants. Yep. We're we're here.

Zach Basner: Max, what are your thoughts?

Max Cohen: Yeah. I mean, I think for me, it's all about just just try to have a genuine conversation with someone and not read a script. I can't tell you how many discovery calls have sit through that have gone straight into, you know, a pitch deck and just heard the same, you know, pitch over and over and over again. And I can just know that the sales person doesn't know what any of it even means when they're saying it. Coming up with these just, like, empty questions that, you know, people don't even do anything with the answers and they don't even know why they're asking it.

And it's it's just because a lot of folks just, like, work off of a script and they're there to hit a quota. They're not there to have a, you know, genuine conversation with the person across the the Zoom from them. Right? So, you know, when it comes to selling like a human, I think it's a mix of truly understanding what it is you're actually selling, and then trying to genuinely have a conversation with the other person to see if they actually have any problems that your thing solves for. Right?

Versus just pitching them on something. But I've never gone through any formal sales training. Right? I only ever just sold in the way that I felt comfortable selling. Right?

And I was never comfortable doing the whole cold calling, pitching, you know, reading off a script. I I could just never do that. Right? I always leaned on really understanding what it was I was selling and genuinely seeing if the other people actually had some kind of need for it. Right?

And actually caring about that conversation. But I know not everybody does it that way.

George B. Thomas: Devin or Zach, thoughts on selling like a human?

Devyn Bellamy: Selling like a human for me is basically, 1st and foremost, talking to a person and knowing a little bit about them and not some superficial knowledge like job title, but having at least some inkling of an idea of whether or not they're even remotely a good fit for what you do. Like, for instance, my job at HubSpot, there's a lot of video editing involved, and I am very proficient in Premiere and After Effects. So what I don't need is someone reaching out to me about video production. I do video production, and, no, I don't need help with it. And if I did, we have an entire media team at HubSpot whose only job is video production.

So the very first step is prospecting and doing just a smidgen little due diligence or on whether or not it's a good fit. And I'm not even I'm not even going to bother to dignify the people who send me emails asking me if I want data on people who use HubSpot. Like, that oh my god. Like, I can see who uses HubSpot. Yeah.


Max Cohen: But what if it's, like, really what if it's, like, really good data, though? You know what I'm saying?

Devyn Bellamy: No. My my blood pressure is going up up just talking about this. This I I despise cold calling and cold emails because it's been ruined for me by people who are just completely just, nah. That's that's the first step in not selling like a going it's treating me like you're going door to door like Avon. No.

I don't need

Max Cohen: your temper.

George B. Thomas: Snap. Are are you Avon or am weighing your way in digital sales right now? My gosh. That's kinda scary. And, Devin, you might wanna, like, light some sage in a candle for your grumpy pants.

You really are on point, today, my man. Holy

Devyn Bellamy: mackerel. Listen. As soon as we said selling like a human, the first place my mind went to is everyone who doesn't Yeah. And how they all seem to find me. Yeah.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. So, Zach, what are your thoughts on this selling like a human and maybe even diving into a little bit of the importance of understanding, like, what this means for somebody in their organization?

Zach Basner: Well yeah. So I think the first step is that we have to recognize that for a lot of the the the prospects and customers that we talk with, they actually don't see us as human, right, which might be the initial problem we're dealing with. And and a good example of this is is for any of us that have ever been in a retail environment before. So let's say you go to the the electronic store or the hardware store. You're standing there looking at that rack of all of your options and that nice person comes up to you.

They're wearing that bright polo or that bright apron. They're seemingly a nice person and they say something pretty innocent to you. They say, hey. Can I help you? What's our first response in that moment when they ask us this innocent question, like, can I help you?

What do we say?

George B. Thomas: The Heisman. I give him the Heisman. Right?

Zach Basner: It's like Just looking.

Max Cohen: Just browsing.

Zach Basner: Browsing. Just browsing. I'll come find you if I need you. And then you can never find them when you need them. What is going on in retail?

Y'all ever notice that? But the reason we do that is, like, the defenses are up. At some point in the past, we've been manipulated or pressured or we we just didn't feel comfortable with what was happening. So we said, okay. You know what?

My way of dealing with this, I'm just gonna tell them to go away so I don't have to deal with that. And the question is is, like, that those defenses that go out for us in retail environments, it's just a snapshot. It's just a picture of how many of our prospects and customers feel about us and our sales teams before they've met. They don't see them as a human. They see them as a as this threat that's that's moving towards them versus something that they wanna move towards.

Right? They don't actually wanna back away.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. And, see, it's funny because the undertone that I hear when I listen to all 3 of you talk about this is really the to me, I'll I'll kinda say the success point of selling like a human is to realize that it's actually not selling. It's serving. It's relationship. It's conversations.

It's remembering that you're looking at the people on the other side of the screen, the phone as humans. Right? And if you have this human centric approach and you really try to do this problem solving and serving, then selling becomes easy because it's the thing that they trust. It's the thing that they want. It's not the thing that they're trying to or get away from.

And so when they're closer to you, the conversations become easier. Here's the thing, though. What I what I wanna dive into, and I'm really curious about this one. Ken, have thoughts, but want more thoughts for the community to be able to kinda chew on. When you think about the person who can focus on that they are humans, they're not just a number, the person who focuses on serving and problem solving and adding value.

What are the soft skills look like for for somebody like that in a sales team?

Max Cohen: I think listening is like for me, it's like the most important thing. But, like, there's listening, and then there's active listening and and genuine listening. I've just I've just seen too many, like, half assed responses and and non addressing of people's actual questions or concerns that, you know, I can tell it's still a it's still a huge problem. I think a lot of folks just, like, ask questions to check a box versus ask questions to, like, actually get good information to then deliver, like, an appropriate response. So I think listening is probably, like, one of the most important active listening specifically is probably the one of the important soft skills you can have as a salesperson.

Devyn Bellamy: For me, it's the ability to connect and empathy. Those 2 kinda go hand in hand. If you are treating me like a dollar sign, I'll know. It's one of the biggest turn offs, and I've talked about it on this podcast before, on how a certain salesperson at a certain accounting company treated me just like a dollar sign. And then used intentionally misleading phrasing to try and collect my money.

And it was just, it was so disingenuous, and he didn't actually care about what was going on with it. For me, all the times that I've been successful as a salesperson, it's because I have been able to genuinely connect and empathize with the challenges that this person's facing. And if you really care about the person that you're talking to, if you really care about the human on the other side of the phone, your conversation won't just be structured around the problem that you solve. You won't have blinders on about whatever it is that you're offering. What'll happen is that you'll get a view of the bigger picture and understand whether or not your solution can fit in with their problems.

Or you might have come in trying to sell one thing and figure out that it's something entirely different altogether. When I worked at Alltel, when that's kind of dating myself, in the sales program, we were talking about consultative selling, where we're going to engage. I'm gonna spend the first five minutes of the call listening to this mom talk about how disorganized her life is, and how hard it is, even though she's a stay at home mom, to keep up with the kids' schedules, and then everybody's going through their text messages. And what I'm doing is I'm listening to everything that's going on in her life, and then seeing how I could help with that. Like, when I was doing it, smartphones were brand new.

The only smart Blackberry and this brick that ran on Windows Mobile. And, yeah, that used to be an operating system. And the thing is is that when I was listening to this, it's like we coined the phrase stay home CEO because they're they're having the same problems that these CEOs are having as far as managing, delegating, and time management. It can be all solved, mostly solved, with a phone that caters to it. Now they all do that.

But had I not been listening, I just would have tried to sell her a Motorola RZR and given her an unlimited plan for a $150 a month and then have her churn 3 months later.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. It's interesting because I a couple of things come to mind. And, Zach, I'm gonna come over to you because I wanna know your thoughts, here in a minute on selling like a human and soft skills. But, Devin, with you and what you said, I was like, man, even a level above that is the ability to understand you might have something that's a nonfit and be human enough to say this is not a good fit for you. Yes.

You you should probably check out a, b, or c because it's not me, baby. Like, I'm not the one. You know? We're not gonna do you right versus just closing them and hoping for the best, on a bad solution. So, Zach, when you think about selling like a human in soft skills, where does your mind go?

Zach Basner: Yeah. I I by the way, I love what Devin said. I find that, like, the most elite salespeople, they care more than they're expected to. Right? And you can you feel that.

Right? The I don't always understand the difference between a hard skill and a soft skill, but I'm gonna say a skill that the best salespeople have that really connect with people is actually one that you don't hear a lot, which is just leadership. And and he said service early earlier, which I think is good. But I only think it's half of the equation because the problem with saying we wanna be a servant is, like, well, we're we're we're allowing the the buyer to lead us versus really what we want in a great sales or buying process is that we're being led. Now there's right and wrong ways to do that, of course, but I think servant leadership is actually a really important skill to have as a great salesperson that does the things like Max and and Devon said.

We always wanna be in a position where we're we're the ones that are leading them, teaching them, guiding them, versus putting them in a position where they have to lead us. And the way this shows up, you can often tell, like, they're only moving us through the process. Like, we have to ask the questions. Like, so what's next? What what am I not asking here?

What what do I need to do next? If they're asking us things like that, we're not leading as well as we probably could be leading. What I like to say is you need to be thinking like a teacher thinks. The the teacher and and if we all thought about a teacher or a mentor or somebody who is special to us in our life, there are certain things that they did that made them that way, really influential. It was the way that they cared about us, like you said.

Right? The way that they listened, like you said. But also they helped us avoid making mistakes. They helped us arrive at conclusions ourselves. There's a lot of self discovery involved and therefore a lot of ownership on our part.

Never trying to make themselves look great. George, an example of this is you said being willing to say when something's not a good fit. That is so important. And when we work with sales teams on this, I actually find that that they can quickly learn how to say when something's not a good fit. The weird part is how hard it is to get them to make a recommendation, to just come out and say, this is what you should do.

It's we've we've had these situations before too where you might even ask the person, so what do you think I should do? And they come back and say, well, I mean, based on everything we've talked about, what what what are you leaning towards? Sometimes we gotta be that leader that says, you know what, George? We we've talked a lot about this about this, this, and this problem. I think it's really clear, man.

This this is the right thing for you.

George B. Thomas: I love that. And and it's interesting because I'm gonna reposition a future question. It used to say, what does serving as a sales rep look like? But I love this idea of servant leadership. And so what does serving slash leading as a sales rep look like?

We're gonna get to that in a minute. But I do wanna talk about a couple things that I think are really important if you're if you're truly gonna lean into selling like a human. And I think it kind of goes off, the little bit of a backbone of, like, think like a teacher. Because, by the way, I think, Max, that's why you've made companies 1,000 upon 1,000 of dollars. Devin, I think that's why you've made companies 1,000 1,000 and 1,000 of dollars, and I think that's why George b Thomas LLC continues to be more than I ever thought it would be is because we come at the sales process from the mindset of a teacher.

But I also know this group of guys sitting here, and there's 2 things that I'd be remissed if I didn't mention it. And that is, 1, coming from a place of abundance instead of a place of lack. Right? If a salesperson is coming from a place of lack, they're gonna be more likely to do things that would be deemed black hat or shady versus if you're coming from a place of abundance, you're gonna take the higher road. You're gonna take the road that is the right leadership, I have a positive mindset, a positive frame of mind that, you know, we are gonna be able to work things out.

We are gonna be able to fix your problems. Here are the solutions. And so, again, abundance and positivity when we're thinking about helping humans through this journey of fixing a problem or reaching their aspirational moment in life, right, I think is is tied into this. Let's dive into this leading portion of this. When we think of leading through a sales rep's eyes or a sales rep leading and serving, what in God's name does that actually look like?

Max Cohen: So I think there's there's leading and then there's misleading. Right? We don't wanna mislead anybody. And, unfortunately, you see that a lot, especially in SaaS sales. And I guess, like, you know, I never thought of it.

You you you bring up that interesting perspective, Zach, of of leading. I guess, I never kinda thought of it that way. But now when I, like, think back to how, like, I sell yeah. Maintaining control of the conversation and maintaining control of the entire process is really really important. But also, like, ensuring that like, even something as simple as just like leading the conversations to make sure they're going to the proper outcomes.

So like, when you're doing like a discovery call, you wanna make sure you're keeping people on track and and staying on subject, but really getting to the place where you truly understand the problems and leading the conversation in a way where it kind of gets us there versus letting a customer kinda steam roll it with what they wanna see, or or this and that, and just kind of like doing what they wanna do. Maybe in some situations, like, they'll easily lay out all their actual problems. Right? But if you don't stay in in charge of that conversation, it's gonna be hard for you to check all the boxes you need to know. You need to do in order to ensure that this is actually a proper fit and it's worth everyone's time to have that conversation.

I think also depending on the role that you're in, is you can lead in different ways. Like, me as a solutions engineer, I'm generally not leading the discovery questions. But what I am there is what I am doing is being sort of like an extra layer of support for that salesperson. And oftentimes, when I don't see them asking the right questions or I see them asking a question, but maybe not pushing a little, like, pushing a little harder to know that they truly understand it or getting to the point of it. I'll kind of I'll I'll get in there and I'll kind of try to fix the or right the ship and and make sure we're pushing when it's needed and not when it's not or going down any paths that we shouldn't be.

So I think you can lean in different ways depending on like, are you leading that sales process or are you actually supporting that sales conversation, whatever it may be, but I'm interested in everybody else's take on it.

Zach Basner: Well, I was just gonna build on what, what you said too on digging deeper and really understanding core problems and issues. A good example of this is if you went to the doctor and you said, my hip is really hurting me. I think I need hip surgery. And he said to you, cool. We'll get you scheduled for next week.

It wouldn't be a very good doctor. There's probably some more discovery that needs to be happening there, yet you see a lot of people. That's the way they operate. People run up, say, oh, I know exactly what my problem is. I know exactly what I need to do.

But it's actually not what they need to do. And you're you're likely setting up for failure. Very relevant, Max, in what you're doing too. Right? We need to make sure people get the right solution so they actually the book The Jolt Effect.

Have y'all read that? It's from the authors of The Challenger Sale. They talk about dealing with indecision and how much this plagues sales reps today. In fact, what they did is they went and they analyzed, like, something like 1,700,000 sales calls. They fed it through AI and all this stuff and and which, by the way, 10 years ago, never would have been had had the access to do a study like this.

I mean, 1.7 sales interactions, like, that's unheard of, but we can do it now because everyone's recording their stuff and we have the data. So they they fed all this stuff through algorithms and whatnot, and the discoveries that they found was were pretty amazing. Even with elite sellers, people who are really good, if they can't deal with indecision, they're not doing very well. And the the the bulk of what the indecision is is people's fear of errors of commission versus errors of omission, meaning we're more afraid that we're gonna make, that we could buy the wrong thing. We can make a mistake, and especially in b to b, look bad in front of our our leaders or our team.

We're more afraid of that than not making a decision at all and therefore Mhmm. Losing out on something. Yeah. Fear of making the wrong decision greater than not making a decision on something that could work. And this is what causes so much indecision in sales.

And you could be talking with a prospect forever, and they just never make a decision. That's when leadership is really important. Right? Because it's, like, look. This is the you know, here's the recommendation.

We know what we need to do. You're gonna do it or not, But we can't keep, like, just talking in circles.

Max Cohen: I'm seeing that a lot today. Like, I'm involved in, like, lots of deals where we, like, go through the whole entire process. We have like really really great conversations and then, you know, it's a perfect fit. It's all good to go. And then people just fall off the face of the planet.

Right? And you can tell they're just like too scared to reengage the conversation because they know all their boxes have been checked. All their their it's a it's a good fit. All they need to do now is just make the decision yes. And, you know, we we hear back a month later, oh, you know, leadership kind of stepped in and decided this wasn't a priority, which is their kind of way I feel of saying, like, you know, it got too freaky to make a decision.

Right? And it's happening a lot these days too.

Zach Basner: And they could be totally dissatisfied with the status quo. That's the whole interesting part about this indecision stuff. Right? We could have done a great job doing the discovery, whatever. We have the problem figured out.

We have we have a solution that is clearly going to fix the problem and be better for them. They're not satisfied with the status quo, yet they still won't make the freaking decision. Yeah. You could be the most trustworthy person in the world, have a great relationship, have the perfect thing, and they just don't get off the fence. That's why, really, salespeople today need to be very, very good at leading and dealing with that indecision.

George B. Thomas: Man, I love this so much. And, a, we're gonna put a link to the book, in the show notes. So if you're not getting the show notes, make sure that you have signed up for those. It's funny because when I start to go down the trail and, again, part of when I love when Liz is gone not that I love when Liz is gone. Oh my god.

I'll reap the wrath when she gets back if I say that. Screwed. But one of the things that I love is it gives me a chance to, like, actually stop and kind of listen to what, you know, you guys are sharing and and and then unpack in my brain what that means to me. And so there's a couple of things where, Max, you use the word push. Like, push to get the information that you need.

Keep digging. Keep asking. Like, question, question, question. Like, you you've gotta really push to go further than what you might even sometimes be comfortable with because that's when you're gonna get to the magic moment. Zach, you then in yours, you talked about giving advice.

And and sometimes that people, they are just not willing to step out and give the advice past what the kind of conversation might typically go to, aka maybe the script that they're kind of running with. And so they don't know where to, you know, jot off to the left or to the right. And and to that, what I would say is, like, yes. You have to push to get the data so that you can get the proper advice, and then just have the freaking give them the words that they need to hear and run with it. Like, that's what needs to happen.

Just, you know, do it. Do it. Because here's the thing where I really go with this is that if you look at the book by Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last. Right? Or if you look at Ian Altman, same side selling.

The problem is so many times, it's like an us versus them versus a no. We're gonna work together mentality. And so if you think about, leaders that they serve and if you think about it's same side selling and you kind of marry those together, it's not that it's a war that you're trying to close things. It's like, no. We're actually working together to try to be a catalyst for what you're trying to do in life or in business.

That is what we start to get some magical moments about selling like a human.

Max Cohen: Yeah. And and I got something. Yeah. Devin ready.

George B. Thomas: Devin's Devin's ready. His pants, he says, let's go.

Devyn Bellamy: Yeah. Well well, these are these are actually this is a happy pants story. This that approach is quite literally how I became a HubSpot customer in the first place. Shout out to James Stone and Andrew Fardnoli, who when I first met them, this was in 2015 at a Grow with HubSpot event. And, I was sold.

I was I bought in hook, like, and hook, line, and sinker. I drank the orange Kool Aid, like, immediately. But what they did is they saw the problem, saw the indecision in leadership, and both educated and helped me create a presentation and a plan, so I could take it, in a 2 c suite to get approval. Now what they could have done is left me to my own devices. But what they did is not only did they turn me into a champion, but they empowered me and helped me go into this room of decision makers and do something I had never done before.

It was just trying to convince somebody to spend $12,000 a year on a product that they weren't even sure that they needed, but I knew that we did. And they they could have just, like, you know, moved on and, is it gonna close? It's not gonna close? Oh, well, whatever. But it it was like they were personally invested in my success, and I was more than just commissioned to them.

Mhmm. And that's why I still love James Stone to to death to this day. Like, last time I saw him, we were hanging out in Puerto Rico. Small flex. But, you know, we were, we we was just reminiscing about just the path that we've taken to get to where we are and how it all started with a salesperson who acted like a good decent human

Zach Basner: being. Yeah.

Max Cohen: Buyer buyer enablement's huge. Right? Like

Devyn Bellamy: Yeah, man.

Max Cohen: You gotta remember it's like you you as a sales rep. It's not just on you to convince the other person to buy something. Like, you gotta remember, they've gotta convince other people generally. And that can be super stressful. Maybe they don't have the best relationship with those folks.

Maybe those folks don't necessarily have a ton of trust in that person that they're making the right decision or, you know, they know what's best for the company. Right? So, like, they need to be armed with, you know, the resources they need to do to sell it internally just as much as you're trying to sell it to them. That's huge.

George B. Thomas: So I have to rewind. And, Zach, I wanna see if you have any final thoughts on what we're talking about here before I jump to the next question. But I have to rewind to Devin's statement because listeners listeners, yes, I'm talking to you directly. I want you to think back the last time that you can say about a sales rep, and you would say these words, I love him to this day.

Max Cohen: Any of my customers that I've had, I would say. Say that about me.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. Your customers. But your customers would say, everyone loves Max. Yeah. Everyone loves Max.

We get it, Max. Just sit down, relax, take a break. Holy god. So to just it's not you know? So here's the thing.

I'm talking to the listeners right now, and I can tell you that probably a 90 to 95% of them are like, I've never said that about a sales rep. And if you're a sales rep listening to this, that's a great goal. I want my customers at the end of the day to say, man, I love that guy to this day. Zach, what are your thoughts?

Zach Basner: Yeah. I would add to that too is if they can say, you know, they they were indispensable to this process or indispensable to my buying decision. In other words, even if they went and bought something else, I couldn't have bought this thing if it weren't for that person over there really getting me pointed in the right direction. Right? Being willing to tell me the things that I was not thinking about properly.

Teaching me really how this buying process should be evaluated, or to Max's earlier thing, helping me learn how to sell my team this thing that we're buying, right, and how to best be the the, like, the buying leader internally. I think it's incredible if somebody can say that. This person was indispensable to me.

George B. Thomas: So let's get down to the the tactical, the day in, day out. When you think about what this person does, you know, when they're trying to sell like a human, which, by the way, I'm not even talking about the sales team. Just blow everybody out the water. As a marketer, you're selling. As a sales rep, you're selling.

As a service profession, you're you're selling. So if you have a mindset that you wanna sell like a human, what are the activities and approaches that, Max, either you use or have used historically or, Devin, or, Zach, that you teach, like, here's activities and approaches that if you're gonna have the servant, you know, leadership, sales, human mentality, you need to prioritize doing these things in your day.

Max Cohen: I think the right research is definitely, like, important. You know what I mean? I mean, I I just feel like today is, like, the last thing you wanna be doing is just, like, getting a list of people and just blasting them through your email and, you know, just hoping something catches. Like, if you wanna go fishing, go do it on the weekends. Like, it's just not, you know, it's it's not it's not super effective, and I think you're just gonna burn yourself out.

I was gonna think, like, sales burnout is like a real thing too. You know what I mean? And I think when we talk about these, like, human selling approaches where instead of just reading off a script, instead of just, like, you know, doing all these, like, super high volume things that burn you out or, you know, maybe maybe talking about a product you don't really know so much about or believe in. Yet I remember, like, approaching these conversations in a more human way, I think, is just a much better way to just, like, enjoy your job too. Like, I get that, like, you know, we're talking about salespeople and there's quota and there's commission and it's all about money.

But like, you got to remember, like just your your mental health and your well-being are just as important as well. And I think there's better ways to sell to actually make it a little bit more of an enjoyable occupation than it is just doing, like, the high volume stuff. Right? But in terms of, like, day to day stuff, I think doing a little bit of extra research on the folks you're reaching out to is super important. Coming up with, like, different questions for people that you wanna ask, you know, and and and making sure that those questions aren't just, like, generic check the box questions.

Like, these are questions where you know the answer is, like, fundamentally helpful for you to lead a good conversation. Right? So you know you're just not droning on asking the same shit over and over and over again just so you can slug your way through the conversation. I don't wanna go down the cold calling around. I think that's like I think do a little bit more research, have questions that actually mean something to you, and, you know, break break out of that script a little bit, if you can.

If you have the flexibility to.

Devyn Bellamy: I'd say all of that, plus develop a network. It's cold calling is getting harder and harder every day. Technology's making it harder. People are making it harder. People doing the cold calling are making it harder on the other people doing the cold calling.

But one of the reasons why I kind of focused on building my professional network, in 2016 was because that I knew that opportunities aren't just in rooms that you walk into. Opportunities exist in rooms that you're already in. And so you can do the whole mastermind thing. You can do the once a month networking groups or all those different things. But however you get it done, LinkedIn, trade shows, the more people you know, the more opportunities where you can interact with the guy that knows a guy or the guy that needs something from another guy, and you can be a part of that conversation.

So that is kind of going back to the cornerstone of humanity is connection, is if you connect with more people, then more opportunities will come your way. I love working at HubSpot. But I also know that based on my network, if I ever decided to leave HubSpot, I wouldn't have to wait long before I work somewhere else.

Zach Basner: I would say role play a lot more than you do today. It's an activity you should start doing. Now that seems counter to what we're talking about.

Devyn Bellamy: Sales role plays.

Zach Basner: Sales role plays. Sales role play. Yeah.

Devyn Bellamy: Yeah. Yeah. Not not the fun part.

Zach Basner: Not well, you know, who

Max Cohen: am I? God.

Zach Basner: Who who am I to say what you can and can't do?

Max Cohen: Let's just spit iced tea all over my

George B. Thomas: Oh my god. I'm dying over here.

Zach Basner: But yeah. Devin. Thank you, Devin. Quickly clear.

George B. Thomas: Put your happy pants back on, not your grumpy pants. Come on, Zach.

Zach Basner: The funny thing is the real

George B. Thomas: deal holy feel.

Zach Basner: He's the one without the fire in the background. I figured that would come out of one y'all.

George B. Thomas: Brown chicka brown.

Max Cohen: Took the pants off completely. Anyway

Devyn Bellamy: That's what I was thinking. I wasn't gonna say it, but I was thinking it. What did

Zach Basner: I get

Max Cohen: my pants to Happy Pants? No pants. Pants. Sorry, Zach.

George B. Thomas: Welcome to the club, brother. Welcome to the club.

Zach Basner: I was prepared.

George B. Thomas: What

Zach Basner: were we talking about? Role plays. Right. So sales sales role plays. Okay.

I got it. So sales role plays. This this seems, by the way, counterintuitive to what we're talking about. Because when you think about, like, selling like a human, it means you're just there. Right?

You're just present. You're just you're doing your thing. I actually firmly believe, and I've I've witnessed this, that the reps that aren't practicing on customers but practicing on, you know, with each other in a controlled environment are gonna show up more present when they're with customers. I've seen where reps that learn how to become more performative, not fake and inauthentic or engineered or manipulating, but performative in the sense that how can they best show up in a call and and serve their audience the best. They're way better.

And role playing seems to be a bit of a of a of a lost art for so many teams. They just kinda let it slide. Well, it's uncomfortable and it doesn't feel real, so we're just not gonna do it. Let me tell you. You will to what Max was saying, your mental health will be better once you start doing some more role plays.

You're getting more comfortable. You're more present with the people you're you're working with. I mean, it's incredible. But you can start doing that today. It's something a lot of teams need to do a lot more of.

Max Cohen: One thing that you kind of inspired me to also say too, too, and and this is something that I'll do for a lot of sales reps. So if if if you are a sales rep and you can find someone who knows your product really well, or someone who's very experienced in selling your products, and you're recording your calls on something like a Gong or a I forget what the other one's Chorus or whatever they're called. Find someone who's willing to review those calls for you. Send them over, get feedback, refine your sound bite, see where you're just straight up lying to people because you don't have the right information. And also just make sure it's like, hey, when you're saying this, it's genuine.

When you're saying this, it's, you know, incorrect. And you can fix those things every little time. I mean, every call has a million little opportunities in there for you to ensure that, like, you're either giving the correct information so you could be confident about using that sound bite in the future. Right? Or telling you the stuff that you stay away from so you don't fall over again, you know, or or create other problems for yourself.

So, you know, send those calls to people if they're willing to listen to them.

George B. Thomas: I love this idea because too, I don't know how many sales reps actually take the time to watch their own game tape, to actually watch what they said, how they said it, how the people interacted, how the joke landed or didn't land, land, how the data made them, you know, eyes widen or mouth kind of drop when they said something. Like, watching your own game tape and and honing your craft. All of a sudden, it's coming to my brain of, like, are most sales reps going at this as a conveyor belt mentality? We're like, as much as I can get through in as little amount of time, or are they honing their craft to become absolutely amazing that every time they step step up the stage, it's like a standing ovation. Right?

There's a big difference in mindsets right there. So many good pieces that I pulled out of those sections. We'll maybe use those for, like, our closing thoughts because I do wanna make sure we have time to talk about how people who are selling like humans, again, whether it's service, sales, marketing, and they get in a a selling situation, how they should be looking at technology around video, content, like, how how how should we be embracing this into this selling like a human conversation?

Devyn Bellamy: I love the idea of using video, but, again, it's easy to do the cookie cutter thing. Like, just because you're holding up a dry erase board with my name on it, doesn't make it a custom interaction. What makes it a true interaction is, wait for it, an interaction. Like, if you if you find that you can have, you know, a conversation, or even if you see that we have some sort of similar if you say anything about Deadpool in a prospecting email, At the very least, I'm gonna hear you out. If if you if you have something that relates to me, that brings me in, that will make me interact with you, especially in video in a format where I don't have to sit and read, or it's not interruptive where I actually have to talk to you, that's gonna go a long way with me personally, but there's a fine line between interacting and pandering.

If you hold up Spider Man, you and I will not talk. I'm sorry. That's just not gonna happen because I know that you weren't really paying attention. And the other thing is to use technology to increase the quality of your leads, not necessarily the quantity of your leads. Don't try and stretch your bandwidth to the limit after you've adopted a new technology.

Instead, use that technology to find good fits and not cherry pick, but to find good fits that you can work with or at least areas of opportunity that you can improve the quality of interaction that you have with a person.

Max Cohen: I think these are some really interesting stuff with, like, that happens psychologically too when you use video to maybe do like an initial reach out or or in your prospecting or or like whatever. 1, I think there's that element of like, oh, wow. They actually like took an extra step and and maybe that might compel someone to be like, alright, you went through all this like, maybe I'm a little bit more compelled to actually like hear you out, you know, depending on, you know, how creative and how personal you actually got with the video, and was it not just something read off a script. Right? The other thing too, right?

You're giving someone like sort of a preview of how pleasant you are to interact with. Right? That's really hard to put across on like a prospecting email. Right? But like, if you're showing that like, hey, I'm kind of like a fun easy going person that's like not that difficult to talk to.

I'm not hard pitching you. I'm not that and that person might be a little bit more comfortable having a conversation with you versus just immediately hitting you with just the you're a salesperson, used car salesman archetypes that I just don't wanna talk to. I think there's, like, also just, like, small slight sort of, like, psychological sort of, like, advances or advantages that you might get using video to kind of do a prospecting or do your prospecting motion rather than just like another cold email. Right? They know you didn't put any effort into that.

They know that all that stuff got filled in through some, you know, template that you were using and, you know, that was kinda it. So, like, I don't really feel like I owe you anything there. Right? Whereas, like, if you thoughtfully go through my website, tell me what you're curious about. Be honest with, like, yeah, I'm a sales guy.

I sell stuff. This is what we sell. Right? I'm not trying to hide that. Right?

But you look like someone who might, you know, benefit from it. I have some questions. Here you go. When you're being upfront and honest about that, I think that goes a long way through video where it's a much tougher to do through email. I mean, it doesn't stand out either.

Right? So, yeah, use video.

Zach Basner: It's a very advanced level of communication talking about here too, Max. Like, that that can't be overstated. That psychological thing that's happening. In fact, I haven't talked about this in a long time, but but we used to talk about this with sales teams all the time. If you've, read Pitch Anything by Oren Claff, he talks about the the way that the brain works and something called the crocodile brain, crocodile brain brain being the part of our brain that that filters out a huge part of messaging and everything we see around us.

Right? But looks for things that are new, novel, high contrast, ease to understand. If you get past the crocodile brain, you get to the midbrain, which translates social situations. Right? Hierarchy.

Is this a is this a threat? Is this a 3 year old? Is this a cop? Then the the other part of the brain is the neocortex. That's where the facts and the decision making is being made.

So what we think when we send a video, we think they're watching that thing. We're getting just a bunch of facts and information and and we're building credibility and whatever. That stuff is not happening so long as that video doesn't pique some sort of curiosity. It's not something novel. It's not high contrast and easy to understand.

It's not something that I immediately need to deal with. And then the social cues. Like, Devin, like you said, just you writing my name on a dry erase board and and maybe saying some things about me doesn't show me that you're worth my time. K? In fact, this can come across very needy.

You do it the wrong way. It comes across as needy, and it's like, I don't wanna spend time with this person. They need me. I wanna spend time with people who I need. Right?

And can help me. And then we can get to that neocortex and feedbacks and things like that. But but, Max, what you're saying really resonated with me. We often don't think about those those very important psychological things that are happening with every communication. And our ability to translate all that information and and and communicate that is best done through video.

Right? So it's like there's no argument now at this point.

George B. Thomas: I love this. Time flies when we're having fun. Listeners, we are gonna have the books pitch anything that Zach mentioned, also the jolt effect. Even have listed in here to sell as human, un unreceptive. Anyway, Ian Altman, same side selling.

There's gonna be a lot of links to books in this episode. Okay? So make sure you head over to the show notes for sure to get those and dig in a little bit deeper. Gentlemen, I wanna get your, kind of final thoughts, and then we do have a special, special thing that we're gonna end the episode with today because usually, Liz has some yes, Liz. We're talking to you if you're listening to this right now.

Liz usually has some type of special poem or haiku that usually, like, does something to one of us on the show. So she's not here. So we got something special that we're gonna do. But first, before we get there, closing thoughts, I'll go ahead and start, and then we can just do a round robin on this. If I think about this episode, there's a couple things I wanna pull that I love.

Max, I love that you said don't hide the fact that you're a sales rep. Like, don't hide who you are. Just be you and be kind of the best you you can be at it. I love, Devin, that you mentioned your network. Ladies and gentlemen, referrals is a real thing, man.

If you wanna get out of the lack mentality and get to the abundance mentality, working on your network and referrals is gonna be something that'll help you get there. Zach, I love that you mentioned role playing in a sales way before Devon says anything again because practice in my mind makes perfect. And then I have to end with, Max, you saying and because I think if you think about what I just said with all of those items, you start to make your occupation enjoyable. And when you enjoy what you do, when you can go to play instead of going to work, you just show up in a different way. Gentlemen, what are your final thoughts on this episode?

Devyn Bellamy: Build your network authentically, not with the goal of trying to sell something. Be genuine in your interactions when you're building your network, and understand the peoples and the challenges without the mindset of I'm here to sell you something or solve your problem, and if I can't, then, you know, interaction isn't worth none. No. You you want to, build your network, authentically and genuinely care about people you're talking to and put take your sales hat off and just be human for a second and just talk.

Max Cohen: Yeah. Nick, last little bit that I'll say, and I kinda wanted to say it earlier and I didn't find a good way to kinda sneak it in. There's making someone perceive that you are on their side of the table, and then there is actually being on their side of the table. It is it is a much more pleasant experience to sell to someone when you are actually on their side of the table versus you just trying to convince them that you are and playing this, you know, mental deception game. So, yeah, just just keep that in mind.

Zach Basner: It's a lot harder to sell today than it's ever been. It's harder to earn trust. And even once you have the trust, it's still hard to close sales. But think about the fundamentals. Alright?

If you're dealing with defensiveness, if you're dealing with indecision, these are things that can be dealt with. You just need to take up your mantle as a salesperson and say, I'm gonna have to deal with these things. It's not on my prospect. It's not on my boss. It's not on our not on our website to do.

It's on me to deal with those things. And I can be a great leader, and I can control many things. It's not just externally happening to me. I'm sometimes what is causing these things. So Yeah.

Great self awareness, great situational awareness will will make you into a more human like salesperson.

George B. Thomas: Not only is this, I think, some good selling like a human advice, there might be some just good life advice along the way in this episode. Now, Devin, do you have your radio announcer voice or your Barry White or baritone or bass voice ready, my man?

Devyn Bellamy: Oh, absolutely. So as George mentioned, normally, Liz closes us out with a poem, and I I didn't want to be inconsistent. So I asked, Chat GPT to write a poem in the style of Edgar Allen Poe about Liz abandoning. And here it goes. Once upon a midnight dreary, as we worked on our show, so cheery, Liz, our cohost, did suddenly flee, leaving us alone without any plea.

Oh, how we did mourn and weep for her departure. Oh, so deep. Her absence left us in despair with empty seats and vacant air. The raven perched upon the door, mocking us with nevermore, reminding us of Liz's goodbye and how she left us here to die. Our show now seems so bleak and gray with Liz's absence on display.

The void she left will never be filled, and we are left here unfulfilled. Oh, Liz. Why did you leave us so? Was it something we did not know? We beg and plead, please come back to stay, and nevermore shall you stray away.

But alas, our cries go unheard, as Liz, like a specter, has blurred, leaving us to our sorrow and woe forevermore to suffer and go. Wow.

Zach Basner: Well done. Well done.

Max Cohen: Chat GPT does it again.

George B. Thomas: Alright, ladies and gentlemen. It's that time. Get back to work because these guys well, we got meetings and stuff to do, and we gotta go sell like humans. So we're out of here.

Max Cohen: Okay, hub heroes. We've reached the end of another episode. Will lord lack continue to loom over the community, or will we be able to defeat him in the next episode of the hub heroes podcast? Make sure you tune in and find out in the next episode. Make sure you head over to the hub to get the latest episodes and become part of the league of heroes.

F y I, if you're part of the league of heroes, you'll get the show notes right in your inbox, and they come with some hidden power up potential as well. Make sure you share this podcast with a friend. Leave a review if you like what you're listening to, and use the hashtag, hashtag hub euros podcast on any of the socials, and let us know what strategy conversation you'd like to listen into next. Until next time, when we meet and combine our forces. Remember to be a happy, helpful, humble human, and of course, always be looking for a way to be someone's hero.