Welcome to the Secret Sauce, a series by the Crystal team where we have deep-dive conversations with fast-rising sales leaders to learn about the most unique, potent ingredient to their success.
Andrew Groher is a Learning and Development Consultant at Gusto, which serves over 200K customers and grew over 30% in headcount in 2021. Drawing from 10+ years of experience training and leading sales reps at companies like Groupon, FiveStars, and Funding Circle, Andrew is an expert when it comes to implementing effective sales processes in rapidly growing organizations.
Because of his position, Andrew has had a unique opportunity to observe the traits, skills, and strategies that separate top sales reps from the pack – their secret sauce. He immediately brought up the classic Dale Carnegie book, How to Win Friends & Influence People.
Andrew’s goal is to train newer reps until they are “unconsciously competent”-- able to take the practices and processes, fully understand them, and implement them into their outreach without a second thought. As a result, they focus more on their prospects and giving them a sense of importance rather than “just running them through a demo.”
We dove deep into some of the book’s fundamental principles that any sales leader can implement into their own coaching and training process:
Become genuinely interested in other people.
Here’s a challenge: find at least one thing you have in common with the next person you have a conversation with. It could be as big as a shared job title or as small as the same color shirt. Even a small thing in common may help you forge a connection deeper than if you were simply nodding your head and smiling.
Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Paying mind to somebody’s name shows them a very deep level of care and attentiveness. It shows that no matter how “busy” we claim to be, we have enough time in our schedule to take a moment to truly listen to and remember the one word that is likely the most important word to that person.
Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
This can be accomplished when you take the time to ask a person questions about themselves and actively listen to what they have to say. Once you know their values and interests, you can better speak to them in a way that resonates, holds their attention, and shows them the value of what you have to offer. For example, someone with an analytical DISC C type personality will respond better to facts and data. In contrast, a big-picture-oriented D type will want to know how your product can elevate them above the competition.
Make the other person feel important- and do it sincerely.
The key to this: incorporate kindness in your day. Put yourself in the role of making somebody’s day better. By inciting joy and offering truthful and honest availability, you can elevate another person to a new level and, in turn, help lift them to feel a higher level of importance than if you didn’t pay them any notice.
Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
By lending an ear, you’re permitting others to express themselves in a way they might not have been able to before. Change your goal: instead of wanting others to agree with you, try to learn something new in the conversation. This way, you’re not only gaining more out of the conversation, but you’re giving space for more exploration from the other speaker… perhaps allowing them to share more ideas and insights than they planned!
Arouse in the other person an eager want.
By understanding the interests and values of the person you are speaking to, you can more effectively persuade them to take action. Talk about the things they want or the problems they have, and offer them solutions to accomplish their goals. By showing them how to get what they want upfront, they’ll be more inclined towards what you have to offer.
Utilizing the principles from this book encourages sales reps to slow down the conversation, always keeping it on their prospect, and take the time to really understand their pain points and bring everything together into an irrefutable solution.
When developing new sales reps, Andrew also stresses the importance of internalizing the sales process– whichever methodology they choose to follow. This is critical in achieving the “unconscious competency” that Andrew strives for his reps. Following the principles outlined in How to Win Friends & Influence Others can initially help sales reps build trust. From here, Andrew suggests setting contract expectations upfront to serve as an anchor for when you need to follow up with unresponsive prospects. Doing so provides you with a valid reason to reach back out without seeming too pushy (Ex. “Earlier we said…..”). As reps use the principles from the book to continue the conversation, Andrew suggests using the information learned to figure out their pain, bringing it into a solution while showing your prospect why it makes sense for you to work together.
Finally, in today’s remote working environments, sales reps no longer have the luxury of listening to and mimicking the more veteran and successful sales reps. Because of this, Andrew also suggests taking advantage of resources such as Gong or Chorus AI to listen in on the conversations other reps are having and learn from them as well.
Andrew credits his success in sales to having internalized the sales system; he deeply understands the sales process and why having a roadmap for conversations keeps reps in control. Internalizing the sales process and utilizing the principles outlined in How to Win Friends & Influence People makes up Andrew’s Secret Sauce for selling. Try implementing these ideas for yourself, and see what happens.