#222 Steve Gledden - Strategies for Selling Complex Deals: A Buyer-Centric Approach

Welcome to the episode #222 of the How To Sell podcast. In this episode, we have a special guest, Steve Gledden, a seasoned sales expert with a background in private equity. Join us as we explore the importance of emotional intelligence in complex sales, investment criteria, and strategies to excel in the ever-evolving world of sales.

Key Highlights

  1. Emotional Intelligence in Complex Sales

In this segment, Steve emphasises the critical role emotional intelligence plays in sales. Discover how understanding your customers' perspectives can transform your sales approach and enhance your success in complex sales scenarios.

  1. Investment Criteria and Memorable Pitches

Steve Gledden shares insights into his investment criteria and memorable pitches that caught his attention. Gain valuable knowledge on what investors look for in a business and the importance of connecting with your audience.

  1. Navigating Complex Sales and Learning from Mistakes

Steve, Luigi Prestinenzi, and Dave Fastuca discuss the challenges of navigating complex sales and the concept of the "anti-sponsor." Learn how to overcome team consensus challenges and turn failures into stepping stones towards sales success.*

Don't miss out on this enlightening episode that delves into the intricacies of sales, emotional intelligence, and investment strategies.

Whether you're a seasoned sales professional or just starting in the field, you'll find valuable insights and actionable tips to enhance your sales skills. 

Tune in now to supercharge your sales strategies and elevate your sales game! 🚀

P.S. Whenever you're ready, there are 2-ways we can help you:

#1
Grab our free newsletter and template that's lifted close won rates to over 73%

#2: Ready to 2x your sales in 30 days? Click here to book a free strategy call.

Steve Gledden: 0:00

One of the great skills you can have in complex sales is the emotional intelligence to truly put yourself in the shoes of your customer, see the world through their eyes. There's lots of things that prevent me from finding great companies and part of it is me efficiently getting through and working out what are the ones that meet my criteria. So if you start by, okay, I'm not wasting this person's time. If you can tell me from the outset I've got something interesting, it meets all of your investment criteria.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 0:29

Welcome to another episode of the how to sell podcast. I'm your host, Luigi Pristinendi, and I'm sorry, get that right, man Co-host. Co-host. Co-host. Yes, I still can't accept, Dave, that I've given up part of the scene. I feel like the black sheep of the family. What's?

Steve Gledden: 0:46

going on here, Honestly who needs it when you've got friends like Louis.

Dave Fastuca: 0:52

Exactly.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 0:52

Yeah, and that voice you're hearing from the side is our guest this week's guest. Before we get into this week's guest and share, have we got a great episode coming up? I just want to say, if you're a first-time listener, thank you very much for showing up. We hope you take away a lot of value. This podcast is aimed not just teaching you how to sell, but we flip it to talk to buyers and we understand and we learn how they buy so that you can sell in the way people buy. And if you're a long-time listener, thank you for always showing up. I know it's difficult for you to hear Dave on this podcast that you've been following me for so long, but if please, hit that subscribe button wherever you're listening. And yeah, and you know what's great about this We've got. Even though Dave and I are big sports fans, this week's guest is a big Sorry, Stephen, did you say Melbourne fan, or?

Dave Fastuca: 1:46

No.

Steve Gledden: 1:48

I think he's going to hang up right now. This interview is over. He's moved to the suburb that he supports. Dive the Wall Tigers fan. Best club, best colours, best mascot, best theme song yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 2:05

Well, and we have a large audience from the US and just for our audience in the US Tigers fan is the Richmond Tigers. They are a really big football club. They had a great strategy. It was a 30-year strategy that you guys had from the 80s. Right, we just thought we'll play it, so we'll develop a 30-year strategy.

Steve Gledden: 2:29

And 34 years in the wilderness, I think, is what you're getting at. It was a long time between drinks and premierships of the league, but yeah, I sort of brainwashed my poor son, who's now 19 years of age, back in the early 2000s into being a Richmond Tigers fan. It was a considered tantamount to child abuse because the poor lad had to endure season after season at night through at the bottom of the ladder.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 2:51

Well, at least he developed persuasion right. Get him in sales, Exactly right.

Steve Gledden: 2:57

He did once say to me, dad, why do all of my friends follow Collingwood and Hawthorn and you know, why do they have all this success? And I said, son, they will never understand the build and, as you guys know but your American listeners wouldn't, the Richmond Tigers won the premiership in 2017, 2019, and 2020. And my son played those words back to me in 2017. He said, dad, I understand the build.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 3:23

Yeah well, they were a sleeping giant, right. So they did come out and the spectators came out in support. But, Dave, we're pretty pumped. So, mate, Dave, I'm going to handball to you because you know you need to sort of lift your game and actually be a co-host. You want to introduce this week's guest?

Dave Fastuca: 3:38

Well, I have got a lot of feedback that they're saying they want to hear less of you or more of me, so it's probably a good segue, louis. So that's the magnificent Steve Gledon on the call today, and Steve comes from a world of sales as well that many people don't know. He's led the initiatives in a lot of companies that he's run and often pushes a lot of the companies that the fund that themselves then bring on as well. So I'm going to stop talking, I'm going to hand it over to Steve. Steve, let's give a listen. There's a bit of background about your history, what you're doing now, and then we can dive right in.

Steve Gledden: 4:16

Sure, Thanks, Dave. So, yes, I'm Steve. Steve Gledon, I'm managing partner of StraightBat Private Equity. We are a mid to lower market long-term value investor for the boring private equity types, but for people who don't really know what that is, we're an investment fund that doesn't invest in public companies. We invest in private companies, private equity but we invest in mature, robust, highly profitable medium-sized Australian businesses for slightly old-fashioned reasons Income, wealth preservation, sustainable growth, and so some of your listeners who come from Australia or England or India would recognise the reference StraightBat, which is an idiom or a saying that comes from our national game of cricket, and to play with a StraightBat is medium and it means honest, decent, straightforward, reliable, consistent, long-run performance. In cricket, you talk about notching up singles rather than swinging up the fences, and so we go by the expression to play the long game, which is probably something even in your US that listeners would understand. We're in it for the long term. We buy businesses that we're happy to own forever, and our primary form of return is dividends to our investors. So last year they got 11.2% total income return paid quarterly and steady capital growth in excess of CPI.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 5:48

Yeah, mate, that's a great way to get started. You know what? I think? What's exciting me most about this conversation is it's 2023. We're fast approaching 2024. And even historically, if you think back, I know when I first started in selling, yes, the internet was a thing, but it wasn't something where you know from a buyer's perspective. You could just literally jump online and get the information you needed to questions that you had, especially when you wanted to buy, whether it be a complex, even a car, whatever it was. The big change that we've seen in the past sort of 20 years is that the salesperson or the company is not the holder of information anymore. The buyer can actually get access to that information faster than ever before, right, so the shift from a sales to buyer has occurred and, to some extent, salespeople are not haven't got that information. They need to bring more to the conversation. They need to bring more value, they need to bring more expertise, problem solving skills, etc. So why am I loving this? Because you've already started talking about investment returns and this is where I think that the salesperson of the future is the one that has that strong commercial acumen. They can have conversations with the C level and really flip the way they think and they're looking at things from the perspective of the buyer right. And you just started off kind of was a real mic drop moment straight into returns, because fundamentally, at the end of the day, all C level executives are looking at, in my opinion, they're looking at what are the returns that this conversation would enable me to achieve in my team but ultimately to the people that I'm reporting to, which is shareholders, etc. So I'd love to get your perspective on this. And I mean, you're looking at businesses all the time and when you look at a business, what are the things that you're sort of looking at before you even entertain a conversation?

Steve Gledden: 7:44

Yeah. So it's a great question and if I reflect on myself as a buyer, we are buying companies, we're buying shares companies, we buy shareholdings, as it were, but I've got $250 million to spend and I need to spend another $45 million before Christmas. And so the salespeople that are coming at us, there's three channels. One, our investors bring us to the network of what we call trusted advisors, so corporate advisors and accountants and lawyers, business bankers bring us their clients that might want an investment partner. And then the third I refer to as brute force, where that's as a buyer, I'm going out to the market and I'm looking for companies and there are databases that I go out and search to find those companies. I'm going to take channel two, which is trusted advisors, so corporate advisors will bring us a potential business, and when they do, I'll run you through what's going through my mind. First of all, I'm looking to see that. Have they actually looked to work out what it is that I invest in? Literally, on my website it says you size businesses 10 to 100 million, 5 to 25 EBITDA margins north of 20%. If someone comes along to me with a business that's smaller than that, I'm sort of like it's great to meet you, but you're kind of wasting my time. So, first of all, kind of understanding what it is that I'm looking for. I'll then use some analogy. So I do quite a bit of venture capital investing and, Dave, I know this is an area that's familiar to you as well. But in venture, the best venture investors see 300 companies a year and they invest in three. So I've got a lot of people trying to get my attention, and so you've got a very limited window to quickly establish credibility and tell me why. I should give you more than 30 seconds of my life, and so that classic elevator pitch is really important. And what is it that you're trying to do in the elevator pitch? Establish credibility, demonstrate that you understand the audience that you're talking to, and then need and tell them something that's interesting enough to talk about. Kind of get the second date, Like okay, I'm now listening. Then you've got kind of eight minutes of my life and then you really need to. You know, when it comes to venture capital investing, it's probably less so in private equity, but you really want to set out what's the problem that you solve. You know what the customer's problem is. How do I solve it as a company? So this is a company that I'm investing in. This could get a little bit like mentally requiring some mental dexterity for everybody. But you know, if you're pitching your business and you want me to invest in it, I need to know who your customer is and what problem you solve and how you solve it. I need to know what your business model is. I need to know how you make money. I need to know what your financial projections are. I need to know how you beat your competition. There's like eight things that you've got to quickly hit all of my hygiene factors to go okay, it's now worth me spending three hours of my life to really know whether I want to invest in this business. Now, that's just one process of discovery with an investment. But once you've got a trusted relationship with me. So we have corporate advisors, 333 Capital. We invested in one of their businesses a couple of years ago and they've brought us other businesses and so we know they understand our needs. It's a, it's a. It's a repeat order situation and so immediately we're listening when they, when they bring us. That's probably good.

Dave Fastuca: 11:18

Can you remember, Steve, like a let's go through, when someone really resonated, if you can remember, did they do something out of the ordinary to get your attention? Because I think, for a business looking for capital, they know that the likes of yourselves are getting hammered daily with pictures Right. So, like from my mind, if I'm trying to pitch you and I fit within your ideal customer profile, I'm thinking what can I do? That's a little bit special. Hmm, you know so. Have you had anything that comes to mind where you like bangs? I'm jumping on this and I want to. I want to win this deal. Pardon the interruption, but I have to let you know about this free resource. The Grow Forum newsletter has over 10,000 subscribers that are learning how to sell. Each and every week, we send you tips, strategies and also some tools and tech on how to achieve the most out of your sales pipeline. If you're ready to level up, sign up for free at growformio forward slash newsletter and get the first issue this week.

Steve Gledden: 12:17

Yeah, that's another really good question, and you know it's tempting to sort of think of things that are kind of novel or eye-catching, but I think it depends on your audience. In our game, where we're investing in sort of you know, mature, robust, kind of unsexy businesses, I think the ones that really hit home is where they quickly establish it's that oh wow, that sounds like a great business. So it's really really connecting with something that stands clear. It does come back to that: Like you've got to create a point of difference and, in a very short and compelling way, find the heart of the issue, get the thing that you know what you're looking for stands out very clearly. So I'm trying to think so. Yeah, you know, we invested in a smoke alarms business recently and the advisor that brought that to us basically said I've got a business here selling smoke alarms. It's grown at 30% each year for the last three years and it makes 40% EBITDA margins. I've gone oh OK, I'm really, you know, paying attention now, so I haven't, haven't messed around, I've gone to something that's now giving you permission to take that eight minutes of my life. Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 13:43

What I like about that and what I'm hearing is he spoke the language that resonated with you. He just said, hey, this is. He knew exactly. Maybe he didn't, maybe it was an unconscious choice he made. Yeah, he was speaking through the lens of what you know, what I'm thinking of, what you were looking at to say these are the things I'm looking for, ebertah, I'm looking for this, looking for growth patterns. Bang, bang, bang. Tell me more, right.

Steve Gledden: 14:12

So what really sits underneath that, Louis, is one of the great skills you can have in complex sales: the emotional intelligence to truly put yourself in the shoes of your customer and see the world through their eyes.

Dave Fastuca: 14:29

Yeah.

Steve Gledden: 14:30

Start there, be less concerned about what it is that you know is great, about me and my product and what I'm trying to achieve, but think about the world through their eyes.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 14:43

Yeah, it's funny, right, I facilitate a lot of talk to a lot of businesses. I was at one this week and you know that phrase that you said: look at it for your buyer's eyes. It actually sounds really simple. It's like you know what that's. Yeah, I get it, but it's amazing how many people don't get it. I say you know what? Have you got a picture of your buyer? And 90% of people don't. They don't actually understand who their buyer is, what motivates them, what drives them and what are their challenges. I think this is where a lot of these and a lot of the communication challenges kick in right, because I'm not positioning and this is exactly why Dave and I have created this podcast because we want to flip it. We want our audience to understand that Don't worry about how you sell. You have to think about how people buy right.

Dave Fastuca: 15:34

And that's one of the big things, right. It comes down to again, like I wrote a post about these people are just well, it's a bit of a blank wash. But the ones that don't get success here, they're just being lazy, they're not taking the time to really understand, right, like if you spoke with a founder last week and she makes decisions quick, fast, so you got to come in with value and show her instant ROI. And if you really know that you can tick those boxes quickly. Like when you said at the start of the episode Steve, you've got the information on what you look for Clear as day on your website, so someone only really needs to do 10 minutes of time to see what's on your side, who you've invested in, and if they're even extra, want to go the extra step. Talk to the people who you've invested in to understand a little bit more, right.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 16:24

Which football club he goes for, Dave.

Dave Fastuca: 16:27

Which football club he goes for that's right, Don't?

Luigi Prestinenzi: 16:29

be going in the meeting with a daemon's staff.

Steve Gledden: 16:32

No, Colin would be telling me that we're done. He'd send me out, right.

Dave Fastuca: 16:37

I think that should be KV2 on the side. No Colin supporters allowed.

Steve Gledden: 16:40

Probably dropped the, I think you used some good words, Louis and Dave, but Louis, when you said they can see their customer, but they're not seeing the world through their customers' eyes. So, oh, that's what they do, but you actually need to put yourself in their shoes and understand. What is the problem that they're trying to overcome? What is it that gives them frustration? What? There's lots of things that prevent me from finding great companies, and part of it is me efficiently getting through and working out what are the ones that meet my criteria. So if you start by, okay, I'm not wasting this person's time. If you can tell me from the outset, I've got something interesting that meets all of your investment criteria. Yeah, so this?

Luigi Prestinenzi: 17:18

Is it so? I'd love to jump on this right. So obviously you mentioned you know, I'm looking through, I'm prospecting, right, 300 companies you're prospecting. You might choose three. Do you mind maybe just telling us a time where you found a company? You started going through the due diligence process and you wanted to invest in it, but you didn't because you couldn't get consensus from other people in your team to agree that this was a right investment. I mean A. Have you experienced that before? And if you have, then you just walk us through.

Steve Gledden: 17:56

This goes to, I think, understanding the buying process right. So there are multiple, so it's a complex sale. It's not just me that makes this decision so straight back, we're a team of 13. We've got an operating team, an investment team. The investment team is led by Matt Donnerson. So something really interesting comes to me very quickly. I would flick it to Matt and Matt's team is going to run a whole program to quickly put this business through an investment screening process and if it meets those criteria we might consider putting out a nonbinding offer. If that non binding offer is accepted, we would probably have told our investment committee about it, but then take it to our investment committee and so you know. This is sort of understanding the buying influences, like who is the decision maker? Is it me, is it my investment committee? And who's a technical buyer who can say no but they can't say yes. So Matt can say no because he'll run the investment screen and tell me, yeah, it looks good, but no. So I'll give you one example of where something got screened out. We had a business in Sydney. It was in the transport space. It was actually a company that ran buses. Bus fleets were very interesting, with great recurring revenue serving all of the private schools in Sydney. We were really excited about it. But it went to our investment committee and on our investment committee was somebody who'd run a bus company and they said, oh my God. I said head AQ, do not want to buy that business. Now might think, oh gosh, you know the investment committee is the decision maker. They're actually not, so ultimately we do make the final decision, but we listen to our investment committee which is incidentally, represented by some of our largest investors, and so we like to know that our largest investors are saying Steve, matt, team, we think this is a great idea for you to invest in it. So they're actually not making the decision. Can they say no and not say yes? They can say no and we can say yes, but we're reluctant to do it. Yeah, that's a lot of insight that most people wouldn't have about our decision making process, but you've got to realise, within the complex sales environment, that that's the situation, and if you're a really smart person selling to me, you'll find people that I know to say how does the decision making process at StraightBad actually happen? And that person is your coach. They're going to tell you everything you need to know.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 20:23

Yeah, that's interesting. I often refer to that person that's on your investment committee that might have had a bus company. I refer to that person as what we call the anti-sponsor or the assassin. Right, and there's always one in every opportunity where potentially they don't want you in there because they've got a bias, they've got an existing relationship or whatever it may be. And in that particular example, when the investment committee there was someone that wasn't keen, were you prepared for that before that conversation or did that take you by surprise?

Steve Gledden: 20:57

That's a very good question. We knew that they had expertise in this area. We didn't expect them to have. We thought they would be supportive. We thought the business was good, but they had inside of that that we didn't appreciate operational complexity, various other things. Now you know, so you make like the assassin. So I often talk about it. There are buying influences that you may never even know exist.

Dave Fastuca: 21:22

Yeah.

Steve Gledden: 21:23

So you've got to be aware of that. But you know, I talk to a coach, finding a coach, to say, hey, you know that they've got an investment committee and you can actually work out who's on our investment committee and you'd be able to work all of those things out. It's actually possible to get through that. But you know, with regard to that, us saying no to that deal, it also doesn't mean that it was necessarily the right decision. Right, you get the idea of a type two error. Type one error is where you say no, you say yes and you should have said no. But type two error is where you say no and you should have said yes. That would have been a very good business. The business has actually come back to us and you know they've hit their profitability targets out of the park and they seem to be doing really well. But you know, this is how the sales process goes and there's a lot of influences there that aren't necessarily always objective or aren't always necessarily right.

Dave Fastuca: 22:14

That's interesting, right. So like you, when you're selling to the initial person and I've seen this before with other sort of chief marketing officers where they're looking to bring on a big piece of technology, it's quite a big investment for the business but it's going to really help their role they're not the final decision maker, they're the ones are like yes, I like this Every now and then they're going to be the primary user, the influencer. It's probably going to come to the CEO and the CEO is not going to have all the information at hand to help the CMO make that well, to give the final decision. So it's interesting. We said they're like even in your world there's other people you need to bring along the journey and convince. And for someone pitching the business as well, if they know that and they know the people that are on the committee again to public information, they can even help address that privately if they again had the time or the mouse to do so.

Steve Gledden: 23:10

Yeah, to build on that, Dave. I mean that is like there is gold in there, because the truth is, rarely is the buyer, in this case me, the expert in bus companies. That's right, the corporate advisor for that bus company should be an expert in bus companies and should be saying to me this is how you should make your decision. These are the criteria that you should apply and shape the way we think about it, so that we don't make a type two error just because we're ill informed.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 23:40

Yeah, this is awesome. I could actually talk about this for hours because I love the whole complex, having sold into enterprise for nearly a decade. But actually, if you don't mind, I still want to. I think there's incredible learning for our audience here and I hope I'm just going to go back. So if you could actually go back to that op and I don't mean to highlight it, but, like you said, they've come back, they've now hit their earnings. Now, if you invest, they probably want more money because they've hit their number right. So that's the kind of the cost of inaction. But if you could have gone back and done it again, knowing what you know now, knowing the view that this particular member on the investment committee had, what would you have done differently in your approach to get him on board? I think?

Steve Gledden: 24:33

over time. So for that specific case, over time your pattern recognition improves, knowing when to let something go and when to push and fight for something in that specific incidence. But there's also another philosophy to this as well. That Harry hindsight guy is the smartest guy in the room. It's so easy to go, oh, it should have been this way. So all you can do is learn from that and play it forward. So work out next time that a set of decisions comes up like that, what is it that you're? Going to do differently.

Dave Fastuca: 25:12

Do you have a great product but are struggling to reach more customers? Are you spending hours on sales activities that aren't generating results, leaving you feeling frustrated and discouraged? The Sales IN West program is a step by step operating system that will help you slash your selling hours in half while rapidly growing your revenue. In under just two weeks, you can be well on your way to creating predictable revenue. In Sales I West, we'll show you how to build a predictable sales pipeline, build lasting relationships with your customers and sell more in less time. The art of negotiation and motivating and leading a successful sales team. If this sounds like something that you need in your business, visit growforumio for slash sales and apply to see if you have the right mindset to achieve predictable revenue. The Sales IN West program is your ticket to predictable revenue. Don't wait any longer to apply today.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 26:08

It's interesting, right? Because I get a lot of people when they see me in the sales place like oh man you're great, you're a great seller. I'm like nah, I've just done this so many times, I've made that many mistakes. It's helped me tinker with the approach and go. You know what? Often early in my career selling enterprise, I always used to miss knowing when legal needed to kick in. It would always delay the contract, so I would put a close date. Next thing I know I'd have my boss on me. Why isn't this closed? Well, actually, now legal's involved. That's stretching out the process. Okay, what do I do next? Bring legal in earlier. Okay, check the procurement guidelines. Is it above a number? It's going to go tender. So I've got to either go under or be prepared to go to tender. Right, I only learned that through the experience I went through right.

Steve Gledden: 26:54

So this is absolutely the nugget of gold and it almost sounds like a platitude because you hear it all the time, but you've really got to lean into it and embrace it. This is a metaphor for life as well as for selling those accounts, those opportunities where it didn't work out. They're the ones to almost embrace the most, because you only learn and move forward from those when you sell. You think you've sold it for some reason, but you may not have the times that you get it wrong. Really working out what is it about that, what should be learned about that, and carrying that forward those are the greatest learning and growth opportunities, the greatest ones are the ones you've failed on. What was it?

Luigi Prestinenzi: 27:35

The one that you learn the most is the deal that you think you had it and then you spend that commission before you get it, and then the deal pulls over and you're like I don't know, the Miller-Hyman strategic selling framework has all these inputs and at the end it's summary of my overall position.

Steve Gledden: 27:58

And it's a spectrum and it goes from panic at one end through to oh, I feel bad, I feel discomfort, I'm feeling good, awesome, I've got it in the bag. It's described as a spectrum. Really, where you want to be is maybe mildly discomfort or mildly confident, because actually, although it's a spectrum, it's actually a circle and if you get supremely confident, it's actually when suddenly you're in a panic. The thing will get you out from the knees. You, because you are not covering all your bases, yeah it's so true.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 28:27

Well, Dave, I think. Look, I actually think there's probably another episode here, and I could pick up. You're an advocate of the Miller-Hyman strategic and large account management model. Yeah, steven. So thank you very much, I think. Look again, I think there's another episode here, dave. But before we do wrap up, if our listeners because I think the great thing about this is that they're hearing things from a completely different perspective and we always wrap up this segment with another little mini segment, which Dave and I will put together a bit of, how would we sell to you? Where's the best place for our listeners to engage and find you?

Steve Gledden: 29:04

Sure, so you'll find me on LinkedIn by searching for Steve Gladden. You'll find me at straight bass comau. I love that I love the straight back.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 29:14

That's a great name actually.

Dave Fastuca: 29:17

Well, thanks again, Steve. It's been a pleasure having you on.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 29:20

Great. Hey, Dave, just quickly thinking back to that episode, right, it started. The way he started is the way that I want to sort of just jump straight into, because there are so many nuggets of gold, right, and I don't know if you picked up on it Like he just started talking from a commercial lens.

Dave Fastuca: 29:42

Well, that's the thing, right, Like, if you're selling to someone like Steve, they're in the finance space, they're about returns, right yeah, They've got an obligation to give returns to the people they invest into them. So if you're looking to get funding from someone like that, no, they're treated, know what they want, that's what they need to do. So he was just right at the gate, right.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 30:06

But I think also what's important, there's a lot of learning in this particular episode. I don't know, like 30 minutes ago, how much learning can be, but there's actually heaps of learning in this and there's learning from the fact that he spoke about. There's multiple things that he spoke about. He spoke about, you know, at every 300 companies that he's talking to, he'll invest in three right that you know a lot of people that he's talking to they're not talking to him in the way that he wants to interpret the information and he's really, after some you know very key things. You know he also spoke about that investment that he didn't move forward with. He thinks that he wishes and you can tell he wanted to, but there was someone else in the buying committee that he couldn't get alignment with right. And something that I really want us to consider and, you know, want our audience to really think about and you've heard me talk about this term before but buyer enablement. We, as the sales professional, we are the professional guiding our buyers through the process and if I had have done let's kind of if we were selling that bus opportunity to Steve right, one of the things that I would advocate to do is enable Steve to think about the potential roadblocks that he might come up against, especially when you're selling into a complex hierarchy like Steve has within his business. He's got analysts.

Dave Fastuca: 31:29

What would you do? Would you ask who you need to get approval from? Do you need approval?

Luigi Prestinenzi: 31:34

Okay, well, obviously, for first and first, first things first, the fact that he's got his team available online. You can actually jump on his website, like most companies, you got LinkedIn. You can see who are the people that are going to influence the decision making process. Now, even if you can't meet with them, you can't get a job. One of the steps to do is to actually talk to your champion. He spoke about it. He's the champion. He was championing the deal forward. Yes, he had technical buys in and all that sort of stuff, but he was champion. So, considering that he's the champion and he has a vested interest and he wants to drive this forward, this is where we ask questions about, like consider base questions, you know, consider the impact of this person not wanting to see this through because of X. Right, because if you do the research, you could go well, actually, let me have a look. And you just simply got to click their profile and link then and it gives you the company background and you would have noticed that, hey, someone in your business has been exposed to an industry like this. They will have a viewpoint. Maybe we should be asking Steve before going to do that presentation to his board. What do you think this person's viewpoint on this will be? Because, potentially, Steve hadn't thought about that before he went into the meeting. So, as the sales professional, if you enable your champion To think about what that potential barrier might be, it might enable them to then go. Hmm, I Didn't consider that. I Need to consider it. Let me do a bit of fact finding first, before we go in with the proposal.

Dave Fastuca: 33:12

Right, you know I was about to ask you, then, right, I was about to stop you and go. Well, how do you know what he's gonna say? Like Steve thought that that particular person was gonna say, yes, I like this deal, but when in fact he didn't.

Luigi Prestinenzi: 33:25

But what he's he's going for you're saying there, right, because that's, that's the part I want to, yeah because you're stats, why you don't assume and that's why you never push your proposal forward until You've done your analysis and you've done your assent. And I'm not talking you know three, four, five grand deals on talking, this is a big, multi-million dollar deal, right? Long-term play, like he said, their long-term plays, they take a long time. So you want to give the time to those deals that that it requires you're gonna give. You gotta respect the deal and you gotta respect the deal process if you want to play in the big end of town, dave, right. So in this is where strategy and you have to the the law of self-interest you need to put aside for a minute. I'm not here to close the deal now. I'm here to. I'm here to carefully Understand the state of play that we're gonna be navigating through With Steve to go right. What does this person need? What could this person's barrier be? And try to hypothesise and then Allow Steve to maybe go ask some fact-finding questions first To go and identify are these, do they have a viewpoint on this? And if they do it, at least it'll allow Steve to go right. I need to know when I go and meet I've got a preempt that this could be his barrier and I've got to give him a level of comfort and that this you know we're gonna be able to work through this, because he said he said nah, nah, nah, but in fact they've delivered above. They're still keen. Now. The investment to enter will be higher Than what it was earlier. And this is where we say a lot. 40 to 60% of complex beta-billed deals end up in no decision Because you can't get confidence around the table. Now that's why you need to bring that level of strategy to the, to the, to the, to the, you know, to the table around. What are people's Drivers and what are the things that could stop them, and you try to plan for that. The last thing you want to do is go in without being planned. It comes up as a barrier. You don't have the Capac information to actually work through it. It stops the deal dead. Yeah, exactly what happened in that particular scenario. Now, for a lot of our audience, they might be, but I'm not selling to investors. But fundamentally you are, because Everyone buying your product or service is doing the maps. They're looking at what's he's gonna cost us, what's gonna be the impact and will we receive see a return on this or not, and You've got to look at every opportunity through the lens of a commercial lens and think about who are the other people that this is Going to be impacting and how can I structure the deal to really get all parties on board around this.

Dave Fastuca: 36:09

Yeah, that was perfect, Louis, and that's again a great way to end another how to sell episode. Like always, subscribe where you're listening to this, whether it's on YouTube, your favourite podcast and we'll see you in next week's episode.