Salespeople are magicians, but it’s not their mojo that does the bulk of the work; it’s the systems and processes that enable them to do their magic in the first place. That is the philosophy that Tom Searcy goes by as the founder and CEO of Hunt Big Sales, a sales strategy company that boasts a proven sales system that represents the pinnacle of large sales. Joining Douglas C. Nelson on the show, he elaborates on this process-driven approach to sales and how it can be used to consistently beat industry giants to the sale even if you are a relatively small player. Following this approach enabled Tom and his team to land 190 of the Fortune 500 companies over the course of his career! And no, it’s still not magic.
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Hunt Big Sales: Process-Driven Approach To Large Account Sales With Tom Searcy
I have a guest that I’m excited about. The first time I ever met this man I was just like, “This guy is smart.” His name is Tom Searcy. He’s the CEO and Founder of Hunt Big Sales. Tom is a unique guy. He was growing up in a methodical environment. His father was skilled in sales. Tom went on to be an engineer and he’s taken the process of how you provide a methodical process to sales, but to go after extremely large accounts. He has about 38% of the Fortune 500 under his belt as personal clients, and that’s a lot of accounts. That’s 190 if my math is right.
He’s got companies like Disney, 3M, Chase Bank, AT&T, Apple and hundreds more that he’s been able to work with. Prior to that, he had a company, four of them actually, where they were a startup to under $10 million and he built those between $100 million and $200 million in less than four years. This man knows what he’s talking about. He’s got a process for going after large accounts and that’s what he did in those companies. We’re going to have that conversation around that. He’s also a renowned speaker nationally. He’s been in tons of magazines. He’s an unbelievably great promoter. He’s a nice guy, a great family guy. I’ve met him and his family. He’s the top of the top. You’re going to appreciate Mr. Tom Searcy. We’re going to now welcome him to the show.
Tom, welcome to the show. I’m very excited to have you here for numerous reasons. Thank you for being here. It’s a pleasure having you.
It’s my pleasure, Doug. It’s good seeing you, and I’m looking forward to getting a chance for us to talk some more.
For our audience, Tom and I know each other, and we’ve done some training together. I’ve done some tutelage underneath him and learned a lot of what we’re going to talk about. Tom is the Founder and CEO of Hunt Big Sales. Prior to that, I’d love to go back in history a little bit because if I remember correctly, by the age of 40, four companies and all started below $10 million.
One of them was a complete startup. In four years, we grew to $200 million in size and then the other three were less than $10 million and they grew up to $100 million, and each of those did that in less than 4 or 5 years. You get the privilege of making a lot of mistakes fast when you grow that rapidly and then work for tech companies. I wish now that they were dot-com or tech companies. This is services based. You’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of employees. You’ve got to hire, grow, and add them in but we were fortunate in the people that we had. We were good as a small company. In all of our environments, we were always the smaller player beating big companies and selling large deals. We would sell to the Fortune 1000 and then our competitors might be 5, 10, 20 times our size and we’d still win, which was great. That’s what fueled all of our growth.
Everybody, you just read the magic word. We sell large accounts, and Tom and his company, Hunt Big Sales, is the pinnacle of selling large sales as far as I’m concerned. Many of the people that I know also feel the same way. Lean in on this question, folks. Tom, how did you do this? You went from $10 million to $100 million, $200 million.
I’ll try and be as quickly as I can. First of all, I was raised by an engineer. This is as much as applause as it is a confession. As an engineer, everything is about processes, systems and approaches. I grew up on the operation side of the businesses that I wound up running. My idea was that sales are not magic. Sales is a process. If you do the right things in the right order with the right people, you will produce a desirable outcome. You’d never build a production line with the idea that we’ll put whatever we want in the frontend and hope that we get whatever we want out of the backend.
Knowing that it has to go through all of the big deals with big companies require a specific approach to getting that done. What I did in the very first company was went into that company and said, “We’re going to look at our salespeople and we’re going to redo all of this into a sales process in which the salespeople are a part of it.” That means processes have people, measures and the documentation that’s necessary. Candidly, most salespeople go into the game and they say, “I’m experienced, I’m good at what I do, just trust me.” That’s not the way big companies buy. You can get small deals like that every day, but big companies, you’re going to need to have a sales process. My dad always taught me that success in sales is 90% process and 10% magic. He says, “You earn the chance to do your 10% of magic because you follow your 90% of the process.” I’ve followed that and that’s why we were able to land 190 of the Fortune 500 companies over the course of our career.
How many of those Fortune 500 companies?
One hundred and ninety.
There are only 500 companies in the Fortune 500.
They put it right in the title.
That’s 38% of the Fortune 500.
All the deals that we count in there have to be $1 million or greater as far as annual revenues to us or to our client base. We’ve got customers who hire us to teach them how to do all of this. When they landed a sale using this process, we look at that as a part of the collection of the community of people who are using the processes that we have. Now, it’s at 190 of the Fortune 500. My own background in revenue of running companies, we’re in several multi-billions of dollars of revenues that were sold in that processing company. With our clients and what they’ve sold, we’re at $18 billion using the processes and systems that we’ve got. It’s not magic, “Doug, you’re a magician.” There are things that you know how to do those other people maybe don’t have the same instincts of how to look at things, hear somebody and respond. That’s what I call magic. That’s the personal connection and charisma that salespeople have. The other process part that’s initially uncomfortable to do, but if you follow it, your close rate as a company on big deals, goes up over 50% or 60%.
Your father passing along that teaching to you, I remember my dad. We had this conversation at one time. My father passed along a process to me too. My dad had a business for eighteen years. He built it on his back and growing up in that environment, I learned that and then I had to learn to undo it. Being taught that sales are a process because your words were sales is not magic, sales is a process. Certainly, your dad teaching that and you’re passing it along to other people, this is awesome. What I’ve witnessed is when you take an average sales team, I’ve done this many times and I know you have to, and you put a standardized process around the sales process and hold them accountable sales go up magically. I had a client we put a news process around and in 60 days they grew by 25%. They did the campaign. We have sold almost $5 million in 60 days. It was wonderful. I know you’ve had plenty of success stories there. Do you mind sharing 1 or 2 of those with everyone if you can? I don’t know if you were under non-disclosure with this one.
I’m under nondisclosure everywhere. I have to be careful about how I say this, but I’ll do the best I can to make this relevant. At the time that this particular deal happened, we were a $30 million company and we were selling against IBM and EDS for a huge outsourcing contract. That would be $400 million in size. We’re a $30 million company who knows why we’re even in there. They started off with 40 people. They invited twenty people bid, you get down to the final ten, and then you get down to the final three, and we made it. We’re trying to figure out why we made it. We had this specific process that they had and that one that we were following. We got through the process to the end of the final three and it’s us, EDS and IBM. This is for a huge transportation company. One of several that you are all seeing at your doors during the holiday season is delivering cardboard boxes.
It’s going to be one of the names you know. We’re going to take over customer service, troubled ticket tracking and all the rest of those things. It’s going to take 1,000 employees to do this and we’re this little company. What happened in the sales process is that everyone was orchestrated specifically from the beginning of how do we pair up. When I say at the beginning, back when we were twenty companies that were going after this business, we had already prepped and targeted those people who are to be in the backroom, the final room, where the decision was made and the people behind them.
We’d lined up all of our people with them and had begun communication back and forth, even just introductions and all of the other pieces, providing them some intellectual property about the industry in general, technologies that they should be aware of. Not specific to selling to us. That was all credibility building and relationship building. This was unusual against what other companies were doing. We were focusing on maybe 2 or 3 of the decision-makers. We’d lined up people to people peer-to-peer way earlier in the sales process. We’d worked through and asked a series of what we would call a rubric of questions for each of our sections.
The IT people and HR people were asking these particular questions and so on. That’s in our sales process. We’re gathering our information and we’re preparing our responses. As we move through the process, I started working with one of the people who left that company, went to another company, and became a client of ours. I didn’t know that he was one of the people in the background of that room. He’d seen the whole sales process, but I didn’t know him. Later on I said, “How did we win this?” He goes, “You weren’t supposed to.” I go, “What do you mean?” He goes, “No offense, but we just used you guys as an outlier. You’re the stocking doc because you always had creative ideas and you have things that you’re going to bring but we’re going to go to one of the big guys. We’re going to take some of your ideas and move them over as a part of the requirement.” I’m like, “Thank you very much because you won the business, shut up.”Sales is not magic. It’s a process. Click To Tweet
It’s moving all the way down to the end of this process. Each step along the way people kept including us in, because they said, “I had an interesting conversation with this person. I like the responsiveness of that person. These guys treat us a little differently.” It’s funny, we’ve talked to ten different people inside of the company and the IBM guys got a team of 3 or 5 and they only want to talk to the senior guys. They don’t care about what anybody else thinks along the way. This is all built into the process, people to people, stage to stage. I won’t go through all of that.
My favorite part of it was at the end when we’re pitching, and for this particular piece of businesses that are part of the magic of this is because we’d set the room. There are twenty people in the room. There are ten of theirs and ten of ours. We’d set the room in advance. We put our people in between their people peer-to-peer on all conversations. It was not a cold room. There wasn’t anybody in the room that we had not even had an email with or a phone call with, with the person sitting to the left or the right of them. We’d go into our presentation, which is the final presentation.
We went up to the front and I wrote down, “Here are the ten reasons why you’re not going to hire us.” They laughed and I had the ten, I said, “Was there anything else that you guys have the reasons you’re not going to hire us that’s not up there?” One of the smart asses in the back said, “There are three of them I hadn’t thought of, but I’m glad you added them up there.” I said, “If we can go through and take these ten off the table, the reason we’re one of your top three is because you like us. You like what we do. You like everything that we’re bringing to the table. All you’re trying to figure out right now is why you shouldn’t hire us. I’m going to knock those pegs down and at the end of it, you’ve got no choice, but to hire us because the only reason we’re in the room is because you want to work with us and you’re afraid you’re not going to be able to. I know the other guys who are going to come into this room. Ask them this question, ask them what position in the top ten customers you’re going to be for them.”
I’m talking about total revenue I said, “If their answer is that you’re not in the top five, then you are an asterisk at the bottom of their priority list. I want to let you know, you will be our biggest customer. You should have been able to figure that out from our financials. Every day, myself and my team are going to hit the floor out of our beds, feet on the ground saying, ‘What can I do better to serve you and make you happy?'” We took the top ten and we knocked them down. Our whole presentation was based on this. One of them was on the IT person side, the HR person’s side and the compliance side. We had them all mapped out.
When the list was up there, the list was about them because we’d already had the relationships established. They’d already told us what they were concerned about. We built our presentations around that. The other one, which was what we call planning the landmine, which is the ask them what position they’re going to be in. I said, “By the way, if they tell you, they’re not certain but they’re sure you’re going to be one of their big ones, they just told you everything you need to know.” That was the other part of the landmine. They knew somebody was going to say, “We’re not certain, but we know you’re going to be one of our big ones.” They’ve told you, you’re not the biggest one.
I got to ask this question, then I want to unpack some of what you said because it’s brilliant. How did it feel to close that account?
It felt great. Are you kidding? The problem is the minute you close that account, you’ve got to start doing it. It was a steak, champagne and planning session. The problem is that if you have a planning session after the steak and the champagne, the quality of the planning session that night is not as good.
Depending on how much champagne is flowing, for sure.
Trust me, on a deal that size, it was a lot. There’s a David and Goliath component of this that I don’t want to understate. As our company and the companies we work with, we love crushing Goliath. There’s nothing that feels better because I believe that sometimes the companies that we sell against are entitled. They feel because they’ve got the biggest brand name in the marketplace so they’ve got access to more funds or they’ve got whatever than we do that they deserve to win the business. They are IBM or their EDS. Why should this little tiny company over here win the business? They think of us as an ant and I’m like, “I love that. I’m going to go eat your lunch. Nothing tastes as good as the food you take from an enemy’s table.” That’s why I love small and mid-sized companies. I don’t want to teach big companies how to crush David.
There’s so much to unpack in what you said, and I’m going to try to do my best here. Here’s what it is. Firstly, if you’re winging it, you’re going to get small accounts. If you have a process, you’re going to get big accounts. Process, in this case, also was in selling large accounts, you must have a peer-to-peer relationship on every level of the account. That’s part of what I got out of your process, Tom. I also got, you’re going to take away heading off objections in the presentation component of it because you use what some people would call negative selling, “You don’t want me and I’m going to show you the reasons why you do.” However, you did something above and beyond that. Pretty much the presentation was around knocking off those objections that will people have. You discovered those earlier. A lot of people don’t understand. You have to do this in all sales, but especially in these large sales.
You have an attitude, which is, “I’ll show you.” This comes up in a recurring theme by all people that I have interviewed here on the show who has done more than $5 million a year in revenue. They have this determination, Chet Holmes used to call it pigheaded discipline and determination that, “I’m going to show you I’m going to win.” That has to be baked into the process as well. The last thing I got out of this, and I might’ve missed something, Tom, so fill us in if I did. You’re not differentiating yourself. You’re becoming different. Don’t take this wrong, Tom, but you’re the beautiful girl walking down the beach and the crowded amount of people that catch the guy’s eye when she’s a half a mile off, and as she gets, there’s more desire being built. That’s what I see you did through the whole process with this. Did I miss anything?
I want to explain what you said because it’s critical. The minute you are being measured on a rubric that everybody else is playing against, some measurement standard, something that you’d find out in an Excel spreadsheet and somebody checking off boxes, you’re a commodity. Everyone believes they understand what the flavor of value with the perspective is. Differentiating versus being different, differentiating is an incremental variance from some presupposed belief set like, “I know it has to weigh 250 pounds or less.” The other person comes in and says, “I can do that for 240 pounds,” and the other person says, “I can do it for 230 pounds.” You’re differentiating by somebody says it’s got to be less than 250 pounds. That’s a standard that was set in a rubric for further evaluation.
If you’re different, you come in and you’re able to describe or define yourself by saying you don’t have a 250-pound problem. You have a wind drag problem. You have a crane lifting problem. You have a mechanism over here problem. You’ve got the size of door for delivering the freight through and that’s why 250 pounds in it. Let me show you what the real issue is around how you’re going to get the value that is not around being 250 pounds. By the way, I’m still less than 250 pounds, but that’s not the point. I don’t want to be the decision you make because I have fewer pounds versus somebody else. I want you to re-examine the entire decision because the problem isn’t 250 pounds. I still can beat 250 pounds. I don’t want to talk about that because that says that’s an incremental improvement rather than a strategic value. It changes it. To your point, it’s about being different rather than differentiation.
It’s critical especially now. I want to get into what’s going on, but I have so much I want to ask you that I know people will love to know because most of the people reading this are wanting to grow their sales. One of the things that struck me as being different, as soon as I started studying your methodology and having the opportunity to talk with you and your business partner was when you go after large accounts, most people are taught in sales or in structuring their company, a CEO. They’re taught, “Let’s go after a lot of leads and then we’ll bring the funnel down into a point. Those small amounts that are on the point are going to be our best clients. That’s what’s going to shake out of the funnel.” In Hunt Big Sales, unless I’m incorrect, you start with a small top and then it gets wider as you go down through your qualification process. Is that correct? Would you speak to that?
It’s correct. I talk about it in two particular ways. Let’s go back to the process or the in-line manufacturing process. If at the end of which we wanted that manufacturing process to produce a large sale for us. You wouldn’t take wheat steel, rubber and put them in the same front end of in-line manufacturing and coming out the back end expecting that you’re going to get the same product. You need to be specific about the materials that you put into your in-line manufacturing process and they’d have high specs. They would have to be not only steel but this kind of steel.
For us to effectively use a sales process, you have to put the right stuff, the right components, and characteristics or qualifications into the machine. We try to make certain to keep everything out of the sales process machine that we possibly can that won’t generate a big sale at the end. For us, that starts off in our case for our company. We have eleven questions that we ask that company around not only just who they are, where they are, what they want to do. Also, we ask questions about past behaviors. Have you ever hired an organization outside of yourself to make a significant difference in your company?
A lot of companies we’ve never outsourced. We don’t want to be their first point. You never want to be somebody’s first lawyer because they don’t know how to pay you. They don’t know how to value what you do. They look at every invoice and saying, “Once you’ve hired 3 or 4 lawyers, you’ve got other qualities that you can look at about them.” In our case, we asked eleven questions to find out whether or not they can go into our sales process. We help our clients to do the exact same thing. They have to build in upfront a decision of all the people you’re not going to sell to.
I don’t want to figure out halfway through the production line that I didn’t want this account and then kick them out. I spent all that time and energy on it to get to a point where I’m deciding that I don’t want this. Every company I’ve ever worked with and I asked this question typically in keynote speeches and other places and it says, “Does anybody here have an account that they wish they didn’t have?” The hands go up one that they can get. I say, “Using the other hand, do you have more than one?” Everybody has the second hand up.
How did you get accounts that you didn’t want? You sold to people that you didn’t want to have. If you’re thorough enough upfront, you shorten down that list of the people that you’re going to pitch to. This isn’t just takeaway selling or negative selling. This is, “I’m sorry, but you’re not going to get onto the production belt without these particular qualities.” If they’ve got, then that’s why the backend gets big because the conversion rate goes way up. I can know from those eleven questions that I’m going to have greater than a 50% opportunity to close, because if they don’t have the necessary characteristics or qualities about them as a company, then I’m going to spend a lot of time selling to someone at the end. I spent on a 20% conversion rate, I wasted 80% of my time and energy against my pipeline. Get rid of them early, so you don’t have to pay the pain of getting rid of them later.
There are no bad clients. There are only bad decisions. That’s a rule I live by. I’ve had the opportunity to look at all these criteria and work with Tom. It’s a highly-defined criteria. It’s specific. In this criteria though, one of the things that happened, even myself and anybody else in the room, we looked at them and the lists get narrowed down quickly. We started going into a little bit of, “Do I have enough people to go after?” I would say 38% of the Fortune 500 already answers that question. For those people who are they’re used to going after a wider audience versus a narrower audience and getting specific because if you change one ingredient in the perfect chocolate cake recipe, you no longer have the perfect chocolate cake.Never get caught selling. Focus on solving problems. Click To Tweet
Don’t sue me, Coca-Cola, but I think you changed your formula on something called the New Coke, and that didn’t work out well. People revolted against that. When you have that perfect recipe, what you’re saying is this is a perfected process. You don’t mess with it, you just come into it. How do people wrap their minds around like, “I got all these ideas and these accounts and these things that I want to go after,” but now you’re going, “We’ve got to bring them right down into these specific categories?”
It takes a lot of discipline in the conversation. One of the things that help with that is when people understand that everybody might need your product or service, everybody could buy your product or service, but not everybody deserves your product or service. When I say deserve, it’s not a uniform amount of energy it takes to provide a high-quality service to every one of your accounts. Not only does it eat into the margin, but it eats the spirit of your organization to have negative clients or clients that are difficult to please or clients that are not ready for the value that you bring.
We work with clients now. It’s funny, they went from 100 prospects down to 20 prospects, and they were terrified that they got rid of 80% of the marketplace. They realized out of the 100, they were landing 4. Out of the 20, they were landing 7, eventually 12. Your answer’s, “What happened? Did the market get smaller?” No. The opportunities that you wanted to be decreased in size down to twenty, now they’re on their way back at the closing 12 of the 20. The other part of it is they don’t work any more than a finite amount at any one given time.
They apply this laser-like focus. When you go peer-to-peer, that’s time, that’s energy. You better not be pushing that resource out to everybody. Your IT people start getting tired of not being able to do their job because they’re talking to another IT person over here. They’ve got to know that the close rate is worth the time and energy that they have to spend. Otherwise, they’re going to be saying, “Isn’t this a salesperson’s job?” I’m like, “After you get started with the people that like you inside of a company that’s going to buy from you, the other people that are involved in that peer-to-peer, they don’t want to talk to the salesperson anymore.” Even if your salesperson is the best engineer, it doesn’t matter. They want to talk to the engineer they’re going to be working with.
I worked with a top-five advertising agency at one particular point. A friend of mine was running that agency and asked me to come and work with them for a while. We went and did some work with them. One of the problems that they had was that they had all the creative people and they had all the design people and the brilliant people, and all those people dealing with the marketing people were fantastic. They didn’t bring in the project management people or the program management people until after the close. I said, “There isn’t anybody on your meetings or whatever who thinks they’re ever going to see you very much after you closed the deal. They know that the day in and day out team, that’s going to work with them. It’s going to be the project management people, the program management people, and the statistics people. I want you to bring and move them from the back after upfront early and say, ‘This is your team.'” They doubled their conversion rate. Why? The people want to talk to the people who are functionally going to be doing the work and the conversations weren’t sexy. They weren’t salesy conversations. They were nitty-gritty conversations, which is what the companies that they were selling to love because it was about the reality of us working together in the future, not the promises of beauty and wonder of the moment of the sales calls.
One of the hardest concepts that I have with clients that I work with is everyone in the company is in sales and they pushed back immediately. It never ceases to amaze me. What you’re doing is you’re IT people, when you’re doing peer-to-peer, everyone is selling and selling isn’t two salespeople and a manager going into a company. The company looks at those two salespeople and the manager they go, “Maybe one honest person in the all three of them,” that’s the positioning. When you have influencers who can knock out a sale and in a large complex sale, that happens.
Even in smaller sales, this happens but people are like, “You don’t want to talk to the IT people because we stuffed them in the basement and they don’t have windows. They can’t talk to two other people.” That type of thing. I remember a hospital one time I worked with, they told me this. When you take and talk to IT, it’s like having people who speak different languages, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Russian, and you put them together with people who are from their home country. They can relate to one another much better, which folks are communication, which is selling. That’s what you’re doing.
You’ve said a lot in what you said and I’ve written on this. If you go to our YouTube channel, we have a YouTube channel called Hunt Big Sales. We put content up there and there are 3 to 5-minute videos. One of them that I did up there was called Never Get Caught Selling. The issue is that if you get caught selling, you’re losing because it feels like I want something from you that you don’t want to give me. I’m going to have to persuade you to give it to me. It’s a terrible relationship approach. If all you get caught doing is problem-solving, then you are peer-to-peer.
You never say to an IT person, “I need to take you to a sales call.” IT person says, “I’m not a salesperson. I don’t want to be in a sales call. I hate that.” If I say to an IT person, “I’m going to a meeting. They’ve got a problem that’s in IT. I don’t know how to help them with the problem so I need you to go there and help them with their IT problem, with the thing that they’re working on or how ours works.” He goes, “I don’t go on sales calls.” I said, “This isn’t a sales call. We already have the sales calls up until now. I just need you to do what you do, which is help them solve their problem.”
Engineers, IT people, everybody in your organization likes to be the person who helps people solve problems. I bring all those people into the conversation and I want to be specific as a salesperson, “You’re going to go help these people solve this problem. You’re going to go talk to them about that problem. You’re going to ask questions about those problems and see what we can do to help them with those problems. I don’t want you to sell. Don’t get caught selling because if you do, you’re not going to look credible.” They love it. There’s nothing better than solving someone else’s problem. It’s a lot better solving their problem than it is solving your problem. I’d rather leave my office every day to go work with somebody else’s problem than to deal with in my own office with my problems.
That’s what true sales professionals do. They solve problems. We solve the problem for them, it’s a win-win for both of us. In most cases when we’re solving their problems and we’re being genuine, then they don’t mind after we built that rapport to sell them a little bit like you did in that presentation. It’s like, “Here are the reasons why you’re not going to buy from me. I know that so let’s talk about them.” They know you’re going into that process of knocking those off. Sales has always been nothing more than communication.
I found you in your company to be at the top of the communication compared to any others I’ve ever talked with especially. People reading this are glued to this. They’re like, “This is amazing stuff,” which it is. Clients or people now in business, they’re facing new challenges that they’ve never faced in the past. I know that even in your business or my business, we face these similar challenges. What do you advise your clients to do now that they weren’t doing in 2019?
We got thrown for a loop just like everybody else did. No one looked forward and said to themselves on January 1 when they’re implementing the strategic plan for 2020, “We’re going to go into full lockdown in March with a rolling set of changing of constraints based upon city, state, country and company.” Companies started to implement things and they either change what their purchasing was going to be, or they wound up eliminating travel either because they didn’t want to travel, have their people travel, or let people in all those things. Eighty percent of our business was face-to-face.
When we did product sales, training and development, there’s face-to-face on their site or on our site. Now, that’s gone. What we did was we started asking, what are our customer’s problems? We serve companies that are small to mid-size who are trying to grow by landing large sales. That’s their problem and they need somebody to help them with that. What we wound up doing was we developed this program called Selling In Place, which is, how do I more effectively communicate when I can’t be in their offices, on their shop floors, at their corporate centers or whatever? They can’t come to my sites to view things and I still have to develop the relationships I’ve got, sell more business as I can and grow the current accounts that I’ve got. We developed this whole video program and workbook that says, “How do I translate communication strategies and problem-solving strategies that I had before that were based upon being in their location, developing strong chemistry between people and understanding what school they went to? How many kids they’ve got?” That rapport building and relationship building, how do I change that to this world between the glass?
That was one of the problems on this issue that you’re bringing up, which is critical. It’s the mechanisms of communicating the way that we’ve communicated, and the people we work with communicate before were so tactile. It was physical. It was in the environment. When we take that away and we have to implement new skillsets, that’s a real challenge. I equate it to people saying, “What’s the Sunday phone call to mom and dad like versus the Thanksgiving meal when we’re all in the same room? Is it different? Does it feel different?” “Yes. It’s very different.”
You used to go and have the Thanksgiving meal with your customer as a metaphor. You used to have a longer conversation and maybe you would go to lunch and you’d have side conversations. Now, we’re very much on the Sunday call where we know the Sunday calls happen at 7:00. We know that they’re going to be done talking to us by 7:25. We’ll say our goodbyes and at 7:28, the phone call will end. How do you accomplish what happened in the Thanksgiving meal and inside of the world of that call? We developed that program to show that because that was the problem that lots of companies, regardless of size have and the companies that we’re working with had with their sales forces and then with their peer-to-peer relationships.
The old saying that, “Nothing is as good as a meeting in-person.” You can build rapport in different ways in-person, but when you’re doing it virtually, it’s similar but it’s a different game. It’s nuances within the process of building. I know your book, How to Sell In Place, does a great job at addressing that in many other issues. I recommend everybody reading to get that book. Also, Tom, you wrote a book that I love. It’s called Whale Hunting. That one, people should also go after for going after large accounts. Tom, if people want to get ahold of you or Carajane, Zach or anybody in the company and others at Hunt Big Sales, how do you want them to get a hold of you?
The best place to go is to HuntBigSales.com. When you go there, the whole Selling In Place program is available. You can check that out and purchase it. Find that on the website, but also there’s a Contact Us section. There’s also an interesting thing, which we encourage people to do which is to take a free assessment. It asks you a series of questions and then it says where you are on your growth trajectory. It describes what that looks like and what you can do about it and all answers don’t come to us.
Remember, we’ve got our own file that says, “I don’t leave you hanging. The recommendations of these are things that you can do that are not us.” There are some people, some companies that go through and they say, “Here’s why it would be a good fit for you to work with us or work with someone else.” Other people say, “You should try something different than what we do.” It’s a free assessment. It takes about five minutes to answer all the questions. It tells you as a company, it gives you a nice profile of where you are in your sales growth strategies and what you can do about it.
I have to vouch again for the assessment because I’ve taken the assessment. It’s excellent. Go there now to HuntBigSales.com, take the assessment and get the book, How to Sell In Place. If you want more information, contact Tom directly or one of the team members at Hunt Big Sales. Tom, there’s so much I want to ask you, but I know we have time constraints around executive sponsors and how to be a good promoter. You’re an expert in all these fields. I love to close our episodes with this particular question. I was looking forward to knowing your answer to this. If you could be a superhero, whether it’s living or no longer around or fictitious, and you could be that superhero for one day, who would that person be and what would you do to better the world?Strive to be different rather than just differentiating. Click To Tweet
I would enter into the World of Stanley at this particular point. I would want to be Bruce Banner, the Hulk because he has an idealistic approach to the world as it is from an intellect and problem-solving perspective, and being able to put out those things. At the end of the day, if things aren’t working out, I go break things. I try and help everybody out for 23 hours. If people aren’t moving forward in a good way, then I’m going to say, “Fine, I’ll just go break up all the pieces that we tried to put together.” I know it’s not enviable to be that guy, but if I was some people who want to be Superman, somebody wants to be all the rest of these folks. At the end of the day, don’t you just want to go break some things if it’s not working out? Too much honesty, is it too honest?
No, honesty is the best policy. I have to tell you that the lady that I’m dating, her favorite superhero is the Hulk. I want to do one last question. Tom, if you don’t mind, you’re a great promoter. You’re everywhere. I read about you. When people are a promoter and I mean promoter by getting themselves in the media, getting themselves out there so people read about them, talk about them, get them in a place where they’re elevating them through third-party credibility as an expert. You are an expert. How important is that in any company now that they’re selling virtual?
It is critical. We talk a lot about this in the Selling In Place program. I use this term an awful lot, but it’s worth remembering and that’s called Slice Thin Cut Deep. When I say slice thin, you need to define tightly where it is that you bring expertise. I am not an expert on everything. I’m an expert in this particular area and then dive deep and what your expertise is. I’ll give just a quick analogy. I had a heart attack at one particular point. I did not want a general practitioner at the ER to help me out. I didn’t want a second-year intern to help me out with my heart attack.
I wanted an older cardiologist. I wanted somebody who had more than 50 experience in their career. That guy slices thin, he’s a cardiologist and the guy who helped me out had to be was a specialist in stents, which are the things that they put in little pieces that they put in there to help with your arteries and all the rest of that stuff to keep them open. I wanted a stent specialist cardiology background. This guy was sliced thin, cut deep. Whenever you’re doing a promotion, you have to slice thin and cut deep on specific areas of what you do.
A lot of the things I like about you, Doug, is that you don’t say I can solve everything for everybody. Your answer is if you’ve got a problem that fits into this slice zone, your best choice is me. I’m not everything for everybody. I’m not great at all things. I’m good at many, but I am the best there can ever be in this particular space. If you’re going to be a promoter, if you’re going to be out there as a small company out in the marketplace, you have to find that out. You made something important when you said different versus differentiation. Differentiation says that, “Everybody in my space is like this, but I’m just a little bit better.” That’s not slicing thin and cutting deep. It’s slicing wide and cutting what just thin.
Everybody, slice thin and cut deep. Tom, this has been awesome and great. I appreciate it. I know the people reading appreciate it. I’d love to have you back on another call down the line if you’d like to.
This is always fun for you and I to spend some time together. It’s great, we’ll do that. Thank you for the privilege of being a part of what you’re doing in helping companies to grow. It’s more than just a job or whatever. This is a vocation for you. It’s a core belief and it comes through and all the things that you do. Thank you for all that you’re doing for small and mid-sized companies.
I appreciate that, Tom. I’m grateful. To everybody, have a wonderful day. Tom, Thanks again for being on here and we’ll see you next time.
What an amazing interview that was. If you think about what Tom is talking about, he’s talking about a lot of great stuff. He’s talking about you’re not going to go after all the clients in the world. You’re going to go after the specific criteria of the client. If you’re going after specific criteria of client, it’s going to narrow down because if you’re going after a specific target, you can’t let other things get into that specific criteria. When you do that, you’re now forced to study those specific criteria. That’s what I learned from Tom. The reality is you definitely must have a process.
I love what he said, “Sales is not magic. Sales is a process.” In my business, teaching companies how to grow their revenues and optimize their revenues, I begin with the process and that process will drive behavior. From there, build up skills and from the skills, you have to start working on the other stuff, which is usually on and around mindset with people. We’re dealing with people. We’re not selling to titles, we’re selling to people. Salespeople, executives, managers, they’re all titles but they’re people who have wants, needs and fears.
Tom has taken this whole concept of peer-to-peer selling and put it into a place where any company can do this. Any company can sell large sales if they know the process and they follow the process. I can tell you from looking through his programs, being part of it, sitting in classes and doing things with this man, this process is highly and well-defined. It wins every single time. He’s proven this over and over. He has sold with his clients over $18 billion worth of products and services. He’s also talked about his book, How to Sell In Place. It is about how you take your life from what it was back in 2019.
When the change happened in 2020, how do you take that and now sell from a virtual environment in place? What do you have to do to do that? Fortunately, I have had the experience of working virtually and helping companies virtually for almost a decade. Even I do this with my clients, I had to make some shifts as well because selling virtually is slightly different than selling in the face-to-face component of it. We’ve made modifications to myself, my company and our clients, they’re expanding their revenues this 2020 because of it.
Tom has a great YouTube channel. Go to that YouTube channel at Hunt Big Sales. If you have any questions or you want to hire them directly, go there or come to me and I’ll work with Tom and we can both work on your company together. If you like this show, please share it out with other people if they want to be able to sell large accounts. Spread the love if you will. If you like this or any of the other episodes, I always love five-star reviews. I appreciate it if you’d go do a five-star review. Thank you again for being here. It’s been a pleasure. I will see you on the next run of our show, where we will have another amazing guest. Have a great day.
- Hunt Big Sales
- Hunt Big Sales – YouTube
- Never Get Caught Selling – YouTube
- Selling In Place
- How to Sell In Place
- Whale Hunting
About Tom Searcy
Tom Searcy is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and the foremost expert in large account sales. His methods of unlocking explosive growth were developed through years of real-world success. By the age of 40, Searcy had led four corporations, transforming annual revenues of less than $15 million to more than $100 million in each case.
Since then, Searcy founded Hunt Big Sales, a fast-growth consultancy and thought leadership organization. With Searcy’s guidance, Hunt Big Sales clients have landed more than $5 billion in new sales with 190 of the Fortune 500 companies, including 3M, Disney, Chase Bank, International Paper, AT&T, Apple and hundreds more.
Searcy’s revolutionary ideas are now more accessible than ever. He is the author of RFPs Suck! How to Master the RFP System Once and for All to Win Big Business and co-author of Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company. Searcy’s newest book co-authored by Henry DeVries, How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett: Lessons from the World’s Greatest Dealmaker, was released by McGraw-Hill in November 2012. Searcy’s expertise has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times UK, and Inc. Magazine.
Searcy has also established himself as a nationally renowned speaker. He has spoken at the Inc. 500/500 Conferences, and Vistage International, the leading organization for CEO thought-leadership, where he is ranked in the top 1% of speakers. He’s also a member of the Million Dollar Speakers Club for the National Speakers Association. Searcy has spoken to more than 5000 CEOs internationally about explosive growth sales.
Specialties: Sales process development and training for large and complex account sales. Key Account deal coaching. Sales leadership and executive leadership development for explosive growth.
• Large Account Sales Strategy
• Key Account Deal Coaching
• Fast Growth Consulting
• Sales Systems
• Sales Processes
• Sales Workshops
• Keynote Speeches