As an inbound marketer, we practice what we preach.
But when you dominate online, you have to be careful what you wish for…
Sometimes we get so many calls and emails it’s hard to keep up.
Sound like humble bragging? It’s not.
When a large amount of your leads don’t have the budget or willingness to invest in a successful marketing campaign, it takes a lot of time and effort to process leads that are not your ideal clients.
It takes time and money to qualify and process high ticket leads. And it takes resources (as in salary or commission) to professionally process your lead flow.
And how you handle leads – especially ones you need to reject – affects your online reputation.
Any business that wants to grow, MUST consider outbound sales.
Because good clients – your ideal clients – are often already growing without your help. They don’t know if they could be making a lot more money with your help, unless you can make them aware of opportunities they are missing.
I just had to know for myself what is working, because we failed miserably at sales campaign last year.
So, I turned to one of the smartest sales experts I know, from one of the world’s most trusted sales training systems.
Dan Stalp, President of Sandler Training Kansas City breaks down what I did wrong, how to do it right, and what tactics are working for sales pros today:
- LinkedIn (great insight here)
- Strategic referral tactics
Learn more about Dan Stalp
Meet Sales Expert Dan Stalp of Sandler Training in Kansas City
Phil Singleton: Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Local Business Leaders podcast. I am your host, Phil Singleton.
Today, another very special guest with us in Kansas City, Dan Stalp, president of Sandler Training. He’s a transformational sales coach and a keynote speaker. Dan typically works with sales management and sales professionals who are tired of doing too much unpaid consulting, or are afraid to make sales calls, or fed up with losing sales to the lowest price. Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan Stalp: Well, thanks for having me.
Phil Singleton: Tell us a little bit about what maybe I missed in that short bio that I gave, and what it is that you do and how long you’ve been doing it here in Kansas City.
Dan Stalp: Sure. Well, first of all, most people aren’t aware of what that is. If you’re in sales, anyway, you might be a little more familiar, but you’ve gone away to maybe a two-hour, or a two-day or even a two-week training, but what you may not have done is continually gone to something over a long period of time, so Sandler Training not only here in Kansas City but in another 160 offices, we have the health club mentality to sales training, where you have 10 session a month that you can come in work out your sales muscles, and we don’t expect you to come to everything, just like at a health club, but we would like to see you once a week for an hour and a half at a time, and then you also have unlimited access to the personal coach, which is a sales coach, so that’s really where we’re helping people not just know things but more importantly start to master things.
Phil Singleton: Nice. That’s a great. Thanks for filling in the gaps there. In terms of you, how you got started with your business and where you are today, can you give us some background in terms of your first steps out of high school or college or what have you into the real world and …
Dan Stalp: Yeah, you bet.
Phil Singleton: What brought you here today.
Dan Stalp: It’s been a while since I’ve been out of college, but I’ll keep it short and sweet, but yeah, so I did graduate from college in 1986, and I had a computer science degree. I suffered through that for four years because I didn’t know what else I wanted to do, so I programmed computers for about three and a half years, and when I decided I didn’t have any fingernails anymore, I thought it was time to do something else, because I was biting them all the time. I was good at it but I didn’t like it, and it just seemed like the sales folks had a lot more fun than I was having, so I asked to get into sales, and the company I was working for said no go, so I just was talking to someone about it, I was kind of frustrated, and they said, “Well, I know that a guy that would hire you with your background,” so I left that company and went to work for another company, and he got me into sales.
But I didn’t know anything about sales, other than it looked like it was more fun than I was having as a computer programmer, so I suffered through that for a while, and if anybody’s still the first few years, it is suffering, and in 1993 I had an opportunity to start a business with three other people. It was not on my dream board. I had no goals around this whatsoever, but I always figure, you know what? I was 29. I could always go get another job. I can’t always have an opportunity to start a company. So in 1993, three of us, or four of us total, myself and three others, started an employee benefits company, because that’s what I started doing right out of college. I was programming computers for an insurance and benefits type company, and that’s what I ended up starting to sell.
Phil Singleton: What was that like? Because I think [inaudible 00:03:37] go through this a little bit where you’re … maybe a scary-type thing where if you had a corporate or a job that actually was paying us out a little bit more stability or benefits or whatever, and all of a sudden you jump out into the world without a safety net, kind of type thing, with a new business, which is what that is, right? Did you have any of that feeling? Was it … Yeah.
Dan Stalp: Oh yeah. Yeah, so at the time, we had a newborn.
Phil Singleton: Oh wow. So nothing to lose there, yeah, wow.
Dan Stalp: Yeah, and my wife hadn’t finished her PhD program yet, so she had a stipend she was getting, but yeah, we weren’t flushed with cash, but on the other hand we weren’t spending a lot. It was scary, but we figured we didn’t have that much to lose. Now, fast forward from 1993 to 2005. I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, so I went ahead and did it again. I don’t know what I was thinking. Now, that time was scarier, because then we had four kids, and they went to private schools, and my wife was staying home because we had four kids, and that was a little bit of a control, alt, delete on the brain, but I just really … I left my benefits firm and became a full-time Sandler sales trainer in late 2005. Now fortunately, I had something to sell at that point, meaning my partnership, what I had the other company, so I had a provision for about 18 months, but that provision was not what we were accustomed to having, but it was something.
But I started over. I had no clients, no business, no anything, and that one had a little bit more negative consequences if it wouldn’t have worked. I gotta give my wife credit. She stuck in there twice.
Phil Singleton: Wow. That’s great.
Dan Stalp: That’s not her nature to do that. She’s very security-minded, she’s a psychologist, but she believed in me, and now fast forward 12 years and I’m not saying that it’s all roses and teddy bears, but I can’t imagine-
Phil Singleton: It’s all work, and you must know this is what you wanted to do, because you’re still doing it and it’s still working, so that’s a great story.
Dan Stalp: The first time was more of a, “Oh, okay.” It found me. The second time it was definitely more of a calling. I knew I was called to do this. That while there were a lot of negative consequences if it didn’t work, there would have been a lot of regret if I never did it.
Phil Singleton: Man, there’s so many things I wanna ask, and we don’t really have a ton of time today, because in the green room we were, “Geez, this could go a lot of different places,” but one thing I have to ask since you are a sales expert, and since you’re talking about starting getting involved this in ’93, which is actually when I graduated from college and I was still … I got a D in computer science, actually, which is kind of funny that I’m running a digital agency right now. We were on-
We were on black screens back then with green type, you know…
Dan Stalp: Yeah.
Phil Singleton: So things have changed quite a bit, and the internet came online, and of course I think that’s changed a lot. It’d just be interesting from your perspective what things about sales have maybe stayed the same and what things are changed because the internet is out there …
Dan Stalp: Yeah, no, that’s a great question.
Phil Singleton: … and stuff, and give us a little bit of feedback on that over the last couple of decades.
No, it’s not just the millennials,” and I think of lot why a lot of us that are in our 50s and 40s and 60s is because even though we’re not native to the technology like our kids are, we’ve been spoiled by it, and no one’s patient anymore.
Dan Stalp: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting. My kids are 25 down to 17, and so there’s a lot of people my age are complaining about kids my age, or kids my kids’ ages. “These millennials, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and da, da, da, da, da, and they don’t have any patience, and they don’t … ” You know. I don’t know how many times I just look them straight in the eye and go, “You know what? You don’t have patience either.” They just go, “What? What?” I’m like, “No, it’s not just the millennials,” and I think of lot why a lot of us that are in our 50s and 40s and 60s is because even though we’re not native to the technology like our kids are, we’ve been spoiled by it, and no one’s patient anymore.
We want it yesterday, and there’s a lot of things we can just get at our fingertips, but there’s some things, and this is relating to your question. There are some things you just cannot speed up, I don’t care what technology’s doing, and as long as those face-to-face sales … Now, you can speed it up, but you can’t make it instantaneous, is if you’re selling face-to-face, you still have to have patience.
Now, technology clearly has sped things up, but what a lot of people wanna do is they just don’t wanna work for it. That’s the problem, and so there are some things that were said by Jim Rohn and T. Boone Pickens, and these guys are legends in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, about positive mental attitude and just gutting things out. Those same principles are just as applicable today, and none of this technology had ever started.
Phil Singleton: Wow.
Dan Stalp: That would be the only thing I would say is that it’s not a microwave, it’s not an instant message. There’s just certain things you just gotta gut out, and I don’t care what technology does. Now, technology can increase the chances it can happen. It happened quicker, but there’s a lot of gutting out. Yeah.
My Own Sales Investment Fail
Phil Singleton: Wow. That’s great insight. Let’s dive into a couple of things that I think are applicable to my business. We were talking in the green room before the show and I shared some experience that we’ve had. I’ve been in this business for 12 years, almost. All our work up even till now comes from our own inbound, organic search, and then maybe some of the referral stuff that comes up, so that’s great, but then a lot of the people that come from inbound sales are people that already know they have a problem or maybe are struggling a little bit, which is fine because they find us and then we’re basically proving to them, because they found us the way that they did, that we can do what we say we can do.
That being said, there’s a lot of great companies out there that are doing things the old-fashioned way or doing things that have other types of sales and marketing techniques that are working. They don’t necessarily that they could be doing better, so what I’m getting at here is I figured, hey, if we had our own outbound sales approach, we could reach out to people and show them maybe that you have opportunities, that you could be doing better or you could be trying this, and then maybe open up another online channel type of thing.
My theory was, hey, let’s go ahead for the first time last year and hire an outbound sales person that can start calling on companies and just let them know that we exist, right? Because I was like, “Geez, we’ve got great reviews, we’ve got a great reputation, we can prove that we can do what we can do pretty easily. All we’re gonna have to do is maybe make a phone call and let people know that we exist and point them in the right direction, and we’re gonna have all sorts of new clients coming in, ideal clients, maybe, that … ” Some of these guys that maybe, like I say, have budgets and things like that, and just show them. But it didn’t quite work out like that, right? I think I mentioned that we put effort in, I hired some-
Dan Stalp: It seems to easy, right? It seems so easy.
Phil Singleton: Really rude awakening, yeah, to be out there and go and say, “Okay, let’s make 20, 30 or 50 phone calls a day,” hired a person. They weren’t professionally trained, but had the script down. We did have somebody help us out that was a salesperson, and I just figured it was gonna be a lot easier than it was. They made the calls. 30 calls a day, 50 calls a day over the course of three months. One meeting, no sales.
Dan Stalp: Yeah.
Phil Singleton: I was like, “Wow, this is just a lot harder.” What kind of mistakes do you think that I made, or what works in terms of outbound sales and sales calls today for folks that are trying out like this, and does outbound selling still work like it used to?
Dan Stalp: Yeah. Good question. Probably the overarching big picture mistake is that we hired someone to do something we’ve never done.
Phil Singleton: Mistake number one. Okay. Fair enough.
Dan Stalp: Not saying you’ve never done it, but you hadn’t been doing it for a long time, right? So how do I manage that because I don’t know what’s gonna happen, and plus there was no track record that it had happened, so this, and it’s very common. Probably more common than you know. The good news is you haven’t gone out and done it six more times. The most extreme case I had of this was, and I won’t say the name, but it’s a person that a lot of people would recognize, and she’s very good at what she does, and she had started her own company and was having success on her own. Thought, “My gosh, if I can do this, imagine if I hired a full-time salesperson, because I’m only doing this about 10 hours a week.”
…what’s the common denominator in all eight of these salespeople’s situation…. I finally said, “You.” It can’t just be that she hired eight losers in seven years.
She proceeded to do that eight times in seven years, and none of them worked out. She came to me frustrated and said, “Where are all the good salespeople?” She was convinced that that was the problem, and I lovingly said, “Well, what’s the common denominator in all eight of these salespeople’s situation?” And she could not come up with it. I finally said, “You.” It can’t just be that she hired eight losers in seven years. That’s not the case. What was happening, and I don’t know the eight at all, what’s happening is she had never done what she was asking them to do, and then because she didn’t consider herself a salesperson, even though she brought in all the business up to that point, she delegated the sales process to this person that she barely knows on behalf of her company. Now, when I say that out loud, that sounds ridiculous.
Phil Singleton: Right.
Dan Stalp: But people do it all the time, because they say, “Well, I’m not a salesperson. I hired you because you are a salesperson, so you tell me how we should sell this.” Well, they could pick up and leave anytime, and you’re stuck with holding the bag. The point of that is that if we have a track record and a process that has worked, then we hire the person to do that, there’s more likelihood it’s going to work, but if it doesn’t work we know why it didn’t work, and it’s not just because I didn’t have a process, it’s because maybe they weren’t the right fit. Does this help a little bit?
Phil Singleton: Yes. Yes, that’s-
Dan Stalp: Sometimes we need to invest in ourselves and get something that’s transferable and leverageable before we bring in that salesperson, because then they have nothing to leverage, and we don’t know how to transfer it.
Phil Singleton: Got it. Really it makes a lot of sense ahead of time to plan for it, figure out what’s working for you, develop a system, because you can’t just have somebody come in out of nowhere, it sounds like, and just start presenting your company. I mean, I don’t know if that’s probably a common problem, maybe an e-myth type of problem where I don’t really consider myself a salesperson, but whenever we get in front of somebody that comes into a meeting, it’s like a 90% closure rate I think, probably, because I’ve got all the answers, it’s my company, right? I might not be the best salesperson, but I’m convincing enough in person to be able to be able. You got to the point, you get a false sense of, I guess, confidence in terms of, well, somebody can just go out and do that. It should be just as easy, and we can get multiples of our sales, but that just doesn’t work that way.
Dan Stalp: It doesn’t work that way, yeah, and again, this is in small companies where the owner’s still actively involved, still selling. When you get into large companies that have all kinds of systems and processes, that kind of thing, that’s a whole different story, but if you think about it, just think through it for yourself, someone calls on you, who would you rather buy from? The guy that built the company and can make decisions on a dime, or the salesperson who may not be here in two months?
Phil Singleton: Right.
Dan Stalp: It’s just a total different deal, so that’s another thing. It sounds like you had some good behavior for this person, but a lot of times they’ll bring someone in and they’ll say, “Hey, I only make about five calls a week, and I’m making all this money, and so if you do that, I’ll tell you what, double it, and then we’ll see what happens.” It’s way more than double that they have to do to get to the same results that you have, because they just don’t have that business-owner posture, they don’t have the experience, they haven’t made payroll before. There’s just things like that a salesperson just can’t have.
They can be successful, but it sure would be a lot better if you had said, “Hey, I’ve been doing this for six months. Here’s what I’ve done and here’s what’s come in. This seems to be working, so let’s follow this for now, but I’m open to suggestions.” You see, so we’re leveraging the six months that you spent seeing if this thing even works, because it’s gonna work easier for you than the salesperson, and then we’re gonna stick to this, but I’m open to suggestions. I’m not gonna just fill this out and say, “Do what you think we should do,” because a lot of them just frankly don’t have that background to know … they don’t know your company well enough to do that.
Phil Singleton: Right. So I mean, really the onus is on you to invest in some training and things like that, and have a system.
…cold calling is the least effective way to prospect, and it’s becoming more and more ineffective, but it’s better than one other thing, and I don’t know if you can guess what that might be. It is better than one thing – nothing.
Dan Stalp: Or at least have your own plan down. Just, “This is how we do things,” you know? And it’s documented, so that there’s something to follow as opposed to, “Have at it. Here’s a phone book. Knock yourself out,” or whatever, and there is a list, and then the other part of it is, you mentioned earlier, cold calling is the least effective way to prospect, and it’s becoming more and more ineffective, but it’s better than one other thing, and I don’t know if you can guess what that might be. It is better than one thing.
Phil Singleton: Nothing, I guess. I don’t know.
Dan Stalp: That’s it. That’s the answer. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not a good long-term strategy, it’s a short-term until we can get something better going, and so that’s things like referrals, and mining LinkedIn connections and getting referrals, and maybe networking events. The face-to-face stuff still works very well.
Phil Singleton: That was gonna be my next question. First, does cold calling still work. It’s better than nothing. In my experience was, because this one was that we’re doing, really, really hard to call somebody with just a pitch, no matter how good it is, unless you have something I think really, really valuable to give them. Again, this is just my limited experience, when you got somebody that’ll actually give them something or try them something for free, a lot more willing to try it out, but the investment’s a lot higher and you can’t do volume on that because it’s too expensive.
Dan Stalp: Right.
Phil Singleton: But the higher or better the give is, the better you’re gonna get response and actually maybe get access to somebody. That’s one of the things I’ve learned. So calling is something that’s losing leverage, you think, and I know it’s a lot of people still do it, and there’s a few people that still even swear by it, but let’s dig into a little bit some of the things you say are … I mean, this is where I wanted to go, actually, is if calling is one of the things maybe you gotta do to get started, what are the next pieces? You mentioned LinkedIn mining, you mentioned face-to-face, and you mentioned referrals, are the things that I heard. Let’s talk about the referral first. Is that something that you … that’s part of your program or what you train? You’re going out and actively trying to build out referral networks, or … Explain a little bit about how that can work for a salesperson.
Dan Stalp: Yeah, so depending on who you hire, if they’ve been at it a while, one would think they’d have one already, a referral network. If they don’t have one, that’s a red flag, and it’s not that it’s a deal breaker, but you need to poke around why don’t they have one? They might say, “Well, I have one but it’s just not here in Kansas City. I’ve lived here for 15 years and I’ve been traveling. I travel during the week, but I don’t know anybody here.” Well, that’s a different story than, “Oh yeah, I’ve been selling in Kansas City for 15 years, but I don’t have a referral network.” Right? That’s a total different reasoning for why they don’t have it. The other one, it didn’t make sense, and then the other one, it did make sense, and they don’t have it, so they’re probably not gonna find it with you. That’s just something to think about.
But the other part of it is it’s about the conversations, whether that’s through a cold call, or at a networking event, or through your natural market, neighbors. People ask you all the time, “What do you do?” Even if they’re not a fit for what you do, they can refer someone to you, but if I just say, “I’m a banker.” That just doesn’t … We’re assuming they can assimilate all these people that I can help. That doesn’t help at all. You might wanna talk more about how you’ve helped people, the impact you’re having.
You know how sometimes businesses, they can kind of bootstrap at the first 50,000 or 100,000, but then they hit that limit where they’re making money, but to grow they need some more, but they’re frustrated that they can’t get anybody to give them a loan? Well, we help with that. That’s a lot more likely for them to either say, “That’s me,” or, “I know somebody,” than, “I’m a banker.”
Phil Singleton: Right.
Dan Stalp: They’re either gonna say, “Well, that sounds cool,” and that’s the end of it, or gonna say, “How do you do that?” Well, we are SBA, Small Business whatever A stands for, specialists, and so we’re able to get things done that the average bank can’t get done. You see it? All of a sudden now this is a totally different conversation.
Phil Singleton: Right.
Dan Stalp: Because I have good technique in explaining what I do, and I don’t just say, “Banker.” Then just to throw a little extra in there, “Oh yeah, we’ve been in business since 1863.” Oh my God, I’m yawning right now. Oh, big deal. Every bank in Kansas City says that.
Phil Singleton: Right, right.
Dan Stalp: That’s not unique at all, so there’s a lot of opportunities where we’re able to tell what we do but we don’t do a good job, and we think people get it. They don’t get it.
Phil Singleton: But hitting those events, trying to make sure that, I guess, your pitch or your angle actually adds value and is not some kind of a boring statement that doesn’t get anybody’s attention. I guess that’s really big. A lot of times I’m a little bit more in the small business area, so a lot of people talk about referrals. I guess I’m thinking about them in two ways. One is, okay, you’re a business referral, and then there’s some ways people can actually set up referral systems that are maybe incentivized, but if I’m a salesperson, I don’t necessarily have, I guess, the ability to go out and offer some kind of a referral fee arrangement, I guess, with people that are cross-promoting stuff, so they’ve got a … I guess if you’re gonna refer stuff, it’s a little bit more on their personal relationship, or maybe … what else does a salesperson have to be able to offer to help somebody else that make…
Dan Stalp: That’s a great, great question. Yeah, so there’s a thing called the law of reciprocity, and if you want more, you need to give more. What a salesperson can do, again, if they have a network, is if they’re asking for a referral, they’re also giving referrals, and frankly most people aren’t motivated by the little 10% or whatever anyway that they get if they help someone, because it’s usually kind of a pain, and it’s not that much, and it feels kind of icky, but boy, if I sent you a referral and you got to keep 100% of it, and then you sent me one back and I got to keep 100% of it, wow.
Phil Singleton: Right.
Dan Stalp: I mean, that dog hunts, and so we don’t really have to be paying them a commission or anything, but maybe start with having them start with what are they looking for, and you attempt to refer them. Well, then their law of reciprocity kicks and they say, “Well, how can I help you?” Now they wanna help, type of thing.
Phil Singleton: That definitely works. I think it’s probably worked for a long time and still works, and that’s one of the things that you would still recommend for a lot of different kinds of salespeople with those kind of relationships.
Dan Stalp: Yes. Absolutely.
LinkedIn Mining for Sales
Phil Singleton: Tell me about the LinkedIn mining, because I think LinkedIn’s, to me, one of the hottest things there are right now, and it was always kind of interesting to me, and I kick myself for not getting start with it. I did, actually, a couple of years ago, but now it just seems like it’s even getting better than it was. At first I blamed Microsoft. I thought, “What have you done to this?” But for some reason it just seems like it’s gotten a lot better in the last year so. What kind of things can we do to prospect and-
Dan Stalp: Yeah, so the thing with LinkedIn is because most of it’s free, they can change anything anytime they want, however they want, and you have no control over it, so right now, or for the past few years, they have consistently had a way that it was you could do some of it for free, but as of March of 2007, you have to have a paid version to do this. I’m not a big advocate for buying premium services or Sales Navigator if you’re not using it, so what Sales Navigator allows you to do, though, is to go in, and anybody that I’m connected to, I can sort their connections in minutes by things that are important to me.
I mentioned earlier I own a franchise here. I’m not calling on people anywhere other than here, so I wanna limit it to Kansas City, and then I also know that the best people for me to talk to are owners of companies and CEOs, so I can click a thing there and it sorts by that. I also know that a lot of times, companies that have 10 or more employees are a better fit for me, so there’s even boxes for 10 to 50, 51 to 200, 200, to 500, 500 to 1,000. I mean, I can click boxes, and then sort the person’s connections, or it might start out at 1,600 and I can get it down to about 20 in minutes, and then I handpick people that I think might be a good fit for me, say five to seven of them, and then those are the ones we talk about.
I mean, you probably have this happen to you all the time. People say, “Oh my gosh, you did such a great job for us. We love it. Who’s a good prospect for you?” And that’s when we go, “Uh … ” We’re not locked and loaded, and instead my standard response is, “Tell you what, you and I are LinkedIn. How about I’ll do the heavy lifting, I’ll go out and I’ll come up with five to seven names that people that you’re connected to, you probably don’t know them all, and then you and I sit down, just take a few minutes, and see if there’s one of those that would be a good referral for me.”
Phil Singleton: Wow.
Dan Stalp: I have idiot-proofed this.
Phil Singleton: Yeah.
Dan Stalp: But I have yet to find anybody that knows how to do this. I don’t know what the deal is. I don’t know why it’s such a blind spot. There’s people that have Sales Navigator and they have no idea you can do this, so what I’ve been doing, and in fact my next one’s March 5th from three to five o’clock, I put on these Who Says You Can’t Sell on LinkedIn? That’s what all the marketing people are saying. “No, you can’t do that. You just go out there and put something of interest to them.” That is a hole, just a big old hole that nothing comes from, so now if I give you people’s names and you give me a referral, that is real, right?
Phil Singleton: Right.
Dan Stalp: It takes minutes. I don’t have to type up some blog that no one’s gonna read. This is blocking and tackling, so that’s one of the things that technology has helped us. I mean, this is a big small town.
Phil Singleton: Right.
Dan Stalp: There are people that I look on second connections. We have 233 connections in common. How have we not even fallen over each other? And we don’t know each other.
Phil Singleton: Right.
Dan Stalp: You wouldn’t know that without LinkedIn. It’s amazing.
Phil Singleton: Yeah, and I mean, I think people just take it for granted in terms of … it’s just such a huge opportunity, but who doesn’t? If you’re doing anything that’s big ticket or B to B, I mean, pretty much everybody ends up before a meeting or any kind of … they’re looking you up on LinkedIn.
Dan Stalp: Absolutely.
Phil Singleton: It’s like one of those things that almost everybody looks from a business standpoint to see who I’m talking to type of thing, but then when it comes to prospecting for their own business, they’re like Jekyll and Hyde and almost kind of ignore the potential of it or don’t look into it. It’s really interesting in that way.
Dan Stalp: I would argue that most people don’t. I mean, I think it’s huge best practice to look at LinkedIn before you go and meet someone, but I think a lot of people don’t do it, and it’s right there at their fingertips, free, and they’re not taking advantage of it. That’s an example of technology is there, but if I don’t have good habits and if I’m not willing to gut certain things out, I’m missing it, and I think it’s something else, and it’s not. It’s just I’m not doing the little things that add up over time.
Networking for Sales Leads
Phil Singleton: Let’s hit on one thing. I’m gonna dip into start wrapping this up here pretty soon, but I do wanna … the third thing that you’d mentioned when we talked about referrals, we talked about some LinkedIn. I also wanna hit just the networking events, because this is something that’s interesting for me. I’m in in Kansas City. I’m part KC Chamber, Leawood Chamber, Overland Park Chamber, Northeast Johnson County Chamber. All sorts of different things that … Worked with some magazines that have launch parties and events, of course. For me, starting out as an introvert myself, I detest going out and networking, doing face-to-face stuff, but I’m also interested because I still do believe what you said very much, because I see it happen all the time, and as soon as you make that personal connection with somebody, it just makes a huge difference, especially on bigger ticket things.
What types of networking events still work, because I think in some cases it seems like it’s a lot of time and effort to be away for a salesperson or a business owner or somebody to go to some of these events, so it’s like what’s the pay? I mean, which one should you go to? Should you go to any of them?
Dan Stalp: Yeah. Like you said, most people don’t like to go to networking events, but if it’s something that you are reasonably okay with or greater, it’s a good use of your time because-
Phil Singleton: You think it’s a must? I mean, is this part of something that every salesperson should be doing just to cover it, or is it like …
Dan Stalp: I wouldn’t say it’s a must for everybody, but it could definitely be a good part of your plan.
Phil Singleton: Okay.
Dan Stalp: But it depends on what you sell and also just where do these people that buy what you are selling go to? So it is a little bit of a hit and miss, but sometimes you find out what you want by knowing what you don’t want.
Phil Singleton: Is it one of those things, though, you going to them and showing your face on a regular basis is what makes a difference, or is it like you just go and eventually you get lucky because you’ll run into somebody that maybe makes a good connection? Where’s the real benefit, or is it both? I mean, what’s-
Consistency is key. You gotta give it enough time to work.
Dan Stalp: Well, consistency is key. You gotta give it enough time to work. Having said that, I think that you can show up at something and you can have a gut feeling that this is not gonna be the right place, and so rather than beating your head against the wall, forcing something to happen … But just like when you walk into a company, you can tell the healthy ones from the sick ones. I mean, you can literally tell in the lobby, and so I do think-
Phil Singleton: Thinking about an exit strategy, I guess, as soon as you get there and get that feeling.
Dan Stalp: Yeah, or at least just say, “You know what? I’m gonna gut this out. I’m back to gutting it out. I’m gonna stay here for the full two hours, but when I leave, I’m gonna have clarity.” But I can’t just say five minutes because sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re not, but if I’m there for two hours and I go, “No. I’m not doing that again.” Then that’s okay. Go pick something else. But the main thing is you need to be consistent. You need to show up on a regular basis, minimum six times a year, because otherwise you’re just starting over, starting over, starting over every time you show up.
Phil Singleton: Sure.
Dan Stalp: But the other part of it is is to go there. Instead of what can I get from all of you, what can I contribute to some of you? Again, some of our clients that don’t get a lot of referrals, we just do a pattern interrupt on their thinking. We say, “Okay, I want you to track, like you’ve been doing, how many referrals you’d be getting, because it’s pretty easy because you’re not getting very many. But what I want you to start tracking is how many referrals you’re giving, and I want you to have a goal for the next 90 day, how many a week, a month, whatever, and then let’s talk about whether your referrals have changed.”
Phil Singleton: That makes perfect sense.
Dan Stalp: We’re gonna…
Phil Singleton: I mean, at some point. It just seems like anymore, you have to almost give. You have to either teach or give somebody some value, or give something up, and not just expect showing up, stuff’s gonna drop into your lap because you’re there type of a thing, so that makes perfect sense.
Dan Stalp: Yeah, if I’m just taking, taking, taking, I’m a vendor at my own stuff. If I’m giving and knowing that it’s all gonna come back to me somehow, maybe not right now, then I become a trusted advisor, and trusted advisors, people are drawn to you, and when you help them, they want to help you back. They can’t help themselves, and so-
Phil Singleton: It’s like part of marketing psychology, right? I don’t wanna say they owe it to you, but I know that’s part of one of the marketing psychology things that’s out there, where it’s like as soon as you give something of value, there’s a feeling created like somebody owes you something. Not that they really owe it, but there’s that feeling that somebody gave you something, so I think that really makes an impression, anyway.
Dan Stalp: Yeah, and you don’t wanna do it expecting that, but you just know that over time, you put enough out there, it will come back, but we just don’t know who and when and how, and so that, you’re just gonna stand out, and showing up at networking events and just putting your name, your first name on your name tag, I mean, this is not a pickup place, at least that’s not what I’m … Put your name, your full name, your company name. I mean, you are making it extremely difficult for someone to help you, and frankly they just don’t trust you. You’re not even willing to put your last name and your company? I mean, you’re gonna get hammered, and you don’t want anybody to know who you are. I mean, that has so many negative connotations. Put your full name and your company name. Make it easy for people to help you.
Dan Stalp’s Kansas City Favorites
Phil Singleton: Great. Let’s wrap this up with … Tell me. We’re in Kansas City. I love asking people, because I discover all sorts of things, what you love about it real quickly, and any places that you must go or part of your routine in terms of anything. I don’t know. Favorite restaurants, or sporting events that you go to, or anything. Shout it out.
Dan Stalp: Well, so we grew up on a farm in a town of 3,600 people, so everybody knew everybody, and I really liked that. I mean, you really had to keep your nose clean. You couldn’t be doing stuff, but what I like about Kansas City is even though there’s over two million people, you still have that feeling that people know who you are and they care about you, so that’s been … We’ve lived here for 25 years. We lived in Omaha prior to that, and then I, like I said, I grew up a farm and then I went away to college, but that’s what I really like, is just the people. They genuinely care. They’re just down to Earth, salt to the Earth type of people.
One of the things, when we have family come in, we just go downtown, now that we have a street cars, and we don’t over-plan it, and we just get on the street car, and we get off, and we go do something. We say, “We wanna do something else,” but we almost always go to Union Station, Liberty Memorial, of course the Plaza. We love to go there. As far as restaurants, Jack Stack Barbecue’s my personal favorite, but there’s a lot of good ones. They’re all really good, it’s just my personal favorite. Just letting them take in the city a little bit.
Phil Singleton: Yeah. Those are great places. Union Station, Plaza, I mean that’s … Liberty Memorials are great.
Dan Stalp: Yeah.
Phil Singleton: Well look, this has been absolutely phenomenal for me. It’s great, great insight. I’m sure a lot of our listeners are gonna get great value out of this. Tell us where people can reach you in terms of website or LinkedIn, and you mentioned that you had some of your own workshops and things like that. Anything else that you’ve got going that you’d like to promote that’s going on this year [crosstalk 00:35:47].
Dan Stalp: Yeah, thanks for asking. My website is just www.danstalp.com, just D-A-N S-T-A-L-P .com, and if you’re on the homepage, we always have the next event coming up, and that LinkedIn session is out on there, because that’s on [inaudible 00:36:03]. It’s March 5th.
Phil Singleton: March 5th. Okay.
Dan Stalp: I’m the only Dan Stalp on LinkedIn, so just type in my name and you’ll find me there, and then phone number is 9134511760, and then email is just email@example.com. I try to keep it simple.
Phil Singleton: Awesome. Thank you so much for giving us this much time today and sharing some great tips and insight, Dan.
Dan Stalp: You bet. Thanks for having me.
Phil Singleton: Okay. Take care.
Dan Stalp: All right. Bye-bye.