Active Listening in Sales with Trish McCormick

Greaser Consulting Content Strategist Trish McCormick joins Erika Davis to discuss how the skill of active listening can improve conversations, not only in sales, but life.

Show notes

Sound familiar: you’re watching a television show; your friend asks, “what did that character just say?” and you have no idea? Sure, you heard the lines; you have a general idea of what’s going on in the episode. But, what was just said?

It’s mildly embarrassing when this happens during your favorite show, but it can be quite problematic when this happens on a cold call.

RevOps Therapists Erika Davis, VP of Go To Market Strategy, and Trish McCormick, Content Strategist, at Greaser Consulting, share how the skill of active listening, learned and practiced through their studies in psychotherapy and integrative nutrition respectively, can improve conversations, not only in sales, but life. (And it could even help when you’re binge-watching Netflix).

Transcript

Erika Davis

Hi, I’m Erika Davis, VP of Go To Market Strategy at Greaser Consulting. And in this episode, I talked with one of our very own Content Strategists on our Pro Serve team, Trish McCormick.

Erika Davis

Trish and I have both studied adjacent career paths to sales. And we thought it would be really interesting to talk about active listening and empathy as it relates to being in sales.

Erika Davis

I think a lot of people talk about how important it is to be an active listener and talk about how important soft skills for selling and for being a good teammate. Being a good teammate when you’re trying to build a business or any kind of organization.

Erika Davis

And Trish and I thought it would be interesting to talk together about the how behind that. What did we learn in our respective programs that you’ll hear about that have taught us how to be better active listeners, how to have empathy and what it actually looks like to work on the skills and build them.

Erika Davis

And sometimes that work can be hard, but it’s absolutely worth it. And I hope that you learn something and you enjoy the episode. Thanks for listening.

Podcast theme

“Say you want some clarity in sales and marketing and SEP. Well we have just the remedy, our podcast RevOps Therapy.”

Erika Davis

Hey, Trish, thanks for joining us on the podcast.

Trish McCormick

Thanks for having me.

Erika Davis

Yeah, absolutely. You want to start by giving a brief introduction of who you are?

Trish McCormick

Yeah, definitely. My name is Trish McCormick. I’m currently a Content Strategist. But I also have a background in sales. I’ve worked in many different positions whether it was marketing or sponsorship or event sales.

Trish McCormick

And I was in SDR before as well so I know the ins and outs of sales and the importance of active listening.

Erika Davis

Awesome, yeah, I love that. I love the backgrounds with different stuff that you’ve done. And I know this podcast came about because you and I are talking about what our adjacent education has taught us about active listening and sales.

Erika Davis

And it really got me thinking about how I think people understand and are really starting to understand the value of empathy and active listening in sales. And it’s not often that people talk about the how.

Erika Davis

It’s just like be an active listener. And it’s like okay, well what does that mean? And so yeah, I’d love to start our discussion there. Just talking about what active listening means to you. And then just get into the skills that we’ve both learned in our adjacent education.

Trish McCormick

Definitely. So I think for me active listening is being present within that conversation. So you’re not sidetracked. You’re not on your phone. You’re not checking a million different things. I understand we are in a world that we can multi task. It doesn’t mean we should be multi tasking at the same time.

Trish McCormick

So active listening is being present with the person or people that you are communicating with. And you are giving them the attention so you’re able to digest information without … And I think what’s important, I should say, it’s listening and digesting the information you’re receiving, but not always thinking about what you’re going to be saying next.

Trish McCormick

It’s just actually just listening and not trying to think of a response. It just should be listening to that person and just taking that in and digesting it however you do it because we all function differently.

Trish McCormick

And sometimes we might have to say, can you elaborate on that? Or can you explain it in a different way because we all communicate differently and I think that’s important to note as well.

Erika Davis

Yeah and I love that. I think about I like the term north star in a conversation where you’re open to the conversation going in a lot of different ways. And at the end of the day, you’re really trying to bring it back to this one focal point. And so I think with active listening, the north star for me in sales is always to understand what the other person’s pain is or to understand the problem.

Erika Davis

I think my success in sales and just how I felt comfortable professionally really changed when I pivoted from thinking of every conversation as a chance for me to get a meeting or to close a deal.

Erika Davis

And instead I started thinking about okay, if I can really, really understand what this person needs to solve, at the very least, I could be able to make an introduction or I could be able to say, oh that sounds really hard. Here’s some of what my other customers have said. I don’t think we’re the solution for you.

Erika Davis

Or I think that north star of like how can I really understand this person and their pain is one of the principles, I would say, of active listening and what I always think about.

Trish McCormick

Definitely. I think even as like whether are you an SDR or BDR, whatever your organization calls it, I think when you change the mindset of a “salesperson”, I put that in quotations, if you look at yourself as a coach or even a consultant, I think it makes less of … I get there’s sales quotas and there are different pressures and you have to be competitive.

Trish McCormick

But when you actually put yourself as a coach or a consultant, that means you’re just trying to help that person. So reaching out isn’t scary because you’re just like no, I generally just want you to see. And it’s not really … Of course like you want to, of course, get their business and there’s factors to it. But your initial call shouldn’t be like I need to get this meeting. I need their business.

Trish McCormick

It’s more like how can I help you? Like I generally want to know how can I help you and that also helps, I think, sales people succeed a little bit better when they’re more genuine to reaching out and doing some outreach that way.

Erika Davis

Yeah definitely. And I think too if you’re really approaching your work with this mindset of building both your own professional skill set and really contributing to the growth of your organization, you can approach these conversations, too.

Erika Davis

Obviously everyone wants business and they want to be successful. And also, having conversations with potential customers is always going to teach you something. If you can show up to the conversation with this if I can’t close deal, I will at least build a professional connection. And I will at least hear from my ideal audience problems that they’re having.

Erika Davis

Maybe it’s not the problem I’m solving, but the next time I talk to someone who has the same problem, I can speak with a little bit more knowledge or intelligence about that problem and that builds trust with people who might actually want to buy from you.

Erika Davis

And so one of the things about active listening that I think when I hear people talk about it in sales is it’s like if the only reason why you’re interested in being an active listener or being a better listener is so you can close more deals, it’s like you don’t get it yet. Do you know what I mean?

Erika Davis

And so I think that’s an important piece too that if your agenda still stays the same, you’re probably not actually active listening. You’re probably just maybe appropriating some of the skills to try to close more deals. But it might not be as genuine.

Trish McCormick

I think it’s important that you know that it is a skill. So it’s something you have to sharpen over time. It doesn’t happen overnight. So yes, we went back to our programs in different ways and got these skills through that. But I also think that you can continue to learn how to active listen.

Trish McCormick

Listen whether it’s like on calls or with your teammates, I think it’s important to note that it is a skill set that you have to develop over time. And then there’s always going to be ways improve because sometimes where we do get distracted and we do have a lot of things going on.

Trish McCormick

But just going back to the present moment and being able to listen to others will always benefit everyone that’s involved. But it is a skill that gets strengthened over time for sure.

Erika Davis

Yeah, I think that’s a good segue into maybe we can each talk a little bit about the programs that we’ve been a part of and what we’ve learned. I’d love to hear about what you’ve done in the past year or so and where that’s taken you?

Trish McCormick

Yeah, so I went back to IIN. So it’s a nutrition program. It was holistic wellness and nutrition and I just graduated actually last week so I’m super excited. I can now officially be … I mean you can do this without a certification, but I really thought it was important to go back because I wanted to learn all the different methods and just to develop better skills for active listening and coaching.

Trish McCormick

And through that I was able to … This is a valuable lesson that I learned. It’s meet people where they are at not where you are at. And that’s something that I’ve carried over into my day to day life as a motto.

Trish McCormick

Because so many times it can be frustrating to say why don’t you get it? Or it’s just sometimes hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. But through that and being in sales, because I was in sales at the time when I went back to school. It did help me gain more confidence and it gave me less anxiety.

Trish McCormick

Because I am the first to say and whoever is listening to this will attest to this, I hated cold calling. Hated it.

Trish McCormick

I like sales for a lot of things. I like the creativity. I liked the idea that you can meet so many different people and talk to them. But at the same time, I know for a fact my phone skills probably held me back more than email skills. So it’s good that I write emails now.

Trish McCormick

But I think through this program, it’s made me more confident. And instead of thinking about like I’m on the phone, like what am I going to say next? I would have this fear. I couldn’t even listen because I was just having this … Kind of like when you’re younger in elementary school and they did popcorn and they’re like you have to read next.

Trish McCormick

I would always read ahead because I was like I don’t want to mess this up. I don’t want … And it was my own insecurity being like you need to be ready.

Trish McCormick

So now I can talk to someone on the phone and instead of like what am I going to next? I’m listening and say, that’s really interesting. Tell me more about.

Trish McCormick

And I think you can attest to this especially with your background, people love to talk about themselves. So it’s the perfect way for letting people have the floor and let them talk. Even if it’s like I’m not interested. Be like okay, tell me more about it.

Trish McCormick

It’s just a way of opening things and letting people express themselves and just being an active listener and letting them know that you see them and hear them is super crucial.

Erika Davis

Yeah, well and it sounds too like when I hear explain the anxiety with cold calling and how active listening helps with that. I think too about one of the anxieties of a cold call is that you don’t know what the other person is going to say. And so if you can’t read ahead, so to speak, and anticipate what the other person’s going to say, of course you don’t know what you’re going to say.

Erika Davis

And so putting the pressure on yourself to be able to say the perfect thing, it’s an impossible standard to meet because you don’t know what’s going to happen.

Erika Davis

And so active listening is like you can always do it in every situation. And one thing that makes me think of too is when I was in SDR and I was cold calling, I think one thing that was really helpful for me was to figure out that it’s okay to say that you don’t know something or that you need help with that. Or that’s like yeah, I don’t know that.

Erika Davis

It’s really relieving to be able to say okay, I don’t need to know everything. I don’t need to have the answers. I just need to know my purpose and need to be able to understand the other person. And then when you can understand what your responsibility really is, you don’t put the impossible pressure on yourself. And I think that’s where a lot of anxiety around cold calling comes from.

Trish McCormick

I got a lot of meetings just being honest saying like I actually don’t know that but let’s say you were my AE. I’d be like Erika is an expert in this field and she would be able to answer your questions. Like would it make sense for you two to connect?

Trish McCormick

And like I’m not saying I played dumb, but there’s times when I really didn’t know or there’s times when maybe I knew the answer, but instead of telling them, I wanted to show them through demos. Like that’s a great question. I actually have an expert that can show you.

Trish McCormick

So it sometimes worked out in my favor as an SDR to be like let me connect you to the person that knows for sure.

Erika Davis

Yeah, that makes sense. Also you said with your nutrition and coaching program, can you tell me a little bit more about how active listening was a part of that? And how you used some of those skills? I think yeah like focusing on the how, like what active listening actually looks like, I think, could be really helpful for listeners.

Trish McCormick

So through my program what I learned, especially in the fall, we started to do health histories. So essentially they were mock appointments with clients. And that’s when I started to use it into actual practice. Before we just read up on it or we watched webinars or seminars about it.

Trish McCormick

But it wasn’t until probably September of 2021 that I was able to put it into action. And through that we had just like a questionnaire that they would fill out before an appointment. And through that whether … Everyone does it differently. You could have reviewed it or you could have done it in real time.

Trish McCormick

But I think the way that I was taught to listen is just be very engaging and also reiterate what that person’s saying. So if they’re saying I’m struggling, and I’m using this as an example, let’s say they said, “I struggle with working out three days a week.”

Trish McCormick

I would say, “Okay, it seems to me that you’re struggling incorporating movement throughout the week. Like what are some ways that you think would help you move more?”

Trish McCormick

And some people said, “Well, I love Zumba.” And you could say, “Well, that’s amazing. Why don’t we try to do one Zumba next week?” So it’s letting them come to the realization of what they like, what they need. No one really wants to be told what to do. So it’s not like I’m preaching at them like you need to do this. And I’m never going to because that’s not what coaching is.

Trish McCormick

I think that was not that a shock, but I think going through this program made me realize it’s really on the person to come to the realization of what they need. And it’s not really the person that they’re paying to tell them what they need.

Trish McCormick

It’s just this safe space to let them speak and you can listen. And then just say like you’re doing a great job. And just encouraging them to follow their gut. I know we talked about that a lot. It’s like the gut is very important. There’s 80% of our serotonins in our gut so we should really go listen to it.

Trish McCormick

But yeah. I think that’s the key to active listening is just reiterating what that person’s saying so they know you’re listening. And sometimes it’s just rewording what they say so they could hear it back to themselves and say, “Yeah, like I did do this right.” Or “Oh yeah, that is a great idea.” And making them feel valid in their thoughts, in their feelings.

Erika Davis

Yeah, I love that. I think it reminds me so much in what I’ve been learning in my internship and in my program. I’m studying counseling, psychology, and working towards my license as a psychotherapist. And one of the things that I’ve learned that I implement, not only in sales calls, but also like any high pressure, high stakes, at least from my perspective, any conversation that feels really high pressure or high stakes is really to not necessarily try to drive the conversation towards the outcome or a solution when it doesn’t feel like everyone’s aligned.

Erika Davis

But to able to say something like “Hey, I feel uncomfortable with where this conversation is right now.” Because that’s so much of what being a good psychotherapist is, is it’s like listening to someone and then using your own experience of hearing that person to reflect back to them what’s going on, right?

Erika Davis

You think about mirror neurons and like all of these things where if I’m feeling a certain way talking to you, it’s probably the case that you’re feeling similarly. If you’re really in touch with … Like if you’re a really good active listener and you’re really in sync with the person you’re talking to.

Erika Davis

Like that’s a skill set you can develop to feel what they’re feeling. And if you can reflect that back to someone and be really honest and fearless in doing that, that’s a skill that is very, very helpful in executive conversations. Even like internally I’ve done that before where I’ve had to be in a room with leadership saying, “Hey, I know you guys are all in agreement. I feel uncomfortable and I don’t want to move forward until I figure out why.”

Erika Davis

And that’s something I would never have thought to do before. But I’ve found in a couple of my sales conversations, let’s say in the last six months, when I was talking to someone, I just got this sense that like they weren’t telling me everything. Or that they were still unsure about what I was saying.

Erika Davis

And I would say something like based on what you said, I get the understanding that we’re not really on the same page here yet. And they’d be like yeah, like I agree.

Erika Davis

And even, no one wants to hear that on a sales call that you’re not on the same page. But having the confidence to say it, it really builds respect regardless of what happens after that. And that’s just, yeah, I don’t know. That’s just not … I wish that I was an SDR again because I think I could really use that skill set but it’s one of those-

Trish McCormick

Be careful what you wish for. No I’m kidding.

Erika Davis

I know right. Well at this rate, people keep going out on paternity leave. I feel like my whole sales team is going to be out and I’m going to be cold calling which is great. That would be a great opportunity.

Trish McCormick

Do you think that, just from what you mentioned, do you think that also we’re talking about active listening. But do you think this also helped your emotional intelligence and your empathy towards just in general individuals?

Erika Davis

Well yeah. I mean I think in a lot of ways, I don’t necessarily know if like you can teach someone how to genuinely care about other people. And that’s compassion, right? That’s not really empathy. Empathy is really just understanding or feeling what other people are feeling.

Erika Davis

So yeah, I mean I think if the goal is to understand someone, one of the things as a psychotherapist intern, the first year of my Masters program was all about dealing with your own stuff, right?

Erika Davis

So it’s like when I’m listening to you and let’s say you say something that makes me angry. And then all I can feel is my own anger as you’re talking, I’m not actually understanding you at all. I’m waiting for my turn to talk and then I’m just going to unleash my anger, right?

Erika Davis

But if I can listen to you and I start to get angry and I can be like “huh, interesting. There’s a little anger there. Okay, let me curious about why I’m angry as I continue to listen to you.”

Erika Davis

And then maybe I’m going to realize that my anger has nothing to do with you. Or maybe I’m going to realize later in our conversation why I’m really angry, right? Or talking about guts, like neurons in the gut, right? Like your subconscious picks up on so much more than you’re able to understand.

Erika Davis

And so there might be something. Of course, you would never make me angry, Trish. But let’s say for some reason when I talked to you I just felt angry. I might not be able to articulate why, but like noting that is really valuable even if you don’t express it, right.

Erika Davis

Or if you get on a sales call and a sales person is talking to you for a few minutes and you get the sense that you don’t trust them, like people talk about first impressions, right? Like that’s what they’re talking about. That is really hard to come back from.

Trish McCormick

Yeah, I was taught that in my younger 20s. I used to sell wedding dresses in New York City.

Erika Davis

Right.

Trish McCormick

And something they told me was, “The first five minutes if you didn’t get the bride’s trust, they’re not going to buy from you.” Like no matter if that was their dream dress, they didn’t care. Like there’s so many stores everywhere. But that was something that always stuck with me. It’s like if you don’t get their trust or the first impression in the first minutes that means you lost your sale.

Trish McCormick

Even if I put them … We have the back where we really sold the deal because it had really nice lightning. And even if I put a tiara on, like the girl’s like, “No, I’m okay.” You’re like, “No, you look great. Like let’s wrap it up. I have a quota.”

Trish McCormick

It didn’t matter because I lost their sale in the first five minutes. So I always think about that and I put that more so … It was a little different because that’s in-person sales.

Trish McCormick

But then when I was on the phone, I still felt the same way. It was like I have to get their attention in the first five minutes or else like who am I? I’m just another person maybe interrupting their day or whatever it might be. So I think that’s a good point.

Erika Davis

Yeah, and it’s interesting. Because a lot of the skills that we’re talking about around empathy and active listening, a lot of it does have to do with things that tend to be really instinctual. It’s just about knowing how to recognize when those things are happening and then knowing what to do next, right?

Erika Davis

But I think, yeah I think that the how around that. Like how if I’m a sales rep or I’m at some point in a revenue operations sort of career and I want to get better at doing something like this. Like how, if I didn’t want to go back to school, like how would you suggest that I get better at these things?

Trish McCormick

I think for me, and this is a personal thing. So it doesn’t work for everyone. But I meditate a lot. I try to meditate in the morning especially before work just to calm my nerves and my anxiety.

Trish McCormick

That’s always important. And it helps you be present. And it helps you also … I think something that people always think about meditation is that you’re quieting the mind. But it’s quite the opposite. My mind’s racing the whole time, but I’m able to put things away in cabinets or my tabs. I can exit out of them and I can organize myself a little bit better for the day.

Trish McCormick

So learning to present is really important. And I think that’s helpful. And that makes you a better active listener because then you can focus on that person and you’re not thinking about, oh I have to do my grocery list. Or I have to go here, I have to … You’re not thinking about these things. You’re able to just quiet.

Trish McCormick

And in a sense, you’re able to put away certain things for the moment and be able to be present with that person. So meditation has been really helpful for me or mindfulness. I know we have our meetings and you have like your walking treadmill.

Trish McCormick

But I do recommend even putting time on your calendar. Whether you go for a walk or a stretch break, but I think it’s important to keep active and keep moving because it’s just going to make the blood flow and it’s going to reduce stress and anxiety throughout the day.

Trish McCormick

But those are things that can help you because like when you feel antsy, you’re not going to be able to focus on that conversation. So for me personally, movement is really important and mindfulness as well can help you become a better listener just because you’re easing the body and that’s going to help your mind. That’s just a personal belief but I think it’s super helpful.

Erika Davis

Yeah, I know, I think that’s great. I think just vibing off of meditation. Such a woo woo thing to say. But I think about-

Trish McCormick

I’m moving to California so, right?

Erika Davis

So I think about body awareness. Like I think my life really changed both professionally and personally when I understood that emotions were not in the mind, they’re in the body, right?

Erika Davis

And that it’s not just like if you feel frustrated, you can’t just tell yourself like I’m not going to be frustrated now. That’s called suppression. And eventually when you’re denying how you feel, you’re disconnecting yourself from your body.

Erika Davis

And so like really focusing on paying attention to what’s going on inside of yourself. And instead of just trying to deny your emotions, like really trying to get some distance from them. And this is what meditation is so helpful for, right?

Erika Davis

Instead of saying I’m really frustrated. It’s like oh, huh, interesting. Okay, there’s some frustration there. All right. Well can I just look at that frustration and continue doing what I’m doing? Because that frustration doesn’t have to direct what I’m doing right now.

Erika Davis

That can really … It’s a practice that is so hard to do. And that’s why I think people choose instead to say something like mind over matter. Just like suck it up.

Erika Davis

But that’s just not how emotions work. And I think it’s so much stronger in fact to say oh I am sad or I am frustrated. And also I’m going to continue doing this thing that’s really important to me and I’m not not going to let that emotion control me. I’m going to just let it be what it is.

Erika Davis

And that way when you are in conversations where you’re anxious or something unpredictable happens, you’ve developed that muscle where you can say oh that comment was really surprising. Why am I surprised? Oh because that’s not what I would expect that person to say.

Erika Davis

And then you can say something in that conversation, “Like most people I talk to don’t say that. Can you tell me more? Like have you heard that before that that’s not a normal thing to say?” Instead of having this expectation for yourself that like uh-oh, I’ve never heard that before. It must be me, right?

Trish McCormick

Yeah.

Erika Davis

That’s how that skill would look in practice.

Trish McCormick

There’s two things. I think the first thing is that have you ever heard of the RAIN method? It’s recognize what’s going on, allow the experience to be there just as it is. So like you mentioned, it’s just accepting that you’re angry or sad or anxious. Investigate with kindness and then natural awareness which comes from identifying with the experience.

Trish McCormick

And then on top of that, I think selling with curiosity was a selling tool that we used at my last two companies. Essentially it’s that. So it’s like even though, I think it’s sales people or maybe it was just me thing because I have anxiety.

Trish McCormick

But I always thought like you thought. Like oh my God, am I supposed to know this? Am I supposed to know this competitor? Like that’s not on our battle cards. And you have this moment.

Trish McCormick

But instead come off as just like curious and excited. Like I’ve never heard of this before. That’s so interesting. Tell me more.

Trish McCormick

And I think that’s going to get a different reaction than … People can, whether they see you or don’t see you. Whether you’re on a Zoom call or on a phone call, they can sense that you don’t feel confident.

Trish McCormick

So I think when you come into a conversation with confidence, listening definitely does help because it shows that you are present. But having that ability to be like you know what? I don’t know everything. I would love to learn about this.

Trish McCormick

It seems like you’re an expert in this category. I would love to learn from you and whatever it might be and give that mindset, I guess, a little bit of a twist. Instead of coming and thinking I’m not equipped for this conversation. Come and saying like how can I learn more?

Erika Davis

Yeah, absolutely. I think a theme that we’re circling back to is just taking the pressure off of yourself. And one of the terms that I used a lot when I was teaching was there’s confidence and then there’s earned confidence.

Erika Davis

And I think that there is a certain confidence you feel when you’ve done your homework, you’ve prepared as best you can. And then at a certain point, it’s like game time, right? You’ve done everything you can up until that point and you really have to trust that your preparation has … The work’s already done at that moment and all you need to do is show up with everything that you’ve got and be open to learning, be open to, yeah, to being wrong and to failing and being able to own it when it happens. And that really is the best. It doesn’t get much better than that. Do you know what I mean?

Trish McCormick

Yeah. I think learning to accept rejection is … The best thing you can learn in sales is honestly that. Like I think, I read a book called Rejection Proof. You may have heard of him or he was on a TedTalk. But essentially what he did was he set out to get rejected and that was the whole purpose so he can get over rejection.

Trish McCormick

But what I learned from that is just like every time you get rejected just think of it as like a redirection. Or like for me I think every time I got something wrong or I failed, I learned more from what I got wrong than I got right.

Trish McCormick

So all the months I didn’t hit my quota, I learned more from that because I was like how can I be better at this? Compared to when I succeed I was like okay well I’m doing what I’m supposed to so like I’ll just keep doing it.

Trish McCormick

But when I got things wrong or I didn’t hit my quota or I had a bad phone call, I learned more from those experiences than when I had the perfect phone call or the perfect sales month.

Erika Davis

Yeah and this is going to sound really cheesy, but what this is making me think is that we focus on active listening with others. But I think it’s also really important just to be an active listener with yourself. And to be able to be really honest with yourself.

Erika Davis

Like when you’re disappointed, like let yourself be disappointed. Let yourself feel that. Because that’s going what’s going to give you the fire to do better and to improve.

Erika Davis

And so I think yeah. I just think that’s so important to be … You can’t be better with other people than you are with yourself. And so if you don’t take yourself seriously and also be able to laugh at yourself.

Erika Davis

Not take yourself too seriously but take your own development seriously, right? And trust that you have a lot to offer others. You teach people how to think about you, in that sense, by how you treat yourself.

Trish McCormick

And you definitely have to laugh at yourself, because even pre-COVID we were in a sales room, you got to hear everyone talk. And sometimes if you heard the best phone call and you would hear someone say something, you’re like, “Did they just say that on the phone?” And it made you laugh.

Trish McCormick

But at the same time, you’re like, “They’re having fun with their job. They’re enjoying themselves and you can tell that in their face.” Even they were like, “What did I just say?” But they just went with it.

Trish McCormick

In our old office, they had like tennis balls throwing at the wall and people were playing basketball. It’s just like a madhouse. But at the same time you knew they were having fun by switching it up. They weren’t always as robotic. Or like oh how can I help you today? It was more like they said things off the cusp sometimes just because they’re like why don’t I try it?

Trish McCormick

And I think that’s important too is to have fun and laugh at yourself and maybe it’s how it goes, right?

Erika Davis

Yeah, that’s definitely a loss, I think, for sales people. I mean it’s great. Working from home has so many benefits. I love it. And also I think one thing that when I as an SDR, one thing I learned is that even the top performing reps have really bad calls.

Erika Davis

Like brutal calls. And sometimes especially the top reps because the top reps, especially at an early stage company where you’re still developing your go to market message. You’re still trying to find your market positioning.

Erika Davis

Like you take risks. I remember when I was an SDR, we were, the first couple months, like we didn’t really know what our category was. We didn’t know what to call ourselves. So it was just sort of … We didn’t have a marketing team. So it was like wild west. We were just saying whatever felt right in the moment.

Erika Davis

And there were a lot of brutal calls. And there were so many times where I would get off the call and be like, “I don’t know why I said that. It just came out of my mouth before I could stop it.”

Trish McCormick

But I think what’s good about that is though like it was super innovative and you got to play with … Like we talk about this all the time. And I probably sleep about AB testing, but the same thing with emails. We AB test all the time. Like let’s see if it works. Let’s see if this is better and I don’t think we have that same mentality when it comes to, I guess, dialogue over the phone. People have phone scripts.

Trish McCormick

But maybe it’s like have fun with it. Have something that’s maybe a little bit more, I don’t want to say professional, but more maybe tied up. And then something that’s a little bit more fun and loose and you’re able to be more authentic.

Trish McCormick

Because I remember I had a call with someone. She thought I was her best friend that just got out of a yoga class. And she’s like, “What did you do this morning?” I’m like, “Oh I did yoga.” Like I just went with it because she was asking me what I was doing.

Trish McCormick

And it was like the VP of a really important gas company so it’s like big company. And the funny thing, she’s like, “Who am I talking to?” I’m like, “It’s Trish.” And I named my company. And she’s like, “Oh my God, I thought you were like Betty or whatever her name was.” And I was like, “No.” I was like, “Do you want to take a meeting?”

Trish McCormick

She ended up taking it but it’s just to be … Being person to person, I think, is important. I just went with it. I didn’t correct her and say like, “No, this is a sales call.” I was just like, “yeah, I went. I did yoga this morning. Like how are you. I just had a smoothie.”

Trish McCormick

And I think that’s important just to have that human element when you’re talking to people. And those are my best calls, I think, is when I let go of what I thought I had to be and just was myself. And that will look different to everyone, of course.

Erika Davis

Yeah. Totally I’m thinking about how people have different learning styles and different levels of comfort, different … One thing I’m learning since I started having responsibility for leading and managing a team is that not everyone needs the same amount of structure.

Erika Davis

Some people really thrive with loose structure. Some people really need like a lot of structure. And one isn’t better or worse. It’s just how different people work. And I think one thing about active listening is I think it applies universally. Like it is a universal skill set that’s helpful just in life in general.

Erika Davis

But especially when you need to work together as a team to build something and move something forward. Like it’s just so, so important universally I think.

Trish McCormick

Yes, I’m a communications major so that was the running joke with my family. Because when I was little, it’s like I started off when I was really little from like two to three, I was in speech therapy. I couldn’t speak correctly. And then I ended up graduating with a communications degree and don’t shut up.

Trish McCormick

So I blame my mom and my speech therapist, Mrs. Thomas, wherever you are, thanks. But it’s just the importance is like I think growing up, it’s like I was always kind of talking like just how to communicate. And it wasn’t until, I guess, the last two years that I learned how to actively listen. Before it was just about what to say. And then I changed it to what I’m … Like it stopped being about what I have to say.

Trish McCormick

And that’s honestly I think it’s really helped me with just social anxiety in general. I can just walk into a room and not think like what do they think about me? I’m thinking what do I think about them. And that can be internally or with our clients. It just reduces that pressure to be this perfect person. It’s just yeah. It’s best that way.

Erika Davis

Yeah and like trusting your own experience.

Trish McCormick

And having more confidence.

Erika Davis

Yeah, absolutely. Well I think that would be a good place to end it. Yeah, I really enjoyed this conversation, Trish. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast.

Trish McCormick

Thank you for having me.

Announcer

Hot dog that was a great episode. Thanks for listening. If you want to learn more about Greaser Consulting or any information you heard on today’s episode, visit us online at www.greaserconsulting.com. Be sure to click the follow button and the bell icon to be notified on our latest her at RevOps Therapy. Thanks and see you real soon.

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Greaser Consulting

The Greaser team is made up of sales engagement natives; many of our consultants, including our founder, were early employees at the companies who created sales engagement. We are passionate about supporting revenue generators, empowering them to grow their companies and serve more customers.