Sales Reimagined, with Brian Court

Brian Court, Director of Global Sales at DHD, argues that everyone is in sales, and that understanding this will help your sales reps be more empathetic, more helpful, and to close better deals.

Show notes

Everyone’s in sales. Everyone.

Brian Court, Director of Global Sales at DHD, explains this concept best to Jordan Greaser, RevOps Therapist and CEO of Greaser Consulting: 

“The easiest way to get to that is if I asked you, ‘tell me something you’re passionate about,’ right? … It just naturally starts to come out. And you’re not, you’re not selling me, but you’re selling me? Right? 

“You’re, you’re showing me how this particular thing is worth a time investment or is meaningful, when before it wasn’t to me. And we don’t think of that as sales… And that’s, in my mind, selling; that’s what selling is. 

“It’s, it’s encouraging people to move towards something for something that they truly believe is in their best interest and others’ best interest. And so, that, to me, that’s where you want to sit in a sales process.” 

Court goes on to explain how this understanding can lead sellers to being more empathetic and more helpful, closing better deals.

Transcript

Jordan  00:00

Hi, I’m Jordan, the founder and CEO of Greaser Consulting. In this episode, I spoke with Brian from DHD. And we were talking about this concept of “sales reimagined.” And the idea behind it is that, without sounding trying to sound too cliché here, is just that everybody’s in sales. Okay? If you’re an accountant and you want to try to do a new way of processing payroll, well, you got to come up with the idea, and you need to sell that idea. If you’re in sales ops, okay, that territory realignment that we want to all get done, that started at the beginning with an idea that you went and you spoke to others about, and you explained why we needed to get across the line. And so it’s an interesting topic; if you’ve been in sales for 30 years, okay, maybe this isn’t your topic today. But if you’ve been around or you’ve, you’ve been tertiary around sales, and you’re early in, one of the best parts about this episode that I think really mattered was that idea of the stigma of being in sales. I even remembered for myself when I realized, “Oh, my goodness, I’m in sales. How do I feel about that?” It was a little bit of a thing to get over. And what I really liked about this episode, it was just talking through that sort of, how do you do sales? And how do you encourage everyone around you to be okay with putting their ideas out there? And you’ll catch this toward the end of the podcast that Brian talks about. Your idea that you’re trying to sell might not be the end-all solution, but it’s part of the decision-making process. And so it’s actually incredibly important and valuable for you to put yourself out there with your ideas, your thoughts, your product, whatever that is, because you’re engaging in the solution-making process. So with that, I’m excited for you to hop in and we’re going to tick it over to the live podcast see.

Intro Jingle

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

Jordan  02:22

Hi, everyone, this is Jordan, and I have with me Brian, today. Brian, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself?

Brian  02:28

Hello. Thanks, Jordan. My name is Brian Court. I am the Director of Global Sales at DHD. I’ve been in sales, basically my entire career, which now spans 20-plus years. 

Jordan  02:51

So 20-plus? You’re not gonna give specifics about now? 

Brian  02:55

No. It’s kind of like my wife’s age. Right? She’s 20-plus.

Jordan  02:59

Yeah, I gotcha. I’ll use that, well you’re 20-plus.

Brian  03:06

Yeah, no. Well, and yeah, thanks for having me on and excited to see what we’re gonna talk about today. 

Jordan  03:15

Well, I know when I reached out to you, and we were thinking about, okay, like, you know, we’re fairly decent individuals here, we could figure out something interesting to talk about. The big thing that bubbled up was just that concept of sales reimagined, right? And that was something that you were saying you’ve carried with you your entire life. To which you, I mean, you even gave a fascinating story about being at the World Trade Centers in, what, 2001. So what would you say sells reimagined? Like, what, what are we talking about here?

Brian  03:50

Yeah, good question. So, yeah, my first job out of school was with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter as a financial advisor, that was nothing I thought I would be doing. I knew nothing about stock markets. I have not taken any economics classes. But as life tends to do, it’s not what you know, but who you know. And one of my friends was growing his team; at that time, it was 1999, and markets were going crazy. And so I came in as an intern and then basically flipped over and yeah, and in the year 2000, spent four weeks training. At that time, they brought all their trainees to the World Trade Center, which they had some floors on. So yeah, quite quite an experience. And yeah, it was shortly thereafter that I came back, at that time was in Monterey, California, and had to grow a business. And I was really drawn to what we were doing as a team, because we were focused on financial planning, right. And there was a lot of education around financial planning. And so I started cold calling prospects, not because I had to, but because I wanted to; that’s what all my colleagues were doing. I didn’t have to because my partner had a book of business that we could, they could have all just been warm leads, but I felt, I felt guilty just going that easy route, right. 

Jordan  05:46

So you got to have a little bit of hustle, huh? 

Brian  05:49

Yeah, you got to, you got to earn it. Right, you got to cut your teeth. So… 

Jordan  05:52

That’s of like, when you go on a hike, and you hiked, like, for four hours for that beautiful view. And then somebody else, like, gets the car and goes to, like, the lookout point, and they get a beautiful view. But you’re like, “Yeah, but you didn’t earn it.”

Brian  06:05

Yeah, right. Drives by you on a little motor, you know, dirt bike, like Yeah. Yeah. So I was calling and when I would talk to people and I would say, “hey, you know, we’re, we’d love to help with a financial plan,” they kept asking what stocks or mutual funds we recommended, right? And it was, so I realized at that time, what I really was excited about was the education part of the financial plan. And once you mapped that out, products kind of filled into that, right? But that’s a, it’s a big concept; it’s a lot to wrap your head around. So the reality that these people wanted a product, like, “Tell me your product; tell me you’re up and tell me, you know, like, what’s the percentage and what’s and why would you recommend it,” and it was a little shocking because it actually made me feel like a salesperson. And that wasn’t my… I didn’t like that feeling. It wasn’t my intent. And I can remember calling my wife about two months into this new endeavor and going “man, people are treating me like I’m a salesperson.” And I really had to process that. And I said, “Okay, you know, if that’s, if that’s how this is gonna roll, then I’ll step into this” and, and at that, I think that was… it was a critical lesson, that the reality is, while I had this great intention of helping with a plan, giving them a product that they could sink their teeth into, and and, you know, buy or recommend, that was an okay, step two; it wasn’t my preference, but if that’s how they were reacting or responding, I just got comfortable with it. So it’s not necessarily “Hey, give them what you want, give them what they want.” But instead of fighting that, leaning into it, and saying, “Hey, here’s a couple ideas for you that are practical ideas. Again, you know, our recommendation is those ideas fit inside of a context, which we haven’t gotten to, but I’m happy to have a conversation just about this product if you want.” And, and then that, you know, I lost that feeling of like, “Oh, I’m, you know, I’m a sales guy or I’m, I’m selling something” because, ultimately, when people trusted you with that product, it did open the door to further products and further conversations and more trust and those sorts of things. So that was my…

Jordan  09:19

So tell me about the… I just have to laugh at this. Like you’re two months in; you call your wife, and you’re like, “I’m a salesperson,” right? Like, I know even folks listening to this… some of us, you know, we’ve been in sales forever; now, like that emotion is long gone. But like be honest with me; would you, when you realized “I’m a salesperson,” what was it going through your mind?

Brian  09:44

Yeah, I was a little crestfallen. Right? Because I I felt like when you’re quote unquote, a sales guy, it immediately puts you in a guarded light, right with with the person that you’re talking with. Like, “Oh, you’re just trying to sell me something.” And I really fancied myself more as a teacher or a coach. And, you know, if you think about the people that have influence in our lives, it’s often teachers; we know nothing about a teacher’s personal life. But the fact that they spend time with us every day at multiple ages, somehow, that gives them credibility and authority to make recommendations about things we should do, or how we should think about things. And, and so and I’ve been a coach; I was an athlete in in college, and and, you know, my, my, in my background, I’ve got two brothers that are coaches; my dad was a coach for a long time. My grandmother was a teacher for 50-plus years. So that’s what’s in my DNA. And I really identified that as being maybe noble, and sales feels and sounds like the opposite of that, right? Sales sounds like what’s you know, something’s in it for you.

Jordan  11:20

You sleazeball? 

Brian  11:21

Yeah. What’s the catch here? Right? What’s the catch? So? So that was, I mean, that was the… that’s what I remember. I remember saying, “wow, wow, people are, you know, I know what my intentions are here. It’s to help people, but they’re really guarded. And they want to talk about products; they want to so…” Yeah, that was. That’s, that’s what I remember that pretty vividly.

Jordan  11:54

So when we think about sales, reimagined? What was that moment or that situation for you? When all of a sudden you’re like, hey, I thought I was educating. Turns out, I’m doing sales. I’m now disappointed with myself, because I’m just some sales guy to sort of embracing the role as to your point. Like, there’s some type of moral imperative here, right? Or like there’s, there’s actually a good to this motion of selling that I didn’t think about before.

Brian  12:25

Yeah. So to me, sales reimagined is encouraging people to recognize that there’s a salesperson that resides in all of us. We just don’t, we don’t think of it in that way, right? So the easiest, the easiest way to get to that is if I asked you, “tell me something you’re passionate about,” right? And you start to share maybe a cause, or a something that you’ve invested a lot of time in, and why and, you know, what’s your demeanor? What’s your…? It just naturally starts to come out. And you’re not, you’re not selling me, but you’re selling me? Right? You’re, you’re showing me how this particular thing is worth a time investment or is meaningful, when before it wasn’t to me. And we don’t think of that as sales. So someone, for example, who has a passion to raise money, as a volunteer for a organization that supports you know, cancer research or hurt. We don’t think of that person as sales; they’re volunteering, how can that be sales, but that’s exactly what it is. They’re, they’re encouraging people, for various reasons, noble, and, you know, charitable, but still, you’re asking people to move towards something. And that’s, in my mind, selling; that’s what selling is. It’s, it’s encouraging people to move towards something for something that they truly believe is in their best interest, and others’ best interest. And so, that, to me, that’s where you want to sit in a sales process. So if you’re in a role, or have products or where that’s not your passion, you know, it’s like it feels like it’s, it’s soul-deadening to talk about products or try to sell them or, right? You’re trying to sell news newspaper presses because you got a quota, but that business is gone. And, you know, that’s that’s, that’s not sales to me. That’s, that’s something else. So that’s when I think it’s sales reimagined, that’s what it is. It’s, you know, when people tell me “oh, you’re in sales? I could never do sales.” And my thought is, “you’re absolutely wrong. Let me ask you, what are you passionate about? What do you spend time doing?” And it’s like, “oh, well, I love… right? I’m in a book club; you should come join my book club. It’s such a great time.” “I thought you weren’t in sales. So I’m sorry.” You just say, yeah, that, but they don’t think that; that’s not… they don’t think of that. So that’s, that, to me, embodies sales reimagined. 

Jordan  15:49

Well, what’s interesting about you saying that is I’ve been in multiple revenue operations meetings, sales operation meetings, marketing meetings, with, you know, big companies, little companies, small companies, and every initiative that we’re at the beginning of, middle of, end of, whatever, started with somebody coming up with the idea, and then being able to sell that idea to everybody else, right? So, “hey, we need to do territory mapping. We’re gonna go geographical from from now on; we weren’t industry based. Now we’re gonna go based on geography.” Okay, whatever the idea is, I mean, I’ve seen sales operations people that have never made a cold call before but that are really good with processing systems, you know, borderline engineers, stand up in meetings and sell ideas. And I think that’s that concept, you’re talking about that? It doesn’t really matter what role you’re in, what place you’re in, or whatever part of the journey, like in order to get things done, you have to sell?

Brian  16:56

Yes, yeah. Yeah. And I think of, for example, let’s, let’s maybe use the stereotype, you know, an accountant. Right, it was like, I don’t want…

Jordan  17:09

Hey, be careful. My wife listens to this, and she’s an accountant. Be careful. 

Brian  17:15

So, so right, in something they can, they can traditionally be like, well, this is just this is my, this is just my role, just, you know, check the boxes, dot… cross the T’s, dot the i’s, count the zeros, you know, those sorts of things. But they identify that there’s some things that maybe if they just changed process a little bit, life would be easier. But oftentimes, because their makeup is not necessarily to lean into it, but just say, well, it’s just the way it is, right? That’s where, for me what I’m trying to do, what I tried to do with our support staff, what I tried to do with whoever they are, is, “hey, lean into your idea, if you believe it’s going to benefit both yourself, and, you know, the organization, don’t don’t be content just going ‘well, I don’t want to make waves or, or I don’t want to be responsible for the prot, you know, like, I’ll just keep my head down. I don’t want to be responsible for the project.’ Right?” So encouraging, and encouraging people to take responsibility, and then lean into it and not, not talk themselves out of “this isn’t my role, or well, this could be intimidating if a bunch of people ask me questions” or right? So that’s, that’s what a lot of people think of when they think of sales is “I’ve got to present to a bunch of people. And then I’ve got to do these things behind it.”

Jordan  19:04

How do you get these folks to flex their muscle? Like so to your point. I’m going to talk to the accountant. Hey, you have to do shameless plug here, right? You’ve got two daughters down in Austin, and trying to get a music career going right? So obviously, yes, obviously… which by the way, what’s their name? So people can go and download their music. What is that?

Brian  19:25

Let Flo Go. FLO. Let Flow Go. Yes.

Jordan  19:31

So, you know, I… joking around with you a little bit. But the reality is, you’ve got two daughters that have leaned into this sales reimagined. You know, they’re going to, they’re going to play shows, do things on the weekend, work hard during the week, do whatever they can to get their names out there. And right, are they salespeople? Well, they’re musicians, but they’re selling. Yeah. So how do you instill sort of this philosophy and folks that like, when you have an idea or, or a concept or something that is, like it needs to get out there? How do you encourage people to put that sales hat on?

Brian  20:08

Yeah, good, good question. And actually, I can, not only can I add my daughters to the mix, but my wife just graduated with her MFT as a therapist, and now is growing a private practice and realizing “Wait, in order to grow my business, I’m in sales. Wait, I went to school to be a therapist, but how do I get people to come?” You know, so? Yeah, I think that the very, the first thing is just taking the stigma out of promoting ideas. Right? And so that’s, that’s the, that’s the first thing, but also fully embracing, fully embracing that you are in a selling mode, if you will. Right? So, so not being apologetic about it, I think is is helpful, like, you know, for example, as I, you know, in helping my wife when she says, “What do I tell people that I do? I say, “you make it really, really, really, really simple. Just say, I do therapy with, with, with kids; what do you do?” Right? And, and that sounds that sounds silly, strange. Because, you know, the, what, what you want to do and what I first did when I was in my industry, so what I used to do, when people would introduce me and say, “Brian, why don’t you tell them what you do?” I felt compelled to have this, you know, fancy elevator pitch, concise, but informative, right? So I would say, you know, we sell refurbished Cisco; it helps lower CapEx; we give a lifetime… what, and I’ve lost them after about the 10th word. And the the mistake that took me a long time to learn is that I don’t want to say people don’t care. But they don’t really care until they need to care; what they’re, what they’re really, more interested in is someone they knew, just introduced me to them. And so that’s an immediate, like, “Hey, you have some credibility here.” And what are you going to do with it? Well, I’ll take… now for me, I feel so little pressure to actually dig into what I do. Now, my first thing is, “well, before I bore you, before I bore you about what I do, what do you do? And how do you know this clown over here? I’m actually a little nervous that he introduced me to you; I don’t know that it’s worth us doing business,” right? It becomes this relational interaction, because at the end of the day, we don’t buy products. It’s, it sounds silly; we don’t buy products. The products are the end, but the means through which we end up getting products 95% of the time, is through relationship. Right? And and I don’t mean that in a cheesy way. If you if you have a value that people need, then trust that. You don’t, you don’t have to go convincing someone that you add value to the marketplace. So that’s, you know, that’s, that’s in a, in a nutshell. My encouragement is don’t, don’t be in a hurry to put all the information out there. Like your you need them to say yes or no. Are you interested in that interaction? Right? But that things start to move over time, over multiple interactions, over process, and and those things, those things take time. So, you know, one thing I talked to my account managers about is I just say “don’t try to sound smart.” And not I don’t mean don’t try to sound dumb. I mean, don’t don’t do what I did when I was at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which I was, you know, 23 years old, 24 years old. And I was thinking to myself, why would anyone give me $150, $200? Half a million dollars? Why would anyone do that? I have no experience. I don’t know what I’m talking about. And so in my mind, I thought to myself, if I sound really smart, then that could create trust. And we both know, that’s not that that’s not the case at all. The reality is, as we’re talking with people and interacting with people, we’re making these assessments: “hey, is this somebody I can trust? Do I feel like they’re telling me straight answers? Do they know what they don’t know? Or are they trying to give me an answer that sounds smart, right?” And so a huge part of the sales process is just being able to listen to someone, be able to communicate what you know, but also not feel the pressure to put it all in one place at one time. And you know, what we do here a DHD, I’m telling, I tell people listen, I mean, literally, we’re selling rocket science, right? Because it’s, how does, how can I talk? You’re in Pennsylvania, and I’m in California, and we are looking at each other live? And we’re talking? How does that work? The laws of physics are mind-boggling. And we sell the equipment that allows this to happen, right? So literally, you know, the laws of physics reimagined is what we’re selling, but I don’t get that so. So there’s always going to be really, really smart people around what we’re doing, what what my responsibility is in the process, and what our account managers are those sorts of things is, hey, understand what the problem is that they’re trying to solve and then walk away from that, and have an honest assessment. Is this something that I can help with? That we can help with? And then you bring the right people to the to the table? Right?

Jordan  27:56

So let’s talk about this. We got one, we got time for one more question. But you said something a little while ago I thought was really important is to take the stigma out of presenting ideas, right? Take that stigma… like in our culture today, and our like, just sort of environment. It’s almost like a social faux pas, almost to be like, well, here’s my idea, whatever the idea is, okay, and like, let me let me talk to you about it, because you might need to have that idea too. Right? Yeah, I know, we’re sort of stretching beyond selling CapEx and whatever right here. But, but that’s still, I think, at the ethos of what you’re talking about, is that like, either confidence, courage or assurance that it’s actually okay to, to like, put your ideas out there. Because, like, there shouldn’t be a stigma, like, am I, am I off on picking this up? Or like, how do you encourage? I don’t think the person that’s been in sales for 20 years is worried about the stigma anymore, right. But yes, you’re thinking about somebody that you’re talking about, that’s a little bit on the periphery, that’s still like they’re holding on to that stigma in some way. Yeah. You know, what are your thoughts around that?

Brian  29:13

Yeah. So I think with it’s… what’s important, I think, in the process of ideas and conversation, is recognizing that that’s what it is. It’s a conversation, and I think that sometimes we get intimidated with “I’ve got to have the answer, like this idea has to be the answer.” But it’s, it’s actually a contribution to part of the problem-solving process. Right? And what I’m what, I mean by that is I love the quote… I attribute to Thomas Sowell. I don’t know that it is his. But he says, you know, “there’s no such thing as solutions; there is only the exchanging of problems,” right? And I love that idea. Right? And I see that; we see that everywhere. Fast food: great idea. But what’s the exchange? Oops, we’re not very healthy. Right? Electric cars: great idea. What’s the exchange? Well, we mined cadmium. And it may stretch our power grid more than… right? It’s so so everything is it’s it’s an exchange. Yes, it’s solving some problems, and it’s presenting some new ones. And if we recognize that, that’s what our ideas are, we won’t hold on to them as passionately, right? And that’s the same thing when we’re presenting products. Yes, we’re going to solve some some issues. But if we’re not honest about the reality that we may cause some, right, it’s, that’s a big hindrance in the selling process, right? Because if anytime you introduce a new product, while your product may work great, it may not work well. So you create a little problem.

Jordan  31:32

That’s how, that’s how that’s the I think, the textbook definition of how churn occurs, right? Like, we’re gonna solve your problem, but what you don’t know is you need a project manager or a content writer, or this or that; you need these five positions. But we’re not going to tell you that until after you buy. Yes, now that you buy, hey, here’s all the infrastructure it takes around it. We’re probably not going to see you next year.

Brian  31:56

Right? Yes. Right. Right. Exactly. Where and frankly, if you took that up front, and and were able to say, “Listen, this, this is going to hit you right between the eyes when I show you what this costs. But what I can show, what I can show you is I can put you on the phone with five customers that can talk about the ROI after 18 months, right?” Or it reminds me, you know, my son, he’s 18. And he came home, and he had dyed his hair leopard. He’s got blond blond hair, right? And he dyed his hair leopard. And he hadn’t asked me, and I said, this is… this is an issue. He’s like, “why it’s my head?” You know, I said, “but well, it’s my house. And I have rules. And I’m the authority. And you didn’t ask,” and he said, “but you would have said, ‘No. You would have said no.’” And I said, “You’re right. I would have said no.” He’s like, so I said, so what I said, “here’s how this could have happened: ‘Hey, Dad, I know you’re gonna say no. But I want you to look at this. Here’s 20 pictures of pretty cool art, but it happens to be on a blonde person’s head. And I am thinking, I want my hair to do that for like, three weeks. I wouldn’t hope… I would… Please don’t say no, talk with mom, and let’s connect in four days or five days.’” Right? That’s, to me. So that’s, and that’s what I told him. I said, “Hey, you got to you got to shave this. Sorry, bud.” He’s like, “but it’s cool.” I said, “it’s… at this point, it’s not a matter whether it’s cool. It’s that you circumvented what the process that should have been. And we can revisit when you can do it correctly.” So the example that you gave is just that, right? It leaves this bad taste in your mouth, because you’re like, wait a minute, I bought this product from you. But there’s all these gotchas behind it. And that to me, is that’s that’s not sales reimagined. That’s sales. Right. That’s the that’s the, the stigma that comes when we’re thinking about sales.

Jordan  34:20

Well, so Brian, I have to tell you, this is the first time I’ve ever heard churn equated to leopard hair. So yeah, you got me on that one. Yeah. Listen, I think you’re, I think you’re walking down the right road here is that intent matters. I think at the end of the day, like that’s the that’s the saying, right, intent matters. But hey, for today, we’re right at time I think. I think we could probably go another 30 minutes talking about Let Flo Go, hairdos, sales reimagined and in the masseuse, the physical therapy shop, right but yeah, for now, we got a call it to a close. Thanks for coming today, Brian. Listeners, thanks for tuning in.

35:06

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 the latest here at RevOps Therapy. Thanks and see you real soon.

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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.