Allison Davis

Why Now is the Time to Improve Your Sales Skills with Allison Davis

Tara Newman: Hey, hey there, everyone. Welcome to The Bold Money Revolution Podcast. I’m excited to be here today with a special guest, Allison Davis. Allison is a veteran salesperson. She is incredibly seasoned, 20 years of experience. What I love about her bio, is that she has worked for everyone from Gabby Bernstein to National Geographic supporting companies like Goldman Sachs. I can’t think of a bigger juxtaposition than Goldman Sachs and Gabby Bernstein.

So, welcome, Allison, tell us a little bit about what you do and who you stand for in these sales conversations and trade.

Allison Davis: Absolutely. I love that intro. Isn’t that funny, they are pretty far apart, and at the same time they all were companies with needs and pain points and challenges that I had a service that I could bring in and help them solve. In that way, they’re very much the same, we have all of those things in common. But thank you for inviting me to share.

Yeah, I was a little over 16 years in media sales. On sales teams, big and small for companies, micro and global. Now, I’m the founder of the Sales Breakthrough Mastermind, and I gloriously get to spend my days helping service providers who are selling B2B or B2C really hone in on those sales skills, which as we’ve been chatting about, I think that especially a year like 2020 can be the difference between sink and swim for a lot of business owners.

Tara Newman: So important. I want to say that Allison and I have so much common ground on our sales philosophies, and what we believe in when it comes to sales. I don’t typically have guests on my podcast, but I asked Allison to come on, one, because she will be working in my mastermind program in 2021. She’s going to come in and be a guest expert. As well as I think that this is just such an important conversation for us to be having, as you said, especially right now. I say, and I’m going to come right out of the gates and hit people between the eyes and say that if you are a small business owner, your number one job is a commissioned salesperson. That is how I see it.

Allison Davis: You are your sales force.

Tara Newman: You are your sales force, and even my husband who is running a $3 million business, he is still doing his sales, he is still the sales force, the salesperson, and because it’s actually a gift of his and it’s a strength, and it may be for other people as well, but it wasn’t always for my husband. This is interesting, because this is where I was going to have this conversation, and the reason why sales are so important to me to talk about, and why I believe that you are that commissioned salesperson in your business is because our first business did terribly. We have a huge business failure story, and it was mainly because he was running the business and he had no idea how to sell.

When we both then went into… He went back to work for somebody else when we closed that business, I was working for somebody else, then I started my own business, then he went back into having a business for himself, and we both spent years honing our sales skills after that.

It’s funny because selling is important, no matter what, even if you don’t own your own business. But even if you’re in a corporate environment.

Allison Davis: Absolutely.

Tara Newman: You’re selling your ideas, you’re selling your projects, you’re selling other kinds of services, maybe even internally. Anyway, sales are critically important, and the conversation that I want to have today with Allison, we were talking about it before we came on, is what’s standing in the way of people becoming confident salespeople? What are you seeing as some of these hurdles from a place of normalizing this for people to say to them, if you’re listening to this, and you hear yourself being reflected in this conversation, this is normal.

Allison Davis: Yeah. What comes to mind first is also what makes the people I work with and the colleagues I have, what makes them fearful of really wrapping their arms around sales and embracing it is the same thing that makes me love them, because they want to be good, nice, kind, of service human beings. The more I do this work, what I’ve come to believe is that your average business owner knows that they need to embrace sales skills, and all of the training and information out there, 90% of it or more is horrible. They can point to what they don’t want to be when they sell, but it’s very hard to find role models and information to point to, to say, that’s how I want to be.

Tara Newman: Yes. I’m a big proponent of being in the online business space is great, and it sucks. This is one of those places where it’s killing entrepreneurs, because what Allison is talking about is the mindset of, I don’t want to be like them. How do you even know what them is doing, or how they’re selling, other than the fact that you’re watching them on Instagram, and you’re comparing, and you’re in this trap of, you’re on their email list, and they’re selling to you and it doesn’t feel good, I don’t want to be like them. I’m watching them on Instagram, and it doesn’t feel good, I don’t want to be… Get out of that space, right?

Allison Davis: Absolutely.

Tara Newman: I hear that a lot. But I don’t want to be like them.

Allison Davis: Yeah, I think that is a huge mindset issue that gets in the way, and then if you can, if you start reading… The book I recommend everyone is Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success by Colleen Stanley. Say you do pick that up, and you read it, and it resonates with you, and you say, I want to be that kind of salesperson. There’s a reason that all the sales trainings I went to for 15 plus years had those terrible role play exercises.

Tara Newman: Oh my God, awful.

Allison Davis: It’s awful. I mean, it’s awful. I try really hard actually not to do that with my clients or make them do it. But practice is key, feedback is key, being comfortable, being uncomfortable. When do you not want to do that? You don’t want to do that in front of a new client. It’s really hard to practice sales skills when there’s actual money on the line. I do think we… Once we get a feeling of like, yep, this is how I want to show up, this is how I want to be, this is how I want to make people feel in my process. We do need the space to practice.

Tara Newman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I think that’s really what people may not understand about sales and selling is that I say it’s a muscle, and you have to put in the reps. You always have to be practicing. I always want sales calls on my calendar even if maybe I don’t have something that’s open immediately. I always usually have something that’s open. But, I just need to be putting out those reps, because I notice in myself that if I’m not actively selling on a regular, daily, weekly, monthly basis, I have those activities that are mapped out, if I’m not doing that on a regular basis, I feel myself starting to not want to do it.

Allison Davis: Yes, it is-

Tara Newman: It becomes so much greater.

Allison Davis: Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever told you this story, I did write about it on my blog. It happens even still to me. When lockdown happened, I went into hibernation work mode, I was just working with current clients trying to get everybody stabilized and in a good spot. It was a while until I had a sales call, and I had the most wonderful, perfect ideal client on the line, and man did I whiff it. I whiffed it.

I committed the cardinal sin of I got on the call, I realized I didn’t prepare. You and I have a lot of overlap here. Yes, I research. Yes, I look at LinkedIn. Yes, I see who we have in common. But I didn’t energetically prepare. I didn’t breathe, I didn’t get grounded. I didn’t honestly say a little prayer to bring in the best and highest for both of us in this conversation. I didn’t do any of that. Then committed the cardinal sin, which is I talk more about myself, because I got so nervous, I psyched myself out, and what do we do when that happens? We start talking about the details, details, details.

Because what do we want to do instead? When we are going to talk about ourselves, which I don’t know if you agree with this, but I think it should be the 80-20 rule in an initial conversation, we’re talking only 20% of the time, and in that time, let’s talk about results, not details. Because what is the oldest thing in the book? Is that details tell and benefits sell.

There was a part of me where I’m so transparent, and I wanted to look at her and be like, “You know, what, can I ever redo? Because I’m not exhibiting what I will teach you if we were to.” But I didn’t, I just shamefully got off the call and then hid from her forever.

Tara Newman: Okay, you told me yours, I’ll tell you mine.

Allison Davis: Okay.

Tara Newman: Everybody’s totally loving this. They’re like, this is surreal. Okay, I totally blew a sales call as well. First of all, it was a referral, and as you know, believe it or not, this is a pro tip for everyone, referrals can be remarkably cold leads.

Allison Davis: Yes.

Tara Newman: The likelihood that the person who’s referred you hasn’t really done a good job of explaining what you do or how you help them, and there’s a whole system around that. This person was a referral and I guess I went into it forgetting that, but then also just completely lost control of the call from the very beginning.

Allison Davis: Oh, geez.

Tara Newman: They were so emotionally charged from having the bottom fall out of their business that they immediately started going into what their problems were before I put the… At the beginning of every sales call, I just quickly go over a three point agenda as to why we’re on the call and how the call is going to work. Because I find that it structures the call but it also calms people down who are feeling fear around being sold to.

I didn’t map out my quick little three point agenda, and it just snowballed out of control-

Allison Davis: Off the rails.

Tara Newman: Completely off the rails. She was talking a lot, I was listening a lot, but I couldn’t get my flow into the call and lead the call, and it just went off. It went off the rails.

Allison Davis: Yeah. Not to get too technical, but I do want to say… I think one of the things I’m most proud of that’s evolved in my business in the last year. I kid when I say I’m hiding from her forever, that’s not exactly true. In my business, I have set up bumpers. If you take a kid bowling or an adult that’s really bad at it, and they put up the bumper rails so the ball can’t go in the… Do you know what I mean?

Tara Newman: Yep.

Allison Davis: Yeah, okay. I’ve set that up in my business. Every month like clockwork, I have what I call an invite. Every month like clockwork, I have a free sales roundtable where people can come, get a mini training and ask questions. I always have my bumper guards, and she’s always going to be invited to that, and I’ll warm her up again.

I think when we have those kinds of things… eNewsletters can do a good job, but especially if you’re a service provider with a higher ticket offer, nothing beats a little FaceTime, even if it’s in Zoom to add that value. If you are concerned that you’re going to whiff a call, or you don’t want to use it as a practice ground, kind of be thinking what happens if they don’t say yes, and have some bumper guards.

Tara Newman: Yeah, that’s a great tip. I think that that’s so important, because people do then try… People become very avoidant around sales, because I think they’re afraid of making a mistake. As you heard, Allison and I have just shared with you, how very recently, after both of us securing millions of dollars in revenue, whether it be for ourselves or others, we whiffed a call.

Allison Davis: And it won’t be the last time.

Tara Newman: It won’t be the last time. But I think that people are super afraid to make mistakes, and I think that they really actively avoid selling. They want to, but they actively avoid selling. What are some of the reasons why you think that happens?

Allison Davis: The reason why, I think one of the things… Just as you were talking, one mistake that I think people make quite a bit is that they don’t get enough information on the call in order to craft a proposal, if that’s needed in your business, which let’s have a conversation about if you could be closing on the call, do you absolutely need to have a proposal or whatever. But let’s say you do have a business where you need to create a proposal, people are not getting the information that they need before they can craft a persuasive, powerful proposal.

What are those things? Understanding the internal buying process, whether it’s a human being who has an internal buying process, or with a spouse or something? Or if you’re selling B2B, what does that look like inside a company? They’re not talking about that buying process, and the biggest thing they’re not doing is getting upfront agreement on pricing, if even a ballpark.

It is so painful to me to watch a client, because I think we work with similar types of people, they’re putting heart, soul and a lot of time and effort into those proposals. It’s not just five minutes and they’re going to send off some… They’re spending days. When I look at… What a waste of time if you’re so far away on price, or if it’s actually not a good fit, or it’s not going to fly internally or whatever. When we’re talking about mistakes like that, to answer your question, what do I think is happening, I think it feels safer to put more work on our backs to extend that sales process, because it feels safer and more comfortable than getting down to the nitty gritty on the call and getting the information you need, even if it’s not what you want to hear.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I just want to also clarify, because there’s selling B2B, and there’s selling B2C, right? I’ve done both, and you’ve done both. When you’re selling B2C, is when you’re usually writing some kind of proposal, when you want to get some kind of budgetary understanding up front. Usually B2C, you have packages that they know about, and that you’re going to propose on the call and your pricing might even be on your website. People have an understanding of that-

Allison Davis: Yeah, B2B is where it can get really complex. We can have a simple sales process or a complex sales process. Yes.

Tara Newman: I think that in both cases, people are really over… What I’m seeing happening again, in a lot from the online space, is people not understanding the difference between marketing and selling and when marketing moves to selling and believing that you have to market to make sales. I always say you can make sales without marketing. I need a head shake, yes.

Allison Davis: Yeah, I’m like, I got to jump in, because everyone I work with comes with the same question. Well, I’m not doing any marketing, and it’s terrifying, and that maybe if they’re not doing marketing, they shouldn’t learn about selling. We’re about to open a can of worms here, but if you are a service based business, who has at least some kind of weighty offer. If you’re selling something for 49 bucks, yeah, I don’t need you to get on a phone call with 50 people to try to sell that. That’s ridiculous. But if you have… I’m working with folks who sell B2B, B2C, offers start at $5,000 to $10,000 and go up to $200,000.

When we’re doing that, don’t talk to me about marketing. Marketing… Apologies to all the brand and marketing experts out there, I love you, I use you, I need you, and cart, horse, chicken, egg, it doesn’t matter to me. You got to have some kind of presence online because we want credibility and all that jazz, but the soapbox I am on, the bell I am ringing in 2020 is do not let that I don’t have any digital marketing, I don’t know how to market, I don’t have any PR, forget about it. Because what I think the confusion is that you’re pointing to is prospecting versus marketing.

You can come into my program and I don’t care if you’re doing any marketing at all, because we’re going to talk about intentional networking that we’re going to do every single day. We’re going to talk about borrowing audiences, getting in front of ideal customers who don’t know you exist yet, welcoming them into your world, loving them up with that invite I mentioned before and turning them into sales calls. You don’t have to have a big marketing budget to fill your sales pipeline.

Tara Newman: Agreed. Okay, agreed. 100%, you do not need marketing to make sales. I have plenty of clients that are making millions of dollars in sales that don’t even have a website.

Allison Davis: Yeah. Can I ask you a question?

Tara Newman: Sure.

Allison Davis: I have a hypothesis brewing over here, and I’d love your feedback on it. That depending on what type of human we are, our strengths, what lights us up, where we get our momentum from, you can enter into business and develop business moreover, through different lenses. One lens is marketing, one lens is sales. Anyone who’s taken the Clifton Strengths Finder Assessment, I’m a futuristic activator, baby, I got to go. I want to have sales calls. There are going to be people who want to lay the groundwork a little bit before.

Tara Newman: I think that there’s so much truth to that because a lot of what I do is around helping my clients find their unique way of selling, but to sell. Most of my clients are selling premium services. We’re talking about proactive sales techniques that sell premium services. But I’ve got some clients who connect really well in DMs in messenger, and they’ll leave voice notes or they’ll leave videos. Then I’ve got other clients who are really awesome at sales calls, or I had one client who could not stop coaching on a call, on a sales call. I’m like, “You’re fucking solving their problem every time and then nobody buys from you.”

Allison Davis: Why is your sales process so long?

Tara Newman: We tried so many things. So, now she has a paid consultation.

Allison Davis: Great.

Tara Newman: They pay for an hour of coaching, she coaches them, and then she follows up with a proposal. She’s working B2C, and that is really working for her because it feels aligned, it feels authentic. There’s not one way to sell, but what we see when we come into the online space, is that this is how you’re supposed to market, and by the way, it’s all market, market, you hear a lot of marketing. Marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing.

I think for a portion of people, I’m going to gender it and say women, we really struggle to move from nurturing to conversion, and we get stuck in nurture, nurture, nurture, nurture, nurture, which is this marketing concept of nurturing, and we fail to move into this is a sales conversation that I’m looking to convert. What say you, Allison?

Allison Davis: Yes, I think the messaging that we get from the online world, and how things could and should be done, and what we’re seeing on Instagram and reading on these sales pages, and all that jazz, is that it shouldn’t be work. That the idea is to set up some kind of magic funnel and magic customer journey where people are just clicking and buying. What is gravely worrying me is that this messaging is starting to hit my people who are selling premium priced services B2B.

Tara Newman: That’s no.

Allison Davis: It’s starting to hit them, and they’re like, “How am I doing a funnel? How am I… ” Here’s the thing that I know behooves me from working so hard as I did all those years in corporate, is that I know it takes connection. If you want to use nurturing and marketing, and you want to get people onto your list so that you can nurture them and you want to invite them to your thing, and you want to get them on your webinar, that is beautiful. But afterwards, unless you… You’re going to have to fight me on this unless you have hundreds of people who’ve shown up, I can’t think of a reason, unless you are so booked that you have no time in your day that you’re not following up one on one with a Bom Bom Alon video or something like that.

Fight me… If you do not have as much business as you want to have, and you’re not following up at a high touch manner, because someone has convinced you that it needs to be easy and hands off, you’re not doing it right.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I think that this is one of the things that I’m seeing that stands in people’s way of being a competent salesperson is the online space has really been a real big draw for people who are introverts, or who are shy because we know not all introverts are shy, for people who are shy or people who don’t like people, which I’ve a whole thing that I can say about that.

Allison Davis: I wish you would.

Tara Newman: I do. I hear so many people struggling with just building relationships, and just getting on calls with people and having conversations, that they just want to hide behind their laptops, or they want to participate in social media comment threads, or like ladders, or these kinds of things, this click to buy myth does not work for premium products, whether you’re in a B2B or a B2C space. B2B, I’m seeing also my clients who are selling B2B are really getting the wrong messaging from the online space because they think they have to produce all this content.

Allison Davis: Yeah. I would love to hear what you have to say about that. How much content should a B2B business owner, and let’s be real, carrying all… If anyone’s going to do it, it’s going to be her, how much do you think she should be creating?

Tara Newman: Not as much as she thinks, probably. I think that the… Here’s how I like to see B2B people create content. I like to see them share useful, appropriate articles and put their spin on it. I like to see them ask a lot of… On LinkedIn, by the way.

Allison Davis: Yeah, right. Yes.

Tara Newman: Also on LinkedIn. You’re not on Instagram, you’re not on Facebook, you are on LinkedIn, and probably participating in some networking groups and organizations and associations for the area that you are delivering a service in.

Allison Davis: Yep, absolutely.

Tara Newman: I like to see them engaging in conversations, not just even on their posts, but going off and engaging in conversations that are relevant to what they’re doing on other people’s posts. I think they really have to do research on what the people who are the decision makers, how are they engaging? Are they people who listen to podcasts? I don’t know, maybe they do listen to podcasts. Most likely, they don’t, to be quite frank. How do you reach those people?

What I like to see people do is research projects where they’re interviewing people and getting people on the phone to talk to them. I like to see them hosting networking. You do your once a month meeting, I’d like to see a B2C person, because let’s face it, I have… I’ll just give an example, I have a client who is B2C, corporate trainer around creating cultures of feedback and coaching cultures and things like… What I would like to see that person do is now pull in a person from Company A, B, C, D, E, and F and hold a roundtable to hold a networking event, because the value that my client brings to those organizations is that she is getting a very broad perspective of what’s happening in various industries within that subject matter that can then be of value to these companies and provide her entree into a proposal, and not content, per se.

Allison Davis: Exactly. I have to share this story with you, because it was one of the most brilliant things I think I’ve ever done. I spent six months as the interim head of sales for a coaching company who was selling B2B and selling into the HR function in these companies. We were really intent on helping them solve problems all throughout their organization, that’s what we were there to do, and without all the details, it was a new concept, so it was a bit of an educational sell, it was a bit slower, they weren’t used to buying coaching exactly how we were selling it. So, it was taking a while.

What we uncovered was that the bottleneck was in how the HR person and the CEO were communicating around what was needed in the organization. We didn’t solve that part, you couldn’t pay us to solve that problem. But what we did is exactly what you just suggested, we got a roundtable together, we hosted a dinner for HR and CEO, the HR leaders and CEOs, equal mix, and we facilitated a conversation between them about how to make-

Tara Newman: How to have those conversations. 100%. I think in a B2C situation, the content that you’re creating looks different. I think that every business should be creating some content that educates the customer, and the client on any number of things; how they work, the problem that they solve, how to communicate this to somebody else. I think that that type of content is good. I think research or white papers is like an opt-in. It really depends on the strategy, but I think it’s a lot less content by the way. That’s just my take, because they come into the online space, and they’re like, “Oh, I read Gary V’s book, jab, jab, jab, right hook, content, content, content, nurture, nurture, nurture, nurture. And it’s not the right strategy for somebody who’s operating B2B.

Allison Davis: Yeah. I have one other thing here too, I think there’s an opportunity for us to be much more efficient with these matters. You’ve already touched on this a little, but it’s like if you are going to take the time to write a blog, if you are going to take the time to host a roundtable, who are you inviting and sharing the spotlight with? I really hope it’s the biggest prospect you have on your list. Let’s be efficient. Let’s use these things and record it, and then have it as content going forward.

Efficiency is the name of the game when we are solopreneurs, or we have a small, small team. No one knows that more than you and your husband, you got to be efficient to run these teams and squeeze the juice you want to squeeze.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I think that some of the things that hold the B2B sellers back is that they’re trying to sell B2C-

Allison Davis: They’re trying to sell B2C. Yeah. The writing has to be so entertaining, or kitschy, or should I put an emoji in my subject line? I can’t with this. I think that holds us back, and then there are these bigger, more scarier issues, quite frankly-

Tara Newman: Yeah, let’s talk about them.

Allison Davis: … I’m seeing where I’m getting my supersmart B2B service providing folks who have gotten the message that in order to scale, they need to have a digital course and that they’re missing out if they don’t add a digital course.

Tara Newman: I want to beat my brains in when I hear that stuff.

Allison Davis: Of course, you know this, but what are they not being told? They’re not being told, number one, how much it costs to run an even high five figure launch, let alone six figure, high six figure, seven figure launch, they’ve been sold a bill of goods, they’re not told how much that costs, how much work it is, and no one’s told them how to do it. But what I’m seeing that really disturbs me is that they’re making something that is B2C, but the people on their lists are their B2B contacts.

There’s no list building, there’s no cultivating a community from which to pluck consumers, it’s really disturbing, and it’s such a distraction from what I think we really need to be doing in 2020 if your business is not going well, which is doubling down on the offers that you have that are validated and proven, and give yourself a tune up in selling. I know I’m not trying to sell myself here, I really do believe that that’s what’s needed. Your offers are good, they are validated, they help people, it is a bum year, in some cases for business right now. What I don’t want to see you do is go fly off the handle and go create a B2C offer when you have built a B2B business. It’s right for some people, it’s not right for everybody.

Tara Newman: Yeah, I think that what people need to do is focus, and that more offers doesn’t mean more money.

Often means the opposite.

I’d like to see people focus on less offers, and really drive sales that way. What about… I need to ask you, because you’re probably a pro at this, and I know that this is standing in people’s way and holding people back, fear of rejection.

Allison Davis: Oh, my God, I know. When people talk to me about it, I have to remember that I need to put myself back in my 22 year old shoes, driving around in a beater car in the state of Vermont, going into mom and pop shops trying to get them to buy a $75 newspaper ad and the fear of rejection I had then. Because we’re talking 20 years later now, I’m like Teflon, I’ve heard no so much, it doesn’t bother me at all, I’m on to the next one. Because what I’ve learned over time, is that the sting of rejection hurts a lot less when your pipeline is full.

If you are spending the time and due diligence at the top of the funnel and mid-funnel, before you get to that closing where you could hear a rejection, you don’t have time to fret about it or feel too hurt. I’m not saying you shouldn’t acknowledge the hurt. I’ve had some stingers in these last few years, absolutely, or not reaching a goal or something like that, and it does hurt.

What I can say that works for me, calling my therapist, please, ding, ding, but I can’t focus there, I have to focus on filling the pipeline so that there’s more opportunity.

Tara Newman: This is a practice, this is also a part of building your sales muscle and putting in the reps.

Allison Davis: Yes, exactly.

Tara Newman: You have to be doing the tasks, you have to be putting the reps. What I’m hearing Allison say and you can correct me if I’m wrong is that if you get no from somebody, you have the next person to go on to because your pipeline is full because you’ve been prospecting and identifying who your leads are and who your warm leads are and categorizing them. You have this line of sight on what you have going on. You’re just like, okay, I’ll just go on to the next one.

But how… I also want to… Thank you for mentioning your therapist.

Allison Davis: Well, thank him. Yeah.

Tara Newman: Thank you for mentioning your therapist, because I want to validate that for a second. It is so important to have… This is why it’s so important to have support in your business. It could look like a coach, it can look like a therapist, it could look like both, it could look like a business friend, it could look like a mastermind. Any of those things, because legitimately, sometimes, it stings.

Allison Davis: Oh, totally. I employ all of those things, if not for my therapist, if not for my coaches, I have coaches for everything. I have learned not to do this alone. For me, there is no pride in bearing the brunt of the pain of business ownership alone, and I’ve got a squad, I would be nothing without my group thread and my voxers with my #businessbesties, because I just wouldn’t be here, there’s no way. I’m so grateful to that.

I wanted to say something else too, if I may, about the rejection. Whenever I’m looking at a skill or anything in sales, I want to look at it, both energetically and tactically. From an energetic standpoint, if you were sitting in a place of pain, fearing that rejection, it comes down on you, hard, practice a little mantra. If you get a no, you can make it your own. I suggest something like, thank you for that no, it’s leaving more room for the yes. Thank you for that no, it’s leaving more room for the yes.

Tactically, if that’s what gets you going, a 100% close rate in your business means something’s very wrong. Usually that you’re priced too low, right? Anytime I hear a no, it’s also like, thank you for validating that I am not for everyone, I have niched down enough and I cost enough where someone’s going to give me a no. Because 100% yes all the time, you’re not doing something right.

Tara Newman: Yeah, I’d also say you’re not screening, you’re a potential client as well, and that is just a headache waiting to happen.

Allison Davis: Sometimes not everyone should be a yes. Yeah.

Tara Newman: When in sales, I find my clients don’t often think about what would make this a yes for me to work with this person? I’m not saying that from a perspective… Because for a long time, I was bullied as a kid. For a long time, I had this not wanting to exclude people, because that didn’t feel good because of my own bullying story, and I don’t want people to feel bad if I said we weren’t a good fit to work together, and I had a lot of care around that. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that really having to… The kinder thing to do is to say, you’re not a great fit for the work with me. However, I can refer you to so and so who I think is a great fit because of this, this and this reason.

Not everybody is meant to work with me. For the longest time I held on to that being a bad thing, but it’s actually a really kind thing when you can turn people away and turn them on to somebody who will help them get the best result for them.

Allison Davis: Not only is it kind, it fuels the top of your funnel, and here’s what I mean by that. Who are you referring those people to? People who refer to you, people whose audiences you borrow, people you want to keep a strong tie to in your network, people you want to uphold. Because when you uphold them, you win too, everybody wins. Passing off a piece of business can help you generate the next piece of business.

Tara Newman: Yep. I think it also makes an energetic statement because you and I are both big into the energy of sales. I give energy and sales actually a really big percentage of importance, that I think people don’t quite understand. They get very stuck in the tactics and steps when I think some things that stand in people’s way of becoming a competent salesperson is that desperation to make the sale, that neediness to make the sale.

Allison Davis: Yes. Any kind of vibe that is convincing or otherwise misaligned with your values, I think that happens. Proving energy. Yes, with my clients, we talk a lot about equity, and the different places that inequity can come up in your sales process and in particular in sales conversations. Again, tactically, and energetically. Energetically, if you feel like you’re… I was thinking of the Looney Tunes cartoon where there’s the tiny dog that just wants to get the big dog to play with him, or do anything with him. If you feel like that little yappy dog, where you’re just trying to get this person who you’ve placed on a level of more importance or on a pedestal, and you’re trying to get them to like you and want to work with you, that is the worst… For me, that is the kiss of death in terms of energy.

So, how do we come knowing we’re peers, we are colleagues, you do what you do, I do what I do, and we’re either going to mesh here and we’re going to go forward together, or we’re not. Either way, I am whole and good and worthy, and going to be fine. Then the tactical side of things, equity comes up in things like negotiating. Where if they want to drive the price down, maybe you’re willing to do that, but you’re going to pull some things out of the offer, because if not, we’ve got a power imbalance and an inequity that is only going to breed more of that down the road in my experience.

Tara Newman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now, I’m being conscious of the time and I want to start to roll us out of here. But my big question then is if somebody’s listening to this, and they’re like, I’m very sales avoidant. How do you know if you’re sales avoidant? I’m going to tell you. You’re sales avoidant if you are rebranding, if you are tweaking your website regularly, if you are trying out the new social media tip, trick, feature, whatever. If you are… I’m trying to think of another one-

Allison Davis: I want to add to this.

Tara Newman: Yeah, add.

Allison Davis: If you are creating destinations for people and not building the road to get there. New offers, new websites, new accounts, new-

Tara Newman: I was going to say, say more.

Allison Davis: Canva art. When I’m out of alignment with what my business needs, I have spent a lot of time in Canva.

Tara Newman: Yes.

Allison Davis: Right? I’m creating destinations and things for people to consume. But I’m not building a line of people to consume them. Yeah.

Tara Newman: If you’re feeling sales avoidant, and you’re experiencing any one of those tells, which we all experience-

Allison Davis: Yes.

Tara Newman: … what can they do? What is like, get your sales energy mojo moving? Because here’s the interesting phenomenon, not having sales coming in, is not shifting the energy.

Allison Davis: That’s right, because we could live in that for a long time, can’t we?

Tara Newman: Yeah.

Allison Davis: Yeah. I think it matters… I’m going to give you an answer, I’m not trying to avoid it, but I do think it matters what kind of human you are and what motivates you. It could be that you are greatly motivated by the impact you will have in the world. If what motivates you is to visualize, journal, write, speak it. Visualize the impact you’re going to have in the world, do that. As a trained salesperson for a gajillion years, it seems like I am motivated by numbers on a board. They represent impact. They represent human beings that I get to help. But after literally 16 plus years of basically every time you make a sale, you ring a bell and everybody claps in the office, that gets deeply engraved. It’s nothing to… I have to work on this still I know, it is, and also we’re calling my therapist because I think I have shame around that.

Let’s answer this the same way we’ve been answering everything else; energetically and tactically. What motivates you energetically to do the work you do in the world, and how can you reconnect to that? Is it about visioning, taking some time out, journaling, looking ahead, and understanding the impact you can have to get motivated to start doing the work? Is it talking to old clients, checking in with them, seeing how they’re doing and asking them to reflect upon the work you did together, to remind you how GD great you are at what you do, and that the world needs you to do more?

Check in energetically. Tactically, listen, what revs me up after 16 plus years of being on sales teams, where if you make a sale, literally, sometimes we ring a bell, and everybody claps for you, I get really motivated to make goals and smash them. That just works for me. I’ll sit with a calculator and do math and say, “Well, imagine if I could make this by the end of the year. Imagine if I could do… ” That rubs me up. You have to find what lights you up and then make time for it.

Tara Newman: I’m going to recap a little bit here. One, I think it’s incredibly important what Allison said to understand your personal motivators and your personal reasons. Why are you running this business? Why are you here? What motivates you? But then also something that Allison said, I really love this, this is what I’ve done with people who are really motivated by impact, I call it put your mission over your money.

People get really tripped up sometimes when money’s involved, for reasons. So, can you put your mission over your money? What I’m saying is knowing that when you show up for your mission, it’s in the highest and greatest good of everything in your life, including your money and your financial situation. So, don’t get hung up on, Allison’s really cool with numbers, but not everybody is, some people get really triggered by numbers. If you’re someone who gets super triggered by numbers, can you put your mission front and center, the most important thing?

If you’re someone… I have a client who gets super revved by numbers. The bigger the better. It sounds like you, Allison.

Allison Davis: Totally. Yes. Yes. 100%.

Tara Newman: Getting out the big post it and chart it out, right?

Allison Davis: Exactly.

Tara Newman: Is that, find the thing that motivates you. Some people legitimately aren’t motivated by money.

Allison Davis: Yeah, absolutely.

Tara Newman: It’s fine too, but you still need a lot of business.

Allison Davis: That’s right. Yep. Impact is so important that it can be looked at in so many different ways. I want people to track sales metrics, and I want them to track impact, what does it mean? Know what it means. How many lives might be changed if you get this one client? How many facets of the world will be improved if you land this client? Be able to measure that as well. Because as service providers, sometimes the work we do in the world is hard to show exact ROI. It’s easier for me, because I’m a sales coach. So, the numbers you put up after you work with me, that’s pretty easy to calculate.

But I think it’s really important for all of us to be able to think about ROI in terms of impact and the intangibles as well. Track it right alongside your sales metrics.

Tara Newman: Yep. 100%. I think that I’ve said something recently to a client, because I’m noticing… I’m not letting anybody… if you’re my client, warning, warning, I’m not letting anybody weasel out of sales anymore.

Allison Davis: Yeah, no.

Tara Newman: Not like I really did before, but like… I framed it this way. I said, “Listen, what you have, the service that you’re selling, it’s helping somebody. It’s solving a problem for somebody. What happens if they don’t have that problem solved, or worse, maybe try and have it solved by somebody who isn’t as credible and reputable as you?” You could potentially be doing harm. I know that people don’t like to hear that, that didn’t feel good for that person. But what is the cost? I want everybody to think of what’s the cost of you not selling? What happens to these people if you don’t serve them, and you don’t solve their problem?

Allison Davis: Yeah, we’ve got to get to a place where we understand so deeply the rewards, the benefits, and the results that we bring to people that we get into a mindset of who are we not to sell it? Who are we not to? It’s actually selfish to hold it to yourself.

Tara Newman: Yes.

Allison Davis: If you have a high level of empathy, the trick here and again, whatever modality it takes; journaling, talking it out with a friend, in 2020, our empathy meters are off the charts. We’re afraid to reach out, we know that there are budget constraints, we know people are in crisis, we know people have family members who are dying, and our empathy meters are off the charts. So, what are we doing? We’re not reaching out, because we think it’s rude, or it’s insensitive.

But to your point, what I ask you to do is to pick up that empathy, and place it six months down the road, 12 months down the road for that person or that company, if they don’t get the challenge and the problem solved now that they have. They’ll let you know if it’s not a good time, and they’re not going to be offended that you asked to help.

Tara Newman: Yeah. That’s such a great point, because, obviously, we’ve ebbed and flowed through this, this year, where there were times that required more empathy than not. I have a personal philosophy that I apply to sales as well, and it’s be helpful, be human, be humble. You can simply reach out to somebody and just ask how they are.

Allison Davis: Yeah.

Tara Newman: It’s that relationship building. When COVID struck, if you were a business owner who just reached out to your pipeline, your prospects, your relationships, your customers, and just said, like, “Hey, I’m thinking about you, how are you doing?” Do you know how you stood out in that moment? They’re going to remember that.

Allison Davis: Yeah. Leadership is what that is.

Tara Newman: Yeah. They’re going to remember that, and they’re going to come back, and they’re going to be like, oh, that person actually cared enough to just check in on me and say, hey.

Allison Davis: Yeah, and showed up. A lot of what we’re selling as service providers is even on a B2B level, deeply personal. If we can’t show up in deeply personal ways when it matters, I think there’s a misalignment there.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I sell both B2B and B2C. Everything started happening when George Floyd was killed, and we were starting to see these civil rights protests, and everybody’s starting to talk about diversity and anti-racism. My outreach to my corporate people who most likely live in a bubble, by the way, they don’t always know what’s going on in the world. Just to say like, hey, how are you doing? How’s your team doing? How can I help connect you with resources that can support them? You right now and having these conversations, are you having these conversations? Do you want to be having these conversations? I’m not a DEI person, I’m not an anti-racism educator, but I was more than happy to provide them with those resources, or people to connect them to who could come into their organizations and speak to them. It just kept their relationship going.

Allison Davis: Yeah. Something that stuck out in my mind since I was in high school. Someone said in high school, because we were asked to volunteer every year, it was a great thing. It was part of what we were required to do. I remember a teacher saying, “When you volunteer, you should do what you do best, because that will light you up, and it’ll really help someone else.” What did I do for years? I did phone banking asking for money, because I have no problems doing that. As a salesperson, that’s what I do.

In that time, I leaned into that too. I think you and I did something similar, where I’m not an anti-racist trainer, I am not a diversity, equity inclusion person, but what I am is a super connector. I can take those people who do that good work and connect them with those people in those bubbles, and I’d like to think everybody wins.

Tara Newman: That truly is adding value-

Allison Davis: Right and centering oneself, it’s just being the conduit.

Tara Newman: It’s adding value. You don’t have to create any content, but you’re still adding value, you’re still staying top of mind, you genuinely care. You want to see people succeed, and I think that that’s just so important. If we’re going to leave people with one tip to help them get out of their own way, what was yours? I know what mine is. You want to go first?

Allison Davis: Let me go first.

Tara Newman: Okay.

Allison Davis: Just connect with people.

Tara Newman: If you’re freaking out, if you’re frozen, if you’re listening to this, and you’re like, wow, I’m doing those sales avoidant things, I’m not comfortable. I think just connecting with people, being a human being and having conversations will get you further than anything else.

Allison Davis: That’s 100% right, and I’ll just riff on that a little to say, honestly, if someone came to me at that beautifully bare as you just were. I’m in my own way, what do I do? I would tell you to connect to people today. Be generous, connect to people today. Go hunt someone down on LinkedIn who’s asked a question and answer it for them. Give them a worksheet, give them a recording of you answering that question. Just serve someone. If that’s all you did for the next five work days in a row, you probably would get a little out of that. You might generate some energy.

Tara Newman: 100%. Thank you for coming by, Allison.

Allison Davis: Thank you for having me. Is it over already? I could talk forever for… I really appreciate it.

Tara Newman: Yeah, we’re going to clip it here. Thank you. Where can people find you?

Allison Davis: Oh, I think probably the best thing is to head to my website, which is When you’re there, you can sign up for my newsletter and receive… Funny, because we’re talking about this, you’ll receive my Align Guide, which is a five step method to having sales consultations and conversations that convert.

Tara Newman: Awesome, and check out her roundtables.

Allison Davis: Oh, yeah, please, you can click right there and join the next one.

Tara Newman: Awesome. Thanks so much, Allison.

Allison Davis: Thanks.

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