Welcome To The For The Close Experience Episode #2

Victor Antonio is an American author, business consultant and host. He is best known for being host of Spike TV’s reality series, Life or Debt.

  • What brought Victor into sales from engineering [1:13]
  • Knowing the right questions to ask in a sales presentation [7:50]
  • Things smaller organizations do that big organizations need to adopt [10:02]
  • Not being gullible and buying into the false promises from big companies [17:00]
  • The path of least resistance that takes you to the next level in your organization [20:30]
  •  Victor tells the story of how he jumped on an opportunity because of the salary and title [25:02]
  • The consistent bullshit excuse sales people always make [29:04]
  • The reason people in smaller organizations have an up on those in big organizations [36;45]
  • The Challenger Model [40:01]

 

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Ali Mirza:    Alright. Thank you so much everybody for joining us today on the For The Closed Podcast today. I’d like to welcome internationally renowned sales trainer. He’s had his own reality show on Spike TV, the same channel that gave us the Ultimate Fighter so you know this dude is legit. He has shared the stage with many greats from Zig Ziglar to Daymond John to Grant Cardone. It is my honor to welcome to the show the one and only Victor Antonio. Victor, thank you so much for joining us here today.

Victor Antonio: Oh! It is my honor to be here man. Thank you for having me.

Ali Mirza:             I appreciate you brother. Well, you know what? Let’s just dive right in to this. We’ve already been chatting a little bit so we’re already warm but just for the audience here, the very few people that may not have a clear understanding of your background. Can you just give us the quick, how did you get into this? Why? I mean you’re not the general like me, you are an engineer, you know your stuff. What brought you into sales? Give us the scoop.

Victor Antonio: Money! That’s probably the simplest.

Ali Mirza:             Alright! That’s the only right answer.

Victor Antonio: So, what happened was that the very quick story. And initially I start, I was an engineer so I got a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, got an MBA. And I started out as an engineer and then one day I realized that you could make more money being in sales. That’s very short version of it. It was around that time that my wife said “Hey! You know. I rather stay home and take care of the kids and raise the kids” and I said “Yeah, I think I make more money in sales”. And also I knew that my engineering abilities helped me sell more effectively and that’s how I eventually moved in the sales and I love selling man. It’s great.

Ali Mirza:             So, hang on. You said something there that your engineering abilities helped you peaked to a lot of product guys that have… had a great idea for product. Started a company and sales is there, it’s a big crutch for them. Speak to that a little bit because I’m more of… I’m not a product guy; I’m not that type of person. So, maybe sometimes I may not have the right answers or not see from their perspective. So, can you share a little of how does that engineering background translate to the sales.

Victor Antonio: Well, we set a four legged call, you could make a two legged call when you’re an engineer, right? ‘Cause what happen in the past was there was a sales guy and I would come along as an application engineer.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: We were selling high tech equipment in the telecom industry. And so, sometimes a salesperson couldn’t explain it but the salesperson was the door opener, knew how to do the presentation. Just when it got a little deep he just kind of looked at me and said “Vic? Can you answer that?” and it was… By the way, if you can do that well, engineer and salesperson do a little tag team I think that’s always a great pair up, match up. And eventually I said to myself “You know what? I think I can do the sales piece now”. So I knew the technology piece cause I’m not, I’m a nerd guy and then I started doing the sales piece so now, I could do two legged calls, I could do it by myself. And then always impressed executives and also the product managers because the product managers would say “Well, what about this?” and I go “Well, here’s how it works”. And I would actually show them, draw it out schematics, work the software and they were like kind of stunned like “Okay, he knows what he’s talking about” and that built a lot of credibility. Now that said, you don’t have to have an engineering degree.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: You just have to study the products.

Ali Mirza:             Yep!

Victor Antonio: And, too often I tell people is that you got to learn the product. But not only the product Ali, learn the product, learn the customer’s business and then learn their market. Those three things if you can create a Venn diagram we overlay of those three things, know the product, know the customer and understand the market then they’ll listen to you.

Ali Mirza:             And, okay. So, now that you’ve got that centerpiece of the Venn diagram, you understand all three aspects. For a lot of people and I don’t want to call it this with give you a loaded question. But for a lot of people they freeze when it comes… they know it but they freeze when it comes to explaining it. Can you?…

Victor Antonio: No. I think… I’m going to disagree. I think they freeze ’cause they don’t know it.

Ali Mirza:             Okay.

Victor Antonio: I think they freeze because they don’t know it well. Can we say it like that?

Ali Mirza:             Yeah, okay.

Victor Antonio: Because when you know it well I can find anybody. And I’m telling you, if I find something you like you’ll start blabbing your head off.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: If I can find that thing that you love talking about you’ll blab your head off. Why? Your passion about it, you love it and you understand it. A lot of salespeople know enough. Know enough just to get in trouble and that’s when they don’t want certain questions to be asked.

Ali Mirza:             Right. Right. Right.

Victor Antonio: But here’s something interesting. I got to share this with you. As you know, I have that AI and Sales Podcast which is artificial intelligence and Podcast.

Ali Mirza:             Yes.

Victor Antonio: I was interviewing the CEO Oleg Rogynskyy. He’s the CEO of People.AI and along his line he saw something interesting. They could predict with their AI analytics within 17 days. Listen to me Ali, 17 days whether a salesperson is going to make it or not based on the data. But so I dug a little deep I said “Well, how do you know?” What are some of the behaviors that will determine whether somebody’s successful or not. Here’s what he said, he said “What those amazing is that you typically thought”… now I’m going to contradict myself here right now. He said, “You’re thought to learn the product and maybe spend a month or two months with the product, right?”

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: “The successful salespeople don’t do that. They start setting up meetings without even knowing the product as well as they should”. And I go, now in that… it’s a conundrum, right?

Ali Mirza:             Right. Yeah, okay.

Victor Antonio: Because he’s like they just launched themself into the breach and they’ll figure out the product answers later and that’s as far as we got the conversation. I remember reflecting on that goal, what is that? Why not learn the product upfront because you would have more confidence, right?

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: I think what happens is that early on the salespeople set a certain behavior, a certain pattern, certain habits and that habit is to set up meetings.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And then when they go in there if I could be so bold and get their asses kicked because they don’t know it then they learn it faster and they prepare better. Where the other person who just studies the product maybe you don’t know they’re not good because they haven’t gone out there.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And I’ve seen this happened that people will study their product to death instead of making a cold call. I still need to learn my product, I still need to work on this.

Ali Mirza:             Yeah.

Victor Antonio: And they’ll use it as a crutch if not an excuse. And I found that piece of data very fascinating.

Ali Mirza:             So, I mean… so, if I was to categorize is this you tell me if I’m correct or not. The kind of like the old saying it’s “No plan work is a better than a great plan not worked”, is that kind of…

Victor Antonio: Yeah.

Ali Mirza:             And then, so I’ve always said and I just kind of make this abandoned more because I was always like a lazy salesperson, right? I’d rather talk to somebody than actually do all the backend work, right? And so I was, so when they…

Victor Antonio: By the way, that’s important what you just said that you rather talk to somebody and learn from them than read the damn the specs. Just tell me what they’re going to ask, just tell me what they’re going to hit and that’s what I love.

Ali Mirza:             Exactly! And I always said you only need to know this much more than the person you’re selling to. Whether that’s accurate or not that was always my goal, excused or not.

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             But… and because the other thing is I always found that the salespeople that knew the most to the earlier point you made they would just blah, blah, blah and if you’re talking you’re not selling right?

Victor Antonio: Correct.

Ali Mirza:             And so there was always this, that’s very, very interesting.

Victor Antonio: I know when he said that I go… Okay, so what does that mean? You kind of really try to break that with apart a little bit. And what I think is you just kind of set something when you talk about asking other people. I was doing a Podcast about two days ago with another company and the guys said “You know, Victor. How do you know what questions are going to asked in a sales presentation?”

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: I said. “It’s really easy! Here’s what you do”. I said “How many salespeople you have?” he goes, like 10 or 20 right? And he says “What’s the average tenure of the salespeople? The average is 10 years, 4 years”, alright. So, I want you to do, do this gather them all up in one room and within a half day session if that you can pretty much list out every question they’re going to ask and what you need to say.

Ali Mirza:             Yeah.

Victor Antonio: And the guy had a moment like “that was too easy”. And if I should now imagine if we then take that list and the answers and then prioritize in terms of what people ask more frequently and now you study that.

Ali Mirza:             Yep.

Victor Antonio: Now, your speed to learning, your speed to value is much higher.

Ali Mirza:             No, that makes… It’s like, was it Occam’s razor, right?

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             Simple solutions. Or I mean, just like put them in a room, get the answers right out of there.

Victor Antonio: Simple answer is usually the right answer.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And he had that moment like I didn’t think about that, that’s too easy. So, if you’re listening to this and you’re starting out in sales, if you believe the data the guy from people where I gave as is that you really should start setting up meetings right away and to accelerate your path to learning’s to be able to talk to people is find people who know what they’re doing, talk it about, salespeople, engineers and just ask them questions, tell me what they’re going to ask me let me learn this and let me be as dangerous as I can with that.

Ali Mirza:             I like that. I like that. Alright, so let me ask you another question here. Your experience is largely with is with larger organizations in training them and motivating them and working with them and getting their sales teams going. My audience is a little bit more… they’re, let’s say sub 30 sales reps for the most part. Everyone’s got a little bit of impostor complex. What, when you’re working with large organizations what is some of the key takeaways that my audience can have today in terms of that we can learn from some people that are at a 100, 200, 500, 1000 sales reps. What are they doing that if some of the smaller organizations would do it would make a huge impact?

Victor Antonio: Yeah. I think in a large organizations what I’ve noticed. This is just my two sense, my perspective. Large organizations for example the ability to adapt technology is much faster, the adoption rate is much faster. So, in other words they’ll use a CRM, whether it’s Microsoft or Salesforce they’ll use a CRM. Lot of small companies I talked to don’t use a CRM, they’re still using like a spreadsheet, right?

Ali Mirza:             Yup.

Victor Antonio: And so that the first habit we have to create if you’re a small company is you got to put your information into CRM. And I talk about this more often now that the CRM used to be like his big brother. That’s how we perceive this, big brother watching us. But today, because of data analytics and AI is that, that data now becomes a way of selling more effectively. And so, putting data in the machine should now become a priority not because people are watching you because it’s going to help you sell more effectively. That’s one thing. Number two, is that in big companies what I’ve seen is that there’s more of a structured presentation and messaging that goes on, right? In other words, most of salespeople were saying the same thing.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: The marketing department is kicking out consistent marketing messages where smaller companies is more ad hoc.

Ali Mirza:             Yes.

Victor Antonio: Slap it together, say certain things and so forth. Big companies have sales processes, right? Small companies typically don’t, right? Big companies invest in training every 3 months, every 6 months whatever it may be. Smaller companies do it once a year, so it’s almost like taking a shower once a year and that’s it, type of thing.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And so those some of the obvious differences. And so, that’s what I see when I see the adjusted position between smaller companies and big companies is that they just simply have a more consistent message, they care more about their data the process is there even their presentation process, what they present is very consistent. Now, sales process differs from presentation process in the sense that what is a sales process obviously. But then, when you’re in there what do you present? How do you present? What you show for us? What you show second? They thought of that about that more.

Ali Mirza:             Right. And so nothing you’ve said I mean, ’cause which you said was training preparation, investment. Nothing you said is something that a small organization couldn’t do.

Victor Antonio: That is correct. It’s correct.

Ali Mirza:             It’s a stuff they don’t do or they don’t prioritize.

Victor Antonio: Yeah. I mean the only difference is really scale and reach, right?

Ali Mirza:             Yes.

Victor Antonio: Scale how big the organization is and how many territories or markets can we cover. But a small medium sized business can function just like any large corporation they just have to put in the time, effort and the infrastructure to be like them so, there’s nothing they can’t do.

Ali Mirza:             Got it. Got it. Now, that makes sense. Alright, let’s flip that question around.

Victor Antonio: Yeah.

Ali Mirza:             When you’re with large organizations, right? And you just say this is the challenge or this is the problem they’re having. God, I wish they could do this but it’s like a massive barge it can’t turn on a dime.

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             What are the advantages that smaller organizations have to be nimble? And why I asked this question, right? It’s not just to patch small organizations on the back but it’s what can they do so that when they get large like some of the organizations you’re talking about. So, if there are 5, 10 employees or 5, 10 salespeople right now they don’t perpetuate this issue to when they are 500 now it’s too big to change. What are certain things that they can do that they have the advantage of being small?

Victor Antonio: The advantage of being small is that you can… remember it’s almost like something that’s been stratified, right? In other words it has been put in place already. In large corporations they’re very stratified and that is their process of stratified, their sales presentation process stratified, how they collect data stratified. When you were a small corporation it’s almost like everything is still fluid. In other words you could begin to create something that works. Let’s go to the obvious. One, you could be more personal with your customer. As you said, it’s not a big boat you’re a small dingy which means you could turn on the dime, right? And adjust the customers very quickly. If you have to change your messaging you can do that. So, there’s advantages to being small, you’re more nimble, this is the obvious stuff, right? This is like the Sun Tzu art of War, right? If you can’t beat them in a certain way where can I win?

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: So, smaller companies can figure out what niches can I go after and win very effectively and actually respond to a customer’s needs more effectively. The downside is that large corporations have brand name behind them, reputation and it’s easier for them to sell it. Now, but if you’re a small company you have to think about what these large companies can’t do. One is that, again if you need to change your messaging, large companies have a hard time doing that. Two, I think in large companies a salesperson can kind of hide within the company.

Ali Mirza:             Yep.

Victor Antonio: And I believe there’s a complacency factor also while our company brand sells it, I don’t need to sell that effectively. What I noticed is small medium sized business salespeople are more aggressive. You know what I mean? They’re going to hustle more, they’re going to bust their ass more because they’re going to sell over brand. And I think that gives them an advantage on the long run because I think they’ve developed better habits. I think small medium sized salespeople, SMB salespeople can jump into a large corporation and in many cases probably do better only because they come from a school of I’ve had to hustle, I’ve never had all the tools or the marketing collaterals, all these things. I’ve learned how to do it the hard way, grinding it out, getting in there, you know what I mean? Having in my own little process. Where in large companies I’ve seen a lot of complacency where big company were making money, maybe we’re not all hitting our revenue but guess what? Nobody’s really calling me out. Where within a smaller companies revenues matter. And so I think the mindset of a small medium sized business salesperson is much healthier than those that you’ll find in large corporations.

Ali Mirza:             That’s interesting. No, I like that. I like that.

Victor Antonio: Yeah.

Ali Mirza:             So, let me… okay, here’s another question for you. Assume I’m a founder of a smaller organization, I’ve got three, four, five sales reps. And at the end of the day everyone wants to go to the big leads, right? So, I’m training my salespeople, I’m getting them ready and one of them comes to me and says “Hey, boss. Here’s my notice. I’m going to work at Oracle” right? Everyone thinks that if you work at Oracle as salesperson you’re going to make a million dollars a year, blah, blah, blah, you got expense account [00:16:22.03] [Crosstalk] [Unintelligible] pass, all that BS, right? We all know it’s not that good but this young 28 year old thinks that that’s the life that they’re going to have. Knowing what you know about large organizations, what can you tell me as the founder that I can maybe say to this young up and comer to maybe dissuade him from leaving my ship? Because I don’t know what’s going on at Oracle.

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             How can I say it to this person to keep him here? That if it isn’t their best interest to stay here and they think the grass is greener but it really isn’t.

Victor Antonio: So, if somebody comes to you and say I’m going to Oracle, the problem started way before that. You can almost rewind that a year ago. And so, I’m going to default and then I’ll give you my twist to Daniel Pink’s book Drive. So, if you haven’t read the book Drive you should read this especially if you’re a manager. And to summarize Daniel Pink’s book he said there’s three things that people look for, autonomy, mastery and purpose. Autonomy, mastery he said beyond money, beyond money and I’ll come back to money in just a bit. It’s autonomy, mastery and purpose. What’s autonomy mean? I like the frame to do it my way, right? Mastery, I want to be learning, I want to be growing, right? Purpose is obvious, right? Why am I doing this? How am I helping people? But I would focus on autonomy and mastery. You’ll have more autonomy within a small organization than you do with a large organization. You’ll have more opportunities for mastery to learn things. In other words, if I have… look, I can’t compete with Oracle they probably got their own university, right?

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: So, we’re going to learn a lot of things. But if I have salespeople maybe every quarter I’m engaging them in a course or enrolling them in a course because I want them to learn something new, right? So, I have to make sure that if I got three to five people that’s manageable, I can manage their careers, I can give them the autonomy. And by the way every quarter I can sit down and say Ali, I say “Hey, this quarter I’m going to send you to a two day conference so you can learn about this” and you’re like “Oh, this is great! Every three months I get to travel and learn something and I’m growing and I feel like I’m growing. New products are being developed, I’ve learning new products, I’m growing”. So, as a manager you have to look at those three things, autonomy, mastery and purpose. Having said that you got to keep in mind that you have to have a great compensation plan. The money compensation plan is key. Look! If you has getting rational person, if you have autonomy, mastery and purpose within a company and you have a compensation plan that rivals Oracle why would I want to leave? Why do I want to be a cog in a large machine when I can be part of a real business unit in a small company?

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And if I would ask that person that was going to leave that came in with the “I’m out of here” it’s not so much Oracle the brand it’s if I fail that salesperson in developing them, giving them a career path. Because remember you’re 23, 24 what are you thinking? I want to get to the next level, right?

Ali Mirza:             Yes.

Victor Antonio: I got to get to the next level. Well my job as a manager just help to get them to next level. What is your next level? I want to make more money, great! Let’s talk about it, right? And we would put a compensation plan that would match you grow them. Does that make sense?

Ali Mirza:             That makes sense, absolutely! And I want to hammer home on something you just said because I want to make sure that our audience doesn’t glaze over it the words you said “I want to get to the next level”.

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             And I’m trying to think back to when I was 23, 24 even a couple of weeks ago when I was 28 and 29… Or I don’t well how old I a. It don’t matter. I think I’m still 29. But that next level, that’s what everyone care so much about, is that next level. And so the path of this resistance to that next level is going to another brand. But if I can feel like I’m getting to the next level within an organization, right? It doesn’t have to be from a title or role perspective. It’s not like I went from a rep to a manager.

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             Some people get caught up in titles; I don’t really care too much about that. If I feel to your point is I’m levelling up, right?

Victor Antonio: Right?

Ali Mirza:             And realistically there’s two ways to do it, right? There is leave the organization and go to a bigger organization or within my existing organization gain a new set of skills that are going to… because why you’re going to Oracle? You’re going to Oracle because you feel like you’re going to be selling in a bigger market, a bigger product, a bigger whatever. But if I can get that within provided the primaries that you spoke about I think that makes a lot of sense. So, that level up key I think that that’s the thing that you need to hit on, that’s why that person is leaving, right?

Victor Antonio: Yeah. I mean, you can ask the person. If I were talking to this person this fictitious person and I’ll say “Well tell me why you’re going to Oracle or why you’re thinking of leaving the company?” Let’s say if I caught it earlier that why you’re thinking to leave? “Well, I feel like I’m not growing or learning here”, boom! check mark, right? That’s the mastery piece right there.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And I said, well me being a senior executive I would say “Let me fast forward what’s going to happen to you”. At the end of the day I would ask one question. The major question I would ask to a salesperson is at the end of the day what do you want? Do you want freedom and money or do you want to impress people with a brand and have less money? Tell me which one do you want? Now, they’re going to have to tell me and with the thing most people say I want freedom and money.

Ali Mirza:             I want freedom and money. Yeah.

Victor Antonio: And so, why would you want to go to a large corporation where they’re going to stick you in a position and keep you there and now you got to work the politics as you go in the long run to be an executive in a large corporation? If that’s the case and I get that. Let me show you some stuff here we can do, let’s put you on a path. But again, I should know this before even walking to the office to tell me he’s out of here. That’s bad management on my part if he left and I was surprised. I was blindsided by it then that’s my fault.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And by the way, can we just say this out loud? Attrition is okay.

Ali Mirza:             Yeah.

Victor Antonio: Losing people it’s okay, sometimes bring in the new blood, you got to go, boom! I understand. I don’t want to hold you back but I would try to keep them there as long as possible. So, the plan would be also to put something in place so I can train somebody faster.

Ali Mirza:             Correct. Correct. I mean, and see the thing that a lot of people don’t understand is they we get so tunnelled in our own lens in our own vision. And as founders and business owners we’re the ones making all the money, right? We don’t like, we don’t understand it from this other person’s perspective of when we gave him an $80,000 salary or they’re making a $150 all these other stuff like that’s money but that’s not like the greatest money. That’s not FU money, right? And this person shape that.

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             And we seem to somehow just not think that way and somehow we tend to hold people back, right? Because we want what’s in our best interest. But to your point, right? You can hold someone back if it’s time for them to go and it’s time for them to level up on their own and I’ve given them all that I can within my organization and I’m not. Sometimes yeah, you just got to let them go. I agree with that.

Victor Antonio: And I think would be interesting that in getting this hypothetical situation is that as a person’s leaving unless they had made the decision already and just ask by saying why are you leaving? I got it, you’re going, we’re done. I just want to understand why you’re leaving. And he may, here she may say “This, this, this, this”. Well, what is that, that’s information for now the existing sales force.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: That maybe where that’s kind of my wakeup call that I should pay attention. And I think to me revenue matters. At the end of the day revenue matters a lot. And if i can help you make as much money as they get at big companies doing without the politics, without the hassles, without the bureaucracy guess what? You’re going to want to stay.

Ali Mirza:             Correct. Correct. Well, I think now I know you’re right and it just sits the old… it’s my sales philosophy, right? I mean, either I’m walking away with the deal or I’m walking away with the lesson, right?

Victor Antonio: Yeah.

Ali Mirza:             Either I’m going to close this deal and hopefully get a lesson and get better as well. But I’m going to close this deal and pick up some money. Or if you say no, I need to learn why you said no. Were you a bad fit? How did I not figured that out early on?

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             Did I do something wrong?

Victor Antonio: Yes.

Ali Mirza:             Right? You got to learn these things at no different than in a sales situation same thing in a management position, right? Someone is leaving. You’re not going to be able to save everybody but understand why they’re leaving so that it doesn’t happen again because this perpetuate then it’s on you, right? It’s the old fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me whatever, right?

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             Or George Bush’s version, right? Which is you ain’t going to fool me again, right? Whatever it was.

Victor Antonio: Ain’t going to fool me again. Well, here’s a personal story. So, I was within the technology company I was VP of sales for a company called ADC Telecommunications which is Tyco now. And so, I was VP sales making big dollars, right? Then, I remember…

Ali Mirza:             Really sorry. Sorry, sorry one second. I apologize. With the company’s name was ABC Telecommunications?

Victor Antonio: ADC.

Ali Mirza:             Oh! ADC. I’m like, that is like, that’s a real company. Well, okay. Sorry.

Victor Antonio: No. No, it’s ADC Telecommunications which is again now Tyco. And what was interesting I was VP of sales and I was doing extremely… by the way, it’s a 3 Billion Dollar company so I was one of those pieces in there. A company lured me away with a high salary. At that time, I was $250,000 a year all kinds of stock options, commissions laid on top of that and I jumped. I was happy where I was at and I jumped for the money and the title because now it’s President of Sales in Marketing, global sales in marketing. Bigger title, bigger money, bigger responsibilities. Within 6 months, not even that within 3 months I think I already knew I made the biggest mistake of my career. I mean literally Ali I cannot emphasize how bad that move was and that taught me a lesson, don’t jump for the money don’t jump for the title.

Ali Mirza:             Okay. You got me interested. Why was that the base?

Victor Antonio: Oh, why?

Ali Mirza:             Yeah.

Victor Antonio: Oh! What I found out is that I jumped into the company everything from the outside always looks great, right?

Ali Mirza:             Of course.

Victor Antonio: It’s like we always think our neighbor has it great, right? You mentioned that I did that show Life or Death and you know that I had to go into people’s houses to uncover the real financial status, right?

Ali Mirza:             Yes.

Victor Antonio: And in many cases, in the majority cases they were all broke. And the number that I used on the show is that 75% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck. That’s 3 out of 4 families are broke, right?

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And so, the same thing when I jumped out from the outside I looked at this company everything was great. You know their pipeline was great, this was great, that was great. When I got in to the company then I really started digging in to the pipeline. And man, by the time I wallowed that pipeline down to reality I was like there was no way that I could hit whatever number they gave me at that time. It was just like the gap was so big it was incredible and then I questioned where this numbers came from and I could get in to him and well all is going well. And then the politics kicked in and then the blame game kicks in about who owns this.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And after a while you’re like, okay. I just been set up.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: You guys came from the outside. I’ll give you one example. I go in there I was selling the Sprint at that time out of Kansas City, I go in there, it’s a $250,000 deal, right? One deal simple deal. They’re like, here’s what we can pay Victor $250,000. I come back they said, “Victor. We need you to sell that at $450,000”. I’m like, that’s all they have and he goes “Well, you’re not pushing them hard enough. Your salespeople were not trying hard” and I’m like… So, I go back, of course they shut the door on me. Long story short, about a month later the company starving for revenues, right? They hit their number at the end of the quarter so, Victor go back and pick up that deal for $250,000. Guess what happened.

Ali Mirza:             What happened?

Victor Antonio: Somebody else bought, they were already bought from somebody else.

Ali Mirza:             Really?

Victor Antonio: And it was things like that and I go the politics and the jocking for who’s responsible. Bottom line is things aren’t always that they appear.

Ali Mirza:             Oh, yeah.

Victor Antonio: The grass is always greener you think. And so for that salesperson that tells me they want to go to another company. I said understand what you’re seeing is the image, the brand from the outside and everybody’s telling you the best of the best of what they have to offer you. Once you get in there it’s a different story.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: So, be careful before… you know that look before you leap like really, really look before you leap.

Ali Mirza:             No. I agree. I agree. Alright, let’s shift gears a little bit here and that was me putting it into a different gear. I don’t know what I did by the last time.

Victor Antonio: It was a good gear shifting visual you just gave.

Ali Mirza:             By the way, I do know how to drive stick so it’s not like I’m an idiot. I’m sure most 29 years old they have no clue. You know how to drive stick, right? I imagine, yeah. But okay, anyways. What is one like what is consistently the biggest BS excuse you hear from salespeople? That oh, I can’t because…

Victor Antonio: Price.

Ali Mirza:             Right. Okay. When?

Victor Antonio: Price. At… the thing is I said no, you don’t… it’s not that it. There’s several ways to cut this thing apart, right? Because again it’s so easy to say “Oh, Victor. Our product is too expensive”. We were selling a product when I was at ADC that was about 30% to 40% more than our competitors. And I took that business unit from 14 to 98 Million in 2 and a half years. Selling a more expensive product.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: I mean, I’ll say 8 times out of 10 we were always overpriced but we still sold it, we knew how to sell the value, we know how to position value, not price. And most people say “Well, Victor. It’s the price”. And when I hear that comes out of a manager’s mouth I just freak out. Because if the manager is thinking that you know the sales force is thinking that.

Ali Mirza:             For sure!

Victor Antonio: And so, people say “Well, Victor. Come on. Sometimes it’s about price”, of course. The Wharton School of Business that I studied I think it said about 23% of people in one market will buy based on price, okay? Again, that’s one study. Other say 10% to 20%. So, let’s assume the 20% of the people buy on price, got it! They exist!

Ali Mirza:             Of course.

Victor Antonio: I got that. But I would argue that there’s another 20% that doesn’t give a rip about price that they just want the Maserati.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: Victor, just load the thing up. I mean, we’ve done that, right? Whether you’re buying a computer, buying a card just load the thing up.

Ali Mirza:             Yep.

Victor Antonio: I’m in treat yourself mode or I really want to invest in myself, just load it up. Don’t care about the price, right?

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: Now, in the middle you have this 60%, these are people who are complacent. They have this anxiety about making a decision or switching over. You as a salesperson have failed to reduce that anxiety or create enough urgency to get them off the complacent dime and you blame it on price.

Ali Mirza:             Right. Right.

Victor Antonio: And so, one other study showed. Tim Riesterer, the interesting diagram which talks about on average when 40% of your deals and then you lose 60% of your deals, right? On average. Cross sectional study, right? And then when they looked at that 60% if you crack that open 20% of those deals went to your competitor. Are you with me so far?

Ali Mirza:             Yep!

Victor Antonio: 60% lost, 20% went to your competitor, 40% were no decisions. Now, when they looked at the 40% if we can dig into this further, 10% of those were based on price which means 30% didn’t buy, didn’t make a decision. Why? Because you the salesperson didn’t provide enough value. So, it’s nothing to do with price. So, in other words think about this 30% didn’t decide because they weren’t sure versus 20% went to your competitor.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: Which means that your real competitor is the status quo not price.

Ali Mirza:             Right. So, okay. Let me ask and school me on this here. My thinking is always been price may or may not be a factor. You don’t know, right? And to your point, right? That you know up to maybe 20% of people buy on price and then the remaining 80% may be in treat yourself mode or may be in complacency mode, may be in is up for the friction, may be something else, right?

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             So, I’ve always had the opinion of brainwashing myself to believe price does not matter at all. Because, yes sometimes 20% of the time it will matter but that doesn’t help me to know that. So, if I understand the price does not matter more often than that I will not allow that to be a barrier. Is that a good tactic? Is that a bad tactic? Am I sticking my head in the sand? Or what’s your feedback on that?

Victor Antonio: My first take is, is it working for you?

Ali Mirza:             Yeah.

Victor Antonio: Okay. Then, it’s [00:33:02.01] [great].

Ali Mirza:             I mean, [00:33:01.21] [Crosstalk] [Unintelligible] as much as far as I know.

Victor Antonio: Yeah. That, so there’s your answer. I mean, but in general there’s nothing wrong with that to assume that everybody can afford it, right? But I can also say, you know what? I got an 80-20 rule going on here. I’m going to focus on the 80% because maybe the 20% who can’t afford it simply might targeting our qualification is wrong. In other words I’m not qualifying the right buyers. So, it’s okay to… by the way, I remember as I do that workshop with Grant Cardone and he said something interesting and I go that resonates with me. He said “You don’t have a sales problem or a closing problem, you have an opportunity problem”. And what he was saying is that basically about paraphrase what I think he wanted to say. And that is if you had enough people in your pipeline man you’d be chopping through that very quickly and you will sell with confidence because you’re trying to find all the buyers. Set another way, a visual analogy. If you only got one or two people lined up at the door to talk to you, right? Then you’re kind of more hesitant about losing the deal, right?

Ali Mirza:             Yeah.

Victor Antonio: So, all of a sudden you start thinking about, is it price? Yeah, do they really want it? Okay, I don’t want to say the wrong thing because I might lose the deal. Now, if you had a hundred people lined up you’d be like, alright let’s chop through this really quickly and let’s find out who could really afford me?

Ali Mirza:             Who’s buying, right?

Victor Antonio: Yeah. Who could afford what I’ve got?

Ali Mirza:             Exactly!

Victor Antonio: And so, that’s kind of what he meant and that’s my visual. But I think that’s what he meant is that when you got a lot of people then it’s like who could afford me? So, it’s not so much priced is that maybe you’re not finding the people who can afford you, you’re not targeting the right market or you’re going after people who are broke. I had one lady she said “Victor. You know, I’ve reached out to this person 14 times and they still haven’t bought, what do I do?” Move on! That’s what… do you know what I mean?

Ali Mirza:             Well, I do like that.

Victor Antonio: Because you moved on after number two. You know, 14 times I’m like move on. But why didn’t she move on?

Ali Mirza:             Probably nowhere to move to.

Victor Antonio: That’s right! Didn’t have enough opportunity. She didn’t have a sales or closing problem, she had an opportunity problem.

Ali Mirza:             Correct. Correct. And again and I know and I’m going to put words on your mouth and you tell me if it’s right or not. But I mean everything you take with a grain of salt, right? I mean, because I’ve seen the… I 100% agree with you but I’ve also seen the other side of the problem where people do have a lot of opportunities and then they just become into order takers, right? Their closing skills that were never developed, they’re not at a point where they’re being diligent and then that cost the company money. The salesperson setting quota but they’re taking way too many opportunities that are not being efficient with it. So, you know.

Victor Antonio: So, can I highlight it because what you just said is really important Ali? And I love that you brought that up. Here’s what I think is interesting. We talked about SMB’s and large corporations, right?

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: Now, here’s what’s interesting and this is was really pointing in about what you just said. In a large corporation this long sale cycle deals that could take 3 to 6 months to close, right? And typically I’m working with a smaller pipeline because these deals are so big, half a million, one million. So, maybe i have 5 to 10 deals to work on and that’s it, my key accounts, right?

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: Now, think which means that I’m not doing a lot of presentations. I’m not doing a lot of selling; I’m doing a lot of account management to continue among the path to sell it, right? Or buy it.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: Now, think about. Let’s go to the other side of the spectrum. Small SMB’s or entrepreneur, man they’re selling everyday, they’re trying to get something everyday, they’re on the phone everyday, their pitching everyday over the phone, they’re leaving those voicemails  everyday. They’re responding they’re doing ten, five to ten presentations a day if I can exaggerate they practice it which means they have more at bats than people in a large corporation. And sometimes I think in many cases I know that salespeople who come from a small organization are better salespeople than those within large corporations due the fact that they have more at bats and more practice.

Ali Mirza:             Yes.

Victor Antonio: That’s why what you said is important that because it’s maybe they didn’t practice their skills enough. Small companies, they practice, their colleague, they hit it, they’re getting good at it. So, if you’re in a small business right now you should be very happy that with because you get the practice of your presentations skills maybe 3 to 5 times a day.

Ali Mirza:             Correct. Yeah.

Victor Antonio: Versus in a large corporation gets to practice it maybe once or twice month.

Ali Mirza:             If yeah, if they’re lucky and if they make… if they mess up or whatever that’s a… that feedback loop is so much longer and then… or sorry, that feedback loop is really just not there and in order for them to actually refine and get better and that’s why.

Victor Antonio: By the way, the feedback loops has a 3 to 6 month delay.

Ali Mirza:             Exactly! [00:37:38.04] [Crosstalk] and so you forgot what you did to get that feedback.

Victor Antonio: Yeah. But that time you screwed up every other deal you’re working on where as you’re pointing to and you’re going in the right direction is that if you’re right there all the time you’re getting the feedback right away.

Ali Mirza:             Exactly.

Victor Antonio: Surely there’s an advantage. I love the fact that you brought that up. Great job!

Ali Mirza:             You’re welcome. I’m a very smart guy.

Victor Antonio: I know you are. You’re a hustler man.

Ali Mirza:             And on that and it’s this notion of… well sales is all about relationships, right? And I feel like, okay me personally I don’t know what your opinion on, I think that’s complete garbage as complete BS. Of course, when you make a sale in theory you will build a relationship with somebody. But in order to think that you have to make or build a relationship first and then, right? I feel like that’s just a cap out. That is what the typical enterprise sales rep or large deals sales reps says when he doesn’t know what he’s going to do, right?

Victor Antonio: Right.

Ali Mirza:             He says, “Oh, sales is all about relationships” and it’s like, really? I’ve got a lot of relationships with a lot of people that I’ve never sold anything to and vice versa. I’ve got a lot that I never had a relationship with that I sold them something. So I mean, yes, maybe but to try and pretend like that’s like the single point of failure that whether you have one or not is going… I don’t know. Your thoughts?

Victor Antonio: I agree with you, 100%. And but, we always talk about how you’re more like a hammer, you’re really blunt about it. It doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t go that far. And I know that you don’t really mean that, I know that you mean that the relationship is a consequence of me sharing great information in helping your business. If I could help your business grow the revenue, reduce the cost, expand market share, the fact I can help you do that we establish a great relationship because there’s some symbiosis there right? That’s kind of what we’re saying. I always tell people go read The Challenger Sale. 2011, 2012 The Challenger Sale, go read it because it highlight the 5 archetypes. Basically it’s the topology of 5 types of salespeople, I can’t remember but there’s the lonewolf, the challenger, the maverick, the reactionary person and the relationship person, right? Now we all we have a little bit of those five in us but one is a dominant trait and the dominant trait was the challenger. And the person who did the worst in a good or bad economy was a relationship salesperson. The person that did the best or the worst whether it was a simple or complex sale was a relationship person. So it’s not opinion, you use some data that justifies basically what you just said. And what if it was a challenger? The challenger model is somebody who… and I think I’ll go at the top of my head, they teach for differentiation, they tailor for resonance and they take control of a conversation. Those were the three things they did. In other words, let’s walk through us, teach for differentiation. Mister customer let me tell you what you’re not seeing. Tailor for resonance, alright based on your business here let me go ahead and show you how this is going to help your business, tailor for resonance. Take control, no Ali, you don’t want to do that. Here’s what you want to pay attention to because what am I trying to do? With those three things I’m tailoring, I’m teaching but I’m also controlling the conversation in guiding you to an answer that maybe you don’t see.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: And that’s The Challenger Sale. And I really love that model because that is what today’s salesperson is. Now, do you… should you have a great relationship? Of course you should.

Ali Mirza:             Yeah.

Victor Antonio: Again, as you say it’s not… the sale is not contingent on the relationship it is contingent on your ability to help them move their business forward.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: As a result of that we could have a good relationship.

Ali Mirza:             Right. Right.

Victor Antonio: So, I’m with you a 100%

Ali Mirza:             It’s this if then that I don’t like.

Victor Antonio: Yeah.

Ali Mirza:             If you have a relationship only then can you sell them and it’s not. Again, don’t…

Victor Antonio: It’d be nice. By the way, that’s old school thinking.

Ali Mirza:             Right. Right.

Victor Antonio: That was the time around time I was coming up because at the time there was no internet. You know, so you had to have a great relationship with the company because you couldn’t get the information you wanted. So, think about this, before the internet how did you find out about the product? How did you find out about the service? How did you find about who’s doing what and how good is your product? Well you had to have a relationship.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: By the way, customers will willing to listen to you because they didn’t have the information.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: That’s why they were willing to listen to you because they didn’t have the information. Now, once the internet came on Google says people look at ten sources of information before deciding whether to contact you or not which means, when they contact you they already know a lot. So, you’d better know more than they do.

Ali Mirza:             Their burden on that.

Victor Antonio: So, now that what’s change. I don’t want a relationship now; I want you to actually help me make a better decision. Can you help me do that?

Ali Mirza:             Right. Right. Yeah.

Victor Antonio: And as a result to that we have a great relationship.

Ali Mirza:             Beautiful. No, that’s… I love that. And I think that really is a big takeaway that I think that more people need to understand is that is ’cause when you’re talking about the challenger, right? And I’ve got my opinions on that and then I think they’re definitely in line with yours. But I think that the most important thing is people know what they know, they don’t know, they know what they don’t know but they don’t know what they don’t know. And I think that’s… if someone is a really good challenger that is really what they’re hitting on is showing the prospect, things that they have not considered like you said what they don’t know and shining the light in areas, making them ask questions that they never asked themselves.

Victor Antonio: Correct.

Ali Mirza:             That’s really where… that’s how you build genuine rapport, right?

Victor Antonio: Correct.

Ali Mirza:             It’s like, oh wow! Should this guy ask me a bunch of question? I never thought of pretty legit dude, right?

Victor Antonio: Yeah.

Ali Mirza:             And I mean, asking someone about their pets and cats and this and that and it’s like I’m in.

Victor Antonio: So the point, I mean, anybody listening to this Podcast will know that. When you’re engaged in the conversation when somebody who knows more than you do and you walk away from that conversation going on that was worth 30 minutes.

Ali Mirza:             Right.

Victor Antonio: That’s what they want to walk away with. I think it was CSO Insights, and if I got this wrong I apologize. But I think it was CSO Insights that when they asked the executives, how much value do they get out of the sales presentation? I think like 96% said none, something like or some great crazy number like that. Which means, only 6% of real value. And I think when they… I think it was only like 18% found value. But when they asked, would you meet with them again? The number dropped to like 6%, something like that.

Ali Mirza:             Really?

Victor Antonio: It means that they’re saying what you’re telling I already know. If you take a week or month to set up a meeting and then you come in to my office and tell me what I couldn’t read on the website you’re not selling then, you’re telling.

Ali Mirza:             Correct.

Victor Antonio: You’re talking about order takers, that’s also like you talk about pukers bank giving me the same thing I already know. Tell me, as you said give me some insight, right? Something I don’t know, something that’s makes me go “huh?”, I didn’t think about that and now you shifted me. And that’s the teach for differentiation piece within The Challenger Sale. I like The Challenger Sale; I’m a fan of the book because I really love the fact that it’s an empirical study not the anecdotal, right? Stories. This is an empirical study on what’s happening and what’s changed at the market today. And so I think everybody should read that book.

Ali Mirza:             Yeah. No, I agree with that. Alright, brother. Well, hey! Thank you so much for your time. I mean, I got a ton more questions and I’m sure the audience does as well but…

Victor Antonio: Part 2.

Ali Mirza:             Part 2. We’ll have to do a part 2 but I know you’re on a hard stop here. So, where could people find you? Where could people find out more about you? Where could people contact you and hit you up with some more questions?

Victor Antonio:     So, website VictorAntonio.com. If you want great content you can find me on YouTube if you want for free. If you want exceptional content go to my online Mastery Academy and again you’ll find it at VictorAntonio.com.

Ali Mirza:             Excellent. Well, everyone remember to like, share, comment and subscribe. And also, let Victor and I know what are some of the craziest excuses you have heard from some of your sales reps?

Victor Antonio: That’s a good one.

Ali Mirza:             And I’d love to hear that. And what have you said in order to combat that and get them thinking straight again? Or if you did not have a response to it let us know, tell us “Hey! My sales reps come to me with this all the time. I know it’s BS, I just don’t know what to say to turn them around the corner”. Vic and I will maybe be sure to get back to you and let you know what you can say. As always, thank you so much and until next time. Thank you and take care.