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Mastering Authentic Selling with Kendrick Shope

Mastering Authentic Selling with Kendrick Shope
Brent Tripp
Mastering Authentic Selling with Kendrick Shope

SSSF-Podcast-EP28-Blog Authentic Selling

In this episode of Sell Smarter, Sell Faster, we’re digging into the world of Authentic Selling. What is it and how can you hone in on this as a salesperson? How do you know when you’re selling authentically? How do you know when you’re not?  

Helping Dani explore what Authentic Selling is all about is Kendrick Shope, CEO at Authentic Selling. 

Kendrick has so many awesome insights, such as:  

  • If any part of your sales process feels “icky” or “gross,” then you’re probably not making organic decisions  

  • Why it’s important to create raving fans without being a door mat  

  • And how asking yourself the question, “How can I be of service” can lead to the most authentic sales relationships

Selling Without Feeling “Icky, Sleazy, Slimy, Gross, Crusty, Rusty, Musty, Dusty” 

Kicking the conversation off, Dani says, “Tell us a little bit about your background and your story with sales, how you got to where you are today, really helping entrepreneurs exceed in sales.” 

“I've been studying selling for over half my life,” Kendrick says. “So, I worked for three Fortune 500 companies out of college. I sold lumber originally for Georgia Pacific and then transitioned into two sales jobs with pharmaceutical sales companies. I was a top sales performer at all three Fortune 500 companies. Loved my jobs. 

“And then, after I had my daughter, she’s now 14, I realized that the magic word in our house is ‘belief.’  

“I would tell her when she was a little girl, ‘you can be anything you want to be in this world, but you got it all starts with belief.’ And I realized one day that she's going to understand what those words mean. And she's going to say, ‘mommy, did you want to sell drugs for a living?’  

“Now the legal kind, obviously, because I was a pharma rep, but I was going to say, ‘no, all that belief stuff works for you and not for me.’ 

The Gap That Prevents Most Salespeople From Selling More 

“So, I quit my pharma job, much to the dismay of my husband, and went on this mission to figure out what I wanted to do. And that was 12 years ago. So, I created Authentic Selling 11 years ago and have been teaching people how to sell for the past decade or so.” 

“Authentic Selling is what you talk about,” Dani says. “That’s your brand. So, just so we're all on the same page, tell us what does that mean to you? How do you define that and why is it so important?” 

“When I was interviewing for a job with Eli Lilly,” Kendrick says. “And, gosh, this would've been 20 years ago, the regional manager said to me, ‘if I could bottle what you have and give it to all my reps, we would be the most successful team in history.’ 

“And I remember thinking, ‘I don't know what he's talking about. Like, I don't know what that means, but if there's something that I do [well], I want to know what it is.’ 

“They were already the number one team in the freaking region. So, for him to notice that, I thought, ‘okay, great. I’ve got to figure out what this is.’ 

“What I have come to learn is that, and what was the basis or the foundation for authentic excelling is, it's selling without doing things that feel icky, sleazy, slimy, gross, crusty, musty, rusty, dusty. 

“It's sort of become this funny saying, but, too often, people are uncomfortable with selling and they read a sales book, or they hear their managers say, ‘this is how we have to do it.’ And while there are some absolutes...if you're doing something that feels gross to you or feels pushy or feels sleazy, you’re probably not going to get the result you want.  

“So, Authentic Selling, at its core, is basically figuring out how to sell people...without doing things that feel icky, sleazy, slimy, gross.  

“And the cool thing about it is everybody has a different thermometer or barometer or measuring stick there, right? What may feel completely ‘un-icky’ to you might make me want to crawl over in a corner.  

“So, Authentic Selling is really unique because it allows us to sort of adjust based on what our own comfort level is.” 

Creating Raving Fans Without Being a Door Mat & Finding a “Better Way” of Selling 

“So, let's switch over to some best practices,” Dani says. “What do you think are the things that sales leaders and salespeople absolutely need to be aware of and practicing in your opinion? Like what feels most important?” 

“Yeah,” Kendrick says. “So, there are some foundations of Authentic Selling that some are going to feel like, ‘this isn’t rocket science.’ I mean, there are some where they’re going to be like, ‘okay, great.’ And then some are going to be a new way of looking at something that perhaps you've heard before.  

“I think the first one is, create a raving fan with every interaction, but don't be a doormat."

“So, the world, especially in the last few years, has gotten to a place where we have all these keyboard warriors who are just taking out their frustrations online. And I'm all for the customer is normally right, but I'm not for taking abuse.  

So, a create a raving fan with every interaction. Even when you get an email and it ticks you off, figure out, ‘is there a way to turn this person into a raving fan without being a doormat?’ 

“That's number one. I think number two is belief. 

“But it's not just belief in the product or service. Every sales book is going to tell you, ‘you’ve got to believe in what you're selling.’ But I think you've got to believe in your ability to do it in a way that is within integrity.  

“You have to believe that there's a better way, that it doesn't have to be done in a way that makes you feel like you need to take a shower afterwards. So, belief in the product or service, but also belief in your ability to do it in a way that is within integrity.  

“And there's just two more I'll cover really quickly.  

“The golden rule of thumb with Authentic Selling is if it's icky, sleazy, slimy gross, if you're feeling that way, find a better way. And what most people fail to do is, if it feels gross, they say, ‘I'm just not going to do it. I'm going to cut it out. I'm not going to do it.’  

“And, and what I'm saying is, ‘no, let's find a better way to accomplish the same outcome without it feeling icky.’ 

Which leads to the fourth thing, which is follow-up is a must.  

“Everybody selling anything knows that the statistics about follow up. You cannot ignore them. The more you follow up, the more likely you are to close the sale. It's been proven over and over and over.  

How NOT To Write A Follow-Up Email

“And I have a lot of people say, ‘well, a follow-up feels icky.’ 

“Great! Then we need to find a way to follow up that doesn't feel icky. So, those are kind of four things that come to mind.” 

“I love that,” Dani says. “It's the approach even, right? It's consistency, frequency, and, like you're saying, finding a way that it doesn't feel like you're harassing someone, but you're being of value.  

“Are there any specific kind of like tricks you have to helping people do that right? To, to make it not feel icky?” 

“So, one of the first things is, again, this is not rocket science,” Kendrick says. “But ask yourself if the situation was reversed. How would you want to be followed up with?  

“I'll give you an example that involves that same person that I interviewed with at Eli Lilly. I did not take the job. I was at GlaxoSmithKline. I stayed at GlaxoSmithKline for three years. And, not exaggerating, that man followed up with me. 

He would say, ‘Hey, I heard you won an award. Hey, I heard you were a top sales rep. Hey, heard you and your husband are new to the area. Can my wife and I take you out to dinner?’ 

“He followed up. Sometimes it was personal, sometimes it was professional. And the minute I was ready to make a leap, he, of course, was top of mind.  

“So, I think asking yourself how can I be of service by following up? Can I add value to the conversation? How would I want to be followed up with?  

“And then, you hit the nail on the head, which I think we overlook so often in sales, which is consistency and frequency.  

“The studies show that consistency equals trust, trust equals buying. But one of the things that I hated and I misunderstood as a sales rep was our frequency goal.  

“Like any sales rep, you have a quota, whether it's market share or sales, whatever. And then you have a frequency goal. And frequency goal is just the number of times you see a given prospect. All of the reps I worked with hated those. They were like, ‘what's the point? I want to have quality conversations. It's not about the number of times.’ 

“What we missed was they're not expecting every one of those times to be a quality conversation. They're expecting there to be consistency. Your frequency goal is like saying, ‘Hey, the lights are on. We're open for business. We've got this product. Come in when you're ready.’ Right?  

“I think when you change how you look at frequency, it makes a huge difference. It's just about saying, ‘Hey, I'm here. I'm ready to help you when you're ready.’  

“And so, quantity and quality both matter. I think that we don't think about that as reps a lot.” 

“Always Be Closing” is the Worst Advice Ever 

“Any other big mistakes that you're seeing folks make in the sales process that you want to point out that really should be looking out for?” Dani asks. 

“I think that, whether it's on the phone, whether it's face to face, and you start to feel like, ‘I have no reason to make this call. I have no reason to go in here. I was just in here last week, I don't know what to say. Nothing's changed,’ that is a situation that can feel really icky, right?  

“I've been there myself. So, a great thing to ask yourself is, ‘how can I be of service? How can I turn this into helping?’ 

“Yes, you have a job to do to talk about how your product is going to help someone, but how can I also be of service? Is there something I can do to turn this into a more targeted reason other than, ‘Hey, I need to sell you something’? 

“And I think sometimes just changing the framework allows people to say, ‘oh, okay. It doesn't feel so gross to go in.’ 

I think the biggest mistake people make is they don't believe the statistics and the numbers about follow-up and they fail to do it. And you're just leaving money on the table.” 

“Yeah,” Dani says. “And I like that you mentioned, what is actually bringing value now in that touchpoint? And I can't help but mention this on our podcast, because we are an inbound marketing agency, that this is where content really makes a difference.  

“Having stuff that you can share, that, that is a way to have value, right? Yes. Share an article you recently wrote, or maybe you didn't create it, maybe it's not even from your business, but ‘hey, here's a cool video I watched and I thought you might like, because this is in relation to your industry.’  

“Content is such a great way to make something like a touchpoint feel valuable, but not too pushy. But you're providing something and maybe starting a conversation.” 

“I mean,” Kendrick says. “Who doesn't want to get an email that says, ‘Hey, I I was thinking about you. I know that you shared you were struggling with X, Y, Z, I found this article that I thought might be helpful and wanted to pass it along’? 

“That's great. It does so much for you. It says that you're going above and beyond. You took the time to think about them. You've really heard their problem. You're trying to help them solve their problem, even if they're not your customer yet.  

“And it gives you a reason to reach back out. We use content as one of our examples all the time as a way to reach back out. It just helps you continue the conversation.” 

“Love it,” Dani says. “So, a lot of our listeners are sales leaders, right? They are sales coaches or mentors and they're there to really help their salespeople thrive. So, I'm curious if you have anything that you want sales leaders who are also coaching, mentoring their salespeople, what should they know or maybe be doing to support this approach to selling?” 

“I think that, oftentimes, sales people who are really good at selling get promoted to being in charge of sales teams. And one of the biggest things that I saw as a sales rep is I may not do it your way. Right?  

“Like, you may have had success doing it, A, B, and C, and I may do it 1, 2, 3, and I think you want to give me a chance to do it that way.  

“I'll give you an example. When I I first started working for GlaxoSmithKlein, I went in and I didn't take a detail aid in, I didn't take anything in, and my manager was just incensed. He said, ‘what are you doing?’ 

And I said, ‘listen, I haven't earned the right to sell these people. I'm going to go in, they're going to get to know my name. I'm going to get to know them. And in two years when the government starts kicking reps out of offices, I'm going to be the one they let in.’ 

“Well, it wasn't two years later, it was six months later when people started closing their offices. Yet I had such good relationships that I still got to go back.  

“And so, I think that it's okay. Rome was not built in a day. And I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is as leaders is demanding of our sales rep to go through the whole sales process in one sitting. And the way that I like to think about this is every interaction, especially in an industry like pharma sales, but let's say you're calling on a customer regularly, every interaction should move the conversation forward, right?  

“People say, ‘always be closing A, B, C.’ No! That's bad advice because there's not always a time to close.” 

“I know,” Dani says. “It's the worst advice.” 

“It's the worst advice ever,” Kendrick says. “Leave with a piece of information that you didn't have before, that's your goal. Ask a question, leave with a piece of information, and if there's an opportunity to sell, great. But I think  it’s realizing that really good salespeople have a series of conversations.  

“It's not going from A to F on a detail aid, it's asking the right questions. It's saying, ‘great, I'll follow up on that next time.’ It's being respectful of someone's time.  

“I think that managers can help reps really drill down on, ‘okay, great, it's your first call in the office. What's one thing you need to know today? Great. So, you learned that thing. When you go back the second time, what's the next thing you need to know? Great. What's the third thing?’ And those questions might be, you know, ‘what's your experience with our product? Who do you buy from?’ 

“If you leave with a piece of information that you didn't have before, you're well on your way to being able to sell them.” 

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Brent Tripp
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