Superior Selling with Attitudes and Behaviors
In episode 99 of Pit Stops to Podium, we sit down with Matthew Neuberger, President & CEO at Neuberger & Company, known for elevating sales performance, increasing revenue, impacting company growth, and implementing advanced sales training methodologies.
Today's conversation will explore the realm of superior selling attitudes and behaviors. Matthew will uncover the dynamics behind achieving exceptional sales results while shedding light on the often surprising traits exhibited by top executives. Additionally, he'll delve into the intricacies of primary communication styles essential for effective salesmanship.
If you’re ready to learn from one of the best, then buckle up and hold on!
Understanding The Superior Selling Concept
B.A.T. = Behavior, Attitude, Technique.
The "BAT" of everyone in an organization (not just the sales team) affects your lift in selling.
Start by setting a goal and decide what "BAT"s are needed to help accomplish that goal.
Behavior-Is my team calling on the right customer?
Attitude-Develop a company "Bill of Rights" when selling to client.
Technique-Ask your team to put these words in order: close, qualify, and present
Qualify, Close, Present
The correct order of these, based on human psychology, is qualify, close, present.
The reason why present is last is because buyers want to hear solutions to their particular problems, not a basic demo on the product. When you first qualify, then close, then present, you're just verifying what your client needs.
Effective Communication Styles with Clients
It comes down to primary sensory dominance (i.e. how do people like to take their information?).
Visual people use visual words (see, take a look at this)
Auditory people will say: "how does this sound?" or "let me talk this out"
Kinesthetics (touch): people who need to get a feeling, get their hands on something, or have an immersive experience
Connect with Matthew
Brendan: Hey everyone, welcome to Pit Stops to Podium, the RevPartners podcast where we talk to execs who have competed and won in taking their companies from high growth to high scale. My name is Brendan Tolleson. I serve as the co-founder and CEO of RevPartners, and I'm delighted to have with me today, Matt Neuberger, for this episode of Pit Stops to Podium. Welcome, Matt.
Matthew: Oh, thanks for having me, Brendan.
Brendan: Well, we're delighted to have you, Matt. It's been fun to see this relationship blossom over the last few months. And for our audience, that may not be familiar with who Matt is. Matt is the president and CEO of Neuberger and Company. And Matt, I think it's a great opportunity to share with our audience a little bit about who your company is and a little bit about the origin story of how you came to start the business.
Matthew: Sure, well, Neuberger & Company is a Sandler franchise. So we are actually a Sandler franchise and hold Sandler licenses in multiple states, so Georgia, Maryland, and Arizona. And our origin story behind that, maybe a little bit about Sandler, for those who don't know, Sandler is a management, sales management, and selling methodology for getting and keeping clients. It's as simple as that. The origin story behind this, I was an investment banker with a bank called Alex Brown, actually traveled to Atlanta a lot for our clients. I always found that we were advising companies, especially ones that weren't quite ready for us yet, where they were raising capital, they were interested in going public, they were interested in some sort of transaction, but they weren't quite ready yet. The reason they typically weren't ready yet was because their infrastructure wasn't as solid as it could be. In other words, they had success, but they couldn't point to how that would be guaranteed in the future, or at least predictable in the future, right? Maybe one very large client, or maybe the types of clients that aren't as profitable. And I fell in love with the problem that they were having, which was they were really struggling with the idea of how do we create predictable sales? How do we get a manager to be able to call the number? And this is going back 20 years. So my bank made it very easy for me. They sold themselves twice. So they became Banker's Trust, which then became Deutsche Bank. And at that point, I woke up one day and I realized I was working for this really big company instead of a company that was based in my hometown. And it just felt different. The decisions were being made from a different place. And I realized it just wasn't as entrepreneurial for me. So I left. And a couple of startups later, I finally found myself here. I wanted to build something on my own. I wanted to be the person making the decisions, which as those who know whoever wanted it, that can be frustrating once you get what you want, but it's been a great journey. So really it started at recognizing all of these businesses that had great big ideas and lots of success and maybe even a great product or a great methodology, but didn't have the sales to predictably support it. And that is where today, that's our hero. That's who we fight for. It's that CRO, it's that sales manager, whether it's at the VP or EVP, or it's a frontline sales manager that has to make a number. That's what we like. And I'd say closely connected to the salesperson. If you don't have happy salespeople, you have turnover. So we want those salespeople sticking around.
Brendan: I appreciate you sharing a little bit of the origin story. And I think it serves hopefully as some encouragement to our audience that says, hey, I love, I do this entrepreneurial spirit. I'd love to find a path by which to experience that. And you've demonstrated that with the Sandler franchises, which is really cool to hear. And then ultimately empowering those organizations to experience sustainable growth. So you talked about that predictability of, you know, you have the idea, you had some wins, but how do you make sure that it's predictable to your point earlier? And we'll dive into some of those lessons that you've learned and that they can apply into their domain. But before we do that, we have a tradition here at Pit Stops to Podium and that's to get to know our guests outside of work. So we learn a little bit about your backstory for work, but when you're not supporting companies and helping them scale, how do you like to spend your time?
Matthew: Oh my goodness. Well, first and foremost, it's family, right? I mean, it's probably the cliche answer, but I just got back and had a great vacation. My kids came out to Arizona. We spent a little bit of time just exploring the place and that was fun. So for me, the best, I don't know if you call it a hobby or whatever, but that would be the first thing I would, if you ask me, what do I want to do with my free time? Aside from the business questions, it would be spend more time with the family and I've been blessed to be able to do that. So that's been number one. Second is I am right now in the process of getting my pilot's license. So that is crazy. Talk about learning something completely new. Which I think is you have to put yourself in a very uncomfortable situation every now and then. And when you get my very first flight, the instructor said, okay, you're gonna taxi and I'm, you know, for me, it was all of a sudden, everything I knew about steering a vehicle went out the window and I'm, I'm turning the wheel on the plane, he's like, that's not doing anything, is it? And you steer with the pedals on a plane. I didn't know that. So, you know, all of a sudden I found myself in a, in not familiar territory. For me, any hobby where I can put myself safely in an uncomfortable situation, um, it is something new. I love downhill skiing. Piloting is the next big frontier for me. Just the freedom to be able to get in a plane and go anywhere I want anytime I want.
Brendan: Yeah, that's needed. That's, I think that's not only perseverance, but it's ultimately where you get, or when you're stretched oftentimes is when you grow. So that's commendable. And I think, I was talking to somebody recently and they talked about, you know, when the CEO stops growing, that's when the company stops growing. And so for you to be able to continue to evolve and to challenge yourself, that means a lot. What'd you do with your kids for, when they were over there for the holiday?
Matthew: Oh my goodness, we did, let's see, we did Sedona. If anyone here listening has been to Sedona, you know, there's always some place to go there that we didn't know about. So we went, we explored, we went to the Hudson restaurant, which is really cool. But then went out into the wilderness and kind of looked at the landscape, which was nice. Went to a lot of art shops, that kind of a thing. So that was really fun, kind of a casual day. We went out, there's a lake there called Lake Bartlett. And for those who know, you can go boating on that lake. So we spent some time out on the lake, which was fantastic. There are some great cool places in Carefree and Cave Creek for those people. It's kind of like a biker town, but not scary bikers. Like, you know, I'm retired and I'm a biker. Great restaurants. My daughter is in theater. She actually just got off of a national tour. So she actually, there was an open, like there's a restaurant there that has a band and you can actually get up and perform. So she got up there and performed in front of the audience, which was absolutely incredible. So a lot of fun things like that, but those are a few of the highlights.
Brendan: It's always fun to get to know our guests outside of work. So I appreciate you sharing. Well, Matt, let's transition to the big idea. I'm sure our audience is anxious to get into the meat of this interview. And that's really around how do we help them be more effective at selling. And so you have this concept around superior selling with attitudes and behaviors. And I'd love to unpack that a little bit further. Before we do, how do you, when we think about superior selling, what does superior selling mean to you?
Matthew: Well, first I have to mention that my other daughter is coming out in August. So if anyone hears this and has recommendations for stuff we should do, we've only been in Arizona a couple of years. So I want those comments. All right, now back to what is superior selling? I think first of all, superior selling, we sort of talked about leadership and we'll maybe get into that a little bit more. But for anyone who's listening, I think if you wanted to take something away that you could go model we can always talk about that esoteric, you know, superior selling is this, that, or the other, but you have a hard time listening to a podcast like this and applying it. So I'd ask everybody to just write down three letters, B-A-T, behavior, attitude, and technique. And what I mean by this, and I'll give some maybe some recommendations to maybe go apply some of this stuff, but superior selling starts at the top, but it involves everybody in the organization. To use a really simple example, if you have somebody that's delivering something and dropping off goods, the delivery person is a salesperson. The behavior and the attitude and the techniques, the BAT of everybody in your organization ultimately affects your lift in selling. It's not just for the sales team, it's for the CEO, it's for the EVPs, the VPs, the sales managers, customer service department, but first, it starts by setting a solid goal. What is the goal? And the goal has to be exciting, it has to be a little scary, and it has to be a little bit like you're doubting it's even possible. You start by setting that goal, and then you say, what are the behaviors, what are the attitudes, and what are the techniques I would need to have in order to achieve that goal? By setting the goal slightly outside your comfort zone, you cut off all the sort of time-wasting paths that you might normally take. So if you literally wrote those out, put a goal at the top and then said, what are the behaviors and attitudes and techniques I would have to have, it'd be very simple. So take behaviors as an example. Am I, is my team calling on the right customer? So we had a client who was calling on a customer that was, it was a very competitive, thin margin opportunity. When they changed their behavior to calling on complex, less competitive, but the client needed a more complex solution. That change of behavior created more opportunity, more visibility on opportunity, and more margin on every deal. So they grew sales, but more importantly, they grew margin at the same time. Attitude. Sit down with your team and write a bill of rights. What are our rights as an organization when selling to our ideal client? What are our Bill of Rights? You'd be blown away at how many salespeople think 'no' is something that should be removed from the vocabulary. I don't think you're trying hard enough until you get to know. If everything you're getting is yes, you're not asking for enough. So when it comes to attitude, what's in your constitution? What do you have the right to do? Do you have the right to say no? Do you have the right to a commitment from your client before deciding to move forward or providing a lot of work at no cost. Do you have a right to talk to the decision maker? Do you have the right to pick up the phone and actually do an old fashioned phone call, which is what nobody's doing anymore. So maybe it's an interesting thing. Do you have the right to connect with somebody on LinkedIn? There's all these weird things that we have in terms of attitudes of getting emotionally involved in the sale. Maybe, you know, having money weakness issues, we're uncomfortable with what we sell, that's an attitude problem, these are all things that can go into, what are my rights? I have the right to sell my product at full price. I have the right to say no if they don't want that. I have the right if they're not interested in moving forward this time, stopping the process and determining a better time to move forward. So it's all those things that managers have to look out for in attitude. And then lastly is technique. You have to understand if you're in selling, selling is about psychology. So while we can use ChatGPT to help wordsmith an email and or prompt, which we highly recommend doing as part of your game, when it comes to technique, you really, if it's human to human interaction, you have to be very good at understanding psychology. How do you build a connection with somebody? How do you get to trust? Do you know what trust is? Are you inserting your competition into the sales process. We just did a survey which we published on LinkedIn where the responses we got led to the understanding on our part that there are too many salespeople that are inserting competition and pricing pressure into their sales process. That's bad technique. So we always give people, if you wanna think about it for everyone that's listening, maybe a quick application here is, ask your team to put the following three words in order: close, qualify, and present. Now, what would most people say? What do you think, Brendan?
Brendan: Present, qualify, close.
Matthew: Present, qualify, close. Yeah, I'd say a lot of people probably do that unknowingly. The answer, the majority of the answer I get, of the answers I get are qualify, present, close. And this takes work to get to. But if people that are listening can get their team to where the team believes that the right order for those words to go in based on human psychology is qualify, close, present. Why would I not involve my client? There's a great saying which is, people never argue with their own data. If I'm the buyer and I say this is true, then that is fact. We all contextualize what's happening in our lives at any moment. I don't wanna fight with somebody else's context. So what I'll do instead is, let's co-build the solution that you want to buy. And I could do that by asking questions rather than presenting my great features and benefits. As a matter of fact, when I create my best features and benefits, one of my favorite stories of all time, I was sitting, we were discussing a $300 million deal at Black Rock Station in New York at the time with the CFO of CBS, the broadcasting company. The CFO's name was Fred Reynolds, and Fred asked my CEO, and I'm sitting in the room right there, so I'm the spiky-haired kid with the polyester suit that definitely looks like I got it at a thrift shop. And I'm just waiting to see what my CEO says. But Fred says to my CEO, we're considering making a pretty significant investment in your business. What makes you different from everybody else? And the CEO of my company very quickly responded, we're the only people that do this free kind of chat with this type of individual online. Nobody else does it but us. He presented instead of saying, maybe nothing. He should have said something like, I don't know, maybe nothing. It depends on what you've looked at and what you're looking for. If I can ask a couple of questions, maybe I could help draw some distinctions. But he didn't ask questions he presented right away. And because he presented and it wasn't Fred's, the CFO, it wasn't Fred's information saying we were different. It was us projecting that we were different. Fred pointed back on this big table in a very impressive conference room, points back at the CEO and says, I wouldn't say that if I were you. You're either lying or you don't know your competition. And needless to say, we didn't get that deal done. So, for me, it was, it was, I could see it was painful for the CEO and it was certainly painful for us because we were excited to do a deal. But what a learning experience. I mean, that to me was an MBA in about 30 seconds. We can't present. So techniques, when it comes down to technique, go back to your team and just say, hey, team, put these three words in order. And let's see then if we can find a way to qualify, then close, and then present. So we're just verifying what it is that our client needs. So if we can do that, if we can get to calling on the right clients, we can get to understanding our Bill of Rights, what we actually can do, and avoid all the sales weaknesses, emotional involvement, need for approval, money weaknesses, record collection, inserting extended buy cycles. If I can get rid of all that head trap and I can change our philosophy about how we go to market. I'm actually making part of my company's value, my sales process, right? So your selling is all about making sure that your sales process is part of the value of what you sell.
Brendan: I think it's a good framework. I love acronyms. So we talked about, just to repeat back to everyone, what Matt talked about was bad behavior, attitude and technique. And so it's a really good framework. I think that what should be encouraging for most of our audiences, these are things we can control. These are not things that you have to have. These are things that you can be taught and learn and apply, which is really good to hear. And then the second piece we get in the technique. I really like the concept to relearn how we engage with our prospects. And don't assume. I think that's a big takeaway, is that people just assume and they start word vomiting. And what you're describing is be curious and qualify before you do anything else. And that's a really good first step. I'd love to talk a little bit more about the technique side and talking a little bit about some of the communication styles that you found to be effective that our audience can start to apply as we think through the technique portion of the behavior, attitudes, and techniques. So I know you've got a few different things that we could talk about, but I'd love to hear the rundown of three communication styles that you've seen be effective with your clients.
Matthew: When you talk about communication styles, there is certainly like how you're gonna communicate through an email, there's how you're gonna communicate face to face, but probably the easiest one for people to look at in terms of communication styles as a way of modifying yourself to your audience. And again, this is one of those things, you're, anyone who's listening to this is gonna very quickly understand that I think we all sell all the time. And if you're not part of the sales game, you're sitting on the sidelines. You could be an engineer. You can sit in front of Blueprint, so I don't care, you're in selling. So you have to understand if you're gonna communicate with other human beings that a simple way of approaching it is using primary sensory dominance. There are a million different assessments out there, right? DISC, Myers-Briggs, PI, all these different things that'll tell you people's behavioral styles and how to modify yourself to them. And certainly we sell all the technology that allows you to assess who somebody is and then modify your emails to that individual. But if you're sitting there on the phone in a Zoom call at a conference and you need to connect with somebody, communication styles comes down to primary sensory dominance. How do people like to take their information? Go sit and observe a Starbucks line sometime and notice how many different ways people take their coffee. That's a good analogy for how people take their communication. Right? Some like a little froth, some on straight black coffee, whatever it is. So primary sensory dominance is using people's natural senses to understand how to communicate with them. Right? So we have the five senses we know. But we also know that we probably don't use all five senses. We don't use taste, right? And we don't use smell typically when we're selling. For some people, you might, you know, so some of our clients who actually have to use taste and smell. But for most of us, if you're selling, I don't know, high ticket software, you're probably not. You're probably using sight, sound, and touch or feelings. So when you're looking at communicating with people, understand how do they like to take their information. A lot of times we go in and we know that really the smartest people in the world communicate just like us. But when it comes to reading your audience, a great way to just read your audience and then communicate back to them is understanding that visual people use, people use visual words, right? They're gonna say, see, take a look at this. Auditory people are gonna say, how does this sound? Or let me talk this out. And kinesthetics or what we call touch are people that have to get a feeling. They really have to get an immersive experience. They have to get their hands on something a lot of times. And again, there's a lot of depth behind this, but if you could just very quickly as a manager, a leader, a CEO, and the best CEOs in the world do this, they connect with their audience. And I've seen it over and over again, because I'll be a keynote and the CEO will be before me or after me. And the the lousy ones, when it comes to communication, not lousy CEOs, the ones that don't connect with the audience haven't learned to speak on those three levels. So if you can just with your team say, I'd like you to identify the client as an auditory, a kinesthetic, or a visual. Which way are they oriented? And let's orient our communication that way. As an example, an auditory is going to prefer if you expect them to make a decision, they like to get an email from you, read it, have the opportunity to modify the agenda for the meeting. The visual will not read your email unless it is three bullet points. Right. So I'm going to modify my approach based on identifying how do they like to take their information. Visual needs to be, it needs to be visual. We need to see each other, zoom call her in person, auditory, in person, more analogies, lots of preparation before meetings. Again, I'm going to modify depending, but those are some communication styles that will really help. As I'm drafting my emails, visual short emails, auditory, a little bit longer with some analogies and kinesthetics, a story.
Brendan: I like that a lot, the primary sensory dominance, audio, visual, kinesthetic. How do you, if I'm a rep and I'm listening to this and say, hey, that's great, Matt, but how the heck do I know which of those three camps they are? What are some ways, like you mentioned some buzzwords, but what are ways that they can surface that through their curiosity, asking those questions to make sure they know, okay, he's an audio or visual type of, how he receives that information, he or she. So what should they do?
Matthew: Well, you already pointed out that each one of those auditories, visuals, and kinesthetics are going to use appropriate words associated with their style, right? So it's gonna be see or look for visuals, for auditories it's gonna be hear sound, and for kinesthetics it's gonna be feelings, it's gonna be connecting the dots. But when you look at their behavior overall, visuals talk very fast, auditories speak very steadily and their words are all with great choice. So they're very good at keeping a sort of a level tone and an even speed. Kinesthetics, there's a lot of silence. There's a lot of thinking. There's a lot of deep breaths in terms of the behavior and they speak the slowest. You're almost like, come on, get it out. Now, a lot of people think that means kinesthetics are slow. Kinesthetics are actually some of the most brilliant people in the world because they're very thoughtful. They're looking at it from all of the angles. And so it's understanding match the speed, the tone and the pace of the person that you are with. If your team wants to start slow, start by matching and mirroring. Match and mirror what you observe generally, right? Don't be exact, it's gonna sound like you're making fun of them. But match the speed and the pace and the variance in the tone. People like and trust people like themselves. We've all heard that. I only see about 10% of the population practicing it. So leaders, your people will practice what they see you do in the sales meeting, in the kickoff, in your coaching sessions. They will emulate that. You can't say, do this. You can't say, hey, try Neuberger's training and do what Neuberger says. They're going to need to see it from you plus the training, plus the reinforcement, plus in your HubSpot instance, having a box that says visual, auditory, kinesthetic.
Brendan: Yeah, I like that. Yeah, it's the whole what's modeled is repeated. And so they're going to look at the leader to your point. And you can't do the whole do as I say, not as I do type of framework. That's not really effective. Well, Matt, I could talk to you all day. I want to be respectful of your time. Kind of as a final lap as we wrap up here, if our audience wants to learn more about some of these best practices that you've talked about as it relates to behavior, actions, and techniques. I know we talked a little bit about the technique side, but what's the next step they can take to learn more from you?
Matthew: The best thing to do is reach out. So we're on all social media. So if you look up Matthew Neuberger, you'll find me on LinkedIn, things like that. A lot of people just find me there and say, how do I get involved with your organization? Our website is neuberger.com. You can find us there as well. And certainly we'd be happy to talk to people if they've got big teams, high ticket sales, complex sales, things like that.
Brendan: Well, I'm sure you'll hear from a few of our audience. It's been a really informative conversation. I know I've learned a lot and I'm sure our audience has as well. So Matt, really do appreciate the time and let's stay in touch. All right, thanks.
Matthew: All right, Brendan, thank you.