Welcome back to our channel, where we dive deep into the strategies that top performers use to dominate in their fields. Today, we're thrilled to share a powerhouse conversation with John Barrows, a sales training expert who's shaping the way companies engage with their clients.
📈 Video Overview:
In this episode, we unpack the art of sales and the power of personal branding. John Barrows brings his wealth of experience to the table, discussing how salespeople can create content that resonates and how to leverage personal experiences to become an expert in your field.
🎤 About Our Guest:
John Barrows is a sales training guru who has coached over 4,000 sales professionals. He's a proponent of using personal branding and content creation to cut through the noise and connect with customers on a deeper level.
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John Barrows:It was bad enough when the economy crashed. Now you add AI into this, and those reps that we taught to be legitimately replaced by robots, and those robots are doing it better than these reps ever would.
SPEAKER_00:The three things I usually tell people is like, there's being the expert, there's curating the experts, and then there's writing stuff based on personal experience.
John Barrows:You know, the question I think we all need to ask ourselves is, you know, what can we do that a computer can't? And that question is getting really hard to answer these days.
SPEAKER_00:People made fun of me for, when I got started, like, what are you doing? And then now all of them come to me and ask, hey, can I join your program?
John Barrows:I was on LinkedIn as number 35,541. I was one of the earliest members of LinkedIn. No shit. Wow.
SPEAKER_00:Don, how's it going, my man?
Andy Mewborn:Hey Andy, what's going on, brother?
SPEAKER_00:Just, you know, hanging out, man. Doing a lot of stuff going on. A lot of stuff. Trying to figure stuff out as usual. But, yeah. How's stuff going with you?
Andy Mewborn:Same thing, man. Just trying to keep my head above water these days.
SPEAKER_00:That's about it. Let's talk about, and I'm sure you talk about this a lot, but what the heck is going on right now? Related to what? Sales, man. I mean, let's dive into this. I want to dive into the current status of what you talk to a lot of teams, right? All the time. I talk, I'm talking to a lot of teams right now. I'm trying to build out distribute and. No one knows what the hell to do. Like no one can build pipeline. No one's like, everyone's like, like, so have you, what's going on? Yes. There's the, there's a couple of companies that are like deal getting inbound that are like kind of hitting this good moment where it's like people are trying to hire internationally and like time is spot on, but like what experiments do you see people run in or because the old playbook of predictable revenues just seems like it ain't working anymore.
John Barrows:Dude, the predictable revenue model is always a joke in my opinion. It was. Well, no, I'll take that back. It was great. I think it's actually all right for small businesses and it's all right for and it's great for us as companies. It's horrible from a customer's perspective. It is about the furthest thing from customer-centric as you can get. Think about it for a second. You get a 22-year-old kid making cold calls with a piece of shit script to call an executive who doesn't want to talk to him and they get no value. But say that kid strikes gold somehow and their pitch somehow resonates with that executive. It's like, okay, cool. Yeah, let's talk about it. Well, now this SDR, we haven't educated them enough to actually have a real conversation that adds value to that person. So that SDR, once they even get somebody on the hook and says, yeah, I'm interested, now they have to, oh, okay, well, I can't answer those questions. So now let me set you up with a meeting with my AE. And that's probably a week or two weeks out. And so by the time that happens, me as the buyer, I've already kind of forgot what this conversation was. Then, if I show up to that meeting, which is a big if because I don't remember what it was all about and I got no value out of the original conversation, but say I do show up because I got nothing else to do that day, then the AE gets on the call and basically re-qualifies me, asks me the same exact questions as the SDR did, and then jumps into some piece of shit canned demo or presentation. Right, and now say something in that presentation lands and the executives are like, wow, yo, I want to take a deeper dive and learn a little bit more. Oh, well, now we have to set up another call with my SE so my engineer can come in and educate you on what this is all about. And then let's say this horrid situation where I am getting no value out of this conversation at all as a buyer. Say I happen to fucking buy whatever the hell you're putting in front of me. Well then I sign this contract and I get transitioned to the customer success team and they ask me the same damn questions, why I bought, they have to understand. So now that's the buyer example, that's the buyer perspective, okay? That's why it's never been great. But it hasn't been bad over the past 10 years because it's been a grow at all costs, money's been free, right? Go, go, go, go, go, especially in the tech and the SaaS industry. And so fuck it. I'll buy something. I don't care. Everybody else is doing it. Let me do it too. And so the value prob is not there either because it wasn't really hard to sell in the past 10 years. Because I wouldn't mind having overlapping tech stack things. So for instance, If you were selling, if I was buying, I'd buy Sales Loft to have my engagement tool, but their call recording wasn't good enough, so I could also get Gong too. Let me do Gong and Sales Loft, even though they kind of do the same things, but Gong's call recording is better than Sales Loft. So I got no problem buying both of these and giving everybody access to all this shit that nobody uses, by the way. So now, it was easy to sell, relatively. So we skipped the fundamentals. We over-engineered the sales process. We gave these kids too many tools. We did not teach them the fundamentals of selling. Now that things are hard, it's all falling apart because the client has zero tolerance for lack of value in a conversation anymore. Zero. I mean, there's a stat out there by Gartner that talks about they averaged out boomers, millennials and Gen Xers and B2B buyers. And the result was that 43% of B2B buyers want a rep free experience. They do not want a sales rep involved in the sales process. Now, that's the bad news. The good news is, is of those 43% that did not want the sales rep involved, those people had a 23% higher regret rate. So they regretted the decision more when we weren't involved. So it shows that there's value for us to bring. It's just different than it ever has been. And it's about meeting the client where they are and educating throughout the process. And so now though, the problem is, is that it's this perfect storm of shit because we've trained these reps effectively to be robots. And it was bad enough when the economy crashed. Now you add AI into this, and those reps that we taught to be robots are being legitimately replaced by robots. And those robots are doing it better than these reps ever would. Because some reps sitting there droning through some piece of shit cadence to 500 people that is tailored or customized because they changed the name, the title in the industry, because they think that's what customization is. Like that cadence, I never understood that cadence, but even before AI, I could do it better with Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, pick one of those marketing automation tools. But you take that and now you got AI doing legitimate personalization at scale. Doing cold calls for crying out loud that are actually legit and you don't even know that you're talking to the right person and they're thoughtful, they tell jokes and all this other stuff. So you put this perfect storm together, man, and I am deeply concerned with the profession of sales and where it's going.
SPEAKER_00:Wow. That stat that you said, like 43% want to buy free experience. And I'll give you something that I went through just literally yesterday. Like I'm ready to buy this, I'm ready to buy this tool for invoicing, right? To like pay some influencers for influencer marketing. We'll kind of get into this stuff later. And literally on the site, and I won't name them because I don't want to knock it down publicly here, but it said, I was like, I'm ready to buy now. My friends use it. I'm ready to go. I'm like ready. And the only button on there, I even went to their pricing page or whatever. It was like book demo. I was like, dude, I don't even need a demo. I will literally give you two grand right now. And guess what? I submitted it yesterday. I still haven't heard back. And it's a new company.
John Barrows:It's crazy. It's called the Sales Prevention Team, man. And it's so funny because I had a similar experience way back.
Andy Mewborn:And again, I won't do the same thing. I won't name the group.
John Barrows:But this was way back when I was first doing Facebook Live. It was when Facebook Live came out. And actually, my Make It Happen Monday, my podcast, I was doing it on some piece of shit, my little camera here. Hey everybody, what's up, right? And I had all these people like that. And it actually wasn't on Facebook. So I was doing it on Facebook. And then, so I was doing this podcast, it was live. And somebody pinged me. And I mean, this kid hit the holy fucking grail, right? Like, he literally hits me. He's like, hey, John, have you ever wanted to have other people come on your podcast? I was like, well, yeah, but I can't because it's on my phone. I think it's weird and I don't want to have people. So he's like, well, do you know our platform? our video conferencing platform allows you to do that. You can actually go live on Facebook and you can have somebody else join you. Would you be interested? And I was like, dude, right now, I go send me like, let's get on a call right now. Use your little things. Just show me how to do that. I don't need to know anything other than does it do that? And he was, and so he did a good job, right? And he just showed me that because I forced him to effectively, right? But then, so gonna give the kid kudos for actually just showing me and getting out of the way, right? But then the other bad part, the bad part was, I was like, all right, great, cool. Looks like it does what it wants to send me the invoice. And again, it was like $2,500. And I did not ask, I didn't even ask for the price. quite frankly, send me the invoice. And he goes, Oh, John, you know, I really appreciate that. He goes, you know, just because we, you know, we're such big fans of you, you know, we'll give you a 25% discount off the top. And I was like, what? And I literally stopped. I was like, what are you doing? And he's like, what? I was like, dude, I didn't ask for a discount. I go, I didn't even ask for the price. I'm like, I am ready to buy right now. And you automatically gave me a 25% discount off the top without me even asking. I go, you just ruined this entire experience. I go, take the sale, kid. When I say we have lost fundamentals, you never offered a discount back in the day before somebody asked. Now, that's what you lead with because you have no confidence in your sales skills or your ability or even your product for a lot of cases. You have no confidence in yourself. The only confidence you have is the process that you've been asked to go through. or been told to go through. So that one that you had, where you went on somebody's site, I mean, that's marketing's fault. That's not sales's fault. That's marketing's fault a thousand percent, right? I mean, especially if your ACV is $2,000. Like if you don't have a buy my shit now button for two grand, what is wrong with you? If you're selling something 50 grand, 100 grand, don't put the buy now thing, book a demo or whatever. But if your ACV is 500, 600, 1,000, 2,000, $5,000, literally put it as a buy now right now or book a meeting. So the problem is, like I said earlier, we've over-engineered this entire thing. And we've tried to manufacture sales in so many ways. And look, until robots buy, right? Everybody talks about robots selling, right? Well, whatever. I can survive that all day long, or at least good sales reps can. What we can't survive is when robots start to buy. When robots start to buy, then we're kind of screwed. But as long as there's a person on the other end of that call, or the other end of that email, or the other end of that Zoom session, you have to be human. You have to have the ability to engage with people. be genuine, thoughtful, be curious, have empathy. These are all things that computers can't do, but reps can't do them either because we haven't trained them how to do it. We've taken away the art of sales and we tried to over-science it. And don't get me wrong, I'm a believer that sales should be more of a science than an art, but you have to have some of that art. You have to be the last mile. With all this tech that we have going on out there, I say, look, let it do all the work, let it do the research, let it write the email, let it put together the presentation, let it write your blog post, whatever. But before you hit send, please humanize it, please be the last mile, look at that email, rewrite it, learn what it said and why, put it in your language, tweak it up a little bit, because if you don't, I don't understand the point of having you in the equation. Ooh, that. That simple thing. Well, let's use this as an example. Say you're an SDR or BDR man, right? And you're like figuring out ways to automate your cadences, right? And you come up with the most killer prompt that writes the best email, most personalized email that makes it rain, right? And you then go, look at me, I figured out that prompt and now let me put it on autopilot and make it rain. Why do I need to pay you $100,000 after you figured that out? Why do I need to pay you 150 LTE to push a button? I can just take your prompt and say, thank you very much. Have a good day. So the technology is like too many reps are looking to automate every aspect of the sales process. And if you're looking to automate, you're going to automate yourself out of a job. Look to augment. the sales process. It should be your co-pilot. It should be something that helps you with curiosity, helps you learn, but doesn't give you the answer. Because if you're looking for the answer, like the easy button, like I said, you'll be easy buttoned out of this.
SPEAKER_00:So how do we get out of this rut? I feel like people are so deep, right? People bought all this shit. People bought all this stuff. They've got all this. They've over-engineered Salesforce. There's all these buttons you got to click and things like, what do we do?
John Barrows:What's the solution? Yeah, I mean, look, there's an argument to be made for most organizations right now to rip and replace to literally burn their sales team, burn their tech stack to the ground and rebuild with AI, you know, native tech and AI native reps. There is an absolute argument. And don't get me wrong, I've talked to probably over 100 CROs this year, the majority of them If they haven't already gotten rid of their SDR BDR org or restructured it significantly, they're doing it or they're planning on doing it. And so I don't think that's the answer. I don't think the rip and replace is the answer. I think we have to find a way to transition through this. And so what I am suggesting a lot of the companies and teams that I work with, is to almost treat your sales org as a sales lab, right? So, you know how engineers have hackathons, right? Where they pick a topic and they kind of nerd out on it for a little while and they go into it. Well, I think we should do that with sales. So, because look, every rep right now is looking over their shoulder, wondering when AI is going to come for their jobs, right? And some of them and all of them are playing with it in some form or fashion, right? Some are going really deep on it and some are, you know, just kind of scratching the surface, whatever. And that's chaos, right? Because now you have different people learning different things without structure to it. And, you know, some are going to be better than others, okay? So instead of that, let's control that chaos a little bit and let's leverage our team. So here's an example. Salesforce did a report, the state of sales report recently. And, you know, we've heard this stat a lot. They come to find out only, you know, 27% of a rep's time is actually spent selling, right? So they only spent about 27% actively selling. engaging with the client, everything else. So the other, you know, 73% is admin type shit, right? So let's go through that list of all the different things that reps spend their time on not selling. And for two hours on Friday afternoon, create a sales lab and call it a sales hackathon. Pick one of those topics. I don't care. Research, prep for meetings, summary of calls, integration into CRM, like whatever that AI thing can do, right? Or whatever AI has the potential to do. And then break up into little teams, like two, three, four, five people each, and say, okay, here's the deal. Whoever can find an AI tool that solves that problem faster than the way we're doing it today with our existing tech stack wins, right? Now go. Now you give them a couple hours. And what happens there is you get the junior reps and the senior reps to work together, right? So now the senior reps are bringing their business acumen to the table and hopefully educating those junior reps. The junior reps are bringing more of their AI native or their tech native skills to the table. So they're educating the senior reps. So job satisfaction goes up. They're learning together. And let's say you find a solution. Say somebody comes up with a really good way of optimizing that thing. Well, guess what? You just reduce your tech stack and reduce your spend. So now we can transition through this and figure out which reps are going to have the aptitude and the ability and all those different tools to be able to migrate into this while we educate them along the way. And so if you collectively use the group here, and we also have to find some way of not giving a shit about attribution. So, I think one of the big things about sales and marketing and everything else is the fight of who gets credit for what. Right now, it is blatantly obvious to me that sales reps need to become mini marketers because... Oh, yes.
SPEAKER_00:I can't wait to talk about this. Sorry. Sorry. Yeah.
John Barrows:Because they have to... Because look, a lot of reps will tell me, John, I have cold calls. Why the fuck should I make cold calls anymore, right? It's like, look, I'm not saying make cold calls in the voicemails because I expect a response, a pickup or a callback. I actually don't expect any of that these days when making cold calls. That's not the point of a cold call anymore. The point of a cold call is an impression point. So if you think of yourself as a mini marketer, every little impression point you leave is about your brands and builds a familiarity with that client so that maybe just maybe they then decide to come to you the way they decide. So I'll leave a voicemail And that voicemail might ping you, if you listen to it, that might ping you to be like, oh yeah, I remember. Let me go check out that email. And now let me go to their website and now let me put an inbound request in because now I want to communicate with you as I want to, not how you're trying to communicate with me. And so when you hear this, like, you know, I used to have a rep on my team, Morgan, where he would make a ton of calls into an account and he would go right after him, right? And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I'd get an inbound lead. And it was from the, and I'd look in Salesforce and I'd say, okay, this isn't the person he was after, but he definitely had a ton of activity in that account. So you cannot tell me that that activity that he was doing in that account didn't drive somebody to tell somebody else to tell somebody else to then look into us and then come us that way. So as far as who gets credit for that, that's where the sales and marketing divide comes into play. It's like, oh, it's an MQL, it's an SQL, who gives a fuck? We got a meeting with somebody that we wanted to get a meeting with. Like we should all celebrate that. So I think a lot of stuff has to shift from a commission standpoint and an approach standpoint and how we restructure our teams.
SPEAKER_00:in the incentives, right? It's like that Charlie Munger quote, like, show me the incentive and I'll show you the outcome, right? And I think everything right now comes down to that, right? Is like marketing, their bonuses and their numbers are based on MQLs, right? And so they're trying to inflate that as much as they can, get the credit, whatever. And then reps, reps don't really give a shit about who gets the credit. Well, I guess maybe sometimes they do, maybe they get a higher commission or whatever, or something like that. And so as we get into incentives, something interesting comes up because I was talking to a Realtor friend. He's actually a Realtor, not even B2B SaaS, right? And I wanted to talk to him for one reason and one reason only is because I almost see, you said reps have to become mini marketers. And I think the closest sales rep per se that does that today, that kind of style are real estate agents.
Andy Mewborn:Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
SPEAKER_00:Right? Like, guess what? They're not waiting for the brokerage to give them clients. They're good with doing their own billboards. They're going door to door. They're doing the things that it takes. Right now, are they the best marketers in the world? No, but they're creating their own demand in that way. Right? And so I got on a call with him because he's amazing at this. He does YouTube and he's really good. And so I said, dude, why do you do all this content? I'm trying to understand. And he says, well, one, because the obvious reason, the brokerage isn't giving me any leads. And he said, two, they've incentivized us to do this. If I close a deal, a house or whatever, the split with the brokerage is 50-50 on my commission. If I get the lead myself through my own channels and they don't hand me the lead, I get 80% of the commission. And I'm like, really? And he goes, yeah. And I go, so how did that change? He goes, everyone makes content now. He goes, everyone's trying to do their own thing. Cause that, that 30% could be a huge amount of money, you know? And so I'm like, holy shit. So I'm like, how do we do this? Maybe in sales, like B2B SaaS, right? Like, like how do you incentivize that? And does that incentive make, make it so that everyone's full cycle, like, right. It gets you thinking.
Andy Mewborn:Yeah, I think it's inevitable that we're going back to full cycle sales. There's no question about that. I think the SDR and the BDR role are going to roll up on the marketing and operations, become salaried positions, maybe get a bonus based on quarterly things.
John Barrows:But we're going back to full cycle sales supported by true ABM and AI. So that now as a sales rep, instead of me trying to figure out, oh, who do I talk to today? Who I call today? It's going to say, no, no, no, no, John. you need to call Andy, and because Andy just did this, this, this, and this, and his company's doing this, and the macroeconomics doing here, and you actually need to call him instead of email him because he likes the phone better than email based on his personality profile, and here's three snippets of things that you can say to them. And then I'll make that call, and then it'll be recorded, and it'll all be dumped into Salesforce or whatever it is, so I don't have to do the admin side of that, right? So we are moving back to full cycle, so there's no question about it, but that doesn't, alleviate the need to build a personal brand because your personal brand is basically what's going to keep you relevant in this world of AI. Right? I mean, people say that people buy from people they like. That's not true. They buy from people they trust. And so AI is hard to trust because you don't know where the data is coming from. You don't know where the information is coming from. And, you know, you can't really tell if it has your best interest in mind, right? That type of thing. Whereas a human, you know, you have the ability to make a connection to people. And I think that's where, you know, we need to focus more on is giving people the tools to have the real conversations with people and alleviate the burden of all the shit that tech can do for us. But the marketing and the brand part of it is so important to me. Because when you say like, how can we do that in B2B sales, it's actually kind of easy. There's different easy things that any rep can do. One of them is what we're doing right now. Start a podcast. And not start a podcast you want to get a billion downloads and you want to be Joe Rogan or anything like that. Start a podcast because you're curious. Start a podcast because you want to learn. Like I started mine because that's the way I learned. I don't learn by reading books. I don't learn by going to courses. I learn by talking to people who are smarter than me. So I go ahead and I'm curious. So for instance, if you're a rep out there and you're selling to, say you're selling one of the harder things, cybersecurity to CISOs. You know what I mean? Right? I mean, you're a CISO and you're like, shit. You're a sales rep. How can I actually have a conversation with a CISO? I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. Well, guess what? Go interview them. So instead of calling, cold calling them, trying to sell them your crap, Invite them to a podcast and be curious about their job, about what's important to them, about all these different things. By that, A, you'll learn while you're doing it. B, you're going to create some kick-ass content that you can then share out there and post and bring some insights to. The other thing is, is all you have to do to build your brand, you don't have to be the content creator. You just have to be the content curator. So what I do is I follow the top three, four or five people in my industry that are the thought leaders who are smarter than me. And I consume their content, even my direct competitors, because all I have to do is consume that content. So this is for everybody listening. If you want to build your brand in an authentic way, focus on learning first. Learning first. Don't focus on the shares or the likes or how many people. Focus on learning and educating yourself first on whatever industry you are focused on, okay? By following the top five or six thought leaders in your space. Consume their content and learn something. And so your primary goal has already been accomplished. Like if you learn something, your primary goal is already accomplished. So no matter what happens after that, who gives a shit? But the added benefit here is take that content, share it out there with your context. So add a little bit of flavor to it, right? Hey, really interesting article here. My takeaways were X, Y, and Z and blah, blah, blah. What do you think? That type of thing. Post that out there. Now, by doing that, say Andy, you and I are connected, right? And you read my blog, and you like my blog, so you share it out. Hey, really interesting blog by John, whatever. Key takeaways, cool. Then somebody you're connected to reads my blog because you shared it, and they get value out of it, okay? So they really get value out of that blog post that I wrote, but you shared. Who do they thank?
SPEAKER_00:They still thank you because you shared the insights.
John Barrows:I might get another follower.
SPEAKER_00:They don't give a shit if you wrote it, they just give a shit that you're the one sharing it.
John Barrows:They don't say thanks John for writing the article, they say thanks Andy for sharing the article. You get all the credit, I did all the work. So all you have to do is go find people who are smarter than you in your space. If I was selling to CISOs right now, I would find the top five CISOs in my space, ideally CISOs in a certain industry, CISOs in manufacturing, CISOs in retail, whatever it is. And I would literally Google CISOs thought leaders 2023. see what comes up. Find four or five people that are blogging about this, sharing articles, companies that are sharing about that. And in my, in my morning routine, I would wake up in the morning, I'd grab my coffee, and I would just scan through those blog posts. And I would read a couple of them. And then I would share those. I'm taking 30 minutes at most, right? Share those out on social, learn something, have content that I could then use to talk to people about, hey, did you see that article the other day by Forrester that where they popped out this thing is really interesting, right? Like, what are your thoughts on that? Maybe even tag some other CISOs in that, right? Hey, we'd love to get your perspective on this. And then you can do it in a very thoughtful, organic, and authentic way without having to try too hard.
SPEAKER_00:Yeah. And you know, it's fine. I break this in and we teach this in the program I do, which is to teach sales. We have 4,000 people go through it, which is to teach salespeople to start creating content. Because I saw this coming two years ago, right? being at Outreach slash, you know, in the sales loft Outreach world, I was like, there's going to come a tipping point here where everyone's going to have this, and then it's going to work for no one. So this is gonna, so anyways, I can get through the story there. But the three things I usually tell people is like, what holds people back is they think they need to be the expert. But right, they think they need to be that the New York Times bestseller, LinkedIn, Top Voice, Forbes, the, you know, 15 under 50 or 30 under 30, whatever the hell it is, you know? And and I say, no, you can definitely be that. But there's really three buckets. There's there's being the expert. There's curating the experts. And then there's writing stuff based on personal experience. And that still makes you the expert. Hey, I watched 100 hours of John Barrows interviews on YouTube. Here's the five things I learned. Guess what? You're curating him, but you're also the, you are the expert already because that's your experience.
John Barrows:It goes back to sharing what you learn. People don't care about that. I used to tell my team this all the time. Don't you dare go on social and tell people what to do. Don't you dare sit up and say, all right, everybody, here's the best way to make a cold call. Here's the best discovery call. Like this is what you should do because I'm the expert. Go fuck yourself. I want nothing to do with some jackass who thinks that they're smarter than me. What I do want is I want somebody to be like, hey, I read this thing the other day about this new technique. I tried it today and this is what happens. Yeah, good, bad or ugly. And here's what I learned about it. Now, if you want to try it out, go try it out. But let me let me explain to you what I learned and my journey. That's what people care about. Anybody who's looking for the silver bullet are following people who are trying to give silver bullets. And I promise you, there's no silver bullets out there. You know what I mean? Like there's just not one out there. So if you are one of those people giving those, then your audience are short-lived, short-term people who are just looking for the quick fix. So if you're building your brand on silver bullets because you think you're the expert, well then you're going to have a massive churn problem in general as far as your following is concerned because you better come with very specific techniques that work all the time for me to continue to follow your shit. Okay, but if you express to me how you're learning and what you're learning along the way and good, bad, ugly, times you fail, times you've succeeded, I'll follow you for a long time, man, because I want to learn the journey. I don't want to know the specific thing. Yeah, give me a couple tips along the way, but don't make it so that you're always putting those, you know, this is exactly what to do. This is the best cadence I've ever, you know, it's like, No, that was the best cadence for you. And it worked for you and your audience for that reason. So don't tell me that everybody else should be using this cadence. Be like, hey, here's my audience. This is who I go after. This is what, you know, and I created a cadence in this way to this persona in this industry based on these things. And I got a really high, look at the framework of my cadence. Now use that, you know, if you want to use that framework of my cadence and adjust it to make yours, give it a shot, especially if you sell to this persona, right?
SPEAKER_00:Yeah. my brain right now is making this connection to, um, and it's not even sales related, but have you ever read the books, the psychology of money? Yeah. Okay. Amazing book. And, um, Morgan Housel is the author I'll send. I'm going to send you this book as a gift here for cool jumping off. But one of the best books I've read and just in terms of, um, how it's laid out, it's not like it's a page turner in each chapters, like what? 10 pages max. Like it's amazing. And he used to work at, uh, Motley Fool, right? And so this guy has been involved in that whole thing. And so he wrote this book called Psychology of Money. And in it, he talks about, obviously, the psychology of money, and he talks about how no one is wrong in terms of how they think about saving money or doing what they want to do with their money, because everyone's playing a different game. Yeah. And he goes, so you shouldn't look at Warren Buffett and do what Warren Buffett does because guess what? Warren Buffett is playing a whole different game than you are. He's at a whole different level. And I see the same thing here, which is like, I can post the prospecting tip, but I'm building a, like I'm building a SAS, right? Like, and we just raised money, blah, blah, blah. Like, so the way I'm doing shit is completely different than someone who's just a BDR, right? Like,
John Barrows:it's the same thing with people who say oh you know you know join the 4am club and you know meditate every fucking morning and all this it's like just shut up like literally shut up like i have zero interest in listening all these influencers tell me that i need to wake up at four o'clock in the morning so i can tackle my day and you know be there before everybody else meditate for an hour and drink some piece of shit green tea weird thing so i can shit right all that other stuff like That might work for you. That doesn't work for you. Like my wife, right? I'm more of a morning person. I wake up at 5.30 in the morning. I have my routine and I go through it, right? My wife is not a morning person. No matter how hard she's tried in her life, she is not. But she will stay up until 2, 3, 4 o'clock in the morning and she is hyper productive at that hour. She is literally at two o'clock in the morning. She is hyper productive because nobody's bothering her. That's when her brain... So you tell somebody like her to wake up at 4.30 in the morning and take this routine, and it's actually going to have a negative effect on her productivity. So that's why... I mean, don't get me wrong. There's breadcrumbs of people who are successful, but you have to take all of that stuff and then you have to turn it into what works for you. And sometimes, yeah, you need to be forced, right? So screw it. You know, maybe I'm just going to force myself to wake up 4.30 because... But that's more of a discipline thing. That's not because you're waking up at 4.30 that you're successful. It's because you have the discipline to wake up at 4.30 and do something consistently, right? So that's where I think a lot of people are missing it. They're looking at all these other people who are super successful and they're trying to copy their road to success when that was their road to success, not your road. You need to figure out what your road is.
SPEAKER_00:Yeah. And the other input to that is it was their road to success at a time when whatever they did worked. And as you know, seeing everything is basic today, nothing that you tried in the past because of, I think because of AI, nothing that you did in the past is gonna, It's very difficult to go from where we were to where we are today with this new input that we have.
John Barrows:There's no question about it. If you're not evolving right now, you're, I mean, that's, that's why I came back out front. I mean, if you look on my LinkedIn profile, there's a special announcement that I did back in, I think, you know, whatever, February or March or something like that. And it was, and it was meh cup on my part. It was, it was look when, and the whole thing was what we talked about was we've gotten lazy. You know, if you, if you got into, if you got into SaaS and tech sales after 2010, I'm sorry, not that hard. Like you might've thought it was hard, but it wasn't, I'm sorry. And so, and I put myself into that bucket, right? I got lazy. I got lazy and took my eye off the ball. And when the whole thing fell apart in Q1, I'm sitting there going, holy shit, right? And I was, but I was able to get back out and go do, you know, like what I know how to do, prospect, email. Like I, thankfully I had the skills early in my career and I could always fall back on them. But one of the things about trainers, you know, and I'm seeing all these quote unquote influencers out there being like, oh, you know. And I'm looking at him going, you're still talking about you being successful in what I call the golden age of sales. Like the past 10 years are the golden age in sales, in SaaS sales at least, right? You could get away with just blasting out template emails, setting up, you know, disco calls with anybody with a pulse, droning, you know, asking bank questions, droning through demos, offering a massive discount. Like that was sales, right? And so if you're a quote-unquote influencer right now telling me how to sell and you're still basing it off of what made you successful five years ago because you were the first guy at company X that went from zero to eight trillion dollars and I was there and I have the formulas of success. Yeah, the formula to success was interest rates were at a historic low, money was free, grow at all costs, nobody cared about ROI. good for you. If you are not selling today, if you are not literally in the shit with me today and getting your teeth kicked in just like the rest of us, I have a hard time listening to you tell me what to do, which is why I am back hardcore selling. I've never not sold. I've always sold. That's my passion first and foremost. I always say I'm a sales rep first and a trainer second. I just happen to be okay at delivering this stuff to other people. But sales is what I love. And so if you are not in this game and practicing it every day and getting your teeth kicked in and having meetings and understanding what's happening in the marketplace, and you're trying to tell me something that made you successful five years ago, like I literally, I don't even want to, I want my money back.
SPEAKER_00:I want my time back. And you pay me now, and you pay me. Give me my money back and you pay me.
John Barrows:That blog post that I just wrote, that five minutes that it took me to read your blog post, I want that time back because I cannot, in good conscience, listen to you if you are not figuring out what's happening right now.
SPEAKER_00:Yeah, and going along with this, something, as we're talking about the guru stuff, and I'm going to be honest, I've posted some shit like that and then I've backtracked because I'm like, this probably isn't going to help anyone. Now I just post, if you look at my post just all this week, it's, hey, I sat down with Chris Walker. Here's what I learned. Exactly what you talked about. And guess what? They do great. And those actually give me the most inbound. It's insane. And what I'll say there is the one thing that people are not talking about as it relates to cold email, and I'm just going to bring up cold email and emailing in the first place, and I'm going to tie this all back to personal brand. The one thing that matters more than anything besides subject line in the body is the name that it's coming from, right? Then that goes back to your trust because guess what? If John Barrows is in your face on LinkedIn and he just wrote a post that you liked and you saw that and then you see he emails you. How much of a higher success rate is that email going to have? Right? Mini marketer, mini marketer. That's it. And you have to be, you kind of have to be ubiquitous these days, right? And like, and again, you're not going to be on, as ubiquitous as you can be in the B2B world, right? That's what I would say. And so I'll give you an example and no shit, I'll show you the analytics. I, in the past, since last Tuesday, I just, we, you know, I just raised money for a startup, whatever, distribute, you know, I'm doing founder led sales or I'm getting at it. I've booked 79 meetings since last Tuesday.
John Barrows:Since last Tuesday? Yeah. Jesus Christ.
SPEAKER_00:I'll show you. And I'll show you after the recording, I'll show you all the in the week stuff that I did. But 79 meetings with director plus marketers in SAS. Right. And fully automated email. How do you think I did it? When I email them, they know my name. Right. Because it's the name and people are like, how'd you do it? It was automated. What did the note say? And I'm like, dude, the note doesn't matter. You know why? Because I spent three years putting my name out there and I did the compound work in that sense, right? And so how do you do that? And then you offer a little bit of incentive inside the email as well, right? Of like how it will help you, blah, blah, blah, blah. But I know my wife's like, what the hell are you doing? Because she runs sales at Intensive, right? She's like, what the fuck? She was getting on my case that I need to start selling now. And I kind of wanted to wait, you know, and I was like, going all in. And so that's my theory, right? It's like, that's what it actually takes. It's like people, that's what's more important today. The subject line, sure, it kind of does matter, but it's the name. And so how do you do that? And then I go back to, well, as a rep, how do you do that? Maybe you start making content. Maybe you start making a podcast. The other thing you can do is like get your leadership. Here's what I'm going to do. Like once we, you know, we're getting, getting deals and have money spent, I'm going to have every executive on our team. I'm going to have them writing a post a day. Why? Because that is probably the most important thing that they could do for the day. Right. Especially if they're in marketing or sales. Right. And I'm like, okay, well, even if they don't have the time, well, we'll get you a ghostwriter to coach you. Right. But like that shit is getting out every day. Like that's going to be part of the culture because I think that's, that's what works. That's what we've seen work. And, and so going back to this whole thing, The name on the email, and I want to just repoint that out, is how do you do that? You don't need to be the rep. Get your CEO to do it, right? If your CEO starts posting online, and then you send an email from their email, guess what? People like status. Oh, that's the CEO. I know him from this blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Oh, John Barrow emailed me, and it looks like he emailed me directly. Boom. So I think that maybe it's going back to old school, but it's like this way of like, oh, I know that person. They've provided value in some way. Let me start talking to them. I'll say that the next thing I'll say based on all this whole thing, cause I'm on a rant right now. We'll just keep going. Right. Is in you like data. I can tell. And in this chart kind of blew my mind and actually is what helped me really start distributing, which is at any given point in time. And I forget who did this study, but if you look at a, you know, a pyramid, right. Only 3% of people in a target market are ready to buy your product at any given time. And that's probably worse today. Right. You've probably seen that thing. That means 97% of people are not ready to buy. But we treat all of those people the same today. Sales reps are still trained to think, oh, everyone's ready to buy. You just have to talk about the pain and talk about the pain more. And it's like, no, dude, this is data. And so what do you do with that 97%? You have to learn how to nurture it. plant the seed, water the seed. And so when I saw this, I was like, holy shit. Like this, there's something here where, where there needs to be something that will not only teaches rep this, but it gives them the tools to be able to create the content and the stuff that provides valuable content on their own. And we won't get into that, but like that nurture process, what I've told people, and I had a post yesterday that people loved on this was like, you're not doing sales. You're doing nurturing.
John Barrows:That's it. The majority of what a sales rep needs. And that's why I think companies need to shift their mentality on what they are metricing SDRs and BDRs on. And that's why I think inevitably and inherently it should go under marketing. Because every single call, every single email, every single retweet, every single post on LinkedIn is an impression point. And it's building a brand for both the business and the individual. And so if they are out there sharing good content, not just corporate content about your greatest white paper that you just put out there, whatever, but stuff that's relevant to their space, to their industry, those types of things. The problem is that there's, you know, with brand building and what we're talking about here is there's no short-term benefit to it. Building your brand is a lifelong, career-long thing. And you have to earn it. You have to earn that trust. You have to earn the ability for people to look at you and you have to be authentic with it. So that's why so many reps don't do it. And that's why also so many companies don't do it because, again, they can't push a button and say, oh, we got this many impressions, therefore it drove this much revenue. No. you did a bunch of impressions that built your brand out there that eventually maybe somebody in a year who you made an impression on today is going to get them to think. And then six months later, when they start their new job and they need that thing, they're going to come to you, right? But it's this, and quite frankly, I'm glad that things fell apart at the beginning of the year for the SaaS and the tech world, because it kind of taught the VCs, like, could you back the fuck off for a minute here and just let the companies grow profitably as opposed to grow at all costs? Right. Like just stop it with these VCs just shoveling money. I mean, it's still the fact that like Uber still isn't profitable is just literally mind blowing to me that these multi trillion dollar, you know, valuated businesses are still not profitable. Like I'm no econ major. I'm no finance major. But that doesn't make any sense to me. Right? So why, like the fact that we're back to, okay, you know, somewhat profitable growth, thoughtful growth, not let's just go, go, go, go, go, I think is a really good thing. The question is, is what does that mean for the dynamics? Like I said earlier, what got us here and the mentality that got us here, which is that whole goal and, you know, grow at all costs. Now we bred effectively a bunch of sales reps. who have this mentality and a bunch of orgs that are structured for this. And now it's all literally breaking in front of our eyes. And if we don't figure out a way to transition through it, then you should just rip and replace. You should just say, burn this whole thing to the ground. Let me start over.
SPEAKER_00:Yeah. And I mean, to add on top of that, not to be a super fear monger, but like, a lot of companies are starting to figure out that you can get people overseas for a lot cheaper. Yeah, way cheaper.
John Barrows:They do the same thing. I work with a group that literally you can hire a full-time SDR, full-time in Columbia, who speaks English really, really well, knows the game, has been trained. They take my training, they get certified for $2,000 a month. No commission, no anything, no health care, nothing. So for $24,000 a year, I have a full-time SDR that will do whatever I want them to do and is trained by somebody who knows actually what they're talking about, not me. And that's a hard, that's a hard value problem, especially now, and this is where this brings, because the argument is, well, we got to, you know, get our SDRs so they become AEs. No, you don't. That ship sailed a long time ago. The average SDR stays in their company, not their role, their company for 14 months. So, all this like the theory of predictable revenue is like, oh, you get cheap labor, you beat the crap out of them, then they become your AEs, and then you get lifelong. And so, you actually build your sales organization, right? Brilliant when it works. But if they bail after 14 months out of your company, it's actually a massive, massive loss leader. Like massive. Yep. Right?
SPEAKER_00:Training, benefits, all that. It's insane. Yeah.
John Barrows:your addressable market, they might have abused your addressable market because of all those emails, so they actually reduced your likelihood of getting responses. So you put all this training into them, you put all this stuff into them, and not only did they not stay for you to get the outcome there, but they probably ruined their territory so that the next person in there is less likely. And so the outsource model does make a lot of sense. The outsourced model, because that person is going to stay in that role as long as they want and they're going to be thrilled about it, by the way. They're not going to be some pretentious little shit who sits there coming out at 22 years old with a psychology degree and wants $150,000 a year to push buttons. Like, are you kidding me? And then ask for their promotion after six months. Literally piss off on that whole mentality.
SPEAKER_00:Yeah. And this goes back to, I tell people that I talk to, same thing. I'm like, dude, You need to get out there and build trust with people, whether it's building your personal brand, doing a podcast, doing whatever. You need to be ubiquitous and figure out ways to do that because if not, people are going to go pay the $2,000 person a month in another country because what's the difference between what they're doing and what you're doing? You have no skill set that essentially puts you ahead of the pack. There's no leverage that you have at that point. That's the way I think about it. And I tell people like build skills, but more importantly, look how to build skills that give you leverage, right? Because guess what? If you're coming up against the AE who's been building their personal brand, whatever you want to call it, right. Or like as a newsletter and is doing, and is even not huge or big online, but doing the right things to get there. And that gets noticed by an employer. Who do you think they're going to hire? Them or you? All day, right? Like who do you think they're going to hire? Especially nowadays when people are starting to see the light, right? Like, yeah, maybe, maybe five years ago that people were like, Oh, I don't give a shit. I don't need to do that. You know? Um, but like, and I'll tell you, I have friends, I have, I would, I don't know, acquaintances and I know they would make fun of me for posting on LinkedIn and shit all the time, all the time. Yeah. Like people may find me for, for when I got started, like, what are you doing? And then now all of them come to me and ask, Hey, can I join your program?
Andy Mewborn:Yeah, exactly. Yup.
SPEAKER_00:Right. And so, and, you know, I'm not an asshole about it in any way to them. I'm just like, I'm actually glad I'm like, it took you four years to see that, but I'm glad you finally did.
Andy Mewborn:It's like my friends with weed, my friend.
John Barrows:I've been smoking weed my entire life and telling all my friends who have anxiety pills and all this stuff and are all hopped up on meds for ADHD. I'm like, dude, just start smoking weed and I promise you it'll actually be a lot better for you. And oh no, you're a druggie, you're a druggie, you're a druggie. And now all of a sudden that it's legal here in Massachusetts and it can be Medicare. Now guess who's all coming to me saying, Hey, I want to try that medical stuff. I was wondering, it's like, oh, welcome to, you know, I'm not going to say piss off. All right, welcome to the party. It took you a little longer than it should have. But it's the same thing with brand, right? It's like people are starting to come around on the fact that it's not just about your skill anymore. It's about your brand, your perception of you out in the marketplace, your authenticity, all these pieces, because I can hire a skill all day long. You know what I mean? Like I can hire, like I can, well, I'm sorry, I can teach a skill all day long. I can't teach grit. I can't teach passion. I can't teach brand. I can't teach authenticity. And so that's what we have to, you know, the question I think we all need to ask ourselves is, you know, what can we do that a computer can't? And that question is getting really hard to answer these days. But if you can't answer that question, then you absolutely should be looking at your job, your role, your company and saying, how long do I have left here? Because if a computer can legitimately do what I can do, and literally cold calling, computers can start to do that. Email cadences, computers can do that better than us in a lot of ways. All these different things, it's like, okay, cool. I need to learn the tools to be able to do those things right. But what else am I bringing to the table here? And if I'm not bringing business acumen, curiosity, EQ, those type of things, then... Yeah. I don't need to pay you. Yeah.
SPEAKER_00:It's crazy. It's crazy. And like going to this AI thing, like I've seen this thing called, uh, what air AI.
John Barrows:I don't know if you've checked that out, but like area I go to air, air, air.ai. And it is a cold call. It is a call from a guy who was trying to buy those $3,000 glasses. And he bailed out on the thing. And that thing, that thing called him, dealt with his objection, upsold him, gave him financing options, and got him to close. And it was funny. It backtracked a couple of times. It was like, well, yeah, no, actually, and went like this. It laughed a few times. I mean, the only thing that you could tell on that recording was that it took like a fraction of a second longer than a typical human would take to answer the question. Like a fraction of a second. Like I could tell because I knew it was a robot and I'm obviously in tune with what's going on these days. So I would be able to tell, okay, this is a robot, but if you're not in tune in this world, if you don't understand what AI can do, you would have gone hook, line, and sinker into that cold call and you would have done the same thing.
SPEAKER_00:And that'll be fixed in six months. Maybe even sooner, right? Like, yeah, it's probably already fixed, like just at the pace that this stuff is moving. And yeah, I saw that too. And I was like, if you don't see that and go, holy shit, like, then I don't know. I don't know what to tell you. Um, so, you know, and then it kind of begs the question, do people like shit? So like, should I be practicing that skill as much then? Like what, what skills should I be doing? You know, like it.
John Barrows:Yeah. I mean, look, I think cold calling is I, again, if you think about it as marketing, but also if you think about it as a, as onboarding, I personally think that every sales rep coming into sales should spend the first couple of years just getting their ass kicked on the phone for nothing other than learning grit, learning what it takes, learning how to deal with rejection, and basically having a healthy perspective on what it takes to be successful. Because there's two things as a manager, there's two things that I need to figure out when you come on board with me. It's can you put in the work and then are you good at that work? The easier one for me to figure out is can you put in the work? So guess what? Those people who are bitching and moaning about 50 dials a day, that type of stuff, make your goddamn 50 dials a day for the first year of your career and shut your mouth. Do the job and then come back to me with data. A year or two later, after you've put in the work, you've done what I told you to do, then we can start to look at quality and those type of things and start to ramp you up on that. But you got to show me that you can put in the work first. So that's why I still think cold calling has a very solid part of the entire equation. Just if nothing else is to flush out everybody who is not going to be successful in sales. Because if you can't deal with that grind, if you can't deal with that rejection day in, day out, and go home and still be okay, if you can't deal with that, then you're not going to be successful in sales. So I think it's important, but it's just different now. The fundamentals don't go away in sales. It's just how we communicate, the leverage that we have, and the value that we add that changes.
SPEAKER_00:In looking at that, That goes back to the fundamentals that we talked about at the beginning of this, right? Which is like, you still need to do volume in certain areas to learn the skills. And I think right now, a lot of these tools tried to engineer the volume out of it, right? And they tried to engineer the volume of what the human needs to do to learn the skill that makes them irreplaceable, right? Oh, you don't need to do on the phone anymore, just send more emails. Right. Yeah. Or, or, or do this thing will automate all that. You don't need to do it anymore. Okay. Salesforce. Yeah. We shouldn't be filling out fields and shit. Like, okay, come on. But like, you know, the volume it takes to really get good at these skills, we tried to say, give it to technology and now technology is actually really so damn good that you don't even need the person anymore at the end of the day. Like it's.
John Barrows:I'll even push back on the CRM shit, man. Like, how can you be a manager eventually in your career and tell kids how to input data if you've never done it? It's never going to be fully automated. I mean, well, I don't want to say never. The likelihood of anything being fully automated perfectly, right? So it records this call perfectly. It gets exactly all the perfect medic stuff exactly the way I wanted it. And it ports it into Salesforce in a way that's absolutely crystal clear. We're not anywhere near that, okay? Because there's so many nuances involved in the conversation and stuff like that. So if you skip that step, say you even skip the admin parts, right? Because, oh, AI can do that for me. Well, if you become a leader and you're in a situation where now you don't have that AI, You don't have all these cool tools and whatever. You're a startup. You're an early stage founder with no money. And now you've got to coach a team on why it's important to do that. You have no perspective. You have no ability to say, well, I did it. And this is how I did it. And this is why we're doing it this way. And this is why. And now we're going to layer on technology. It's why I think everybody needs to learn these skills. but we're giving them the tech first and then they're backing into the skill to support the tech. It's get the skill first and then leverage the tech. It's just like LinkedIn, for instance. I was on LinkedIn as number 35,541. I was one of the earliest members of LinkedIn. No shit. Wow. But the thing with LinkedIn was it was so natural for me because I had spent so many years networking, going to events, building relationships without a tech, without a tool. It was literally me writing down on note cards and stuff like that, this person, I got to follow up with them, I got to make sure I give them this referral and all that other stuff. So when LinkedIn hit, I was like, oh, this is awesome. And I learned the fundamentals first and then I augmented it with the tech. And that's why I have 400,000 followers on LinkedIn and super engagement and all this other stuff. But if I had LinkedIn now, and I didn't know how to network, then I'm going to do what every other kid who doesn't know how to network does. And they're like, John, could you make an introduction to Andy? I see you're one connected, love to talk to you about, you know, could you make an introduction for me?
SPEAKER_00:10 times a day.
John Barrows:Who the fuck are you? Like, I don't know who you are. And you have not earned that right yet. And I don't barely know this kid that you're asking for. Like, what the fuck would you even send me this in mail for? You know what I mean? So, anyways.
SPEAKER_00:Oh, God. Yeah, I get about 10 of those a day. Yeah. It's because you speak the truth on that stuff, which is just which is fun. And OK, just for people to know, how long have you been on LinkedIn posting content?
John Barrows:I mean, since since 2000, whatever, I think the 35th. So I'm going to say probably 2002, 2003. Oh, dude, you are the OG like sales person on LinkedIn. I don't think there's not one person I know that has an earlier, has an earlier number than me. There's not one, not even close by the way.
SPEAKER_00:Holy moly, man. Well, hey, John, this has been crazy. This has been amazing, man. We really like got real with all this stuff, which has been just freaking amazing, dude. Yeah, let me check it out.
John Barrows:And anybody who's interested, you know, I got the Make It Happen Monday podcast, obviously that I have these types of conversations and I got my memberships, you know, jbarrows.com, hit me up there. You know, that's we don't then anybody listen and don't I know LinkedIn, but this sounds like a humble brag. It's not it's more annoying I've hit the 30,000 limit on the connection. So I can't connect with anybody more on LinkedIn, which sucks But you still follow me because they'll let me up on all those things But jbarrows.com is where all that stuff is jbarrows.com amazing.
SPEAKER_00:All right jbarrows Hey, JB, it's been amazing, my friend. We'll talk again soon. And man, I'll get this out to you. I can't wait for everyone to hear this stuff, dude. I'm so excited.