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Why Marketing Is Critical to Outbound Sales with Tony Lenhart

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How much marketing do you need to do in your outbound selling? The answer is more than none, but less than Coca-Cola. What's in between? Learn the right balance between sales and marketing from Tony Lenhart, Sales Drummer at Sales Empowerment Group.

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Tony Lenhart on LinkedIn
Sales Empowerment Group


Why Marketing Is Critical to Outbound Sales:

Full Transcript

Tony Lenhart:
To do really good outbound, I think it is a necessity, absolutely. You have to equip your reps with, I mentioned a couple times, just the general air cover of marketing, but also just all the little tools, right? All those little things. When I first started in sales, I used to love to listen to Brian Tracy, Psychology of Sales. I mean, he’s a classical sales guy, right? And I would listen to my [inaudible 00:00:23] cassette tapes that my dad had bought me and I’m popping into my used Honda Accord. And one thing that he would say is the horse that wins by a nose wins 10 times the prize money of the horse that comes in second place. And when it comes to the marketing and all those little things, again, I’m trying to quit my reps with sales and marketing. You’re doing hundreds of small things again and again and again and again and again.

Tony Lenhart:
So I need that layer of marketing in there more so than ever to break through and give my reps something tangible in front of people that’s going to be relevant and valuable, and they haven’t always had that.

Liston Witherill:
That’s Tony Lenhart, Sales Drummer at Sales Empowerment Group. He’s built a lot of sales teams from the ground up. He’s run a lot of outbound campaigns and he’s sold professional services in a highly commoditized market. Tony knows the difficult stuff and I was curious to learn from him, how much marketing cover does a sales campaign need to be successful? Across professional services and other complicated selling environments, it keeps getting harder to sell. The reason? Buyers take on more and more of the buying process themselves. They expect you to have a great website, useful information and tools to help them make decisions without ever talking to you or anyone else, which begs the question, how much marketing is enough marketing to be successful in an outbound campaign?

Liston Witherill:
Asked another way, what are the most critical signals that buyers need to see before they’re willing to engage with you. In this episode of Modern Sales, I talk to Tony about the kinds of marketing that a firm needs, what you need to support your client’s decision making process and whether or not you even need good marketing to execute on your next campaign.

Liston Witherill:
Welcome to Modern Sales, a podcast that’ll help you sell more by understanding how people buy. I’m your host, Liston Witherill, founder of Serve, Don’t Sell, and I dig through academic research, interview people inside and outside of sales and nerd out on psychology, economics and neuroscience to figure out how people make decisions. And I am on a mission to change the way 100 million people sell so that buying B2B services can feel just as good as being treated exactly the way you deserve to be treated. Wouldn’t that be nice? Now, do it for someone else too. If you’re listening on Spotify, hit that follow button so that you don’t miss an episode. And if you’re listening on iTunes or Apple podcasts, please subscribe, leave an honest review as long as it’s four to five stars. It helps me get the word out for the show so we can together change the way 100 million people sell.

Liston Witherill:
Thank you in advance for your help. Now, a quick announcement on today’s show, I’m opening up a workshop to help you close more deals using a highly consultative approach. It’s lightning fast, it’s going to take a lot of work on your part and during the workshop, you’ll learn the core sales process, work on three skills that will help you make every meeting more productive, not just sales meetings, and make your offers more compelling by telling transformational stories to your clients. If you’re interested in joining the workshop, just head over to servedontsell.com/workshop to learn more about it. That’s servedontsell.com/workshop for more information, and to sign up now. Now, on to the show.

Liston Witherill:
How you sell only accounts for a portion of how your buyers make decisions. Of course, it’s up to you to focus on the things that you can control. Is your marketing doing enough of the lift for you? We know buyers typically spend hours of research and sometimes even hours of internal meetings before ever engaging with you. The same is true when you do cold outreach, your prospects are going to do some homework to decide if you’re worth their time. So what kind of marketing do you need in place to be successful? Find out in my conversation with Tony Lenhart right after this short break.

Liston Witherill:
Hey, it’s Liston. Welcome to Modern Sales. I am here with Tony… Is it Leonard? I didn’t ask you in the pre-interview. I have a bad habit of-

Tony Lenhart:
Lenhart.

Liston Witherill:
Lenhart. Okay. Tony Lenhart from Sales Empowerment Group out of the greater Chicagoland area. Welcome to Modern Sales.

Tony Lenhart:
Hey, thanks for having me, Liston.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for being here. And one of the first things we need to address, it’s the elephant in the room, Tony, and that is your title. You’re a Sales Drummer. What does drumming have to do with anything, sir?

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah, I’ve been a drummer my whole life first and foremost, so I think that’s very clear. I learned to play drums from my father who actually played in a polka band of all things. So I grew up with a beautiful drum set in the basement, but as I left corporate America, I needed to go out and I guess make a name for myself as I was networking and meeting people. So the Sales Drummer has a few different meanings. One, it’s a little bit of a nod to my old man who was in sales and also a drummer. But back in the day, the Old West, salespeople used to be called drummers. I mean, that’s where the phrase comes from with drumming up business out there beating the drum. A classical example is Levi Strauss. He was a guy that was running around the Old West pedaling his wares, and when they would come into a town, some of them literally would start banging on a drum to let people know that they were there to sell pots and pans and scissors and leather or whatever they were selling back in the Old West. Pretty crazy, right?

Liston Witherill:
I did not know that. I mean, and really what they were trying to do is just create a spectacle when they showed up and sort of announce their presence, right?

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah, absolutely. They didn’t have a lot of marketing fire power back then so the drum was the way to go. And I’ve always thought titles are ridiculous, anyway. I mean, I was a manager when I was a 22 year old.

Liston Witherill:
Well, my favorite is, in the banking industry, everybody is a VP so you’re sure that you’re dealing with a senior person.

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah, totally, totally.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. So tell me a little bit about your background. I know you’ve worked prior to what you’re doing now and we’ll get to Sales Empowerment Group. But you’ve worked in payroll systems, and the thing that I think is interesting about payroll systems is they touch just about every aspect of a business, which means you have to convince anybody who has a say in anything to adopt your system. Do you consider that sales or is it just consulting in order to get a deal like that done?

Tony Lenhart:
Oh no, it’s absolutely sales. I mean, I guess looking back out of it, I did certainly try to be consultative, right? But when you talk payroll, you’re talking to a 75 year old business, well, people have been paying people for years, but as a formalized payroll service. So it’s hyper commoditized, and when I was out there managing my district, I always said to people, listen, it’s my job to know good people, right? Because payroll may not be something that’s relevant for you today or a pain point, but to what you said, it touches a lot of aspects of the business. It touches banking and accounting and finance and human resources and all these different aspects. So if I couldn’t help them directly, I wanted to be able to service them in some way, shape or form. So that at a very early age taught me the power of having a good network to be able to refer and pay it forward and give people the solutions [inaudible 00:07:47].

Liston Witherill:
So Tony, with your work with SEG, my understanding is one of the primary things you do is hire and train salespeople to work for you guys and then they get outsourced to your clients. Is that right?

Tony Lenhart:
That’s one way of looking at it, for sure. Yeah. That’s really the biggest part of our business.

Liston Witherill:
Well, how would you describe it?

Tony Lenhart:
Well, for a little bit of context, when we started this firm, whatever, 11 years ago, we were doing recruiting and consulting work, right? And really going back to my roots, I mentioned my dad was in sales, but my mom’s a therapist. So I always say I was bred to do exactly what I do now, which is sales therapy. Maybe I should change my moniker. But when we were going in to work with clients, and I’d love to hear if you see this too with working with your clients, one of the biggest complaints we heard is, man, we don’t know how to recruit, onboard, train, manage, and motivate young new reps, right? Because the debate is always, do you get somebody like that that’s maybe young and no bad habits, or do you get the person that has the little black book and maybe some baggage, right? And most people lean toward the latter, they want the person with industry experience and things like that because they’ve struggled grooming up that new rep.

Tony Lenhart:
So this division we have now, which I kind of refer to as a sales talent incubator, we were trying to solve that problem. So we partnered with a client and onboarded six salespeople for him, and we groomed them for almost 18 months. And out of those six, I think there were four that kind of earned their stripes and then the client hired them away to be a full time employee of their company. So now over the last six years, we’ve groomed over 400 salespeople and had about half of them actually hired away, and still have about 70 reps that are in house with us working for different clients.

Liston Witherill:
And so you hire the rep, you train them for a specific client more than likely. And then do you sell them at the end of that? Do you say, hey, in order to bring this person internally, you get compensated for your training and effort?

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah. The clients know from the very get-go that this is about the human capital that you get at the end, right? We’re trying to reduce that regrettable attrition that so many companies have had with having false starts with hiring salespeople again and again and again. So while they’re with us, we’re trying to solve this problem of pipeline generation, right? They’re doing lead gen and market outreach, but it’s also this combination of, you’re building your future bench, right? We want to be that triple A firm team. So that’s always the goal, a successful project to us is when the rep gets hired away.

Liston Witherill:
And so what conditions need to be present for those engagements to work because I’m guessing it doesn’t work for every client. And don’t worry, I won’t ask you for percentages, but no business is perfect, right? Especially what we’re doing, we’re in the business of people and people are messy. So what do you look for in order for an engagement, an outsource sales engagement with one of your clients to be successful?

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah. And we’ve had plenty of scraped knees to your point on figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And you’ve mentioned it, it’s come up on your prior podcasts, around the predictable revenue model, right? Of Aaron Ross’ book, which has been probably over 10 years now of that model worked in tech, right? That’s how Salesforce.com built its army and its business. And so you saw that starts to take off in tech and now the last five to seven years, that idea of a BDR or SDR has proliferated out into all sorts of different industry. This role segmentation, which maybe when you started in sales, when I started at ADP, it’s you prospected it, you sold it, you managed it, you did the full cycle. So as we’ve gone out and worked with companies, what are we seeing to your question that makes it work or doesn’t make it work?

Tony Lenhart:
I bring up Predictable Revenue because what does he say in there? The revenue size of these deals has to be over a certain amount, right? You can’t go up doing a thousand dollar deals when you’re trying to spend for SDR programs. So we look for a good average sized deal, and then how commoditized is the space and how difficult is it to explain to somebody when you’re on the phone with them, right? We’ve gotten into some situations in enterprise, IT, consulting and very ambiguous things that can make it a challenge for generating some interest. So the company needs good marketing air cover, right? To kind of do some, again, general air cover to have there be some awareness in the marketplace. And then it also comes down to just having really good lists, right? Segmentation on the top end makes the whole program run a lot smoother as opposed to somebody throwing down a phone book and saying, hey, I can talk to anybody. So I would say those are two big pieces.

Liston Witherill:
So you mentioned the space being commoditized. And earlier, I picked up on something you said about ADP, which was highly commoditized, lots of payroll companies out there, lots of options, lots of known options by the customer base. But in your work now, are you looking for businesses that aren’t as commoditized? Is that a critical thing?

Tony Lenhart:
I don’t know how critical it is. We certainly say, hey, people that do outsourced IT work, I won’t touch that anymore, because again, that’s one of those things you could sell to anybody at any time. And right now, especially in the last three months, the status quo is going to be one of the biggest objections salespeople face. Some things that are just running smoothly and have been in place for a long time, those are hard to displace. On the other hand, I’d say what I look for is, back to your prior question around what has not worked, companies that have grown just through organic growth of referral based business partnerships and they’ve never truly even attempted to do outbound before, but they love the idea, but have never been able to make it work, there might be some really good reasons why you’ve never tried outbound and it’s never worked.

Tony Lenhart:
We never fail on a project due to a lack of effort. We’re always making the calls, making the emails, using the tools, but sometimes in certain industries, it’s not the way business is done, right? If there’s maybe high trust factors or things.

Liston Witherill:
Are there particular industries that you try to avoid? You mentioned IT services might be one that’s especially commoditized.

Tony Lenhart:
No, nothing I would say explicitly say, no, thank you. If the deal size makes sense and the target market we feel is addressable and accessible, right? Then based on the titles that they’re calling into, we’re willing to [inaudible 00:14:02] out with client and launch the program.

Liston Witherill:
Got it. Okay. So it’s interesting, you mentioned in one of the things that you look for is it’s relatively easy to explain over the phone. So I was wondering if you can maybe lift up the hood and share a little bit about, you mentioned in our pre-call that you’ve been prospecting for SEG, looking for your own clients and sort of introducing yourself to new people. I assume it’s relatively easy to explain outsource sales, at least on the surface it sounds like, we bring people to you, they sell on your behalf. If it works out well, you get to hire them. What is your approach to setting meetings? Because I see setting meetings, all the stats, it’s harder and harder, I find that when I do prospecting. It’s harder and harder to get people’s attention to get them on the phone. What are your approaches for SEG, either personally or across your company?

Tony Lenhart:
Sure. For a sales company, we’ve done an okay job marketing. We certainly have built that air cover, right? With consistency of getting out in front of people. As far as generating answers, this is a great discussion because what do people have? Time, money and human resources, right? And as we keep hearing again and again, these days, we were talking about it before we jumped on the podcast, that time is one of our most precious resources, everybody’s feeling this burden now. So why now should people reach out and want to have a conversation? One way I try and position it is immediately trying to speak to the pain or speak to the gain. A lot of times, it’s speaking to the pain of what people are experiencing. As I mentioned before, the biggest reason people would want to use us and not look at us as just telemarketing is, A, you’ve had a lot of regrettable attrition with salespeople.

Tony Lenhart:
If you look at every single department, sales always has the highest turnover. And I’m saying that pretty broadly, but I placed a pretty large bet that that is where people feel the most pain when it comes to the constant turnover in sales. So I’m speaking to that because it’ after a meeting after meeting after meeting I’ve gone on with people, that’s what we hear. That’s what we’ve heard from our clients and hopefully that’s resonating, because we do a lot of work within Vistage, the CEO peer groups, and what you consistently hear is what’s the number one pain that people are experiencing, it’s sales. So I think I always have an interesting thing to approach people about, but at the same time I kind of laugh because I sell sales much like [inaudible 00:16:21], we’re selling sales. So I’m very aware of how I go about doing that and just my general approach is people because as I’m approaching others, they’re thinking, okay, is this how Tony’s going to teach my reps how to sell, is the way that he’s doing it?

Tony Lenhart:
So me just being very thoughtful with my approach is something that’s always been important to me and why on the personal side of things, I’ve done a lot of work to build my own personal brand and getting my voice out there.

Liston Witherill:
Right. So there may be some awareness before you even engage with someone.

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah. If I’m doing any cold prospecting these days, I am going the LinkedIn route, right? I use the souped up Sales Navigator and I know my ideal client profile from an owner standpoint and a VP of sales standpoint. So I’m building lists, connecting with people, building that audience and again, driving that [inaudible 00:00:17:10].

Liston Witherill:
So I noticed on SEG’s website, it lists their separate pages for sales outsourcing and lead generation. And I don’t know if that’s just a function of an SEO play where you guys want traffic for both of those terms, but do you see any difference between them?

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah. When we first started, it was strictly lead gen, right? It was the top of the funnel, the BDR or SDR role. As we’ve gotten into some more client engagements, we were in this push and pull because it was a debate of quality versus quantity. And I think with SDRs, you’re going to hear anybody that has SDR team, it’s like their job is to people on the phone for meaningful conversations, they can’t qualify that, or we don’t want them to because they’re going to talk themselves out of a meeting. So now it’s clients want more quality because they’re like, oh, you set a bunch of bad meetings. So now these reps are morphing into, okay, they’re going further down the funnel and they’re going through whether you want to call it [inaudible 00:18:09] or medic or any of these other qualification tools that are out there to tee up a more meaningful conversation.

Tony Lenhart:
So clients are pulling us down this path where we were kind of maybe not going contact to contract, but we’re getting further down the funnel and maybe running these first call. So depending on the situation and the industry and who they’re selling into, sometimes our teams take a little bit further and some of them are even over the finish line.

Liston Witherill:
The reason I picked up on this idea of lead generation is I have a pretty deep background in online marketing as well, and lead gen of course means something slightly different in marketing, which is essentially form completions, email addresses. So when you guys say lead generation, you don’t mean digital marketing. You mean that top of funnel, first contact, getting someone on the phone and getting a meeting on the calendar.

Tony Lenhart:
Yep, absolutely.

Liston Witherill:
Let’s turn to marketing for a second though, because I work in professional services primarily. That’s my business, that’s your business, and that’s most of my clients. And you’ve mentioned a lot of things that I think for me, stack up to a situation where firms really need some level of marketing in order for this to be successful. Markets are commoditized, so why you? Why should I pay attention to what you have to say versus any other firm? Do you find that it’s necessary to have at least good marketing in order for this to work for most of your clients?

Tony Lenhart:
To do really good outbound, I think it is a necessity, absolutely. You have to equip your reps with, I mentioned a couple times, just the general air cover of marketing, but also just all the little tools, right? All those little things. When I first started in sales, I used to love to listen to Brian Tracy, Psychology of Sales. I mean, he’s a classical sales guy, right? And I would listen to my [inaudible 00:19:56] cassette tapes that my dad had bought me and I’m popping into my used Honda Accord. And one thing that he would say is the horse that wins by a nose wins 10 times the prize money of the horse that comes in second place. And when it comes to the marketing and all those little things, again, I’m trying to quit my reps with sales and marketing. You’re doing hundreds of small things again and again and again and again and again.

Tony Lenhart:
So I need that layer of marketing in there more so than ever to break through and give my reps something tangible in front of people that’s going to be relevant and valuable, and they haven’t always had that.

Liston Witherill:
All right. So a thought experiment. I’m a potential client. I say, hey, I’ve got a $5 million business, our average deal size is six figures. Plus I’d love to hire SEG to outsource my sales, but I have no marketing place. What would you say you need me to put in place for this to work?

Tony Lenhart:
Probably over half the time companies don’t even have a CRM, right? I ask them to see a list of their clients or prospects and it’s crickets, right? And they may have an Excel spreadsheet somewhere. So having a CRM, and not even marketing automation, but just simply a database that we can begin with is sometimes a nonstarter for us, right? Because we touch it if they don’t have that. Second, just from a digital standpoint, they have a good website, they have a presence. I’m kind of over eBooks and white papers and if white pieces of papers are still a thing. But I don’t think people need a lot of some of these different tools that marketers have been pushing for in the last five, seven years of blogs and eBooks. Videos, obviously huge right now.

Tony Lenhart:
We’re seeing people, whether it’s through case studies or even podcasts like that, but something that’s going to be a little bit more engaging than just a one pager on what people are doing. So we try and collaborate with them and their internal marketing team on what they’re doing to stay relevant and fresh with the approach. So when inevitably you get those people on the phone that say, not interested, not right now, send me some information, the rep can be a little bit more creative than, oh, here’s a one pager or our website.

Liston Witherill:
So that’s what I think, right? I think you kind of hit the nail on the head for me. When I think about outbound, we’re going to have a few categories, assuming we have a good list. Some people will say, “Yeah, that sounds really interesting. Let’s talk about it.” That’s the minority, of course. But some people will say that, others will never be able to reach. And then there’ll be a third bucket of all the people who are interested, but not right now for a variety of reasons, some better than others. And I think for a lot of my clients, I see that nurture part is really what you need for that third segment and without marketing and without content, it’s very difficult to stay in front of that person on a regular basis in a relevant way. And I’m not saying you need to customize that experience to every single person. A newsletter works, right?

Liston Witherill:
It’s also a billboard. It’s just a reminder, hey, I’m this person that talked to you about this thing and I can help you in these ways. Do you find a lot of resistance? Because now all of a sudden they wanted to do sales and you’re asking them to do some level of marketing that maybe they don’t have the habit or muscle do.

Tony Lenhart:
That’s why I network with a lot of marketing agencies.

Liston Witherill:
Right. Got it.

Tony Lenhart:
Or why marketing agencies love us, because you look at the other side of the spectrum is like people will spin up marketing and then they’ll sit there with their bushel basket waiting for the apples to fall into the basket, and it’s like, you build it, they will come. Well, it doesn’t always happen. So I think you have to do very thoughtful marketing activities, but then very structured, consistent, outbound to compliment one another. It is difficult to have one without the other because you send your salespeople out there in the battle and they have no arrows in the quiver, they’re not going to get very far. They’re going to lose a lot of oomph.

Liston Witherill:
So a recurring theme on this podcast is always selling services versus selling products. Now, I guess you could say payroll is both a product and a service, but certainly there was a product element and what you’re doing now is mainly selling a service with SEG. What differences do you see in terms of how you talk about and sell your services now versus when you had product?

Tony Lenhart:
Storytelling. The shortest answer I would say is storytelling. Being able to share very relevant examples because the story is what’s going to paint the picture in the mind, right? So I can talk very big picture and also get very into the weeds because consulting work and professional service work can get kind of squishy if it’s not mapped out. So learning how to tell a good story, have those client examples, even specifically you mentioned, you’ve talked with [inaudible 00:24:37] in the past and the transparency sale. I think after reading his book, I’ve wove a lot of that into my storytelling, right? Almost leading with, well, here’s when it doesn’t work, right? That’s because sometimes [inaudible 00:24:48] they’re looking for, but beyond that and those situations is have, it’s like us still share the potholes and then paint the vision of, here’s what they wanted and here’s what was actually the culmination.

Tony Lenhart:
So to answer your question, Liston, it’s really to learn how to tell a story when you’re selling services, as opposed to a product that you can put in front of them, show them pictures, have some more data behind that.

Liston Witherill:
Right. And it’s much more known, as you say, tangible. It’s more of a known entity, a product is, usually. Okay. So SEG, I noticed in your video… By the way, it looks like you guys got a new website in the last month or two, is that right?

Tony Lenhart:
We did.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. So eating your own dog food here, I noticed that there’s one of the testimonials in kind of the promo video you guys have, your sort of about SEG video, that talks about doing branding for one of your clients and how they felt they became now seen as a market leader as a result of branding and some of the marketing assistance. Is that something that you guys have done from the start or have you seen an increasing importance of marketing and sales working together over time?

Tony Lenhart:
We did not do that when we first started. SEG is short for Sales Empowerment Group. So we usually left marketing in the hands of somebody either in-house or with another agency. But when we go in and start building strategy around just messaging and what you’re taking to market, it’s very quick to see the blind spots, right? Because going back to our outsource sales model, those BDRs or SDRs, I mean they are literally your tip of the spear. I mean, they’re taking the marketing words right from the people and talking to those end users. So they’re going to know right away what’s resonating and what’s not. We’ve kind of been cornered into having to work with people and leaning in more of these marketing teams to crystallize that because a lot of people haven’t put a lot of thoughtful time into building it out.

Tony Lenhart:
When salespeople are going out there trying to just wing it and they don’t have that consistency, it leads to false expectations, not only for the team, but for the end user.

Liston Witherill:
Also expectations in terms of the sales person over-promising?

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah. That’s a classic one, right? The sales [inaudible 00:26:52], oh yeah, we can do that. We can do that. We can do that. But also if marketing and their brand doesn’t have a pulse on the true why behind the reason somebody would use them and what they’re all about, there can be a misalignment during the implementation phase and going forward with the product.

Liston Witherill:
In terms of driving motivations and values between the companies and…

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah. The salesperson might say, “Hey, these are the top three reasons why people use us.” When that’s really not it, right? And then the client comes in and gets transferred to that service or implementation team and it’s like, wait a minute, I thought this was going to be something a little bit different. And going back to the difference between service and product, that does happen a lot on the service side. Most are on the product, [inaudible 00:27:32] straight forward.

Liston Witherill:
Right. Well, and it’s tough with services because I always say the classic consulting sale is the client brings up anything. They say, “Can you do that?” And the consultant is like, “Oh yeah, of course. We do that.” And then all of a sudden, you just opened a brand new business that you’ve never run before.

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah. That’s how we spun up our outsource sales division. If you [inaudible 00:27:55] six years ago, most of our business would be like… Yeah, no.

Liston Witherill:
Careful without advice. So we’re telling everyone, just say yes to everything. That’s the takeaway from this episode.

Tony Lenhart:
Right. And then go back and figure it out. But being a fellow sales guy, and I’ve heard other salespeople say it, it’s like, what do we love about this? And for me, it’s always been about being able to create something where there was once nothing, right? And that just brings a smile to my face, to be able to be part of that creation process and building things with people. So I think as salespeople, we kind of get excited about that possibility and be like, yeah, let’s build it. Let’s go. It can lead to some troubles, but it can also lead to some amazing things.

Liston Witherill:
So final question for you, you’ve obviously had an eye on, maybe not focused on, but at least you’ve put in a lot of work over many years in developing your personal brand. So you’re the Sales Drummer, you have a private newsletter, which I was giving you crap about because I couldn’t find it before the podcast. So I’ll urge you one more time to do that. What sort of advice do you have? Let’s think about the frontline sales person, maybe even someone who works for you guys at SEG, they’re starting out as an SDR or a BDR, or maybe they’re an account executive, how important is personal brand for them and what are some steps they should be taking if they should start building a personal brand?

Tony Lenhart:
The first thing that comes to mind for me is I’m going out and I’m working with salespeople individually. I talk a lot about first impressions, and first impression to me isn’t just when you meet that person face to face for the first time, I think it’s spread out. It’s what do you do before the meeting, what do you do during the meeting, and then what are you doing after the meeting? Those three touchpoints are kind of the arc of a first impression. To me, the personal branding side is that people are researching and finding me or I’m sharing something beforehand. I’m trying to show it to that person that I am somebody who has my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in all things sales and marketing. I’m trying to show in a lot of different ways, whether it’s through my newsletter or through LinkedIn or through blog posts I’ve written on my site that I have an awareness and I’m being very thoughtful about my craft, about my trade, right?

Tony Lenhart:
Again, going back to Brian Tracy, I mean, it’s the reason we read a lot of books and continue to sharpen the saw, so to speak. He would say, what if you went to a doctor and they didn’t have the latest medical books and they just say, “Yeah, I graduated 30 years ago. I’ve just been winging it ever since.” So if you truly are going to go out and be a quote, unquote, sales professional, I don’t think there’s anything better that you can do than to be very cognizant of, not necessarily just the work you’re putting into it, but what are you putting out into the world that is sharing your voice in a true, authentic way that is going to attract your tribe, right? It goes back a little bit to the Simon Sinek talk and the power of why, but I want people to know that because I’m trying to attract the people that I like to work with.

Tony Lenhart:
I’ve worked with enough jerks to know what I look for in a good client and what a bad client looks like. So personal branding for me has helped me attract the audience that I know I’m going to work well with. And not everybody has that luxury. I mean, I’ve been in sales now going on 20 years. So I’ve had to earn that and figure it out for myself. But that’s what I think there is, is power in that professional brand of attracting the right audience and then showing on the front end, during, and after my first impression with them that I’m going to continue to be there and be a voice for them with my type of work.

Liston Witherill:
Awesome. And you talked about how you’ve been doing this for 20 years and you mentioned Brian Tracy. I often get impatient with my own marketing and brand development. And then I look at some people and I’m like, why is that guy getting all the attention? And of course human brain, right? We go straight to, this person who was a quote, unquote, overnight success, but you’ve only heard of them for a year or two, and now they’re huge. And that is the very, very small exception, but most people I look at, I go, oh yeah, 20 years helps. Do one thing every week for 20 years and you’d be amazed at what the results are. I love that advice.

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah. It’s the steady drip, right? I mean, you talked about Seth Goden a little bit too. I mean, the man is the master of creative brevity. He’s been writing for a long time. He knows what he’s doing, but he talks about that steady drip, showing up. And in sales, it’s the phrase I’ve always used of polite persistence, and you can layer persistence over every aspect of being a true sales professional.

Liston Witherill:
Once again, sellers have to become marketers to some degree. And I have a whole series on that topic so if you scroll back in your feed, you can listen to it. Just look for #sellersbecomemarketers. Tony, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate. Surely, some people want to know how to follow up with you, learn more about you or SEG. What should they do?

Tony Lenhart:
Yeah, absolutely. You can find me on LinkedIn, Tony Lenhart, L-E-N-H-A-R-T. First thing I will do after we hang up here, Liston, is set up my online sign up for Sales Drummer newsletter, which is your monthly mix of sales advice and the latest in my musical musings, and maybe a drum solo or something. But that’s how you can find me, LinkedIn and our website, salesempowermentgroup.com.

Liston Witherill:
Awesome. And that’s all linked in the show notes, if you want to grab those links. Tony, thanks so much for being here.

Tony Lenhart:
Awesome. Liston, it’s been a pleasure, man. Thank you.

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