It’s nonstop “Business as we knew it has changed” Today we take that reality head on with Lynn Whitbeck as we discuss Sales and Business Pivots for Growth. You can listen to the audio here or on your favorite podcast service under Bowties and Business, watch on YouTube, and as always please subscribe to the channel.
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Sales and Business Pivots for Future Growth Transcript
Lynn Whitbeck 0:07
Having the training spread out, literally every week for a 12 week program, the retention is so much higher. And the long term sustainable benefits are so much more significant and they don’t impact the ongoing operations of the business. They’re literally like a lunch and learn that people they have to eat lunch anyway or it’s a breakfast and learn they have to come in and have their coffee and you know, their Nash or whatever or if they’re doing it virtually, which they are. It’s it, we’re still coming together, but we’re coming together as a group and we’re coming together virtually it’s very interactive.
Tim Kubiak 0:51
Hi, thanks for listening to Bowties and business. I’m your host, Tim Kubiak is always you can find us on our socials at bow ties in business on Facebook and Instagram, bow ties and bi z on Twitter. You can find me at Tim Kubiak at both of those places as well as LinkedIn and Kubiak calm and if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the new bow ties in business.com website. All your favorite episodes are there. And of course, you can find us on your favorite podcast service. Please subscribe, leave us a review, tell your friends. Today we’re gonna be talking about things you can do to pivot your business, not just with an eye on survival, but on growing and accelerating. As we go into what is a new business world, things will never go back to the way they were. And that’s one of the themes of the topic. today. Our guest is Lin wit back. She’s the founder and CEO of patina Queen, she helps women with virtual mentoring and leadership programs. She gives them tools to achieve more and faster and this is built on her successes and experiences and executive leadership roles. She also runs a hugely successful sales training business. She works with small businesses and small business owners. She shares the lessons learned along her journey to supercharge her clients careers. She teaches women to tap into their inner Tigers transform habits unleash self assurance and emerge later. She’s the co author of a highly regarded book practical wisdoms at work. It’s a quick read guide. It provides insights to navigate situations, challenges and opportunities that arise in everyday business, and teaches you how to broaden your career with skills that will set you apart. You may have seen her in USA Today. The Huffington Post Chicago Tribune and a number of other posts this wonderful podcast that is a great resource she’s going to talk about on the show claim your career crowd. And she’s launching a new podcast herself dedicated to sales training and b2b selling. So definitely worth checking out. And with that, we’ll get down to the episode. Happy selling everybody. Lynn, thanks for being here today, just so our listeners can get to know you a little bit. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your company and also your podcast?
Lynn Whitbeck 3:05
You bet. Tim I it’s such a pleasure to be here. And I’m really excited to do the show. I’m Lynn whitbeck. I’m the founder and CEO of petite to Queen and future forward sales. We help the world by providing sales and leadership training to achieve more faster. And we do that with one on one training they are. It’s actually one of the many because it’s b2b training for small businesses. And we take you through an entire process which is great. We see incredible results. And it’s the most important thing, sustainable results. So as companies, especially right now are coping with shifting ground, it’s really important. And we have two different podcasts we have claim your career crown. And we have a new podcast that we’re just starting called future forward sales. That of course is exclusive to all things sales.
Tim Kubiak 4:03
And your other podcast you were telling me a little bit about before you have a nice balance. I listened to your Episode The day before food fears everyone knows I lived on the road for a year. So I’ve lost the Food Battle more times than I’ve wanted. Right? But you have a mix right of career, a little bit of sales a little bit of life. How do you How did you come to that place?
Lynn Whitbeck 4:23
Oh, claim your career crown rotates the every, every other three episodes. First off sales. Because I believe everyone everyone should have sales training, because sales is leadership. And if you want to boost in your career, no matter what you’re doing, sales training is going to help you because you learn how to negotiate how to how to ask for things, how to mitigate conflict, all the things that are important to climb that career ladder. And so then and then of course so the other series so sales work, you know all about your career. And of course, you know, at the end of your when you’re on your deathbed, and you’re laying there, you’re not going to remember, Oh, I should have gotten that other project done. Or if only I had, you know, done this, now you’re thinking about family and friends. So life. So to make you a full, rounded person, you need all those things. And so that’s why we do the three segments on life, work, career, and sales leadership.
Tim Kubiak 5:28
And one, one of the things you excel in is helping women build their careers. Is that an accurate statement?
Lynn Whitbeck 5:35
Yeah, so everything that we’ve done on the tea to Queen with the site, we have so many free resources, there’s articles, webinars, of course, the podcast, we have actual resources and guides that are all designed to help you expand and grow your career. And yeah, we focus on the the she her pronouns, but the content is the same. I mean, it works for everyone. And we have plenty of the he’s, and he’s in him to partake of the content as well.
Tim Kubiak 6:07
Yeah, you know, we weren’t going to talk about this, but your pronouns have become a big thing. I added them to my signature back in the spring, right? And is that something you’re seeing become more common in corporate culture?
Lynn Whitbeck 6:21
Well, you know, you always have to make a decision on how you want to market, you know, and position yourself in the market. So you have to choose a set of pronouns to use. Unfortunately, with the English language, we really don’t have anything that’s gender free. I mean, it’s can be really challenging to have gender free. So we chose to use the, you know, the feminine pronouns are he or she, you know, her? And because it’s, you know, you just sort of make that decision. What I find with a lot of businesses is that you rotate, you know, you it’s, it’s literally he and then her, he her him, yeah, yeah, she, right. I mean, you’re just going to shoot, you know, and you’re rotating it. So it’s not one or the other. And I’m not really sure how, um, obviously, some people you know, can get their knickers in a twist over that.
Tim Kubiak 7:17
little bit of Brit coming in there.
Lynn Whitbeck 7:21
Yeah. But if you if if you focus on just really wanting to put out that, you know, that you’re inclusive, and that you embrace diversity, and you embrace everyone, wherever they’re coming from, um, that, you know, you can just, you can sort of transcend that.
Tim Kubiak 7:39
Yeah. And I think it’s important to put it out. Yeah, two people in my life pushing and pushing and pushing to make sure that by putting it out there, you create a safe space for others. Right. So that that’s certainly what I’m not insightful. I have people that are way brighter than me that now we think. We’re talking about pivots and sales today. Right? Okay. Yeah, so great. Got a new podcast. So for anybody looking for the links there in the show notes right after the opening description paragraph, so you can find Lynn and her shows and her sites really easily. One of the things I want to know is, you work a lot in sales strategy, what are you seeing change with COVID?
Lynn Whitbeck 8:22
Wow, my goodness.
What I you know, the first most obvious is there’s no longer any in person meetings, I ran my entire corporate career. I mean, I was flying all over the country, in some cases all over the world, closing multimillion dollar deals in person. And, you know, that’s gone away to a significant extent. Another big thing that sometimes people don’t focus on is the disruption to our supply change. So for a lot of businesses, they’ve had to scramble to replace and to be able to complete and manufacture their products. And the most important thing, of course, is that the customer needs have changed, you know, so all of these market shifts on demand modification, you know, we have to rethink, you know, our value propositions, and really take a new lens and and refocus it on the client. Why? So that’s really what you need to start with.
Tim Kubiak 9:24
So it’s interesting. This will come out in about a month from when we’re talking but today is ADP. jobless claims numbers are coming out this morning. They actually probably came out about an hour ago. I haven’t seen him yet. Right? I’m literally doing a virtual board meeting today, hence the outfit, right? And like you I roam the world. So how do you see sales people transitioning some of what you did face to face is hard to do over zoom is great as it is.
Lynn Whitbeck 9:55
That’s true. Um, but I also want to record this isn’t entirely new. I mean, we have been living with virtual meetings for a long time now. And the other thing I want everyone to keep in mind is that change is constant. So if you haven’t done it for a while, or you’ve never done it, pick up Who Moved My Cheese, okay, it’s a great read, it’s super fast. And it really puts in perspective what’s happening right now, because this isn’t just a disruption, we’re talking about a transformation of our in how we do business. And this is going to have lasting and permanent change. And, you know, the most important thing is, are the golden key is to confront this fact that it’s time to reevaluate. And so one of the things you can sort of walk through is how can you accommodate the changes that are going on in your industry, with the customer preferences, or any other factor that impacts your bottom line, you really need to look at how you can alter the process to deliver your product or service. And, yeah, so And of course, people are still craving that interaction. So whether or not you’re there, in person, there are other things that you can do. So one of the things I do with my b2b clients, through our program is we have delivered to them packages for the different sessions. And it’s like opening a gift. I mean, they’re beautifully packaged, and they get to open this. And it’s, it’s still creating that additional layer of bonding, and of delivering value to them. And really, that’s what it’s about is those connections and holding on to those relationships, and to make sure that you’re putting out there, how much they mean to you, your clients and how you value them, and that you’re there to support them. So, you know, when you’re thinking about all of that, um, you know, that’s what’s really important.
Tim Kubiak 12:04
One of the things I ran into, for the first time just this morning, as people are starting to think about their sales, kickoffs, and virtual sales kickoffs, right. So it’s not just customer events, it’s actually internal trainings, team building, that sort of thing. And, you know, I’ve been working like you probably for the last five months in dealing with getting people to go virtual. And all of a sudden, I had a sales letter this morning, say, Well, what are we going to do for the sales kickoff? How are we going to deliver it? Is it going to be over three days instead of a day and a half? You know, and all of that, and you’re right, it has shifted. So I like stats, one of the stats I heard this morning was, there’s 180 $7 million dollars a day saved in commuting costs by Americans, since COVID. So by the way, the source was blown BB for anybody wants to double check me, they were recording, this is September 2.
Lynn Whitbeck 12:53
It has it there’s there’s always opportunity within these types of massive, disruptive changes. And we’re just living through it right now. And it’s about being resilient, and flexible and adapting.
Tim Kubiak 13:07
You brought up resilience. So one of the things you’ve done in your podcast is a 12 part series, and then you added a couple to it right. And if I’m not mistaken, flexibility and resilience, were some of the things you added you might talk a little more about.
Lynn Whitbeck 13:21
Yeah, it’s the Performance Series. And so what we do is we go through 12, core power skills that every sales leader needs. And essentially this each episode goes through a single skill, and what it is, and then how you can acquire it, how you can learn this skill, because every skill can be learned, even how to do really good zoom meetings can be learned. These are all skills that can be learned. Anyway, so this entire thing is that when you listen to an episode, you walk away with a tangible takeaway that you can apply right then and there that day, and then every day thereafter. And so every time you have those aha moments, it can change your what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and your perspective, which is the most important thing is to get out of like, oh, the sky is falling, this is happening to me. And to turn that around to looking at there are opportunities all over. And this is my chance to seize those and to capitalize on them.
Tim Kubiak 14:33
You talk about the opportunities, how can companies and business owners, even sales leaders start to really address their needs to pivot?
Lynn Whitbeck 14:44
Yeah, so as I said before, I view this as a massive disruption and it’s a permanent transformation. many aspects of how we do business are never going to go back to the way they were. And this was already process, it was already evolving, it just got, you know, put on, like the zero to 60 really fast. And so anytime when you’re looking to consider shifting to a net new strategy, the first thing is to go back and rethink your value proposition. And I already talked about refocusing your lens on your client, why? And what do I mean by that. So if you’re the client, you put yourself in their shoes, and you go through this exercise for your specific products or services or market segments. So because sometimes you may have a common product, but you sell it completely different to a different market segment. But you go through the exercise, you’re in the clients shoes, I am, I have a problem. It is I’m looking for, this will help me buy. So I can. Now once you answer all of those questions, for the client from that client’s perspective, and where they are right now, because their needs have changed, and what they’re looking for, and what their problems are, what they want need, or lack, all of that has shifted. So you’ve done that exercise, you go through that. Now you look at your product or service, and how do you answer that. So as you go through, I offer, this will help them by it benefits them by so they can write. And so when you go through that exercise, it helps you re structure your value proposition and look at how you can reposition your product and our services.
Tim Kubiak 16:43
I just thought of this as you were given that answer one of the things people used to do together information was go to trade shows go to users groups, right. And Mike, my backgrounds tech, as I say all the time. And you know, you you had a user’s group or a specific subset trade show pretty much every couple of weeks from February, through June. Have you seen I haven’t seen clients gathering that kind of information. It’s all kind of live fire drills, if you will, rather than actual proactively viewing it? Or have you seen anything different?
Lynn Whitbeck 17:18
Well, I definitely recommend talking to your customers. And there’s a number of ways that you can do that. So obviously one on one, and literally have take them to lunch, send them a doordash coupon so they can get their lunch, scheduled a meeting and talk about what’s going on and and how you know what’s happening and in their world and what, what’s changed, What’s the need, and go through that. Another option is to hold customer panels. And the same thing, you know, you invite them to a virtual customer panel. But everyone gets, you know, maybe in this case, it’s an Uber Eats coupon. What I’m saying is you bring your customers together in a panel, but once again, it’s still virtually and instead of doordash. Maybe you send them the Uber Eats coupon but they order their lunch, they come in, they’re there for lunch and learn and you’re talking about what’s going on, and that you offer them an opportunity to share some best practices, some of the challenges they’re facing, and an open forum, and that you’re providing this service so that they can exchange information. And so that’s another great way to gather this type of input this data. And it shows that you want to be a part of the solution, you want to be helping them. And that’s so important. The The other thing is to keep in constant contact and communicate what you are doing. So for I have a really great example in this case, which was a very small one single mom and pop business that does pet food and pet toys and all the pet things here locally. And, of course, they were non essential, they had to shut down. However, they were able to continue to do business by rapidly putting up a website so that people could order online, but what they did is they would have to tell them what they needed. And and then they would call them back and from the order that take their credit card information that pack their order. And then you would drive up and park in a designated area and they would walk out and deliver it to your car. So that they were actively communicating with the community and all their customers about what they were doing and how it was how it was how they were going to do it, how they were going to keep you safe, and how they were going to continue to serve your needs for the pet food and and also that they were a small business and they really needed their customers to remain loyal. That if this was their livelihood, and that if we could hang in there with them and be a part of the solution. How much they would appreciate it. And so they did two things there. You know, they asked for the their customers help. And then they provided a solution and how they could how they could do that. And, you know, it worked really well. I mean, I just typed in what I needed it on, on their little Google forum, it was literally a Google forum. And they would call me back and confirm the order. And I would, I trusted them as a small business, gave him my credit card number over the phone and then drove over parked, and it carried out to my car.
Tim Kubiak 20:34
Now, I’m really curious, are they continuing to do that, even as people are reopening or reopened?
Lynn Whitbeck 20:39
Yeah. So as they reopen, they went through a number of phases. So we have not completely reopened as of this time. So they have one say reopen, they had a different thing. So they had, you basically, they were either you could schedule an appointment as to when you can go into the store and shop and you basically had a concierge with you the entire time, you never touched any of the merchandise. So that was their first phase of opening, they only allowed two customers in their store at a time. And you were with some, you know, they called a concierge service, you are with your service, the you know, the, their sales reps are there. You know, and people shopping in the past. There, it’s perfect. So they would pick and gather all the merchandise, if you wanted to look at something that hold it up and show you, I mean, but you could buy whatever you needed to. And then they would take you over and check you out. And they still actually would carry it out to your car, or at least out to the door and then hand it to you. So that was one, that second phase, when they were when they reopened in that way, then they still continue to offer because they had created this alternate model of the curbside pickup. They’ve continued that curbside pickup To this day, because that became a real convenience. And they kept adding on and fix, you know, updating that website so that people could order and then order online actually place their order completely. But that they develop that over time, right, they couldn’t do it all overnight. And then of course, now you can enter the store. But when you do the same thing, if they limit the number of people, they they have only one door open, they have someone station there, you can’t enter until after you’ve used the hand sanitizer. Of course, if you’re not wearing a mask you’re not allowed to be in because we have a state mandate. Thank Gosh. And so all of those things, and then we are now allowed to touch the merchandise within the store and carry it up to the front. But I mean, I know that here in Washington State, and certainly on the western part of the state, people are really very cognizant of, you know, if I touch something, it pretty much goes in my cart, because I touched it. But you know, so they’ve, they have definitely adjusted and pivoted their business at each stage. But the key was that they were really nimble right out front, they communicated with their customer. And in turn, they asked for their customers help. You know, when you’ve built those relationships, those customers they want to help you. So if you ask them, they’re gonna tell you how you can help them.
Tim Kubiak 23:20
It sounds like you’ve done an amazing job of staying in touch and setting the expectation too.
Lynn Whitbeck 23:26
Yeah, absolutely. And saving their business.
Tim Kubiak 23:29
Yeah. Yeah. You know, we’re, we’re facing I live in the Midwest, I’m in St. Louis area, and I’m Metro east, the Illinois side of the river, Illinois, Southern Mississippi, announced today they’re closing down indoor dining again, right now, whether or not it should have ever been opened is a whole other debate. Right. But you know, and you have business owners that are going but we have to go back to takeout and delivery. And one of my favorite stories is there’s a local farm to table place, built this beautiful dining room and everything. And they only really serve dinner in even in season four nights a week. It was a prefix menu. That was it. They were the first business I saw it pivot. Really pivot, the minute shutdowns looked like they were coming. They changed it from dining at the farm, to they deliver to your doorstep, and reusable containers, right that they take back and wash and sanitize and everything and literally started delivering six days a week. So place you had to wait four or five months sometimes to get into, you can now get take away and they drop it off at your house for the same price as your dining experience. And I’m like, I’m never going back. It’s great.
Lynn Whitbeck 24:40
I know. I mean, the thing is, is to get out of your own way. You know, first of all, it things have changed. Okay, so then how can you and we had the same thing at a restaurant here very famous restaurant, like a five star restaurant, and with a large parking lot. And what they did is he said Namaste Not just gonna only do takeout or they opened up doing in the evenings doing drive in theater, with your meal delivered to your car door. And with this, so they converted their parking lot to a mini drive in people in the cars. And then of course, they had arranged to get films that they could show, you know that people would, you know, and you had to make reservations, you had a pre order your meal, and then you parked you had your parking spot, you know, and they had, you know, it was really cool. And then not only that, then he also did in the morning, doing to go breakfasts, ready to go so that people could drive do a drive thru so they could pick up their breakfast. And so they completely converted their business, so that they could manage during those first stages where they were completely shut down. And, you know, instead of just okay, well offer takeout, they just went a much bigger way.
Tim Kubiak 26:01
So, we’ve talked out a great amount about what we’ve seen people pivot, what do you see them to do to accelerate if things normalize?
Lynn Whitbeck 26:11
Well, you know, first of all, as I said, this is a transformation. And things are never going to be the way they were before. And, and some for good reason. Like, think of all that commuting time that you saved, that you already brought up. And so really, the question is, is how can you restructure, you know, permanently restructure your business. And in some ways, things that we’ve already talked about are here to stay such as curbside pickup, and offering that additional level of service, because that is a real convenience, that you use your staff to pick and pack the orders, Michaels did that also a big chain early on, so that their staff could pick and pack orders, and then they would deliver it to your car. So even though the stores were closed, they had staff inside picking the orders from the inventory in the stores, right? So the key is to definitely focus on those offerings that you have, and what’s worked, because you’ve pivoted either to a virtual setting, or an alternate way of providing your product or service. And the other thing to consider is, sometimes less is more. So you could go through and look at the different products or services that you offer. And the things that maybe you stopped doing, maybe you don’t need to go back to doing them anymore. You know, radical thought, you know, really evaluate where where are your, you know, that 8020 rule, what’s 80% of your profit. And usually that equates to about 20% of your effort, and you put it you’re putting in 80% of your effort on that 20% area of profit. And then certainly in sales, that’s totally true, that the sales that you’re doing for your really big accounts, that’s the business that you want to maintain and hold on to and to nurture, and to make sure that you’re meeting whatever their changing needs, and their changing y is, and you can let go of those that 80% of the work, but only 20% of your volume, and you’re gonna be just fine.
Tim Kubiak 28:20
Have you seen people change, not just product mix, but physical goods to services at all?
Lynn Whitbeck 28:27
Well, definitely, um, I’ve seen businesses pivot to providing their products virtually or their services. So for one client, they do on site therapy, and, of course, so many other businesses that could no longer go on site. And of course, the therapist would would go from business to business. I mean, in some cases, they would be there like all day, but you’re certainly going in and out. And that’s just not, you know, gonna work at this time, certainly a great way for community spread, right. So they switch to providing that therapy to a virtual model, because that need was still there. But there were things that they could do that were virtual, still in the for the businesses that they work with, it’s business to business, but for the team members to be able to have that therapy, but do it in a virtual setting. And that because also, the employees were often no longer on site, but they still needed that service. Right. In fact, they needed it more now than ever. Because, you know, you’re coping with so many different things, the stress of trying to work remotely full time, with potentially your kids at home trying to learn with a completely messed up online learning environment, which is all new, and all the bugs had to be worked out. So, you know, people had more stress than ever.
Tim Kubiak 29:57
Yeah, and as a former telecom person, The internet infrastructure in the final mile to people’s homes has really been tested. Right? If you don’t, if you don’t live in an area where you have fiber, your internet speeds are unpredictable. And that’s, I think, a long term something that infrastructure wise needs to be solved for people to keep working and learning the way they’re being asked to right now.
Lynn Whitbeck 30:21
Yeah, absolutely. I and and as I said, I, many businesses are, have seen that their employees are the team members can be off site, and they’re still getting the work done. I mean, they’re, and there’s a significant cost savings to not having everybody on site, you know, so they’re all I think, we’re gonna see a significant, that type of shift. But you’re right, I know that our I’ve, I’ve worked remotely for literally decades, because once I went into, you know, as an senior executive, I reported to a corporate office states away. And I worked out of my home, and I have a dedicated home office, yada, yada, but I can tell you, my service levels just just plummeted as more people were working remotely. And it was one of those things that I had to make a number of different adjustments internally to make sure that I could get the optimum speed.
Tim Kubiak 31:24
Yeah, yeah, that’s, yeah, I went down the path, then my options here, frankly, are not good five, or stops a couple of miles away, and I’m stuck with cable, which is better than DSL. You do a lot of sales training, you do a lot of sales coaching. Right? I’m one of the things my partner and I used to run is a day and a half, two day workshops, have you seen that change in your own business going to virtual and more, one to many type coaching?
Lynn Whitbeck 31:58
Now, so I’m not I don’t really do coaching, I do training and mentoring. Okay, and so and so just just clarify. And I’ve been doing this virtually for a really long time, now I have, I will also go and do it in person. But what we found is that having the training spread out, literally every week, for a 12 week program, the retention is so much higher. And the long term sustainable benefits are so much more significant. And they don’t impact the ongoing operations of the business. They’re literally like a lunch and learn that people, they have to eat lunch anyway, or it’s a breakfast and learn, they have to come in and have their coffee and you know, their Nash or whatever, or if they’re doing it virtually, which they are, it’s it, we’re still coming together. But we’re coming together as a group, and we’re coming together virtually, it’s very interactive. This is not something that’s you watch at your own time, your life, you’re there, you’re participating. And then we have exercises that the clients, you know, all the team members perform in between the sessions. And so, and all of that also is another way of reinforcing what they’re learning, and so that they can incorporate that into their day to day. And what we see is that immediately, once we’re into the program, just for a few weeks, people are already thinking differently, and they’re applying these and they start to see this uptick in their sales productivity. And and that’s what it’s all about. And at the end of the day, what we want to see is that significant increase in their sales, and that it’s sustainable, and they’re building better and stronger relationships.
Tim Kubiak 33:50
So when you see that, is it because they’re building better relationships where they’ve traditionally been calling? Or are they building different relationships that just happen to be more beneficial.
Lynn Whitbeck 34:01
So it’s a combination of two things. So one, normally, within any time you are doing business with a customer, you need to be, um, it can put you more in touch with what’s going on in their world, and to go back to actively nurturing that account and also looking for other business that you can do with that account. Certainly, when you’re working with big corporations, you can it’s literally it’s like division by division or silo by silo, plant to plant right now you have to sell these programs, and you get more and more traction as you’re producing that program for a specific division. And certainly if you get in at the corporate level with the program, you can accelerate that so you can actually expand your business within an account. So there’s that and of course you can also take that model and then extend it to a similar type of business and do it that way. So it’s a it’s a number of different things. So definitely, I always look at how can you improve the business that you currently have with your customers? And second, of course, an expanding the business there is expanding it to similar low hanging fruit markets. And then a market that you haven’t considered, because you really didn’t go through that customer, why exercise? And you haven’t answered that. And they’re actually crying out for this product or service. And it’s putting it out there and putting it in front of them.
Tim Kubiak 35:33
Nice. So you mentioned Who Moved My Cheese earlier? What are your other favorite or current reading books that are really making a difference in your thought process?
Lynn Whitbeck 35:46
Well, you know, it’s really funny, because the other day
I went back and was pre reading parts of selling to Vito, which is MP, Anthony paronella. Now, he wrote the book in 1994. And in so many ways, so many aspects of business have changed. But there’s certain things that are still really valid today, and that you can utilize. And so one of the things is he has this method that he uses of the, what he would call letter headline when you’re sending a letter out, and that he would create this, what I call a value statement, he called it a letter headline, I call it a value statement. But it’s that balanced equation of the service that that you’ve, you know, what was the thing that you provided, that’s that, what benefited them so they could write, so that they increase? Ah, I, I this mic, I’m gonna have to move it. So they increase their sales, but at the same time, that balanced equation that they didn’t lose anything, like they didn’t increase their cost acquisition to increase their sales. But that was sort of interesting, because I went back and I was looking at that. And I another one that I think is really if you’re, if you’re selling b2b, and its relationship sales, a really great book, which is a simple, simple read as Patrick lencioni. getting naked. Okay, I know the title sounds crazy. But it’s it is a business sales book. And it’s, it’s fabulous. I like all of his stuff. And I can recommend it wholeheartedly.
Tim Kubiak 37:27
You talk about selling
a Vito. It’s in the bookshelf, literally in the back onto the picture, right? Um, I wasn’t bright enough to buy it 94 I bought it nearly thousands, but still, um, what have you seen change on the buyer side of the equation as a sales professional?
Lynn Whitbeck 37:45
Oh, well, I mean, absolutely a lot of different things. You know, the thing is about those principles, there’s certain core things within that book. And the first thing is that you are at equal stature with whoever you’re selling to. And from a mindset perspective for sales, that’s really important. And certainly, you know, when the other things that you’re looking for, is, then how do you also report back. So because once again, selling high level corporate sales, sometimes I would sell the concept of the program at a corporate level, but then I had to sell it into each division. But I could report back to the corporate level, on the progress. I mean, that’s a core principle that was in his book that I adopted as part of my general process. And it’s to make sure that you’re keeping that high level, at least informed as to what’s going on. And then you can also reach out to them when you need help, because they brought you in, but then they delegated down. And so you’re actually doing implementation with another team, but you want to make sure you’re keeping that C suite are the high level executives involved in a tangential way, so that they have awareness of what’s going on. So that was a great aspect of that. I also definitely like the idea, still, of sending a package that doesn’t have any kind of branding on it. And I think that’s really important, especially when you’re building value with clients. That you’re you’re freely giving value. And it’s not about giving value. That’s got your brand stamped all over it. And so certainly when you start a relationship, one of the things that I do is once you go through like an opening question sequence and you learn about the other person, you know, you’ve demonstrated your worthy intent. You really care about the other person and who they are. And you’ve learned something, you can then provide them something as a thank you. And it can be like a book on. Let’s say you discovered that they love hiking in Yosemite. And so you could find something, you have to consider, certainly, if you’re selling at any kind of larger Corporation, they always have, you know, gift restrictions, very significant. So you want to always keep that in mind. But you might be able to find something that they might find really valuable, a brand new trail map that’s waterproof, that you pick up that Rei or something. Or you could discover that their love coffee, you know, we’re both coffee addicts. And so and you also through that conversation and discovered that they have Nespresso, so you could order them a special sleeve of coffee that you could send to them. And once again, if you send that in, so they just they get this package, they don’t necessarily know who it’s from, because there’s no branding all over it, and they open it up. And they find this beautifully wrapped, you know, package of Nespresso Kona coffee, and a thank you card from you, just thanking them for the getting to know them. And that because of the conversation that you had shared, this is something that is favorite of yours, and you wanted to share with them. And so you’re giving them value, and you’re not asking for anything in return. So, um, I like that idea that once again, that was in, you know, I’m selling to veto of, you know, that blind packaging.
Tim Kubiak 41:24
It’s interesting, because I’ve been doing this a while you you’ve been done it a few days to write. And one of the things that, you know, I watch nothing against internet marketers, I have friends in the internet business and do great, they’re good people don’t get me wrong. But everybody’s talking about, oh, you’re content giveaways. And you you have to add value on the internet. And I’m sort of like, you know, what you just said, Well done, you’ve always had to add value, it’s maybe the delivery mechanism is different. Right. And and certainly how people research and buys a little bit different. But you had, you’ve always had to add value. Otherwise, it’s transactional. And there’s no margin left in that.
Lynn Whitbeck 42:05
Yeah. Now you always have to. That’s the key of, you know, certainly within whether it’s b2b, or you’re building customer or brand loyalty on a b2c level, that value that you provide, you know, why do you think people will spend twice as much to buy a Mac computer? I mean, or three times why, because of the value that they get, as a Mac owner, I can say, I don’t even hesitate, I don’t even look at what is not a Mac, because I know that when I get that I’m going to have the kind of incredible support that I need for this machine. And that it’s it’s, it’s, it’s it pays for itself over and over again. And the support that I receive,
Tim Kubiak 42:54
you know, that’s a great point, because so often when you buy and I have a lot of above the line below the line conversations with people, right working with sales leaders, and so often, yeah, okay, procurement guy, or girl, you know, saved a nickel, but they’re going to pay 13 cents in support to say that nickel and the upfront purchase price. And that’s something so often sales professionals don’t factor into their conversation is what’s really the cost of ownership, what’s the cost of maintenance, what’s the cost to support? And in a b2b environment, if it’s, you know, if it’s a multi year, it’s a renewing license, and all of that, that has to come into the mix. Yeah,
Lynn Whitbeck 43:34
no, I mean, you always have to approach it from your total cost of ownership, because it’s the value that you’re providing. And there, there are significant costs. And even when you’re working with procurement, there are other people involved in that business decision, that are driving that decision. And so if you’re selling that on an operations level, you know, on day to day, they need that equipment up and running, they want to know what their uptime is, you know, they want to know how available parts are going to be if that equipment goes down. And these are critical factors for them to be able to do their business. And, you know, a good procurement department is going to be evaluating all of those risks, and they’re going to be looking at, you know, that, you know, the bottom line price for something isn’t the same as what they get for that product or service. And, you know, that’s, that’s really the proof is in the pudding, right of establishing and showing the value in the total cost of ownership. And once you get that first order of just creating that wow, in the client and delighting them, so that, you know, when you’re in that procurement sort of phase, they’re going like Well, yeah, this looks like it’s cheaper. But it really isn’t. I know better. Yeah.
Tim Kubiak 44:49
Yeah. It one of the things I always find myself trying to do is have the conversation with the person that owns the p&l right. Not the person that the line item. You need them They need to be on your side. But it’s the person, the ops person or whomever that’s running the manufacturing lines or is responsible for the customer experience or what have you, that owns that p&l and owns that customer facing piece, because though, they’ll see truly see the TCL in a way, somebody who’s bonused on saving a fraction of a percent, in basis points isn’t.
Lynn Whitbeck 45:23
Right. And of course, when a business has really run, well, they’re going to take into that value. And that the total cost of ownership to your point, the TCL, in their procurement activities, because if they don’t, what they’ve done is they’re actually they are, you know, you’re they’re not purchasing reliability, they’re not purchasing quality. And that’s going to impact their business and their customers. So you’re only as strong as the suppliers that you stand on top of.
Tim Kubiak 45:58
I agree, you have a great corporate background. And we’ve talked before and I know the industry, you were in what led you to go out on your own?
Lynn Whitbeck 46:09
Oh, well, I was really in a stage of transition, I had taken a position as a CEO at a startup, and it was starting to, it was you could like the writing was on the wall, it wasn’t going to make it. Yeah. And at the same time, I personally, my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And so that really, those two things together sort of looked at my world, and my work and what I needed to be doing. First off, was taking care of my husband, and seeing him through that dark journey. But at the same time, I had my daughter, our daughter was in high school, she was going to be a senior. And then I had a niece in graduate school and another niece in as an undergrad in college. And I was really sort of pulling this together and going, you know, what I really want to do, as I was just sick and tired of women constantly having to re learn what, what we have to do in business, because we’re trained, to be polite to be quiet, and to sit in the backseat. And then we have to unlearn those things to be successful in business, not to become men, but to just be become leaders. And so I just thought, why, why, you know, why does every generation of women have to do this, alright, there’s got to be a better way that we can help them to achieve this faster. And so, you know, that’s how I started have the vision of petite to Queen. And as we, you know, that business progressed, I mean, wrote a my book, and it was actually finished, before my husband passed, and I launched the business after he had had had had died. And, you know, as I it was great, because I had something I could pour my energy into, aside from taking care of him. So that was a really positive, but all the way through that I was maintaining my, my b2b relationships. And I would have I would have people come and say, Can you help us? You know, we need to have a strategic sales plan put together? Where do we start? And yeah, in our, you know, because someone had gone to a new business, and they’re going this doesn’t even have anything, it’s just a mess, you know, can you come in and help us build this. And so I was doing that work, and it was all word of mouth. And it was in my, that b2b world. And I did do some where the clients were, their offering was b2c. And so as I developed and we built the tea Queen, we continued that b2b work and I during this, you know, as we were going through this COVID, I was also looking at everything that we were doing, and I realized all of our business comes from the b2b work that we’re doing all of it and it was time for me to make a pivot and to focus my energy on what was generating that income and what truly I loved doing which was to I always love helping others that’s why I was a perfect fit for sales because that’s my core value is to be of service and it was just made complete sense that I put together you know, you know, pivot myself and focus on future forward sales. And you know, we’re gonna continue our work with the tea to Queen but it’s really taking that back seat, because when I can help a business I’m either pivot, train their sales people so they can be more effective and close more deals, earn put money in their hip pocket, but grow the business and allow that business To create more opportunities for their customers? Um, Wow, that’s pretty cool.
Tim Kubiak 50:07
In who typically do you engage with? Is it the business owner? Is it a sales leader? What’s it look like for you?
Lynn Whitbeck 50:13
It definitely depends on the size of the organization. So for small businesses, it’s, I mean, I know of course, you’re like sighs you know, so anywhere from, you know, the 10 to 200 employees or headcount, you’re, it’s you’re working directly with the business owner or owners in that scenario, and of course, even larger businesses from that 201 to 1000, or 2000, you can still be a single owner, excuse me, but at that time, you’ll often start to see some layers. And you could start with that, that the owner makes the ultimate decision. But depending on the size of the organization, it can be a vice president of sales, or somebody who’s doing that sales and marketing role within the organization. And often the the program is executed at that the owner, or partners may still make the decision, but it’s actually executed at the level of the sales manager and or VP of sales, etc.
Tim Kubiak 51:18
Nice. Do you ever see the CFO come into conversation as you’re putting your programs together?
Lynn Whitbeck 51:23
Um, occasionally, I’ve actually had the CFOs introduced me into the accounts because of my relationships. And, and they’ll just say, this is a really great way, this is something we need to do, because it’s going to help our bottom line.
Tim Kubiak 51:39
That’s a beautiful, beautiful endorsement.
Lynn Whitbeck 51:45
It is, it is but I’m not one to splash money around in the sense of I don’t want people to invest in all kinds of crazy stuff. I want us to hone in on the things that are that really make a difference. When you’re in a b2b world, it’s all about the relationships.
Tim Kubiak 52:03
b2b is an interesting place for new hires. I find myself working in parts of businesses I didn’t expect when I went out on my own. How about you? Have you found yourself in parts of sales organizations that you either didn’t know existed, or you just the type of thing you never thought you’d be doing to help people?
Lynn Whitbeck 52:20
Well, certainly, you know, you have different service solutions or service providers or products, and absolutely things that I truly wasn’t until I got the the referral, and I find out about their business. I always do my research, I look into what they’re doing, you know, sort of do an evaluation right at the beginning before I have a conversation. You know, do your homework. Yeah. And it absolutely things that I just like, Wow, I didn’t even know that. You know, this happened, you know?
Tim Kubiak 52:52
Yeah. So, Lynn, thank you so much for being here today. Sir. Anything I should ask you that I didn’t is always my favorite question, because I missed something.
Lynn Whitbeck 53:01
No, no, Tim, this has been such a great conversation. And absolutely, I just really relish this opportunity for us to talk about sales and pivoting. And, you know, really everyone, if you do one thing for yourself, and you’re you feel stuck on this, write yourself an affirmation. That’s going to be something that you can reframe how you’re thinking about the situation that you’re in, and say it to yourself out loud as soon as you get up every morning, because that’s going to make a big difference.
Tim Kubiak 53:33
That’s great advice. That’s really great advice. You got to have your own good press right. Yeah.