Ep. 289 INTERVIEW – Meridith Elliot Powell
Author of the book “Thrive: Strategies to Turn Uncertainty into Competitive Advantage”. She will help you see how uncertainty generates opportunity. Meridith has been named one of the top 15 business growth experts to watch, top 41 motivational sales speakers, and top sales expert by LinkedIn.
Get ready for an unfair advantage over your competition. This is The Sales Edge podcast. Where globally recognized sales expert and trainer Joe Pici helps you sharpen your skills for booking more appointments and closing more deals. And now here’s your host Joe Pici.
Joe Pici (JP):
This, that special feature. We do once in a while called sales shop. Talk. I always promised to bring an expert. Well, we brought
In the experts expert today, I’ll get to her in the second but welcome to the sales edged podcast number 289. I am your host Joe Pici and we especially want to thank our sponsors, which is Pici and Pici ink, which is a speaking coaching training consulting firm, which right now is helping our clients. Recapture lost Revenue, get in front or Target market, and clothes for higher revenues and sell more virtually.com. That’s our membership platform, where every Thursday night. I’m out there. Live your Zeke or sisters, downloads tremendous information. Most of all we want to thank you our audience. You’ve helped us expand over 100 countries, many downloads and we’re excited. But today, gosh, I was thinking back. It’s been about 15, 16 17 years since we first met, let me read Meredith Elliot Powell. She was named in the top 15 business growth expert.
To watch top 41, motivational sales speakers topsails expert by lengthen Meredith is an award-winning author who is passionate about helping our clients. Learn the strategies. They need to turn uncertainty into a competitive Advantage. Hey, welcome Meridith.
Meridith Elliot Powell (MP):
This has been a long time really great to be reunited
You know, and neither one of us has aged. Well, tell the Audience, what you do and who you do it for ya.
So I am a keynote speaker. I’m a strategist. And as you said, an award-winning author and I help CEOs and sales teams who really want to take their business to the next level. So typically I work with successful organizations who know there is something bigger and better out there and they want to capitalize on every shift in the marketplace.
Well a word that Popped out was uncertainty. Yeah, and you and I both know that when there’s in certainty or when there’s a downturn in the market, there’s tremendous opportunity. So I have a couple questions about that. The first question you talked about was thriving and uncertainty. I’d like you to speak into why an uncertain Marketplace produces so much opportunity.
Yeah. See I do. I agree with you. 100% a nun. Answered Marketplace is the best Marketplace for sales professionals. And the number one reason is because customers really need you. What they’re trying to do is figure out how to navigate the shifts and the level of change that is coming at them. That is what we do. As salespeople, we go in, we listen to the problems that our customers are having and then we find the solutions. They need to be more successful, you do every other time, every other economy.
Really feel to some degree were order. Takers, what allowing the customer? To tell us what they need, but an uncertain times. This is when you need to show up with resources and ideas of how to guide them. I believe we’re essential right now. Yeah, I do. I have another question for you. Throwing smoke here for us. How do you sell more effectively in this type of Market? You gotta listen, I’m couple of things. Number one, is you really, really need to listen. I tie this to being relevant in today’s Marketplace. See what you sold before cuz it hit what you sold in 2021, won’t necessarily be what you sellin 2022 or 2023. It may be the same product, but it’s not solving the same problem. And so
You want to sell more effectively. You have to understand what the problem is. I’m going to tell you a really quick story. Yeah, when I, when I was researching, how to thrive in an uncertain Marketplace. I was researching Procter & Gamble known as P&G. What a lot of people don’t know about PNG, is they referred in the early 1800s? By two men who married sisters Procter & Gamble. First product. They went to put on the market with soap and talk about a commodity, right? Well, Procter & Gamble believe you. Couldn’t sell a product until you understood the problem that it’s all right, right. So they went out and they asked customers before they ever put soap on the market. What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? And what customers spend them was? We like soap were willing to buy soap, but there’s a problem with soap when you use it. You’ll either it out and the simple pop out of your hands. It will fall to the bottom of the bathtub. You can’t find it. We would like a soap that floats Procter & Gamble identified. That is the
Shot are into a bar of soap and Ivory soap was born by the end of the eighth, by the end of the 1800s. They were a million-dollar company. See their competitors were selling soaps. That smell. Good soaps. The came in different colors, different sizes. Their competitors were solving the wrong problem. So if you want to be more effective, you need to understand the problem and solve that problem.
You know, it’s funny because at, that’s what we do. I mean, we really solve problems. We, I think people that are transactional in nature. They don’t people that are consultative. They’re going to listen and they’re going to always find an answer to the question. So, my third question in that same vein. Hey, how does feeling different in today’s Marketplace?
You know, I think that selling actually has changed a lot in today’s Marketplace. They had the number one.
Way this changes, you have to realize that selling starts without you. The research says that the customer is 85 percent of the way through the buying cycle before they ever interact with a salesperson. Okay, would you say it’s because his research they can do? I think it’s because they can Google. So we’re frustrated from a selling standpoint because we’re entering the game at Halftime. See you have to realize that you’re selling every time you post on LinkedIn. All right, you’re selling effectively. If you’re not posting on Lincoln, if when I go out to look for information, I’m not finding you. I’m not hearing about you. Then, by the time you go to knock on my door, you’re behind in a sales cycle. Boy, lined in the sales cycle. I think another big place that sells his really change is that it’s you know, that Garner. I think released a statistic that said, we’ve gone from
For decision-makers on average being involved in a sail, through up to 11. So seals are bought more complex. There are a lot more complicated and if you’re going to have 11 people involved in the decision-making process, you better have a strategy and you better have a plan about how you’re going to get everybody engaged and involved and how you’re going to sell everybody. And the last is I’m a passionate believer that the sale happens in the follow-up. And it’s not enough just to knock. Knock on the door, every two weeks and say, are you ready to buy? You better have a value-added sales, follow-up strategy in place. So those are the three of the biggies for me.
I want you to hold off on follow-up because that’s what bark that’s our second interview with. No, that’s okay. It’s what you know, 92% of people don’t follow up. So that’s going to be a great, a Great Piece. But here’s I like to give people a chance to get to know you better. Okay, you gave some meat here. So now its Time. Let’s talk about Meridith. How did you get into this? You know, I mean you Know how Dawn and I got into this field. But how did you all of a sudden become this massive sales strategist that’s known around the world.
Yeah, you know, it’s funny. I I came to sales only like a lot of people do Kicking and Screaming. The last thing I wanted to do was grow up and be somebody in sales. In fact, I was raised very much in the sense that my mother really taught me to network, but she taught me not to bother people. People and I Associated selling with bothering people, but as luck would have it for me, good or bad. My, my first husband was quite ill and couldn’t support has eventually passed away and I found myself in a position to have to carry the family. Yeah, I needed to earn money and I’m old enough. I’m 59 years old that when I was coming out that there weren’t a lot of options for women.
Right, you are big salaries. I needed flexibility in the schedule because I needed to take my husband back and forth to the doctor and and sales was the answer for me. But do I got to tell you? The very first time I was asked to sell something. I got sick, I threw up at my stomach. I just thought I can’t do this and but eventually I figured out my own methodology because I think a lot of sales training was so strong in the 80s and the 90s and And and I fell in love with it. I think I think sales is the most noble profession and if you want to work the rest of your life and own your own career, if you can sell you’re golden.
You know, you said the 80s and 90s the sales training abbreviated. Well, I can tell you that it hasn’t gotten better. You know, you cut your teeth in sales, we cut our sales teeth in.
Training and coaching, but what’s happened is so many people will utilize somebody else’s methodology who haven’t sold and they put it on it. And one thing about salespeople. Here’s what I know about you. If I’m a phony, you can spot it. I know bout me. If I mean your audience in your phony, I can spot it. I’ll hire my have, followed you since I met you. I’ve watched your, I’ve watched, you grow your brand. I’ve watched you develop big stage, presence and credible the stuff, you’ve written. All right. So what was the hardest thing for you to master? Okay, when you first entered sales, what were two or three things in the way of skills, that you knew you needed to master, and it took some time to do it, but it was key.
Yeah, I would say, you know, probably the best way to explain that to you. I was over.
Lounge by the entire sales process. I wasn’t sure how to get in the door. I could hold a conversation. I was good at that. But how did I transition it to business? How did I, you know, asked people to give me money for, you know, for for something I struggled with all of that. And I love, I love what you said about the fact that so many people are out there using a methodology from somebody who’s never sold. They work for a training company and they work for this training. Anywhere. Somebody else sold the deal. So then been on the street in a million years. Exactly. It’s exactly what happened to me. I was working for a financial institution. We you to hire the guru’s of all gurus the community to solve a cell and it wasn’t working. It wasn’t working. It wasn’t working and one afternoon. I was sitting with our Killers going through another class with these two roots and the tellers walked out of there and said, we’re not doing it. We’re not selling and I followed them downstairs to the lobby and I’ll
Forget this I set there. Looking at them, while at the time their entire teller line was covered with his little feet from the March of Dimes where you ask people for a dollar. And I thought, why will they ask people for a dollar for the March of Dimes but they won’t talk to them about something that is so important, like their money and it hit me. I thought all the sales training they’re getting is about the bank. It’s about how to grow our goals. It’s about how to how to start conversations. To sell our products. They’re asking people for a dollar for a little feet because they believe they’re helping people and helping babies. And that was the switch for me. Once I realized sales was not about me. It was not about my goals. It was not about what I wanted to sell. If I just focus, it sounds so cliche, but I just really focused on listening to people and figuring out Alpha. This was would be the easiest thing. I would ever do. Not only that, it would be something I would love doing.
Yeah, I and that’s when Dawn and I start developing our whole process skills. We looked at the things that sales trainers didn’t want to train or didn’t have the patience to take the time. One was the live out Bell Telephone called training. That is it is stay is our uniqueness, but the other one is developing the messaging that as you said is client-centric. Not self Centric. So how long did it take you to learn your bones? So speaking of went how long did it take you? Once you stop throwing up to go. I got this now. I’m going to get better but I got this now I can feed my family. I know what I’m doing.
Yeah. Well, you know, I’d probably struggled a good kitty years. And for every reason that you said is I was trying so hard to use all this training. I’ve been taught about up selling. Cross selling blood, let not the moment. That light bulb went off. I got, I just went home and I wrote my own methodology and I share with anybody else because I thought, you know, I’m just going to sit down and see if this works and, and it took off. I mean, it was your that would have been about 1997 for dating myself, but once that happened. So I’ve sold for myself for a long time and then people started asking me and that I put it. Into a methodology and I started hearing it but I loved it. People that I threw up because literally if I could learn to do this anybody can learn to do this.
Yeah. I mean the first time I ever got a phone in my hand, I made 56 calls and got 56 knows. I said the dawn, there’s two things wrong with this. I don’t know what to say. And I’m calling the right Kurt and even though that’s a hundred years ago when I think back it all comes down. On to lead generation and around Siege, you know, and so it’s so important now. So, here’s the thing. What do you see out there right now? You and I are in every size company there. I mean, in any given month. I might be in eight. Ten different markets. What are you saying? That is most troubling inside a companies? And I’m not just talking about sales because you’re more than just sales training.
A strategist. You’re doing a lot of things with the leadership too.
Yeah, I would say it’s a couple of things. Number one is, they’re not aligning marketing and sales. Like they need to be aligned, you know, we’ve talked about that forever, but I want to go back to that statistic of that. Buyers are 85 percent of the way through the buying cycle. If people haven’t heard of you and about you, they’re not going to do business with you. So, marketing is the first step in in, in Sales today. The second thing that I find so frustrating is that sales teams are still using the exact same sales training that they’ve been using for years. They’re not, they’re not upgrading. They’re not going back and refreshing, they’re not asking themselves. I just talked to a client this morning that I’m going to get in go to do a couple training for and they had their best year on record. But this, the last two quarters have been really that and he doesn’t know why.
And I said to him, I said, yeah, you that’s the you need to do is we’re living in a time when more is changing outside of your business, then inside it. So, you may be doing all the same strategies, you’ve done that worked forever. But through no fault of your own. They don’t work anymore. Because customers are changing competition is changing, you know, the, you know, the supply chain in place. Enemy. Everything is changing. So what only makes sense that your strategies get out of date and so, So they’re not analyzing their own success and their own failure enough to really make those changes. The last I’m going to say is she brought enough about leadership? If you have weak leadership in there. Yeah, John care. How good you? And I are we know, we cannot out train, a bad leader. And so you, there isn’t enough fat in the margin anymore to has weak sales leadership in there.
Yeah, and and I’ll tell you one of the Biggest challenges I see out there right now is people are so fearful of holding on to their employees that they dropped accountability and you and I both know you cannot have a sales team. You cannot have personal sales efficiency without accountability.
Right, I think not having accountability is unfair to the salesperson, right? Number one is, you know, if I’m not Achieving, I don’t feel good about myself. And if you’re not holding me accountable, you don’t know if it’s a skill issue or a discipline issue. What if it’s a discipline issue? I need to be off the team. This is skills. Do you need to come in and work with me? But if you’re not holding people accountable to not allow people to be successful. It’s just, it’s just wrong.
Well. All right, listen now murders. We’re going to move you over to sell more vertally. But before we do, I know our audience Going to want to, I know you’re getting ready to launch a brand new book or you have and you need to sell this book, these, our audience, our readers. So, please promote your books and and and promote you.
Yeah. Well, thank you. I’m super excited about Ashley to of my books, one Thrive turning uncertainty and to competitive Advantage is the nine step further, than formula. For success, in an uncertain market, place is just a sales book for 2021. And I Have have behind that I have coming. Three days to sales success. So that is the step-by-step guide it. Exactly my methodology of what it takes to be successful. In today’s Marketplace and we offer that together in a combination. You can find those at my website, which is value speaker, not calm, or just reach out to me on LinkedIn. Tends to be the social media platform. That I spend the most time on, but big believer. If you build your network, it will change your life. So if you connect with me, Connect with you.
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