Episode #4 – Leading During a Pandemic with Michael Pedone

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Michael Pedone has been a commission-only sales professional for 25 plus years. He built his first company in 2002 and sold it in 2007 for 12. Million since then he created SalesBuzz to help companies get a higher ROI on their sales team. Welcome to Monster Chats presented by Monster VOIP – where we share the tools, methods and best practices that business leaders use to build new connections, strengthen relationships and impact sales in organizations of all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that come up during today’s episode, please text them to 424.378.6966

Please welcome the founder of Monster VoIP, your host Collin Mitchell.

Collin Mitchell: 

On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking with Michael Pedone of sales bus Michael and I will be talking about what sales teams and their leaders should be doing during the pandemic and how the messaging in sales it should change to adapt to the current situation I’m Collin Mitchell the host of Monster Chats and the founder of Monster VoIP, Michael Pedone has been a commission-only sales professional for twenty-five plus years he has built his first company in 2002 and sold it in two 2007 for 1.2 million then created sales bus to help companies get a higher R. O. I. on their sales reps. Michael welcome to monster chats.

Michael Pedone: 

I’m glad to be here.

Collin Mitchell: 

Yeah absolutely today we’re gonna talk about should sales reps slow down or double down during the pandemic? what leaders need to do differently to support their team during the pandemic? and what needs to change in their messaging? before we really jump in here Michael tell us your story tell us a little bit more about yourself and kind of you know how you got to where you’re at today.

Michael Pedone: 

That’s probably more time than what we have but so the bottom line is this is that you know I barely graduated high school I never went to college and you know I run it you know I I grew up poor I didn’t want to stay doing that way I knew it when I had a family I wanted to be you know I I want to make sure that theres food on the table nice neighborhoods the card can start in the morning you know things like that some of the basic necessities and so I was always self motivated to be better I always feel that you know no matter what what position you’re in life that you’re born with you know that you can always be better and I just always want to improve and learn from those who were more successful than I was at the things that I wanted to be successful in and I just got to work man, and then so and I got into sales and one of the things I love about sales is this is that there’s no there’s no there’s no ceiling right the better you are at sales the more money you can make and then you can live the lifestyle you can dream up I mean I literally remember when I… my wife now of twenty plus years no we were dating we used to drive through these nice neighborhoods with all the real fancy houses, what are we doing I would go to the open houses on Sundays, I promise you I’m going to buy your house like this one you know so it’s all about that visualization jet to have that internally I understand that today’s you know I think all the millenials of people at today they have their priorities in other areas no right or wrong right I noticed a lot of they want to be successful but they also want to be happy at the same time you know they don’t necessarily always need the fancy cars you know ten thousand or timepieces or whatever but they they have other priorities in rather save for a rainy day it’s totally cool but whatever it is you have to have the thing I like about a lot of the millenials I’ve into talk with lately is the fact that they do have goals they write them down and they might be different when I had you know as far as some of the the the lifestyles, but the important part is you have to have some goals right down you have to have some something it is ours it makes you happy that you have to strive for because if you don’t have that you got nothing, you should start with that internal drive.

Collin Mitchell: 

So yeah what I hear you saying is like you’ve got to have something that you’re chasing after right to get you to get up every day and and and put in that hard work

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah and for me I literally grow up and you know in a really bad part of the neighborhood I didn’t want that so that’s why that was I gravitated to you know back at the time you know back twenty years ago you see a thirty, fifty dollars house it was like a big mansion back then those were the kind of neighborhoods I was driving through you know so those are things that I wanted, you know, we got there you know we ended up getting it so it’s but it was all my hard work and desire of having those goals and the thing I love about sales is the better I got it saling and learning how to sell the more money I was making you know it all starts with wanting to help people right that’s your number one proority in sales, got a call to see if you can help somebody but the more people you can help get what they want the more you can get what you want the higher and the better you are doing that the higher your income level goes and now money doesn’t solve all problems but it definitely gives you more options.

Collin Mitchell: 

And it helps, yeah so tell me you know, with the current situation everybody’s pretty much you know working from home a lot of people are confused they don’t know what they should be doing what they shouldn’t be doing like is it time to slow down or the time to double down?

Michael Pedone: 

So it really depends what state you’re are in your life right I mean obviously if you’ve already got copper… maybe it’s time just to chill out a little bit right but if you’re not in that situation if your nest your your V. D. R. or your sales rep maybe you’re a small business owner right you got to ramp up and and here’s the thing I don’t just say that just to say it I’ve been through the dot com bubble not affect you guys remember that back and if you don’t then just google it right the dot com bubble back in two thousand two thousand two or so I started my first company in the middle that when everything was going out of business all right then you had 9/11 right and then you know you had in 2008 you have the housing crisis I mean so you have all these things that were going on but I’ve lived as a straight commission sales rep and I can tell you the only way to get out of this is that right your goals down and amp up the output you gotta you gotta get you gotta get after you’re gonna hear especially if you’re in sales or for a small business owner you’re gonna hear a lot more no’s because a lot of people that are not, they’re afraid that it might be battening down the hatches they might be going out of business you’re going to have to ramp up and get some more no’s faster so you can get to that yes.

Collin Mitchell: 

Yeah yeah I mean, remember early on in sales for me they told me you know you got to get a thick skin you know I think yeah could you get a lot of no’s and you know but the problem is like you can’t let the no’s deter you from your goal right.

Michael Pedone: 

It is so there’s a fine line here right because we’ve all been taught that in sales you’ll have to have a thick skin but the problem with most sales training and people that teach other people how to sell in the beginning of the first rear their teaching a bad, they don’t know it but they’re teaching them things that are going to cost them to get more no’s I saw their messaging is really screwed up right in the beginning so then sure I mean you can amp up the output but you also want to improve your technique because if you just amp up the output and you’re making bad mistakes you’re just going to get you know you just kind of improve that rejection even more right so we already know what says economy that you’re gonna hear no’s because a lot of the people are not buying right now or some of them are or the ones that we’re going to buy they’re holding off but that doesn’t mean there’s no people outhere that are not buying but you have to fix your messaging as well at first ten to fifteen seconds to capture their attention to get a conversation going if you do it wrong you can make a thousand calls and get a thousand dollars and you got thik skin you want but, burnouts gonna happen in that scenario.

Collin Mitchell: 

And I mean you’ve been doing sales a long time and I’m sure you’ve seen things that have changed a lot right I mean some of the basic fundamentals may be the same but I mean have you seen a lot of things change what used to work doesn’t work can you talk a little bit about that.

Michael Pedone: 

This is so funny I see all the time that the sales process still process never changes the very first thing that was ever sold on this planet the process is literally the same meaning you start with the problem they have to recognize a problem once they recognize a problem then they can go through the process of finding a solution the sales process if you’re cold calling the sales process is the same today as it was twenty years ago if you’re doing if you’re getting inbound leads which is a warm lead which is a real correct definition warm lead by the way where there’s an razor I only put that as an ashtray because I even saw yesterday like linkedIn says don’t make cold calls anymore use our LinkedIn navigator which I love by the way I use it myself but they say don’t make cold calls anymore research your prospect listen you can do all the research you want on a prospect that doesn’t warming up for them when you call them it’s still cold so right through inbound or warm leads is when the’re raising theyr hand, with that being said for them to cold lead or warml lead the sales process is exactly the same were people try to make it sound like that when they write their fancy books or their slide deck  like to fill out the forms they can actually understand the sales process change learn this new way they’re not being a hundred percent honest it’s easier now to get a hold of a prospect it’s easier to find information about the but the sales process you should to pick up the phone and call them it’s still the same from that from that aspect of it.

Collin Mitchell: 

Right, so what I’m saying is like the process is the same right but more like the tools that are available you know have changed.

Michael Pedone: 

Oh my god, absolutely that yeah.

Collin Mitchell: 

You know.

Michael Pedone: 

We agree.

Collin Mitchell: 

You know tools have changed you know you can get you know people’s emails in a matter of seconds when you didn’t use to you know you can use things like video or LinkedIn or you know email and the phone I’m still a big fan of the phone obviously, you know I see some people are using the phone less but it’s actually extremely powerful I’ve seen like right now during this time that the connection rates are actually higher like people are taking calls because they’re at home you know calls are getting forwarded to cell phones and things like that so like right now is a great time to be using the phone.

Michael Pedone: 

Well it’s also it’s a no crap moment too because a lot of all that low hanging fruit isn’t there so people are going like I got a call somebody to get business going right but here’s the thing you know the video and all that stuff there’s a lot of people at salespeople that self brand themselves I think it’s really ridiculous unless you’re an SME subject matter expert but for me, it’s important to do things like this and get my message out through video things I need to provide tents shelter setting the phone my job is to make sure they have a pipeline of leads to call not to be on social media and trying to generate business that way if that makes sense at all so there’s a fine line on who’s supposed to be doing what I still believe that marketing is supposed to like generate some stuff and the salespeople are supposed to know how to handle it.

Collin Mitchell: 

Right but there’s also more of like a convergence of sales and marketing these days don’t you see a lot of that.

Michael Pedone: 

It really depends on what is if you’re a small business and you’re the I called it SME a subject matter expert like you’ll see right blogs you’ll see me do podcast interviews all this other stuff but I also pick up the phone right but again I would want my sales reps doing a podcast interview or anything of that nature because they’re not the subject matter expert so when you, if you use it in that aspect it’s that’s why I say it’s a fine line it really depends there’s a lot of companies like outreach, for example, right one of the biggest companies are sales force they have their top people on their general list a whole team of sales reps are really supposed to be just following up on those leads and making those calls and you really need to make sure that those skills are perfected before you want them to start you know using social media try to generate their own leads because here’s the biggest problem a lot of times people think that they can generate leads not through the phone but through social media but when they actually get the interaction going they don’t know what to do they just think if they like me don’t bite me and that’s not the case if you get an interesting prospect just because they saw something in the interactivity on social media but you don’t know how to ask the right questions how to engage with them how to really find what the pain points are to get them to articulate what the problem is they might not even know what the problem is if you don’t know how to ask the right questions and then you just you know think that they’re gonna buy because they like you because they you know connected with you on some social outlet you’re going to miss a lot of deals so it really comes back to the fundamentals first.

Collin Mitchell: 

Yeah I mean I think that we may have a little different of opinion on then that’s okay but you know I think I’m at more of an advocate of self-branding right I think that you know if you know sales is more personal right I mean like there you got to know your sales foundation your process which is what you’re you know talking about but also you know people buy from people that day like versus that they don’t like as well now if you’re missing on the sales process and the discovery in finding the problem then absolutely you’re gonna miss sales your branding and your social media tactics aren’t enough alone to win you the business.

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah I mean yeah let’s see if you’re in sales you have to be like it is right no matter what but the problem is this you’re not the only person that selling which is doing a job first and branding yourself right so what is it like three different people whos gonna get the business they also sell the same product.

Collin Mitchell: 

Right.

Michael Pedone: 

You still have to know how to engage with those things and the biggest thing is this I just think that first let’s just get this out of a cold calling whether it’s cold calling or just phone sales, in general, is really hard.

Collin Mitchell: 

Oh yeah.

Michael Pedone: 

it’s really hard if you don’t know what you’re doing and I’m gonna say the majority of people don’t know what they’re doing so then able read a headline or go see a book see somebody promoting Hey don’t call do it this way and they buy it hook line and sinker not realizing that the person is making that recommendation couldn’t sell anyway and so now you’re going down a path that you’re going to find out six months didn’t work for you either even if you went that route.

Collin Mitchell: 

I mean social media is more just to get top of funnel right so to get people engaged right any of your sales process is not meeting the mark then.

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah right.

Collin Mitchell: 

So what’s.

Michael Pedone: 

That’s perfect yeah.

Collin Mitchell: 

I mean what what can leaders be doing differently right now to support their teams during the situation?

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah so so let’s give my soul with the current with the state of this craziness that ran with this coronavirus a lot of people working from home I think the number one thing that sales leaders have to do is to they have to celebrate their wins and what I mean by that is when business is normal and let’s face it the last couple of years business has been booming right their comm is been doing really crazy well and so there’s a lot of low hanging fruit and things of that nature and everybody’s having a good time but you were really expected to hit your quota and if you didn’t there was gonna be some uncomfortable conversations right so right now people might not be expected to hit the quota so you can’t treat them the same way with things that are going on you know and that aspect I think you got a flip the final on that aspect and celebrate their wins when somebody does get you know a deal to come in or if they do get calls or they do hit the court ring you know that’s we celebrate rather than looked upon as like if you didn’t hit it so I just really think celebrate this, who know anyway when this thing is all over some management we’ll stick to that style.

Collin Mitchell: 

But I hear you saying like be a little more forgiving of they don’t have quota right now because people don’t know how to manage the situation right nobody’s had to deal with anything like this before.

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah.

Collin Mitchell: 

Yes so we’re gonna take a quick second to tell you a little bit about what Monster VoIP does we help companies save thirty to fifty percent off their current business phone bill and we provide more value and features if you want to learn more you can text us at 424.378.6966 we’re talking with Michael Pedone here from sales buzz and we’ve talked about you know, whether you should slow down or double down very independent and we talked about how the leaders can support their sales reps during this time and now we’re gonna talk a little bit about the messaging you know the messaging that was working before the pandemic is that messaging still working what needs to be changed or adapted to that messaging and what’s your opinion on that Michael?

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah well it depends I mean if it depends on how you’re doing if you had a really good opening value state when you’re picking up the phone and call somebody was working then it should still work now however I have added I’ve added a change to mine recently but then again most most sales reps let me just say this most sales reps that are before the pandemic they’re opening value statement socks that’s why they were hearing no thanks now there said we’re all set are you somebody have some of those are ready or so they were in all they were using the wrong open value state for me I’m very confident I opened my statements and I use the formula that I use I modified it for this scenario because this is something that every person in the world knows about the coronavirus I don’t care who you are it’s all on all of our minds but you don’t want to call and talking about that and get side tracked on thinking that and not talking about what you’re doing I know a lot of people say use it to build report I’m not if you can’t tell I’m not a big let’s falsely build report guy I let the report happe naturaly as the conversation goes so here’s my opener it’s been working extremely well I call somebody I do the quick intro Hey it’s Michael from sales buzz yeah how are you or say fine good it’s just some crazy time around right now yeah it sure is I’ll go listen I have my most of my clients are really into camps right now one camp is like battening down the hatches and not even shows are they gonna be opening a month and the other camp they are getting ready for the lead on the re loading and they’re really going ahead and taking this opportunity to improve their system so that they can be ready once everything gets back to normal I’m just curious wich camp are you in right now?

Collin Mitchell: 

Yeah, I think that’s like really genuine right it’s like Hey yeah not technology in this situation and just saying Hey you’re either this or you’re that let me know so I kind of know how to proceed right because there’s a lot of people that are doing what people are calling fake empathy like calling people and they’ve never talked to have no relationship and talking about Hey how was your family how are you doing they don’t even know if they have a family you know. And that that doesn’t work because it’s not genuine and I think you know what you’re saying is like people are aware of the situation acknowledging and it is okay but creating some sort of like fake report is really not going to work because people are going to see through that.

Michael Pedone: 

That’s right exactly couldn’t say better myself.

Collin Mitchell: 

So you know I think the messaging for it what you’re saying for the most part pretty much stays the same as long as you have a solid value proposition that you’ve been using that’s been working you know adding in to acknowledge the situation and if the prospect wants to elaborate on that cool but not you know being dissed genuine.

Michael Pedone: 

And here’s a benefit or so when you do it, first of all, a lot of sales people were under a tremendous amount of pressure normally now we’re on tremendous amount pressure because we, you know we don’t know if we’re going to pay the the the mortgage or the rent or car payment next month right because what is going on so here’s the thing you always want to make your sales calls with the intent let me just call see if I can help if you really want to get rid of….  just don’t try to think I have got a call this name in my C. R. M. whatever I suppose you might help them see you start with that mentality it’s really hard when you don’t know if you’re going to have enough money at the end of the month of to pay your bills you got a family to support right so the thing I’ve learned all along and I’ve been doing this for a long time like I said I’ve been through the ups and downs of recessions and things that nature one thing that always help me is this I always if I found that I was having a hard time getting my tone right my intention my tone right I would start to visualize before I call I would pretend that the first time about the call is a relative of a friend of mine and that friend asked me to call them.

Collin Mitchell: 

Yeah.

Michael Pedone: 

So what it does it helps put me in the right mindset if to help not sell so that’s how I get my tone right you know what I mean.

Collin Mitchell: 

Yeah.

Michael Pedone: 

So if you if you do it that way and you have that and then eventually because like I said that pressure could come in where you really want to deal it’s almost like in sports whether it’s baseball or if it’s a hockey if like if they’re not scoring these is called the squeeze the stick too much trying to hard you got off your place, is the same scenario.

Collin Mitchell: 

Yeah I love that, you know, getting your mindset right before the call right because yeah, what you say is so important but how you say it is too right.

Michael Pedone: 

Absolutely.

Collin Mitchell: 

And if in the prospect on the other line of the phone if it’s not a video conference and they can’t see your facial expressions right it’s just over the phone then you know they still can sense that desperation.

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah absolutely yeah so yeah and if you say look I’m calling to see if I can help and then you just have a good opener but then also to your this is a problem you have to know what the next step is after the opener because once you start using the right opener you’re gonna have a lot of people go yeah I got a second go head and then what do I do next?

Collin Mitchell: 

Right right they’re almost like shocked because they’re not used to hearing yes right.

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah exactly so you have that for the sales process company no really comes into play.

Collin Mitchell: 

And they’re like I don’t know that’s not my scripts.

Michael Pedone: 

Yep.

Collin Mitchell: 

All right well we’re almost out of time here but before we let you go tell us something you know personal about yourself to people maybe don’t know anything you know what your favorite app what’s on your playlist you know I know you’re a guitar shredder.

Michael Pedone: 

Yep so before I met my wife I was putting my name in the hat to be Ozzie Osborne’s next guitar player so that’s one but the first let’s go with something really personal the first beer I ever had how bout that who I had it with my two favorite bands at first AC/DC. is my number one favorite band the lead singer Rob I think is the best heavy metal singer in the world and I was fourteen I had a band in Phoenix we had a chance to meet him at this place and that’s why I had my first beer with sat down we were talking about music and I had my first beer with the metal god.

Collin Mitchell: 

Awesome, so Michael how can people find you you know if they want to find out more about sales buzz or anything.

Michael Pedone: 

Yeah the two easiest ways is salesbuzz.com you go there you can even take a free course you know on-demand things that you can learn more about the programs that we have but also on LinkedIn if you just look me up I’m Michael Pedone on LinkedIn you’ll find me there and I’ll be more than happy to connect with you.

Collin Mitchell: 

Awesome we’re out of time today Michael thanks so much for your investment today we welcome you to the Monster Chats community if your list if you’re listening to the podcast please subscribe review and share we’re listening welcome we welcome your feedback and the show is all about you.

Thank you for tuning in for another episode of Monster Chats presented by Monster VoIP where we share the tools methods and best practices that business leaders use to build new connections, strengthen relationships and impact sales in organizations of all shapes and sizes if you have any questions from today show and want to reach us directly please text to question to 424.378.6966.

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