Kristine Sizemore joins our “WiFi Studio” to share some advice for salespeople on how to fine-tune their prospecting skills & develop a long-term strategy to be successful in their sales process.
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Read the Full Interview Below
Sarah: Good morning, everyone! Happy Friday! We love Fridays! Welcome to Biz Talk. We’ve got a great guest today. Let’s get started.
Glyna: Good morning! How’s everyone doing this morning?
Kristine Sizemore: Good morning!
Glyna: Oh, I love that new 30 second countdown, Sarah. You are so talented. Never cease to amaze me. That was really cool.
Sarah: Thank you.
Glyna: All right, everybody. Welcome to Biz Talk. I’m Glyna I’m the President of Fusion One, and we just love talking to small businesses to hear what makes them stand out, but also to get some tips from them along the way. Before we get started, though, let’s pop up where you can find us. We have our podcast Marketing and a Mic we are live on Facebook and YouTube, and then you can find the replays everywhere else. Alright, today, I want to go ahead and let the other ladies introduce themselves, and then I’ll introduce our guest.
Sarah: Good morning, everyone. My name is Sarah. I’m the Director of Digital Marketing.
Kelsi: I’m Kelsi, a Social Media Manager with Fusion One Marketing.
Glyna: Great! I am so excited about our guests today because I’ve been in sales, gosh, seems like all my life, and it’s always a very fine line about how do you do it without coming across real cheesy or doing it improperly. So, we have a guest with us this morning, Kristine Sizemore with Sandler Training. How are you doing Kristine?
Kristine Sizemore: Doing great. How are you, Glyna? I’m glad to be here.
Glyna: Great. We’re glad to have you. And you’re just going to get us all straightened out and help us out, get more sales, and get everybody out there again, I hope.
Kristine Sizemore: Well, I’ll do my best.
Glyna: Alright. Well, let’s just start from the beginning. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and your family?
Kristine Sizemore: Oh, certainly. I’ve been married 15 years to Alton Sizemore. We actually were supposed to be on a cruise for our anniversary this week, so that’s fine. Just roll with what comes our way. I have two children, 11 and 13, and just enjoying raising them. And I have over 14 years in quota carrying, sales, sales management, and market director positions, and that’s just a little about me.
Sarah: Wonderful. So, we want to know, how did you get connected with Sandler, and what about it drew you to the company?
Kristine Sizemore: Well, about two years ago, my husband and I were looking at starting a business. It’s something we had explored a number of times over the years, and we were about to sign with another business that required me to take a Sandler Training class. So, that’s when I looked and saw that there was no Sandler Trainer here in Birmingham, and when I considered my background, I said to my husband so many times, “What if I don’t do this?” He just said, “Call Sandler,” and that’s what brought me to Sandler Training.
Kelsi: Wow, that’s great. So, the other day we were speaking, and you shared a really great quote. I’m going to read it so I don’t mess it up.
Kristine Sizemore: Sure.
Kelsi: You said, “It’s unethical to sell to people that don’t need your product, but it’s also unethical to not sell to people who do need your product.” So, will you tell us how that quote ties into your prospecting process?
Kristine Sizemore: That’s a great question, and it really goes back to what Glyna mentioned earlier. As people growing our businesses as sales professionals, what we really do is we help people solve their problems. So, prospecting, it’s not pushing your features and benefits. It’s not coming across like a bulldozer, although sometimes, unintentionally, we can do that just because we’re so excited about what we do. But it’s not about us. We’ve got to make it about our prospects. So, what the prospecting process is, it’s about the process of having good conversations with people that we may or may not do business with down the road. It’s the start of that process. And we want to make sure that we’re reaching out and we’re not assuming that people want to talk with us, because we don’t know yet until we have a real conversation. So, how do we create the environment for those natural, comfortable conversations, the position that the sales person, really, as a valued and trusted resource, and it’s also valuable for that prospect?
Glyna: Exactly. And a lot of people just don’t get it. They don’t stop and think about it. All they have in their mind is, “I’ve got the greatest thing in the world. Everybody must want to hear about it.” But you’re going to tell us where to start, and that’s why I’m so excited to have you here today. And I want to go ahead and say that we have some people tuning in already. We want to say good morning to Lavon Chaney, Elise Hearn, Steve Johnson, Cindy Edmunds, and Gayle Mason. If you guys have any questions for Kristine about prospecting, or selling, please jump on. All right, Christine, going right down the same line that you’re talking about, prospecting, you said prospecting isn’t selling…
Kristine Sizemore: Right.
Glyna: So, what advice would you give to salespeople, though, I mean, along those lines?
Kristine Sizemore: I would start with two things. I mean, first of all, don’t be attached to the outcome, and here’s why. Until you have a real conversation with a prospect, you don’t even know if it’s going to move forward to your next step, whether that’s a face to face appointment, whether that’s a next step on the phone, depending on your process and what you’re selling and what you do. And take your activity in today’s environment up to another level, because business is still moving forward. We are definitely opening back up. But in order to really drive results, you’ve got to take your activity up to another level. So, if you’re looking at your outreach, whether that’s over the phone, via email, proactively on social media, meaning messaging and reaching out proactively, virtual networking, even in-person networking, as that starts over time to open back up, how are you measuring what you’re doing every day, every week, every month to drive success? Because, of course ,we all want to grow our book of business, grow our business, increase our sales, but when it comes to prospecting, that’s the lagging indicator of success, it’s the last thing you see. Your leading indicators are the behaviors that you control. So, take a hard look at what you’re doing every day, every week, and every month. What are you doing? How are you evaluating the results? And then, how are you tweaking and changing what you’re doing based on today’s environment?
Glyna: And then put it on steroids, right?
Kristine Sizemore: Yes, yes.
Sarah: Because the sales process is a little trickier now, and maybe what had worked before isn’t necessarily going to work now. So, along with just different techniques or methods, how would you say that you have to change the conversation and adapt to the changes right now?
Kristine Sizemore: Sure. I mean, first, consider your talk tracks. I don’t work with my clients on scripts, but I do work with them to put together talk tracks that fit their personality, their industry, that are comfortable for them. Have you changed your approach since January, February? It’s going to vary by industry, but things have changed. How are you testing to find out where your prospect’s mindset is? Are they focused on growth right now? Are they focused on taking advantage of the opportunities in front of them? Or are they just hunkering down to wait and see what plays out? And then, what does that tell you about how you move the conversation forward?
Sarah: That’s a good point.
Kristine Sizemore: As a professional, your focus is on gathering information so that you can determine how you can bring value, so that you can ask thought provoking questions to really help your prospect discover, “Should I talk more with them? Maybe they know something I don’t know about solving my problem.” Because you want to remember, people don’t ever argue with their own data. So, in the prospecting process, keep your prospect talking.
Kelsi: Great. Okay.
Because that’s how you learn, but it’s also how you help guide them to the self-discovery that, “You know what? They should talk with you.”
Kelsi: You mentioned the mindset of your prospect, but can you touch on how much the mindset of the salesperson affects their failure or success in their prospecting process?
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. Oh, Kelsi, that is so important, because we’ve got to look at… Think of this process as a wheel. We’ve got to look at what do we believe about the environment today? Because those beliefs drive our judgments, and the own judgments that we make then drive our actions, and the results that we get reinforce our beliefs. So, for example, if you’re thinking, “You know what? Things have slowed down, I’m going to wait and see what’s going on. Nobody wants to talk with me.” Well, based on that judgment, you’re not going to take action. If you don’t take action, you’re not going to see results. So, those negative results are going to reinforce those negative beliefs. Conversely, if you take a look and say, “You know what? I know there are people out there looking to grow. I can get ahold of people right now. There aren’t as many gatekeepers. I’m going to take the opportunity to take my activity to another level and find people I can talk with.” That translates to the judgment of, “You know what? I can help people.” That mindset is going to come across. Whether you’re talking to people face-to-face, on the phone, or even via email, people can get a sense of your approach. Now, the critical thing is action, because action is what is going to drive results and going to reinforce. So, it’s either you’re spiraling upward or you’re spiraling in the other direction. So, I would challenge people to really take action, because action will drive those beliefs. But if you’ve never inspected your beliefs and what you’re telling yourself right now, take a step back and look at it, because it’s critical for success.
Glyna: And we’ve talked about this so many times. I think almost with every guest we’ve talked about this. We’ve never really just said it’s mindset, but it’s the feeling of, “Are you going to crawl in a hole, think that this is going to pass one day? Or are you going to go out and just keep moving forward?” Because what you’re doing now, and we’ve, like I said, talked to many guests, what you’re doing now is going to show up 60 days from now. So, if you’re crawling in a hole and doing nothing, you’re going to be in a world of hurt later on.
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. And a concept that I’ve shared with my clients and when I’ve had the opportunity to speak to other groups is, in today’s environment, there may be times when you won’t be exchanging revenue right now, but look at both trust and loyalty as currency. So, if you’re not doing business immediately, how can you bring value and bank trust and loyalty points for down the road? How can you find out what challenges and problems your prospects are facing? Can you bring someone else to the table who can help them? Can you connect them to another resource? Can you be a listening ear?
Glyna: Perfect. Yeah.
Kristine Sizemore: But look for ways to give, and look for ways to build that trust and currency, whether it’s doing business today or whether it’s setting the groundwork to do business in the future.
Glyna: Yeah. It’s a perfect time to reach out to people. People are wanting interaction. They’re wanting to talk to people. Even if it has to be like this, it’s still better than doing nothing, so it’s a great time to build those relationships.
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. Can I share a story with you?
Kristine Sizemore: I saw a thread on LinkedIn. Now, this was right after everything hit and we were shut down and we didn’t know exactly what would be happening. It was from an executive at Delta, and she was really just venting to the group I was in on LinkedIn about a cadence of emails that she had received. And the last email said, “Since I haven’t heard from you, you must not care about your people.” And she just couldn’t believe, in the industry she’s in, that she got a message like that. And she said, “Look, I am not going to do business with this person now or ever,” but next, she said something that really surprised me. She said, “I wish they had just asked me how I was doing.” She didn’t say, “How dare they reach out to me?” She didn’t say, “I wish they hadn’t reached out.” The comment was about their approach.
Kristine Sizemore: So, another thing to consider is, if you’re using pre-programmed cadences and approaches and you have not taken a look back and changed those, or maybe even changed to a different approach, it’s definitely something to consider. Because people, they want to hear from you right now, but in a way that is personal and relevant.
Glyna: Yes, exactly. Exactly. Oh, I’m so glad you’re saying that and bringing that out because people don’t think about that. All they’re thinking about is their own situation. And if they practice, as we all know in BNI, practice the “Givers Gain”, I mean, and really care about people… I’m sorry. I can go on and on about this. You can tell I’m passionate about selling and all of this, too. Let’s get into what you call your two tiered approach. Can you tell us a little bit about that for effective prospecting?
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. When it comes to prospecting, there’s two areas that we work on. I mean, there’s the technical competitive prospecting. That’s what to say, how to say it and practicing it, and we just touched on that with, “Have you adjusted your talk tracks to the environment we’re in today?” So, that’s the technical component. You need to have that covered. On the other side of the equation, there’s the conceptual side, meaning, if you know what to say, are you executing and doing it? Are there mental barriers to moving forward? So, we work on both of those sides of the equation because, oftentimes, there’s barriers on both sides. Because we’ve got to understand, we bring value to the table, not only as human beings, but also in how we help our prospects solve their problems. So, we need to fully understand that and then be comfortable with a technical approach where we know what to say, we’ve practiced it ahead of time, and we’re confident we can bring value. Because there is rejection involved in prospecting-
Kristine Sizemore: … a natural part of the process that professionals just need to be ready for. And it’s not personal, it’s a process where we really look at both of those sides of the equation to drive effective prospecting.
Sarah: Yeah. That is so valuable. Cindy commented, she said, “Considering trust and loyalty as currency is brilliant.” She agrees. So, I wanted to ask you, we’ve got so many… You’ve given a wealth of information already, but would you say there’s a kind of a pro tip or one stand out tip that you could give to a salesperson right now when it comes to prospecting that could really help them?
Kristine Sizemore: Oh, sure. When you’re crafting your prospecting approach, be sure to give your prospect the option to say no, that they don’t want to continue the conversation. It takes the pressure off. You don’t want someone to feel like they’re stuck in a corner, either having to give you a smoke screened answer to get rid of you, or just hurry to get off the phone. When you reach out, test and see. Do they want to talk? Give them the opportunity to say no. And that may sound counterintuitive, but if someone really needs to work with you, that’s how you’re going to find out. So, you don’t want to go in with a high pressure approach because what is a person’s natural reaction to that? So, take an approach that’s going to break down those natural defenses, always give your prospect an out, test and see do they want to have a conversation? And it’s more comfortable for you and more valuable for them.
Sarah: Yeah. And it would certainly build the trust.
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. Yes.
Kelsi: You’ve given us so many amazing little golden nuggets of advice already. I know there’s going to be people out there that watch this that are going to want more from you, so can you tell us a little bit more about the training programs that you offer through Sandler Training and what all those entail?
Kristine Sizemore: Oh, I’d be glad to. Most of my clients, we start with a benchmark assessment. We take a look at their inherent strengths and maybe some inherent areas where they have areas for growth when it relates to prospecting. And one of the things we measure, especially when you take a look at growing business, is someone’s need for approval. Like from a psychological standpoint, if we have a high need for approval from others, it can actually get in the way of asking good questions and having those effective, initial prospecting conversations. And when clients understand that, it can help them put together a plan to progress and to get better. We also look at inherent ambition and drive. We look at their learning agility. So there are a number of things we take a look at from the beginning so that we can see where they are today and where they need to go. And then, my clients work with me over time to learn the Sandler system and apply it in their own specific world, with the goal of bringing in long-term profitable business. Think of those clients that you really enjoy working with, the ones that you want more of, the ones who introduce you to others and have great stories to tell, I mean, what we do is we focus on how do you fill up your prospecting funnel with those type of prospects so you can constantly work through your process for the ones that are ready to take action now.
Glyna: So important. Yeah. How do I… Well, I shouldn’t say that. How do we get all fun clients? I didn’t just say that. All are clients are fun, and customers are awesome. Okay. So, if you are a business or a business owner, how do you know you’re a good prospect for Sandler? That may be obvious if you have salespeople, but what would you say?
Kristine Sizemore: Oh, that’s a great question. It really comes down to, are you a business or an organization that’s committed to growing? Do you see opportunity to grow through this? Are you ready to invest in your team, invest in your people? It takes effort. And are you willing to change? So, those are some of the things that I look for, because organizations that are focused on growth, on staying ahead of this slowdown that we’re growing out of, staying ahead of their competition and really taking advantage of opportunities that are opening up in the marketplace, that’s who I’m looking to talk with right now.
Sarah: Yeah. You can’t go into it and be like, “I want things to get better, but I don’t want to change my plan.”
Kristine Sizemore: Yeah, if you aren’t ready to change, it’s really not worth it to talk.
Sarah: Absolutely. Oh gosh, is it… Oh, it’s my turn, and I’m just getting lost.
Glyna: you’re like me, I’m just listening. I’m like…
Sarah: I am. I truly am. I mean, I’m really into everything that you’re saying, but I’m losing track of when it’s my turn. But I do want to ask you, when businesses are part of Sandler Training, are there resources that you offer along the way that help keep them on track and help with accountability?
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. All of my clients have access to Sandler’s online resource library. They work with me, but I also provide pre-work and reinforcement work that they spend time on every week. They also can reach out to me for coaching sessions where we work on pre-call planning, we work on their talk tracks, or we’ll work on their strategy for their sales process. Because adults learn over time, and I can have resources, everything from podcasts, to videos, to white papers and books, because we all learn differently. Some are more visual, some are more auditory, probably listening to this podcast right now. And adults learn and apply over time. So, my clients work with me, and I provide a number of different resources to help them achieve their individual goals over time.
Kelsi: You’re like a beefed-up accountability partner.
Kristine Sizemore: Accountability is a huge part of what I do.
Glyna: She means business.
Kristine Sizemore: Yeah.
Sarah: It’s that saying, I love that saying of, “Anybody can get motivated, but the hard part is staying motivated.” And that’s truly where the accountability comes in.
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. And accountability and execution. And anyone can come in and crash a class. I have-
Glyna: I like that.
Kristine Sizemore: I am having a class on Tuesday, June 16th at 10:30. Anyone listening wants to drop in, they can send me an email and say, “Crash a class.” We also have a fantastic book, Prospect the Sandler Way, that expands on what I’ve talked about today. I can offer a free chapter, again, just a quick email that says, “Free chapter.” I’ll send that to you today. I see so many opportunities for what we teach in that book to apply. It’s one of my favorite Sandler resources.
Glyna: Thank you. Cool!
Kelsi: So, are there specific business types that benefit from your corporate training most? Or can you work with any industry large or small?
Kristine Sizemore: At Sandler, we’re a worldwide organization with over 250 offices, and we work with everyone from individual business owners growing their business or their book of business, to Fortune 1000 companies. And I can say in my own business here in Birmingham, my clients span the gambit from… I work with one very large organization, and then I work with a number of business owners who are building their businesses right here in Birmingham. Because the Sandler system is focused on the prospect and focused on how do you uncover what your prospect needs to accomplish? How do you qualify stringently and move forward in a process that’s beneficial for you and beneficial for them? And that really, we have a track record of success across industries in doing that.
Glyna: Yes, you have a different kind of approach, it sounds like, as far as the way you approach things, and you must have one person over here that knows about it, Elise Hearn says that you’re definitely a great accountability partner. She must know by experience, I have a feeling. And then, Deana Murner is joining us this morning, so good morning, Deana. So, you said you have the June 16th, can you repeat that one more time?
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. I have a prospecting class coming up Tuesday, June 16th at 10:30. It’s a part of my Sandler foundations class. If you’d like to learn more, you’re welcome to come crash a class. Experience what it’s like.
Glyna: I love that. Just crash the class.
Kristine Sizemore: Yeah, crash the class.
Glyna: I know you do a lot of workshops and those kinds of things. Maybe you have some coming up. I know you have that coming up. Where can people find all of your workshops? Do you mention them mostly on LinkedIn, or what’s a good way to be able to find out when you’re doing them?
Kristine Sizemore: At my website, I have my events listed. Also, I send it out to my email list. If anyone would like to get my newsletter, they can reach out to me. It’s right here scrolling on the screen. Kristine with a K .email@example.com. And if you are a part of an association or a group that would like to hear from me, we’d be glad to come in and provide a complimentary talk around prospecting business development. It’s a hot topic today, and I’d love the opportunity to.
Glyna: That’s perfect. And if you would one more time, I realized when we’re on our podcast, we turn this into podcast, if you could repeat your website address again, that would be great.
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. It’s www.KSAINC.Sandler.com.
Glyna: Perfect. Because I was like, I realized the other day we’re running this on the screen, but our podcast listeners don’t…. they’re not able to translate that through their brain. And Lavon wanted to know, are your classes in person now or are they online?
Kristine Sizemore: We are back in person, but I also have an online option. But most of my clients prefer face-to-face, so where we are meeting safely, we are social distancing in a very large room, but we are now back face-to-face.
Glyna: So, the one on the 16th, is that in-person or is that online? It is in-person. And Daniel said, “Where is that located?”
Kristine Sizemore: At Faulkner University.
Glyna: Okay, perfect. There you go, Daniel. And welcome!
Kristine Sizemore: Email me for details.
Sarah: Perfect. So, who would be the best referral partners for you? And I guess if a business was… What would be some pain points that they were doing, like a self-evaluation that would let them know, “Hey, these are my red flags, I need to get some help”?
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. Right now, I’m working with an organization that has grown via acquisition, so they’re putting together a sales team of five people that come from three different organizations. They all have a different process and a different way of doing things. Oftentimes, I work with business owners when they’re looking at selling maybe five years out and they need to increase their revenue to get the price that they want for their business.
Glyna: Oh, interesting.
Kristine Sizemore: Also, I often work with professionals who are growing their book of business, because there are a lot of professionals, whether they’re attorneys, engineers, anyone who has spent years working on their profession, then they realize, “Wow, I’ve got to build a book of business.” And a sales process and a sales methodology is not something they’ve ever studied. And also, businesses right now that realize they’ve got to tweak their strategy or their approach or even consider who’s on their team, how are they coaching and managing them, as they pivot in this new environment? I’m working with a client right now, he’s really having to shifted the industry that they’re calling on because the industry that they’re entrenched in will come back but it’s going to be a while. Particularly, we’re working on three or four other industries that she can call on where she can really help them, but she’s had to pivot in order to grow.
Sarah: That’s a lot of businesses that could use this.
Glyna: Yeah. Every business.
Sarah: Yeah, truly.
Kelsi: You had mentioned earlier some resources that our viewers could take from you, but we’ve got some new people jumping on, so would you mind just reiterating that?
Kristine Sizemore: Yes. Anyone listening or anyone viewing, if you would like to get a free chapter of our book, Prospect the Sandler Way, just email me at Kristine.Sizemore@sandler.com. And if you’re close by, I have a prospecting class coming up Tuesday, June 16th at 10:30. Email me at that same email address if you’d like to drop in and crash a class and learn more. And lots of resources are available on my website, www.KSAinc.sandler.com. We have books, we have blogs, we have resources. And you can also check me out on LinkedIn. I post videos once or twice a week with sales tips and how-to’s.
Glyna: Yes. I was going to say your LinkedIn videos are fantastic, so I would encourage that. The other thing is we’ve had a whole bunch of BNI people over here, so I think that you could have a lot of one-to-ones just with the people that we have here. So, make sure that you reach out to Kristine and connect with her. So, Sarah, I think we’re ready to do the hot seat.
Sarah: Yes, yes. So, we’re going to do our quick segment of the hot seat, so let’s get that started.
All right, Kelsi, you want me to get the timer going for you?
Glyna: I was going to race you, Sarah, and see who…
Sarah: I’m ready. Alright. You know the drill, we got 60 seconds, and you just give us the first answer that comes to mind. Are you ready?
Kristine Sizemore: Yes.
Sarah: Okay. Let’s go.
Kelsi: Pancakes or waffles?
Kristine Sizemore: Waffles.
Kelsi: Amusement park or museum?
Kristine Sizemore: Oh, amusement park.
Kelsi: An art festival or a music festival?
Kristine Sizemore: Art festival.
Kelsi: Would you rather sleep on a twin bed or a large water bed?
Kristine Sizemore: Twin.
Kelsi: Would you rather go on a ghost tour or a historical tour?
Kristine Sizemore: Oh, historical tour.
Kelsi: Would you rather encounter a pirate or a witch?
Kristine Sizemore: I guess a pirate.
Kristine Sizemore: Like Johnny Depp?
Kelsi: What is your favorite vegetable?
Kristine Sizemore: Broccoli.
Kelsi: Ooh, yummy. Movies at home or in the theater?
Kristine Sizemore: Well, right now movies at home.
Kelsi: Yes. Biscuits or donuts?
Kristine Sizemore: Donuts.
Kelsi: Costume party or pool party?
Kristine Sizemore: Pool party.
Kelsi: Would you rather be able to time travel or fly?
Kristine Sizemore: Oh, I might have to say time travel. That’s a tough one!
Glyna: You did good. I love it. She goes, “A pirate, especially if it’s Johnny Depp.” Yeah, there’s that.
Kelsi: Oh, I didn’t even catch that! That’s hilarious!
Glyna: Gosh, Kristine, I can’t believe the time went so fast because you gave us, I mean, so much solid information and so many great tips. We really, really appreciate you coming on today.
Kristine Sizemore: Well, thanks for the chance to talk with you guys. I’ve really enjoyed it.
Glyna: Well, and like I said, we have a lot of BNI people on here. Reach out to Kristine. You’re in Phoenix, correct?
Kristine Sizemore: Yeah. Please do reach out.
Glyna: Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you again for joining us, and we want to remind everyone that we will have a marketing mix Tuesday at 8:00. But we will also be back for our Biz Talk session next Friday at 8:00, and we will have Meaghan Chitwood here from BNI. So, we look forward to seeing everybody again next week. Have a great weekend!