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With over a decade of sales and sales leadership experience, Chet is the creator of The Sales Doctor, where he challenges companies to take a holistic look at their revenue strategy. In this episode, he shares a prescriptive process to modernize training and enablement practices, shedding light on how he has helped companies raise over $100M in VC funds.
Chet’s impact extends beyond the boardroom, having personally trained, coached, and developed over 1,000 students in his sales and leadership programs. Tune in to gain valuable insights from Chet’s wealth of experience, with past clients including industry leaders like Zscaler, Funnel.io, Automattic, and Teampay.
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The Sales Doctor’s Prescription for $100M Success
Jeff Tomlin: Welcome to the Conquer Local Podcast! Our show features successful sales leaders, marketers, thought leaders and entrepreneurs who will inspire you with their success stories. Each episode is packed with practical strategies, as our guests share their secrets to achieving their dreams. Listen in to learn the highlights of their remarkable accomplishments and get tips to revamp, rework, and reimagine your business. Whether you’re a small business owner, marketer, or aspiring entrepreneur, the Conquer Local Podcast is your ultimate guide to dominating your local market. Tune in now to take your business to the next level!
I’m Jeff Tomlin and on this episode, we have one smooth sales operator, we’re pleased to welcome Chet Lovegren to the show. With over a decade of sales and sales leadership experience, Chet created The Sales Doctor to challenge companies to take a holistic look at their revenue bleed and then provide a prescriptive process to archaic training and enablement practices.
By doing this he has helped his companies raise over $100M in VC funds and personally trained, coached, and developed over 1,000 students in his sales and leadership programs. Some of his past clients include companies like Zscaler, Funnel.io, Automattic, and Teampay.
Get ready Conquerors for Chet Lovegren coming up next on this week’s episode of the Conquer Local Podcast.
Chet Lovegren, The Sales Doctor, Shares Insights on Ethical Sales Practices.
Jeff Tomlin: Chet Lovegren The Sales Doctor. Welcome to the Conquer Local podcast. How you doing, man?
Chet Lovegren: I’m doing well. Getting a little rain here in Southern California ahead of holiday season, so it’s nice. As I would say, soup weather, you know, gives you a nice bowl of soup. Watch the rainfall. Luckily, we don’t have to deal with any snow, but it’s nice time of year.
Jeff Tomlin: Jealous of the Southern California thing. Gotta say, I’m going through a little palm tree withdrawal right now. Northwestern Canada. Things are a little chilly and looking a little dead right now.
Chet Lovegren: Yeah. Well you got a few more months before you’re seeing that sunshine again, but you’ll be there no doubt.
Jeff Tomlin: Well, look man, I love The Sales Doctor moniker, and I imagine you have a lot of fun with that. A lot of people have growing pains throughout the career, their business and things that they’re working on. Tell us a little bit of The Sales Doctor. When did you start? How’d you get going and when did that become a thing?
Chet Lovegren: Yeah, so the ‘when I started’ question is kinda tricky because it was something I had running in the background for a while. Full-time business owner this year though, which has been awesome. It’s been a really rewarding year. I was just having a conversation actually with a close friend about how weird it is to start a business or go out on a business, essentially full-time, you know, in this kind of economy. But it’s been incredibly rewarding. And I think it all stems from when I was selling and then started buying software when I moved into management, I kinda saw things from a different point of view and I realized that term order takers, actually, you know, when you hear about sales and somebody’s being an order taker, it actually has much bigger consequences than people think. And if you think about a doctor, a doctor who provides a diagnosis without examination is guilty of malpractice. And unfortunately, like, a lot of sellers do that. And when you’re guilty of that malpractice, you’re not only affecting your own reputation, but you’re affecting your company’s reputation and ultimately probably your pocketbook, right? I know a lot of sellers who will jam people into a deal and then they go to another industry where they might be able to still sell to that industry, which is a different solution. And I always say like, well, you used to sell this software. I’m sure people at that company, those types of companies still need this kind of software that you’re selling now. Why don’t you go there? Well, we just, you know, sold a lot of stuff. I don’t think people were too happy with it. Product wasn’t that great, support wasn’t that great. And it’s like you’re ruining your own reputation, you know. We need to be okay with telling people, “No, I don’t really think this works out for you,” if it’s not the right thing. And we need to start diagnosing problems instead of trying to solve pain. People live with pain, but they’ll solve problems. This is why your deals aren’t closing, and you’re gonna have no urgency because you’re trying to give people, you’re trying to sell people brain surgery, but you’re giving them an Aleve to cure a headache. That’s pain. People live with pain. But if I find out I need brain surgery, you better believe I’m gonna open up my pocketbook, start a GoFundMe, and do whatever I can to solve that problem. You know, so that’s the issue that we have is we’re trying to charge brain surgery prices, but all we’re offering is in Aleve for a headache. And that’s why a lot of sellers are failing. I think it’s very low level talk when salespeople and sales leaders say it’s the economy’s fault. I know people in every industry hitting quota. So if you’re a cybersecurity company and say it’s the economy. Nope, there are people that are hitting quota. You’re just not doing things the right way. You sell to hospitality, same thing. Construction, I don’t care what you sell. There are people in every industry hitting quota right now. And if I as a small business owner can make it in this tumultuous year that we’ve had, I’m sure a company that’s VC-backed can do it as well. That’s kinda my take on the whole Sales Doctor.
Effective Discovery is Key to Avoid Lazy Sales Approaches.
Jeff Tomlin: Well, like, what a great intro. I mean, there’s a lot to unpack there. Like, number one, customer churn is everybody’s problem. It’s not just typically a product problem. There’s lots of times when things are being oversold and people are being sold things that they don’t need. And a lot of times too, you know, on the marketing and sales front. You’re not speaking to your ideal customers, selling them you know, the ideal thing for them many times. And, you know, then the other thing that you’re just talking about is adding value. And if you can figure out how to add value, that’s the way to drastically increase your deal size. And there’s a lot of people that can’t have those conversations in an effective way. So, hey, maybe talk about that a little bit. You know, I think everybody needs to have, whether it’s a system or a framework or you know, an approach if they want to scale their organization. An approach that can be followed by their sales organization. And so you’ve gotta a prescriptive selling approach that you talk about. So maybe tell us a little bit about that and go from there.
Chet Lovegren: A big part about it boils down to discovery. So being as concise as I can, I mean, I could talk about discovery and this whole thing for at least six hours. I know that because I have a whole workshop around discovery that’s typically on site. We’ll run from four to six hours with breaks and modules and workshop activities. But the biggest problem is that you show up to a discovery call. What’s the most common thing the salesperson says to you?
Jeff Tomlin: Man, there’s a whole bunch of different things that they start with, but they asked me about “Hey, what am I using right now?” Or, “What’s my problem?” Or “how do you think that we could help you guys?” Or “why’d you reach out to us?”
Chet Lovegren: Yeah.
Jeff Tomlin: Yeah.
Chet Lovegren: Yeah. Somewhere we got into this thing that the customer needs to sell to us. That’s just lazy. You know what I’m saying? Let’s say I have a podcast. You have a podcast, right? Let’s say I do some sort of service for podcasters and you come to my doorstep and I say, “Hey, what’s got you interested in having a call today? You tell me what your problem is.” That’s such a low level lazy question and I can’t stand it. And I hear it all the time. And it’s the, well let them sell to us. Jeff, do you think you’re really gonna tell me your laundry list of problems? Or even like the root cause of those actual problems if I could ask you that question? Like, I know people don’t like car sales, it is what it is, but you walk into a car dealership and do you think I’m gonna tell a car sales person if my car just died on me and I needed a new car? No, because I know that person’s gonna run me through the mill and try to sell me with a bad payment. I’m gonna walk out today with a car that I’m gonna regret for the next, you know, 48 months.
Jeff Tomlin: Ah, Chet, I’m a busy man. I don’t wanna hear that, right? I don’t wanna tell the story.
Demonstrate Expertise, Open with High-Level Questions, and Stack Pain Points.
Chet Lovegren: Yeah, I’m just browsing, right? So you have to demonstrate yourself as a subject matter expertise and through that, you earn trust. Well, Chet, how can I do that in a discovery call? It’s easier said than done, right? So again, let’s take it back to the example. You have a podcast, I have a podcast. Let’s say I’m selling some sort of podcast service. When you come to the call, I say, “Look, Jeff, I work with a ton of podcasts hosts, I’m a tenured podcast host myself. And I know that when it comes to podcasting, there are three really big challenges that we’re all facing right now. Either increasing listenership, having consistent increases in listenership, or finding ways to monetize our work and our viewers. If everything in your world stayed the same, but one area had to change, what would you focus on?” And now Jeff Goes, “Of course, increasing listeners is important. Of course finding ways to monetize is important, but man, that middle one, not a lot of people understand there’s a consistency metric to podcasting as well.” It’s not about just increasing our listeners, but how do I keep listeners engaged? Because there’s a lot of ways to measure increased listener counts. You can look at unique listener stats, you can look at like IP addresses that track that stuff, you know what I mean? Like there’s a lot of things you can look at to determine. Total downloads, that could just be another one. But it’s like, how do you measure increased consistency, increased consistent engagement? And so now you go, “Well, Chet is a podcast host, Chet does have a podcast, Chet knows about podcasting and how to help podcasters ’cause those are three really big challenges.” So now you trust me, I’m not just someone who’s never sold to your industry before and never done your job walking in and saying, “What’s got you here today? Well, let me find a product that I can apply that to and jam it down your throat and show it to you on a demo, and then try to sell it to you without understanding anything above and beyond that.” And let’s say you said, “Chet, monetizing my podcast is a problem.” That’s actually not your problem. It’s a pain point and it’s typically a symptom of a bigger problem. There’s a lot behind why you’re having a hard time monetizing your podcast, if that’s the answer. And we dig into that laundry list of questions and have a conversation. So that’s the first tip is, you know, know, open your calls with something much more high level that demonstrates that you work with those similar titles in that industry and you understand their walk of life. And if you’re new to a company and you don’t understand that, go talk to CS. Go talk to your sales leader and figure out what to say. But stop asking people why are they here on the call today? It’s just such a low level question and it’s such absolute garbage and it really works me up that people do that.
Jeff Tomlin: You know, I 100% agree. You know, one of our previous episodes, we were talking about, you know, really understanding an ideal customer profile. And if, you know, a company’s doing a really good job of focusing on their ideal customers, sales executives get really good at having a repeatable conversation that they get really good at. And you know, you go and you ask me those three questions or point out those three things, “Hey, these are the three challenges that we see people having with podcasts.” And then you got me nodding because you really know that this type of customer and you know that these are three challenges. And even if I don’t agree with one of them, I’m definitely nodding my head with two or you know, probably a couple of them anyways. So I mean, I completely agree with what you’re saying and I like the approach. I mean, you really, you know what I heard you say, it’s the path to gaining trust is to position yourself as a knowledgeable expert and add some value into the conversation instead trying to extract value from someone that doesn’t really wanna give you, give you their time.
Chet Lovegren: Yeah, especially with the rise of ChatGPT, people don’t understand salespeople are gonna make the best prompt engineers, sorry, great salespeople are gonna make the best prompt engineers. Because that’s all sales is. You’re prompting someone for a response. You know, if I asked you the podcasting question and you actually had a podcast problem and you’re coming to me as a consultant, you would probably say, even if I gave you those three options and you’re like, “Well actually getting my content back, getting high quality content back within our deadlines is actually my biggest struggle,” maybe I didn’t say your exact specific thing, but the reason that’s good is because that’s actually getting content that’s high quality before a deadline isn’t actually a problem, it’s a pain point. People live with that all the time. I have that struggle with my own content editors sometimes. I’m like, literally we’re posting in two hours. Can I get this short form clip? You know what I mean? Like, I run through it myself. It’s not an overarching problem though. I live with it. It’s pain, right? I’m not dropping everything in the at a hat to figure that out. But if I lost complete monetization of my podcast and its ability, you better believe I would put the brakes on everything else I’m doing and figure out how to keep that going. Because we’re releasing episodes every week, right? And we’re releasing special edition episodes at the end of the month. So that is a big problem. So those three things, you know, those three things have to be the problem they can’t live without. And typically, we always lead with pain. We’re like, “Oh, you know, time to bill our clients is inefficient.” Oh, you know, I sold logistics software and people used to focus on receiving ship, scan ship times. So I’m like, that is such a minute thing to focus on in the grand scheme of the dollars that they’re losing because of something else that’s probably happening in their business, you know. We typically lead with pain because we know what product features solve certain pain points, but we need to think about the overarching problem. So you should be stacking pain points. So if monetization is your problem, there should be at least three pain points. Because what happens is, let’s say each of those pain points is five grand. When we lead with a pain point, we’re trying to sell a solution against a $5,000 pain point. But if you stack multiple pain points into a bigger problem, I have now three pain points that are five grand each. I’m trying to solve this one $15,000 problem. Now those are very low numbers. I just use that because it’s simple math. It’s a lot easier than using real dollars that we probably see on a regular basis. But that’s the problem is now you’re selling whatever you’re selling needs to solve for $15,000 a loss versus just $5,000 a loss. And that creates urgency. That’s what gets people wanna get the ball rolling and that’s how you stop getting ghosted from deals too.
Quantify Pain, Simplify Messaging, and Focus on Actionable Basics.
Jeff Tomlin: Yeah, so, you know, I think that there’s probably… I would estimate the majority of sellers out there aren’t doing a really good job at quantifying the pain like you just did. You’re thinking about, yeah, this piece here is five grand, this piece here is five grand, that’s five grand. And you know, that’s the way you build value into the conversation. And I’d say, you know, in addition to, you know, doing a poor job at the initial discovery, I imagine, or I feel anyways, because I take a lot of sales calls in my position and I think a lot of people do a poor job at quantifying and putting a dollar value on the pain that’s out there.
Chet Lovegren: Yeah. Yeah, I worked with the software that helps with content marketing. Basically eliminates the need for a full-time content marketer. And I was looking at like their value props and how they talk to people. And I said, this is so verbose. How much is an average content marketer cost in your market? 75 grand before benefits and all that other stuff, but just flat out 75 grand in salary? Great. And do you believe that you can turn out more content with this software than a content marketer can in a year? Oh yeah, 10x. I’m like, okay, then ultimately the value of your software is $750,000, not just 75 grand because you’re doing the job that 10 content marketers could do.
Jeff Tomlin: Wow.
Chet Lovegren: But just put it really simple to your prospects. If you can hire a content marketer for less than 60 grand a year, you don’t need to have a conversation with us. And once they started doing that, boom, their pipeline went gangbusters because people are like, “I can’t hire a content marketer for less than 60 grand a year.” This software can do everything that a content marketer would do ’cause that’s ultimately their value prop is like, if you can go find someone to do this at this scale for less than 60 grand a year, you don’t need to talk to us. But we know you can’t. Usually, you’re paying 75, 80, 90 grand a year and they’re not even churning out as much content. And so when they show them, like the fact that they were basically getting $600,000 worth of content for 60 grand a year in software costs, people would buy it like crazy. They have like a 40% close rate on inbound. Because yeah, it’s all about quantification and it makes sense. I do that in my business when I go ensuring salespeople or sales managers. Sales manager’s a little tougher to quantify. There’s a different way we do it, a little more tactful. When I’m going to do at e-training. I’m talking to sales here, say, “Hey, what’s one deal worth to you?” “Well, about $40,000.” “Okay, and you got five AEs, right?” I can guarantee, I’m gonna help them win one extra deal every month, that’s no sweat. But I said that’s the thing is like, if I don’t win you two deals from this training by the end of the year, I’ll completely refund your money. Because they’re gonna do it. And then there’s the argument of causation and effect and all those things. But that’s kind of the point is like, if you can’t make at least 100 grand off of this training, then I don’t have any business being in your business. But I know they’re going to because the training is so affordable in comparison to that. And I have people that go through a course and in a week they’re like, “Hey, I use your perfect world scenario and I close two deals.” I’m like, “Yeah, it’s simple. It’s just people are overcomplicating things, thanks to LinkedIn influencers and people that want to sell courses all day long.” We try to give people too much because we feel like we need to make up for that value. I’ve done some sales trainings and it’s incredibly simple, but it’s actionable. That’s the thing that I focus on. Even though I’m charging you a good amount, I don’t need to create a super complicated deck and a bunch of different mind maps and flow charts and five steps to the simple sale, all that stuff. Like, it’s just needs to be straightforward and we need to get back to basics and understand that there are just tiny little minute things that we can do. Even just telling people my three tips for discovery, discovery is not an interrogation, it’s a conversation. Your sale is made in discovery. Your demo or presentation is a validation of the value you sold in discovery. And then if you can’t let your prospect know that no is not a dirty word in discovery, you’ll never hear back from them. Those are like my three things to discovery. Even when I’ve just told people that in a one-on-one setting in a conversation before they go and take that mindset into calls, I’ll hear back from them and they’re like, “Look, I told my prospect that talk track about how no is not a dirty word. Let’s keep an open line of communication. I know we’re gonna get busy in this evaluation,” yada, yada, yada. And man, I’m telling you, I have not had any deals stall for the last 30 days . And if people can’t meet with me, like we’re having open conversations when we reschedule, there’s no showing and never calling me back. I’m like, yeah, because it’s simple, little tiny things and it uses human psychology and how we operate as humans instead of these super complicated, you know, quadrant matrixes to a perfect sale. Right? Oh, things just need to be simplified. We need to get back to basics because we’re trying to do too much and we’re losing it.
Chet Highlights the Importance of Framing Costs as Savings for Clients.
Jeff Tomlin: You know, by the way, I love the example of how you build value in the initial part of that conversation and you know, you put the price at around 60 grand in a way that they probably didn’t even bat an eye at where they’re nodding. And the delta between the right way to do it and the wrong way to do it is probably incredible because I imagine you take your same imaginary example and a salesperson starts out demoing a piece of software and then they get to the price after they do the demo and they tell that same person it’s $500 a month which will be $6,000 a year. That process probably has a prospect going, Hmm, yeah, it’s pretty expensive.
Chet Lovegren: Yeah, well and in the content marketing example, that solution costs 60 grand a year. It’s five grand a month. For a content marketing software. That’s insane. That’s a lot of money. So if you don’t have that conversation ahead of time and you get to that call and yeah, you showed them a really cool demo and a really cool product, but man, five grand a month, I can’t pay for that. But they don’t think about, I can’t pay for that. They don’t think about it as them spending 60 grand. They think about it as them saving 75 grand because they don’t have to go hire someone to do it. And ultimately they’re paying 60, someone costs 75, they’re really saving 15 grand. But in their mind they’re going, “I saved 75 grand because I don’t have to hire someone, this can do it for me.” They’re not looking at the cost difference. That’s just how human psychology works and we don’t think about that. There’s this whole thing on TikTok about types of math. There’s guy math, there’s girl math, whatever, right? Not to be, you know, not to be PC or offend anybody, but that’s just what’s going around, you know, nothing having to do with, you know, politics and stuff.
Jeff Tomlin: Of course.
Chet Lovegren: It’s just about like, this is how guys think about math. This is how girls think about math. And it’s funny because the girl math situations, when people make jokes about it, it actually is exactly how humans think. We spend 60K on something we could have spent 75K on. We don’t think we’re saving 15K, we think we’re saving 75K. That’s just how it works in software too. Now, we measure ROI, but ultimately, I’m thinking I don’t have to buy a content marketer for 75 grand. This does it for me. And it’s more affordable, but I’m not thinking about, “I’m still spending 60 grand versus 75.” It’s a weird thing about human psychology, but most people don’t think about things that way or they’ve never heard that before. And so they don’t know how to talk about that kind of stuff. And this is why, I mean, yeah, you go to a sale and you go, “That’s five grand a month,” somebody’s gonna freak out. They don’t even pay that much for HubSpot, you know?
Jeff Tomlin: No, no kidding.
Chet Lovegren: Much for my CRM. But the thing is, is like, yeah, but you’ll go pay 75 grand for someone to do this. The software’s gonna do it for you and you’re gonna save a bunch of money and it’s gonna do more because it can do the work of 10 content marketers. And so now, the ROI is so much higher, the bar is set so much higher and it’s like, well, I would be stupid. It’s like Alex Hormozi says, “Give people an offer so good they feel stupid saying no.” I love that.
Jeff Tomlin: Yeah.
Chet Lovegren: That is so awesome. ‘Cause we don’t think about that enough.
Jeff Tomlin: What a flip.
Chet Lovegren: And that’s such a great way to think about it. Yeah. Make them feel stupid saying no. You’d have to be stupid to say no.
Founders Must Avoid Rapid Changes and Utilize Fake Door Tests Cautiously.
Jeff Tomlin: What a great way of thinking about it. Man, like, so I could pick your brain like forever on this type of stuff. This is gold. I wanted to get to one thing though to ask you about you know, you work with a lot of startup companies and I wanted to ask you about, you know, common mistakes that you see people make in the early stages of their company. So you’re just trying to build out the, you know, the value proposition for a, for a new product to service. You’re in the early stages. You haven’t built out you know, repeatability in your sales systems. What are some of those like problems that you see, you know, earlier stage companies making when they’re building out their go-to market?
Chet Lovegren: This is an interesting one because you have to be adaptable to change and you have to move with your market. I think I heard that Shopify actually started as like a snowboard e-commerce website, you know?
Jeff Tomlin: Yeah.
Chet Lovegren: And now look at them. But so like pivots are good, but I think especially with startups early on, if founders don’t get quick results, they think they’re something’s wrong and then they’ll go spend all this time building a change. Be steadfast in what you’re doing. And if you feel a change might be necessary because of a pivot you might need to make or a product you might need to tinker with, implement a fake door test. You familiar with the fake door test?
Jeff Tomlin: Yeah.
Chet Lovegren: Listeners might not be either, but it’s set up a door and see how many people line up in front of it. With nothing on the other end. Don’t build a room on the other end. Don’t spend all this time building a room for five people. Put up a door and see how many people line up to go to the other end of the wall before you decide if you wanna take the time to build a room. And it’s actually a lot more common now once I started thinking about things in this fake door test way, because I started even seeing massive software players send me emails going, “Sign up on our wait list to be a beta customer for this product feature.” And I’m like, that’s really interesting, but it makes sense. We’re not gonna go spend three months in product building out this product feature if only 1% of our customer base ends up using it. We want 10% of our customer base to say, “Yes, I want access.” And then we’ll go build it. And well we figure that, you know, 5% are actually gonna adopt it. And so for founders, stay steady in your decision on what you’re doing. Don’t just change your whole sales motion because you heard a really cool podcast or you watched an awesome TED Talk. If you feel a change needs to be made based on data and you want to implement something, run a fake door test on a very small sample size just to see how things work. But I see that all the time. Founders read a book or they see a TED Talk or listen to a podcast and they go idea, and they’re so agile because they are a startup. They wanna go make a million changes. And that just tanks their revenue. I saw it at Pavilion. Oh, SDRs are a great target market for what we do. Worst month they ever had was the month they tried to launch their SDR focused product, just didn’t work. And I called it. I said, “Nobody’s gonna do this. Nobody’s gonna pay that price point. This isn’t gonna provide value. SDRs don’t engage on this kinda level. This isn’t important to them. This isn’t what they do. They’re not gonna spend time outside of work getting better at their job. That’s just not what they do in most cases.” Some do. Those are the ones that become successful account executives, but most of them don’t. So when you talk about a product that needs masses in order to make it profitable, you’re launching a dud here. And they did. And even in a leadership meeting, you know, Sam Jacobs says, “Chet, I should have listened to you. You were totally right.: And I was like, “Yeah, I’ve only led SDRs for, you know, God knows how long.” And been on the forefront of sales development for a long time at that point in my career. And it happens, but just because you can be agile doesn’t mean you need to be. Settle down a little bit. Let’s understand what’s behind the big red button before we push it and let’s maybe do a fake door test to see what demand looks like when we wanna make a pivot.
Master Discovery because Sales Success is Rooted in Understanding and Curiosity.
Jeff Tomlin: By the way, I love the consistency and the wisdom that’s coming out of a couple of our recent conversations. And so, you know, I like your example here of the door test because I mean, you’re describing a really agile approach to doing things. And I was just having a conversation with John Rossman, the author of “The Amazon Way.” And he was talking about the same thing that you’re talking about right now too, about, you know, the definition of agility is like de-risking your decisions. And so if you’ve got a hypothesis about something, you know, figure out how you can go and test that way in the most cost effective way the quickest. And so, and like I said, I love the consistency in the wisdom that’s coming out of a couple of our chats here. So it makes a ton of sense. Boy, you know, I could keep talking for a long time with you about this stuff. I wanna be mindful of your time. If you had a couple of takeaways that you wanted to leave the audience with, what would they be?
Chet Lovegren: Number one, you’re probably not as good at discovery as you think. So find ways to get better. Your sale is made in discovery. Everything is just a validation or a follow up after that. An old Selzer told me that years ago and I see it to this day. Every time I walk out of a discovery call, I know if that deal’s gonna close or not. And there are times where I walk out and I go, “That sucked. That’s not going anywhere.” And you know, we lose touch, deal doesn’t go anywhere, can’t even reengage it after 90 days. Nothing, it has no traction. Maybe once in a blue moon, I’ll walk out of a deal where I’m like, “That’s going to be a big one.” And it might take a little longer. It might close at less dollars, but it’s still closes. It’s like a Dave Portnoy’s pizza reviews. Anytime he does one, I literally, like, I just watch his facial expressions and the way he talks about it and my wife thinks it’s unreal. I’m not even kidding you. Every time we watch one I say, “He’s gonna say seven, eight.” And then he goes, “I’m gonna give this a seven seven.” I’m always .2 away from his score. It’s unreal. I have like an amazing track record with pre-cognition for what his pizza review is gonna be. It’s the same way in my discovery calls. I think there’s maybe I could probably put my finger on two deals that I was wrong about in the last five years where I walked away and I said, “Either that is gonna close or that isn’t gonna close,” and it did the opposite. But 99% of the time, I know if something’s gonna close or not and what the deal’s gonna be like just based on what happens in discovery. So discovery should be simplified. People live with pain but they will solve problems. So find a way to take a bunch of pain points and wrap them into a big hairy problem. And make sure your discovery calls are a conversation, not an interrogation. You’re not shining a light on them in handcuffs asking where they were the night of the murder. You’re on the other end of the table opening up their books, looking at their business and helping them make better decisions. And trying to understand why they’ve made the decision they have made so far and if they impact them. Because ultimately, also people won’t make a change unless they recognize they’re doing the wrong thing and they need to change. So that’s a little Keenan gap selling wisdom for you to check that book out, that’s great. But that’s a ultimate reality. It’s not just enough to show people they have a problem, but you have to gain an agreement that they actually wanna change and that they’re ready to do it right now. But your sales is made in discovery. So you need to have a really good discovery process and it’s gonna be the foundation of anything you do in life moving forward. The better I got at discovery, the better I got at everything. It just develops natural curiosity. So you know, when I wanted to better my health, I got this natural curiosity and found a lot of innovative, interesting solutions and practices and things I could attempt to, you know, accelerate the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle. And I wanna be a better father, be a better husband, same exact thing. You just develop this natural curiosity when you become better at discovery. So anytime you go into discovery with anything you do in life, you just perform better. So get better at discovery. It’s the foundational principle to sales and I think it’s very overlooked. We think it’s a box checking exercise, answer bant and walk away. It’s so much more than that.
Connect with Chet on LinkedIn to Explore Resources and Programs.
Jeff Tomlin: Probably doesn’t help being a fantastic storyteller too. Chet Lovegren, it’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with you here on the “Conquer Local” podcast. I wanna say thanks for taking some of the time outta your busy day to join us here. If people wanted to get ahold of you and continue the conversation, how do they reach out to you?
Chet Lovegren: Well this has been a great conversation and thanks for rescheduling. I was a little under the weather last time we were supposed to chat, so thank you for your empathy and understanding. If you wanna connect with me, LinkedIn is a great place to do that. I’ve got a link to all my resources on my website. I have tons of free resources like everybody and their mother. I also have a newsletter, so if that interests you, we try to make it bite-sized business and sales acumen content in less than three minutes of reading time. So that’s your thing that’s there as well. I have a couple programs, they’re not courses, they’re actually designed to be a hybrid of instructor-led training and communication and community for frontline sellers. We have one that helps SDRs turn into account executives in less than 12 months. And we have an AE academy as well that are available to people if you’re interested. But all that stuff is on my LinkedIn, just look me up. Chet Lovegren. L-O-V-E-G-R-E-N.
Jeff Tomlin: Love it. It’s been an absolute pleasure and hope you’ll come back and join us another time on the podcast and give us an update and we can go down some other paths and pick your brain across the myriad of topics that we could talk about in the sales world. Thanks again, and I hope you stay well.
Chet Lovegren: Yeah. Yeah, I’m gonna have to fly up to Northeast Canada and get in that awesome studio you got there. We’ll have to do it in person.
Jeff Tomlin: Hey, Hey, I’m all in, all in. Have a good one, my friend.
Chet Lovegren: You too, Jeff. Thank you.
Jeff Tomlin: Well, there’s a guy who knows what he’s talking about! So many valuable insights to take away. I appreciate the emphasis on Mastering Discovery calls for Sales Success. Continuous improvement in discovery calls is key for any sales professional. The idea of simplifying discovery into a genuine conversation, rather than an interrogation, truly resonates with me. By uncovering pain and getting a prospect nodding along the way, makes for a productive interaction.
Now, let’s delve into the second takeaway which is Strategic Adaptability and Effective Pivoting. Chet shared some golden nuggets on staying agile and adaptable, especially for startups. I loved the example of implementing a “fake door” test to assess market demand before diving into full-scale development. And of course, the reminder that strategic pivoting can be incredibly valuable. It’s a call to embrace change based on insights and results gained along the way.
If you’ve enjoyed Chet’s episode discussing Sales, keep the conversation going and revisit some of our older episodes from the archives: Check out Episode 633: Transforming Sales Coaching with AI with Michael Miranda or Episode 628: How to Craft Successful Cold Emails with Frank Sondors.
Until next time, I’m Jeff Tomlin. Get out there and be awesome!