Welcome back to the show. I'm so grateful you're here. So lovely to have you.
I have a really interesting conversation this week. And I actually had the conversation a few weeks ago, and I bumped it up because it's very timely. It's very timely in the way that the sales process is shifting. And I don't think it's shifting fast enough, quite honestly, I'm still getting emails like I want last week, I got an email last week from somebody reaching out saying we have this product that can do these things for you. Here's an example report. Wonderful, the report looks great. Actually, I am vetting my current system right now. This is very timely. So I asked him a few questions in regards to what the product can do in terms of the pain that we're having of what we needed to solve. And he said that it can do it and that he could show me on a call. And I just said, no, that's just good enough to know that you have the feature and the functionality that this thing can do what it says that you're saying he can do. I'm currently looking at a vendor that I've been with for the last five years, who also says that they're rolling out a new feature that can do what I what I needed to do. And I need to make sure that I give them the proper due diligence because we have five years of data with them. So I can't move just yet. But great to know that your product is out there. I'll be in touch. You know if I need to you're on my shortlist is what I told you, you're on my shortlist if I need to vet a new, a new vendor.
And then he emails me back and says, Why don't we jump on a call so I can show you what this can do. And so that you can make a better decision.
And I was like, Dude, I, I know what I'm doing. I know what I need to do. Like, now you've just lost a customer because you're not listening.
And so much of what Marcus talks about is that active listening piece is sitting in the questions, the understanding of the pain, where the pain is coming from where the hesitations coming from, where the risk where they feel like their risk is coming from, right. Our job as sellers is to mitigate risk, not reduce it, completely wash it away. There's no risk here. Right. And if there is risk, we're going to absorb it and it's all good.
And he tells a wonderful story about an A great example of that. Marcus Cauchi joins me to walk us through how he sees the buyers journey. And I think this is really important and really timely for all the reasons why I just said it. And I think I've had this conversation so many times about the customer journey. You can actually go through my show, my podcasts and see that a couple of headlines that actually say customer journey in the headline to find them, and I'll post them in the show notes too.
But this was different. It was a different perspective. And it felt very actionable. And it felt very clear. And it really breathed life into the possibility. The customer journey feels so cumbersome right now because it doesn't feel linear. And it feels all over the place. And it feels like people have buyer's remorse and are so scared of making a decision. And he breaks that all down for us in a way that feels like oh, we can overcome those things in a really intentional way. And we can do it upfront. And we can build that trust early and often. And we can keep showing up with it. And we can be in it for the long haul. And we can build a really thoughtful, wonderful customer base.
It's so good, y'all. It's so good. I literally took five pages of notes through this call. And I probably could have taken more but I just got so sucked in at some points. I stopped taking notes, and then I went back to taking notes. Such a good conversation real quick about Marcus.
Marcus revolutionises your sales performance boosts your career and cultivates lifelong customers. With his innovative strategy for selling complex high value solutions to mid market enterprise clients, Marcus can help you accelerate your success and achieve your goals.
There is value focused approach Marcus builds trust based relationships with clients and expertly navigates objections to provide tailored solutions that address their most pressing needs and goals. I'm going to stop there because he says a lot of this and I really want you to go on the journey with us of what Marcus has learned and the system he's built and how he really sees the customer journey. It's so good, y'all it's so you're gonna want to sit down you're going to want to notebook you're going to want to take it in and maybe even listen to it again.
All the things let's go
Kerry: Hello, Marcus, thank you for joining me on Tea Time with tech marketing leaders.
Hello. Thanks very much for having me, Carrie.
Kerry: Oh, very excited to have you very excited to dig into our topic today. But before we get there markets, why don't you tell our listeners your story? What do you do? And how did you get there?
Essentially, today, I coach people to get out of their own way, we seem to spend a large amount of time performing acts of self sabotage and idiocy. And I speak from better personal experience. Having made a hand fisted job of so many relationships and sales and jobs, I thought, I might as well turn that into a cash cow. And I've become rather good at it. Because the advantage of having failed a lot is not only empathy, but also recognising the triggers and the symptoms. And it's important to separate an understanding of the symptoms versus causes. So a lot of people think that the sale is the objective, it's not, it's a symptom, the result that I want is a customer whose job gets done as a direct result of their involvement with me. But my part is to help them execute that job. They have to be the hero. And so a huge amount of what I do is teaching people to reflect and recognise the effect that they have what you know, how you show up, is reflected back on how you project out. So if you want people to trust you, you have to lead with trust, you have to trust them. If you want people to be vulnerable, you have to be vulnerable first. If you want people to get your needs met, you have to get their needs met first. And none of the way most businesses and traditional sales and management work or in marketing is conducive to that because everything is Hurry, hurry, hurry. And if you want to speed up, slow down. If you want to get lots and lots of business, be patient, if you want to sell to people, have them buy from you and stop selling to them. So that's kind of what I got there by failing a lot. So that's basically the backstory, I think.
Kerry: I think that's so important, though, especially the whole piece about, and we're gonna get into this more, because I think it lends itself to the conversation, but this idea of right now needing it yesterday, and it's like, Yes, I guess. However, unless you've taken the steps ahead of time to build those foundational elements towards those ultimate goals. You can't just turn it on it sounds, marketing and sales sometimes switch.
Okay, I mean, you can be in it can be lucky. And occasionally it works like that. And that gives the illusion that that's how things work. But it's like people doubling down on workload. And when things that get tough. Everyone's told, you know, you've got to work harder. I think, Alex, to that, what you need to do is you need to think, Well, is there a better way? When I look at marketing, and I look at sales, and their motions have 97 to 99% and north of that failure rates. And that is considered to be good practice? Email, direct email, cold calling. You know, I mean, in order to get through to someone cold calling today, sorry, this is out of date data. This was 2020 with 80 million cold calls is that statistical base, okay, so it's pretty reliable. It took 33 to 46 Dial attempts to get through to someone on the list. And 14 of those conversations to get invited in once to a meeting. And on average salespeople fail. seven out of eight times to secure a second meeting because they showed up and they were selflessly self orientated delivered zero value, or they spill their guts and they basically wet their powder. So the other people, the buyer decided there's no point taking this conversation any further. I know where to go if I need it. Yeah. Now, that waste is offensive to me.
Kerry: In what way?
Well, why would I want to spend $92 to attract a lead only $1 to get them over the line. Why would I want to spend all my money on the thing that generates 18% Gross Profit instead of 1,150% average gross profit. Why would I want to sweat? Why would I want to put my salespeople are under so much pressure that they are stressed to the point where this 60% of sales managers have a health threatening stress related condition. And salespeople are going out with their prefrontal cortex being switched off, which means that language, ie they get tongue tied the thing that they do that their job you know, speaking dead, okay is Samford. It affects language, reason and logic. And then you put them in front of customers where you tell the salesperson you better bring it home or else and putting the buyer under pressure triggers a bits of the brain called the NCLs accumbens, which is where which emotions reside, as fight or flight, right? Oh, no, no, no worse. Disgust and contempt, though. So good. If you're listening, and you are a leader, of any shape or form in finance, you're an investor, you're a founder, you're a CEO, you're a CRO, you're a CMO. Pay heed. When you put your salespeople under pressure, you make them less effective. When you put them in front of a buyer, and you try and bring forward a deal or you're trying to accelerate the deal because of your lack of pipeline and your desire to meet a valuation target. Chances are, you will put the buyer into ghosting mode. Because wherever there is uncertainty, the default setting to the for the human brain is the worst case scenario Chicken Little.
Kerry: Yes, yeah, the sky is falling.
Absolutely. Okay. Now, is that your intention? And if you're an investor, and you have general partners, who are trying to create the conditions where they are creating that kind of psychological and physiological shift in your salespeople, I would be going back to them very angry. And saying, What on God's earth do you think you are doing with my asset? And how dare you squander it? So, ** ** but maybe that's just me.
Kerry: I want to keep going. But I don't want to keep going. Because, you know, the next piece of this feels very much like this all sounds well. And good, Marcus, but like, This also sounds really hard. It is definitely a mental shift, which we are Don't worry listeners, we're going to help you understand. Before we get there, though, Marcus, let's talk about a challenge you're currently facing right now. Because we're all human. And life is hard. And, and it's nice to know, we're not alone.
Tyranny of choice, I've got a lot of experience, and I've been able to do a lot of things. Telling people about that is the kiss of death. If you ever want to make a living, if you want to be poor, and have skinny kids, tell them about all the things that you can do. So I've had to since I left my franchise a couple of years back nearly three years, how did that happen? So mind blown, sorry. So since I left the franchise I did a couple of years as a fractional CRO, and realised honestly, I don't want to manage people. I love helping people. But what I don't want to do is spend the day to day date managing up mainly because a lot of founders sorry, if I worked with you, it was mainly my fault. But most founders, adolescents trapped in middle age bodies. And the problem with having a slightly temperamental, overly emotional teenager, especially first time founders is they don't generally know they're asked from their elbow. And they're convinced of their own brilliance. And they have a tendency to fall into traps around their heuristics, which can be quite expensive for them, and it's a waste of everyone's time. So what I've realised is that what I want to do is work with people who are principled, and they love the whole process of selling because they see it as the most noble thing that you can possibly do in business. Selling is about helping people to identify what their real problem is, and then find ways to solve it, whether it involves you or not. And this is hard, because you have to have the intellectual humility to admit that you don't know everything and be ready for the buyer to not buy from you, and to be okay with that. Because if your long term selfish, you know that if you've treated them, right, human beings, we're social primates, okay, reciprocity service is wired into us. The problem is that over the last two 300 years with the industrial revolution, we've developed these systems of competition, which is you carry a sharp knife and trust no one. And it's all me, me, me, it's very entitled, and only a few when, and the last 40 years or so we've seen that explode as private equity and venture capital really managed to take that take hope, then you've got this next level, which is where you've got a shift generationally.
And if you haven't studied it, or looked into it, look into something called spiral dynamics. If you're familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, it's the next level of thinking up from that. And the basic idea is that you can take the competencies and the ideas and understanding from the levels below. And you can see one level above you, clearly. And two levels vaguely, anything above that is just well beyond your comprehension. And it explains in my head, at least, why we have the east versus West conflict, why we have the left versus right, why we've ended up polarised as we have in society. Now, when you understand that context, as a marketer, as a product developer, as a seller, as an investor, as a business, Owner, business, whatever. It allows you to think, as your customer. And I think what's really, really exciting at the moment, is the arrival of these AIs. And what I'm able to do with chat GPT, compared with what I was capable of doing three months ago, has blown my mind. And I was already pretty excitable it today, in three hours, four hours, I'm running a programme with my neuroscientist, pal mo Lieberman. And we're looking at how to unpack and decode your buyers psychology using chat GPT, and we're starting with you. So the first thing we're going to do is we're going to unpack your own psychology. And we're going to give you some frameworks for you to play with. And these are guided practices. So it's not us doing it, it's you doing. And what's so exciting is all of a sudden people's eyes open up because they're suddenly think, Oh, my God, I had no idea. Then you plug into a tool like crystal nose, which is a little LinkedIn plugin that looks at people's personality and communication style. Well, how can you maybe make use of that? Well, you suck that data out, and you put it into chatty pt. And then you put it in with any recent pronouncements from the CFO, or the CEO. And you start to pass that language through it. And before you know it, you've now got a framework. And if you use that, if you've asked the right prompts, you can have it deliver content, nuanced content, based on the tone of the buyer. I mean, who would not want that sort of play? I mean, if you're serious about selling or marketing, wow.
Yeah. And that level of personalization. You know, we've talked about how hard that level of personalization is and how much time it takes to even build the personalization out and get in front of people. And then and then how you scale that which is circling perfectly into the conversation I want to have i No blowed my blood.
Kerry: So in terms of let's let's break this down a little bit. We're talking about persona, you're basically talking about personas.
Well, probably this one party. Yeah. Really important.
Kerry: Yeah. So let's pull up from that for a second and just describe the customer journey. Right? So because that's getting into this a bit this is a part this is the part of the customer journey, a very small part I would say given how lengthy so for you in your experience, or I guess what does the customer journey need for you?
Okay, I'm gonna do this with a metaphor and I'm stealing this absolutely from Colin Shaw, and his exceptional podcast is fantastic. But this is the McDonald's customer journey from the perspective of a McDonald's employee. Someone drives up to the Squawk Box places their order, drives forward, taps their card, drives forward, picks their food drives off the real customer journey. For those of you who have children, this will become familiar.
Eventually, you crack, you pile the little blighters into the back of the van. You buckle them up, you're driving through heavy traffic, it's lunchtime. It's on a Saturday, there's traffic, are we there yet? World War Three is breaking out there fighting Shut up. And you get to the back of the queue, there are 12 cars in front. And as you crawl forward. Anyway, it's about 97. decibel is the equivalent of a jet engine, as it's just warming up at the taxi. Then you finally get to about two cars from the order. And you make sure you get their order, then you drive forward. And someone who's speaking this is probably their fourth or fifth language is trying to take you on. They've probably got a PhD from Aleppo University and chemical engineering. But life has thrown them with a bit of a Googy. Now they're trying to take your order with your kids screaming in the back. And one of them's a vegetarian, so you know that that's a hard pill piece of shit. And then you've got to wait, but wait for it, then they change their mind. So you're not entirely sure, but you think oh enough, and you drive forward. And the best bit of the whole piece is the wallet ectomy, where you tap your card and your money goes out of your account seamlessly. But it's the only painless bit of that whole piece. Then you drive forward. Now if you've got the vegetarians, you know you're probably going to have to wait. If you don't have vegetarians you're worrying about do I check or do I drive off because there's 16 cars around the corner and you're feeling all that social pressure and then you drive off then before you know it, you have to detour to ame because one of them is currently sporting a chip up the news and the other ones vomited milkshake. Meanwhile, after the AMA, you then have to have the car cleaned out and you have to recycle the packaging. That's the buyers journey. Now the problem is your buyers journey is really like that, because no matter how you introduce it, my favourite model is Bob mestres model from and it's m o e s t a bob master was apprentice to W Edwards Deming, the guy who turned Japan around and was responsible for the Kaizen philosophy. His last four mentors was Clay Christensen, who's the father of jobs to be done theory and design thinking, okay, so you can rely on Bob, he's got 5000 patented products to his name as an engineer. And his problem was he couldn't sell the damn things. So he had to reverse engineer the process which he's done. His podcast, hashtag JT BD is fantastic. Not doing many of them. But the mattress interview comes in two parts. It is a must read for anyone in business, in sales in marketing and product development. must, must must and CES, you have to listen to those two entities. Now. The buyers journey starts with making space. Oh shit, I've got a problem. What is it all? Why is this happening? Okay, they're confused. They don't know what the hell's going on. So that now they make space for it. And they start to move into passive looking. Now, in passive looking what's happening is they're learning how in passive looking, they're going to webinars, they're going to YouTube, they're going to speak to their friends. They're downloading white papers. They're sharing white papers. They're asking questions of people, they're joining WhatsApp communities, Discord communities, they're on Facebook groups.
Now the first thing that this raise it, what's the question? As an owner and as a marketer, that literally has just raised in your head?
Kerry: What do you what do you mean the let me
Okay, well, let me ask a better question. Okay. As the owner of a business and a seasoned marketer, what opportunities does that represent? Just that passive looking stage?
Kerry: It does a couple things. It provides ongoing value those relationships because you're showing up with the value of what they need, and you're building trust, as well, because, yeah, because you're, you're
Yeah, it's a relationship of trust building without actually ever having to talk to them, and giving them you're putting them in the driver's seat making decisions and learning more. Absolutely.
So let me share with you the trust equation developed by Charlie green. Okay, so he wrote the book, the trusted advisor, and a book, everyone must read two books, everyone must read Bob masters demand side sales, which makes you think as the customer, okay. And then trust based selling. Now, Charlie came up with the trust equation, trust equals credibility. That means you can do what you say you can do. Plus reliability, you do it.
Who knew? Plus intimacy.
Now, intimacy is the most important operator in this equation. Let me repeat it. So trust equals credibility plus reliability plus intimacy, over self orientation.
Kerry: Okay, not about you.
It's not about you. It's about them. But it has to be about you eventually. But this is what we mean by being long term selfish. Yeah, yeah, we eventually get our needs met by helping our customer get their needs met, and helping them execute on the job they have to get done. Every business has a job to be done. When you understand what that job is, everything makes sense. If you are part of a private equity portfolio, forget what the original job to be done was, which was to serve customers by sort of specific people solving specific problems. Now you serve the bigger job to be done, which is the valuation target. Because what the general partners care about is raising the next fund.
Kerry: Yeah, yeah.
That's the job to be done when you understand that every act of idiocy and cruelty that they inflict that causes people's brains to switch off, and causes customers to respond with disgust and contempt, and delay, the sale and reduced performance is driven by the job to be done. Because the idiots at the top aren't thinking about the outcome. They're thinking about their outcome, and thinking as if it matters, instead of is it as if it is the symptom, which it is.
And I'll give you two examples.
Kerry: Sorry. Let me just make sure I'm clear. So our our outcome of sellers is the need to sell the thing. But if we can think about the buyers need and their final outcome and work to meet that the sale will naturally happen over time, because it's a sale, it's a symptom.
That's exactly what I mean. Yeah, 100% on the money.
Now, on to the problem, you got vaulted The problem is that when we are trying to be selfish and self orientated, we forget that that isn't why other people come to work. For those of you who have staff, do you think that your employees come to work with the express intent of making you richer? Do you think they come to work? In order to increase the value of your stock when you haven't given them any? No? Do you think they come to work to pay their bills, to feed their children to put a roof over their head and clothes on their back and go on holiday? Do you think they give a damn about your desire to drive an Aston Martin? Or to acquire another company? Well, what if maybe you started with their level of engagement and why they come to work and you cared about their motivation. So let me give you the example. The s&p 500 was studied by Gallup between 2010 and 2016. And they looked at employee engagement as the core metric now, obviously, Gallup has an axe to grind on this. So you may look at it as passes out. However, what they did was they compared annual compound share price growth. They looked at absenteeism, sickness and turnover. They looked at revenue per employee and profit per employee and productivity per employee. Okay. And what they found what seeing companies that had highly engaged employees, those employees produced 500% more profit per employee 120% higher revenue per employee 20% Higher daily productivity per day 40% lower turnover and wait for it over five years 300 And percent annual compound share price growth compared with average to low engagement company. Now, in what possible universe? Is it in the investor's best interests where we claim that we represent the businesses exists to represent shareholder value. Where you increase the costs, you reduce the probability of conversion, you create churn 15%, churn rate bear in mind means you have to replace 50% of your customers every three years. Okay. profitable customers or expansion customers in SAS. Bank, SAS did a study in 2019. And the bank says study says that new business generates 18% Gross Profit upsells 170%, gross profit, expansion sales 1,150% profit. Now, I'm lazy in inherently intrinsically bone idle. If I can take doing so at all to an art form, I will. Okay, but I want the outcome. So the question going through my head always is, is there a better way? How can I do less but better on purpose? How can I get paid double for half the work? Now, these to me seemed perfectly reasonable questions. As someone who is inherently lazy, it's a good thought. But I still want the outcome I want a good future I want to be able to provide. Now, the easiest way to do this is by not finding or creating friction needlessly. So what is it sellers and marketers do to create friction? Well, if we go back to the buyers journey, they go from passive looking to sorry, from making space to passive looking, then they go from passive to active looking. They've learned how now they're exploring their options. This is when for the first time they are ready to have a sales conversation.
But how often is your marketing premature, trying to book a meeting? It's trying to secure someone's interest in a conversation, when really all they want to do is gather information. And so you create pressure needlessly?
Kerry: Are you saying that happens in the class of looking space or even in the act of working space are still trying too early to book meetings?
Well, in the in the act of looking space, they will be open to it, but only you get away from being a feature function monkey, which is what most salespeople are. I remember I was commissioned to write a framework for a massive manufacturer of hardware. And they rejected it because it wasn'tabout the product. Now, the problem was they had a 2% conversion rate and they wanted to increase it but they wanted to pitch to be all about the product. No one buys product people pay for and rent outcomes. They never buy anything outright. I mean love an Aston Martin, the consumption and adoption and satisfaction levels are through the roof. If I've got elderly parents, it's no use when I have to take them into my home and now I need something that can take their wheelchairs, as students are not known for that. Even Even there, what's the MPV or whatever it is, they probably don't have an NPV do they? They've got a Chelsea tractor. Now, the challenge is that we have to understand where the buyer is on their buying journey and meet them where they are not where we want them where we wish they were. So in that active looking, they will take a call. But we have to enter their workflow and to the world that they occupy in a way that makes us different. That means getting them to talk about their problems. Because the minute you make it about you, the guard goes upnamely 10 salespeople you trust they'll listen to.
Okay. For those of you just listening on audio Kerry just closed her cardigan up. Now I know she was complaining about the cold earlier. But that is a subconscious response when people get defensive. Okay, so again, you'd look for these clusters of behaviours. And again, salespeople don't learn to read the situation. And in the situation when people are 15 to 20% of the way through active looking, they switch off about the product, and features and functions and talking about their payment, that point is only going to cause them to ghost you. Yeah, do you know 60% of buying cycles end up in no decision? Yes, it's 52% of those are caused by the seller being an OS. Because some examples of what quote unquote, being and asked me and in that, you know, on those calls in that activist is, it just simply features and making it about yourself, or it's two things, the first thing is you ratchet up the features and benefits and you remind them of this brilliant, better future? They've already got that in their head? They know it? The other thing you do is you remind them of their pain. They already know that too. What are they doing about 15 to 20% of the way through.
And of the call or of the of the buying cycle of the bank. They're now in active, I read that they're considering buying, that they're actively looking, they're speaking to vendors. But about 15 to 20% of the way through something happens?
Kerry: Well, they want to know that you're gonna take their pain away. Yeah. And what's the experience doing it? What if what they don't trust?
What do you need? Like, what if t goes wrong? Can I trust Carrie does carry have my back? Is she more interested in my success or her success? What are her bosses like? I'll give you a great example. A client I was working with was in the enablement function in a very, very large software company. And one of the challenges that he faced was his salespeople were going out and getting to final stage and the vent, the buyers were saying, you know, we're not sure we're going to go ahead because we don't trust your company.
Kerry: Oh, yes.
million dollar deals plus, and the problem is the CFO won't take it any further, because they don't trust the company, about 15 to 20% of the way through any major purchase. The buyer is thinking what will go wrong? And without certainty, the default setting of the brain speak to your neuroscientist friends, look it up, look up chat GPT ask, the default setting of the brain is worst case scenario. That's the baseline. So we have to preempt all of that. Now. Think, again, back to my earlier bad question. What opportunity does this open up way earlier in the buying journey for us to preempt all of this stuff, because our job I believe, is to know where the buyer is likely to be on their buying journey, what their struggling moments are going to be, and provide them with safety by being there, turning up providing them with tools, pre empting, all of this stuff. So every time they hit a snag, bloody hell carry Wow. This is why you focus on the medium term, you don't focus on the short term, if you're focusing on the short term 3% your market will buy. If you focus on the medium term, you're getting about 40%.
So when you're talking about that trust, you know, the trust needs to happen in that passive looking, you mentioned that and you're saying that around the 30 30% mark through the buying journey people fail because they you haven't built that trust in that path. even sooner this even sooner. To try again, remember the trust equation is trust is credibility plus reliability plus intimacy over self orientation. There is another very, very powerful equation, which was developed by my pals and partner Darrell stickle. And it is vulnerability times uncertainty equals perceived risk.
Now, think about that.
If you're number one job is to make sure that the other person does not perceive you as a threat. And your number one job is to make sure that they feel safe when ever they think of, or engage with you. How would that alter your approach in terms of outbound outreach, marketing?
Kerry: Content? Yeah, I mean, that's exactly where my brain line of trying to figure out, well, how do you trust comes with relationship building. And you can do that to a certain extent with content for sure, in terms of case studies and examples and putting out how to guides to showcase how I tell my team this other time, like, you don't have a secret sauce. Like, let's be real, and that there isn't, people want to understand that you know what you're doing there, they don't want it because they're gonna take it and go do it. And if they are, then great, more power to them. But at the end of the day, we need to showcase that we know what we're doing, and build that trust with them through that way. And so, you know, content for sure, up front and doing that for sure. But on the long run, which I think is where you're gonna, you're gonna go to next, you know that the rest of that buyers journey is that relationship, building one on one, right in terms of like, the people you buy from
The buyers journey doesn't end at the decision and the first transaction or first use, because the buyers journey at the decision point. Now they're making trade offs. So when you bought your house, you were deciding, do we need five bedrooms? Or four? Do we need a second bathroom? What sort of access routes do we need to transportation to schools to shops? You know, are we going to bring elderly relatives over? If we are? Do we need to factor that in? And how old are the kids now? How do we use the space? Is this going to be convenient? Can I whilst I love the wood panelling? Can I be bothered with having to woodworm every five years? Yeah, these are all trade offs. Now, what you do is you take stuff away from the overall part. And what you're left with is a compromise. Now, this then brings us to something else, it's really, really important. What you and I operate in worlds of wicked problems. The problem that I see is that most people try and solve wicked problems with simple point solutions. And that doesn't work. So if you have an imperfect system that's found an unhappy equilibrium, but it's working sort of, and you limp along, and it sort of totters, if you keep poaching it, by adding more layers of complexity and adding yet another piece of technology and adding more process and changing stuff. Without thinking about the end game. And working backwards, then what you end up doing is just creating it, you know, when you got an old spinning top, and the hockey puck or a gyroscope. And after a while it falls over. Now it might bounce back up again. But then it'll fall over again. Well, the same thing happens when you don't look at the bigger picture. Wicked problems can be defined by four criteria. The first is whatever you try first doesn't work. And in startups, they're typically a series of hopefully non fatal experiments. Yeah. The second is that stakeholders differ. They come in and out. They drop in, they drop out, they change their minds. They have differing opinions.
Kerry: The rules change as you go. Yep. Yeah. ** ** Being in the middle of the deal with one person for them to then leave, and they hand off and having to basically start over. Exactly.
I taught people to sell aircraft carriers. It took them five years to get to nowhere and six months to get over the line. When they stopped faffing and started understanding what they were trying to do. A power mine sold six battleships to the Department of Defence in 14 minutes.
Is that shipbuilders that because he understood that the reason the admiral was talking to them was he wanted Battle Ready battleships and they built their proposition from backwards from that. Who wants a hunk of metal that costs you two and a half billion dollars. stuck there as a sitting duck with 1200 lives on board and 80 aircraft and six other ships? No one. What you want is a battle ready battleship that within 24 hours, is going to be ready and see worthy again, no matter where it is in the world, even if it's near hostile territory.
That's a huge proposition. Like that's a, that's thinking as the customer, not thinking as a selfish investor, right? So people don't come to me for training and coaching. No one's ever bought coaching from me because they wanted coaching. They wanted a better future. And if they weren't certain I could provide it. There was no way they were buying it from me. Because the level of intimacy, the depth that we go into, is deeply, deeply uncomfortable. And you have to be motivated to want that outcome to go through that pain.
Kerry: Yeah, journey.
Yeah. I mean, it's fun for both sides. But it's bloody scary. It's scary for me as well, because I don't know. Right? So yeah, now they've gone through the decision. And they've made the trade offs first use? Was my anticipated buyer's remorse. justified and have I made a terrible mistake? And how do I get out of this? Is there a cooling off period? How do I get out? What do I have to do? Oh, God, who's gonna judge me? Yeah. Yeah. So that's the reality. That's this is all part of the buyers journey. Now, this is all anticipated earlier on, when they've ghosted you because you put pressure on them, because your boss was an OS. You see what I mean by the example. Okay. And then ongoing use because if first use doesn't match expectation, okay, then ongoing use isn't going to happen. You don't get the habit and the expansion sales. But this all comes back down to one thing,which is clarity.
Which happens right at the beginning? Why do we exist? And for whom? Because if you don't understand that, and you can't answer that question, What the hell are you in business for? I think it's important, though. What you said, though, is that you got to work backwards. Yeah. You have to work the conclusion first.
Yeah, not battle. That battleship examples. So on the nose, like, I can't get a better timeline on that. And then just to be able to back it up with, with the systems and processes to actually show up to wherever you need to show up and actually do what you need to do. I just sort of mind boggling, but so there Yes,
Kerry: yes, clarity. Just to confirm, again, we've got making space, passive looking, active looking, deciding, First, use ongoing use. Now, as they're going through that process. Remember, especially the more money that is involved, the more impact impactful the decision, the more scrutiny and the more judgement, this human being, will be sensing and feeling that depending on where this human being is on the spectrum of giving a damn or not giving a damn, that will dramatically affect the decisions they use, they make and how we have to communicate and how we, as sellers have to show up.
The beauty of Sorry, sorry, I just quick question quick, these questions are never perfect, because there's so deep and you have so much knowledge and it's amazing. You've mentioned that there's huge fall off and ghosting, you've mentioned that a couple times. And the ghosting part from my understanding generally happens from what you've said between the active looking and the deciding piece. So right early in the active looking stage.
Yeah, unless there's a problem is the problem is in the in that stage, the seller is often listening with happy ears. And so they're keeping the the deals alive. Basically, they're on life support. And you see this, this isn't a very PC, so you may want to cut this bit out. But if you think about it, when the pipeline is bad, it either looks like a pencil because there's nothing in it or it looks like an old pair of grade granny knickers. Okay, it's saggy at the top baggy in the middle and there's a lot of very unpleasant stuff in the gusset. Now what you want is a thong. It needs to be wide at the top with rapid early disqualification. And then what is left is high quality prospects, none of whom may be necessarily buying immediately. But you've got this middle of the funnel that you're tackling. And that's where the bulk of my effort goes the middle of the funnel, not the top, and not the button. Because if I focus on the medium term, and I focus on the middle of the funnel, then what I'm doing is I'm always focusing on advancing the buyers understanding of their problem, and how they may solve this, solve it. Okay? Because the it needs to come from them, the more it comes from them, the less they will argue with the data. People don't argue with stuff they'd made up. And a heuristic, it's Sargon.
Kerry: Let's, let's give people some tactics to really feel like they can go do something with this, because this has been so immensely helpful. And I love how we're sitting right now in where the most opportunity is for folks, which is in this middle of the funnel piece. That yeah, and where people are really losing. So when you're talking about advancing the problem, and getting them to talk more to you is what it sounds like, right? You're not talking at them. You're inviting them in to tell you more essentially, is that what I'm understanding tactic?
The opening tactic is Kerry, I'm sensing that I'm running ahead of you.
I feel that you're on chapter four. And sorry, I'm on chapter four, and you're still on the introduction? And can we just wind this back a little bit? There's a reason you're hesitating? Do you mind telling me what that is? Okay. And there's a very good book called the jolt effect by Matt Dixon. And I can't remember the name of the other authors. But they've done the research. And in fact, my partner moeed has done very similar research, which supports this too. And he's interviewed, I think, 428, senior executives. And what they found is around 20% of the way through their catastrophizing about what can go wrong. And what they need is someone to uncover what that, um, stated fear is, and then talk them through how it can be addressed, or give them an out. You have to be ready to take a no buy, and you have to be ready to give a no. Because if it's not right for the customer, you have no right to sell it to them. I said earlier that selling should be the most noble thing you do in business, was selling is helping other people get their needs met. Our job is to enter into their world, find out where they are, and the context in which they have to operate and help them make the best decision for themselves today. And in the future. Whether it involves me or not. I want to end it there because I checked you.
Kerry: Normally I summed it up, but I feel like you just did a beautiful job of that. And I'm not gonna step all over it. It's absolutely perfect. I'm so grateful that you joined me, Marcus. And I think this conversation is so important. And I hope people reach out to you to learn more about how you help sellers, because I run into it all the time. It's why I've, you know, wrapped myself up tight and my you know, everytime a salesperson reaches out to me, I, I cringe. It's like you said, right, it's a wash afterwards. It's so unusual that you run into sellers who really just want to help out and really care. And it's not about them trying to make their goals, right.
But let me just give one story of how this works. Okay. My client, Adam is a new sales leader. And he sells capital equipment into FMCG, food manufacturers, that kind of thing. And they have not had a new product in eight years. Adam and I have been working together seven, eight months. And he bought into this philosophy. He's ex military, he went for special forces training. So he's got real drive, and he's got a real ethic ethical code. However, when he was in the role, he was a fantastic individual contributor. And he worked really hard and he did all the right things. He got promoted. And he discovered that the job of being a manager is very different. Now he managed through really driving people hard to get 6% growth and the industry average was 3%. So he was doing well. This year, with the industry average at 3%. He's at 28% growth. Every one of his people is at or above quota. The CFO came in three weeks ago and said Adam if it wasn't for the fact that was so far ahead to budget, I'd wonder what the hell you do because you seem to just swing around the office drinking coffee.
Now, the point being, he's paying him for the outcome, not for looking busy. Okay. And he Adam has now instituted a policy, that's almost a stackable offence if you put your customer under pressure to buy. Now, here's the story. They had a deal that was a big deal with a bottling company. And it had gone quiet ghosted, and Adam phoned the CFO and arranged the call to talk about his concerns, and it was it gone? Well enough. And what Adam did was, there was something that the CFO wasn't quite saying. So he said, Look, why don't we do this, let's extend the trial for two months at our cost, so no cost to you. And then at the end of that, you can decide whether we pull the equipment, or you go ahead, and you roll it out. And at that point, the CFO just stopped.
And there was a physiological shift. And I've taught Adam to spot this sort of stuff. And they said, There's something that I've settled down or failed to say, or do that's causing you to hesitate, do you mind telling me what that is? About four years ago, we tried a similar solution. And when we did it, cause micro fractures in the bottles, and we had to withdraw 4 million pounds, I really don't want that to happen again, I don't want that kind of reputation damage. Now, that's all it took.
He signed up for five years. And he signed a five year renewal paid up front, biggest deal in the $3 billion businesses, company history. Because he treated someone as a human being and bothered to try and understand what was really the agenda, what was the job to be done. And what he wanted was the ability to print labels on his bottles without microfractures. Because it's expensive, and it's embarrassing, because CFOs top priorities, protect against external risks. Number one, that's why they're so hot on regulation and compliance. Number two, capital protection, make sure we don't end up worse off than we started. Number three, growth. And number four, find ways of mitigating the threat that human beings create, because they're unreliable and emotional, and disloyal.
What was the what was the gift though? Because he said, he recognised there was a problem. So he said, Look, why don't we extend the trial for two more months, and we'll cover the cost. So zero risk and what he did, and this is why the other equation is really important. Vulnerability times uncertainty equals perceived risk. Everyone has a threat or risk threshold. Now, this is this is one to end on. Okay? If you have two prospects, one of whom you can reduce their risk from three to zero, or one of whom you can reduce their risk from 100 to 50, which is the one I would put all of my I would put my house on would buythe three zero either do nothing.
That's exactly it. Our job is risk removal, not risk reduction. Now, as a seller, if you can remove the sense of risk, because every time you have done something that serves them first, you turn up your timely, you're relevant, you're valuable consistently.
You share confidences, you tell people when you've got in some intel about a competitor of theirs, you do your research, you think like the tip tiller, and you're planning ahead.
You're always 234 Or five steps ahead, and you're meeting them where they I know Hi, lovely to see you here. Bloody elige you again, everyone else is left in the dust. I don't want to have to sell. I want people to rip my arm off when I'm selling partners. Okay, when I'm looking for partners, I'm looking What does Carrie already sell a lot of that she wants to sell more of? How do I help us sell five times more if that there's no way you're not bringing me in. If every time you bring me in you 5x Your Order value and yours sales cycle is half as long as you make 64 times the profit. What's the probability that I will be chained to your chain to you? There's no way that you will be my biggest source of business. I'll never have to prospect again.
Kerry: Yeah, it's true. Oh, Marcus, this was so helpful. I learned so much. I felt like I was in a educational space where I was being taught to and that was just, I'm so grateful. before we, before we leave here, you're more than a salesperson, you're more than a coach, I would like to learn a bit more about you have three quick questions. The first one is, have you picked up any new hobbies in the last few years given the change of the world? Um, well,
I've recently gone through a bit of a health kick and I'm working with a coach, functional medicine practitioner called Amal Ismail, who is married to and was introduced me by Molly dam in my neuroscience partner. And I've lost 20 kilos. I've started walking, and I'm toying with the idea of going to the gym eventually. But that's one thing. And the AI has really got Mike got me going. Because I use it as a foil. My favourite prompt is disagree with me. It's just so cool.
Two years ago, I learned that go out and find people who disagree with you. Now I've got this machine that can disagree with everything. It's like being having my teenage children on my shoulder constantly using your bacon ask. So it forces my humility. So I'm hoping to take up photography again, because I did used to love it. But then they're very heavy. Yeah.
Yeah, the good cameras are that's sure the lenses lenses. Well, unless I buy a Leica which, in which case, they're very light, but then exceptionally expensive. Add some mortgage.
Kerry: I'd love to see your photos.
Well, I did some of the weekend. So I'll put them up for you.
Kerry: Awesome. Amazing. Yeah, I'm going to leave it there. Because yes, I love that you have these hobbies and love that you're digging into them. And yes, if you I want to see your photos. That sounds amazing. And I'll and I'll link I'll maybe throw one or two into our blog post because that sounds awesome. Marcus, I'm so grateful. Thank you so much. It's my pleasure.
That was my conversation with Marcus Cauchi, you may have noticed that I wasn't actually talking a whole lot. Sometimes that's good sometimes that that sometimes that bites me because people get on a roll and they'll sort of ramble.
Marcus wasn't doing that. I felt like I was in a lecture hall, like a really glorious, wonderful lecture hall, where this professor standing up there and telling me all these wonderful stories. And I was just captivated. I could not stop, he caught me off guard when he asked me questions because I was like, oh, it's my turn. I was just so enthralled with what you were saying. I didn't know you were gonna ask me a question right there. So So yeah, tell me more.
I took notes upon notes, five pages, I learned so much.
So here was my takeaways in terms of the buyers journey, having it clearly laid out in terms of making space, passive looking, active looking. Deciding first use an ongoing use was just I'd never heard it so clearly, but also so descriptive. It really shows us how we can show up from a marketing and sales perspective in each one off I'm so excited to like go create content now and to work backwards to really understand the challenges my audience is facing in this moment and what their their wicked problems are.
So good. I hope you all feel inspired to if you'd like to learn more from Marcus, you can reach out to him. His email is in the show notes Marcus at laughs dash last.com. He's also offering to my audience specifically a webinar of six to eight companies for an ask him anything. So if you're interested, if you sit Marcus's ICP caught it, you have a complex, high value solution to mid market and enterprise clients.
If you have a complex, high value solution to mid market enterprise clients, please email Marcus at Marcus at at laughs dash last.com with in the subject line to tie with tech marketing leaders webinar and let him know why you're interested in maybe some initial questions you have. And then he can narrow it down to the six to eight he feels like he can help the most.
I highly recommend it.
He is a wealth of knowledge I even even before and after the conversation he was teaching me like there's so much knowledge he has in regards to sales and how to do it better and how to do it for the long run, and how to build and cultivate thoughtful relationships to help your clients.
So good. Marcus, I'm so grateful.
Thank you for joining me and thank you for listening if you liked this episode, please like subscribe and share share it oh my gosh share it everybody needs to hear it. Let's change the way selling happens and let's make it more human more engaging and in a way that we all want to work and help each other out. Yes to all of this.
This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.
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Through his value-focused approach, Marcus builds trust-based relationships with clients and expertly navigates objections to provide tailored solutions that address their most pressing needs and goals. But Marcus doesn't stop there – he goes the extra mile to understand clients' personal and family aspirations, treating them as unique individuals rather than mere business transactions.