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About Kelly Lichtenberger: Kelly Lichtenberger has a strong background in sales and marketing, with experience in various leadership roles. From 2021 onwards, she has worked as the Global Head of Sales Development at Avanan. Before this, she worked at The InsideOut Technologies Company as a Principal, focusing on building and optimizing Inside Sales teams. From 2017 to 2019, Kelly held multiple roles at Razberi Technologies, including Vice President of Marketing and Inside Sales. She was key in delivering network video recording, cyber security, and remote health management solutions during her time there. Before that, Kelly was the President of Consulting Services Group (CSG), where they provided superior customer experience and implemented top talent and technologies for business success. Kelly was also involved in building high-performance sales teams and instituting best-selling processes at Carousel Industries as the Vice President of Inside Sales. Overall, Kelly Lichtenberger has a wealth of experience in sales development, marketing, and team management and has consistently demonstrated success in driving revenue growth and achieving results. Check out the latest episode of our Conversational Selling podcast to learn more about Kelly.

In this episode, Nancy and Kelly discuss the following:

  • Value of the human element in sales despite advancements in AI
  • Overcoming fear of rejection in cold calling
  • Differing views on the use of scripts in sales calls
  • Building and maintaining successful inside sales teams
  • Role of emotional intelligence (EQ) in prospecting and sales
  • Benefits of emotional intelligence for women in sales

Key Takeaways: 

  • You can have a script, but knowing how to play within that keeps the human element there.
  • Women do phenomenally at sales.
  • The worst answer in sales is “maybe.”
  • We all have a mutual benefit for everybody, being happy and wanting to stay.

“I still very much believe in the human element. We hear a lot about AI and tools, what these tools can do, and what this system can do. We miss a big part of the sales cycle when we leave out the human element. I talk to my team often about this, and I think what happens is it comes down to skill set. There are a lot of people who don’t have the skill set to use the phone as a selling device appropriately. So, it’s easier to say it doesn’t work and it’s dead. The more people say that, the more it helps me and my teams because it opens the doors. Fewer people are calling, so I’ll get through.” – KELLY

“So, when you think about emotional intelligence, it’s the same as EQ. People have heard of IQ, which is knowing how. EQ is knowing you. Emotional intelligence encompasses self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. It’s really about adding the human element into sales. When working with a team, I tell them, “We’re not going in to sell on step one of the first conversation. We’re looking at how to build a relationship, even in your personal life. It’s about being you.” One of the things that people forget to do often is to focus so much on the product know-how and forget that there’s an actual person on the other end. Do we understand their role? Their pain points? What would be helpful to them in their position? If you’re facing rejections, know how to handle it, pivot, and not get upset if you have a day where there are many hang-ups or didn’t get through and set up the demo. Knowing that motivation, if you’re not doing those things again, how do you turn something like cold calling into a skill set and not just give up because it’s not working for you? Many people do. Then again, they want to say, “This didn’t work.” Well, maybe it’s that you didn’t work on that one.” – KELLY

“So, active listening is a big part of emotional intelligence, which comes in a few places. It’s going to come into social skills. It will come into self-awareness, but really, the social skills of understanding. Knowing when to let somebody speak and actively listening to have it be heard allows you to respond appropriately. When we call someone, I must remind them that they may not always love our product or think that everyone on the planet needs it, but not everybody does, or maybe they don’t see it. So, how do we have conversations to open up what they need? And if we fit, great. If we don’t, then at least know how to build that relationship because, down the road, there might be something new added into your line of products that they could need.” – KELLY

Connect with Kelly Lichtenberger:

Try Our Proven, 3-Step System, Guaranteeing Accountability and Transparency that Drives RESULTS by clicking on this link: https://oneofakindsales.com/call-center-in-a-box/

Connect with Nancy Calabrese: 

Voiceover: You’re listening to The Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.

Nancy Calabrese: Hi, it’s Nancy Calabrese, and it’s time again for Conversational selling – the podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today. And it always starts with the human conversation. Today we’re speaking with Kelly Lichtenberger, a global head of sales development at Checkpoint, a company that protects cloud email and collaboration suites from cyber-attacks. With over 20 years of experience in sales development, marketing, leadership, and inside sales development, she has a diverse background in building revenue -driven inside sales teams within high growth, high tech organizations. She’s a winner of the AAISP Most Influential Sales Professionals Award and a noted expert on training, building, and growing exceptional teams. Welcome to the show, Kelly. This conversation is right up my alley.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Well, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. [1:20]

Nancy Calabrese: Oh my goodness. Yeah. So, um, why don’t we start with this? You and I, um, are big fans of cold calling. I don’t often get to interview or speak to many people that believe in it the way you and I both. So why do you believe it’s such an effective marketing tool to add to any organization?

Kelly Lichtenberger: Because I still very much believe in the human element. I think the world, we hear a lot about AI and tools and what this tool can do and what this system can do. And when we start just leaving out the human element, we’re missing a big part of the sales cycle. I talk to my team often about this. And I think what happens is it really comes down to skill set. And there’s a lot of people that just don’t have a skill set in how to appropriately use the phone as a selling device. So, it’s easier to say, it doesn’t work and it’s dead. And the more people that say that it actually helps me and my teams because it opens the doors, less people are calling. So, I’ll get through. [2:36]

Nancy Calabrese: I love it. It’s so true. You know, when you think about it, and when I speak with many professionals, they love networking. They love going out to all of these events. And I look at cold calling as phone networking. It’s targeted, right? You’re way more efficient. You don’t have to travel to and from. And it’s the same thing when you go to a networking event. You’re meeting strangers. Well, same thing over the phone. I just don’t get why people have this fear of picking up the phone.

Kelly Lichtenberger: And I think it comes down to a lot of it is rejection if they hang up. But what they don’t understand is if you look at all of your numbers for your success and how many touches it takes to get to a prospect, you’re still getting quote unquote hung up on with your emails. People just aren’t responding. So, it’s the same thing. But for some reason people get nervous, but they don’t see you and that’s okay. Maybe your approach needs to be worked on. You’re not going to get 100 % of anything that you do. So why not try something that gets you to start building your relationship that much quicker? [3:54]

Nancy Calabrese: I agree. Now, do you believe in scripting?

Kelly Lichtenberger: So, I am not a big fan of scripts to read off of. I am a fan to at least get your thoughts down. Like anything, I think you need to practice and understand in role playing what could happen so you’re ready. So, when you get on the phone, anything that comes your way, you have a response. And that helps as well. But people to do the actual script, no, I’m not one that does that because again, I want it to be a natural conversation like you and I are having today, wherever this takes us and be present. [4:38]

Nancy Calabrese: Right. Well, I’m going to have to politely disagree with you on that, because I do believe in scripting, but scripting is a tool that you start with. And the way I make sense of it is, you know, when you see actors, Leo DiCaprio in a movie, it all started with the script, right? But he makes it his own. So we use a technique here so that the scripts are pretty much the same and what we try to do in our scripting is identify pain points to get the people on the other end of the phone emotional and if you know we have a saying here if there’s no pain there’s no sale you want to move forward.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Agreed.

Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, the script is a starting point, but they wind up internalizing it, and maybe that’s what you’re saying too.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Yes, I think so. What happens a lot of times where I find that people, they take a script, if they sound scripted, that’s not natural. So that’s where I say, I like to have script as your starting point, where again, I have my teams do a lot of role-playing activities and play out what could happen. And once they get on the phone, though, not sounding so scripted and being so scripted that they can’t move away from what’s on the paper. And again, that’s the skill set that I really like to work on is how to take the initial of what you do but go in and lead with how you can be interested in what they have to say and not interesting. Meaning you’re not just talking over the person, you’re trying to find out and get to, because I believe in exactly what you said, to the pain. If there is no pain, personal life or professional, you’re not changing anything. So, there is no such thing as if you have budget or not. If the pain’s great enough, again, personal, or professional, you will find the budget. So, it’s how you get there. So, a lot of times, if the person has their guard up when you’re just calling in, again, there’s no script for that. You must work around it. So yes, you can have a script, but knowing how to play within that, and again, keep the human element there. [6:59]

Nancy Calabrese: Right. So, you have a lot of experience building inside sales teams. That’s not an easy thing to do. So, what qualities do you look for when you go to hire and bring someone on board as an inside sales rep?

Kelly Lichtenberger: I am looking for someone that wants to get to sales, wants to have a chance. I don’t always look for this many years with phone experience or a certain technology. I just must know they’re going to be ambitious. They understand that they are going to face rejection all day. Their job is repetitive. But if they stick with it and become skilled and train and train and train, they’re going to be amazing. So, it’s a great place to start and learn and really get your feet in and understand the buying cycle. And I think it’s a skill that really people that have been in the actual field for a long time when pandemic kit and things like that, for them to go back and must even pick up a phone themselves, they had no idea what to do. So, it’s an amazing skill set to start with, to bring to the field. [8:26]

Nancy Calabrese: Wow. So, you know, I want to congratulate you on the award that you won for most influential sales professionals. What did you do to earn that?

Kelly Lichtenberger: Thank you. Thank you so much. So AISP is now a company in Blaze. And they every year they’re an amazing company. And they open it up to partners that they work with and all kinds of things. I’ve been very involved with them. They do a lot of science backed information and trainings. And I had always been involved and when I was coming up as a salesperson, again, I wanted to learn as much as possible. And I started my career as an SDR and stayed all these years within the industry because I love it. So, you know, I just happened to work with them enough and had enough people go through the program that they saw it working. And so, I was able to win and I’m very fortunate for it. [9:28]

Nancy Calabrese: Oh, awesome. So, let’s pivot to emotional intelligence. I know that’s a hot topic for you. Let’s talk about emotional intelligence in prospecting. What’s important there?

Kelly Lichtenberger: Mm -hmm. It really.. So when you think about emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence, same as EQ. So, people have heard of IQ. So, IQ is knowing how. EQ is knowing you. So emotional intelligence is self -awareness, self -regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills. It’s really, again, adding the human element into sales. So, when I’m working with a team, I even tell them, we’re not going in to sell on step one on the first conversation. We’re looking to, how do you build a relationship even in your personal life? And it’s, again, being you. So, one of the things that people forget to do a lot of times, again, is if we go back to even talking about the script, is they end up wanting to get so focused on the product know -how and to do. But forgetting on the other end is an actual person that do we understand what their role is? Do we understand what their pain points could be? Do we understand the things that are really going to be helpful to them in their position? Yes, they work for a company. Yes, they must buy their own things. But everyone has their own set of requirements that’s going to get them to speak with you longer or not, and then introduce you to those that you should, or you shouldn’t be speaking with within the company. So, within the emotional intelligence, you must understand self -awareness too. So, if you’re getting rejections, how to handle it, how to pivot, not get upset if you have a day where a lot of hang-ups have happened, or you didn’t get through and get the demo set up. Knowing that motivation, if you’re not doing those things again, how do you make something a skill set like the cold call and not just give up because it’s not working for you? And a lot of people do. And then again, they want to say, well, this didn’t work. Well, maybe it’s you didn’t work on that one. [11:55]

Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, yeah. You also state, and this is really interesting to me, that EI helps women be 11 % more successful in sales. Please expand on that.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Absolutely. And you know, I’m on a mission to get more women into sales. They do phenomenal at sales. Now, here’s where they do well, is using that emotional intelligence. And though a lot of times they don’t know that they are, they’re just being themselves. And it has to do sometimes with not having all of the confidence in the world when they get into sales and not feeling that they have the experience with a certain technology. So, when you take those out of it, the only thing left in your bag of tricks is to be authentically yourself. And so, when women start asking questions because they want to naturally learn more and they’re more empathetic and they are more willing to learn new skills when it becomes a new technology again because they’re doubting themselves and then there’s imposter syndrome. But some of those things make them really well positioned in sales to be that much more successful. [13:12]

Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, wow. And where does active listening come into play here?

Kelly Lichtenberger: Absolutely. So active listening is a big part of emotional intelligence, and it comes into a few places. It’s going to come into social skills. It’s going to come into self -awareness, but really the social skills of understanding. When again to let somebody speak and you learn from and you actively listen to have it be heard where you could say back to them, ask additional questions about what they just said. Not all the time when we call someone, I must remind people, we may love our product, we may think that every single person on the planet needs it, but not everybody does, or maybe they don’t see it. So how do we have conversations to really open what they do need? And if we fit, great, if we don’t, then at least still how to build that relationship because down the road there might be something new added into your line of products that they could need. [14:22]

Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, yep. You know, we hear, we take a no as a not now. And we look at a no as a positive because we’re getting closer to our yes.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Absolutely. There are three potential answers. Yes, no, and maybe. “Yes” is obviously fantastic. “No” is great too, because you know where you stand. The worst answer is “maybe”. That’s where you’re falling down in sales. [14:50]

Nancy Calabrese: Right. You got it. Yeah. And, you know, I feel sorry for salespeople that take a maybe as yes, you know, and then they continue to follow up. But maybe I would go right back to them and kind of politely challenge them. You know, if this is your way to, you know, politely get me off the phone, that’s okay. But I’d really push for the yes or the no, you know.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Absolutely. Absolutely. Pipelines are built on maybes and then sales reps get to the end and go, but I thought they really liked what I had. So that’s why I have it in the pipeline. Well, liking it and actually needing it are two different things. [15:29]

Nancy Calabrese: You got it. So how do you keep your team motivated day in and day out?

Kelly Lichtenberger: So, with sales development, with inside sales, again with the repetitive, we must add some fun. And so, what I like to do is different contests. We do things that we compete as a team. So yes, you’re in sales. So, you still have a stack rank, but we like to do it together. So, we’ll do additional blitz days where there’s prizes. We’ll do things where we’re creating new email content or new ways to get into somebody on the phone. And the first one that their new way to try and get somebody works, they win. Anything that we can do to keep it interesting and exciting. Otherwise, it is, it’s too repetitive and you can get lost in it. [16:28]

Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, we here, you know, we use Microsoft Teams, and everybody checks in. My people are all over the world. And when somebody gets, you know, an appointment, we all post stupid GIFs, you know, to celebrate them. Yeah. Isn’t that cool? I love it too. You know, no, no, go, go.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Yes, we do too. I love that. That’s fun. And again because you’re in, oh, sorry. I was gonna say because you’re in different areas all over the world, it connects people, and the laughter gets everybody on the team to know each other a little bit more. [17:05]

Nancy Calabrese: Yep, it’s fun and I’m very lucky. Turnover inside sales reps. What’s your experience with that?

Kelly Lichtenberger: It can be huge. I, on the other hand, I will say it’s one of the things I pride myself on. I do not have large turnover. And I think because how I lead is you must know your team. So, I, the same way I’m trying to build relationships with prospects, I’m going to build it with my team first. Not every single person on the team wants the same thing. So, I must know what every single employee, what they’re motivated by. And then I’m going to work with them on that. Some are more vacation time. Some it’s more pay. Some it’s, you know, more opportunity within the company. But you must find out. And I want to know my staff. And I want to make sure what I say to them is what they see that I’m doing to help them in their career and to get to where they want to go. And that’s how you keep them is showing up every day as the leader that is behind them. [18:10]

Nancy Calabrese: Yep. I’m lucky also. And I think it’s recognizing, acknowledging them and being appreciative because without them, I have no business.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Absolutely. And again, it’s hard work. And I want people to be with me. I want to build my team, my portion of the company together with the same group and see them do fantastic. If they’re not achieving their goals as the leader, I’m not achieving mine. It’s that simple, which means the company is not going to get to theirs. So, we all have a mutual benefit to everybody being happy and wanting to stay. [18:54]

Nancy Calabrese: Yep, no cancers, no cancers in the company. Yeah, I can’t believe we’re up in time. This is such an engaging conversation, Kelly. Oh yeah, what is something, what is the one takeaway you want to leave the audience with?

Kelly Lichtenberger: Correct. Yes. that I want to see more people get into sales again. It’s not used car. There are so many benefits to getting into sales. And if you’ve ever thought about it and never been, starting with inside sales, learning a new technology, there’s so many things that that’s where the AI can help us. Come give it a try. Come look for some of those mentors and have yourself a fantastic career. [19:42]

Nancy Calabrese: I love it. I love your passion. How can my people reach you if they want to be in touch with you?

Kelly Lichtenberger: Absolutely. So, they can reach out to me at my email address, which I have kelly@prospectlikeagirl.com, which is the best way now to reach me for all the latest in training. [20:06]

Nancy Calabrese: Prospect like a girl. I love it. I can’t believe it. Listen, folks, you’ve been listening to an expert. She’s passionate about what she does. She has a lot of good experience. She has great management experience. Take advantage of her expertise and be sure to reach out. Kelly, we’re going to have to do this again because it was just too short. We have so much in common and I’m really appreciated that you spent time with us this morning.

Kelly Lichtenberger: Thank you so much for having me. I would be honored to be a guest at any time. Yes, we have so much in common. So, I have followed you and I just love this conversation. So, I look forward to coming back soon.

Nancy Calabrese: Awesome. And everyone out there, pick up the phone. Pick up the phone. It is your friend, not your foe. Make it a great sales day. Yeah. All right. Have a good one. [21:06]

Kelly Lichtenberger: I agree! Thank you.