About Kevin Snow: Kevin is the Owner of Time On Target, a sales expert, and a serious technology geek who knows how to help his clients take their automation game to the next level. With a 20+ year career in business development working with brands like Frontier Communications, Nextel, Salesforce, and BNI, his knowledge, skills, and understanding of communication and technology are getting real results for the businesses he works with. Kevin knows how to integrate digital technology with your sales process authentically and professionally. He’ll show you what’s been missing in ensuring an effective outreach and trust-building system: part entrepreneur, part salesperson, part technology master, and part Star Wars fan. Check out the latest episode of our Conversational Selling podcast to learn more about Kevin.
In this episode, Nancy and Kevin discuss the following:
- Transition from teaching to selling.
- Kevin’s story of pursuing what he studied in college and winding up going in a different direction.
- Increasing sales by understanding and optimizing the sales process.
- Kevin’s tips on being in touch with prospects through automation.
- Why Kevin does not chase clients?
- Selling is making it all about prospects, not about salespeople.
- One of the things that we must help business owners understand when I work with them is that sales are just a series of conversations with an outcome.
- As a business owner, I don’t have time to chase clients.
- Sometimes, it’s just easier to let them go.
- You understand the pain that I’m going through as a business owner, and you have a potential solution.
- I know that with all the stuff I have going on with two different companies, a couple of podcasts now, and all the other stuff going on in my life, I can’t have this huge pipeline filled with Hopium.
“When we do it for a company, all those automation emails come from whichever salesperson is supporting that prospect. So, it sounds like it’s coming from the person they know; we’re working on that relationship, it’s no longer; we’ve all gotten those emails where it’s like, “Hey, we want you to schedule a meeting with our sales team.” “I already have a meeting with your sales guy tomorrow; why are you still sending me this stuff?” And it impacts the relationship because you’re like, well, “Do they even know what’s going on with me? And how important am I if they’re not able to manage this type of communication? ” – KEVIN.
“ The conversation needs to be about what I call the Afters. How are you going to leave that prospect after they do business with you and become a client? What is the quality-of-life change that you’re going to give them? How do you keep them from being awake at [2:30] in the morning thinking about work or thinking about family stuff or whatever the issues are that you can solve? I see that a lot of people think, “It’s got to impress them with all my accolades.” And honestly, none of us care.” – KEVIN.
“Sales are just having a conversation with someone. It is literally just asking questions and getting them to talk about themselves and then being able to dive into what they’re sharing and help them solve stuff. The best salespeople I have ever encountered who have been able to get me to buy are pulling out all the issues I’m having. And then saying, “Well, have you thought about this? What if we did this type of thing?” and they’re laying out solutions for me where I can see, “Oh yeah, that would help.” As opposed to what a lot of people, especially in the tech field, do is lay out features. And I don’t care about features. I care about how it’s going to fix my problem. So, that’s the thing that people need to remember. It’s literally about diving into your prospect’s world and leaving them better, even if they don’t buy from you if they’re in a better position to fix stuff, I still won because they’ll remember me later.” – KEVIN.
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Voiceover: You’re listening to The Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.
Nancy Calabrese: Hi everyone, 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 Kevin Snow, the co-host of the Growth Mode podcast, the COO of Success Champions, and the owner of Time on Target. As a sales expert with over 20 years of experience as a sales leader and serious technology geek, Kevin knows precisely how to help his clients take their automation game to the next level. He has a proven track record of getting real results for small businesses, showing them how to integrate digital technology with their sales process authentically and professionally. Kevin is also a contributing author of multiple bestselling business books. We are thrilled to have you on the show, Kevin. Let’s get started.
Kevin Snow: Cool. Thanks for having me on Nancy. I’m excited for our chat today. [1:20]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. All right. So, in doing my homework on you, I noticed you have a degree in agriculture and secondary ed. So how did that get you into sales technology?
Kevin Snow: Thanks for watching! Wow. So, you went way back. Most people don’t even know that part until I tell them. So yeah, I’m supposed to be a high school ag teacher and high school wrestling coach. So, when I graduated back in 1996, I was out doing the job search thing and I was looking at both teaching and non-teaching options and I got offered a teaching job, which was cool. Not all my graduates that I graduated with did, but I got offered a teaching job. It was $19,000 a year, which like, okay, cool. But then I also got offered this sales job. It was a hybrid sales job where I was upselling and selling into existing accounts for a telecom company Nationwide Frontier Communications was who it was with and they were offering me $39,000 base plus commissions on top of that and I’m like Okay Mom, I’m moving to Minnesota because I have school loans to pay and I need to pay for someplace to live And I don’t want to keep mooching off of you. So yeah, I was it was just a better job So yeah, so I ended up completely shifting from teaching to selling telecom, you know, high-end data and voice connection. [3:07]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, you know, I, teasing you because I find that most people, uh, don’t pursue what they studied in college and wind up going in a different direction, don’t you?
Kevin Snow: Yeah. And it’s funny because like my last semester in college, I showed up at, you know, my parents over Christmas break and I’m like “I want to change my major”. And I, they’re like, they’re like, what? It was like, yeah, I want to change my major to marketing. And I ended up, cause I had, you know, finally kind of figured out what I wanted to do and they’re like “Yeah, no, you’re graduating in May. You’ve been in school long enough. So, you know, you know, suck it up”.
Nancy Calabrese: Right.
Kevin Snow: So now I tease them because I do a ton of like you with email marketing and email automation, I’m like remember when I wanted to change my degree to marketing and now that’s what I’m doing. So, you know Exactly. So, I tease them about that all the time.
Nancy Calabrese: Yup. We wound up there anyway. Now, I know you help businesses close more sales by understanding their sales process and identifying how to make the process more effective and faster. How do you do that?
Kevin Snow: So, I love the title for your show, Conversational Selling, because what, you know, that’s one of the things when I work with business owners that we must help them understand is that sales are just a series of conversations with an outcome. You know, it’s the same as we’re talking to any of our friends. No, we call each other up and say “Hey, are you going to the game this weekend? All right, cool. Let me, let me give you a call when I get down there and we can meet up”. Every time you have a conversation with someone in your circle, there’s always hey, here’s what’s here’s what we’re doing next, and it’s always designed around. Alright, so what’s the next step in the relationship? What do we do next? We’re going to do it here alright I’ll call you about that. You’re going to talk to this person There’s always those things established and that’s really what we work with our clients as well as help them understand Alright, so how are your prospects making those business decisions, what are the steps they’re going through in that process? And then how do you link up your process to that so that it’s running parallel and that you aren’t coming across as that sleazy sales guy or sleazy sales gal, because that’s usually what happens when the salesperson gets ahead of the other person, they become, they’re now, they, there’s not that perception that they’re trying to force the close. They’re trying to close the person hard. So our focus is making sure they’re running in parallel and then figuring out all right so you have this meeting event you’re doing this site survey if you’re a tech firm what do we need to then send via automation that is going to help the conversation continue and is going to provide really good content that will help them make that next step so the conversation can go to that next level. [6:08]
Nancy Calabrese: How often do you recommend being in touch with prospects through automation?
Kevin Snow: So, if you’re in an active sales process where you have either you as the owner or the founder or your salespeople engaged with the prospect, all the marketing automation stuff should end. It should just stop. And all the conversations, that person that’s now the sales, they’re the quarterback for that process. No, and all the automation that you’re using should focus on how you help that person sell better. So, yep, as the owner or salesperson, if once you get into a face-to-face conversation sales process, all the other marketing stuff should stop. And all the automation now that should be there supporting what’s happening in that process. So, you know, for example, a roughing company I worked with, they’d go out and do that initial meeting where they measured the rough and talked about, ooh, here’s colors and types of shingles and all that type of stuff. When they would leave that meeting, they would then send out an automated email, it was like, hey, it was awesome meeting and seeing your beautiful house. Here’s something that we hear from most of our prospects is that they’re nervous about doing down payments for contractors because they feel they’re going to get scammed here’s a checklist of the top 10 things that you need to ask before giving anyone a down payment for construction services. That content is designed to answer some key questions that are going on in that prospect’s head, but now they have things to talk about and to drive that conversation forward the next time they meet with that prospect. So that’s the type of automation you should be sending during the sales process. It needs to sound like it’s coming from the salesperson. It needs to support what that salesperson is doing. The salesperson needs to understand what those messages are so that when they’re talking and they understand when it go out so that when they’re talking to their prospect, they’re not surprised when the prospect says, hey, I got this email. What email? Because they should. [8:34]
Nancy Calabrese: Right.
Kevin Snow: When we do it for a company, all those automation emails come from whichever salesperson is supporting that prospect. So, it sounds like it’s coming from the person they know, we’re working on that relationship, it’s no longer, we’ve all gotten those emails where it’s like “Hey, we want you to schedule a meeting with our sales team”. “I already have a meeting with your sales guy tomorrow, why are you still sending me this stuff?” And it impacts the relationship, because you’re like, well “Do they even know what’s going on with me? And how important am I if they’re not able to manage this type of communication?” [9:10]
Nancy Calabrese: Share your unique idea that is different and sets you apart from others in your space.
Kevin Snow: So, I don’t chase clients. I hate that whole concept “Oh, let me, I’ll follow up with you next week. Or, hey, give me a call in a month”. Yeah, I don’t have time to chase as a business owner. I am a huge proponent of OneCallCloses. And I do it regularly for my automation stuff. I don’t do proposals.
Nancy Calabrese: Oh wow.
Kevin Snow: I, you know, and yeah, it’s a waste of my time and it’s usually an out for that person because they don’t want to say no. So, I am very upfront with my prospects when we’re going through that sales process of letting them know it’s “Hey, my goal for this meeting is really for us to get to know each other and figure out if there’s a reason for us to be able to work together. If there’s not, tell me because I don’t want to waste your time. And if I don’t think I can help you, I’m going to let you know too. So, you know if it’s not going to be a thing, let me know”. So, at the end, you know, if, if we’re not at the point where they’re ready to say yes, and they know it’s like, well, I need to think about it. I’ll immediately go with something like “You know, so let’s do this. Let’s, let’s consider it a nod for now. And if in the future you’re ready to decide, you want to do something with me, let me know and reach out, but I’m not going to follow up with you every two weeks, hoping you’re going to say something”. So it’s almost a form of the takeaway close. Still, I know for me with all the stuff I have going on with two different companies, uh, a couple of podcasts now, uh, and you know, all the other stuff going on in my life that I can’t have this huge pipeline of, of filled with Hopium, you know, Ooh, I hope they’re going to close this. [11:17]
Nancy Calabrese: Right? I love that word.
Kevin Snow: Well, and that’s what salespeople live on a lot of times. Having been a sales manager, having your team come in and say, all right, let’s go through your pipeline and then they have this one that’s been on there for eight months and was like, well, yeah, I think they’re going to close this month. Really? What have they done that’s given you that signal? You have not had a conversation with them for, uh, for like four months. But do you still think they’re going to close? They don’t answer your calls. Why is this even on here? So, you know, I want people in my pipeline who are actively engaged, who I’m in a conversation with, you know? And I have some like right now that I did do some stuff with, but we’ve already set up, hey, here’s when we’re going to talk. We’re going to meet on this day currently. And so, it’s not me calling back at the beginning of October saying, all right, so you ready to do stuff yet? We have a meeting set up. So, I know we’re going to have a closing opportunity. So that’s one of the things that I do differently than I see with a lot of salespeople. We had one on that was trying to sell me and my business partner the other day. And he left the meeting with, all right, so cool. I’ll, you know, I’ll give you a call in a couple of months. And he got off the call. Yeah. A couple of months. Cause we weren’t ready to do anything right now. He’s like, well, I’ll just follow up with you then. Donnie and I looked at each other after the call. We’re like, what? Did he just literally do that? so we’re like, you know He’s never going to get back in front of us again because he’s just going to do that follow-up thing as opposed to setting the meeting So that’s a key thing that we work with all our prospects and clients on. [12:58]
Nancy Calabrese: Well, you know, it’s interesting you say that because whenever we hear something like that follow-up in a couple of months, we usually address it. Gee, you know, I’m not sure this is your case, but very often when people say things like that, it’s they’re trying to politely bow out because they don’t want to say no, no thank you. And we find that works quite a bit.
Kevin Snow: Yeah. It’s, and it’s, you know, it’s one thing if it’s a prospect saying, hey, well, I’ll give you a call in a couple of months, but it’s a different thing when it’s a salesperson that’s leaving the door open that way. Um, and sometimes depending on the salesperson and how much we like their product and service, and you know, if we hit it off well with them or not, we’ll say things as well. And sometimes, and, and Donnie’s launched into full coaching, uh, sessions with salespeople before and so have I. Uh, but other times like, all right, sweet. [13:53]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah.
Kevin Snow: you just gave us the easy out. We don’t have to do anything with this one now. So sometimes it’s just easier to let them go.
Nancy Calabrese: Yep. Huh. Yep. Is there a story the audience would find interesting? I’m sure you’re loaded with stories.
Kevin Snow: Um, you know, a lot of the stories are now on, you know, bad pitches, you know, especially with social media and email and, being a big email proponent, I read all the stuff that comes into my inbox. Usually, uh, it’s, it’s humorous, and other times it’s painful and, and occasionally I’ll find really good, uh, prospecting emails, but some of them are horrible. You know we had one that I got and I still saved all the emails for this just because I wanted to have them because it was just that bad It was for a backyard ice rink ice hockey rink, So I live in Minnesota. I’m in Minnesota. So that is a thing for where I live People have ice hockey rings in their backyard. So, you know, at least I’m kind of fit the geography to sell it to but his, the pitch started good. It’s like, Hey, you know, this is a great way to, uh, spend your off time and be healthy, uh, and then it pivoted to instead of, you know, why I should have one and why it would be a great thing for me to have and how it would make my life better to, you know, how he left Harvard business school to launch this business. And it was all his, you know, accolades and why, you know, it now became all about him and it was no longer about me and why I should have an ice hockey rink Um, I don’t even have kids. So, you know, it would just literally be me skating around in a circle So that would be kind of boring Um, but it was all about hey, you know, I’m so cool You know I dropped out of Harvard to start this company and I did this and I did that and here you know And you should buy it from me because I’m this person and that’s not what you need to do. [15:58]
Nancy Calabrese: Right.
Kevin Snow: The conversation needs to be about what I call the Afters. How you’re going to leave that prospect after they do business with you after they become a client? What is the quality-of-life change that you’re going to give them? How do you keep them from being awake at [2:30] in the morning thinking about work or thinking about family stuff or whatever the issues are that you can solve, I see that a lot where people think “It’s got to impress them with all my accolades”. And honestly, none of us care. [16:33]
Nancy Calabrese: No, nobody cares. Nobody cares. A fatal mistake in selling is making it all about you, not about them.
Kevin Snow: Yeah. Exactly. And in email, because everyone is so used to spam, you must up right at the front, get their attention, and say, oh, you’re talking about stuff that’s going on in my world. You understand the pain that I’m going through as a business owner, and you have a potential solution. I’m going to keep reading. And then normally, the other thing I see that always makes me laugh Is the first email I get from someone will be like click here to schedule a call with our sales team Hmm. No How about you know, give me some more content give me more stuff It’s like oh, I you know, these guys are kind of smart. They kind of know what’s going on You know feed me links to click to a blog article or a free piece of content or something So now you can see all right. So, this person’s engaged They’re clicking on stuff. Here’s kind of where they’re going in their sales process or their decision process, and now you can say, all right, so now we’re going to send them a link where they can connect and set a meeting. Uh, but normally they, they go for the kill right away. And I used to, I used to always like, I’d reply to some of them, especially if they’re companies that were kind of in my target area, I’d reply and say, hey, here are thanks for the email. You didn’t do some research because I do email. Here are some things you could do that would probably improve your conversion rate on this email chain I’m going to give them a bunch of stuff for free and a couple, you know occasionally get sounds like oh wow, that’s awesome. Yeah, can we talk? But most people are just literally well, yeah, we don’t care. This is a numbers thing and It’s like alright so you would rather get you know easy people, you’d rather send out thousands and thousands of emails a day and get the people that are like, oh yes, I need this right now, I’ve been looking, as opposed to getting people who are like, oh wow, I need to think about this. And, could be converted and are probably going to be a higher paying client and they’re going to have a longer longevity with you, as opposed to the people like, oh, I’m going to buy this right now and it doesn’t work and then I’m going to leave. [19:04]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, wow. I can’t believe we’re kind of up with time, but what is the one takeaway you want to leave the audience with?
Kevin Snow: Uh, my, my biggest takeaway is, you know, sales are just having a conversation with someone, you know, it is literally just asking questions and getting them to talk about themselves and then being able to dive into what they’re sharing and help them solve stuff. You know, it, the, the best salespeople that have ever I’ve encountered that have been able to get me to buy are ones who are pulling out all the, the issues I’m having. And then saying, well, have you thought about this? You know, what if we did this type of thing, and they’re laying out solutions for me where I can see, oh yeah, that would help. As opposed to what a lot, especially in the tech field, what a lot of people do is lay out features. And I don’t care about features. I care about how it’s going to fix my problem. So, that’s the thing that people need to remember. It’s literally about diving into your prospect’s world and leaving them better, even if they don’t buy from you, if they’re in a better position to fix stuff, I still won, because they’re going to remember me later. [20:19]
Nancy Calabrese: That’s right. Top of mind. And how can my people find you, Kevin?
Kevin Snow: The easiest way to find me is on LinkedIn and this connects with me on LinkedIn. Kevin E Snow is my LinkedIn profile name. I believe, let’s see, I think I have a picture of me on stage right now at the bad-ass business summit is my background, but that’s the quickest way to connect with me and just, just let me know in the connection requests that you heard me on Conversational Selling, then I’ll, then I’ll be for sure to accept the request.
Nancy Calabrese: Wow. Listen, everyone, first, Kevin, thank you for spending time with us. We think a lot alike as it relates to selling. And so, it’s always fun to speak with another kindred spirit, if you would. I recommend that everybody reach out to Kevin. He’s got tremendous expertise in email technology, and digital technology. And you want to up your game? Kevin is the go-to man. So until we speak again, make it a great sales day. [21:29]