On this week’s episode of Conversational Selling, we speak with Sam Richter, founder and CEO of SBR Worldwide. He is an award-winning Hall of Fame Business Keynote Speaker and bestselling author of Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling. He’s also the founder and creator of the IntelNgine | Business and Sales Intel Engine program and an expert on all things related to online information, sales success, and digital management.

We discuss the quality of calls, as well as:

  • How to apply sales intelligence
  • How he incorporated a Boolean algorithm into an innovative search engine
  • Using sales triggers to increase productivity and save time
  • How to efficiently research your sales prospects
  • Cultivating genuine interest in your leads
  • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


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

Nancy Calabrese: Hi, it’s Nancy Calabrese and this is Conversational Selling. It’s the podcast where business leaders share what’s going on in sales and marketing today. And as always, it starts with that human conversation. So today we’re speaking with Sam Richter, the founder and CEO of SBR Worldwide/Know More, he’s considered one of the world’s foremost sales, intelligence and digital reputation experts, and award winning Hall of Fame speaker and best selling author of Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling.

And I know we won’t go into a deep dive, but you know, cold calling is what I live and breathe. Sam will help take something you already know. And that’s knowledge is power, and turns it into reality. And and you know what’s best of all, he’s an expert on all things related to online information, sales success, and digital management. So folks, we are in for an awesome show. Lots of good intel coming our way. Welcome to the show. Sam so happy you can join us.

Sam Richter: Well, I’m so excited to be here. You know, I’ve been a big fan of yours for many, many years. And you know, so many people that I know in incredibly well respect in the sales industry. Just say wonderful things about you and One of a Kind Solutions. So it’s really an honor to be with you today.

Nancy: Well, thank you. Thank you, thank you and ditto back to you. So you know, sales intelligence is such a hot topic nowadays. And I’m quoting you find the right person at the right time with the right message. Why don’t we just jump into intel engine. Tell everybody what that’s about, because I think people are going to be highly interested and get some good takeaways.

Sam: Sure, I’ll kind of start at a theoretical level, and then kind of, you know, drill down to the Intel engine at the tactical level. So the theoretical level, I still think the best sales book ever written. He probably didn’t even call it a sales book. But it’s How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If I can, if I can summarize the book. And in basically, almost every great sales book I’ve ever read has been some form of a summarization of the book. It’s basically that people like to do people with people who they like, who they trust. And it’s all about understanding the other person and what they care about.

You know, I know that in your work, you talk a lot about asking great questions and embracing active listening and all those sorts of things. And, and that’s really, you know, emanates from Carnegie. Okay, so we all know that. Now, here’s the crazy thing. Back in the, if you were in sales in the in the 70s, let’s say, even in the early 80s. You know, you spend time getting to know your customers, you take them out for two hour lunches, or you take them out for golfing. you’d sit down with the assistant and and you really understood people. Fast forward, the internet comes along. And all of a sudden, buyers are not giving us the time, you know, their worlds compressed and and they kind of expect you to know some of those questions you used to maybe ask over a lunch or over a golf they expect you to know before you go in the room.

But I don’t know about you, Nancy, but but what I experience with salespeople is even though it’s estimated that I can take out my mobile device and theoretically in 10 seconds, ask a question and really access every written every word every written in the history of the world, I can access on my mobile device in 10 seconds, right. But yet, salespeople have less information today about their prospects than salespeople did in the 70s and 80s. How can that possibly be? And that’s really the whole essence of sales intelligence. So from a theoretical standpoint, its sales intelligence is a fancy way of saying how do you use the tools you use every day, like Google and social media and, and other resources, you’ve probably never heard of defined intent information about other people.

So when you’re selling to them, instead of your informed you really know what they care. So So instead of asking the right questions, and I’ll just use a simple one, you know, instead of saying, How big are you guys, you say, Hey, I was doing a little bit of homework. And I see that you’re, you know, last year you did about 110 million with 72 employees. Is that accurate?

Nancy: Right.

Sam: This is those little things like that. And the right deals Intel engine is a tool I’ve developed. And I’ve got various industry versions of it, but think of it is a is a search overlay, because to really do good searching, you’re going to do, you’re going to need to know what’s called complex Boolean algorithms, which is basically mathematical equations you put in Google to pull up great information. Now Google is really good, don’t get me wrong. But to really dive in, you’re going to want to know, complex algorithms. The sales intel engine automates that for you.

Nancy: Okay, so I, you know, I my own experience is research can be daunting, right? And and it also can be pretty expensive, some of the platforms out there that provide Intel are fortunate to have depending on the size of the organization, it can be daunting, you know, there’s so many different search engines and to find a solution that will simplify it. And another thing that you said, will save time, right? That’s a time stealer, if you will, exactly for professionals that you know when to have that information at their fingertips will just make them more productive. So can you like expand on that a little more?

Sam: Sure, let me give you a couple of examples. So, you know, everybody listening knows how to use LinkedIn. And I can teach you a complex Boolean algorithm to go into LinkedIn, and I’m talking about the free version of LinkedIn, and find me, you know, find me every director of marketing in Chicago, in the healthcare industry. And that’s about where LinkedIn free will stop. And so I built an engine that kind of sits on top of other search engines. So without scraping any data, it’s just, it’s doing everything you could do on your own for free, I’m just adding the the algorithm for you automatically.

So for example, not only could I tell you in, you could go in and type in marketing, let’s say you’re interested in manufacturing, marketing, manufacturing, Illinois. And let’s say you even wanted to find somebody who graduated from Penn State University, and has the skill of they know how to play the piano, the engine, you could type in four words, click a button, and in three seconds, it will pull up not even half a second, it will pull up the the the the results that meet that.

Nancy: Right.

Sam: The other thing that I think is even more powerful, that the search engine automates. And that’s the concept of sales triggers. And, and that’s really kind of the tagline, if you will, finding the right people right now with with what they want to hear. So sales trigger, if I can, you know, make that real simple. If I call you right now and say, Hi, Nancy, this is Sam from Sam’s roofing company, I’d love to come out and give you a free estimate. Well, you’re gonna hang up, right?

Nancy: Right.

Sam: What if a hailstorm just hits your house, and now water starts leaking through your walls and your roof. And Hi, this is Sam from Sam’s roofing company, I’d love to come out and give you a free estimate. Well, I’m your new best friend.

Nancy: Right.

Sam: And, you know, a lot of salespeople, in my opinion, in sales managers still operate on quantity is better. So you know, hey, hey, you’re not hitting your numbers, you’re not making enough calls. I’m a big believer in quality. Because, you know, listen, I can hand you the phone book and say start at A and end at Z. And mathematically, you’re going to get lucky if you make enough calls, you’re going to hit somebody at the right time.

But a sales trigger is what’s the disruption going on in the other person’s world where they might actually need you today. So for example, let’s say that you’re selling your it could be anything from h back equipment, to software, right. And if I can, you know, like networking, networking computer systems, if I can find companies in your niche, let’s say you like manufacturing, in your niche in your city, that are in is just going to start a construction project, they’re much more likely to want to talk to you, because they’re going to need new networking.

So instead of making 10,000 phone calls, you know it to try to hopefully get lucky and come across somebody that says, gosh, thank you for calling. We just talked about expanding our facility today. How about if you make 100 calls, but every single one is to the Chief Operations Officer at a company who’s just announced that they’re going through a you know, remodeling or new construction, that sales intelligence that’s the sales intel engine, is focusing in on finding the right leads at the right time?

Meaning what’s going on in their world where they’re interested in what you have to sell with the right message? How do you make sure you’re relevant? So instead of calling Hi, my name is Sam, you’ve never heard of me before. It’s Hey, I saw that you just announced you’re doing a big remodeling project and and I love to talk to you about our HVAC equipment, it can save you a ton of money or you know, whatever it might be.

Nancy: Right. Well, but that was going to be my next question. So you hit right on what I think is important. So for all the people listening, how much time do you suggest that they spend in actually doing the research versus getting on the phone and doing the outreach?

Sam: Well, that’s a great question. And and I would say, you really need to break it down into into two parts. The first part is finding who you’re going to call. And in that one you might spend, you might block off a day. And I’m a big fan of calendar, rising things. So you can laser focus. And also, because as we all know, sometimes when you’re doing searching, you can go down paths, you can go down rabbit holes, just because it’s kind of fun.

So you might say, okay, you know, first Monday of every month, we’re going to develop our lead lists, or it might be first Monday of every week, we’re going to develop our lead lists. And then I recommend, you know, I would say, again, assuming you’re calling on people based on a sales trigger, I think 45 seconds before each call, one minute before each call, doing a little bit of homework. Now, I know some, you know, I know you work in the call center world sometimes with, with inside sales reps, that’s not going to work. But there are things you can do from an industry perspective, where you might say, okay, you know, maybe this is the inside sales teams assistants job, find me a piece of industry research that’s relevant to everybody we’re calling.

And so the first words out of our mouth are about the other person. So again, if you’re calling a manufacturing company, instead of just saying, Hi, my name is Sam, from Widget Corporation, we thought you might be interested in our new, you know, widget 3000 system know, you call and you say, hey, the reason I’m calling is I’m sure you’ve already seen the recent McKinsey report on, you know, the need for efficiency and manufacturing. And that, you know, manufacturing is going to be coming back, onshore versus offshore. And I saw the article and I immediately had to talk, you know, call you, because we know, most of the time you’re leaving voicemails, then you’re going to leave an email, you know, hey, I’m going to send you an email with the study, I’ll call you back next week, I’d love to discuss it.

So there are ways you can do industry research, especially if it’s an inside sales team, industry research that will be relevant. And that’s the key word here relevant to every single person you’re calling.

Nancy: I think that’s great, great. Intel, for sure. You and I talked earlier. And you know, you have so many different stories that you could relate relay to the audience. But I wonder if there’s one in particular that demonstrates the value of doing this type of research,

Sam: I’m going to share with you a fun one, so. So I have an outline, I actually include the first part of this presentation, or the first part of the story in my presentation. But it’s got a really cool conclusion it started yesterday. So you get to be the first one to hear this. So I have an opportunity to go call on Allianz. And I know you have experienced in the financial services and insurance world, Allianz a big big insurance company. And they’re looking to hire somebody to work with their sales team.

So I’m going to go meet with a guy named Tom Burns. And one of the things I recommend is, you know, in my presentation, I talked about the three by five, spend three minutes trying to find five pieces of information, five minutes, trying to find three pieces of information. Basically, when you’re doing an in person meeting, just show up three minutes early, take out your mobile device, and find something that you know is important to the other person. Now at the Intel engine, we get to three by five, you know, spend three seconds trying to find five pieces of information.

But so I go to Allianz, I show up a little bit earlier, I take out my mobile device, I got Google, Allianz, you know, you get 8 million results. And one of the things I teach is click on the news. So you click on the news button. Well, you get 8000 results. Better than 8 million, but you get 8000 results, many of them old, on Google, even on your mobile device, you click the tools button, and then a drop down menu appear. You can sort your news article, you can start your website results, but in this example, your news articles by date so I sorted by last hour actually. And you know, by happenstance, I find out that that literally 18 minutes ago, Allianz was just named Best Places to Work by Fortune magazine. So Tom comes down, he introduces himself Sam, Tom, Tom burns, very nice to meet you. first words out of my mouth, Tom, congratulations. And he looks at me like I’m a little bit weird. And you know, I said, didn’t you get the news?

He said, What news? And I said, well, Allianz was just named Best Places to Work by Fortune Magazine, with a huge smile comes to Tom’s face. You know, really, when did that happen? Oh, 18 minutes ago. But one of the things I talk about is when the first words out of your mouth are about the other person, you gain permission to ask those challenging questions. Yeah. So now I have permission. And it’s in it’s relevant to say something like, hey, Tom, what makes us such a great place to work? Right now that wouldn’t have been a bad question before. If I hadn’t done my homework. It just would have been out of the blue and really weird, but right. But in context, hey, what makes us such a great place to work? And you know what happens for the next 20 minutes who did Tom talk about?

Nancy: Himself.

Sam: And so Tom ended up hiring me we, you know, we became friends and, and it probably represents 30% of my business today because I did a lot of work for Allianz. And then Tom introduced me to everybody in the financial services world. So, okay, so so that’s a story where sales intelligence works.

Fast forward to the interesting thing. So, during this whole COVID deal, one of the things I’ve been doing is just reaching out to people and saying hello. And so I reached out to Tom, because I hadn’t talked to him in a couple of years. And he, you know, told me about a new, he’s working at what’s called a, an FMO, which is a marketing organization that serves financial advisors.

And he’s like, Hey, I would love to do some work with you again, fast forward. Anyhow, yesterday, I’m doing a very large project with Tom again. And we’re going to be introducing sales intelligence to the financial advisory world, but anyhow, you know, you can ask Tom, you can say, Hey, you know, why did why did you end up hiring Sam, and his words will be some variation of, you know, hey, I’m the number I was the number two guy at the world’s largest life insurance company. And, you know, I’d never heard of Sam before. And I get called on by people with a lot bigger brand names. But I knew immediately that I wanted to work with Sam. Why? And Sam will say the variation of these words, because in my entire career, he’s the only person who’s ever bothered to care.

Nancy: Yeah.

Sam: And that’s the key.

Nancy: All about them, all about them. Wow.

Sam: And you have to be genuine and you have to be authentic. You can’t you can’t do what I teach. You can’t use sales intelligence to manipulate people because because people like Tom will see right through that.

Nancy: Right.

Sam: Like when I saw that they were named Best Places to Work. I was I was genuinely thought that was cool. And it was genuinely excited to talk about it with Tom and he and I, you know, as you know, people pick up on that excitement they pick up on that confidence, do business with people who they like,

Nancy: Absolutely. And trust.

Sam: And you might not be able to tell it, but but I’m actually a huge introvert. And so, putting me in a situation where it’s like, okay, you’re gonna go meet with Tom that terrifies me. But, but if I have something about him, that excites me, it like, melts away my introvertedness Oh, I was so excited to share this with you.

Nancy: Yeah. You’re not an introvert. Certainly not over the phone.

Sam: I did my homework on you. Of course I did.

Nancy: Good. I did my homework on you. Okay, so tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Sam: Well, I think it’s kind of what we were talking about a little bit. So I don’t want to say nobody. I would say that, that great salespeople and more important, great leaders and great sales managers get the concept of quality over quantity. But especially in challenging times, which many organizations are facing today, a lot of people will fall back on quantity versus quality. And so what what I mean by that is, you know, somebody’s not hitting their numbers, and what are they?

What is the sales manager immediately say? They’ll say, Well, how many calls? How many outbound calls did you make? Okay, we need you made 50, we need to ramp that up to 75. And the challenge is, is if that’s what we’re being judged on, where the sales managers logging into the CRM system and saying, Yeah, boss, boy, Sally, yep, Sally made her 75 calls, I guess. We just don’t have people that are interested in buying, you know, if we’re measuring quantity, salespeople are smart, they don’t want to lose their job. And they’re going to perform on quantity, I’d rather perform on quality, again, don’t call 1000 people in the phone book, call on the 50.

Who are, let’s say, one of your sales triggers is find me somebody who’s just received funding, because if I know if they just received funding, they’re required to spend it, you know, if a VC gives gives the company funding, the VC didn’t say, Hey, here’s $30 million, I’d like you to go put this in an index mutual fund. No, they’re saying go spend this go hire people go buy technology, grow your business. So if a sales trigger, for example, you know, hey, we like to work with tech companies who just received funding, well then find those tech companies who just received funding, find out who the decision makers are, find information that are relevant to them. And how does your solutions marry with what they care about, present those solutions in a relevant manner.

That’s what I’m talking about. I’d rather do 30 phone calls to the right people at the right time with the right message than 300 random phone calls hoping I get to somebody. And that’s a mind shift, especially for people who have been in sales management for a long time where, where we’ve always been taught, the only things you can impact are the number of calls you make the numbers of deals you close and the value the deal size of those of those of those deals. I’d like to say no, it’s not the number of calls you make. It’s the quality of those calls. Are we calling on the right people. And so a lot of people do disagree with that.

Nancy: I think, you know, there’s probably room and I agree, you know, the more targeted and qualified the leads, the better investment of time, it may also be a mix of those, you know, in terms of continuing to prospect throughout the day and throughout the week. You know, I don’t know what everybody’s sales plan looks like. But a good mix of that could also work. But I, I’m with you, I mean, the more qualified and if they’re triggered, and they’re interested, that would be the first step for a salesperson to go after and pursue them vigorously.

Sam: Absolutely. You’re 100%, right, there’s a balance in every organization is going to be different. Because I do want to stress, you know, if you’re a sales manager, you’ve hired salespeople, you haven’t hired Google researchers, right? So go, if if what I’m talking about is super important, like you sell a very expensive complex product, well, then maybe you ought to look at hiring one or two people to do the research.

Or if you’re like many of the organizations I work with, most of your sales, people are already doing some form of research, they’re going on to a LinkedIn profile. They’re doing a Google search. But I think we can make that research a lot more effective. And as I like to say, when you’re when your salespeople in, you’re googling a prospect prior to a call, while you’re looking at their online marketing brochure, they’re not telling you anything that they don’t want you to know. So how do we find how do we find some other information that’s more relevant to the to what you sell? So you are right, we, you there has to be a fine balance between quality and quantity.

Nancy: Yeah. So let’s, let’s wrap it up. What is one takeaway you want to leave the audience with?

Sam: Well, I think it’s that especially in today’s world, where we don’t have the opportunity to meet with people in person like we used to, and I’m not sure we’re, we’re ever going to go back to that because I think people are so used to these virtual meetings. Now, it’s might be tough to, to get on a plane, even when all this is done to say, Hey, I’m going to just go I’m flying down to Dallas to meet with a client, I’m flying home tonight, I think a lot of those might be virtual.

And so the importance of doing your homework, I think is going to be more important than ever. Because, and and the fact that buyers understand now that they can buy anywhere in the globe. You really have to differentiate through I call hyper relevancy, really understand, what do you sell? And that’s important, obviously. But what does the other person truly care about? Because if I were to leave, leave with anything, it would be the only time of sale ever occurs is when those two intersect.

Nancy: I absolutely agree.

Sam: And then using examples, you know, so what do they have? What do they care about? What do I solve? And then where do they intersect share a story on how I’ve solved that problem for someone just like them, and the only way you can do that is through through doing your homework.

Nancy: Wow. Sam, how can my people reach you?

Sam: The best way is just my website, www.SamRichter R I C H T E R.com. Or frankly, just go into Google and type in Sam Richter. Because if that wasn’t my business card, don’t listen to anything I have to say. And then for the sales Intel engine, you’ll see them on my website, I have various versions for different industries, but the the general one the the premium version, if you will, is just sellingintel.com. www.selling S E L L I N G Intel I N T E L.com. sellingintel.com

Nancy: Well, I am certain that everyone in this podcast has taken down copious notes, and will be checking your website out. I so appreciate spending time. You know, if anything, listen to your Everybody listen to your enthusiasm. And that’s contagious. So I can’t wait to get my team more and more involved in this platform. And by the way, it’s an excellent one. I really recommend that you all check it out. Get in front of Sam, and let’s do quality over quantity. Happy selling and thanks so much.

Sam: It’s been such an honor. Thank you.

Voiceover: The Conversational Selling Podcast is sponsored by One of a Kind Sales. If you’re frustrated that you don’t have enough leads or your sales team complains that they just don’t have enough time to prospect, we can help. To work with Nancy and her team one on one to help you manage your sales team, install her proven outbound sales process and create more bottom line results, email her now at Nancy@oneofakindsales.com. To learn more about Nancy and the outbound sales secrets, grab your free copy of the Inside Sales Solution at oneofakindsales.com/book.