What is the right way to approach sales and business development in a time when nobody is thinking about buying?
To listen to Episode 1, click here.
Nothing’s Sacred: Episode 2 Transcript
Nad Elias: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to “Nothing’s Sacred,” where we talk candidly about trends in work and what has, and what will be. My name is Nad Elias. I’m here with my co-host, Nick Schenck. What’s up, Nick?
[00:00:13] Nick Schenck: Hey, what’s going on, Nad? How are you doing these days?
[00:00:16] Nad Elias: Doing well, doing well. We’re going strong. All-in as a company over here, and looking forward to talking about selling in today’s world and what’s changed and what we need to be doing as organizations to sell by helping, sell by being a resource. The way we sell now is significantly different than it’s ever been. Post-COVID or In-COVID, so to speak. Is that some of what you’ve been seeing with your clients when it comes to selling and being that type of resource?
[00:00:53] Nick Schenck: Yeah, I mean, in general, when I’ve been in marketing roles and people sell to me, there’s like this thirsty sales syndrome where people are just very transactional and want to sell you on things. And pre-COVID, I don’t think that approach was very successful. During COVID right now, this time, I think it’s even less successful of an approach.
[00:01:20] People need help right now. Every business – pretty much – needs help right now. And if you approach a company about your product or service in a selfish manner, I think it’s going to backfire big time. And so with 3rd & Lamar Media, we’re reaching out to companies with just A), how are you guys doing, and what are you dealing with?
[00:01:48] Right now, a lot of companies have applied for the payroll protection loans, so [I’m] just trying to just share information. What are you seeing? What response are you getting from your bank? Here’s what I’m seeing. And then I’m not pitching any company on anything unless I know – unless I have a very good use case for how that could help them right now.
[00:02:11] Like help them – as in help their bottom line – right now. I think any other way to do it is just tone-deaf, and that’s really not how you build a relationship with someone. Another thing is, and this is about relationships in general, everyone has had a friend in their life where their friend only reaches out to them when they want something.
[00:02:33] And that’s not a great friend. A lot of times, you keep in touch with them because you’ve known them since high school maybe. But you don’t want to do that in business, either, where you’re only reaching out to someone because you have an agenda. How can they help you? Before COVID, again, [that] wasn’t successful.
[00:02:51] That will blow up in people’s faces now.
[00:02:53] Nad Elias: Yeah. There’s a time when that was the way to sell. It was the way that we were trained. I mean, even 20 years ago when I started selling and was trained how to sell and did the sales seminars. You went in, you asked for the sale, there was a hard sell and a hard close.
[00:03:13] And then it evolved. Again, we’re talking just pre-COVID, where you don’t need to go into your spiel as much, because most of the time, they know who you are, what you do, and what you’re selling before you even get on the phone. If you set a sales appointment, they’ve done their research, they’ve checked you out on LinkedIn, they know who you are.
[00:03:34] You don’t have to go into that elevator pitch and then ask for the sale. It’s more about providing the right type of content on a sales call or in an email or in a message, where they get value out of it. Right. That that was the way selling evolved pre-COVID. Now it’s really the only way that we should be connecting, in my opinion.
[00:04:07] It doesn’t even feel right – when I talk to my sales team now, it doesn’t feel right to have closing numbers or have them selling, because realistically, buying is not the first thing on anybody’s mind right now. It’s surviving as a business, right? It’s surviving in their professions, survival at home.
[00:04:30] So we’re taking the approach – in that survival mode, how can we help them? And with every call that we’re making now, it’s not about what we’re selling, it’s how can we help you? And can we help you above and beyond the services that recruitAbility provides? But what can we help you with? And a metric that our sales team has – again, this is in-COVID – we’re required to track our helps every week.
[00:05:02] Nick Schenck: Define a “help.”
[00:05:04] Nad Elias: Our metrics on our SalesForce was appointments. You had calls, you had appointments, and you had closes.
[00:05:13] Nick Schenck: And a close is a job order?
[00:05:16] Nad Elias: A close in our world is a job order or a sale. Selling our technical services, or whatever it may be. Now it’s, tell me your helps. How did you help somebody this week? They could be prospects. They could be candidates. They could be vendors. How can we help? And that help is spreading our message.
[00:05:44] Selfishly, it is PR, right? But at the end of the day, it’s the right thing to do. In this period right now, helping people is what they’re going to remember – how somebody helped them when nobody else was. And we can help in resources that make us subject-matter experts, but also things like payroll protection, right?
[00:06:08] It’s something that we’re going through right now. And I’ve listened to two or three webinars a week just around that, just so I have enough information. And that information that I have, I’m able to share with our clients when they ask me those questions specifically around benefits, right? How that’s changed right now and how employers are providing benefits, paid time off. Those are all issues that have significantly changed in-COVID. And we’ll see what they look like post-COVID. But right now, there’s been very real changes that we’ve seen.
[00:06:49] Nick Schenck: Yep, and I think people will remember the efforts that companies make now to help, but they’ll also remember the companies during this period who have their hands out. And so it can go both ways. And I think that the relationship building now – not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s what’s going to pay dividends when we get out of this period.
[00:07:15] And there’s quite a few companies out there that have taken this approach. And I just want to cite a few examples that I saw. So OJo labs, they’re a company in Austin, they’re helping local businesses sign up for PPP loans. So they’ve promoted that on Twitter. Kickstand Communications, they’re a PR agency here in Austin. They’re doing free office hours helping companies with crisis communications throughout the month of April. Airbnb is a big example. They’ve connected hosts, who obviously are vacant right now, and they’re connecting those hosts with healthcare workers who can’t go home because they don’t want to risk infecting their families. So they need a place to go. Right?
[00:08:04] Planoly is a social media software company here in Austin, and they’re given relief grants to local businesses in Austin. So there are a lot of examples of people doing the right thing and trying to help. But I’ve gotten – and I’m sure a lot of people listening to this have gotten – those LinkedIn messages with just these tone-deaf messages. Like, “Hey, can we set up a call to talk about this product?” I’ve never met you. I don’t know who you are. You’re obviously – this is like a direct response campaign to get me to buy something. Now it’s just a turn-off.
[00:08:42] Nad Elias: Ojo Labs – it’s real estate tech, right?
[00:08:47] Nick Schenck: I think it’s like AI in real estate.
[00:08:49] Nad Elias: So for them to be doing PPP, which isn’t even part of their business model. I mean, that’s the definition of helping outside of their zone, so to speak. Something that we’ve done here is, at recruitAbility we focus in AI and technology-related services.
[00:09:12] But I reached out to the hospitals here in town. I have a friend of mine that owns a recruiting firm that does a lot of work in hospital healthcare. And I called them up and I said, “Look, we’ve got resources right now. We’ve got a very capable recruiting team. We’re not at 100 percent utilization. How can we help? How can we help if we’re ramping up [in COVID infections], and everything that we read about is there’s this ramp-up happening [with COVID], and the shortage in healthcare workers, how can we help? And we’ll do it at cost. It’s not about the money right now. It’s the right thing to do. These types of helps and the things that our sales team is doing, that’s what gets remembered.
[00:09:56] And what companies will become post-COVID really is defined by what they’re doing now. And we’ve been through the .com bubble, financial markets crashed, 9/11. These are defining, generational moments, and how companies respond in those moments really says a lot about how they come out. And we’ve seen the companies that have had this hockey-stick scaling, you know, post an event like this. We’ve seen how they’ve scaled, and the reason why is defined by what they do during that time.
[00:10:42] There’s a lot of companies that I know of right now that are getting lean and they’re just sitting back. They’re like, “Alright, we’re going to get lean. We’re going to sit back. We’ll wait for this thing to pick up and then we’ll go at it.” Well, the ones that are right now changing their metrics, like in this case, helping or having conversations, or doing these types of reach-outs, or making sure they’re out there doing their part to get us past this, they’re the ones that are going to stand out. And it’s a form of selling. It is. It’s a different way of accessing that network and expanding that network, so that network becomes remembered when we come out of this thing.
[00:11:19] Nick Schenck: Yeah. What we’re doing is similar to what you guys are doing.
[00:11:24] We’re offering services at cost, but we thought, who’s getting hit the hardest right now? And the fitness industry is just getting absolutely crushed. ClassPass, which works with a lot of local yoga studios, cycling gyms,etc. They just laid off hundreds of employees.
[00:11:44] So we reached out to yoga studios, who have members. The members can’t come into the class. These yoga studios want to retain their members. They’re trying to livestream their classes on Zoom, which the quality is so-so. We’ve been offering production help for these studios.
[00:12:07] And some studios actually want to launch their own subscription VOD sites, because they’re getting traffic from all over the world – from people who want to check out their yoga classes. And so they’re pivoting and they’re saying, “What if we could have members all over the world instead of just in Austin? What if our members can just attend classes virtually versus having to come in? They’re like, “Wait a second, this could actually help us scale our business to heights we never even considered before.” And so we’ve kind of gone from – if I’m a yoga studio owner – how am I going to get past this? To wait a second, this could be an even bigger opportunity than ever before.
[00:12:49] And that’s the type of thinking that is refreshing to be around versus people who are like, “I’m just going to sit on my hands right now.”
[00:12:58] Nad Elias: Yup. Speaking of the gyms, more along the personal training aspect, there’s a company called Ladder here in town – JoinLadder.com – and I’ll plug him because he’s a good friend of mine. They’re providing the virtual personal training.
[00:13:15] So the model was working really well pre-COVID, but now with the gyms being shut down, there’s all these personal trainers that are out of work. And this is a resource to provide virtual training. So you can have a real personal trainer on your phone, through your AirPods, while you’re training, really working you out.
[00:13:38] And they’re getting paid to do it – it’s almost like an Uber-access app where the trainers get on and then you sign up for a trainer. It’s a really neat model, but something that was starting to work pre-COVID, and now it’s taken off and in the midst of what we’re dealing with.
[00:13:57] But back to selling and what we’re seeing out there, I get so much correspondence weekly hitting my inbox, or people calling, because they have numbers to meet, right? They’re in a commission sales environment.
[00:14:20] Their sales manager basically says, you gotta hit your quota if you’re going to keep your job. And I get it. This is their job right now. But the mindset needs to be different because nobody’s buying. Right? And, and, and there’s so many companies out there that are just like, “Alright, just do more of what we’ve been doing, and we’ll close some business.” And that might be the case. You might be able to work harder and make some closes. But the reality of it is, it’s not going to happen at the rate that some of these companies are expecting.
[00:14:59] And everybody has a different projection. I’m thinking this is a 2020 thing. We might climb out here in the fourth quarter. My feeling on it is, this approach and this way of selling as a resource and selling by helping – if we do it for the rest of this year, and we figure out metrics around it – 2021 is when we’re going to start seeing the results.
[00:15:33] Nick Schenck: I point to HubSpot, they’re a software company based in Boston, and they sort of turned up the volume on content marketing probably around a decade ago. And they’ve continued, where they were like, “We’re going to hire people to produce amazing content that is going to be attractive – or appeal to people in the marketing industry. And then when they’re ready to buy, we’ll already occupied mindshare among them.” And I think the companies that do take that approach, where – I don’t know if it’s not necessarily a push strategy, it’s a pull strategy where you’re creating content that’s pulling people in. They’re going to occupy more mindshare compared to the companies who don’t invest in that. And then when we come out of this, again, they’ll have a little bit of a headstart because of that.
[00:16:27] Content, when you put it out there, you’re sharing what you believe in. And a lot of people buy [from] and work with companies, not necessarily because of the product they sell, [but] because they believe what they believe. They share the same beliefs. And so if you’re a company producing content right now, and you can produce content that shares your approach, your viewpoint on the world, your specific sector, industry, you’re going to find people who share those same beliefs. And then my guess is you’ll have an advantage coming out when they’re thinking about what software they need or which company, professional services company, they want to use. They’re probably gonna go to you first.
[00:17:11] And law firms are doing this right now. They’re doing free webinars, providing legal advice, and that’s the same approach. They’re collecting emails, they’re trying to be helpful for free – because lawyers are expensive. And coming out of this, those law firms who are investing in those free webinars, they’re going to be sitting pretty, is my guess.
[00:17:33] Nad Elias: It’s great to see lawyers doing free stuff.
[00:17:36] Nick Schenck: It’s incredible.
[00:17:38] Nad Elias: They’re taking the mindset to a whole different level when lawyers are working for free. I have lawyer friends that hopefully will listen to this and call me out.
[00:17:51] But this is your world in a lot of ways, right? I think the importance of helping your clients become subject-matter experts – whether it’s through content as you just mentioned, or other mechanisms or other avenues. Anything else that you’ve seen or that you can share for companies that are looking to become more, I guess, helpful by being a resource?
[00:18:22] Nick Schenck: Yeah, I think there’s a few ways. Number one, I think a lot of companies are reluctant to even start thinking about content because they’re like, “We don’t have writers or we don’t have video production resources, editing resources. We don’t have podcast equipment.” And I think that’s the wrong way of looking at it.
[00:18:43] There’s things, simple things, that companies can do to add value to their networks – such as curating helpful articles. Everyone’s on social media these days. If you stumble upon an article, a video, a post that you find interesting or relevant, save that. And then you can create content where you just curate those helpful links and posts and share that with your audience. And that’s a really easy – kind of like low-hanging fruit, value-add right now.
[00:19:14] Beyond that, Q& A’s with your employees. If you have a sales force, and you want to familiarize people with your sales force, employee Q&As are pretty simple, lo- hanging fruit. Again, it doesn’t take a ton of effort. You don’t need to be a wordsmith to put those together.
[00:19:32] Videos require a little bit more resources, but like a lot of times, production quality expectations for videos can be fairly low. If you are the CEO of a company, or CMO, or chief revenue officer, and you want to do a selfie video, people understand the production quality of selfie videos aren’t necessarily super high. But the message you get across, and the authenticity and the genuineness you can convey through that type of selfie video, a lot of people can respond to that.
[00:20:05] I remember having a boss once. Whenever we spoke, the only thing he ever talked about was work. So there was nothing human about him. And so we never really connected. And I think people crave human connection right now. You’re stuck at home. The walls feel like they’re kind of caving in on you. Your only connection with the outside world for a lot of people is through FaceTime or Zoom. If you create content to humanize yourself, I think that is something that’s super powerful that brands can do.
[00:20:43] And again, the production quality doesn’t need to be super high. Have you seen anything like that out there by companies producing content like that?
[00:20:50] Nad Elias: I think it’s certainly relevant right now, especially when you talk about the content quality, because of everybody being quarantined and at home. The content that’s being produced, it’s okay for it to not have that level of quality. Even Jimmy Fallon, right? His show, now he’s doing it out of his house, and he’s got his kid holding up the cue cards. Right? I mean, there’s these different ways that companies can create that content now.
[00:21:30] And the lack of quality can work in your favor. Because it just humanizes it – like you said. And I’ve seen that just from the companies that are holding webinars. T\hose are a big thing right now. There’s so many going. It goes to what we’re talking about in a lot of ways. So I think it’s a great idea for companies to come up with a webinar that’s going to provide value, but there’s a ton of them out there right now. And I’m in that boat right now where I’m listening to a lot of them, because we are trying as a business to absorb as much information as we can. Again, first off for ourselves, but also to be a resource to our clients. So we are listening to a lot of those. But when you see these webinars, it’ okay that the person speaking at the webinar isn’t wearing a suit and tie, right? It’s like if you’re at home, it’s okay to be in your tracksuit.
[00:22:36] It’s okay, because I’m doing this webinar at my house. And we realistically, pre-COVID, they’re probably still doing the webinar out of their house. They were just dressing up, and now it’s cool. Nobody’s dressing up now. It’s cool not to shave. Nobody’s doing it. And like you said, it humanizes it though, right?
[00:22:54] I don’t know what will happen post-COVID around that, but certainly in-COVID, that’s become the norm.
[00:23:04] Nick Schenck: Yeah, you mentioned Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert, the three of them are hosting a big benefit concert this Friday. They were doing like a little promo on TV for it, and they’re all talking. It was like split screen and they’re all talking over each other. The same script, which is kind of funny. But the funniest part was when they ended, they got up from their chairs, and they were wearing suits on the top, but they’re wearing like their underpants below. And it made me think of that.
[00:23:37] Another thing, Jimmy Kimmel’s hilarious. One of his monologues the other night, he was talking about how he was tired of being stuck at home and he’s like, “I told my wife I wanted to start seeing other people.” He’s like, “And she freaked out.” He’s like, “No, I just want to see other people.” Right? Everyone can relate to that.
[00:23:59] Speaking of which, you can share clips like that on your social media channels. Even as a company, you can take that risk. We’re in a casual environment now. Everyone’s dealing with the same stuff. People might be more responsive to humor now than they’ve ever been because everyone’s looking for comic relief.
[00:24:22] And you may think, “How does a clip from Jimmy Kimmel on my company’s social media channel – how does that relate to my bottom line?
[00:24:33] And I think that’s kind of myopic thinking. The idea is, don’t take yourself too seriously. Post content that’s going to endear people to your brand, and have people recognize that there’s the human aspect of your brand. And that’s how a lot of conversations start.
[00:24:52] People do business with people that they like, bottom line. And people don’t like transactional people. People like people who are human and who actually are genuine and authentic, and make sure that your content reflects that. And this is a big mistake I see people make – or companies make – is the copy that they use on social media is very formal. It’s like a robot wrote it. And you can’t tell that there’s a person behind that brand.
[00:25:20] Now, I’m not saying every company needs to be like Taco Bell. If you follow them on social media, they have a very distinct voice. But it’s like the voice of someone who’s like 16 years old who’s a gamer, right?
[00:25:33] So you have to know your voice, but don’t be stiff. Right now, nobody wants stiff. Happy hours are beginning at home at like 4:00 PM. No one wants to be stiff right now.
[00:25:43] Nad Elias: Yeah, and we’ve seen the social aspect of what we’re going through right now be a good tool for sales or – helping. The “helps” that our team does every week and that we’re recommending as a sales technique. These Zoom happy hours. So networking events. We used to have a metric in Q1 and all of last year that was around how many networking events do our sales people attend on a weekly basis? Well, now those networking events are Zoom happy hours, or Hangouts, or meetups. And you can go into those in this casual environment and a virtual social setting that does get your name and your brand in front of an audience that might not be buying now, but they will be buying.
[00:26:50] And part of me hopes that even in our organization, we can keep this going in post-COVID, so to speak. Maybe this is a learning that comes out of this is, selling as a resource and selling by helping becomes more common. The common close in sales is: What’s the next step? Should I reach back out to you in a week? Are you ready to buy? Whereas now, it’s, “Hey, look, we’re all going through the same thing. We’re in this together.” everybody says that, and this is the new normal. As long as you take care of those two phrases, you’re on par with everybody else.
[00:27:35] But end it with, “How can I help? How can I help you?” We get a lot around resume writing. Hey, can you help me? Can you take a look at my resume? Can you take a look at my LinkedIn profile? From employers, there are questions around benefits, but then it’s, “Hey, are you homeschooling?” Yeah, I’m homeschooling. “How’s it going for you?” And then, before you know it, you’re a sounding board.
[00:28:03] I’ve had some of my recruiters, they’ve had people they’ve never met before and only talked to a handful of times, crying during this time, just opening up and crying.
[00:28:25] And I always used to tell recruiters when I train thm, is that, we’re in a sales environment. We’re not social workers. When I would train, I was notorious for saying that. Right now, we are, we’re counselors. We’re probably closer to the social work side of helping than we ever have been, and it’s the right thing to do.
[00:28:52] And so it’s refreshing, as an owner, sharing that mindset with my team and letting them know it’s okay. It’s okay to be doing this now. You’re not going to get fired for not hitting your sales numbers right now. You know, let’s do this, right? So our activity metrics completely changed.
[00:29:13] And that’s one thing that, if I could convey in this podcast, it’s around changing those metrics, right? Having those sales metrics is a form of selling, and a form of managing. But changing them. And changing the goal settings around them to make them more around the conversations and the helps.
[00:29:36] Nick Schenck: Yeah. So let’s say your team is reaching out to companies and they want to help. When is it okay to be like, “Okay, we will help you place this job, and we’ll be flexible with a payment terms so that we’ll give you guys some breathing room.” So that’s more of a sales conversation. But you’re also trying to be helpful by being more flexible on payment terms to recognize what that company’s going through. Is that like the second stage or how do you approach that?
[00:30:12] Nad Elias: We certainly have. In a bull market, so to speak, there’s not much flexibility around payment terms, right? But it’s also a market where there’s a lot of money flowing. Right now, the money’s not flowing as quick, and the money should be secondary to providing the value. Right? And you can make a case it should always be that way, but certainly right now, it’s the way it is.
[00:30:51] We’ve extended payment terms. We’ve gotten real creative on how our clients pay us, because look, we’re asking for that same creativity in return. I’ve asked the same out of a lot of my vendors, and the level of understanding is certainly appreciated.
[00:31:10] This isn’t necessarily sales related, but as of April 1, was it 40% of rents defaulted. I think 40% of renters in the U.S. chose not to pay their rent. So they’re choosing not to pay their rent to a homeowner or a property owner. So that property owner now goes to his or her bank, and the bank who holds the mortgage – so it trickles up and then trickles down. But if people are open to making those concessions right now, it’s going to be remembered.
[00:31:50] Nick Schenck: I had a conversation today with a friend who owns a hotel in Austin. She just got a property tax bill for $90,000, and she’s like, I’m going to talk to the city of Austin about what can we do here, right?
[00:32:09] So people are going to start looking at the city of Austin – we’re in Austin – about how flexible they can be. So it’s kind of what you said, it’s going to flow up, flow down, both ways. And everyone’s going to be looking for people to be flexible.
[00:32:23] Nad Elias: Yeah. And that flexibility right now is important in sales. And how we’re selling and talking to people. And look, it’s just about the conversations right now. Have as many conversations as you can in a given week. Again, this has to be a metric that comes top-level down. You know, a VP of Sales, CRO, CEO, somebody has to say, “Hey, look, this is okay.”
[00:32:52] In our world right now, it’s okay. You know what I want to see from an activity standpoint in my team is have conversations. Talk to folks. If it’s about what we do, great. But at the end of the day, just talk to them. Have those conversations and be a resource.
[00:33:10] The advantages that we have from a sales positioning standpoint right now is you can get people on the phone. People want to talk. They want to talk to you right now because they’re just sitting at home and they’ve talked to the same people every day for weeks. So somebody new calls them, it’s an enlightening conversation. You’d be surprised how many people you get on the phone now that you couldn’t get on the phone a month ago.
[00:33:38] But what you talk to them about needs to be different.
[00:33:41] Nick Schenck: Yeah, What signs are you going to look for to be like, “Let’s stop calling people and asking them how things are going. Let’s transition the conversation to – is business getting back or are you guys ramping up there?”
[00:33:58] Nad Elias: They’re calling us. I think that’s the key, right? When it turns, they’re going to remember, and you’ll start seeing the inbound. And the inbound efforts from what we’re doing now is what we’re going to start seeing. And even now in April, we’re seeing movement.
[00:34:20] Where things came to a screeching halt in March – because there was so much uncertainty and fear and also shock – right now, the shock has worn off. We still don’t like it, but there are companies who are like, “Look, we’re going to hire, we’re going to grow. We’re going to find a way to bring this person on. We’re going to build out this project, so they’re going to need contractors or a software development team to finish a project. We’re starting to see movement. Now it’s slow, but we’re starting to see companies and be like, “Okay, this is what it is. It’s not going to be like this forever, but it’s gonna be like this for a while. We’ve got to move.”
[00:35:00] And so we start seeing that and then we start getting those calls. We’ve had that with just two or three jobs this week, companies this week that have been clients before that are now, “Okay, hey, we’re ready to move.” And one quick story that I can share is we had a client that was hiring an account executive. And they’re in high-level events, very marquee events. And we had to rescind the offer on Friday before he was going to start on Monday because they just found out that they were laying off half of their company.
[00:35:43] It’s about a 500-person company here in town. And I told the CRO, I said “Look, it sucks,” because the candidate had turned down a job to take this one. So he had already given notice at his previous employer and was in the in-between, the two-week period and was starting a new job on Monday, and we had to rescind the offer.
[00:36:03] So he didn’t have a job now. That’s it. client felt really bad. We said, “Look, this is on us. We’ll call them. It’s part of what you’re paying us to do. Let us break the news.” And it wasn’t easy. And my recruiter who did it, I told them, “Look, I’ll do this if you need me to.”
[00:36:24] And he said, “No, it’s my call. I’ll do it.” And it’s a tough call to have. But then the client said, right after we did that, he goes, “You know what? That’s why I’ll always work with you guys. You’re going to make the tough call.” And that same client just called this this week and said, “All right, I’m ready to start hiring for these key positions. Let’s do it.”
[00:36:41] And you know, these types of moments really define the kind of firm, organization, you want to be. And there’s several stories like that, but it’s a long answer to your question. We’re starting to see a turn. We’re starting to see a trend upward. And what we’re finding is the calls and the emails and the efforts that we’re making aren’t going unnoticed.
[00:37:10] People are remembering the helping and they’re remembering the value they we’re providing during that time. And as soon as they’re ready to move, they’re going to their inbox. They’re saying, “All right, let me call Nad and his team back. We talked to them last month, and you know, they’re the ones we need to reach out to.”
[00:37:28] They’re not calling the people that haven’t connected with them in the last month.
[00:37:34] Nick Schenck: So if you’re not on their radar, you can’t just reappear. And again, that’s another reason to continue to invest in content right now. Stay top of mind.
[00:37:45] Nad Elias: And another takeaway is how important it is to reconnect with this approach to your existing relationships.
[00:37:57] It’s almost – to me – more important right now than prospecting for any type of new relationships. Although that’ll happen. It’s really going back – go back two years and everybody that you’ve made a sale with, anybody that you’ve connected with, call them up and say, “Hey, this is Nad, how you doing?”
[00:38:18] Because that means a lot to them. But there’s also association there right away. And it reinforces your existing relationships for when we come out of this thing.
[00:38:28] Nick Schenck: That’s funny you brought that up. My buddy Chris from Houston texted me the other day. This is how long it’s been since we’ve spoken. I left Houston in 2013. His name was no longer in my contacts. I’ve switched phones and I guess he got dropped off. And so he’s like, “How’s it going? How’s your business holding up?” I was like, “Who is this? You’re not in my contacts.” He’s like, “Oh, this is Chris.” And we had a long text message exchange.
[00:38:55] He has a company in Houston that does direct mail. So we were just talking back and forth. And then, you know, guys will go through like a 25-text message exchange that would have been like a five-minute phone call, but they don’t want to pick up the phones. That’s how guys are, at least that’s how I am. I’ll text for two hours versus doing a 10-minute phone call.
[00:39:16] But anyways, after like the 30th text message, he was like, “Man, this sounds like a better topic to talk about with a few beers on a Zoom.” And I was like, “That’s a great idea.” And so tomorrow at five o’clock, we’re going to do a Zoom and have some beers and catch up over Zoom.
[00:39:34] And I’m actually really excited for it. I haven’t seen Chris in years and this is one of those things 10 years from now, I’ll probably remember this. Because it’s abnormal, but it was also a pleasant surprise from the past. And to your point, exactly, I’m going through my contacts.
[00:39:53] Who can I reach out to that I haven’t spoken to in a while? Life – in a lot of ways – is slowing down. This is the time to do it and build those relationships and this has nothing to do with sales. From my perspective, maybe it leads to sales, but it’s more about right now, people want to put the emphasis on relationships and human connection. That’s all it’s about.
[00:40:17] Nad Elias: That’s a good way to summarize this. It’s funny, my eight-year-old daughter, she’s now doing Zoom calls with her friends, because they just haven’t seen their second graders and they haven’t seen each other, so the moms will set up a Zoom and they’ll sit there and they’ll talk for forever.
[00:40:36] And I look at her and I’m like, wow, she’s talking like a teenager now. This is how teenagers used to have calls. And my wife told me the other day, she goes, “Did you ever do that?” I said, you know what I did? If I had a girl that was – we were going out or whatever, she was my girlfriend by high school definitions. You remember how girls would want to talk on the phone like every night?
[00:40:56] I had this deal with my mom, and I would tell my mom, I said, “Mom, five minutes into this call, pick up the phone. And say, ‘Nad, I need to use the phone,'” because I hated it. It was the worst. It was painful to me to have to sit and just talk about nothing on the phone every night.
[00:41:14] But that’s what you did back then if you were – whatever it was called, if you were going steady or going out or you had a girlfriend. I had my mom do the drop-in. It was just real funny to see my daughter going through that as well. They’re trying to develop those relationships any way that they can, and it’s encouraging and it’s something that we can be mindful of in a business setting, and should be doing. I think it goes back to just making sure it’s – from an employer perspective or if you’re the leader in your organization or the leadership in an organization needs to be okay with it.
[00:41:56] And you know, we’ve made the decision as a company, we’re okay with it. We’re going to be fine coming out of this thing. We’re going to come out of it. And you know, we’ll claw our way back up, and right now, we’re going all in. This is the right thing to do and let’s do it.
[00:42:09] Nick Schenck: Your story about dating as a middle schooler reminds me of creating mix tapes for girlfriends and stuff like that. Maybe that’s a sales technique. Somebody could bring that back. Start creating mixed tapes for people in your network and see how they respond to that. I will guarantee you they will remember that.
[00:42:29] Nad Elias: Obviously, you can put out the content a lot easier right now. So you can be like, “Hey, I created a mix tape for you to reemphasize our relationship. Hope we can work together soon.”
[00:42:39] Nick Schenck: That’s great.
[00:42:40] Nad Elias: And you put “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey on there.
[00:42:46] Nick Schenck: I think that’s a great place to stop. Thanks, Nad.