Sales Prospecting without the pressure – with Florian Gottschall

Florian Gottschall, Sales Readiness Manager at WalkMe, joined DACH Regional Host, Britta Lorenz to discuss sales prospecting without the pressure, a great topic!

Florian’s key thoughts revolve around

1️⃣ Listening with the intent to understand.

2️⃣ Building trust

Throughout this conversation, Florian and Britta discuss several stories and share many insights.

Give a listen and remain curious.

Audio Transcript

Unknown Speaker
All right. Hello,

Britta Lorenz
and welcome to today’s coffee collaboration and enablement. I am here with Florian gutshot. Sales readiness manager at walk me, Florian. It’s such a pleasure to have you with me today.

Florian Gottschall
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Britta Lorenz
Great, Florian. Before we jump into our awesome topic, I mean, when I just heard the title, I was like, Whoa, we got a chat about that. That’s awesome. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, what do you do? And something about your background?

Florian Gottschall
Of course, I will do something that all humans are any way programmed to do it will give answers today. So when for this session, because our our sales people or even enablement, we should more question what and why questions are raised to us or to the companies. But anyway, if it’s not so interesting, I already started my first company during school time, I am coming right out of the business of video producing. And we did it really non digital in the former time, so I’m quite old already. Meanwhile, I started about five different startups have to say only two of them are left. Or maybe happily, only two of them are left, I don’t know. But if there was a lot of failures, and a lot of was abilities to learn what you do what you should do and what not. 15 years ago, I came to Oracle as a sales representative. And there I got to know for the first time ever, that sales is the main job is a is a full day job. Because before when running my own businesses, I was always of the opinion like, yeah, you know, I did not do any video today, I did not record something and shoot something. I did nothing today. And this was the feeling when I went into bed with in reality, I was having coffee with a lot of customers. So I slipped into being a sales. And meanwhile, I was working for three other different companies as an employee, and now in sales, training, readiness for your readiness. And a part of that I’m from the very originally even if the profile tells you. I’m from Berlin and Germany. I live here since more than 14 years. And I’m happy about it. But still in my heart. I’m a Bavarian and as you all know various next to Germany. Additionally, I’m a sailor so everybody who is who wants to talk about sailing with me is absolutely welcome.

Britta Lorenz
Wow, wonderful. What a diverse background moving from analog to digital from moving startup to sales. Wonderful. Florian, would you also call yourself an enabler?

Florian Gottschall
Yes, but not only in our meaning sales enablement. I think I enabled my teams back in my startups or even nowadays, to do their job to create a vision to create products to serve people. I enable sailors to do their sailing license or to run the better sailing trips. So yes, probably, and this is something people tell me. I’m enabling people. But the good thing on it, I don’t have to do anything about it. I just do it automatically. So I don’t do not even see it.

Britta Lorenz
So it’s a talent, secret talent you have that your enable people without intentionally doing it. People say that, yeah,

Florian Gottschall
but let others charge about that.

Britta Lorenz
But interestingly enough, on your profile, you say, unable to listen and understand. So isn’t that also some kind of intention behind? Or can we explore that saying a little more of what you actually want to tell us about that?

Florian Gottschall
I think especially my top role at the moment, assisting a lot of salespeople in different states roles, technical sales, but also the executives. The one thing everybody has to do in his job is to listen, that’s the most important part for all of them doesn’t matter where they come from everybody who is able to listen. And Celeste Headley in a TED talk once said, it’s listening with the intent to reply or listening with the intent to understand and what I want to do is to teach the people a bit more like listen with the intent to understand get the customer side because this makes our customer journey and also the prospect. We want to talk today about more a conversation and less than interrogation and makes it more comfortable. And this is why for me, listening and understanding is something you probably not always do automatically. A lot of people intend to talk and drive a meeting while talking a lot. In reality, you can drive meetings while talking less. The one who is talking most of the meeting is not the one driving it and this is something people have To understand,

Britta Lorenz
wonderful, I love that aspect listening to understand, I think that’s so crucial and important and an art. It is an art to listen. And not just to blahblah away like I intended. But Florian, we have this wonderful title for today, prospecting, without pressure. Love the saying, Can you spark the light behind this title? What does it really mean?

Florian Gottschall
I have to give some kudos first to my boss. Now, Ian spender because he invented this title two years ago, when I was talking exactly about that in Las Vegas in one of our kickoffs. And we experience in enablement, a lot of times the pressure from both sides, pressure from the people who need to reach out to others, saying like, Oh, I reached out to 60 people and barely 10 of them really reacted on it, it’s a pressure reaching out to them knowing already a probably get to know. At the same time, I experienced a lot of pressure from the customer side from the prospect side, oh, again, somebody reaching out to me pitching something, or telling me I’ve discovered something really interesting as some synergies between us, I did some research, and you need to listen to me and all that stuff, you know. And this is the pressure in as far as comes to my job I try to get rid of for all the other people. And I always try to get rid of when talking to my customers and to my prospects in whatever responsibility I was. So making the conversation means making it a trust level. And by building up the trust level, you can do sales, in a really no pressure way. Say it is not about winning over somebody else says is about finding synergies between both of us. And imagine you’re on your own. For example, if you have a good friend in mind, finding out synergies between you both is quite easy. Why because there’s already trustful relationship. And if I don’t have that, it’s hard for me to sell and I get automatically more pressure, I get the pressure, oh my god, I have to call other people now to get my target to fill my pipeline and all this stuff. But you know, that’s exactly the wrong way. It’s it works. Unfortunately, it works a lot of times. But it’s the wrong way. First of all, there must be the trust level. And then if there’s authenticity, authenticity in the conversation, then you can really go on and and work with those guys. I want to tell you a short story. And you all can look this up on LinkedIn in my in my posts I did two years back, I was starting for a company. And I was in the position of also field readiness says, said coachings. And I was completely new to the company. I started in October. And really Sunday, there have been 3000 people I had to train or I’ve had to work with somehow or at least I have to get to know them. And of course you need to focus a little bit. So I thought like, How can I do that they are all over the globe. I was traveling a lot. But how can I get to know the people in a very fast way. And what I did is, I did some video prospecting I, I did videos in Christmas, Christmas time, every day one video for one to 23rd of December. And I asked the people about my new employer asked them when was the company founded? who founded it? What are the products? What is the unique selling point, and I asked this in videos to my existing LinkedIn network. So I did not reach out to somebody, I didn’t reach out to the people who are now my prospects or my colleagues. I simply was showing up. And I simply showed that I’m interested in the company I’m working for now. And by that I asked every day like a question and told them if you commented does matter who not only our colleagues, everybody, just by commenting it, I will collect all the comments, and I will count them up. And on the 24th of December they will get a pre Christmas present of mind. Whoever the first 10, who commented and I prepared a nice present for everybody who small small gimmick and was nice. But the outcome was I got more than 20,000 views on the on the videos, I got more than 150 comments on it. And the most important statistic was I get 38 contract requests from people I didn’t know so far. And this was not headhunters and others. It was really 30 people from my new colleagues worldwide. They decided by their own without me reaching out to them that I want to know this guy. And they asked me to get in touch with each other. So it was the best way to do prospecting just for showing up and this is exactly what I want to do. I took out the pressure on prospecting In this case, I had no customer but my colleagues in this situation, and they were reaching out to me, really on their own behalf. And this is only one example, we went way further with other things. But this is what I want to do. And what I what I teach the people to do prospecting and customer care, without the pressure for both sides.

Britta Lorenz
Well, it’s impressive numbers, what he just shared with us, especially if you think about the short timeframe, I mean, it’s the advanced calendar, advanced calendar module. And the intention to get to know your co workers, which you couldn’t meet physically. In the first place. Of course, you also created visibility within the network and graded created a bus for yourself and your company. But if we tie that also back to enablement floriane. By getting answers to the questions you actually asked about your company, then that also gives you an indication of how to close the gaps of knowledge for your Cobra. Cobra. Future Cobra, because in terms of training and analysis there,

Florian Gottschall
yes, you can see this kind of gaps in every kind of conversations. So it’s not only for this, this campaign, let’s call it this private campaign is all about conversations. It’s all about talking to people, it’s all about listening to their cause. Yes, you can see gaps. And you will see that all the gaps are really individual as individual as the characters are. as individual also the gifts are. So it’s, it’s it’s quite interesting, because the only thing is you need to show up, you need to do something, that you get a reaction and based on this reaction, you get the feedback, you probably need to do assistance in coachings.

Britta Lorenz
Great, okay. When we go back to prospecting Florian, how do you actually define prospecting to be successful? We heard building trust, being authentic. But what is really something tangible how you define success for prospecting?

Florian Gottschall
That’s exactly my topic for this part of the year because I do the post in January asking exactly the question how to measure the effectiveness of children. In essence, we all had a conversation about it, and I prepare a video about it as my result, because I was talking to about 20 different people about that. They are amazingly and amazing the amount of variables outside there, where you can measure success, like one deals, pipeline generated, and all that stuff. I agree with that. That’s nice. But as you know, probably every statistic is only as good as you are able to fake it. So as good as you are able to fake it for your own, it speaks for your own, maybe the statistic you put up now is not valid, valid later on. And this is the point, it is all about a good relationship. It’s all about the so called solution selling. I want to, I want to give you an example with it, you know, so the trust of me is the most important part. And I can measure how good somebody is. By the first moments, they reach out to me because I see how they are bonding with me how they try to set up a relationship. I never need to get the best friends with them. I may be here only once a month with that for four more of them. But maybe only business related. But if they can see, we can trust him. And we can trust the salesperson already. You’re wherever you are, they reach out to you at any time. And I always tell the people I want my prospects and customers to reach out to me with every question even if their car broke down. Everybody knows I cannot help with that at all. But maybe I know somebody who can help. And this trust level is, in my opinion, exactly the thing you should measure at this test. There was a TED video about measuring big data from the side of Amazon Prime and Netflix and the measured

Unknown Speaker
numbers, real numbers.

Florian Gottschall
What kind of personas in the video or movie or watch most? What kind of Top Movies are watched most? What What is the best time to bring them, you know, stuff, you know? So big data. And they all decided that both of them came to the same conclusion. They made a serious movie series out of political stuff. I don’t say names No, but one of them flopped. And one of them succeeded. Absolutely. Why is that? One of them just put took the big data, the measurements and said like it’s there. You can see by numbers, it’s there. But the other one did a kind of human decision making behind it an interpretation of the statistical effect on the road, as I said at the beginning, and this is exactly what happens with training. There are a lot of measurements and you’re reliable on that. And you can see some facts. But at the end, it’s an individual need to see who is the one to interface? And how can he do the sales in the best way possible. So it’s not possible to have the best sales guy in the company, and just copy and paste them a lot of times and make a lot of clones. That’s good approach. But it’s not all there’s something missing to succeed. And this is, this is where I think this is what I think is important.

Britta Lorenz
Okay, cool. So it’s really the indication of trust from your prospects and future customers, that makes it successful. If they reach out to you, no matter what that question would be, you would be available to try to support it.

Florian Gottschall
Exactly. To talk to sales people you already see in the way how they talk about their customers, you see a Buddhist relationship with their customers, and probably the one part of the whole numbers we can have on the whole monitoring we can have that you cannot really measure numbers.

Britta Lorenz
Definitely that I mean, how do you quantify trust? Hard one?

Florian Gottschall
Exactly. How do you quantify that’s, that’s hard? That’s hard. And to be honest, I had a I had a customer at Oracle time. He called me 9pm in the evening, and I was in a bar, sitting with my friends there. And he was like, Hey, Mr. Bhatia, you’re having a lot of international friends. I know from our conversations. I need I need a fluent Italian speaker. Do you know someone is a of course I know somebody a good friend of mine, I will I will send you the contract. Yeah, you know, I would need to talk to him now, immediately in this second. And then I had acid, you’re lucky the guy sitting next to me in the bar. So I handed over the handy the cell phone, they talk to each other in Italian language. And then he handed me back the phone. And the outcome was this guy was on his holidays, was not a business thing. But he was having a car accident in Italy and the Caribbean area. So the police there was only talking Italian. And he did not know what’s happening. So he needed somebody urgently to help him. So I was the one helping him I was the one reaching out to him or at least giving him a forwarding him, you know, and it was a good sign for me that he thought of me as a solution. solution or a solution provider? Even if it was not my business, you know? Yeah,

Britta Lorenz
absolutely. I mean, what a great example of showing how you can actually build relationships, also from prospecting, and fostering it with trust. But Florian, when we heard your story about your Christmas Calendar, advent calendar for the 23 day, we heard it’s about videos. Yeah, medias are part of our life for the last couple of months. Not saying why. But that’s just reality. And we also hear many times, I don’t want to be on camera. I don’t like how I look like on camera, I don’t want to listen to myself. How many times do you hear that,

Florian Gottschall
always, always have to tell you, I was really, really surprised that this also happens for salespeople. I felt like if somebody should be familiar with that, it should be salespeople, we should be able to go on stage and present before a lot of other people in front of the people like easy, you know, but it’s different when there’s a camera and one of my startups was exactly dealing with an application, providing video producing services, by the by by the user. So everybody was able to do the videos in their layout on their own. But they still had to record themselves. So we had to really to train them, we had real training sessions. Sometimes we do in this still training people and large companies like Red Bull or eBay, train them worldwide in different languages in different offices, on how to record themselves. And it’s amazing. There are a lot of nice tips and tricks, especially because I was also a sailing a sailing trainer for German actors for German television. And they also gave me some input on how they work with the camera. So really simple things to bring you down to make you more comfortable. There are a lot of tips and tricks how you can get out really good results. But the most important one is again to show up. It’s like a driver license, you make the license but learning how to drive you do with every mile you go. And it’s the same there. If you don’t record a video, it’s not you’re not not improving, you need to make failures. You know, that’s, that’s the most important part. And otherwise, there are tips like make it a conversation don’t look directly into the camera. Maybe position somebody behind the camera and talk to this guy or to this woman. So to keep it a conversation, it’s way easier to talk them. And for example, one last one is a really easy one. Don’t read word by word. And don’t learn word by word. Make topics what you want to say and then just Sade, naturally. And especially in our job to be honest, I did some videos or assistance and videos from salespeople recently. And there was one size lady who did who said something wrong. She said, customers instead of colleagues, when she corrected herself, so the video was not perfect, she did not rerecord it. But exactly that makes the authenticity. And that’s the most important part. If you have a video, like from a video production, and everybody can see this was, I don’t know worth a million dollars. They don’t trust you anymore. Make it as as simple and as authentic as possible.

Britta Lorenz
Oh, great tips. But even when you follow those tips, people still are to make it over exaggerated, scared off the camera. They just refuse to go on camera. Do you also have some tips on how to overcome this hurdle? like really? The camera doesn’t bite? The camera is not your enemy? How can we actually overcome this fear of the camera per se?

Florian Gottschall
Yes, but most of the time, this you only can handle without a camera. The more the people need to present something, the more that people they are recorded maybe on a side note, because maybe it’s somebody else’s recorded. They’re just in the background, the more they’re getting familiar with themselves with seeing themselves the more they are maybe also due to COVID being forced into using a camera, you know, the more they feel they will feel comfortable with it, the more they don’t complain anymore if something is recorded or not. It is a hard way. At the same time, I have to say and this maybe sounds a little bit hard. But if you have a hard time picking up the phone 10 times and getting 10 notes. This is prospecting or classic telesales is probably not the job you want to do. Because I once was working with a with a with the VP of sales, the good friend of mine Meanwhile, and he told me while we had dinner together, he said Florent i, this time, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, I employed almost 400 sales people. And I have to say, there are two things they need to bring. First thing is they don’t have any problems in talking to strangers. So let’s translate this, they don’t have any problems to talk to a camera, or being recorded. And the second part is, they need to know how to close the deal. And he told me that second part, closing the deal, I can teach everybody. The first part must be there. It’s not there. And this is maybe their heart message on it. You can practice it, you can get better in it, but you will not be you will never be the Pro.

Britta Lorenz
It just doesn’t come natural. It’s always gonna feel it forced. And it doesn’t. It’s not a natural dialogue like we have right now just speaking about it and mingling with the camera and all those things that just doesn’t happen.

Florian Gottschall
I think this is the point we are talking naturally to each other. Because we accept us how we are. And people what they don’t like is most of the time what they see there because they would love to be somebody else. It was not perfect because there was the makeup wasn’t right or the hair was not cool. Or my tooth, my shirt was not the best one it was not the right color or whatever. But always have in mind, the customer or the one watching it most of the time never sees that. Yeah, exactly. Giving them this feedback in the trainings. This opens their eyes.

Britta Lorenz
Cool. That’s a great tip. I mean, just pointing out things we notice are many details which nobody else is ever going to notice because nobody’s going to look like this. How do you look like are all those things? Awesome. Florian, you are doing video affecting globally. Do you see a difference in adaption and acceptance of videos at this moment of time?

Florian Gottschall
Yes, there is. And after say one of my companies that companies did not work out because we have been too early we we assumed the acceptance would be there already now. And it was not. Now the acceptance is far wider for better because of COVID. Not Not Not only because of Cody COVID but was a huge, huge differentiator. So yes, this this is coming up but I also see that people are kind of getting fed up with it. And there it comes in we’re talking about sales when it comes the main advice on it. Whatever you do, if it is a video, a document, an email, a phone call, whatever you do, it has to be personal. If it’s not personal smell, I would just keep it. If you For example, record a video just to give you one of the one of the learnings from our workshops is you do a video and you don’t say in between the first 15 seconds seconds, what will be covered in the video, people will click away because they are already searching for something else or for the next one. So it’s different behaviors, the attention span is getting slower and slower. Nobody’s watching a long time, we have this issue for sure. It’s not like sitting in a cinema. And there is a lot and we need to deal with that. So I already see for the next couple of months and weeks and and maybe years that people are getting more focused even on the video stuff. Before it was like surprising on I saw a video. But now they are so there’s so much that only the good ones. And I’m not talking about the best production. I’m talking about best content with the wife at the end.

Britta Lorenz
Do you also have a tip on what might be? Let’s I’m not gonna say the perfect time, but a good time to send the videos where they really get attention.

Florian Gottschall
Yeah. So it’s most of the time not only about the video itself, it’s about the channel you delivering it. Because it makes a difference. If I deliver it on Netflix, if I deliver, delivered it on WhatsApp, on Facebook, on YouTube, on LinkedIn, or on a TV station. Every channel has a completely different community or target group. And you need to prepare it and work in it’s like being in separate rooms. And all the rooms behave different. The people in the rooms behave differently. The attention span in WhatsApp is really short. The attention span in Netflix is great, they invest an hour or more. In YouTube, it’s already better in LinkedIn, you have the limit of 10 minutes videos, except a few embedded from somewhere else, you know, or you do a live session. And it’s not so much about the video being released at the right time. It’s about is the posts done at the right time. So on LinkedIn, for example, I learned because we’re working a lot in LinkedIn with LinkedIn Sales Navigator and all that stuff. In LinkedIn, for example, we learned from the experts and from from the experiences they had that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best times for posts on LinkedIn. I did not know that. And for me in a special area, for example, sailing, this is different. The setting content runs better on a weekend. But you need to figure out when do you get the most viewers reactions comments. I don’t know. In my Christmas campaign for example, I released on a daily basis but always two different time because I wanted to find out what is the best time to reach out to the people that are Manal my prospects or my colleagues I did not know that, you know, and different time zones. It’s it’s hard it’s it’s hard to imagine you to test it for your community.

Britta Lorenz
But you can so it’s there’s not a one time fits all it’s really targeted again to your target customer to the person’s you have to take all those variations into account. Basically, you really have to do your homework.

Florian Gottschall
Absolutely. And there’s a difference again, once says we use or for individuals I sent you Britta one says we do especially for you with an icebreaker in it with a really make it personal because I show up. I make it personal for you because it addresses something you posted recently or you’re recovering, you’re interested in and I send it especially to you so it’s your timescale. But if I send it to all of all the people, you never know whom you reach in 120 reach to people and this is also one one big thing at the moment when it comes to prospecting. This is the on demand prospecting. It’s hard to reach the people at a time I’m I’m today I’m in meetings since seven hours now without break. I have a couple of people who have to call back and probably won’t make it today. To reach out to me to prospect with me, it’s hard. I only can consume it after the calls. So on demand, and then it’s the right time for me. But I met I met a sales guy for example, when with this Christmas challenge, I was flying over to San Francisco and was standing there in the weather where the coffee was and grab some some some tea. And a guy came in it turned out he was the vice president of the company of the whole company. He was standing next to me and saying like simply we didn’t say hello nothing is just said, Hey, hello Florian. I was like, Hello. I barely remember the name. It was like what’s the question and I was like Okay, I did not raise a question. And he was like, yeah, you read the question or today on LinkedIn, and then I got to know Oh, yes, he will. He was he seen my, my campaign, you know, never know when he reached out to him when he was watching it, and so on and so on. So it’s, it’s a smokescreen sometimes. And it’s hard to figure out, but you need to figure out individually for your purpose.

Britta Lorenz
So you need to figure out the ingredients for your magic and it will happen one day.

Florian Gottschall
To be honest, this is the most important part. Doesn’t matter how good the video is, to place it in the wrong way. Nobody will watch it. And that’s the point for every kind of collaterals. Even if it’s only pictures or documents, spreadsheets, whatever, if you place them in the wrong timing. Doesn’t matter how good they are. They will not be seen.

Britta Lorenz
Absolutely. Florian, I want to be cautious of your valuable time. You already mentioned you have back to back meetings. Two more questions. First, personal one, who inspires you? I love to hear which people or what inspires my guests who I’m speaking.

Florian Gottschall
We’re honest. I thought about this, because you raised the question also for with others. And of course, there are people like I don’t know Bill Gates, or there are people like Simon Sinek there are people like Chris Voss, and there is one lady from Germany. from former times she’s called Vieira jack Canfield. She was a professional professor, she used to do a lot of talks about communities how to learn and not it’s amazing what this lady already teach 20 years back, it’s crazy to to listen to her videos. But the most inspiring things, especially for my trainings I get from my colleagues or for the people I’m training. Every training, I’m learning a lot, I’m learning feeding stories, I’m learning success stories. I know what kind of crazy icebreakers they’re using to open up the conversation. It’s amazing. And I learned so much about that. And I think this is also where I got into enablement, because I did not do enablement on purpose. I just slipped into it. I can talk about a lot of stories that are really experienced on my own. And I think this is

Britta Lorenz
awesome. And I really love the point that you don’t mention. I mean, you did mention big names. But then you are really inspired by your colleagues and fellows. And then you learn from each other. That’s wonderful flow, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to reach out and learn more about your concept of prospecting without pressure or if they want to exchange just on a daily basis,

Florian Gottschall
Amelie everywhere, because I tried all the different platforms, but the easiest way is of course, on LinkedIn. That’s my profile, everybody can click now on my name. And every time reach out to me doesn’t matter. The only thing I really want to make sure is please make it a purpose. Make it personal tell me to not only send the contract request, and that’s it. I’m not collecting contracts. And I’m not accepting people who simply requesting the contract and then they’re gone. Everybody in my network I did once something with them is a lot of people already after four years of course. But to be honest, I know them. I had a call with them. I did a project with them. I discussed the topic. So somehow use a nice icebreaker and said it could be one for example. So open for everybody to get to know a lot of people.

Britta Lorenz
Great to get in touch with you. Wonderful flogging. Thank you so so much for today. It was a great conversation. Thanks for everyone watching and I hope you took something away as we did and yeah, Speak to you soon again. Thank you

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