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Podcast 115: Under the Skin of Successful Salespeople with Mary Grothe
successful salespeople Mary Grothe podcast
By Kelly Driscoll | September 9, 2019

This week we have Mary Grothe, CEO of Sales BQ on the podcast. Mary is a sales trainer and keynote speaker who has an incredible drive to succeed in sales. In this podcast, Mary talks about how she got into sales and used her own drive to blow her quota up and climb the career ladder. Motivation, drive and “BQ” are the drivers of Mary’s huge success, we discover how to bring it into your own work and hire salespeople accordingly…

In this podcast, you’ll learn:

  • Using BQ to crush quota
  • Using the 100:75 rule in hiring salespeople
  • Managing with passion

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Using BQ to crush quota

Mary Grothe: BQ is the behavioral quotient of beat. You’ve heard of IQ, intellectual intelligence. Then you have EQ which is emotional intelligence, and now we’re in the world of BQ. We firmly believe that behavior drives results for salespeople. I challenged myself to train other salespeople, and John, it was crazy because they had me focusing on the product and the technology. They wanted me to train them on everything I knew about the industry. To shadow me and see me in the sales meeting as well.

They wanted to look at the sales effectiveness, how I was engaging the buyer more than the EQ scale, but at the end of the day, people couldn’t replicate my success because they didn’t have the BQ. Not everyone has the get up and go.

Obviously you need to speak intelligently and you cannot instantly become an A player only with hard work and no skill but on a level playing field, the hard worker wins. I can’t complain about changing comp plans or territory being cut up, product changes. It’s all focusing on the wrong stuff.

You should know what you sell. You should be able to articulate. It is extremely important that you leverage your support staff. So you have a sales engineer, you have your product export experts, and you’ve got your service team and your manager or whatnot. Plug them in where you need to and sound intelligent.

At the end of the day you have to make the decision. I’ve set my alarm every morning for 4:45 I was the first one in the office. I was super detailed and organized, had my call list ready to go. I dialed all my executives, seven and 8:00 AM before the receptionist came in. Then was leaving the office when other salespeople were coming in and I set four appointments every single day.

If I didn’t have an appointment, I was dropping in on somebody or progressing something at 9, 11, 1 and 3:00 PM – four meetings a day. I was coming back to the office. I was writing about 4:30 when everyone else was taking their foot off the gas and hanging up their hat for the day. And I came back and I hammered out all my paperwork and I updated my CRM. My manager never had to ask me one time to put anything in the CRM, but I owned my success. That’s BQ. I showed up and got it done.

Using the 100:75 rule in hiring salespeople

John Barrows: I’ve mentioned this before but in my first real start-up we were working real hard and doing everything we could. The whole 17 hours, 7 days a week thing. But after 50 people, literally I felt the 51st person and onwards were nowhere near as passionate about the business as I was.

I realized over time that you cannot give someone passion, they have to have it within themselves about what they’re doing. So I turned my hiring process upside down, I made it all about how much they could grow if they were passionate enough to work hard. I’d love to know what you’re doing to ensure you hire people like that.

Mary Grothe: Let me ask you real quick. Have you heard of the 175 rule?

You’re 100, I’m 100. We run companies. All the 100s are the executives in a company. They run the companies. When you’re hiring, expect 75% of what you are on their last day. Okay. Knowing that this person on their best day is going to be a 75% your expectations are more in line with what most people can do. Knowing that their natural style may only be at around a 50% but it’s you as the leader like you said, and you inspire passion.

What environment are you creating and it’s your goal to get this person to be performing to the top of their 75% now, people over time, they learn skills. They advanced in their careers and they themselves. If they have that willingness and that drive and that BQ to be 100 then over time that person can be a 100 but when they’re a 100 they don’t want to work for you anymore.

I love screening for potential, I want somebody who has a chip on their shoulder. I want somebody that has overcome some very challenging situations and I’ll look for excuses. So when somebody is looking to leave a job and they’re going to tell me the 20 things that were wrong with everything and they don’t have any self-admittance or ownership of anything, like that’s not my person. I need somebody that can acknowledge and admit things go wrong in this world, go lot wrong in this life and your careers, your territory does get cut in half. Other things like this will happen.

But I want to listen to the way the candidate explains the situation and I’m looking for how much ownership they’ll take on it and then ultimately what do they do about it or what are they going to do about it? And if I hear a higher urgency story based like solution thinker of talking it through and really already putting themselves on the other side of it. That’s what I’m looking for. I do look for consistent performance, I want to find people that have that perform above quota. I can’t stand when people set quota is like here’s my goal for the year. Quota is not your goal.

Managing with passion

John Barrows: One thing I’ve thought a lot about is the whole “bro culture”. It’s tough because I know if I was managing a group of dudes, I could throw beers on a Friday and hit the gong when we close a deal, all that stuff. But that’s not the best way to manage everyone, it’ll alienate certain people who aren’t part of that group or people who don’t have that psyche. So what are you doing to foster that drive you need to have but finding ways to resonate with everyone?

Mary Grothe: It’s about expectations versus agreements. Have you ever had an expectation of someone and they didn’t do it?

John Barrows: Yes, plenty of times.

Mary Grothe: Did you communicate the expectation with them?

John Barrows: I’d like to think I did.

Mary Grothe: Sometimes we don’t. Right. That happens. And then if you communicated it, did you get agreement from the other person? Di you hear back from them? They can articulate, regurgitate exactly what you said. You are in alignment and agreement.

And if you’ve got an agreement, you also have a repercussion of what the conversation is going to look like. If this isn’t done, setting a culture of expectations versus agreements is hands down one of the first things that you need to implement in the culture.

So often we had expectations of people, we may have said in our sales kickoff in January, you’re the expectations for this year and then three months later is guys not meeting the expectations. Communicating at one time in a group setting, in that what have you done to foster with the environment? Regained agreement. You’ve got a culture of accountability and people understand what’s expected of them.

It can also happen in our conversations. So I’ve had the privilege of listening to a lot of sales managers’ coaching conversations with their salespeople and I’m not hearing any communication of expectations in an agreement and repercussions. It’s completely lacking from the candid conversations that they’re having.

They’re not coaching them, they’re telling them how to get it done. They’re jumping in and doing it for them. Coaching is asking questions. It’s getting salespeople to come to the answer, it’s guiding them. Self-discovery, so that they have ownership and they buy into it. Expectations versus agreements is huge.

That’s a wrap. Join us next time

If you made it this far, you’re the best. Thanks for reading and listening to this podcast. We hope you gained a ton from it and will listen in next week too. Don’t forget to check out our recent podcast episode highlights too.

If you have some feedback for us, connect on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to share the podcast on social media.

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